National Eating Disorders Association

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4 months in and struggling

I'm a 29 year old female, who's suffered from some form of ED since I was about 12 years ago. I've never had a normal relationship with food or my body. In these last couple of years, I went down a very miserable path of bulimia, restricting in between binges, and also drinking a ton of alcohol. The same day I decided to quit drinking, I also officially decided to start trying to recover from my ED and reclaim my life.

I'm almost 4 months in and I feel pretty awful. I constantly have lower abdomen pain, and severe bloating and gas. It feels like I'm allergic to absolutely everything, there's nothing that doesn't set my guts off - but I'm still trying to make sure I don't set any restrictions on what I eat. I am CONSTANTLY exhausted. Next level exhaustion. I sleep for upwards of 10 hours a night, wake up still exhausted, and constantly am nodding off all day - I need constant naps just to get through the day. It's been near impossible to work.

My question... is this normal?? Has anyone else experienced these things in recovery? It's hard to sometimes not want to go back to the way it was before. I'm gaining weight consistently, which I know is necessary, but still so hard.. and still feeling physically and mentally awful. I thought I would be feeling better by now.

Anyways, I'm sorry I've been ranting... I'm just, feeling a little lost. Any insight is appreciated.


Hi Mustlovedogs, thank you for posting. We’re sorry to hear about how what’s been going on recently. You mentioned some medical symptoms in your post, and we encourage you to speak with a healthcare provider about these concerns. The following are just some of the signs of a serious problem that demands immediate medical attention:

  • accidentally or deliberately caused themselves a physical injury
  • become suicidal
  • confused thinking and is not making any sense
  • delusions (false beliefs) or hallucinations (experiencing things that aren’t there)
  • disoriented; doesn’t know what day it is, where they are or who they are
  • vomiting several times a day or has uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea
  • experiencing dizziness or fainting spells
  • too weak to walk or collapses
  • painful muscle spasms
  • experience pain in the lower legs
  • complaining of chest pain or having trouble breathing
  • blood in their bowel movements, urine or vomit
  • a body mass index (BMI) of less than 16
  • an irregular heartbeat, and fast heartbeat, or very low heart beat (less than 50 beats per minute)
  • cold or clammy skin indicating a low body temperature or has a body temperature of less than 35 degrees Celsius/95 degrees Fahrenheit
  • experience dizziness, nausea, fever
  • wounds/cuts heal slowly
  • feel tingling in the hands or feet
  • blurred vision

If you experience anything above, we highly recommend seeking help from a medical professional as soon as possible. Seek medical help soon on an outpatient basis if you:

  • have significant heartburn and/or a burning sensation after eating
  • have other gastrointestinal concerns
  • have high blood pressure
  • struggle with significant joint or muscle pain
  • have difficulty sleeping (falling and/or remaining asleep)
  • struggle with fatigue, sudden weight gain, and/or hair loss
  • have frequent urination or unquenchable thirst
  • have gained and lost significant weight repeatedly
  • have gained significant weight in a short period of time
  • struggle with chronic diarrhea or constipation

If you need assistance finding resources in your area, please feel free to contact the NEDA Helpline at 800.931.2237 M-Th 11am-9pm ET and F 11am-5pm ET. Additionally, you can chat with us online M-Th 9am-9pm ET and F 9am-5pm ET. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and take care.

First, I really want to

First, I really want to congratulate you on your steps toward recovery. That is such a scary place to be, and your commitment shows your amazing strength and how much you do want to get better.
A lot of what you’re describing definitely mirrors some of my own experiences. It takes the body a while to both remember how to properly process food after restriction as well as repair all the damage done by EDs. Eating disorders wreak havoc on the body and the internal organs in ways we can’t see. When we start refeeding, it is common to experience many of the symptoms you’re going through as the body adjusts and tries to undo all that damage. It’s okay to rest. Your body is healing itself. Just keep going; keep nourishing. It does get better.
That said, are you working with a team? If not, I highly recommend seeking a dietician who specializes in eating disorders. They may be able to help you come up with a comfortable plan that helps you in your recovery. NEDA has resources for looking for practitioners in your area if you need a place to start.
Keep going. You are not alone. You deserve to eat. You deserve to heal. You deserve recovery

Oh wow, I have almost the

Oh wow, I have almost the exact same story and timeline. I’m 28 and have suffered from ED since I was 14. I also developed a problem with alcohol and anorexia with bingeing and purging. I’m only 3 months into recovery but I am also experiencing the same exhaustion and gastrointestinal upset. I really hope that my body is just healing! I hope this helps somehow to know that you are not alone!