Why do we find weight gain so hard?

Why is weight gain so hard for someone struggling with Anorexia Nervosa? Why do those little numbers and figures hold such power over us?

Why is weight gain so hard for someone struggling with Anorexia Nervosa?

When it comes to recovering from anorexia nervosa, weight gain is one of the hardest hurdles to overcome. But what goes through our heads when we know it’s unavoidable in order to recover? In this blog post, first written in twenty nineteen when I was going through the early stages of recovery, I take the time to explore my own issues with weight gain. And why, in a society soaked in diet culture, it can feel like the end of the world.

November twenty-nineteen.

I can’t understand or cope with myself today. After a week off from therapy, I dragged myself into her office and stepped onto the scales. The number flashed up, my stomach felt sick, I felt dizzy and a distinct fear rose from my feet, right up to my skull.

That little mechanical box holds so much power over me. Its digital numbers scream in my ears and pull me apart from the inside out. They cook on the anorexic fire burning within me.

Weight gain is necessary for recovery!”

I know!

I’ve written about it all before; This is why we hate weight gain, this is why we need it, and this is how we deal with it. But it’s always easier said than done.

In theory, I know how to cope with weight gain. I know why it’s happening and I know its role within the parameters of my recovery. This is not my first rodeo and despite what my mind would have me think, I’m not stupid.

So why can’t I override the anorexic mindset, and replace it with my logical brain?

Here’s the thing; I’ve been living with anorexia, or some form of disordered eating, for over twenty-three years of my life. I overeat, I restrict or I purge. There is no sweet spot just one big psychological mess.

I restrict myself on a daily basis. My metabolism is well and truly broken, and when I go outside that restriction it’s not able to cope. Unlike a healthy person who has never denied their body (there aren’t many of us) my metabolism can’t handle [redacted] calories a day. It can barely handle eating an extra apple, never mind something of more calorific significance.

So I eat the bare minimum to pass myself at the clinic and yet I still gain weight faster than expected. I overshoot! Possibly an anorexic patient’s worst nightmare.

Cue emotional breakdown.

I end up crying more about weight gain than anything else during therapy. So many things spill from my mouth. I’ve barely any support, I’m unbearably lonely, I’m distracting myself by writing, and my family doesn’t get me. On and on until I’m sure the session is over.

But it’s not.

My therapist has some truth bombs to give me, and we discuss the often avoided topic of goal weight.’ Here’s the shocker; It’s higher than I had anticipated. In fact, it’s far higher than I am even remotely comfortable with.

So here I am, trying to sit with this feeling and the knowledge of my inevitable weight. It’s sitting in my stomach like a bag of stones, it’s pulling apart all the hard work I’ve done.

But how do I stop it from dragging me backwards?

Is there anything I can do to stop it from holding me tightly? How can I ask it to leave when I need it’s comfort so badly? And how do you start your life over when it’s constantly falling apart?

I don’t have anything now. I’m unemployed, my grandparents are sick and dying, my parents are grieving, my partner doesn’t get it and I don’t bring this up with my best friends because, why bother? It won’t change anything.

Weight Gain; A Reality Check.

Just because I write about mental health and recovery, does not mean I am in a good place with my own. I have the desire to help others by using my own experiences, and sadly those experiences are often repeated in a cycle for me. This fuels my impostor syndrome and leads me to believe that, because I’m not living my perfect ‘recovering life‘, I have no right to preach.

But mental illness recovery isn’t an easy street.

It’s full of hidden turns, potholes, diversions and life lessons. There are so many forks thrown into the road that the map doesn’t add up anymore, and I’m left standing with a compass that I have no idea how to use.


  1. It’s so difficult to accept that our bodies want to be at a place that we might not be comfortable with. I’m finding it so hard to look at myself right now & I’m still 2-3KG off my healthy weight. But I know my body will fight to get there and stay there, and I just have to trust her.
    Sending you much love pet. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. x

  2. The struggle is real! And people can me so rude sometimes without meaning to. It seems everybody knows not to shame overweight people but I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me I’m too skinny. Why is that okay? Take care of yourself.

  3. First off – I’d like to applaud you for being so transparent about something so personal. Secondly, everything you said in this needed to be brought to light. The struggle is real, but you are doing fabulous! * HUGS *

  4. Everyone’s journey is different so it’s about what is best for you and what works for you. I struggle to gain weight too.

  5. OMG – This is my life right now! I am Currently at my highest weight in a long time, and, honestly, it’s my healthy weight – but it is SO hard to accept! The fact that I have gained leading up to this is such a challenge to wrap my mind around!!!

  6. I’m sorry for your struggles. I also struggle with weight gain especially now that we are all staying at home and it’s getting hard to be motivated!

  7. Thanks for sharing your personal struggle with this as it can help so many more. They mind can be our worst enemy for sure.

  8. Thank you for sharing you story, I hope it can help someone going through a similar situation and may you continue to succeed!
    XO, MJ

  9. I had so many problems I must say but fortunately never related to food despite depression or anxiety. It really is an annoying and important obstacle.

  10. This is such a tough topic because as women we often find our worth in our outward appearance. It really is a battle to fight those unhealthy thoughts. Avoiding the scale and focusing on health made a huge difference in my life, but it was a process to get there.

