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Old 10-26-2012, 02:45 PM   #1  
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Unhappy Previous weight loss journey led to an eating disorder. Now I'm scared to lose weight

Hey guys... I've been a member of 3FC for almost EIGHT YEARS. I was 14 years old then. I started at around 130 pounds, thinking I was fat and gross (keep in mind, I am 5'2", so I was slightly overweight with my small frame). From ages 14-18, I hovered around that weight and dipped down to around 120 at around 17 years old.

When I turned 18, I moved out of my parents' house and in with my (now ex) boyfriend, and lo and behold, I started packing on the pounds like crazy. I gained 60 pounds in 6 months, bringing me to my highest weight ever of 180, 12 pounds into the "obese" category. I was devastated. I wouldn't let my boyfriend touch me, and our relationship started to fall apart. I was miserable, anxious, depressed, and I blamed it all on my weight.

So, I resolved to lose it. I started slow at first, cutting things out of my diet like soda, ramen, fast food... Lost about 18 pounds that way. Then I got more serious and started counting calories. I spent a lot of time on 3FC, and countless other weight loss websites and forums, trying to keep myself motivated, keep myself on track... Well, it worked, but I became more and more obsessed. I stopped hanging out with my friends, although I don't remember ever making a conscious decision to isolate myself. I guess it was just easier to stay focused when I was alone. I broke up with my boyfriend, because we weren't happy anyway, and I threw myself into losing the rest of the weight. I worked out every day. Not for hours and hours at a time, only for 30 minutes or so. I counted calories of every last bite (weighing everything with a food scale). I started eating 6 small meals each day, and it became habitual... but I was still obsessed. I weighed myself each day, I scoured all the message boards, all I could think about was getting thin.

I never resorted to unhealthy weight loss behaviors, because I didn't want to damage my metabolism. There were a couple times where I did attempt to purge after a binge (binges were infrequent, and usually consisted of watermelon and vegetables). Other than that, I stayed at a reasonable calorie intake. I started at 1600 calories, and slowly ate less as I got smaller, but I never went under 1200 calories per day. I never worked out excessively. Yet, somehow, somewhere, it all started to go wrong... I started getting more anxious and depressed as I got smaller, even though I happily obsessed over every change in my body as it shrank. Eventually, my relationship with food was more messed up than it had ever been. I ate the same things each day, and I would draw each meal out to the maximum amount of time. My therapist told me to add up all the time I spent eating. It turned out to be between 5 and 6 hours. I didn't like eating in front of people anymore, and if I were disturbed during a mealtime, I would freak out.

I don't know how it happened exactly, but despite never eating below 1200 calories (and most days it was 1400-1500), I became anorexic. Physically, I felt like crap, and I didn't know why, because I felt I was eating healthy foods in healthy amounts, and not exercising too much... Despite my "healthy" lifestyle, I just kept feeling more fatigued and depressed. I couldn't focus on anything anymore, not even reading a book. I could only think about food and weight.
By the way, at this point I was under 100 pounds, and still losing about half a pound each month.
I went to the doctor for help. They said that my blood panel was consistent with anorexia, and they accused me of starving myself.
I told them, "1200-1500 calories per day is not starving myself when I'm this light. There has to be something else wrong."
But nobody ever found anything else wrong. I went to a nutritionist, and she just made me eat more and limit my exercise to 3 or 4 times per week. I still lost a little bit of weight on 1800 calories. I got down to 92.5 pounds at my lowest weight.

And then I snapped. I started binge-eating. At first, I rationalized it because everybody kept telling me I needed to gain weight anyway. But I couldn't stop. I felt like I had an impossibly giant hole inside of me that had been gnawing at me for years, and I needed to fill it, but I couldn't... so I kept eating, and getting more depressed, but I couldn't stop the binge cycle.

So I gained almost all the weight back last year. Now I'm overweight, and my blood pressure is high, and my cholesterol is high, but every time I start to make a major change to my diet, the panic builds.
Because I don't know what exactly happened to me when I lost all that weight the first time. I had so many tests done on me, went to so many specialists, and basically the only conclusion they could come up with was "You lost too much weight."
...I don't know how to lose just the right amount of weight. I'm very all-or-nothing. I've been diagnosed with severe depressive disorder, panic disorder, general anxiety, bipolar disorder, social anxiety.. Everything is all intertwined and I'm just feeling so overwhelmed.

My greatest fear is that I'll lose weight and feel just as shitty as I did the first time. Because being skinny just made me more miserable, which I never would have imagined. I never got over the constant feeling of restriction. So now, when I try to restrict my diet at all, it leads to a feeling of panic.

