National Eating Disorders Association

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Feeling the effects of starvation

For a couple of months now I have been severely restricting my caloric intake to a very small amount calories per day. I eat very little, and only eat a few particular foods. Even still I eat in very small portions, and quite infrequently. I am a fairly young female. I began restricting calories in an effort to lose weight, which has worked. I have lost a significant amount of weight so far and I continue to lose weight now. However, in doing so, I realize that I have compromised my health- something that I once took great care to uphold. I was also exercising, by now find that I hardly have the energy to function in my classes, and I nap as soon as I get home because my body feels completely empty. When I eat anything other than what my body has become accustomed to over the past couple of months, I become terribly nauseous to the point where I feel that I must lie down. This is also sometimes accompanied by vomiting. I have been vomiting much more frequently over the past few days and fear that this is a very bad sign. I now find that I sometimes can not even eat the few foods I have allowed into my highly restrictive diet, for I vomit them back up almost immediately as well. Every single night I am reduced to bed rest because I either do not have the energy to function through my everyday chores and activities, or I am so nauseous that I don't find it wise to move from a lying position. Just tonight I ate a tiny bit of my little sisters dinner and violently vomited within the half hour. When I took a antacid tablet I immediately vomited again, and then once again an hour later I threw up almost immediately upon lying on my stomach and it was nothing but water and stomach acid. It seems that the less I eat, the more my body rejects the food I do eat, and I am beginning to realize just how inconvenient and unpleasant the effects of starvation are. However I fear that my body will not be able to bounce back from this, as every time I eat I now feel nauseous. I also still fear that I will put on weight. Frankly, I am still not be size I wish I was, though I am complimented on my newly trim physique quite often. I still don't feel that I am as small as I would like to be, and- no matter how bittersweet- it is difficult for me to convince myself that it's not worth it to continue with these unhealthy eating habits, as it has obviously worked in trimming me down. I do realize that being thin and being healthy are not always synonymous, and especially so is my situation. But I don't know what to do to end this viscous cycle while stil coming to a conclusion that suits my wishes. I am TERRIFIED of putting weight back on and I don't want this period of starvation to have been in vain, as I have put my body through hell in the process. Even still, weight loss is the most important thing to me. I have come here for help in living a normal life and embracing normal, healthy eating habits. I wouldn't ask if I didn't need the help.

cassi.holton edit

Hello cassi.holton.
A portion of your post was edited to adhere to the community guidelines.
To avoid triggering others, usurers are not allowed to mention specific foods, products, amount of calories, or specific weight numbers.
The community guidelines can be found here:
Thank you, and please continue posting.

Hi cassi.holton

Hi cassi. I'm sorry to hear that you're having such a rough time of it; but I am glad to see that you've found the forums. You're in good company.
Part of what you've posted concerns me. So I'm going to leave a number for you to use if you so please. It is the number of a crisis texting service. You can get in contact with a volunteer 24/7 who can help.
You can also find the 'click to chat' client along with other resources on the page.
May I ask if your doctor knows about what's been going on? Does anyone? It may seem scary at first but it tends to be the case that when we reach out to people for help, they are very understanding as opposed to judgemental.
I'd also like to recommend that you check this link out:
If you do end up talking to your doctor, they may be able to get you in touch with a nutritionist.
And as always, if you feeling like you're having a medical emergency, then call 911.
Please consider the links I've posted and please do keep us updated.


Thank you

Thank you for your sincere response. My boyfriend knows about this. I just told him last night. He is trying to help, but he is not well informed about such matters. I talked with him about seeking help from a dietician to help ween me back onto substantial food. However I am afraid of going to my mom about this. As far as I know, in order to seek medical help, I will have to go through my mother because I am still technically a minor. I am quite ashamed of what I have done to myself. I am also concerned that I may end up in this same position later down the road, or one similar to it, as I have never been wary of taking drastic measures to lower my weight. I have been praised for my weight loss by myself and others. It makes it hard to see this as a negative thing, even in the face of serious medical problems. In my experience, drastic measures such as these are the only ones that have truly worked. I am trying to alter my mindset in such a way that I develop a positive relationship with the food that I put in my body, rather than resenting myself for eating well. I also feel that my anxiety is what led me here, and if it continues to manifest in the future, I fear that I may turn back to these such methods.

