National Eating Disorders Association

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wife recent diagnosis

good day everyone, this will br my first post, i wish i found this forum earlier.

a brief history on my situation, my wife was recently diagnosed 2 months ago (nov 2020) with anorexia by a psychiatrist. few month before this, maybe summer 2020, she started converting to a specific diet ( she eats a regular diet prior), when I asked why, she said she is limiting her caloric intake to lose weight. she has been doing indoor cycling for about 3 yrs.

this year she added beach body on her exercise routine on top of her daily cycling. I notice her mood getting worst, she gets irritated easily, she is more withdrawn and depressed as well. I asked her how much is her daily caloric intake is, and she said she limits herself to X calories/daily. i asked her this because i notice that she spends her off days grocery shopping and preparing her meals all day. she weighs each and every ingredient, and makes sure that she eats <X calories/day.

she states that this is the only way to she lost weight, and she finally is getting to her weight goal of X lbs. while all this is happening, i told her she might be anorexic and we should consult a psychiatrist. she agreed with me, because she said she want to prove to me that she is fine.
after a long wait, we finally got our appointment, she was diagnosed with Anorexia nervosa, anxiety disorder and depression. she was referred to a nutritionist and started on a medication.
Our nutritionist has been great, she informed her that she needs to increase her caloric intake, and stop using the exercise bike (she complied to this) the dietitian also gave her a guide for her meal plan, which she refused to follow. all this happened in the last 2 weeks, the dietitian asked me to weigh her blindly, she was able to take a peek of her weight and she freaked out. I decided to hide our scale at home so she would stop monitoring, she said she feels like she is gaining weight and will need to keep her diet.

last weekend while at work, she felt lightheaded and had a hard time focusing, so she asked to go home early, she was instructed to go stop by an urgent care if she can just to be sure she is ok before going home. all her vital signs appeared normal, and they did a set of labs. we assume the results was normal since we have not heard anything from them. she decided to call insick for the next day just to rest.
monday came, and she felt normal, and we updated our dietitian on what happened in the last 2 days, and she recommended that my wife go into an inpatient rehab. my wife did not take this lightly,
she told me she would try to follow the diet recommended as long as she doesn’t go in rehab. so yesterday, she finally ate a regular light meal, and we went grocery shoping for her meals this week. she is trying to comply and i know it is against her will and she is not happy. the nutritionist touched bases with me and i told her the progress. she said she is worried about refeeding syndrome and will
talk to my wife again. i know for a fact that my wife will never agree to go to rehab at this point, I am just lost on how to handle this at this point and I know we have a long road ahead of us. I hope someone can chime in and give their suggestions on our situation, I apologize for the long narrative

Dear jareddj3, welcome to the

Dear jareddj3, welcome to the NEDA Forums! We would like to inform you that we edited your post to remove weight, height, and calorie numbers that could be triggering to other users. You can review our community guidelines here. Thanks for your understanding and please continue to post!

Hey Jared

Yeas, it sounds like things are difficult, and if it's only been two weeks since you guys have been trying to confront the recommendations from the nutritionist, you are right - You still have a lot ahead of you.

People go through a bunch of different stages with their eating disorder, and it sounds like she's still in the early stages. I mean. it was not that long ago that she thought the psychiatrist was going to say that everything was fine. Which…a part of her may have actually believed that things were fine. I imagine she must have had a lot of different feelings when they said that things were not fine at all.

And it's true; people can think that everything's OK. It can take them a while to realize that generally people don't spend most of their waking moments obsessively thinking about food and exercise and weighing themselves several times a day, For some people with EDs, it can be the growing realization that that's pretty much the only thing they can think of anymore that finally makes them go. "Uh oh, maybe I really am in trouble."

" she is trying to comply, and i know it is against her will and she is not happy. "

No, she's not going to be happy. One thing to keep in mind : Eating Disorders are a "mental illness" which means that, as you said, being able to just eat and get over all of this…that's nothing that's going to come easy. While in the beginning she may have felt that she was in control of everything - controlling all the exercise, weighing her food, and exhibiting a lot of self-discipline, now it's kind of the other way around - This stuff is controlling her instead. Often when people start realizing that the tables are turned, and they aren't really in control, but are being controlled by their ED instead, that's when they can get irritable and depressed.

So try and keep this in mind : Everything she's going to be asked to do, it's all going to feel wrong! Wrong!! WRONG !!! to her. It's all going to feel like the total opposite of what's right. Gaining weight and eating more - Just the idea of that is going to feel like the whole situation is out of control and totally going in the wrong direction. Which is the eating disorder talking, you know ?

So yeah, if she resists eating, it's not her just being stubborn. It's much more than that on an emotional level. So try not to be mad at her if she finds herself having a hard time with this, or being angry at you and the world.

What it's going to take is her being willing to take some risks with all this. Eating is going to feel wrong, but she's going to need to take some risks with it. The same with seeing her weight go back up. The thought of weight-gain may make her feel panicky, but she'll need to take some risks with that.

In any case, it's still early, and she still may not honestly believe she's in trouble. She may feel that if she does X Y or Z, then people will leave her alone and somehow she'll be able to get away without gaining weight. You'll have to see how it goes. These next few weeks could be tough, so be ready for that and try not to lose your patience with her.

And do keep in touch ? Sometimes it can take a few days to get a response here, but sooner or later you'll get one.

Bob J.