How to increase intake without gaining weight?

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Im a 16 year old girl and 49kg, 164cm. Recently ( 2 months) I relapsed and began eating about 500 calories and working out alot. I really want to recover but dont want to gain weight because im not underweight . How can I increase my intake without gaining? and with what foods? ( i usually eat yogurt for breakfast and the rest of my meals are leafy greens)

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  • Posted

    Hi you should gradually try to inceease your intake per dayI know it is scary as i am tryin do the same. Apparently at 1st you will gtle weight but once your body gets used to eating big amounts the weight wil slow down and eventually stop hope thi helps x
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  • Posted

    Hi Sbula. 

    I like to view these periods as "lapses" not "relapses", that way I find it easier to justify getting back on track.

    Remember recovery isn't a linear process. You will have many bumps in the road of your recovery journey and it's important to realise this.  However, it's really important to have a get-out plan, which will help you get back on track. Recognise your triggers, and the emotions, and be kind to yourself, but you also should recognise the destructive behaviours which are derailing you. When I've had a set-back (usually around when I have my fortnightly weigh-in, but other things cause it), I cut back and add in a little and work back up to my original meal plan. 

    I'm interested that you have highlighted that you're not underweight. It's a tricky one for teenagers, because your body is still maturing, and I would certainly trust what your health professionals are advising you. Bear in mind that when you turn 18, you will be deemed underweight, and therefore your current weight is not healthy. Many people don't realise that for most Europeans, a healthy BMI is between 20-25, the extension of 19-25 caters for ethnicities which have a lower bone density. As an 18 year old your BMI would be 18.2, working out as underweight. It's hard, and this is the same challenges that I'm going through right now, because I'm mentally and physically okay but below healthy. When you are below target weight your body by default will try and regain lost weight, because genetically it's bone structure and muscle definition is determined to be a certain way. This is why you require more energy, and therefore if you energy deprived you will revert to binge episodes.

    If you're really keen to recover, I recommend slowly building up your intake to adverse the current lapse, and then working to gain the weight over a longer period of time.

    I noticed a lack of carbs in your intake. I am currently working through issues with carbs, but I really recommend working on this. It keeps your weight low ultimately, and also stabilises your moods. It will also eliminate any binges that crop up.

    Could you maybe start by adding in some porridge oats, or granola to the yoghurt you're having? That's something I did. 

    I agree, it's a great time of year for having salads - why not add some pulses as well, or some lighter grains.

    I also recommend going along to a support group to help with motivation. I've started going to a beat group regularly, and find this really helpful in keeping me on track.

    I also find having a list of motivational goals of why I want to recover keep me going when I have a lapse.

    Hope this helps, feel free to message me if there's anything specific you want to know.

    Keep going, and don't be too harsh on yourself when you do have a lapse. But remember to pick yourself up quickly. 

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  • Posted

    Hi again Sbula.

    Hopefully you have found our replies helpful and are starting to get back on track.

    I was talking to a friend the other day about this as it's an issue I'm confronting. The one surrounding reaching my target weight.

    The thing is acceptance. It's so hard because it is accepting you are healthy not unhealthy. That you are not anorexic. (I appreciate this doesn't apply to everyone).

    I let go of my eating disorder when I decided to recover and "ended my relationship" with it when my therapist and I wrote closure letters.

    But the real goodbye comes in accepting healthy.

    At the moment I'm stuck in the middle. That's where most people end up. They learn to manage their eating disorders but never fully recover unless they take that final step.

    You have to be ready to do that too.

    You can't be recovered and underweight.

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    • Posted

      Hi Kirsty - I seem to recall from some of your other posts that you are experiencing other complications which are arising from being underweight and under target.

      Being under weight has physical complications in the same way that being overweight can cause a risk. 

      You mention that you are happy where you are, and this is something I went through fairly recently. I was healthy-ish and happy where I was, before Easter, but naturally my body started to require more food, and gain weight in order to get to the weight I am genetically meant to be.

      My head still wants to be that weight, because accepting "defeat...?" e.g. a healthy weight is letting go of the eating disorder.

      You will find you are trying to control your weight, which means you are living restrictively.

      Whilst many people live "healthily" they don't live freely and are never fully recovered unless they accept that they need to maintain at target.


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    • Posted

      Hi Kirsty,

      That's really positive news that your mum is encouraging you to get the help you need and is also on your side. When you're in recovery it helps to have a team around you who care for you and are also fighting for you to get better. It sounds like your mum is right.

      If you are seen by a mental health treatment team, you may have a consultant psychiatrist who will oversee your progress. There are lots of mental health specialists who deal with eating disorders and depending on what's available in your area and your own condition you may be referred to a specific professional.

      You need a referral to mental health services through your GP or social care to access this first and that can take a little while.

      Why not book an appointment with your GP and take your mum then you can get the ball rolling!

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    • Posted

      Hiya i am sssoooooo scard that if i put on the weight that is required e poeple wont ike me and i will just keep geting fatter. I have got an app booked this morning with my mum and im scared what is going to be said
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    • Posted

      Hi Kirsty,

      Firstly, I am really really proud of you for going to your GP and accepting you need help. This is one of the hardest things to do and you should be so proud of yourself (even if it doesn't feel like it right now).

      It is scary and you might not solve everything today. You might just find that today you say you aren't very happy and next time you see your GP you explain why you're unhappy.

      Your GP's role isn't to make you fat. Their role is to take care of your health and wellbeing. The eating disorder / mental health service team who may treat you also won't be trying to make you fat either.

      They will focus on making you healthy and happy.

      If they were making you fat and letting your weight go out of control they wouldn't be doing their job properly either. My dietitian always said that to me.

      Hope your appointment goes well. Do something you enjoy afterwards like watch Friends or something distracting. It'll help.


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  • Posted

    Hey, Im 16 too and weigh around the same as you. I wouldnt say I see myself as underweight, i definately used to be.. I admit that. I know i am slim, and could do with gaining a bit more, or so my family say.

    I eat porridge for my breakfast with some honey in it. I actually do eat a lot of yoghurt like you i guess.

    You could try adding some beans or something to your salads, it will fill you up and increase your intake but i dont think they are really that calorific.

    Anyways, good luck with whatever you decide to do! smile

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