Milestones to Look Out for When Recovering From Anorexia

If you suffer from anorexia and are on the road to recovery, congratulations! Even if you're only ready to take your first baby step, that first step is huge, and it's setting you off on an important journey.

No matter how long it takes you to recover, it always feels like a long road. There is nothing wrong with that—you'll find your own pace. One day you'll look back and be amazed at the progress you've made.

For now, to ensure you don't get discouraged, think of your journey as not one long road, but several small ones. Look ahead to these milestones of success.

Nutritional Recovery

Starting to renourish your body is a major step and your first milestone. Slowly and steadily, you will re-introduce your body to food.

You should be working closely with a health care professional so that they can guide you and monitor you so that complications don't arise, like refeeding syndrome. Also, be sure to work with a mental health expert if the thought of eating and gaining weight causes anxiety or depression. It's natural to feel ambivalent at this stage. You want to be healthy and to resolve your food issues, but you may still feel pangs of fear and nervousness about eating and gaining weight.

Feeling Better

As you go through nutritional rehabilitation, you may be surprised at just how much better you're physically beginning to feel. As your body comes out of starvation mode, you'll notice distinct differences. Being able to work and focus on something with a clear head, sleeping through the night, or not needing gloves to get through the day feels amazing when you haven't been able to do those things for a while. You'll start remembering what "normal" feels like, and you'll like it.

Letting Go

As you continue to recover and feel better, you may notice that you are no longer obsessed with your weight, counting calories or thoughts about food. Since you're physically feeling better, you'll probably begin doing more things—taking up new hobbies, spending time with friends, or planning your future. This is a good sign.

You might experience some rough days, too; that's okay. You've gone through a lot. Don't wait before you seek help or turn to a loved one for support. Hang in there, because it only gets better.

Getting Your Body Back

Once you settle into your ideal weight and have been renourished, your body will start doing what it's supposed to do. Your metabolism will get back to normal. For women, your menstrual cycle will return. Conditions that may have been brought on by anorexia, like anemia, bone loss, or irritable bowel syndrome, will start to reverse.

At this point, you can look back and be proud of how far you've come. Remember, though, the journey keeps going—and you have a bright future ahead, so enjoy it.

Sources: Eating Disorder Hope, Psychology Today

Photo: Pixabay

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