I don't know what my goal is with posting this. I do know that it didn't come out as clearly as I intended, but it's all jumbled up in my head and I don't fully understand it myself. Any input would be appreciated, and I would also love to hear anybody else's experiences with losing weight and having it backfire..

P.S. I will always love 3FC, and I don't blame it for my eating disorder at all.

Last edited by peccavi; 10-26-2012 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:53 PM   #2  
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Oh honey. I wish I had some great words of wisdom for you but I do not. However, I wanted to reach out and give you a hug. Wishing all the best for you!

Last edited by NEMom; 10-26-2012 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:55 PM   #3  
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It's important to remember that eating disorders aren't always really about the food. Sometimes it's about control. My best girlfriend has been anorexic for years. I've see up close and personal how it affects her life.

I understand, because years ago when I first started losing weight, I became very much a control freak. I wrote down every morsel that passed my lips. Weighed myself obsessively. Seemed to think and talk only about food and calories. It was only after my husband sat me down and said, "Look, I think you're becoming too obsessed about this" that I realized he was right. It was starting to take over my entire life.

You should probably see a counselor who specializes in eating disorders, rather than a nutritionist or a regular doctor. They'll help you deal with the outside issues--unrelated to food--that may have led you down this path.

And the only other advice I have is stop counting calories. It works for many, many people. But I do think that the very nature of it--the math, the calculating, the tracking--can trigger food control issues and stress in people who might be predisposed to that sort of thing. Perhaps you should consider another WOE that doesn't involve counting or tracking things, like a Paleo diet (my favorite) or a whole food diet.

Last edited by banananutmuffin; 10-26-2012 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:18 PM   #4  
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Some people are triggered very easily into obsessive behaviors, even when their intentions and aim are solid. Know you are susceptible to this and safeguard against it. Outside accountability and a voice of reason who you trust to tell it to you straight when you're veering into that territory may be a BIG help.

Welcome back, and I hope you can be healthy inside AND out this time. We're here to help in the small way we can
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:25 PM   #5  
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I have similar control and obsessing issues which is why I purposely chose NOT to count calories or have a strict regiment for exercise. I don't have any sage advice for you but it might be a good idea, like the poster above me said, to go for a different type of diet. Trying to eat healthier in general (whole foods, clean eating, etc.), restrict yourself to measuring or pictures as a way to track progress (numbers on scales are so so demoralizing!), and do something really fun for exercise. Try joining a class where you're with other people (terrifying, I know. Social anxiety can be debilitating but one step at a time!) or take up a sport that interests you. Try to shift the focus from numbers on a scale and numbers going in your mouth and numbers of reps. Numbers are heartless, cold, and flat and don't belong being so intimate with our lives that are vibrant, warm and well-rounded. You can do this. We can support you at 3FC. Good luck.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:59 PM   #6  
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oh hun, I've been there (& still am)...you can read my blog for support, or message me ANY time you want to talk.

I understand this completely, & am often "razzed" for being on a weightloss website with no weight to lose. But it's more than just numbers. Like the others said, it's often about control. I have a big heart & open ears to listen if you need the support...

if you need somebody to lean on.

ps) also have depression, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar, celiac, & have dealt with & am dealing with body image & a few eating disorders.


http://www.3fatchicks.com/diet-blogs/veghead/ ...my blog.
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:10 PM   #7  
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I just wanted to post as I have also gone through an eating disorder. I am still in a similar place to you sometimes. I still want to lose weight as I like being slim, although I feel like I have a better view of what's healthy now. I maintained a very 'healthy' weight for most of my ed, but my weight dropped a lot in the last year before I went into therapy. The skinnier I got the fatter I felt I looked and the more rubbish I felt, it was a losing battle and by the time I did get help I looked like a shell of myself.

I also experienced a lot of denial and literally all I could think of was food, exercise and calories. I somehow convinced myself my hair thinning, spots and general despair had nothing to do with my diet-Because I took a multivitamin.

But, realizing this is a really good thing. Sometimes I still feel pretty lost in the world without an eating disorder, it was such a dominant (Albeit bad) part of my life for years that I'm still learning to live without the crutch. I imagine you're also feeling a bit like that also. I sometimes wonder still how you even can lose weight without restricting or purging-But it's irrational.

I know you said you were diagnosed with multiple conditions... I remember how rubbish I felt when I was diagnosed as bulimic, and how uncomfortable I felt going to an ED unit. After I finished my therapy I felt like this label became less important and I became more myself again rather than just an ED patient. CBT really helped me, but you really need the right therapist who you click with.

