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Anorexia/Eating Disorders/will I get fat after anorexia


Hi, I'm 21 and have been struggling with anorexia for two years. The first time I went downhill and went from 120 - 125lbs to 82lbs in a matter of a few months. Since then I've never let myself go back up to that weight because I keep hearing "anorexics become hippos because they trash their metabolism. Before anorexia, I ate... probably close to 3000 calories a day, no exercise, never got above 125lbs... Since getting back from inpatient I've either not ate as much, or over exercised. last time I relapsed I went down to about 102. I'm relapsing again, and weigh 101-102lbs. My counselor triggered me last week because I was frustrated I wasn't "losing as much as last time" and she said "It could be because you've put your body through it so many times in the past few years it changed". This made me not want to eat at all. Is it true? Will I get fat? I just want to go back to my old ways (eating what ever whenever like I used to). I miss it, but I feel I can never do it if this is true.

Hi Kim,

Yes and no. When you starve yourself, your metabolism decreases by up to 45%. So when you start eating again, you need fewer calories. If you eat more, then you'll gain weight. That being said, the more you eat, the higher your metabolism will go. The key is, you need to increase your calories slowly. Safe weight gain or loss is 1-2 pounds per week. That means increasing your calorie intake by 5-10% per week until you are back to a healthy weight.  Once you are back at a healthy weight and your metabolism is restored, you'll be able to eat more normally. You also want to make sure you're getting some movement everyday. 30-60 min per day will keep your metabolism humming.

I hope that helps! Be patient and you will get there!

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Mary Pritchard


I can answer questions about the psychology of eating, disordered eating attitudes and behaviors such as drive for thinness, drive for muscularity, binge eating, body dysmorphia, dieting, excessive/obsessive exercise, and body dissatisfaction. I can also answer questions about anorexia and bulimia.


I have a PhD in Psychology and teach courses in the Psychology of Health and the Psychology of Eating. I have been conducting research on disordered eating and exercise behaviors for 15 years.

Midwestern psychological association, rocky mountain psychological association

Over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles in journals such as Eating Behaviors, Eating Disorders, and Eating and Weight Disorders

PhD in Psychology from the University of Denver

Awards and Honors
30 teaching awards, have received funding to conduct my research from academic institutions and state and local government

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