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How many calories until I start experiencing weight gain?

Posted by dannibazaar

I was wondering how many calories I need to take in before I start to experience weight gain. ( I am 20, 5'3 1/2", and around 80 lbs, used to weigh 127 over 3 years ago. I have had anorexia for the past three years - no binging, no purging. Just straight food restriction) 

Lately, the idea of recovery has been weighing heavily on my mind. In one instance, I want so bad to recover and establish a healthy relationship with food. But I am so so afraid of gaining too much weight too fast. The idea of going into some sort of inpatient programme scares to do death, consuming such a mass amount of calories so fast. I want to recover on my own terms. And I know that means increasing my calorie intake. For a very  long time I only consumed 500 calories a day. But I have steadily over the past 4 months have increased to around 800-900 calories a day. Does anyone think that this increase will cause me to experience weight gain? What if I up my calories to around 1000-1200? Will I gain weight then? I would like rational responses , and to hear from people who are going through or have gone through anorexia recovery.

I'm not looking to gain weight at this point. I just want to actually be at least a little more comfortable with the act of eating food before I go about gaining some weight back. But I am by no means wanting to lose weight at all. That is dangerous.

Answers (2)
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You sound as if you are in a place that's common for people who suffer from eating disorders: you are feeling as if you'd like to work towards recovery, and at the same time, you are terrified of the idea. Perhaps it will reassure you to know that you are not alone in that! Recovery from anorexia can be a complicated process, nutritionally as well as medically. It can also be stressful for the sufferer, as he/she might need to make changes in nutrition, activity level, or other areas of life. I'd really recommend you consult with a registered dietitian who specializes in treating eating disorders (it's important that the person is trained and experienced in working with these illnesses- otherwise that clincian could, at the least, not be helpful, and, at the worst, recommend things that are not in your best interest). It's also important to consult with a good doctor or other health care professional who understands eating disorders- to make sure your health is remaining stable as you make the nutritional changes you'll need to. Getting the proper professional help and support is a way to ensure your health, as well as giving you the best chance of avoiding becoming more ill and/or needing a higher level of care, such as inpatient treatment. Best of luck! Johanna
You won't gain too much too fast (and, frankly, at your weight you NEED it)! Especially after such a long period of restriction and with such a dangerously low body weight, it can  take a lot - as in thousands, more than the normal 3,500 extra - of calories to gain even a single pound. And even if you do see the weight come up, it's often a lot of water weight gain and bloat at the beginning (not to mention the weight of the food itself), so don't be startled - that's not stuff that sticks. I agree with the doctor above - I'm glad that you want to recover, but the whole 'recover on my own terms' bit worries me. On your terms, or on ED terms? That's dangerous territory. I recommend inpatient, especially with your stats, but if not, pleeeasse at least get an ED team - a therapist, a doctor, adn a nutritionist who is familiar with eating disorders. Good luck!
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