Eating disorder recovery
March 12, 2013 8:51 AM Subscribe
Around 2 weeks ago I decided to actually properly recover from my eating disorder.
And I am hoping that some people here with relevant medical knowledge or personal experience might be able to give me some advice on how to proceed and information on what I can physically expect, as the information given online is often very contradictory. I live in a rural area (UK) and have had very negative experiences with the local medical professionals/counselling services (I also get the impression that most GPs will not be very well informed anyway) so I am attempting to do this very much on my own.
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I've had an eating disorder of some kind/degree for about 5 years now (since I was 14 and I am currently 19). It has never been quite bad enough to warrant any intervention beyond forced doctor's visits and weighing, where I was able to hide quite how ill, I guess, I was.
But for the past year or so I have been in control of my own diet and have been attempting to 'eat healthily' i.e. a very restricted and low calorie diet of foods, which I can trust myself not to throw up - except all to often I do, or I eat something slightly unhealthy and so 'have' to binge and be sick or I eat too much healthy food so my stomach hurts and I have to be sick. Basically, being pretty obsessed with what I'm eating, using food and being sick as both a form of self-harm and coping mechanism and, even when I'm feeling good and want to concentrate on other things, feeling permanently hungry. I called that 'getting better'. And I have gained weight - enough not to be underweight and to get my period back and to feel that I am fat, and to be very self-concious about my appearance and never wear nice clothes, particularly close-fitting ones! But I still feel both hungry and full/bloated, and have acid/heartburn and digestive problems as well as general fatigue, weakness and poor health. So my body is obviously not healthy, even if my BMI apparently is.
So I have decided to really get better and to accept that this will involve gaining weight (and it feels so liberating and terrifying) but I really don't know how to go about it....
I have spent far too much time researching healthy eating but I am unsure how much any of the different varieties of ordinary advice for a healthy diet apply or whether I ought to attempt to eat a normal (not optimally healthy) diet, or even what that is, or whether I need to eat a high calorie diet in order for my body to repair itself....
I also permanently incredibly hungry and I think it is a genuine signal from my body - but how much should I respond to it? because however much I eat it doesn't seem to stop, will it go away eventually and how long will that take?
And my stomach seems so fat and bloated and protruding - that will change, wont it?
I obviously want to try and gain muscle rather than more fat but I am very bad at sport (and embarrassed about the whole business) and I am always so tired so I don't really do much exercise beyond going for walks - should I increase that? Or would that be bad for me? (some advice seems to say that it would hold up recovery)
I know that it is different for different people but generally what can I expect to happen to my body? And how long will it take? What was it like for you?
This is mainly a question about the physical process as I think I am working through the psychological aspects by myself; I have stubbornly refused to explicitly admit that anything was wrong to all except my closest friends and I really don't want to change that - and I think I can do it myself. However I am seeing a councillor regarding other issues (mainly social, self-confidence, very minor child sexual abuse) and if I find I have to I will bring it up there. I think I probably do have some kind of depression also and I am unsure of the relation between feelings of isolation and despondency and the eating disorder. I am familiar with the Minnesota starvation experiment etc. but I am pretty sure the depression and social withdrawal is a separate issue in itself, however I think in order to tackle that I need to deal with the eating disorder first.
I KNOW that however much as, if I am honest with myself, I like being messed up and having an excuse to be a failure in everything and I want to be ill and interesting and perversely beautiful and special like I used to be (I despise myself for wanting it so much) and childlike and for people to feel sorry for me and protective towards me, it is be better to be grown-up and capable and fun and clever and engaged with life and others so they admire and respect me and like being around me. I can't continue to sabotage my chances of having friends and my university degree and basically waste my life with this.
So I have made my decision and if anyone has any advise on how to go about it and what I can expect, I think that would be really helpful, thank you.
(Throwaway email: firstname.lastname@example.org)