recovering from anorexia: 10 activities

what do people do when they start on their recovery from anorexia? here is a list of ten things that those who deal with this eating disorder mention most frequently. these are activities that they themselves decide on. that’s important to keep in mind. if i were to say to one of my clients, “jo, why don’t you cook a nice meal for anne and bob? you could prepare something you like and then have some yourself!”, it would quite possibly backfire. however, i’m happy when a client comes in and tells the story of doing some of these things.

(if you’d like a bit of support with any of this, drop me a line).

1. positive eating, e.g.
meeting up with a friend for lunch, even though it’s scary to eat in public
eating a healthy breakfast (not just a 1/2 cup of dry cereal)
cooking for friends – and participating in the meal afterwards

2. engaging in healthy relationships, e.g.
choosing to go to a movie with a friend rather than staying home surfing the internet
setting boundaries with a sibling
discussing the relationship with a partner or girl/boyfriend

3. walking away from unhealthy eating behaviours, e.g.
no purging
no declining to eat in public
talking to a friend about something that makes you angry rather than starving over it

4. gentle exercise and resting, e.g.
taking a half-hour walk rather than going for a one-hour run
skipping gym for a day
resting when tired, rather than drinking black coffee

5. positive self-talk, e.g.
“i am someone, and beautiful to boost!”
“the world is not a fearful place”
“it’s no big deal. each day is just a chance to try out new things.”

6. honesty, e.g.
not saying “fine!” with a fake smile every time someone asks “how are you”
being totally honest about food with at least one person
not bottling up feelings of fear and ambivalence when having sex

7. doing nice things for yourself, e.g.
getting a long overdue haircut
going shopping for “normal” clothes (not clothes that will hide the body)
just spending a nice day – maybe reading, going to a movie, sleeping in

8. spending quiet time with your feelings, e.g.
journaling
crying
creative visualization

9. professional help, e.g.
seeing a psychotherapist
attending group
making that long overdue appointment with the nutritionist

10. positive body image, e.g.
going to the beach in a bathing suit
spending time in front of the mirror
having sex in broad daylight

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

307 comments

  1. I’m currently in recovery, and I find the best behaviours that help me to move along are…

    Personal achievment– Doing things like short courses and working really helps, I focus my energy on achieving something else other than weight-loss and see positive results at the end.

    Constant Reassurance– Often when eating, I repeatedly ask those around me (parents, my partner) whether it is “okay” for me to be eating what I’m eating, whether it’s “okay” to gain the weight… I know what their answers will always be, but it helps to hear it repeated.

    Ones in your list that do/dont’ work for me are:

    DON’T WORK FOR ME:

    1.positive eating: Perhaps I’m not at this stage yet, I feel very restricted in this area.

    4. gentle exercise and resting: I have too little control over this and always end up exercising for the wrong reasons and in excess.

    5. positive self-talk: I just find this impossible to do.

    9. professional help: I actually find the professional help to be more stressful and detramental to my emotional state than beneficial. I prefer to be given the space to work things through on my own. Sometimes the professionals make me feel trapped and consumed even more-so.

    10. positive body image: I’m crappy with this and always end up comparing and stuff, so I avoid it.

    DO WORK:

    2. engaging in healthy relationships: A form of distraction, this makes me feel loved, special and takes my mind away from the negative thoughts.

    3. walking away from unhealthy eating: I’m not always good at this and do slip up and purge, etc. but walking away definitely does help at times.

    6. honesty: When I have the strength to do this one, it does help… but it’s a matter of me not wanting to ‘burden’ people with my rubbish.

    7. doing nice things for yourself: Getting my nails or hair done always makes me feel special and deattracts attention away from my negative self-image and thoughts.

    8. spending quiet time with your feelings: Writing is a huge helper, art and music too. I would recommend any of these, almost above everything else, to people trying to recover.

    This was a ridiculously long and pointless note… I think I wrote it more for my own benefit than anything else though, sorry!!!

    Thanks for your post, I’m sure it will benefit a lot of people in need.

  2. I’m currently in recovery, and I find the best behaviours that help me to move along are…

    Personal achievment– Doing things like short courses and working really helps, I focus my energy on achieving something else other than weight-loss and see positive results at the end.

    Constant Reassurance– Often when eating, I repeatedly ask those around me (parents, my partner) whether it is “okay” for me to be eating what I’m eating, whether it’s “okay” to gain the weight… I know what their answers will always be, but it helps to hear it repeated.

    Ones in your list that do/dont’ work for me are:

    DON’T WORK FOR ME:

    1.positive eating: Perhaps I’m not at this stage yet, I feel very restricted in this area.

    4. gentle exercise and resting: I have too little control over this and always end up exercising for the wrong reasons and in excess.

    5. positive self-talk: I just find this impossible to do.

    9. professional help: I actually find the professional help to be more stressful and detramental to my emotional state than beneficial. I prefer to be given the space to work things through on my own. Sometimes the professionals make me feel trapped and consumed even more-so.

    10. positive body image: I’m crappy with this and always end up comparing and stuff, so I avoid it.