Hi Cassi,

Hi Cassi,
Your nausea and vomiting (I'm assuming that the vomiting is not self induced?) may be a side effect of your ED but they might also be a symptom of some sort of gastrointestinal problem (gastroparesis, h. pylori, etc.). I recommend you start by scheduling an appointment to see your family physician or GP. Given your recent stomach issues that should be something you can ask your mom about without having to disclose your ED if you aren't ready to. You can then ask to speak to the physician alone (most doctors should ask the parent to step out of the room anyways so they can speak privately with teenaged patients). You'll need to tell the doctor about your ED as well as your upset stomach but s/he should be able to set up some referrals and make sure there aren't other medical issues preventing you from eating. Eventually you will need to schedule an appointment with a nutritionist as well as a therapist (we often turn to eating disorders to help us manage negative emotions so part of getting rid of the ED is finding better, healthier ways to manage that stress) but your GP can help you set up those appointments.

iKristine makes some great

iKristine makes some great points.
I'd simply like to add some links to some resources for the interim.
The "Parent Tookit" is a great resource that's not just for parents. Your boyfriend can red it to learn more about eating disorders and how to better help you:
And here's a second link for him

NEDA also has a helpline that you can call to talk to a trained volunteer. They can give you info, send you in the direction of resources, or just lend an ear if you need to talk to someone. That number is: 1-800-931-2237

I hope things start to turn toward the better. Keep us updated either way.


You Really Need to Find Help

Get referrals for a good therapist, also sounds like you need a check up at the Dr's(general doctor of medicine). Then once the Dr knows for sure that you dont have these symptoms because of a some disease or something then the Dr may be able to refer you a to another specialty and medically insured provider to help you to recover. I heard you mention that you had always valued your health. So Im wondering what changed that you dont anymore? This is why I am wondering if you are sick after eating due to another problem such as either pregnancy or some stomach illness? So please do see your doctor and go from there. You can only get better if you want to?

Refeeding dangers

I want to echo what everyone else has said--you need to get some help now. The reason you feel so sick when you eat could be a side effect of refeeding syndrome, so definitely get in contact with a dietician. They can help you increase your intake in such a way that you won't get the nausea. I really hope you decide to get help--it sounds like you are not in a great place right now.

I know this is kind of an old

I know this is kind of an old post but I felt the need to add to the conversation, I used to do the same. I used to make sure to eat less and less and I eventually started feeling nausea and even threw up after eating, drinking, etc because my body probably wasnt used to it anymore. I've moved past this but I notice that when I sometimes eat less than usual, I get nausea when I finally do. I went to my doctor about this problem in the past and they didnt know what it was so they gave me pills that are usually given to chemo patients for nausea. It immediately helped. I moved past this and wanted to because of the toll it was taking on my quality of life, my mental and physical health. Life became about what food i would eat next, worrying that I would be nauseous, etc etc. It was definitely horrible. I hope that you've gotten better, I believed that this phase was impossible to move past as well while it was happening to me but i promise it will get better if you put in the effort. I sincerely hope that if you weren't able to overcome this, that you will be able to be strong.

I myself, am currently

I myself, am currently recovering from a so far three day long puke session . I woke up two mornings ago dry heaving, throwing up bile (the only contents of my stomach for a few days, Today is the third and I’ve only been dry heaving). My normal eating habits for the past 7 years has only been eating small amounts and only when I’m hungry. Very slowly I’ve been eating less and less, just because I haven’t been feeling hungry, and when I am, it’s uncomfortable and makes me nauseous. In my research, the nausea is the body being hypocritical and telling you, that you are indeed hungry. Too hungry. Throwing up as violently and often as I had been for two days, was utterly awful, and luckily I had somebody to help take care of me. I was (still kind of am) so so very weak from all of that. I wasn’t able to hold myself up, I would pass out and crumple to the floor. I’ve read about people going through this, and having it take weeks, and it’s surprised me that I have recovered in only just a few days. I know it’s a bit late for this post, but for anyone going through this, drink lots of clear fluids and please let somebody know. Even if you’re throwing up, some fluids will stay in your tummy, and you won’t throw up bile anymore. When you feel strong, and haven’t thrown up for 6-8 hours, try to nibble on some saltine crackers, or Un-buttered white bread. This morning just the sight/smell of toast made me tear up, it made me feel so nauseous. I ate less than half a slice of bread, and my stomach is currently settled 3 hours later, by this time tomorrow I’ll be 100%. Just recovering now, made me want to learn more, and see how others have recovered and gone back to solid foods and healthy eating habits.

I realize that this situation can happen from self induced eating habits, or could just be one of those things some people’s bodies have. (Still doing research and asking doctors and nurses)
I’ve noticed most people on the page have sent helpful links to sites with people you can talk to about it, but for whoever’s out there going through what I just did, you aren’t alone. And you can recover.

** There was a part in this post that I noticed, the person posting was worried about not being able to get back onto a normal eating habit, or back onto dry foods. I mentioned some stuff earlier, but Start slow. Drink a lot of water. Small amounts of other clear fluids (ginger ale, Gatorade for electrolytes) if you can’t stomach anything, after two days, please see a doctor. It may seem scary but overall, your heath is dearly important.

Please, I can not stress this enough, do not force yourself to eat a lot immediately, as it can make the problem worse.

I had the same symptoms since

I had the same symptoms since i neglected eating properly due to busy schedule. I would feel nauseated and vomit after meals. Would like to know how you recovered from this? Would appreciate insights from you. Thank you