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Increasing intake from severe calorie restriction without gaining weight?

By July 18, 2010 - 4:36pm
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I have had an eating disorder for over 6 years, in varying degrees but I've always been on a very calorie restricted diet, at the worst around 100 calories a day. Over the past six months I have very slightly increased my calorie intake, however, still never more than 600-700 calories. Yet, I am GAINING. Ive stabilized, however, am extremely uncomfortable with my weight and would like to lose at least 10 of the lbs I have put on. I am not underweight, but my body composition has more fat in it than ever before despite my low intake and consistent working out. Would increasing my diet to 1000-1200 calories a day actually enable my metabolism to burn calories and fat and cause me to FINALLY lose the weight I want to? I know that when I had lost weight before from the restriction because my body was in shock from the lack of calories, but now that it has adjusted and gone into "starvation" mode it is holding on to every ounce I eat. However, I know that I cannot handle gaining more weight if that is what will happen when I increase my calories...is it possible to eat more without gaining and then to actually eat MORE in order to LOSE? I'm terrified. Most people would rejoice at being told to eat more to lose weight but I just am so scared....
thank you :)

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Well, I have been eating more for several months mostly because I was fed up with feeling how I was feeling and honestly, because I was scared. I have been to therapists before, but never found them very helpful. I am in no way underweight, which is why I am concerned about gaining more. I have pretty much stabilized at this weight for a few months regardless of the amount I eat... and I don't want to BE an unhealthy or severely low weight, I am simply frustrated at this point that all of my athletic efforts are showing no effect because my body is holding on to fat that was never there before. As of now, the only negative health consequence I have suffered is the sluggish metabolism (so it seems) and the obvious mental ramifications. i am also having a hard time finding a R.D that is covered by any insurance plan. I guess I just need advice on how to avoid causing any relapses.

July 18, 2010 - 10:00pm

Hi purple0122,

Great for taking this important step! I know it is extremely difficult to begin increasing your calories when you have been living with an eating disorder for so long.

The answer to your question: it depends. It depends on how much calories your body requires to stabilize, and this is not something I recommend doing alone. If you are still severely fearful of gaining weight, it is imperative that you begin increasing your calories with the supervision of a physician and a Registered Dietitian (R.D.) who specializes in eating disorders. Most likely, your body needs to gain weight, and that is why you are gaining weight. If you are still not even up to 1000 calories per day, and already wanting to lose weight... you are still in "eating disorder mode". Only 600 calories per day is still considered restrictive, and an R.D. can really, really help you with an eating plan that you can stick with, are comfortable with, and that is healthy for you.

I would love to talk with you more about this. What has happened in your life now, that you are interested in changing from 100 calories per day to 700 calories per day? Did someone talk with you about their concern with your health, or was this something you decided on your own? Have you experienced any negative health consequences or symptoms, or is there a transition upcoming in your life?

Please let us know how we can help, including finding any health care professionals. Are you currently talking with a therapist about your eating disorder as well?

Take care,

July 18, 2010 - 6:02pm
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