Why do recovering anorexics have trouble putting on weight?

Why do recovering anorexics have trouble putting on weight?

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This is a discussion on Why do recovering anorexics have trouble putting on weight? within the Health and Fitness forums, part of the Topics of Interest category; I'm not asking the obvious here. What I mean is, does their body have trouble putting it on, or is ...

  1. #1

    Why do recovering anorexics have trouble putting on weight?

    I'm not asking the obvious here.

    What I mean is, does their body have trouble putting it on, or is it all mental?

    My good friend is finally getting treatment after 15 years. She's 30 and had 3 kids, so it seems scientifically that her body would put on weight easily, what with being older and I thought once you come out of starvation mode your body tries to frantically store food.

    But she's also been right around 100 lbs for the last 15 years. When she was pregnant with her second baby, she put on probably 45lbs and looked great, but she was back to 100lbs within 3 months.

    i dont' want to press her with questions while she's in the middle of recovery. seems insensitive.

    Anyways, the reason it's on my mind is that she mentioned she was only barely reaching her doctor's weight goals for her. I can put on 5 lbs in 3 days. It's hard to imagine having a hard time putting on 3 lbs in a month. That's why I"m wondering if it's all mental. You could make a 700 calorie banana smoothie and not feel like you were really even eating. So this has to be something I haven't experienced.

    Thoughts? Is it body chemistry or mental struggle?

    It's easier for me to understand if I have lots of information to compare.



  2. #2

    I think it's mostly mental, partly physical. I was almost/kind of/early stage anorexic for a while when I was a kid (while recovering from a riding injury and not allowed to exercise), and when my parents were pushing high calorie foods on me after seeing a nutritionist I just really hated eating them. A little of that was obstinacy because they were making me do it, but there really wasn't a mentality of 'if I eat this I'll be fat and that's bad'. Just because after eating very little and not very calorie dense foods it was unpleasant to eat more and richer foods.

  3. #3

    It's all mental.

    Anorexia can even make your metabolism slower.

    I know of someone who is in recovery from anorexia, and she eats very healthy and does strengthening exercises, but I think she's exceedingly attentive to what she's eating to the point that she barely weighs what the doctor wants her to, and apparently has gone slightly below, but bounces back up, apparently she's perfected the art of gaining just enough weight to not have people tell her she's gonna die.
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  4. #4

    I think it's all mental, in almost every case.
    When I recovered from anorexia I found it horribly easy to pack on weight in physical terms. Which I think is pretty normal. It's just hard to let go of your illness. It's your entire life.

  5. #5

    When it comes to muscle mass, obese anorexic and bulimic people have a problem changing their body in the same area for sure. Since they've spent such a long time with a nutrient depleted diet, their muscles and organs actually atrophy and do not respond as efficiently as they should. I don't know if there's a difference with accumulating fat after being anorexic of bulimic, but adding muscle will be a problem after a long period of any of these three eating disorders until a certain amount passes that their body can readjust to a nutrient rich diet.
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  6. #6

    Anorexy often causes physical problems to the digestive system; damages vary from person to person and the variables are usually how bad their eating disorder was and how long it lasted.
    One of the reason anorexics have trouble putting weight is because their stomach can actually shrink. Stomach fullness is one of the factors that contributes to our sense of "being full". So, even if they want to eat more, they cannot do that because they feel as if they're going to burst. Another reason is that their stomach gets gradually worse at digesting food: an anorexic stomach requires much more time to digest the same amount of food that wouldn't constitute a problem for a normal person and this often causes pain.
    There are other reasons but I think I've given you an idea of the problem here.

  7. #7

    Perhaps they aren't smoking enough pot

  8. #8

    Quote Originally Posted by Khys View Post

    Thoughts? Is it body chemistry or mental struggle?

    It's easier for me to understand if I have lots of information to compare.
    Like everyone's kind of said, it's very much a mental struggle.

    But also, once you have forgotten what "normal" is and have lived on miniscule portions for a long time, what seems like a huge amount of food is in reality probably a very small meal. You're genuinely convinced you've eaten a huge amount, because compared to what you've been living on, it is. I've experienced it first hand - your perception is completely warped.

    Another thing is that when you haven't felt full for months or years, it's extremely uncomfortable and alarming. Your whole body has slowed down, so it reacts by bloating, too which only makes it all worse.

    So yeah, it's 90% mental but yeah... feeling full is something really, really difficult to get used to. And to even a recovering anorexic, a 700 calorie banana smoothie is such a huge amount of calories. You really feel it. It's about as much, if not more than most will eat in a day. You really, really feel like you're going to explode. It's extremely weird.

  9. #9

    It's probably mental, or maybe she still has very high metabolism?

    My cousin was anorexic for a while until she got help. Now she's kinda fat and trying to lose fat in a healthier way.


 

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