    DO WORK:

    2. engaging in healthy relationships: A form of distraction, this makes me feel loved, special and takes my mind away from the negative thoughts.

    3. walking away from unhealthy eating: I’m not always good at this and do slip up and purge, etc. but walking away definitely does help at times.

    6. honesty: When I have the strength to do this one, it does help… but it’s a matter of me not wanting to ‘burden’ people with my rubbish.

    7. doing nice things for yourself: Getting my nails or hair done always makes me feel special and deattracts attention away from my negative self-image and thoughts.

    8. spending quiet time with your feelings: Writing is a huge helper, art and music too. I would recommend any of these, almost above everything else, to people trying to recover.

    This was a ridiculously long and pointless note… I think I wrote it more for my own benefit than anything else though, sorry!!!

    Thanks for your post, I’m sure it will benefit a lot of people in need.

  3. thank you, natasha, for such a thorough reply! this was SO not ridiculous and pointless!

    i’m really interested in what you have to say about writing, art and music. any specific recommendations you would make?

    writing has helped me a lot in getting through difficult times, too, so of course i’m particularly interested in that …

  4. thank you, natasha, for such a thorough reply! this was SO not ridiculous and pointless!

    i’m really interested in what you have to say about writing, art and music. any specific recommendations you would make?

    writing has helped me a lot in getting through difficult times, too, so of course i’m particularly interested in that …

  5. hey thanks for this im going to try them…ive been trying 2 recover for the last 4 months and recently its been SO HARD its unbelievable but so many people have been stictly watchin me so ive resorted to other things which is bad but helped well yeah i feel the same as .natasha. who rote before and writing does help but it feels pointless but good for me at the same time..??so sorry if this get a bit umm babbily i guess no one reely realised how depressed i had actually been before i started to stop eating…there was so many issues going on with me n the voice inside my head was telling me whot to do and whot not to and every one around me like at school(i go to a bording school)and my sports coach and my family all thort i was for attention…so i just nodded my head n i wasnt going to tell them y because then THEY would feel bad and i didnt tell any one whot i was thinking feeling/eating/doing because i felt like an selfish attention seeker it only reely got serious i spose in the last couple of months…i dont even no y im writing this i dont even reely it want it on the net but i no that i luv reeding people with anorexias stories..for some reeson…but when i was at my worst everyone just made me stop like they didnt give me a choice n my frends and house staff like wouldnt let me not eat but i nevah got to see a counsellor or nutritionist coz i was to ashamed and embarressed and thort i was overreacting to ask…but ive read some stories and i think i wish i was hopitalized because that was one of my goals n it nevah happened so part of me wants to do it all agen just to get there…n i guess thats part of my story so ill get back to u n let u no which numbers helped me..and stuff had to help but yeah these look like reely good ideas and im going to try them starting today…thanx heeps for ur help..wuld u mind if u rote back and im not reely shore if this appropriate to be posted on this site…but yeah thanx anyway

  6. hey thanks for this im going to try them…ive been trying 2 recover for the last 4 months and recently its been SO HARD its unbelievable but so many people have been stictly watchin me so ive resorted to other things which is bad but helped well yeah i feel the same as .natasha. who rote before and writing does help but it feels pointless but good for me at the same time..??so sorry if this get a bit umm babbily i guess no one reely realised how depressed i had actually been before i started to stop eating…there was so many issues going on with me n the voice inside my head was telling me whot to do and whot not to and every one around me like at school(i go to a bording school)and my sports coach and my family all thort i was for attention…so i just nodded my head n i wasnt going to tell them y because then THEY would feel bad and i didnt tell any one whot i was thinking feeling/eating/doing because i felt like an selfish attention seeker it only reely got serious i spose in the last couple of months…i dont even no y im writing this i dont even reely it want it on the net but i no that i luv reeding people with anorexias stories..for some reeson…but when i was at my worst everyone just made me stop like they didnt give me a choice n my frends and house staff like wouldnt let me not eat but i nevah got to see a counsellor or nutritionist coz i was to ashamed and embarressed and thort i was overreacting to ask…but ive read some stories and i think i wish i was hopitalized because that was one of my goals n it nevah happened so part of me wants to do it all agen just to get there…n i guess thats part of my story so ill get back to u n let u no which numbers helped me..and stuff had to help but yeah these look like reely good ideas and im going to try them starting today…thanx heeps for ur help..wuld u mind if u rote back and im not reely shore if this appropriate to be posted on this site…but yeah thanx anyway

  7. I just recently figured out that I might have a problem. It’s so strange, its just that I was overweight about 2 years ago and then when I started to lose weight I felt like I couldn’t stop. It felt so good and I felt pretty, which is something I haven’t ever really felt like. Even when I knew that I could probably stop losing weight, it gave me a weird sense of accomplishment if I could do more. I haven’t gone to see anyone about this, but am trying to get better on my own. I don’t feel like anyone understands though. My husband just says to eat more, but my biggest fear is being overweight again. I feel out of control when I eat whatever I want. It’s just nice to read some of these comment and know that someone feels the same way.

