How do you keep eating when recovering from anorexia and you have a bloated stomach and all you can see is fat going on your body?

I began to start eating again just over 3 weeks ago and have managed to stick to an eating plan set my my dietician. It has been a daily battle but I'm so sick of the daily fight I am locked in with anorexia and am determined to beat its grip on me. Every mouthful is such an effort and I have to use all my coping mechanisms so I don't then miss out my next meal or over exercise. At first things were not too bad but now my stomach looks huge and all I can see is FAT going on my body. I know this has to happen for me to get well but it is freaking me out. Will this continue to happen or will it settle once my body gets used to eating and food again. I'm just about coping and managing to keep eating but am not sure how long I can fight my AN voice with my body changes, so any advice would be really welcome. Thanks

14 Replies

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  • Hey, it does get easier and yeah your body does settle down you just need to give it time and keep going strong and you will get through it! I now love my new curves and you will too! Good Luck!

  • Thanks for your reply, its reassuring to know others understand and can relate to what I am going through. I know I have a battle on my hands but it is a battle I am determined to win this time. AN has already robbed me of the last three years of my life and I am determined it will not define my next few years.

  • Hi there, I have been through exactly the same thing, but what you are experiencing I think is just your body adapting to receiving the nutrition it needs. Whilst you haven't been eating your body will have been craving the food it needs, now you are doing so so well, keeping to your eating plan, it's like the body holds on to the nutrition in case it goes into starvation mode again. Please, please, keep eating and I assure you the bloating will ease when your body realises its not going to starve again. It does take a lot of strength to keep it up, but please do try, the damage that anorexia does to your body is immeasurable, I now have osteoporosis from over 30 years battling anorexia and have had three spinal fractures which have been horrendous. Had I realised at the time the long term consequences of my behaviour I think I may well have fought much harder for recovery. I still have issues with food, but I will never ever abuse my body in the way I used to. My final advice, and I'm sure others will have told you this too, but try to think of food as the medication you need to start leading a more full and happy life.

    Best wishes and keep strong :-)

    Foggy x

  • Thanks for your reply it is great to hear from someone who knows exactly what I am going through and can relate to how I am feeling. What you say really makes sense and it sort of helps to know that it is just my body reacting to me eating again and that hopefully it will all settle down in time. My CBT counsellor has often told me the same thing about thinking of food as medicine and I am trying to do that, so I am trying to think of every mouthful as necessary medicine to ake me well again.

    Citylife x

  • Well done you, I'm proud that you are really trying to beat the evil voice of AN. Do please let us know hw you. Get on and if you need any more reassurance if you are having a bad patch please feel free to

    message me.

    Judith x

  • Hi CityLife, Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings, there have been a few replies of which all are correct and true. I have been through anorexia and battled, I lost a number of times but with help and support I did not give up, although a number of times I wanted to! After not eating and that evil AN voice telling us the complete opposite of what is true it is very difficult indeed to try and grasp reality. It is fantastic that you are battling on, each mouthful a struggle but with each mouthful your are winning and should be very proud of yourself (without sounding patronising at all). I have been through a number of treatments to help me get back onto a realistic way of living and trying to get out of the AN way of thinking. One of the things that AN does is change our focus, literally what we see. When I look at my body I see completely different to how others view me. My eyes tell me I have put weight on after eating, I look in the mirror, do body checking etc.. and yet I see that my body is bigger. I have thought 'how on earth can I have put weight on so quickly???' I have learned that AN changes how we see things and mirrors lie to us, This does get easier but persevere because this does change gradually as we come through our journey of recovery. As others have said, when we start eating again yes we may get bloated but this is because the body is re-adjusting to being fed. Initially, we do put some weight on because the body needs to re-learn that it is no longer in starvation mode and it will get fed again. Stick to your diet plan, they do work. I now eat breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, eve meal and I am trying to get a night snack in too. My body is now working better, I feel better and my metabolism is working well. I am very surprised as to how much I can eat without getting 'fat' and I am now able to eat a number of the 'restricted' foods that AN told me I couldn't. I really hope this helps. I know we get told this all the time but it does get easier and it's only when we look back that we can see how far forwards we have come. Everyone finds their own route on the 'road to recovery' I am truly surprised as to how far I have come and how my previously rigid routine has gradually relaxed. I still have bad days but they are becoming less and less and my 'tools' to help me work through my thoughts and understand why AN is trying to wriggle in are more of a routine rather than trying hard to keep control away from the evil AN behaviours/thoughts.

