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Weight Gain
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How do I accept weight gain ?

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first off ill tell you about myself, im 5 ft 3.5, 16 years old and currently weigh 85lbs, my lowest weight even though ive been an outpatient for over 2 months. 2 sessions ago, my counsellor told me that if my bmi drops any lower (its 14.6 right now) then she will have to start thinking about hospitalization and honestly this scared the life out of me.

I know I look horrible with bones sticking out at the moment, im embarresed to see my friends so avoid having a social life and im getting pretty down about it but still Im scared to gain because even now there is still fat on my belly and I know it will all go there and I hate it

At my worst i was eating around 600-900 a day, only once did i ever manage about 400 i just cant get out of bed on that little. Recently ive been setting goals so first I got it over 1000 and never let it drop below, then 1100 and im now on 1200 but the thought of going over that terrifies me almost as much as hospital. Right now I have all bran for breakfast, generally WW ready meal for lunch or a quorn sausage sandwich or something (i know i should cut down on ready meals but they are quick and easy and feel safe) and then for dinner I have meat/fish and veg no carbs but basically whatever is cooked. I snack through out the day on WW yoghurts, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, cereal bars teas and coffee and at night I have a big glass of milk and some biscuits because i dont want osteoporosis! 

I really dont know how to get over this and how to increase more because i already have to make myself eat when im not hungry to reach 1,200 cals... so I could use some advise if anyone has any.. any tips on recovery, what things I should/shouldnt be eating and how I can feel okay about gaining weight.  (sorry about this being so long!) 

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First there is no fat on your stomach at that weight, and you have to get out of the mindset that it will all go there, because it won't. Everyone is different but I thought the same thing and however I appear leaner and more toned now with 35 more pounds on me. Make calorie dense food you best friend, nuts, nut butters, milkshakes, don't be afraid to eat "junk food". Make certain not to use "reduced fat" or "fat free" items, you need all the calories you can get. At your age you should be eating about 3000 calorie minimum. How about doubling your current portions and that would put you in the 3000 ball park?

I know this is the last thing you want to hear and won't believe it. But why don't you consider hospitalization? I thought the same as you and refused it, but it was the best thing that I have ever done! It will give you that jump start of initial weight gain, which is usually the hardest, and when you get out it will be that much easier! I hope I have helped you a little, best wishes, and if you need anything else feel free to message me!

Im sure it doesnt look like much but if i can grab it i believe it, thats where my weight has always been.. i used to be 134 lbs and definitely had a rather large belly. the problem is im not an exercise person so i dont tone so my weight does end up looking flabby rather than lean. I do tend to pick those lower fat/lower calorie options i just cant bring my self to actually pick the higher option when there is a choice. Im struggling to eat any more i feel full on what im eating and end up feeling sick to make sure i get to 1200.

My thing against the hospital is one, everyone would find out.. all the people at school and all my family (my mum and dad know but not aunts and uncles and all that) and i dont like people looking at me differently :/ and 2, i pass out and have seizures when i have blood tests/injections and i know that in hospitals they do that sort of thing pretty often and it makes me feel quite ill after. Thank you for your advise, i will try and include some calorie dense food, im seeing a nutritionist on tuesday and i think they might try and get me drinking some of those ensure milkshakes or something but i cant afford them so i dont know if i can do that :/ Thank you and im glad that you have got better after going to hospital, i hope if it comes to that that it will help me

Hey annabel95, I'm really sorry that you are going through this. I have been there. Several times and I just have to tell you that being recovered is worth every second of pain and frustration during recovery.  Reading over your post, I think there are a few things that you should think about....

A. There is a thing called skin that everybody has. I know for a fact that there is a lot of skin on me that I can "grab onto" and it's not fat! At your weight, it definitly is NOT.

B. In case you haven't already noticed, everyone is probably ALREADY looking at you because your BMI is so obviously in the unhealthy range. I think most people would be glad to see you take your life into your own hands, go to the hospital and get better! If it changes the way they look at you it will only be because they will look at your with admiration. 

C. It sounds like you are making a lot of excuses. You can do this! You can. The question is not can you, but do you want to?


hey, thank you for saying all that i needed to hear it, I do want to do this i really do.. just like you say it is hard, so well done on you for recovery

I have noticed people looking at me and Ive had my share of comments made.. some nasty, some concerned and thats why ive kind of shut my self away because im embarrassed. The rest of my family don't see me very often so they know nothing about it so it would come from no where to them and I worry about putting my mum through any more then I already am.. I doubt having a daughter in hospital will be too nice for her so Im trying to do it myself

I do make a lot of excuses i know, i tend to give up when things are too hard and just not do anything, but obviously right now that just isnt an option, i guess i just want someone to give me some magic cure to make this disappear! 

annabel95 you sound just like me when i was 14. I was threatened with IP treatment as my weight was dangerously low and my psychologist 'Didnt think i could do it on my own'. Like you this scared the living daylights out of me, i didnt want my friends or aunts to know. (although realistically at that weight they knew something was wrong - Mum even walked in on them taking about me and my weight!)