  11. Sometimes sharing our experience makes us accountable of what we have to do to better ourselves. I just encourage you to keep on trying. You are going to get there, you are going to gain weight and leave that past behind you more than you ever had. I know it’s already behind but it’s going to be a bad memory and not a recovering struggle.

  12. I am at a loss for words. I have no idea how it feels like to be struggling with what you have just described. I’ll be praying for you.

  13. Thank you so much for your comment and I’m so sorry to hear about the eating disorder you suffer from. If there isn’t a name for it, it usually falls under EDNOS (Eating disorder not otherwise specified). There is help out there if you need it, you just have to advocate and fight for your right to treatment.

    Wishing you a happy new year. x

  14. I have only heard of anorexia in the movies and people suffering from it. I do have eating disorder but mine is different, i dont even think there is a medical term for it, I do feel you but i know you will overcome. And am really sorry for your loss

  15. Thank you so much for reading. It’s a very sensitive subject for many, but one I feel better sharing because it allows me to put things into perspective.

  16. Weight gain and weight loss are very pressing issues in society that go underlooked. Its an emotional journey for sure, and sometimes it may be difficult due to mindset or lack of motivation. Thank you for your post.

  17. Thank you. Weight struggles of any kind can be so awful and can throw us headfirst into a spiral of self-hatred.
    I wish you all the best. x

  18. That’s what I’m trying to do. They weigh me weekly at the clinic, but otherwise, I’ve managed to mostly stay away from the scale.
    Thank you so much for reading.

  19. I like that you are brave and open about this. A lot of girls suffer in silence. No one should go through this alone. No one should be criticizing the physical appearance of others either. You are not alone! You can do this.

  20. Take it one step at a time, maybe don’t weigh yourself but see how your measurements change instead

  21. I am so sorry for your struggles and so inspired by your bluntness. I will continue to follow along to see how everything is going for you. I’m struggling with some added pounds myself and am looking for inspiration to shed them or at least embrace them.

  22. Your honesty is refreshing. Everyone has struggles in their lives, and it seems larger, when other components are not working for you. But, I hope you know, just by writing about your struggles, you are an inspiration to someone else.

  23. My uncle having the same issue and it is struggle, but he manage to live his life and follow a food schedule and everything. Still, he still has it.

  24. by the sounds of it you are vomiting over 5 times a week
    how would your family/friends feel with out YOU About


  25. This was such a compelling read. Most people have the opposite problem, so I appreciate you sharing your experience with us. Good luck with your journey.

  26. It can be so hard. I have stopped myself from weighing/buying scales/restricting in the past. But the closer I get to ‘goal weight’ the hard it appears.
    Thank you so much for stopping in. I’m sorry you’ve struggled, it’s so difficult and horrible and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. No matter what side of the coin you’re on, weight issues are a hard thing to cope with.

  27. I’ve been trying to use that as motivation to get to a healthy weight. I’ve been asking myself ‘What will I gain by gaining weight’ rather than ‘what will I lose’ which is always a stupid answer.

    Thank you so much for stopping in and reading. x

  28. Thank you so much pet. I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with this too, but also grateful that there are people out there who get it!
    Sending much love. xx

  29. I cannot imagine what you’re feeling. Perception of self, especially as it relates to weight, is such a difficult thing to wrangle. I appreciate your honesty and transparency with such a sensitive topic. I hope you’re able to get to a healthy goal weight, in a way that is acceptable to you.

  30. Perception is such a tricky thing to wrangle because no one sees you as you see you. I appreciate your honesty and willingness to bravely speak on such a personal and sensitive topic. I hope you are able to make piece with this challenging battle of getting to a healthy weight, in a way that works for you.

  31. Ugh I totally get lacking motivation because you feel crummy. As an overweight woman I’m struggling on the other side and some days it is just so damn hard. I just keep reminding myself of the good days and trying to fight the hard one.

  32. I dont have Anorexia Nervosa, but as an obese woman who has struggled her whole life with weight, and as a person who has struggled with depression, I know what you mean when you say, you lack motivation because you feel like crap. When you dont feel good about yourself, it’s hard to show up for your life. I agree that being able to answer the one question, “who do you want to be,” will help you tremendously. It certainly helped me!

  33. Oh my Goodness, I needed this today. I have been in recovery for my eating disorder too. I have been having personal setbacks this past month with my writing and I feel like everything is falling apart. Thank you for reminding me to keep going.
    P.S. I have been raised by my grandparents and have been living with my grandpa since I was sixteen. Here is a big hug! xxx.

  34. It is so hard to get past a mindset. Changing a perception is way harder. Good for you for recognizing where the problems were and taking the brave steps to move back in the right direction.

  35. peoples views/judgements about say Anorexic are very Snotty Nosed
    do you have Anorexic because you was bullied/Abused .BOTH HAPPENED TO ME

    if you would like a chat any time . am here

  36. it has happened too me .putting on weight is very DIFFICULT with Anorexic. IT IS THE AMOUNT
    This is A DAY .takes a great deal out .daily BODY EFFECTS .
    my blog.http;//mark-kent.webs.com
    people never see the every day effects .there views/judgements are very Snotty Nosed
    it would help you a great deal to TAKE PART IN RESEARCH

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