My first week of treatment from bulimia at an eating disorder clinic - what is "normal" weight gain

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Thalelia's picture
My first week of treatment from bulimia at an eating disorder clinic - what is "normal" weight gain

Hi everyone

I know we are not to mention numbers, calories or weights in the forum, therefore I will not inform you of my weight or weight gain. However, I hope it is still possible to use the forum to ask questions about weight gain in the process of recovery.

What has happened is this: One week ago I admitted myself into treatment at an eating disorder clinic ("hospital"), and my stay here will last for a little more than 3 months. I have been given a food plan which shall help me get back to a normal weight and have neither binged nor purged this week. The last time I purged was the night before I entered the hospital.

My question is this: My current weight is much higher than my weight the day I was admitted, i.e. 7 days ago. Those of us who need to gain weight have signed an agreement that we have to gain between 700 gram and 2 kg every week, but I have gained over twice the amount of 2 kg. I have read a lot about recovery from bulimia and I feel quite certain that a great part of my weight gain is due to water retention. Nevertheless, although at the moment I am laughing at the whole thing, because I find the number on the scale just so ridiculously high, at the same time I have the sensation that a feeling of uncertainty is sneaking up on me. I want so much to recover from my bulimia/atypical anorexia, but I am afraid that I will become really scared if my weight continue increasing at this pace for the next couple of weeks.

I could really need some support right now. I really, really want to recover; I am 35 years old and I have developed osteoporosis, which scares me, and I have a PhD in sociology which I have not been able to "use" for the last two years, because of my terrible eating disorder setback (I first developed anorexia at the age of 15 and then bulimia at the age of 16). I have a strong wish to get my work capacity back and to stop my osteoporosis from progressing. If I discharge my self from this eating disorder clinic I know I will not be able to follow the food plan on my own, and most likely my weight will plummet once more.

Please, any advice for how to cope with this situation and any insight or experiences into weight gain in the first few weeks of treatment from bulimia/atypical anorexia, is greatly appreciated.

With love, Thalelia

Liza's picture
Hi dear! I"m sorry I can't be

Hi dear!
I"m sorry I can't be of much help. I don't have any anorexic tendencies. But from my history of recovery i can say that initial CRAZY bloating and water retention is pretty much normal. Can't talk about weight numbers because i ditched the scale when i started recovery (I knew numbers would freak me out). My bloating lasted a few weeks and then gradually disappeared. I'm sure that your eating disorder specialists will understand how weight gain works. If you are gaining too fast, then maybe there is something they need to help you with in terms of your meal plan - i think if they are worth their money they should be able to problem-solve with you around this, rather than axing you from the recovery program!

I've don't think i've ever heard of anyone who have had a 'perfect' recovery in terms of weight gain/loss.

I'm hoping that your team gives you the support you need and deserve... hang in there...

'I will not choose not to be'

Thalelia's picture
Thank you so much for sharing

Thank you so much for sharing your insight with me and calming me down! I really, really appreciate it <3 It helps knowing that I am not the only one who experience this; it is such classical eating disordered thinking to assume that I am special and that, while other sufferers will have "perfect" weight gain (if weight gain is what is needed), I will somehow spiral out of control at the moment I am presented with more calories than I usually take in.

Just to clarify about the weighing, though. If it were up to me I would choose to be weighed with my back against the scale. Unfortunately, it is this hospital's policy to have the patient "face the fear", so to speak, when it comes to ones weight. While I feel that this contradicts the whole "don't get hung up on weighing yourself and don't identify with a specific number on the scale"- speech that we are given, I think the rationale behind this policy is to have us trust in their treatment program (which, by the way, is free of charge in Norway, as our public health care institutions are financed by the state). The hospital I am at is considered one of the top ten treatment places for eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and EDNOS alike), so I am really fortunate to be offered a place here. I think this contributes to my not wanting to discharge myself even if I feel a bit overwhelmed right now. I have heard that they do listen to patients' worries in terms of weight gain and food plans and I know that there has been done a few individual adjustments before. However, those adjustments will typically not be made until one has a sound foundation for knowing whether the weight gain is due to water retention and/or constipation, or "actual" weight gain. So if my weight gain continues to progress at this pace I will definitely take your advice and discuss my worries with my therapist and nutritionist. Surely it must be better if they lower my calorie amount somewhat (right now I am on a higher daily caloric intake than is the rest of my group), rather than having me freak out, leave the program and relapse into weight loss once more. Uh...

I really hope that my bloating will disappear in a couple of weeks, because now I feel terrible. I haven't taken a shower in days because I cant stand looking at myself naked. When I am going to bed I am practically diving under the duvet without taking as much as a singe glance at my body. It is just crazy the way the eating disorder messes up my head.

Well. Time to eat here at the clinic. I better show up or there will be reprimands. Lol. Thank you again for offering me your support.<3

With love, Thalelia

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