Eating Disorders

Why is Weight Restoration So Hard?

weight gain anorexia recovery
I know weight gain is necessary for anorexia recovery. I’ve written about it all before, but it’s always easier said than done.

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Why is weight restoration so hard for someone struggling with Anorexia Nervosa?

I can’t understand or cope with myself today. After almost a week off therapy, I dragged myself into my therapist’s office today and stepped on the scales. The number flashed up, my stomach felt sick, I felt dizzy and a distinct fear rose from my feet, right up to my skull.

That little mechanical box holds so much power over me. It’s digital numbers scream in my ears and pull me apart from the inside out. They cook on the anorexic fire burning within me.

“Weight gain is necessary for recovery!”

I know!

I’ve written about it all before. This is why we hate weight gain, this is why we need it, this is how we deal with it. But it’s always easier said than done.

In theory, I know how to cope with weight gain. I know why it’s happening and I know its role within the parameters of my recovery. This is not my first rodeo and despite what my mind would have me think, I’m not stupid.

So why can’t I override the anorexic mindset, and replace it with my logical brain?

Here’s the thing, I’ve been living with anorexia, or some type of disordered eating, for over 23 years of my life. I overeat, I restrict or I purge. There is no sweet spot just one big psychological mess.

I restrict on a daily basis in some shape or form. My metabolism is well and truly shot, so when I go outside that restriction rebate it’s not able to cope. Unlike a healthy person who has never denied their body (there aren’t many of us), my metabolism can’t handle [number removed] calories a day. It can barely handle me eating an extra apple, never mind something of more calorific significance.

So I eat the bare minimum to pass myself at the clinic and yet I still gain weight faster than expected. I overshoot! Possibly an anorexic patient’s worst nightmare.

Cue emotional breakdown.

I end up crying more about weight gain than I have done over the amount of death sweeping my family at the moment. So many things spill from my mouth. I’ve barely any support, I’m unbearably lonely, I’m distracting myself by writing, my family doesn’t get me. On and on and on until I’m sure the session is over. But it’s not.

My therapist has some truth bombs to place in my lap, and we discuss the often avoided topic of ‘goal weight.‘ Here’s the shocker: it’s higher than I had anticipated. In fact, it’s far higher than I am even remotely comfortable with.

So here I am, trying to sit with this feeling and the knowledge of my inevitable weight. It’s sitting in my stomach like a bag of stones, it’s pulling apart all the hard work I’ve done.

How do I stop it from dragging me backwards?

Is there anything I can do to stop it holding me tightly in the wake of my grandmother’s death? How can I ask it to leave when I need it’s comfort so badly?

How do you start your life over when it’s constantly falling apart?

I don’t have anything now. I’m unemployed, my grandparents are sick and dying, my parents are grieving, my partner doesn’t get it and I don’t bring this shit up with my best friends because, why bother? It won’t change anything.

Reality Check

Just because I write about mental health and recovery, does not mean I am in a good place within my self. I have a desire to help others by using my own experiences, and sadly those experiences are often repeated in a cycle for me. This fuels my impostor syndrome and lead s me to believe that, because I’m not living my perfect ‘recovering life‘, that I have no right to preach.

But here’s the thing: mental illness recovery isn’t an easy street.

It’s full of hidden turns, potholes, diversions and life lessons. There are so many forks been thrown into the road that the map doesn’t add up anymore, and I’m left standing with a compass that I have no idea how to use.

I have the theory, I have the logic and I have the tools to recover, but I just can’t seem to make them all work together in tandem.

Who Am I? This is one of the big questions I was sent away to think about. Who am I without my career, my family, my diagnosis? Not what do you want to be but who do you want to be? What sort of person do you want to be in life? It’s so incredibly vague but a big part of my recovery, and a big part of starting a new life. turn gives me little motivation to try in life. I don’t necessarily feel like going after those freelancing jobs because I feel like crap, you get me?

Nonetheless, I’m taking it easy, getting my self-care in, and working on building my writing portfolio for rainy days.


My name is Chloe. I write about eating disorders and mental health (among other topics) over on my blog. I've suffered from anorexia for over 13 years and spent about 7 of those in quasi-recovery. It was only after a recent burnout in December of 2018 that I relapsed and decided, once and for all, to get the help I needed. I believe that each and every sufferer has it inside them to reach that point where food is no longer the enemy, and that full recovery is an obtainable goal.

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