National Eating Disorders Association

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struggling with permission to eat after weight restoration

my weight has been pretty stable over the past few months and my dietitian said I'm probably at or near my natural weight again. but now I'm struggling with knowing how much I should eat and giving myself permission to eat. when I needed to gain, it was easier. there was no eating too much since I was supposed to be gaining weight and it was a lot easier to give myself permission to just eat whenever I was hungry (was still difficult, don't get me wrong, but easier than it is now). now that I'm supposed to be maintaining my current weight, it's a lot harder for me to justify eating and I'm scared that I'll overeat and continue gaining when I'm not supposed to. I know that if my current weight truly is my natural set weight that everything should regulate and I will naturally maintain this weight, but I have a lot of anxiety so I have been restricting just the tiniest bit lately. I also know that this might not be my natural weight and I don't think I can mentally handle weighing any more than I already do. so basically I feel stuck since I do want to maintain my current recovery weight but I'm just unsure of exactly how much I should be eating and struggle with allowing myself to eat now that I no longer need to gain.

You said you’re not sure you

You said you’re not sure you could handle weighing more. Would this be different had your dietician not told you that? It seems like that comment was very triggering for you. And I definitely don’t blame you (similar things have been for me too). Try to remember that if this TRULY is the weight your body wants to be, it will not be maintained with ANY amount of restriction. If this is truly the weight at which your body feels good, it will do everything it can to counter any restriction efforts too - meaning that if you restrict now, you may have to start over re-introducing food and regaining regular food/hunger cues and metabolism. I’m so sorry your dietician told you that. The truth is, no one can truly know what weight is “healthy”, ESPECIALLY someone not even living in your body!! Your body knows infinitely more than anyone what it needs and where it feels most healthy. Try to trust it. You never, ever have to “earn” food. Remember that even people in comas need DAILY nutrition! You ARE allowed to eat, and you are allowed to eat in a way that fulfills you, nourishes you, and meets your hunger needs. Believe me, your body will thank you. It sounds like you’ve come so far in recovery. Don’t let this speed bump get in your way. Try to really tune in to what your body is telling you it needs (and if you still don’t have regular hunger cues, follow your meal plan). It could be there’s still some damage that needs healing - healing that will come from adequate nourishment and care. Maintaining weight NEVER means restriction. Ever. Allow yourself to be. And be proud of how far you’ve come in recovery!! Show ED it doesn’t have power over you anymore. Because you deserve all the nourishment and care you and your body need <3


to be honest, I'm not sure if I would've thought differently if she hadn't said that because for a while now I've thought of this weight as my natural weight (though I have been slowly gaining over the past three months so I'm really unsure but I want to stop gaining ASAP). Thank you for your response, though. I'm trying not to restrict but it's just so hard mentally because restricting is my default so I have to constantly remind myself that I don't actually want to restrict but then I question what I actually want or if I should be restricting and I guess I'm still just really scared of gaining.

Hi Butterflygirl,

Trust your body. If it wants you to eat more, eat. If it feels full, stop eating. But do not listen to any ED thoughts that suggest you one thing or the other.
If you are already at your set point weight, your body will ensure you do maintain yourself there. There may some slight variations through the month BUT the value will not change much.
I would say explain to your dietician how triggering her comment was for you and ask her to help you counteract it with her knowledge, too. I am sure she will be willing to do so.

We should NEVER earn the right to eat. Give yourself permission to eat when your body asks you for food. Your body is wise and will never be wrong. Our thoughts may be wrong...If we have had an ED for most of our life, it is almost for sure that our thoughts/mind may be trying to "confuse us"...


thank you. I'm trying to do this but it's very challenging mentally. I might mention that to her next time I see her