  8. I just recently figured out that I might have a problem. It’s so strange, its just that I was overweight about 2 years ago and then when I started to lose weight I felt like I couldn’t stop. It felt so good and I felt pretty, which is something I haven’t ever really felt like. Even when I knew that I could probably stop losing weight, it gave me a weird sense of accomplishment if I could do more. I haven’t gone to see anyone about this, but am trying to get better on my own. I don’t feel like anyone understands though. My husband just says to eat more, but my biggest fear is being overweight again. I feel out of control when I eat whatever I want. It’s just nice to read some of these comment and know that someone feels the same way.

  9. hi maria, thanks for dropping by. you bring up something really important – the interplay between overeating and anorexia. i send you my best wishes with dealing with it by yourself. naturally, that’s the first thing to do when we have challenges like this. and please be aware that there is lots of support. i’m really glad that you found these comments useful.

  10. hi maria, thanks for dropping by. you bring up something really important – the interplay between overeating and anorexia. i send you my best wishes with dealing with it by yourself. naturally, that’s the first thing to do when we have challenges like this. and please be aware that there is lots of support. i’m really glad that you found these comments useful.

  11. I think i’m anorexic. i was overweight in august n now im about 110 or less. im 5’6 btw. i started off eating healthy and being in shock at how many calories i actually used to eat. i was in aww! amazed i actually ate so many calories. and now im obsessed with everything i eat. i dont want to lose anymore weight. i know i need help. i look gross. i want to eat more but dont want to become obese again. like if i change from eating little to more i know ill gain weight..which i want ..but i dont want to keep and keep and keep gaining weight. like will it stop. i dont know what to do or where to go. 🙁

  12. I think i’m anorexic. i was overweight in august n now im about 110 or less. im 5’6 btw. i started off eating healthy and being in shock at how many calories i actually used to eat. i was in aww! amazed i actually ate so many calories. and now im obsessed with everything i eat. i dont want to lose anymore weight. i know i need help. i look gross. i want to eat more but dont want to become obese again. like if i change from eating little to more i know ill gain weight..which i want ..but i dont want to keep and keep and keep gaining weight. like will it stop. i dont know what to do or where to go. 🙁

  13. I just found out my bmi is 16.7 and it’s so so scary, my family just seem to think gaining weight will be the easiest thing in the world and they don’t get how much I hate myself when i eat, and i feel so out of control. I’ve never been overweight, but losing weight felt good, like an acheivement. And now I hate myself when I eat, and when I don’t eat. I look terrible, and I know that but it doesn’t change how I feel about eating.

  14. I just found out my bmi is 16.7 and it’s so so scary, my family just seem to think gaining weight will be the easiest thing in the world and they don’t get how much I hate myself when i eat, and i feel so out of control. I’ve never been overweight, but losing weight felt good, like an acheivement. And now I hate myself when I eat, and when I don’t eat. I look terrible, and I know that but it doesn’t change how I feel about eating.

  15. hello lost on the net … yes, most people who have not dealt with challenges around food before think it’s really easy: “if you don’t weigh enough, eat more, and if you weigh too much, eat less.” i hope you can find someone who can walk with you through this difficult time, someone who will understand how you feel about all of this.

  16. hello lost on the net … yes, most people who have not dealt with challenges around food before think it’s really easy: “if you don’t weigh enough, eat more, and if you weigh too much, eat less.” i hope you can find someone who can walk with you through this difficult time, someone who will understand how you feel about all of this.

  17. I have a question, and this is one of the first places I’ve happened upon while looking things up online. Is there any kind of web site or book or anything that has simple, nutritious recipies or instructions for people who can’t force themselves to eat enough? I need some kind of “eating for beginners” instructions. I’d like to eat more. I’d like to eat healthier foods. But it’s such a burden and then I’m never sure what is good for me in the first place.

  18. I have a question, and this is one of the first places I’ve happened upon while looking things up online. Is there any kind of web site or book or anything that has simple, nutritious recipies or instructions for people who can’t force themselves to eat enough? I need some kind of “eating for beginners” instructions. I’d like to eat more. I’d like to eat healthier foods. But it’s such a burden and then I’m never sure what is good for me in the first place.

  19. your question is not unusual for people who are in the early stages of recovery from an eating disorder (from what you say, it looks like that might describe you – correct me if i’m wrong). i’m a great believer in connecting up with people who’ve gone before you.

    you could go to one of the forums at something fishy, one of the best resources for people with eating disorders, or connect with someone at local OA group (they’re not just for people who struggle with overeating; they’re also for people with anorexia and bulimia).

    you could also try to find a nutritionist who understands your situation.

    here is another link that provides a good introduction to learning about healthy, complete nutrition: http://life.familyeducation.com/nutrition-and-diet/health/36041.html?page=1&detoured=1

    it takes a while to learn about this – intellectually and emotionally. go easy on yourself!

