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is it really possible to restart your metabolism again after anorexia??

or are you just going to get fat??


 is it ok to gradually up calories instaed of jumping straight in

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Yes it is possible.  No you are not "just going to get fat."  Gradually up your calories, but over the course of a week, not months. (100-200 calories every 1-2 days, not 10 calories every 2 weeks)

I have gained 7 pounds so far and I can't even see it.

i am upping week by week.. currently 1700 1750 ish.. and monday il be going over the 1800 mark. its the only way i ca cope.. how is your recovery going? i NEED to hear sucess stories.. :(

I think the best person to message for a recovery story is dancerqueen1.  She seems very knowledgeable about EDs & Recovery since she has successfully recovered.  Or you can just read some of her post.  Even those helped me. 

Hi headz19-

I can remember asking my GP who saw me at my worst and throughout my recovery "will my metabolsim ever be repaired?"  Yes it can.  But these are the steps you need to take which I discussed below.  However, your metbolism and BMR will remain suppressed if you have a mediocre (partial) recovery or consistantly consume a low caloric intake.

In order to restore your metabolsim you have to do the opposite of what you have been doing or think you need to do.

A damaged metabolsim do to under eating or after an Eating Disorder can be repaired and it takes hundreds and thousdands of calories to build it up again. 

Anytime a person is under strict calorie reduction the bodymakes compensatory metabolic adjustments in an effort to maintain its fat storage.  The basal metabolic rate (BMR) drops dramatically against a consistent negative caloric balance.  When the inidividual goes back to normal or even below-normal calorie intake they regain the fat lost as the body strives to resotre a comfortable fat level.  -- And recovering Anorexics must reach a higher percentage of body fat for Leptin to be restored, have menses return and overall functioning. 

After even a few weeks of a scrict low-calorie diet the body immediately activates its survival mechanism and readjusts its metabolism to a lower caloric balance.  To put it into persective most often individuals who go on a "diet" and cease the diet, the lowered metabolic rate may take several months to kick back up. 

 Conversely, those who are recovering from an ED such as Anorexia have a much more damaged metabolism and it can take years to build up to its optimum level.  --that is if the patient consistantly consumes adequate calories.  Recovering patients must consumme 30% above maintenance level and roughly aim above 2,500 calories. 

The first step a patinet has to take is to increase calories and daily fat intake.  A healthy diet consists of 30% fat intake.  It is important for patients to consume adequate calories for both repair, build up their metabolsim and have Leptin levels restored.  Fat is the determiner of Leptin...not muscle.    

It understood recovering patients consume a high amount of calories vs gradually increasing them.  You have to understand it takes hundreds and thousands of calories to repair and gain weight and right now your body is starving.

Under no circumsatnce do you fall bellow 2500 calories per day or restrict.  Because any form of restriction and skipping a meal ignites those neurtransmitters into thinking you are starving your body and then conserve the fat or use it as energy.  The neurotransmitters will respond to any restriction of calories so it is key to consume food every few hours, even if you are not hungry. 

Some recovering anorexics have a conveluted idea that if they gain weight they will get fat.  It isn't uncommon for them to have that fear.  However, if a patinet wants to recover they need to realize weight gain is a main factor. --the other congitive therapy.  Weight gained happens in months or years...not overnight.  Most of the initial weight gained is water hoarding which will take months to balance out. 

 The main point is in order to have it fully repaired a patient needs to gain to a higher weight (which is temporary).  You cannot expect to remain thin (or on the low side of a BMI such as 18 or 21) and be fully recovered or have an optimum metabolsim. 

thank you dancerqueen.. i am in the process of upping calories! now at 1800.. i will keep going till i get to 2500

Hi dancerqueen1,

I have a few questions. These are all hypothetically speaking and would be interested in knowing. I don't know if you would know the answers-

What if you don't eat the required intake during recovery?

Does this mean your metabolism will permanently be suppressed?

What if you diet healthily after recovery in order to lose weight weight (obviously still within the healthy BMI range) but you recovered at a suppressed calorie intake? How do you do this without having to eating ~1000 calories?

How do you restore your metabolism without gaining more weight if you are at your natural set point?


I know it's alot, but I have read alot of questions about this subject & never seen proper answers. If you don't know the answers, do you know who could answer? I have been talking to some other sufferers about this recently & some are in that position & were very stuck.

6 Replies