    Please keep in touch, I would really like to hear your progress and success. If we can be so strict and rigid when AN is battling against us we have the strength to kick it out and allow happiness and fulfilment into out lives. Good luck. Love and light Sarah x

  • Thank you for your reply, its great to hear from someone who understands exactly what I'm going through. I feel like I've lost so much of my life to AN already and although I know it'l be hard I am determined to beat this. Yes l'll keep in touch it will help to be able to share how things are going with someone who has been there. Luv+hugs.

  • Hi CityLife, Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings, there have been a few replies of which all are correct and true. I have been through anorexia and battled, I lost a number of times but with help and support I did not give up, although a number of times I wanted to! After not eating and that evil AN voice telling us the complete opposite of what is true it is very difficult indeed to try and grasp reality. It is fantastic that you are battling on, each mouthful a struggle but with each mouthful your are winning and should be very proud of yourself (without sounding patronising at all). I have been through a number of treatments to help me get back onto a realistic way of living and trying to get out of the AN way of thinking. One of the things that AN does is change our focus, literally what we see. When I look at my body I see completely different to how others view me. My eyes tell me I have put weight on after eating, I look in the mirror, do body checking etc.. and yet I see that my body is bigger. I have thought 'how on earth can I have put weight on so quickly???' I have learned that AN changes how we see things and mirrors lie to us, This does get easier but persevere because this does change gradually as we come through our journey of recovery. As others have said, when we start eating again yes we may get bloated but this is because the body is re-adjusting to being fed. Initially, we do put some weight on because the body needs to re-learn that it is no longer in starvation mode and it will get fed again. Stick to your diet plan, they do work. I now eat breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, eve meal and I am trying to get a night snack in too. My body is now working better, I feel better and my metabolism is working well. I am very surprised as to how much I can eat without getting 'fat' and I am now able to eat a number of the 'restricted' foods that AN told me I couldn't. I really hope this helps. I know we get told this all the time but it does get easier and it's only when we look back that we can see how far forwards we have come. Everyone finds their own route on the 'road to recovery' I am truly surprised as to how far I have come and how my previously rigid routine has gradually relaxed. I still have bad days but they are becoming less and less and my 'tools' to help me work through my thoughts and understand why AN is trying to wriggle in are more of a routine rather than trying hard to keep control away from the evil AN behaviours/thoughts.

    Please keep in touch, I would really like to hear your progress and success. If we can be so strict and rigid when AN is battling against us we have the strength to kick it out and allow happiness and fulfilment into out lives. Good luck. Love and light Sarah x

  • Hi CityLife, Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings, there have been a few replies of which all are correct and true. I have been through anorexia and battled, I lost a number of times but with help and support I did not give up, although a number of times I wanted to! After not eating and that evil AN voice telling us the complete opposite of what is true it is very difficult indeed to try and grasp reality. It is fantastic that you are battling on, each mouthful a struggle but with each mouthful your are winning and should be very proud of yourself (without sounding patronising at all). I have been through a number of treatments to help me get back onto a realistic way of living and trying to get out of the AN way of thinking. One of the things that AN does is change our focus, literally what we see. When I look at my body I see completely different to how others view me. My eyes tell me I have put weight on after eating, I look in the mirror, do body checking etc.. and yet I see that my body is bigger. I have thought 'how on earth can I have put weight on so quickly???' I have learned that AN changes how we see things and mirrors lie to us, This does get easier but persevere because this does change gradually as we come through our journey of recovery. As others have said, when we start eating again yes we may get bloated but this is because the body is re-adjusting to being fed. Initially, we do put some weight on because the body needs to re-learn that it is no longer in starvation mode and it will get fed again. Stick to your diet plan, they do work. I now eat breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, eve meal and I am trying to get a night snack in too. My body is now working better, I feel better and my metabolism is working well. I am very surprised as to how much I can eat without getting 'fat' and I am now able to eat a number of the 'restricted' foods that AN told me I couldn't. I really hope this helps. I know we get told this all the time but it does get easier and it's only when we look back that we can see how far forwards we have come. Everyone finds their own route on the 'road to recovery' I am truly surprised as to how far I have come and how my previously rigid routine has gradually relaxed. I still have bad days but they are becoming less and less and my 'tools' to help me work through my thoughts and understand why AN is trying to wriggle in are more of a routine rather than trying hard to keep control away from the evil AN behaviours/thoughts.

