Anorexia Bulimia Care
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Anorexia struggling

I am 15 and I have been struggling with anorexia for 9 my months. I know that I need to eat more to recover but I cannot stand the feeling of fullness and I hate to see my weight go up. Can anyone give me some advice?

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Hi Helina, do you see any professionals for your illness? I am a recovered anorexic and I remember struggling with the same things as you when in recovery. Do you feel like you want to recover or are you still wanting to hold onto the illness? If you do want to get better, remember that restoring weight to a healthy weight range is essential and this will help you to better deal with how you feel about feeling full and accepting a higher weight, as being a healthy weight promotes psychological wellbeing. Initially though, it will be difficult and uncomfortable. Its hard to accept, but you need to try sticking to the meal plan put infront of you and just learn to 'sit' with these feelings as best you can. You can try engaging in your favourite activities or hobbies immediately after eating to distract, or you can think about how you feel complying with this meal plan and try to think why you feel so negatively about getting to a healthy weight. As for feeling full, your stomach will have shrunk from constant underfeeding so it will take time to expand again. I dont know your meal plan but I imagine it will start off small and be expanded as you manage to eat more. You need to try and eat as much as you can/ everything on this plan so that your stomach is able to expand to a normal size again. This will come with a discomfort, bloating is likely. It is so important to remember that this is all necessary, but it IS temporary. You will not feel uncomfortable forever, you wont be bloated every time you eat, and you will become more comfortable with the weight gain as you become more motivated to get better. I hope that you manage to do this and go on to live a full life without anorexia. I am living proof that it is possible!

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Are you getting any professional support - it is so important to have counselling alongside the weight gain - you really do need support. Feeling full - from my experience - is a natural part of recovery - firstly you've starved/restricted so your stomach needs time to adjust to the bigger portions - and secondly your mind tells you you are full whenever you eat which is part of the ED. Gaining weight is part of recovery and it is so important you get back to a healthy weight - many of the thoughts around food and ED behaviours gradually get better as your body is nourished - but I know how hard it is to accept the changes - but please don't give up - being thin is not the answer to anything - and can be the destroyer of your life - contact the ABC helpline and talk to them - there is also BEAT - both are very supportive - but do talk to someone - don't beat yourself up - and don't be alone.

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That is why you need professional support - a dietician alongside a counsellor. The dietician will carefully monitor your weight gain - and as you reach your target - tailor your needs - it is about trusting them - from many many years experience - and I had anorexia at your age - they are really good at balancing your food/energy needs - and they do make sure that the diet is balanced - so trust those helping you - let them guide you as to your needs - anorexia is very good at telling you you can't eat this amount or that thing - and it persuades you everyone is out to make you become a blob over night - this is lies - its actually amazing how much your body needs just to stand still - and gaining weight can be really hard and need what seems to be a huge increase - again your anorexia tells you you can't need that much - but again this is a lie - your body needs to be a healthy weight - those advising you will help you achieve this - so don't let fear hold you captive - I am now 58 - and my lack of trust in those advising me meant I had anorexia for many years and it destroys your life - don't let it destroy yours.

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Its really tough and hard - and I am still on the recovery journey so do understand your thoughts and feelings. I found taking small steps - making small gains - but regularly helped. With a dietician they set "targets" in small stages - so it was a very gradual process which helped me accept the changes and we also had plateaus when I stayed at a certain level for a while to deal with the thoughts/emotions that point raised for me. Taking her advice seemed more like a "prescription" and mentally making myself continually remember this gave me a sense of safety. If you are not seeing a "professional ED therapist" you really do need this help.

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Wise words, I think it's so important to realise that the feelings associated with eating are natural and professional help is the best way to help you to remember when you started to feel uncomfortable with these feelings and how to deal with them. Luckily you have the advantage of realising your fear/ anxiety and are asking for help now. Now is the time to be brave and accept help otherwise like us older ones, it can literally continue for a long time into old age. Which is not pleasant.

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