there isn’t a lot about refeeding syndrome on the internet.
sure, websites will tell you about how it was discovered after the holocaust.
sure, websites will tell you how starvation mode, for an extended period of time, will cause this.
sure, websites will tell you that it’s common while recovering from an eating disorder.
but to me that isn’t good enough.
those aren’t answers.
those are facts.
those aren’t stories from real people.
this is me, november 2011. i was about 95 lbs here and truly believed i was disgustingly overweight.
i decided that if i ever made it to recovery, i’d tell my story.
well, here i am.
the pictures are of me.
the story is my own.
and here’s the uncensored truth behind refeeding syndrome.
the summer of 2012 was a living hell for me.
i had decided in february of that same year i was going to kick anorexia’s butt, so i began my own recovery program without the aid of a hospital.
i’m 5’4″ and at my lowest i was 85 lbs.
i knew i needed to eventually weigh more so naturally, i began to eat more.
months later i would learn how incredibly dangerous this was and how i could have potentially died, due to complications.
refeeding syndrome is the long-term effect of starvation mode in which your body stores everything you take in.
if untreated, health risks can range from cardiac arrest, organ failure and even death.
let that sink in, because of the eating disorder you’ve been clinging to for security, you could die.
the eating disorder i clung to for security almost killed me.
but getting back to the story…
i began to notice my physical appearance changing as i tried to increase my caloric intake.
i began to look “puffy.”
this terrified me because i didn’t want to “get fat,” but i knew i needed more food.
i began trying to restrict again and exercise more, but the weight kept piling on.
it scared me.
my clothes stopped fitting.
my face was getting really full.
the worst part was i was eating less than 400 calories a day and i was still gaining weight fast.
this is me, summer 2012. i had nearly doubled my body weight and was visibly “puffy.” i was incredibly depressed and have very few pictures of myself from this time.
some weeks i was gaining over 5 lbs and my doctors couldn’t figure out why.
they told me to eat healthy, but i already was.
they told me to exercise more, but i already was.
nothing was working, so they began to test me for heart, kidney and intestinal problems.
to make matters worse, every time i ate anything i was getting sick.
i seriously couldn’t keep anything down for more than 20 minutes before i would get sick.
the doctors couldn’t figure out why i was so puffy and i became frustrated.
i quickly slipped into depression and stopped seeing my friends.
i sat inside and played on my computer because i was ashamed at my outward appearance.
a few months ago, i was able to control every aspect of my physical appearance and now i couldn’t even if i tried.
i now was tipping the scale at a little over 160 lbs, officially overweight and unable to do anything about it.
i was about to transfer to a new college and i was afraid no one would want to be my friend because i was “the fat girl.”
i wanted to die and cried all the time.
then my doctor suggested one more blood test:
if this was my problem, it meant my metabolism had been so weakened, by my anorexia, that it stopped working all together.
words cannot describe how happy i was to find out that i tested positively for this disease.
by taking one pill a day, i was able to have a functioning metabolism again.
this meant more energy, better moods and natural weight loss.
over the past 20 months, i’ve learned to be patient with my body as i’ve watched to slow change “back to normal.”
this is a photo of myself from last month. i’m slowly making progress towards a healthy and normal life.
currently i’m in the high 120s and have been told by my doctors not to lose anymore weight.
i’m not allowed to diet, but i am encouraged to exercise daily and make healthy choices.
i’d be lying if i told you everyday is easy and i never struggle.
i’d be lying if i didn’t look in the mirror and sometimes wish i had my skeletal frame back again.
but i’d also be lying if i told you i was happier living with anorexia.
these past 20 months have taught me that i may not look like a model but i’m still beautiful.
these past 20 months have taught me i’s ok to eat a reese’s cup.
these past 20 months have taught me that no one is too far gone.
if you would like more information on refeeding syndrome, please read the linked article.
it’s full of really good information that is very accurate.
just remember, you didn’t get to where you are today overnight, recovery takes time.
you are beautiful.
you deserve to know the truth on refeeding syndrome.