Will I Gain or Lose Weight in… | Counseling | Therapy

Will I Gain or Lose Weight in Recovery

Alex , CAS, MSW, ACSW, LCSW — Founder & executive director

My Doctor states that I am overweight. Will I gain or lose weight in recovery? During the process of recovering from Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder some people lose weight and others gain weight. Frequently, people in recovery who are overweight experience some weight loss as their binge eating habits diminishes. However, it is not advisable for someone starting recovery to focus on weight loss. The focus must be on getting well, as difficult as that is to accept. The focus has to be on being healthy and learning how to eat “normally”. It is often beneficial to work with a therapist to gain insight into the psychological issues related to the eating disorder and a nutritionist regarding portion sizes, exercise, and nutritional needs.

How will eating consistent meals and snacks help the recovery process? Will I gain or lose weight in recovery if I follow through with this new 'meal plan.' Dieting, restricting, binging, purging, and emotional eating all disrupt the bodies’ natural ability to regulate feelings of hunger and satiety. Disrupted hunger / satiety signals means you may sometimes or frequently not feel hungry when you should or you may not feel full when your body has had enough. Since people trying to recover from eating disorders have difficulty Intuitively knowing when they should eat, having a consistent schedule can be very helpful. Also, eating meals and snacks consistently through the day and evening is a healthy pattern for most people with or without a history of disordered eating. Eating meals and snacks consistently stabilizes blood sugar and keeps the metabolism from slowing down.

Eating meals and snacks throughout the course of the day decreases the likelihood of
* Binging
* Food preoccupation
* Overeating
* Insatiable hunger
* Purging
* Intense cravings for sugar and carbohydrates

How to establish regular eating patterns
* Don’t let more than three to four hours go by between meals and snacks.
* Always eat breakfast and eat three meals and two to three snacks a day.

Sample schedule:

* 8:00 am breakfast
* 10 am snack
* 12 pm lunch
* 3pm snack
* 6pm dinner
* 8 pm snack

Once a regular pattern has been established and the body readjusts to normal eating one can work on developing the skills to identify and respond to their bodies internal signals.

People struggling with Disordered eating may find it helpful to use a scale such as the one below.

Hunger scale 1-4
1) You could eat
2) You are feeling hungry
3) Starving / rumbling and emptiness in stomach
4) Spacey /queasy / lightheaded irritable/ (low blood sugar eat ASAP)

Satiety Scale 1-7
1) The gnawing emptiness is gone
2) Less interest in the food you are eating
3) Feeling comfortable and satisfied. /A slight pressure in the stomach
4) You are satisfied but you could eat a little more/less interest in eating
5) You aren’t hungry anymore but are no physically uncomfortable
6) Feeling physically you are stuffed uncomfortable
7) You could not eat another bite

However, some people may find that they simply prefer to stick to a scheduled eating format and that is okay. It depends on what works best for the individual.

Still unsure? Want someone to speak with? Help is available. Call today and schedule an appointment with a therapist at the Center for Growth / Bulimia Recovery in Philadelphia, Providence, Ocean City, Santa Fe, Mechanicsville: Will I gain or lose weight in recovery?

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Eating disorder recovery refers to the process of overcoming the physical, psychological, and emotional challenges associated with an eating disorder and establishing a healthier relationship with food, body image, and oneself. Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions that involve unhealthy behaviors and attitudes towards food, weight, and body shape. Recovery involves addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of the disorder to achieve lasting well-being.

Key components of eating disorder recovery include:

  1. Nutritional Rehabilitation: For individuals with eating disorders, restoring a balanced and nourishing diet is a critical step. This involves working with healthcare professionals, such as registered dietitians, to develop a meal plan that supports physical health and addresses nutritional deficiencies.
  2. Medical Stabilization: Many eating disorders have serious physical consequences, such as electrolyte imbalances, heart irregularities, and damage to vital organs. Medical monitoring and intervention are often necessary to address and manage these complications.
  3. Psychological Treatment: Therapy is a cornerstone of eating disorder recovery. Various therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and family therapy, are used to address the underlying emotional and psychological factors contributing to the disorder.
  4. Behavioral Changes: Recovery involves changing harmful behaviors associated with the eating disorder, such as restricting food intake, binge eating, purging, and excessive exercise. Learning and practicing healthy coping mechanisms and alternative behaviors is a crucial part of the process.
  5. Body Image Work: Developing a healthier body image and self-esteem is an integral part of recovery. Therapy helps individuals challenge negative body image perceptions and foster self-acceptance.
  6. Emotional Regulation: Many individuals with eating disorders struggle with managing emotions, which can lead to using disordered eating behaviors as a way to cope. Learning healthy emotional regulation skills is essential for sustained recovery.
  7. Identifying Triggers: Understanding the triggers that contribute to disordered eating behaviors is key. These triggers could be related to stress, trauma, interpersonal relationships, or societal pressures. Addressing these triggers supports lasting recovery.
  8. Support Network: Building a supportive network of friends, family, peers, and healthcare professionals is vital. This network provides encouragement, accountability, and a sense of belonging.
  9. Relapse Prevention: Relapse is a common concern in eating disorder recovery. Learning relapse prevention strategies helps individuals manage potential setbacks and maintain progress over time.
  10. Long-Term Wellness: Recovery is an ongoing process that extends beyond the initial treatment phase. Establishing healthy routines, self-care practices, and ongoing therapy or support helps maintain well-being and prevent relapse.

It's important to recognize that eating disorder recovery is highly individualized and non-linear. Progress may involve setbacks and challenges, but with determination and support, individuals can work towards achieving a balanced and fulfilling life free from the grip of an eating disorder.

Seeking professional help from healthcare providers with expertise in eating disorders is crucial for effective recovery. This may involve a multidisciplinary approach involving medical doctors, therapists, dietitians, and other specialists who collaborate to provide comprehensive care tailored to the individual's needs.


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