Does anyone else struggle to accept new body image as you put on weight?

I have been suffering from anorexia now for over 2 years and have had break throughs where I beging to eat a bit more and put on a small amount of weight but then I see what my new shape looks like in the mirror and I freak out as I feel so FAT!!! I know this is all part of the illness but it is so difficult to get past. I also know I need to put weight on to get better but for me any extra weight equals being fat so I always end up resorting to cutting back on my eating and stepping up my exercise regime. After 18months of CBT I have finally had my first session with an eating disorder counsellor and am waiting to see what she will suggest. I had been doing so well had put on weight, started new anti depressant medication which has really helped and things for the first time in ages was looking up. Then one day as I lloked in the mirror I freaked out as I saw the fat going on my body, I was still classes as under weight but deep down I knew i had to lose weight. So for the last 3 weeks I have been living on 400-500 calories a day and am back on a grueling exercise regime. The weight has started to drop off and I am pleased with the results. But deep down I know what I am doing is doing me harm and I have started suffering the health consequences, dizzy spells, heart palpatations etc. How have others coped with balancing the need to put on weight and eat and accepting how your body lloks as you put on weight and can see fat apearing all over your body?

6 Replies

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  • Hi Citylife. Firstly well done for having courage to take first few steps on road to recovery. It is frustrating though when your mind hits ' brick wall' like that. One way I look at putting on weight that has helped me is that I am just filling out the body frame I am in, not adding to it. Also remember anorexia is disease of your mind, it takes over our thoughts, so not surprising this happens. Good luck with the CBT. Hopefully it will address this direct for you.

    Hang on in there.

  • Recovery is tough - but don't give up it is worth it. Anorexia is a strong mind controller - and it is the disease that is telling you eating what your body needs and gaining weight is making you fat - this is not reality. Clearly the medical symptoms you are showing ie dizzyness etc is indicating your body is struggling - and that your visual image is not the reality of the situation - being underweight is just has medically harmful as being overweight. I hope the new counselling will help you see "the real you" - rather than the image the anorexia is giving you and that you will have the strength and courage to tell the Anorexia to get lost and leave you alone.

  • Hi Citylife, having suffered for over 30 years and with many admissions for refeeding etc, I can say I have never known anyone not struggle with coming to terms with their body image as one regains, strength and health. The feeling FAT, is an illusion which anorexia loves to pull on us, but. It is not real. What you have to focus on is regaining strength, health and regaining your proper life, in its fullness.

    Now, I shall say, and this is meant as help for everyone here, I am now reaping the "rewards" of anorexia and I can tell you from painful experience that it is not a good thing at all that we do to our bodies through this cruel illness. I have had three spinal fractures, down to osteoporosis, broken my arms, wrists and now recently a linear skull fracture. I look years and years older than I am, and I hate that, the illusion of looking FAT in the mirror, as I said previously is wrong, but when you look in the mirror and see lines that should not be there, but are, as a result of years of abusing my body, they are REAL and will never go ( not unless I win the lottery and go for Botox......such a bad look).

    I still fight my anorexic demons every day, and the demon on my shoulder has to to be kicked into touch on a daily basis, I know I will never eat as a normal person does, but I do eat, as medicine, to help my body, nothing to do with how I look, but just purely to help lessen the damage I have done to my body through the years of self inflicted abuse,

    I give you kudos Citylife, for taking even tiny steps forward, to try and help, I won't lie and say it will be easy, because it won't, but please listen and look to the future and what anorexia is stealing from you, not only now, but what it is storing up for you in the future. You have my positive prayers and thoughts coming your way and a few <^> <^> <^> to look after you.

    Muchly, Foggy x

  • I go along with what the others have said. Thank you for asking the question and thank you for the helpful answers.

    In addition to what the others have written I think it is worth remembering that what we see in the mirror and don't like may not be fat at all but muscle. Being underweight means that we lose muscle mass and extra exercise just makes this worse.

    Also extra weight will go into bone mass. As fivrofogguest says, anorexia causes loss of bone density resulting in the effects she's seen.

    Being underweight is not attractive to many people - including (I suspect most) men. I've noticed people either looking in horror or just turning away so they can't see.

    I pray that your treatment with the eating disorders person goes well

    God bless

    Anniephys

  • This is going to sound really simplistic and I don't mean it to be because I truly know how difficult it is, but when clients that I am working with get to this stage, we often try a 'mirror fast' ie not looking in any reflections and if it is necessary then only the face. You mention that you were doing really well until you looked in the mirror and it is a really difficult transition time whilst you are hopefully learning to love yourself for who you are not the way you look. Try listing all your positive attributes, the things that your friends and family love about you and focus on those.

    Give it a go, maybe for three days at first and see how you go......

  • Hello, Eatingdisordersdevon.

    My daughter has a huge problem Anorexic/Bulimia a real mix, and won't weigh herself but goes by how tight or loose her clothes are. She measures herself too. Interesting point you make about the mirrors - would it still be worth a try? She really is not comfortable in her skin.

    Regards,

    PR

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