Coping with weight gain in anorexia 2

Gaining weight from a low weight may be possible in an outpatient setting if a person is not critically unwell. If a person can make progress with the support of a doctor, dietician and therapist in an outpatient setting, fantastic. If not it simply means more intensive support is required. (See previous podcast notes for further information and links).

Some helpful thoughts about gaining weight from a low weight

Accurate information is better than uninformed fear

Get information from your team as to what to expect as your body is rehydrated and renourished from a malnourished state.  Much will depend on the severity of your ED.  Fluid retention, bloating, wind, cramps etc can all be expected as the body readjusts. WHAT YOU NEED TO KEEP IN MIND is that ALL these changes are temporary and will settle as you continue along the path to recovery.

The sooner you seek help the better. 

EARLY INTERVENTION is the best anti-dote to extreme malnutrition and the psychological disturbance (FEAR) that goes with it in an eating disorder.

Remind yourself why you began recovery in the first place.

  • Think about what your ED taken from you (health, hope, energy, relationships, work/ study opportunities, money) – make a list of these things and keep it handy when you need to remember why you’re sticking with your recovery plan.
  • What you are looking forward to by healing?
  • Make a gratitude list of all the things you love or have loved about life (get really specific eg., playing with your dog, creating art, chatting with your sister, dancing with your friends, the scrunch of autumn leaves under your feet, the smell of freshly cut grass, watching the ocean waves, snuggling up by a fire, road-trips to the country, etcetera. Think of as many things as you can. Aim for 100.
  • Create a collage of pictures that represent these things (&/or the kind of life you’re looking forward to)
  • Put this somewhere you can see it everyday.

Keep choosing recovery (one day at a time).

Recovery really begins with a decision from you. The truth is to recover and sustain recovery YOU will need to choose to turn your back on fear and hunger and turn your face towards life and nurture. And, you will need to do this every day.

You will need skills to do this.

You deserve to live, to feel the wind at your back, the sun on your face, to smile at the future, to love and embrace. You.

I can help you with this. It would be my pleasure to do so.

Feedback and questions welcome.

michelle@michellesparkes.com

@mp_sparkes

About the Author

Michelle is a physiotherapist and professional counsellor with lived experience of anorexia, EDNOS and binge-eating in her teen and early adult years. Founder of Women Worth their Weight, and author of Illuminating Anorexia Michelle is passionate about helping people recover from these health and life consuming problems.