I did gain weight and i didnt go IP and so can you. I know how hard it is to gain weight by honestly you need to do it and you need to accept that it can be done. I also know how easy it is to choose the low cal option as the ED shouts and screams that if you pick it you can save XX cals - and that is true, but it means that you will need to eat more and you will end up feeling like you spend all day eating!! (i know i did)

Drinking a class of milk isnt going to be enough to stop osteoporosis, you need to add FF yougurts, FF milk and cheeses into your diet. Please try to being this up at your next dietitian appointment. Maybe get your parents to take over preping your food ATM, just eat what they give you as this takes away the temptation to chose the low cal choice. If you do into hospital this will happen and you will get no choice, you will be sat with until you finish w/e is put in front of you.

Have a read of this ion-mode-down-ft170153#3

It will explain how the cals are used and why you need to gain. Further more if you want to talk please PM me. You CAN do this!! *hugs*


its nice to hear someone who has had a similar situation and come out the other end, i hope everything is okay with you and things continue to improve. My counsellor says she thinks I can turn it around, because i keep making positive changes like adding the milk or adding bananas and slowly increasing my cals but until i got to 1200 a day i was still loosing, i seem to be staying the same weight now. She also says it is good because there arn't any foods i completely deny myself e.g. i have small bars of chocolate (99 cal ones) and I can manage cheese if its on a weight watchers lasagna! she says this means it will be easier for me to get back to normal because im not so afraid of them that ive just cut them out for months and months

Yes definately get that thought when picking foods, "why on earth would you choose that when this one has less" I already feel like im stuffing my face all day! Does skimmed milk not have the same amount of calcium in it as full fat, because ive always found full fat really sickly (before the ED) and we dont have it in the house as my dad is diabetic. A also eat yoghurts in the day but again they are weight watchers so there is room for improvement there. My parents are out the house from when i get up until tea time so thats not an option to let them prepare everything for breakfast and lunch, and my dad cant cook so I have to when my mums out! 

Tomorrow is my first dietician appointment and I think it should be helpful and this has also been really helpful, its the first time ive been able to talk to people who have been through similar things. Ive read that link you sent me, thanks it was really useful and Im going to try soon to up my cals to 1300, i know its not enough yet but the first time i tried to recover i stopped counting stuffed my face with whatever I wanted and then after a few weeks of gaining just got ten times worse and dropped to a stone lower than I was before i tried getting better.

Thank you for your message, was really helpful and im going to keep trying and hopefully soon I will be able to not completely freak out at the thought of gaining weight! 

annabel - It wasnt so much the calcium in the milk i was referring to but the calories. Its great that you are adding things and while it maybe at a slower rate than some would recommend if it means that you wont relapse as it is at a rate you can cope with i cant see a huge problem with that (the main argument against such a slow increase in cals is that it prolongs the condition and the damage being done) If you have never liked FF milk try semi-skimmed rather than skimmed and add chocolate milk flavouring or something to help add cals. Are you in the UK? Boots and tescos both sell complan which (when made with milk) is 350 cals per glass! Great for bumping up those cals!!

Good luck tommorow with the dietician. She/ he will be able to provide a ton of good ideas for increasing the cals. Ditto the cheese thing BTW :)

Hey Kiki, Yes im in the UK, i was thinking about things like complan but im worried i would try and compensate for the extra 350 cals by cutting something else which isnt really the point! Ive decided to switch from WW yoghurts to activia ones which have double the cals and say they are good for digestion, so thats one thing.. i am definitely being a bit too slow about it all.. think i will be ready to move to 1300 soon so thats good :) Ill see if we can start buying some semi skimmed or I think there is one in between skimmed and semi so i could start on that and move my way up and then i might even be able to at some point enjoy FF, i liked it when i was really young but not since i was like 10. 

Im also going to swap half the all bran for muesli and mix it together (might not last since it might not taste nice) because 1. muesli has more calories and tastes nicer, and 2. Im getting bad bloating and stomach pains and I read it can be from too much fiber and a bowl of all bran has about 15g of fiber! 

