Will Weight Gain During Anorexia Recovery Ever Stop?

By December 13, 2012

I have had anorexia nervosa for 14 years (I’m now 26). I have (again) begun a recovery process with an RD. She said at first that I may need as many as 2800 calories to gain weight. I have been at about 2300-2400 calories for almost 2 months now and my weight seems to be climbing consistently. I need some reassurance from another source: will this gain ever stop? It seems logical that once my weight gets up to a certain point, the gain would come to a stop and I would have to add more calories to continue to gain – in other words, the 2300-2400 calories I’m at now would sustain up to a certain weight and that’s it. It seems like my body is just out of whack and climbing uncontrollably. Please let me know what, in your experience, I may be able to expect. I am pretty scared. Thanks! – NK

Dear NK,

Thanks for your query; this is a completely understandable question. In fact, I get this question a lot from the women I work with.

First, there are factors that may influence your rate of weight gain based on your unique body composition (amount of muscle mass), activity level and the set point weight for your body. Not everyone gains the same amount on the same calories, (I’m sure you know this) but sometimes it helps to be reassured.

It does not sound like your body is out of whack at all. You may very well need to eventually increase your calorie level to continue restoring weight; however, this is not always necessary. You may continue to slowly and steadily restore your weight on 2300-2400 right up to your body’s set point. Then you get to return to simple maintenance calories.

Contrary to popular eating disorder opinion, it is actually very difficult (practically impossible) to permanently “screw up” your body’s metabolism. So, as out of control as you feel today, rest assured. Sounds like you are doing exactly what your body needs right now.

Keep listening to your dietitian, ask lots of questions and continue to share your fears and concerns with her. Your case sounds very similar to what I see on a daily basis working in this field.

Good job and keep going, you can do this!