National Eating Disorders Association

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Recovery overshoot, mental reprucussions

Hi all,

I became Bulimic 2.5 years ago (has it really been that long) which morphed into anorexia about 5 months later. A year and a half ago I began recovery. I was only anorexia for 4-5 months.

My recovery has been slow. In the first 3 months of recovery I was heavily exercising still, and while I was eating more, I was only eating "healthy" foods and was still perpetually starving. I gained a certain amount of weight over the course of 2.5 months. I went back to college at this point and continued rigorous exercise but started eating even more (a certain amount of calories a day). I gained more weight over the next 6 months. Then I went abroad and finally stopped exercising and allowing myself to eat not exclusively "healthy" all the time, and put on a certain amount of weight in 6 months. I am now a certain amount of weight and I don't know if the weight gain is over. My pre-disorder weight was at a certain amount of weight. To my knowledge I am therefore a certain amount of weight above my earlier set point. However, I still need to eat a lot of food (a certain amount of calories a day) to not be perpetually hungry.

This overshoot brings me huge anxiety. So many people around me are skinnier than me and I am constantly comparing myself to them. I don't know if my weight gain is even close to over and it pains me to see how my arms and legs have expanded, the stretch marks on my butt, and the way clothes cling to my stomach and belly button a way they never did before. I am fearful, and self-loathing.

Will I stop gaining weight soon? Will I go back down? When can I expect to start losing back to my set point again? Have I permanently messed up my metabolism by exercising rigourously and not eating enough throughout the first half of my recovery? I don't know how long I can keep this up for.

Post Edited

Hi amelia!

We are glad that you are finding support here on the NEDA forums. A portion of your post was edited due to the mention of specific numbers that may be triggering to other forum members. Our community guidelines are always available to review here: In the event you need further assistance please call the NEDA helpline at 1-800-931-2237 (M-Th 9-9 F 9-5 EST). Again, thank you for posting, and we hope you will continue to do so!


I struggle with a lot of these same questions as well. While I don't know that answers for your body, I do know your feelings are valid and you aren't the only one! We are all here to support you.

I also know that nothing lasts forever. The body is an amazing thing and will eventually work itself out. But I suggest going to a nutritionist, if you haven't already!

Hey amelia,

Hey amelia,
Yes, your weight gain will stop, but only if you start to develop a healthier relationship with food. After I was anorexic for 2 years and started recovering, I developed what I now see was a binge- eating disorder. I ate enormous quantities (not just on anorexic terms, for regular people's standards, too!) for a straight 6 months and I gained some weight. It was absolutely terrifying and I also got stretch marks and more fat. This pattern is completely normal. You've deprived yourself for so long that your body, now that it is finally not in starvation mode, is eating all it can get because it thinks you're going to go into another period of starvation. Essentially, it's storing fat for the "winter." You can't blame your body or yourself for this. Your body will eventually see that you are no longer starving and your metabolism will kick in. If you can afford it, I would talk to a nutritionist about setting up a meal plan that is NOT restrictive but that allows you to stabilize your weight. Try some exercise but DON'T overdo it. I find that pilates is a lot of fun and a good workout. Be gentle with yourself and understand that your body is recuperating from the shock of anorexia and bulimia and excessive exercise. I used to really really hate my body, so every time I saw myself in the mirror, I would think "I love you, I love everything about you, you are not perfect and I love you all the more for it." Try that. It honestly helps.

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Hey aether--just letting you know your post was edited to comply with our community guidelines: As you continue to use the forums for support, please do not mention specific numbers, as this may be triggering for other users. Thank you for helping us keep the forums a safe space for everyone!


It has been said, and I agree, that "comparison is the thief of joy". Try your best not to compare to others, just treat yourself with the respect and love you deserve! Remember, everyone is different, and each individual has their own unique beauty. You have yours. Don't deny yourself of that. Maybe try buying new and different clothes and experimenting with styles. You might find something new and AMAZING that makes you feel incredible. You deserve to feel like that.
Congratulations, by the way, on your AWESOME recovery! It is so hard to let things like exercise and obsessing over healthy eating go. I'm struggling a lot with that myself. You inspire me that there is hope of recovery, and that letting go is possible.
As far as your set point and weight are concerned, I would highly recommend talking with a physician! Bodies change over time, regardless of any history of disorder. It could be that your set point has changed! It also could be true that you are viewing yourself in a much different light than other people see you. Just because you gained weight doesn't mean you're unhealthy! Maybe, according to other people's perspective, you're healthier and more beautiful and vibrant than you ever were! Talking with a physician who specializes in eating disorders would definitely give you an improved perspective and answer your questions.
Good luck and know you are beautiful and always loved

I've overshot too!


I just want to let you know you are not alone! I have overshot my pre-ed weight by a LOT, like I look like a different person. I do not binge eat, I do not over eat. I think it is our bodies storing up to heal as well as protect. Everyone I know that had this happen said that over time (realistically years) this weight goes back to our normal weight as long as we keep going! My body overshot about 6 months into treatment...continued to gain for another 6 months and has been the same for about 8 months. I also had a lot of swelling. I think a lot that we read says this will happen takes time! Keep eating!

hi me too

i am eating normal but heaviest ever , i was wondering how are you now? did the weight go down?


Hi, I'm stopping by to send you lots of hugs to help you to be ok soon. I'm sorry you are having a hard time. Hugs

I Understand


I know you posted this a while ago, I hope you're doing better! I went through the overshoot period too. It's super triggering and terrifying but if you keep fighting it will be better! Your body is trying to figure out what is happening. For so long it didn't have enough energy to function and now it wants to make sure it won't be starved again. Keep eating with your hunger cues and your body will figure it all out :) Hope and hugs!!!