Thanks, i hope its helpful im quite looking forward to it in a weird way cause i think it will be useful but i hope they dont rush things too much .. haha i know, cheese is great like that but i wouldnt dream of making a cheese sandwich or actually adding it to something, that would send me into a panic attack! :)

Little steps, before you know it you will be eating cheese by the cube... well maybe ;)

Well done for switching your yoghurt! Thats a great start *claps hands* Its also good that you are trying different cereal combinations. If you feel brave enough you could try having 1/2 all bran and 1/2 'kiddy' cereal (such as coco pop) which is light and therefore not too heavy on the tummy and its kinda love in fibre so wont make you feel too full. Regarding the milk, you could try 1/2 skimmed (or semi if your feeling brave) and 1/2 FF milk.

As i said before if you ever need to talk/ scream/ shout/ cry/ moan or just brag about how amazing you are doing i am just a message away! :)

Let us know how it goes tomorrow! :) xx

I remember exactly what that was like when I was your age. I'm about the same height, 5ft2.5in. I'm 23 now. I think you need to look at where you are right now, don't worry about where you have come from or what Might happen. You are doing great in the fact that you are starting to take better care of yourself! 1200 calories is great! It's a great start! No one is perfect, all you can do is take it one day at a time. Keep snacking on the fruits and veggies and if convenience meals are what works right now then who cares! I agree that they can be high in sodium and who knows what else! However, they tell you right on the pack how many calories and they are made to be a complete meal so it helps take some of the guess work out! Once you become more comfortable you will start to experiement with other foods and find new things you like and feel comfortable with. Just know that you Can get better! Eventually it is all going to just "click" and make sense. Although it may seem scary now! Keep moving forward every day!

Part of recovery is doing what you need to do for your health and not letting what others think impact you. If your family and friends are not proud of you for getting help by going inpatient and facing that you do have an ed then they are not true friends and family. People who are don't judge and are there through the good and bad times. I would think your family would rather people know under these conditions then if you past away from your ed. Yes anorexia can cause death.

You may be scared of eating more then 1200 but you have to push past that and I am not talking by a few hundred calories. I am talking 2500-3000 at least with no activity. If you can't do that then you need more help. Doing "better" when your body is dying is most times not enough. I was doing better when I entered a cardiac unit but it was not enough because my body need full nurishment. Your's does too.

Just been to the dietician, only got 20 minutes with her because my bus was late... thats public transport for you.. but anyway, it went really well, she agreed not to put me on sudden increases and continue doing it in 100's when Im ready and she said im doing really good with making sure i try and get what I need vitamin/mineral wise and making sure i reach my goals :) go me! Only bad thing was she said that i might start to see a little bit of difference in my weight when I go up to 1300 but i guess thats just my good old slow metabolism. Ill keep making my little changes, at least my weights not going down anymore so I dont have to worry as much and can take things at my pace. hmm might see if i can get coco pops, used to love them but my mum complains we have about a million boxes of cereal in the cupboard already! Thanks for all the help/advice/support it has made me feel so much more positive about recovery so thank you! hope everyone who has helped me is doing well themselves and feel free to message me whenever ive found joining this very helpful so im happy to help anyone else :)

Original Post by abbi333:

Part of recovery is doing what you need to do for your health and not letting what others think impact you. If your family and friends are not proud of you for getting help by going inpatient and facing that you do have an ed then they are not true friends and family. People who are don't judge and are there through the good and bad times. I would think your family would rather people know under these conditions then if you past away from your ed. Yes anorexia can cause death.

You may be scared of eating more then 1200 but you have to push past that and I am not talking by a few hundred calories. I am talking 2500-3000 at least with no activity. If you can't do that then you need more help. Doing "better" when your body is dying is most times not enough. I was doing better when I entered a cardiac unit but it was not enough because my body need full nurishment. Your's does too.

Im not worried about my friends, its about everyone else at school, while you may say i shouldnt care what they think, the fact is being at school is hard when people are looking at you and if everyone knows that youve just had to be admitted to hospital then that is a bit embarrassing. Im starting six form next year and I would rather not have spend my summer in hospital and return to tones of people looking at me judging whether ive gained/lost weight knowing full well ive got an ED. My family do care, my mum has been more helpful then I could ever imagine and it isnt her that doesnt want everyone else to know she just respects that I would rather not tell people at the moment. And if you read my last post ive just spoken to a dietician who said to take it slowly and keep increasing gradually so my metabolism can catch up and I dont feel overwhelmed and end up relapsing. Thank you for your advice, but im going to stick with what i feel good about and what has been suggested to me. I tried going too fast once and it really didnt help anything 

While your weight itsnt going down any more (which is GREAT!!) it doesnt mean you cant worry i'm afraid. Your still really sick and you cant fall into the frame of mine (which the ED will love) of 'well i'm gaining weight so i'm better' You wont be healthy and out of danger until you hit a BMI of at least 20.

I was offered IP treatment when i was around your BMI and again when i was around a BMI of 17, as you get closer to target it can get harder to keep eating the cals so dont write off IP treatment just yet. In IP there are therapy groups etc which could be really helpful to you in the long run and help prevent any relapses.

