I am still in the process of gaining weight for recovering from anorexia, but there is just one small fear that keeps lingering around me. Since I started my weight gain journey, I’ve maxed out my portion sizes—like extremely. I really need to gain the weight fast. Since then I’ve gotten used to such huge portions (i’d say I’m forcing myself to eat much more than triple the average person) , but I’m afraid that when I reach my goal weight I won’t be able to scale back down to normal portion sizes. I know I really shouldn’t worry about all this at the moment. When you were in recovery, how different were your portions than they are now?
When i was in recovery my portions were slightly different... i drank juice/milk to all meals (i.e 6 times a day) and i also had 2-3 supplement drinks a day so just not drinking those anymore would put me at a calorie deficit/maintenance after recovery. But my portion sizes now i would say are bigger than those at Mando because i did have to drink juice/milk with every meal as well as supplement drinks to get my energy intake in. But now i also eat alot more vegetables and foods which are lower in calorie than at Mando, so those things differ. Its hard to say whether my portion sizes are bigger or smaller, but i would say that my calorie intake is roughly the same or a little less than what i was eating during weight gain.
In my opinion though, trying to gain weight quickly isnt such a good idea. The recommended weight gain is 0,5-1kg per week and more than that - for a long period of time can go too quickly. Your mental state, your thoughts and disordered thinking might not be able to recover as quickly. Its great that you want to gain weight, but i would do it in a healthy way with a not all too quick weight gain. This is also so that you dont have to eat such huge amounts of food. In recovery you do need to eat alot, but its much better to eat normal/bigger sized portions as well as several snacks throughout the day - going for calorie dense options and choosing to drink juice/milk/smoothies with all meals. Because then something as simple as not drinking milk to everymeal when you are a healthy weight will lead to you being able to eat the same amount but still maintain weight.
However when you are a healthy weight you do begin doing more in your life, you have more freedom and can exercise - and from what i understand you enjoy doing exercise (and long distance running - from your question below) so just the fact that you would add in running a few times a week or some other form of exercise would mean that the amount you eat would be +/-/0 and be maintenance. Or you might have to adjust the calorie intake a little.... but that is why it is recommended to not exercise so much in recovery - for many different reasons. As it stresses the body, you need to eat even more, your body and metabolism might not fully recover, it can cause injuries but also then when you are trying to maintain your weight and you have gained weight doing an hours cardio everyday as well as eating then it can get a little messy with maintenace/calories/metabolism etc
I wouldnt eat extreme portions but i wouldnt worry too much about it either, unless you are eating huge amounts where you are gaining like 3kg+ a week, then that wouldnt be so healthy for the body anyway.
Also, now that i’ve been forcing myself to eat so much even at times when i feel so full, I really have a problem telling when I’m actually hungry or not. I’m afraid that problem will follow me into the future post-recovery too… Do you/did you ever face this problem, and how do you deal with it?
As i followed a meal plan with 6 meals per day my body adapted to that and so by 8am, 10am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, 8.30pm my stomach would start rumbling a little.... though as my meals were so big i constantly felt full, i didnt feel hungry. So the hunger and fullness feelings didnt really come back until i started doing more then just eating and resting.
So i would suggest a meal plan with 5-7 meals per day as that will help with hunger and fullness feelings instead of just continuous meals all day or snacking the whole time. Having proper meals is the best for the body and metabolism.
I have some posts below which can help you:
One more, did you have to cut out all cardio completely during weight gain? I used to be a long-distance runner but I’m afraid that I won’t be able to run like I used to because I’ve put all exercise on hold during this.
Yes. Doing lots of cardio or high intensity or long endruance workouts during recovery isnt a good idea. When you are getting to a healthier weight then things like yoga, walking, stretching can be a good idea. But endurance workouts or very intense ones are best left for a healthier weight. For many different reasons, but like mentioned if too much exercise is done during weight gain it can mess up alot of things and make it harder to maintain weight, eat enough, your body to recover etc
You CAN get your stamina, strength and endurance back :) I did it, infact i am even stronger, faster and have more endurance now when i fuel myself properly than when i was sick and not eating enough. But the most important thing, i actually enjoy running now. Its not a form of compensation, but enjoyment and freedom :) So i wouldnt worry about that, even if it takes some time its not impossible to get back to the stage you were before and even better :)