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Excessive weight gain following anorexia?

(5 Posts)
giraffacake Wed 08-May-13 01:29:52

I developed anorexia when I was about 11 years old and spent most of my early teens either extremely underweight (85 lbs at 5"5) or at the most very skinny. After some therapy I managed to get up to a healthier weight of 9 stone which I maintained until college. There, the restricting cycle started again and I lost a rapid amount of weight and ended up in hospital (although this was more to do with my mental health rather than my actual weight at the time).

Anyway, a few years later I began to severely binge eat. I'm talking up to 20 000 calories at a time. I gained around 50 lbs in about 9 months and I am still gaining today. It is so distressing watching your body change so rapidly. I'm now plastered in stretch marks and I'm fairly sure that the binging is having some quite serious health side effects. There's a high possibility that I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome but am waiting for results.

I feel so terribly down about myself. I have anxiety issues and find it very difficult to get out of the house at the moment. This anxiety seems somewhat linked to my weight gain and poor body image. I keep telling myself that if I lose weight I'll be able to deal with everything better but I don't think this is entirely true and is a part of the old anorexia mind set. I feel lost and overwhelmed and truly disgusted with myself yet I can't seem to stop.

Does anyone have any experience with eating disorders and depression? I have tried therapy in the past (the stuff provided by the NHS was fairly useless but was fortunate enough to have family which paid for private. Unsure if this is a possibility now though).

giraffacake Wed 08-May-13 01:30:50

thought i'd mention that i now weigh around 160 lbs. I didn't make it clear in the post and thought that some people might think it was less.

stripeyjimjams Wed 08-May-13 10:32:48

Hi Giraffa. I probably don't have any great advice, but didn't want to leave you unanswered. I was anorexic when I was in my mid-teens. I got past it, probably because I was still so young. One thing I remember about those days is that doctors / therapists just didn't seem to know what to say. One told me that, quite simply, exercise was a better way to lose weight than starving yourself. True, yes, but not the best thing to say to a 7 stone 15 year old who doesn't need to be thinking of other ways to lose weight!

One thing that did help, however, was talking to friends and family who had suffered with the condition (my mum, my best friend, my sister - all high-achieving, self critical women. There's your pattern). If you don't have anyone like that around, might it be worth looking into an eating disorders support group? There is one where I work (at a university) called Starfish, and it's for anyone with body issues. I'm sorry if you've already done so, and that doesn't help.

Also, are you on any anti-depressant meds? Hope you're doing OK.

Mnetter111 Wed 08-May-13 11:16:35

Hi giraffa, I had a less severe version and often (still) go through binge cycles, one thing that helped my body image was to realize that there are many, many women who would love to only weigh 160 lb, you've got to realize that valuing yourself and being kind to yourself should happen regardless of what you are or aren't eating or how you look. You sound like you definitely need more therapy, you need to understand that your value is defined by what you do with your life, not what you might look like. Self acceptance is what you need. What is perpetuating the binge? Are you procrastinating over a life decision? Sorry, trying to be helpful, agree with the support group recommendation.

WillieWaggledagger Wed 08-May-13 11:37:25

giraffa this has happened to me several times over ten years in cycles - periods of anorexia with severe weight loss, then periods of binge eating/bulimia with severe weight gain. i absolutely understand how you feel about your body and your behaviour, i feel that way about myself, but it breaks my heart to hear someone else say that about themselves

i am currently stable in terms of eating and weight but going through the NHS eating disorder service, which i hope will help, it was so hard to go to the GP about it originally. sorry to hear it didn't work for you before - are there other NHS options available near you if you don't want to/can't go private?

i do feel differently now though - previously when in a binge/higher weight period i was always trying to get back to the anorexic behaviour. i saw that behaviour as the ideal behaviour and any deviation was a huge failure. my mindset seems to have changed a now - i want to have 'normal' eating behaviours where i don't stress about eating things that don't conform to my 'ideal', i don't want the anorexic behaviours any more, i don't want to be holding myself to severely restrictive eating and punishing myself if i can't keep to that. i'm hopeful that this recently altered mindset is a turning point, but i'm also very aware of how easy it is to slip back into old patterns

you sound like you have very good insight, but you also sound like you do need more support

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