Hi, I’m looking for some advice and also I think it helps sometimes to just spill out what’s going on.
I’ve had an ed for the past 3 years. I started of severely restricting, and began exercising. I realised I had a problem and got help – it was done at my uni health service with the specialist nurse and involved cbt-type therapy. I ate better and would allow myself the occasional extra. My BMI never got to a point of being classed as underweight <18.5. I felt better in life as I was no longer lacking in energy, unable to concentrate and feeling like I was going to faint all the time like I had done previously. It got to the point where I felt the nurse couldn’t offer me any more help and so I was discharged. However, since then I have gone through waves of struggling.
I reached my lowest weight (110 pounds…Im 5foot 8.5) about 2 months ago and I was aware I had other health concerns…my pulse rate is 36-40bpm and I haven’t had a period in about 3 years. I did go to my doctor about my pulse and she sent me for an ECG. The hospital replied that if I wasn’t symptomatic then it wasn’t a problem and was normal for someone who was very fit. I did get a bit concerned though and my parents are very worried. I got sick of feeling so boney and putting my family under so much stress and decided I really needed to sort my head out and put weight on as if I didn’t do it now then I would never be able to do it. It started off well, and I ate about 2500 calories a day (sometimes 3000 I would guess – I would eat chocolate and biscuits at night before going to bed which was something I would never have done before). However I still exercised..although I tried cutting this down a bit so I would burn about 850 calories per session.
I weighed occasionally and found I was gaining a couple of pounds. But I weighed myself 2 weeks ago and was now 118 pounds. This really scared me and even though the next day I weighed myself again and was 115 pounds I felt really fat. I swear I have ‘bingo wings’ and my stomach is round. Since then I began restricting again – although I still eat 1500-2000 calories a day I would guess. But my exercise is creeping up again and Im now burning 1200-1300 calories per session 3-4 times a week. It sounds ridiculous when Ive said all that but I do honestly want to look normal – if there was a pill that I could take that would mean I would wake up tomorrow and be a slim but healthy size then I would. But realistically I cant seem to allow myself to gain weight. Even on those days where I do feel stupidly thin, boney and veiny and want to gain weight I cant seem to limit my exercise – I think I almost enjoy pushing myself that much and I feel proud of myself when I reach/beat the calories I burnt in my previous session. And I seem to be maintaining at 115 pounds with all this exercise and what Im eating (even though I am restricting what I eat – for example I now have started out scraping the insides of bagels out and I only am eating about 25g of carbs at dinner) so Im scared that any less exercise will mean my weight will just balloon.
I really don’t know what to do. I do enjoy exercising but its starting to get a bit tiresome having to spend so long in the gym (although its not too bad when I actually get there and get going). But if Im not losing weight with my current habits then if I change surely the weight will pile on? And do you think my pulse is a problem or is it just because I do a lot of exercise? Has anyone got any advice on recovery and limiting exercise? How much cardio is ‘normal’ to do in the gym? And how many calories is ‘normal’ to burn at a time?
Forgot to say im 21 if that helps any advice. Is anyone going through a similar situation to me? How are people managing to beat exercise addiction as part of their ed? x
given that the minimum you should weigh and still be considered in the "healthy" range is about 128 -- you could use some of the piling on the pounds.
What you are doing is not healthy -- you know that. the question is whether you are strong enough to quit the exercise, or at least bump up the calories to compensate. Of course you will put on weight, water weight to begin with, but eventually it will be fat or muscle. While holding on to the water weight you may look like you gained weight, but when that burns off, the only person who will know would be you. Your body is not going to change that much -- but you will look much healthier.
you need to go back into therapy, there are clearly unresolved issues.
With regard to the heart rate --the doctor is correct, if you are asymptomatic and exercising, the low heart rate is generally not a concern, my question is, did you tell the doctor you were exercising as much as you are? that you are restricting your calories and carbs? that you have essentially switched one obsession (the ED) with another (exercise obsession)? As a regular doctor, they may not have still seen a problem, but if you can talk to an ED specialist -- they might be able to help you more.