  20. your question is not unusual for people who are in the early stages of recovery from an eating disorder (from what you say, it looks like that might describe you – correct me if i’m wrong). i’m a great believer in connecting up with people who’ve gone before you.

    you could go to one of the forums at something fishy, one of the best resources for people with eating disorders, or connect with someone at local OA group (they’re not just for people who struggle with overeating; they’re also for people with anorexia and bulimia).

    you could also try to find a nutritionist who understands your situation.

    here is another link that provides a good introduction to learning about healthy, complete nutrition: http://life.familyeducation.com/nutrition-and-diet/health/36041.html?page=1&detoured=1

    it takes a while to learn about this – intellectually and emotionally. go easy on yourself!

  21. hey,
    i am 20 years old and have spent the last 5 years dealing with anorexia. two years ago i managed to get myself up from 58 lbs to 98, but than realized i was almost in the triple digits and relapsed. i found myself 48 lbs and told to be a miracle that i am still alive. after having 3 ambulances at my house within 2 weeks and refusing admittance to the hospital, i have taken things into my own hands and am doing much better than anyone thought possible. i do however still have difficulty eating, of course, but also am very afraid of another relapse. my heart can’t handle it, emotionally or physically. i wondered how often people relapse, and if it is possible to truly, 100% recover and one day not have to worry about it, just to be able to eat normally and make all of this nothing more than a bad dream. i know it sounds overly dramatic lol but i am so afraid that this is going to kill me…any insight or advice would be more than appreciated. good luck and love to anyone else going through the same ordeal.
    Charlotte

  22. hey,
    i am 20 years old and have spent the last 5 years dealing with anorexia. two years ago i managed to get myself up from 58 lbs to 98, but than realized i was almost in the triple digits and relapsed. i found myself 48 lbs and told to be a miracle that i am still alive. after having 3 ambulances at my house within 2 weeks and refusing admittance to the hospital, i have taken things into my own hands and am doing much better than anyone thought possible. i do however still have difficulty eating, of course, but also am very afraid of another relapse. my heart can’t handle it, emotionally or physically. i wondered how often people relapse, and if it is possible to truly, 100% recover and one day not have to worry about it, just to be able to eat normally and make all of this nothing more than a bad dream. i know it sounds overly dramatic lol but i am so afraid that this is going to kill me…any insight or advice would be more than appreciated. good luck and love to anyone else going through the same ordeal.
    Charlotte

  23. I am trying to recover. I understand every single comment everyone has made on this page. I have also been in therephy for 2-3 years and I have still not gotten better–actually, I have gotten worse. I think about things WAY too much and I know it, but I can’t stop. Does anyone else here just want to be told exactly what to eat, when to eat, where to eat…everything?! Just so you couldnt have to think about it anymore?

  24. I am trying to recover. I understand every single comment everyone has made on this page. I have also been in therephy for 2-3 years and I have still not gotten better–actually, I have gotten worse. I think about things WAY too much and I know it, but I can’t stop. Does anyone else here just want to be told exactly what to eat, when to eat, where to eat…everything?! Just so you couldnt have to think about it anymore?

  25. many people who consider themselves recovering from anorexia talk exactly about that: that true recovery is when thoughts of food are just more or less part of the whole landscape of your life.

    food is nourishment that the body needs, so we lovingly give that to the body, and when the right amount has been reached, it’s over and we move on.

    sounds simple, doesn’t it. i know it can be very hard to comprehend for anyone with an eating disorder (never mind put it in practice.)

    a friend of mine who is happily recovering from decades of struggling with anorexia always says that one of the best things one can do is to focus away from the food. take the attention elsewhere.

    “i am not ‘an anorexic’,” she would say, “i am someone who is dealing with anorexia, but my life is so much bigger than that!”

  26. many people who consider themselves recovering from anorexia talk exactly about that: that true recovery is when thoughts of food are just more or less part of the whole landscape of your life.

    food is nourishment that the body needs, so we lovingly give that to the body, and when the right amount has been reached, it’s over and we move on.

    sounds simple, doesn’t it. i know it can be very hard to comprehend for anyone with an eating disorder (never mind put it in practice.)

    a friend of mine who is happily recovering from decades of struggling with anorexia always says that one of the best things one can do is to focus away from the food. take the attention elsewhere.

    “i am not ‘an anorexic’,” she would say, “i am someone who is dealing with anorexia, but my life is so much bigger than that!”

  27. I have an eating disorder that isn’t exactly anorexia (even though I did believe that I was anorexic for a while.. I sure look it) but once I started seening a pshycologist i found out its ocd. Which makes sense because I don’t think I’m fat and never did. But my obsession lies in food, and I can’t stop. It’s been over 6 months since I’ve had anything that I couldn’t count the calories in. I have to know the calories in everything. Just about everything I eat is prepackaged so I can read the nutrition facts. I’m terrified of fat, too. In cheese, egg yolks.. all that stuff. But anyway, despite the fact the the cause of my eating issues are slightly different, I’m having the same problem stopping myself from doing it as all of you who are trying to recover as well. All I think about is food. I watch a movie, I see a show, I read a book, I’m with my friends.. but my mind is somewhere else: what I ate and what I’ll eat next. There can never be more that 100 calories at once. I’m 5’8 and 95 pounds. And I’m trying so hard to fix myself, but I’m terrified! What happens once you start gaining weight? Does your metabolism ever go back to normal? Does your stomach go back to normal? Why am I bloating so much now that I’m forcing myself to eat more? Will that go away? Do you ever stop obsessing? Do you ever get used to eating normal things? How long does it take to be at risk for osteoporosis? What else could happen to me? What happens to you while you go back to a normal weight?

