Anorexia/Eating Disorders/stunted growth

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Question
Starting when i was 8 years old, i cut back my food intake and lost a lot of weight. I gained it back and was completely healthy within a few months. When i was in seventh grade, i became anorexic and dropped down to 50 pounds at a height of 4'9". I was in the hospital 3 times, the third time for 2 months. My recover process went well but a few years later i began counting every calorie i ate, and now at 16 and almost 5'1" i continue to do so. I love fitness and am really focused on getting a toned body(without losing weight). I weigh 95 pounds but can't stop counting calories because I'm scared of gaining weight. I also eat only healthy foods and am very strict on my diet. I had my period 2 times over summer but I've lost about 10 pounds since last year(5 pounds since the summer) and haven't had my period since. Im worried i won't get it at all. I am also really depressed about my height. I'm tired of people calling me short. Knowing that I'm supposed to be around 5'7" and I'm only 5'1" because i stunted my growth during my ED kills me. I can't take it anymore. I need to do something about my height. Im so unhappy with myself and i don't know what to do. During summer i talked to a doctor about receiving the HGH but she said i could not take it since i had started my period, but since i haven't had my period since summer time(and iveonly had it twice total), i wonder if i can actually take the growth hormone. Pleas help. Any suggestions would be great. I can't take being this short anymore.

Answer
Hi Kristen,

I am so sorry you are going through this. At 16, it's possible that you may have missed some growth spurts and taking HGH may not help. When do women in your family typically stop growing? If it's around 16, you may not grow that much more. If it's in your early 20s, then you've got some time. Your best bet at this point is to stop restricting calories. If you are not menstruating, you probably aren't producing hormones, including GH, at a sufficient level. And there is no way you are going to get your period back or start growing again if you aren't giving your body the fuel it needs. Also make sure that you are sleeping enough as most of our GH is released when we sleep.

This is what I want you to do:

1) Go to this website and create a profile: https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/CreateProfile.aspx. Once you've done that, it will tell you how much you should be eating of each food group each day. If you click around, you'll even find sample meal plans.

2) We need to work on your negative body image. Have you thought about therapy? If you are not ready to do that, then I recommend you start working on your own to improve your body image.

I recommend the following resources:

The Body Image Workbook by Thomas Cash - http://www.amazon.com/Body-Image-Workbook-Eight-Step-Learning/dp/1572245468

Diet of Despair by Anna Paterson - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Diet-Despair-Eating-Disorders-Families/dp/1873942192

In addition, here are several good web resources for healing your eating disordered thinking:

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/eating_disorder_treatment.htm
http://www.healthyplace.com/eating-disorders/articles/eating-disorders-self-help
http://www.healthyplace.com/eating-disorders/articles/eating-disorders-self-help
http://www.eatingdisorderself-cure.com/
http://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/recovery/self-help-tools-skills-tips
http://www.something-fishy.org/whatarethey/coe.php
http://anred.com/welcome.html

I hope you find these resources helpful. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.

Anorexia/Eating Disorders

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Mary Pritchard

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Organizations
Midwestern psychological association, rocky mountain psychological association

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

Education/Credentials
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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