What To Do If You Think Your Eating Disorder Is Back

Dear Heather,

I just turned 17 and I’m 5’1 and 103 pounds. I used to have an eating disorder. I’ve been trying to be healthy, and my goal weight is 90 pounds. I honestly don’t care if that’s unhealthy or not, I find underweight ladies to be beautiful. I am attempting to achieve this by eating mostly fruits and vegetables while doing about 30 minutes of cardio exercise six days a week. I am beginning to feel desperate to lose weight and find myself forcing myself to vomit sometimes. I’m worried that my eating disorder might come back. What should I do?

I don’t want to sound alarmist or dramatic, but to me, it sounds like your eating disorder is already back. Eating mostly fruits and vegetables is not a balanced diet – you need fiber, protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Working out six days a week isn’t bad on it’s own, but combined with a diet made of fruits and vegetables, it can be dangerous. And forcing yourself to vomit up your food is never, never okay.

I’m not sure what kind of eating disorder you dealt with at one point, or how you got better, but I think you need to take action against this quickly. I understand that you’re saying you want to lose weight, but the reality of the situation is that as a 5’1 female who weighs 103 pounds, your weight is perfectly healthy as is. Everyone has different thoughts on what is attractive and beautiful, but the truth is that being underweight can be dangerous and unhealthy. Being underweight can lead to a weakened immune system, a lack of energy, and fragile bones. Weighing 90 pounds is not a safe goal for you.

What did you do when you recognized you had an eating disorder in the past? Did you talk to your parents about it or get help in the form of rehab? Whatever you did, try it again. Tell someone you trust that you’ve been having issues with eating, exercise and purging – whether it’s your parents, a close friend or a teacher, you need to talk to someone. Then get on track to get better. That might mean going to a rehab facility or seeing a therapist… or maybe it means something else. Whatever it is, do something that will help you before this situation gets any more out of control. 

Dealing with eating disorder issues like these is very difficult, scary and confusing. You shouldn’t have to go through this alone. If you don’t feel like you have anyone to talk to, you can call a confidential hotline provided by the National Eating Disorder Association at 1-800-931-2237. The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders also has a helpline you can call at 1-630-577-1330. You have options, and you can get help. You have a better chance of getting through this eating disorder if you try to deal with it now, in the earlier stages. Please know that you deserve to get better and be happy with yourself and the way you look. Good luck.

take care,
Heather

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