  28. I have an eating disorder that isn’t exactly anorexia (even though I did believe that I was anorexic for a while.. I sure look it) but once I started seening a pshycologist i found out its ocd. Which makes sense because I don’t think I’m fat and never did. But my obsession lies in food, and I can’t stop. It’s been over 6 months since I’ve had anything that I couldn’t count the calories in. I have to know the calories in everything. Just about everything I eat is prepackaged so I can read the nutrition facts. I’m terrified of fat, too. In cheese, egg yolks.. all that stuff. But anyway, despite the fact the the cause of my eating issues are slightly different, I’m having the same problem stopping myself from doing it as all of you who are trying to recover as well. All I think about is food. I watch a movie, I see a show, I read a book, I’m with my friends.. but my mind is somewhere else: what I ate and what I’ll eat next. There can never be more that 100 calories at once. I’m 5’8 and 95 pounds. And I’m trying so hard to fix myself, but I’m terrified! What happens once you start gaining weight? Does your metabolism ever go back to normal? Does your stomach go back to normal? Why am I bloating so much now that I’m forcing myself to eat more? Will that go away? Do you ever stop obsessing? Do you ever get used to eating normal things? How long does it take to be at risk for osteoporosis? What else could happen to me? What happens to you while you go back to a normal weight?

  29. (note from isabella mori, the author of this blog – the commenter is a DIFFERENT isabella)

    I am a recovering Aneroxic and have been starting to binge lately at night. I finally got over my fear of peanut butter but have started eating it alot more than I probably should. Sometimes I feel like when I start eating it I can’t stop! My mom, try as she might, will never understand the disease and therefore the peanut will still be an item in our house no matter what I request. Can anyone offer advice on late night binges?

    For Katie– I started eating regular meals this May when I came home after graduation and always felt bloated. I had reached my lowest weight of 98 llbs about 3 years ago and realized that I needed help. Your body tries to repair itself so the bloating you feel could be from that. It’s what happened to me too! The bloating eventually goes away– for me it’s been a discovery of what my body actually LIKES and WANTS. It’s matter of listening to yourself and feeling ok in your own flesh. I still struggle with this sometimes, when I put on jeans or look in the mirror at the wrong time. I still have an obsession with it– but it lessens with time. Some things aren’t worth it and my boss once told me you get happier as you get older. I’m hoping she’s right and that I’ll be able to focus 95% of my energy on family, friends, and art, instead of food. Good luck, it’s worth a try to be happy and get of this cycle.

  30. (note from isabella mori, the author of this blog – the commenter is a DIFFERENT isabella)

    I am a recovering Aneroxic and have been starting to binge lately at night. I finally got over my fear of peanut butter but have started eating it alot more than I probably should. Sometimes I feel like when I start eating it I can’t stop! My mom, try as she might, will never understand the disease and therefore the peanut will still be an item in our house no matter what I request. Can anyone offer advice on late night binges?

    For Katie– I started eating regular meals this May when I came home after graduation and always felt bloated. I had reached my lowest weight of 98 llbs about 3 years ago and realized that I needed help. Your body tries to repair itself so the bloating you feel could be from that. It’s what happened to me too! The bloating eventually goes away– for me it’s been a discovery of what my body actually LIKES and WANTS. It’s matter of listening to yourself and feeling ok in your own flesh. I still struggle with this sometimes, when I put on jeans or look in the mirror at the wrong time. I still have an obsession with it– but it lessens with time. Some things aren’t worth it and my boss once told me you get happier as you get older. I’m hoping she’s right and that I’ll be able to focus 95% of my energy on family, friends, and art, instead of food. Good luck, it’s worth a try to be happy and get of this cycle.

  31. To Isabella,

    I can relate to what you are saying because I am in that exact same position myself. I am a recovering anorexic as well, and while I am still slightly underweight, I have begun to binge on my old comfort foods (nuts, chocolate, anything unhealthy, you name it). I have only recently gotten over my fear of those foods and I can only bring myself to eat them at night, when I am on my own. I look forward to eating my old ‘forbidden foods’ so much that I have actually begun eating less during the day so I can save up my calories for the junk food at night. I am terrified at the intensity of my cravings. My Mum tells me that I am craving all these foods because I have not allowed myself to eat them and I am currenly feeling very deprived. She says the cravings will lessen, but I am still scared that I will end up obese. I have been fighting anorexia for a year, and before that, I was hefty although not overweight. I hated it then, and fear that I will return to where I was before.