I have discovered that a better approach to losing weight for me has been doing more exercise and weights primarily. With this came an, eventually natural interest eating more protein based foods and lower carb, rather than counting those darned calories. I can usually guess well enough the calories of something just by checking over the other nutritional info.
I used to exercise-Mostly running quite compulsively so if you have issues with this maybe try something totally new to you.

As a last note, you never mentioned why you originally felt bad about your weight at 14? In most cases it's really important to know why you ever felt that way in the first place. Therapy can be really great at helping you work this out-Sometimes it seems obvious, I know for me I thought it was purely down to verbal bullying from my family and general teen insecurities but it went far deeper than that and realizing this really helped me move on.

Sorry if I have waffled, mostly I just wanted to say if you ever need to talk you can always PM me, as it sounds like we have quite a bit in common. And I agree, 3FC is a great support site and every time I am here I feel motivated to be healthier. There are a lot of great role models on here.
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Old 10-26-2012, 05:56 PM   #8  
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Originally Posted by peccavi View Post
Any input would be appreciated.
It sounds to me like you're stuck in the all-or-nothing mentality: all-out with weight loss or all-out with binge eating. Needless to say, neither of these extremes are compatible with maintaining a weight loss. As we all know from experience, creating too large a physical deficit and depriving yourself of everything that you enjoy virtually always results in a rebound.

Sustainable weight loss requires patience. Aim to lose no more than 1 pound per week at the outset, and start thinking about maintenance from the day you start your weight loss program. Seek to find foods and eating patterns you can enjoy for the rest of your life.

Start today. Savor the process of feeding yourself wholesome, nutritious food in moderate quantities. When you're finished eating, find other fulfilling things to do to replace the preoccupation with food.

I myself have lost and gained 40+ pounds several times in my life. This time feels different for me, because I'm combining vigilance with permission to relax and live. It's all about finding a good rhythm.

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Old 10-26-2012, 09:02 PM   #9  
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I know where you are coming from. Losing weight after an eating disorder is scary. Worrying about falling back into bad habits sometimes runs me off track. For me I try to remember a weight I felt healthy at and refuse to go below that. This may sound odd but if I lose weight too fast I actually try to slow it down a touch. It might sound stupid but if I lose it fast it makes me want to go faster. That thinking gets me in trouble. Go at a pace that is right for you. Every person is different. If you find something isnít working take a look and see what needs changing. Being healthy, not always thin, is what matters most. At least that is my experience.
Then again not paying attention to what I eat and not being very active has gotten me to where I am now. Currently working on being a healthier me.
Good luck.
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:46 AM   #10  
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Welcome back to 3FC! One more suggestion: you may also find it helpful to journal or blog about your feelings (instead of recording calorie intake/output).
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Old 10-27-2012, 11:09 AM   #11  
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I'm working on drafting a response to everybody, I just wanted to say thank you to everybody for your input and support, and !!
I already feel a lot better.
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Old 10-27-2012, 12:13 PM   #12  
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Also wanted to reach out and send you a hug. Loved your perceptive post. You are self-aware and intelligent and you will find the right path for yourself. It will all be well. Blessings.
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Old 10-28-2012, 10:40 AM   #13  
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Oh, I could have written this, you are not alone! At 22 I have done it all and now I can safely say I feel better about my attitude towards health. It takes time. I now do general guidelines instead of strict rules. "General" guidelines differ for everyone but that may help you more than calorie counting. Calorie counting is not easy for me ED wise.
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Old 10-29-2012, 02:32 PM   #14  
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I experienced something similar on a much smaller scale. I've always struggled with my weight and binge eating, but this summer, i took things to the extreme. I decided to basically starve myself, and ended up losing 20 pounds in a couple months--from 160 to 140. Then one day, i just snapped. I started binge eating and i just could not stop. I must have binged every day for at least 2 weeks. I easily gained back all of the weight and more--i was around 162 at my highest.

I realized when i was binging that this was my body's response to the starvation. And i stopped trying to fight it. I just ate whatever i wanted. Finally, after a few weeks, my appetite started to subside a little. Then all of a sudden, a few more weeks later, i realized that food no longer had any power over me. Once i allowed myself to eat whatever and as much as i wanted, food wasn't a big deal anymore. It became just food--nothing special. I have never felt that way before.

Now, it's been a month or two of that--what i consider normal eating--not normal for me, but normal for people without diet issues. I simply eat when i want to, but i never overeat. If i'm extra hungry i'll eat more. I try to not make it an issue. And my weight is slowly, slowly going down...i'm at around 157 now. I think this is the only way i will ever lose weight and keep it off--pretty much by not dieting. Other people may be different but diets just don't work for me--i just can't deal with the restriction--it makes me food-obsessed.
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