Recovery Advice For Restricted Eating/Calories

Hello,

I hope nobody minds me posting here as my situation is a little different and I don't have an eating disorder as such - however, people who have experience of recovery from an eating disorder, particularly anorexia, may be in a position to offer advice.

In August 2016 I suddenly developed severe digestive issues - nausea, stomach pain, no appetite, fullness and bloating. This went on for some time before having an endoscopy in December 2016 which showed stomach inflammation and I was diagnosed with acute gastritis. I was put on PPIs and left to get on with it. Throughout the first half of 2017 I made no progress and was still unable to eat. I lost nearly two stone in weight and relied on meal replacements. I was put on various PPIs but was unresponsive to them. In July 2017 I managed to source and fund a different type of medication (NHS wouldn't prescribe it as it's too expensive) which I believe set me down on the road to recovery. From July - September I continued to make a little progress in recovery. I rarely feel the rawness in my stomach, pain after eating has improved, nausea is much less frequent.

However, my appetite is almost non-existent which makes eating uncomfortable and unpleasant. The thought of eating often makes me feel nauseous as I'm not hungry at all and when I do force myself to eat I feel full and quite ill very quickly. I told my doctor that it feels as if my stomach has simply forgotten how to function. I am starting to wonder if nearly a year of barely eating, often only liquid meals, has somehow caused damage to my stomach/metabolism/acid production/gut motility or something. Although the cause of my starvation is different, I assume my body would have the same reaction as somebody who has suffered anorexia.

Is it common to have difficulty eating after prolonged periods of starvation/calorie restrictions? Is it possible I'm suffering from some damage to my stomach/metabolism? I am trying to eat little and often, as much as I can - but I'm looking for any advice on how I can kickstart my stomach/body into wanting and processing food again. I desperately want to start eating and get fully well again.

I'd appreciate any advice or stories on recovering your stomach after starvation. Thank you :)

1 Reply

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  • Hi dear. First of all, even though it´s hard for ED patients to eat after starvation, their body might still react differently to eating than yours. You have been diagnosed with a disease in your stomach while anorexia and bulimia are diagnosis of mental health disease referred as ED that reflects itself in binge eating and starvation. You wan´t to eat but you can´t and we don´t want to eat even we could. Your stomach doesn´t crave for food but your mind does. Our stomach craves for food but our mind doesn´t. We are opposite but yet, somehow stomach wise the same.

    Stomach, as well as the heart and many other organs and parts of the body get affected as a result of starving and purging. When stomach doesn´t get food to function, it starts eating up itself and that causes serious damage to one´s stomach and digestion. After suffering from anorexia and bulimia, I have a lot of foods my stomach cant stomach anymore, such as big amounts of wheat and dairy products. That´s why I always have to be careful with the kind of food I eat and also watch the amounts of food I eat. You should do the same but in a much more careful way.

    Since you have been consuming mainly liquids, you could start with smoothies. Solid foods that have been blended into smooth soft textures. You can start with fruits, berries and vegetables that are gentle on your stomach. I´m not an expert so please, consult a food therapist or a doctor before you try anything! The idea is to take small portions many times a day. Don´t eat anything too heavy or spicy but start off with fish, salad, chicken and vegetables. Red meat, dairy products and carbs should be taken when your stomach is much stronger.

    Little by little you will get there! Just take good care of yourself and let us know how you are doing.

    Love, survivor of anorexia/bulimia

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