    Right now, I am trying to revert back into a normal eating routine which I started when I was at home (I just moved out to start university which disrupted my eating habits). It is just hard to find the strength sometimes when you want to be thin and happy.

    Do any of you have any advice for me to break out of this?

    Joanne

  32. To Isabella,

    I can relate to what you are saying because I am in that exact same position myself. I am a recovering anorexic as well, and while I am still slightly underweight, I have begun to binge on my old comfort foods (nuts, chocolate, anything unhealthy, you name it). I have only recently gotten over my fear of those foods and I can only bring myself to eat them at night, when I am on my own. I look forward to eating my old ‘forbidden foods’ so much that I have actually begun eating less during the day so I can save up my calories for the junk food at night. I am terrified at the intensity of my cravings. My Mum tells me that I am craving all these foods because I have not allowed myself to eat them and I am currenly feeling very deprived. She says the cravings will lessen, but I am still scared that I will end up obese. I have been fighting anorexia for a year, and before that, I was hefty although not overweight. I hated it then, and fear that I will return to where I was before.

    Right now, I am trying to revert back into a normal eating routine which I started when I was at home (I just moved out to start university which disrupted my eating habits). It is just hard to find the strength sometimes when you want to be thin and happy.

    Do any of you have any advice for me to break out of this?

    Joanne

  33. Joanne-

    The best advice I can give to you try not to get caught up in the social network around you if it entices unhealthy habits. My problem developed while I was in college, and before I even realized it I was too far in over my head to get out of the issue without help. College is stressful- late nights- studying- tests- comparing yourself to others in your school. The best thing is to try to learn yourself- when you’re hungry- how long you should work out, etc. Also, I know it always helps me when I have sechdule- so if it helps to plan out what your eating or when you can eat in between studying, socializing and classes definitly do that. It seems somewhat extreme but every night before bed I would plan out my next day on a post it note bit by bit, when I should eat lunch and dinner in between my five classes, gym time and meetings… It kept me sane even through the tough times that I knew I had a plan.

    Also– I have a hard time with this– but try to be gentle with yourself. Know that there will be some nights where you should have ate more, or should have not eaten so much– and know that it takes time to get over this problem. Know that if there is a time where you eat to much– it’s only a few minutes of your life, you aren’t a bad person, and forgive yourself and move on.

    Oh I also use to keep a post-it note on my desk that read “some things just aren’t worth it” and it would remind me when I wanted to restrict that I wasn’t hurting anyone but myself.

    good luck with everything and keep trying!

    Isabella

  34. Joanne-

    The best advice I can give to you try not to get caught up in the social network around you if it entices unhealthy habits. My problem developed while I was in college, and before I even realized it I was too far in over my head to get out of the issue without help. College is stressful- late nights- studying- tests- comparing yourself to others in your school. The best thing is to try to learn yourself- when you’re hungry- how long you should work out, etc. Also, I know it always helps me when I have sechdule- so if it helps to plan out what your eating or when you can eat in between studying, socializing and classes definitly do that. It seems somewhat extreme but every night before bed I would plan out my next day on a post it note bit by bit, when I should eat lunch and dinner in between my five classes, gym time and meetings… It kept me sane even through the tough times that I knew I had a plan.

    Also– I have a hard time with this– but try to be gentle with yourself. Know that there will be some nights where you should have ate more, or should have not eaten so much– and know that it takes time to get over this problem. Know that if there is a time where you eat to much– it’s only a few minutes of your life, you aren’t a bad person, and forgive yourself and move on.

    Oh I also use to keep a post-it note on my desk that read “some things just aren’t worth it” and it would remind me when I wanted to restrict that I wasn’t hurting anyone but myself.

    good luck with everything and keep trying!

    Isabella

  35. oh and being thin doesn’t always mean you’re happy- when I was 98lbs. I was a miserable person, always tired, awful to be around, and thought that counting the calories in a stick of gum was the only way to make me happy. Needless to say– I’ve been skinny– and trust me i was no where near happy or had the energy to do everything I wanted.

  36. oh and being thin doesn’t always mean you’re happy- when I was 98lbs. I was a miserable person, always tired, awful to be around, and thought that counting the calories in a stick of gum was the only way to make me happy. Needless to say– I’ve been skinny– and trust me i was no where near happy or had the energy to do everything I wanted.

  37. Dear Isabella,

    Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement.

    Since my last post, I have put on more weight and I feel absolutely dreadful. I am in the awkward stage where I feel lousy because I am no longer as small as I was before, and yet I love the taste of food too much to restrict my food intake. Because of this, I am really finding myself looking forward to being able to eat all the foods that I previously never allowed myself to touch, and as a result I always eat more than I should. I sometimes find myself standing over the bathroom sink debating whether or not to vomit out what I have just eaten (I don’t, but there are times when I have been SO CLOSE). My suicidal thoughts have increased in frequency.

    I am certain this is either a manifestation of the anorexia, or another form of an eating disorder. The preoccupation with food is still there, as is the obsession with being thin/body image. When it comes to nighttime, I cannot seem to eat a bit and stop. I get really strong cravings.

