National Eating Disorders Association

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is recovery making me physically sick?

hi im new to this forum. found it because im nervous/triggered by some physical symptoms that are happening to me.

i started intensive outpatient two weeks ago and have been basically on an ensure diet and every now and then we add in some foods as i feel comfortable. but my digestion seems totally messed up. i get crampy and nauseous and sometimes even in pain. im worried about it because sometimes its so bad that i think i am going to get sick. obviously this scares me since purging is a big part of my eating disorder. but i dont WANT to throw up. im scared its going to happen naturally.

also, if this is not just a symptom of recovery, and i have come down with a real illness and need to be sick (involuntarily) what happens to the progress i've made with not purging?

my body's own functions are scaring me right now! i don't know what i'm supposed to do or what being sick would do to my recovery...

I think for most people

I think for most people recovering from an ED this is totally normal. Digestive problems are very common during recovery because, after being deprived of adequate nutrition for so long, your digestive system is going haywire trying to get used to the increased intake. It happened to me too. I was so crampy and gassy and sick, but you have to keep up with your meal plan. After a few weeks this will start to go away as your body adjusts. It is VERY important that you try not to be sick or decrease you intake, because this will only slow your body's adjustment and prolong your discomfort. Everything will be okay and it will get easier, but if you are concerned, you should be asking your doctor about this. Good luck!

thanks for replying. i'm glad

thanks for replying. i'm glad i'm not the only one feeling this way. i was feeling like a failure for getting nauseous because i thought my brain was just trying to tell me to purge. it probably is really, but im not listening.

im still taking in what im supposed to. im just really frustrated and discouraged. i wish i could feel proud and feel physically energized or just "better" from taking in calories or eating small bits of real food, but instead my body goes nuts and i'm usually uncomfortable all day long! sometimes i have to quit what i'm doing and just lay down several hours if not all day to get through discomfort. ugh. haven't given up though.

and i do talk to my doctors pretty openly. sometimes i just get nervous that they try to make things seem more normal than they are so that i won't give up. i think i need to hear from other people that this happens and that i'm not failing or doing a bad job.

I know exactly how you feel.

I know exactly how you feel. I am going through exactly the same process atm. Sometimes I feel so sick/uncomfortable I never want to look at food again. BUT it is worth it for those rare meals I relish and enjoy. I've read loads of forums of those in recovery going through the same thing so we are definitely not alone and you are definitely not doing a bad job.

We just need to take each meal as it comes and slowly the pains will go away. Being patient is sooooo harrrrrddd (because I am very impatient). But if we concentrate on the small steps maybe the journey won't seem so far. And rest if you are feeling sick. Our bodies want and deserve it.

I don't know if that helps but I'm there with you anyway :)

i'm not even eating full

i'm not even eating full meals yet. ugh, i feel like this is never going to be over. :( i haven't returned to bad behaviors, but i'm so uncomfortable and hate every minute of trying. i wish i could just feel happy with my progress ever.

I know your frustration. When

I know your frustration. When I compare what I eat now with what I used to eat it seems stupidly small. But I think we have to remember that that was then and this is now. We have to eat small portions because our stomachs are smaller.
But the stomach does get bigger, it just takes a few weeks. The body is an amazing thing; it does not want to give up, that's it's natural instinct so I think we have to trust in that until it starts to kick in.

I have days when I think 'what's the point? I will never eat normally again' but I try to remind myself that nothing lasts forever. The main thing is is that you want to eat bigger portions and you haven't given up despite the discomfort. That takes a tremendous amount of strength that I seriously admire. It inspires me push through too. If you want change, things will change.

As brookspre says thank you for coming on here. We need to support and inspire each other at these times. Keep going!

ps I am currently permanently attached to a hot water bottle and I am not ashamed... are you?

haha, ive never gotten into

haha, ive never gotten into hot water bottles as they are a bit heavy but now im going to try a heating pad! good idea

I really would recommend it.

I really would recommend it. Or maybe an electric blanket for when you are resting. Heat relaxes the muscles and just keeps you warm - a problem I have constantly in UK winter! :P

You definitely are not doing

You definitely are not doing a bad job. You are actually doing an amazing jb by coming on here and asking for advice rather than relapsing. You should be soooo proud of that! That takes some serious commitment. Your doctors would never tell you something is normal if it isn't. I know right now doctors may seem very untrustworthy and like they are trying to change you, but they really do know best and what is normal. Your body is recovering from being in that starvation mode where your metabolism and digestive system slows down in order to conserve energy. It just takes a week or two for your body to realize that it will now be getting food regularly.

I've been in recovery for

I've been in recovery for about a year now, dealing with Bulimia and major tendencies of Anorexia. Currently at the moment I am trying to eat a certain food. When you restrict so so much your body isn't used to food and your appetite disappears. It takes some force feeding and pushing yourself through until your body is used to food again. It's a deadly cycle but you can beat it. Just push through every meal. You can do this.

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I am going through this right

I am going through this right now and grateful to have found this post!

I found this post because I

I found this post because I had the same question. I've just been diagnosed a couple months ago, and I've been feeling incredibly nauseous and sick for a couple weeks now. My main question though was if I purge because I feel nauseous and not because I want to get rid of the food, is it still bad? I know everybody's different, but I'm scared if I say it's okay, I'll fall back into my bingeing habits.


Purging is never good for you. I would suggest getting in touch with your doctor. It's very damaging to your body. Seeking our the advice of a therapist and psychiatrist is also a really great place to get answers and medical advice.

Gagging during recovery

My child is weight restored for 2 months now but about 6 weeks ago she started gagging during some meals. It can be the first meal of the day or later on. There is nothing medically wrong and she is meal compliant and wants to continue eating but this is making it VERY hard. She sometimes will vomit a small amount onto her plate. It can be worse when anxious but also it can happen when she feels fine (or thinks she does). We are fairly positive it’s anxiety driven (she has seen our DR) and am wondering what others experiences have been and if you’ve found anything that either worked for you personally to help overcome this or help for your child?