Regarding the cereal - I'm sure you mum wont mind another box of cereal if it means you will be eating more. I know my parents buy me things they wouldnt buy my sister/ brother (Pop tarts, Ben and Jerrys etc)

I was first diagnosed with anorexia at the end of year 10. By year 11 i had gained some weight back and i eventually told my best friend. She said that there were this group of girls in our year (they were not even my friends!) who were going to go to the biology teacher about my weight (she was a nurse before teaching) This shocked me so much, i thought that no one knew i had an ED (that just shows how wrapped up in the ED we can be) Teachers also said that i looked healthier (which i took as fat) So just a warning - people probably already know about the ED and if you do decide on IP treatment by the time you get to 6th form you should be back to a healthy weight and chances are you wont see half the people from you secondary school so unless you tell your new classmates they wont be able to guess you ever had an ED!

Hugs K xx

unfortunately my six form is at my old school! but there will be new people i guess and lots of the old people are leaving. I know i still have to worry i just meant that when it was still going down i was panicking before all the appointments that they would should me in hospital where as at least now im not getting worse :) If I feel (or my doctor feels) as though Im not going to be able to do it myself I will consider it I havnt ruled it out it just scares me. 

They will buy me it there just isnt room haha! ive told a few friends, and i know the rest of them know that there is something wrong because people have said things to me and to other people who have told me.. as for the rest of the year, comments have been made so i know its not a secret but they just dont know anything for sure or how bad it is and i prefer it like that but i know that my health is more important than that and if its something that needs to be done then ill just have to face my fear and do whats best for me

I think I still need to get it in my head how sick i am , i feel fine, i even have enough energy so its hard for me to remember that i must be doing some damage on the inside but i keep reminding myself that this bmi is not healthy in anyway and i know the fact i havnt had a period since around september means im hurting myself and i need to stop it 

Thank you for your help im sorry its been such a long struggle for you :( i really hope that things are looking up and you continue getting better :) xx

Bummer about your sixth form bein at the same school, ah well look on the bright side. When you get your hot new (recovered) body no one will recognise you ;)

I have TONS of food in my room as it doesnt fit downstairs/ if i took it downstairs my brother/ sister would eat it so you could keep it in you room.

Just to reinforce the damage you are doing (I dont mean to scare you unless i scare you into eating)

Here's a tour through what happening to your body now at a daily restriction of 1200-to below 2000 calories (with a sedentary life):

  1. It lays down what little fat it can around the vital organs as protection (which actually increases risks for heart disease in later life); 
  2. it pilfers calcium from bones leading to osteoporosis in later life -- your bones will break when you step off a curb;
  3. it slows the metabolism to try to eek as much as it can from the little calories it can get (which leads to pre-metabolic syndrome/diabetes -- which surprises a lot of habitual under-eaters because they assume those are only diseases of the obese, not so);
  4. it ignores the huge piggy glucose demands from the prefrontal cortex (which leads to slowed thought and poor judgment);
  5. it ups the glucocorticoids* in the body (stress response) which in turn shrinks the hippocampus in the brain and that causes more glucocorticoids in the body (vicious circle) and wrecks your memory capability possibly leading to dementia in later life;
  6. it starts scrimping on the red blood cell count (anemia and profound fatigue).

*glucocorticoids are legendary in their ability to cause serious auto-immune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation of the circulatory system), hardening of the arteries, severe immuno-suppression (constant colds, flus, secondary infections)... and they also worsen all the conditions you develop with chronic under-eating.

This is why the ED sucks so much, you feel fine, you can do your work, jobs etc then the next thing you know you in A+E. x

Good idea , ill use my room as an extended kitchen ;) 

and youve scared me but in the good way so good on you, especially the bit about diabetes.. it runs in my family so i need to do what i can to avoid it at all costs! A lot of words in there i didnt understand but i got the gist. 1300 starting TOMORROW. :) ill have to nip to the shops and buy my new yoghurts and maybe some other treats to get me there and tempt me to up it more :) .. oh dear about the memory .. mines already shocking!  Ive got a blood test booked in a week or so so i guess ill find out then just what ive done.. moment of truth! xx

Hey annabel, first off I want to say I am so proud of you for taking the bull by the horns and increasing your intake. I am also having trouble reaching my calorie goals but I want to tell you I recently discovered honey is an awesome way to easily get in calories and hey honey is good for you too! Since you like yogurt, mix in some honey in there or wherever you feel you may like it. I have actually taken to pouring honey out in a spoon and eating it as a snack when I feel like I want "something" but dunno what I want or just don't feel like having anything "too solid" between meals. In fact I am going out to buy another bottle of honey in a little bit. Good luck to you!

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