    Is this normal in the recovery process of anorexia? Or is it the start of another problem? I need help.

    Joanne

  38. Dear Isabella,

    Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement.

    Since my last post, I have put on more weight and I feel absolutely dreadful. I am in the awkward stage where I feel lousy because I am no longer as small as I was before, and yet I love the taste of food too much to restrict my food intake. Because of this, I am really finding myself looking forward to being able to eat all the foods that I previously never allowed myself to touch, and as a result I always eat more than I should. I sometimes find myself standing over the bathroom sink debating whether or not to vomit out what I have just eaten (I don’t, but there are times when I have been SO CLOSE). My suicidal thoughts have increased in frequency.

    I am certain this is either a manifestation of the anorexia, or another form of an eating disorder. The preoccupation with food is still there, as is the obsession with being thin/body image. When it comes to nighttime, I cannot seem to eat a bit and stop. I get really strong cravings.

    Is this normal in the recovery process of anorexia? Or is it the start of another problem? I need help.

    Joanne

  39. thanks, isabella, for your ideas, and thanks, joanne, for sharing your struggles with us.

    to all of you who are deep in the struggle with anorexia, PLEASE make sure that you have SOMEONE who you can talk to – preferably someone with experience with recovery and/or a trustworthy mental health professional.

    part of the reason for that is that there are lots of questions, like the ones that you bring up, joanne.

    what is “normal” is hard to say but what you are going through is anything but unusual. it can almost feel as if the anorexia has a mind of its own and buckles and acts up when a person tries to overcome it. nighttime bingeing is very typical. some people deal with that with emphatically “closing the kitchen” by a certain time – say, 8 pm.

    i hope you will find the help you need. i’ll also contact you privately.

    btw, i really like what isabella said – “the best thing is to try to learn yourself- when you’re hungry- how long you should work out, etc.” that can be really difficult with anorexia (a condition which is often aimed precisely at numbing this kind of knowledge) but this is so important.

  40. thanks, isabella, for your ideas, and thanks, joanne, for sharing your struggles with us.

    to all of you who are deep in the struggle with anorexia, PLEASE make sure that you have SOMEONE who you can talk to – preferably someone with experience with recovery and/or a trustworthy mental health professional.

    part of the reason for that is that there are lots of questions, like the ones that you bring up, joanne.

    what is “normal” is hard to say but what you are going through is anything but unusual. it can almost feel as if the anorexia has a mind of its own and buckles and acts up when a person tries to overcome it. nighttime bingeing is very typical. some people deal with that with emphatically “closing the kitchen” by a certain time – say, 8 pm.

    i hope you will find the help you need. i’ll also contact you privately.

    btw, i really like what isabella said – “the best thing is to try to learn yourself- when you’re hungry- how long you should work out, etc.” that can be really difficult with anorexia (a condition which is often aimed precisely at numbing this kind of knowledge) but this is so important.

  41. Hi,
    I am a recovered anorexic…(yes, there is such things as recovered!!!) I am 20 years old and am finally in a normal BMI range, which I’ve never been my whole life. I was always naturally thin, but when my body wanted me to actually develop it freaked me out so I started restricting.

    Fortunately, my parents noticed my sudden “healthy” eating habits and got me a wonderful team of therapists to treat it. It takes your body a little boost to get out of that dangerous underweigt range, so when it was taking a long time for me to gain weight they told me I might not be able to go back to college. I realized my school, friends, and life were more important than something as silly as calories in food and I just had to try harder, every meal eating more. Everyone has been amazed when I visit home and the treatment facility because I moved away and have been buying normal groceries for myself and eating like a normal person.

    Sometimes I eat a lot in the day, sometimes I eat a little bit less…It all balances out. Now that I’m nourishing myself extra I can exercise, but I take days off and just hang out with friends. I also also eat something after I workout, i.e. fruit with peanut butter.

    Last night I tried on a pair of my skinny jeans and they wouldn’t close and I just cried for an hour. These things might happen, but it’s normal. The point is, I realized my worth is not a number on a jean take, especially such a small one. Plus, curves are beautiful. It’s normal to have relapses in thinking, but you just need to keep eating normally. It’s so much better to prevent an eating disorder or prevent relapse.

    By the way, I only restricted for about 6 months and I have osteoporosis. It is reversable if you’re enough, like me, but you can’t deprive nutritents and food to do that.

    This brings me to my next point: Find your own ways to cope. For me, it’s reading research articles through our school library on the long term effects of eating disorders. From my readings I have found that sure, you can take calcium pills, but they won’t do much if you’re deteriorating your body, which isn’t just fat. It’s muscle and bone too. I can’t believe at 20 I have a potentially disabling disease and am I trying everyday to reverse it, which I know at a minimum will take a year.

    I also learned that it only take a few days of fasting to seriously harm your bones. SCARY!

