Three Tips for Healthy Weight Control After Anorexia

Recovering from anorexia nervosa is a long and arduous journey and one of the most difficult recovery roads to take is the path that leads to healthy weight gain. Healthy weight gain after anorexia isn’t about eating excess amounts of food or learning not to fear potato chips. Healthy weight gain after anorexia is about learning healthy weight control habits that will last a lifetime.

Anorexia nervosa is a mental health condition that afflicts millions of people worldwide; it is, however, predominantly a disease of the first-world and the majority of those who suffer (85-90%) from it are women.  Anorexics have an insatiable need to be as thin as humanly possible, the root cause usually being emotional issues stemming from physical, sexual or psychological abuse. The anorexic need to be skinny can never be sated—the anorexic can never be skinny enough in his or her eyes. The anorexic chronically starves his or her body which leads to the flowing health problems:

  • Hair loss
  • Heart palpitations and heart attack
  • Anemia
  • Kidney failure
  • Missed periods and infertility
  • Tooth loss
  • Death

If left untreated anorexia can be fatal. The body can only withstand the conscious, tenacious effort to deny its nourishment for so long.

One of the keys to anorexia recovery is healthy weight control. This is because anorexics need to learn to gain weight and then maintain it for optimal health. The relationship anorexics have with food is precarious; food is the center of their world and the object upon which they transfer their emotions, hating it because they know that they need it and loving to deny it anyway.  Anorexics are at war with food and they need to learn to put down their arms and come to peace with healthy eating.

Anorexics struggle with healthy weight gain and weight control because they have a very black and white world view when it comes to food. Food is all bad and should be avoided at all costs. To an anorexic, eating means losing control and getting enormously fat (even if this isn’t the case). Thus, the anorexic mind has to begin to see things less in absolutes and more in grey to be able to engage in healthy weight management. Here are few tips for struggling anorexics who need help building gaining healthy weight and building healthy eating habits:

·         Small, frequent meals: One way for anorexics to feel less guilty about their food intake and weight gain is to eat 5 or 6 small meals a day. This is actually optimal for the body in terms of keeping the metabolism and other systems running smoothly, but it also helps anorexics feel like they are not overeating.

·         Super foods: Anorexics need to eat as many super foods as possible as they try to gain weight. Developing eating habits around super foods will make weight management easier because it will condition anorexics to eat foods that will help them maintain a healthy weight for the long run.

·         Don’t eat alone: Sharing meals with friends, families and colleagues will help anorexics feel supported and will distract them from the nagging thought and feelings they have about eating when they are alone.

Following the simple advice above will set any recovering anorexic on the path to long-term recovery. Anyone suffering from such a heart-wrenching condition should be sure to seek proper mental health care, but the power to heal ultimately rests in the hands of the individual—the recovering anorexic has the power to build healthy habits that will positively impact the rest of his or her life.

Anorexia nervosa is just one of many eating disorders that plague people today. To learn more about eating issues and healthy methods of weight control, visit:

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