    Please keep in touch, I would really like to hear your progress and success. If we can be so strict and rigid when AN is battling against us we have the strength to kick it out and allow happiness and fulfilment into out lives. Good luck. Love and light Sarah x

  • Thanks for your reply, it really helps to know there are people out there who understand what I am going through and can offer words of encouragement and advice.You are so right when you describe how the AN voice distorts everything you see and think about your body. One day I can look in the mirror and see my ribs and shoulder blades sticking out and the next all I can see is the 'FAT' all over my body. Logically I know I am not fat but as you can relate to the AN voice twists things to say the opposite and I can only shut it up by giving in to what it says. I am really fighting this now and although it is hard the voice is starting to get a little bit quieter than it was before. I am seeing my dietitian next week and we are going to create a new eating plan and this time include snacks and a few new 'unsafe' foods as well. I am starting a new job in September and want to have made progress by then so at least I can eat lunch and have a snack to keep e going. It will be great to keep in touch and I will message you again next week to let you know how my appointment with the dietitian goes. Thanks for being there for me and understanding it really helps to know I'm not alone with this. God Bless you.

  • You are not alone, there are so many people with eating disorders many who live with it alone and have such unfulfilling lives which is such a shame. I am sooooo pleased to hear that the evil AN voice does fade at times, this is fantastic news and a step closer to reaching your goal. I think it is wonderful you are remaining so positive about your eating plan, it can become hard at times to persist but it sounds like you are really doing well, this is fantastic news. I look forward to hearing how you get on next week with your dietician and congratulations on you starting a new job, I really hope you enjoy this and the fewer dictations from AN BM make it more enjoyable as a social environment. It is surprising how many people talk about food but as a good thing, a social talk not being fixated on what they can or cannot eat. So pleased you replied and I have a big smile on my face writing this because the people who suffer eating disorders are more often than not the most intelligent. It would be such a shame for all of that intelligence to go to waste when you have such a rewarding and fulfilling future ahead of you. Please keep in touch with your progress I wish you all the luck, best wishes, angelus xxx

  • Citylife

    Hi! I'm attempting recovery too and each day is a battle, each hour and each mouthful. The voices in my mind don't help... Reading your account is like reading about my own tortured thoughts. I'm trying really hard to cling to the hope of something better and I have started a recovery blog to try to encourage others as I move ahead.

    I'm not sure I'm allowed to share it or not, but if you'd like to share any of your experiences or just read for encouragement then please feel free. you can find me on .beautyfromthefire.wordpress.com

    I wish you so much HOPE and love as you continue to make progress. Please keep following the advice others give rather than the AN thoughts which will always twist reality into something grotesque and terrifying.

    Fireflyby

  • Thanks for your reply, its just what I needed as really struggling at the minute. I've started eating less than 600 calories a day+exercising again. I feel I need to just lose a bit weight so I can look at myself in the mirror and feel repulsed at what I see. I know this is a dangerous path to take but couldn't stand being so unhappy. I feel a lot happier in myself+my clothes feel more comfortable. I know AN is getting louder as I suppose I've invited her back in. But just feel I need her for now. I know I've been able 2 stop before and am sure once I've lost a bit weight and feel happier I'll start eating more and stop over exercising.

  • Ahh... I so understand your words... and yet, I know the cost... the price you pay for giving in to Anorexia's temporary soothing. It's a horrible trap into which we fall. I wish there was a way of scooping you (and myself) out without causing agony, and yet, I can't find one.

    Please take care of yourself as best you can. This something and nothing of a life is a miserable one and I know that there must be more out there. Sending you love xxx

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