    Recovery is possible though. I am definitely recovered and I am committed to never relapse because eating disorders are not a way of life. You can be of a healthy weight and exercise and eat in moderation, have normal relationships, and BE HAPPY!!! Seriously, I am happier now that I can’t fit into those small jeans!

    Not to mention, it’s kind of nice feeling “above” the whole propoganda that thin is in. Notice that most with e.d.s are women? Hmm…I know with mine it was also a control thing, but I have to admit the media was a part of too.

  42. Hi,
    I am a recovered anorexic…(yes, there is such things as recovered!!!) I am 20 years old and am finally in a normal BMI range, which I’ve never been my whole life. I was always naturally thin, but when my body wanted me to actually develop it freaked me out so I started restricting.

    Fortunately, my parents noticed my sudden “healthy” eating habits and got me a wonderful team of therapists to treat it. It takes your body a little boost to get out of that dangerous underweigt range, so when it was taking a long time for me to gain weight they told me I might not be able to go back to college. I realized my school, friends, and life were more important than something as silly as calories in food and I just had to try harder, every meal eating more. Everyone has been amazed when I visit home and the treatment facility because I moved away and have been buying normal groceries for myself and eating like a normal person.

    Sometimes I eat a lot in the day, sometimes I eat a little bit less…It all balances out. Now that I’m nourishing myself extra I can exercise, but I take days off and just hang out with friends. I also also eat something after I workout, i.e. fruit with peanut butter.

    Last night I tried on a pair of my skinny jeans and they wouldn’t close and I just cried for an hour. These things might happen, but it’s normal. The point is, I realized my worth is not a number on a jean take, especially such a small one. Plus, curves are beautiful. It’s normal to have relapses in thinking, but you just need to keep eating normally. It’s so much better to prevent an eating disorder or prevent relapse.

    By the way, I only restricted for about 6 months and I have osteoporosis. It is reversable if you’re enough, like me, but you can’t deprive nutritents and food to do that.

    This brings me to my next point: Find your own ways to cope. For me, it’s reading research articles through our school library on the long term effects of eating disorders. From my readings I have found that sure, you can take calcium pills, but they won’t do much if you’re deteriorating your body, which isn’t just fat. It’s muscle and bone too. I can’t believe at 20 I have a potentially disabling disease and am I trying everyday to reverse it, which I know at a minimum will take a year.

    I also learned that it only take a few days of fasting to seriously harm your bones. SCARY!

    Recovery is possible though. I am definitely recovered and I am committed to never relapse because eating disorders are not a way of life. You can be of a healthy weight and exercise and eat in moderation, have normal relationships, and BE HAPPY!!! Seriously, I am happier now that I can’t fit into those small jeans!

    Not to mention, it’s kind of nice feeling “above” the whole propoganda that thin is in. Notice that most with e.d.s are women? Hmm…I know with mine it was also a control thing, but I have to admit the media was a part of too.

  43. thanks for your input, catherine! your comment about finding your OWN ways of coping is so very important. if you don’t mind, would you share a bit on how your own particular way of coping came about for you – how you realized that that helps you?

  44. thanks for your input, catherine! your comment about finding your OWN ways of coping is so very important. if you don’t mind, would you share a bit on how your own particular way of coping came about for you – how you realized that that helps you?

  45. My own ways are coping are as follows:
    *not isolating myself from loved ones, i.e. going out to dinner with them and truly enjoying the company and food too

    *working hard to have the mindset that I can trust my body to balance if I eat a little too much one day.

    But really the best for me is this:
    every time I want to restrict I look up research on the effects of eating disorders and osteoporosis (especially because I know I have that), ones that are credible. It scares me so much that I never skip a meal anymore because malnutrition is so harmful to the bones. I also don’t drink coffee or diet soda to limit my appetite. In my research I found that the phosphoric acid (found in pop) and caffeine (found in coffee and usually pop too) are no no’s for bone health.

    I also stay away from calorie counting or anything that would lead to me OCD about food.

    But it’s really what works for you. Once you find your own coping ways then can seriously become a part of you, like a reversal habit.

    I truly hope someone will read this and benefit! I will never forget the nightmare that was my eating disorder and I can’t stand knowing others are still feeling that pain!

  46. My own ways are coping are as follows:
    *not isolating myself from loved ones, i.e. going out to dinner with them and truly enjoying the company and food too

    *working hard to have the mindset that I can trust my body to balance if I eat a little too much one day.

    But really the best for me is this:
    every time I want to restrict I look up research on the effects of eating disorders and osteoporosis (especially because I know I have that), ones that are credible. It scares me so much that I never skip a meal anymore because malnutrition is so harmful to the bones. I also don’t drink coffee or diet soda to limit my appetite. In my research I found that the phosphoric acid (found in pop) and caffeine (found in coffee and usually pop too) are no no’s for bone health.

    I also stay away from calorie counting or anything that would lead to me OCD about food.

    But it’s really what works for you. Once you find your own coping ways then can seriously become a part of you, like a reversal habit.

    I truly hope someone will read this and benefit! I will never forget the nightmare that was my eating disorder and I can’t stand knowing others are still feeling that pain!

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