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Is it normal to binge eat in recovery from anorexia or does that mean you are developing another eating disorder ?

23 Answers
Last Updated: 10/05/2020 at 10:31pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Lindsay Scheinerman, MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

My work with clients is to help them recognize and build on their strengths to find solutions for the conflicts presented in their lives.

Top Rated Answers
November 2nd, 2015 9:44am
I did the same thing. I went from strict restrictive Anorexia, to full-blown binge eating - and I gained 3 stone in about six months. I'd argue that it's more normal than it seems - your body is trying to compensate for all of that time you spent restricting it from foods it needed, so it goes into overdrive, and then can't stop. Finding the balance is so hard when recovering from an Eating Disorder - but stick with it, because you'll get there!
August 24th, 2015 3:23pm
It is completely normal, you were starving yourself. Your body and metabolism are trying to getting use to the change. It takes time... slowly, but surely, you will stop binge eat. If not, contact medical assistance. Kimly
December 16th, 2015 9:43pm
I personally went from Anorexia to BED, so yes - it is possible. You still have to watch what you eat for a while, I suggest not eating what you want (because that can easily result in BED or even Bulimia) but having 3 balanced meals and snack on fruits and veggies. Some sweets won't kill you, but it shouldn't get a daily thing.
May 19th, 2015 4:55pm
You can see it in the positive light that your eating again. However, our main goal when recovering from any ED should be having properly timed and balanced meals. It really helps if you schedual 3 portioned meals and 2 snacks in the day. This will allow your body to get into the habit of regular, balanced eating, and help you recover from the eating disorder.
December 15th, 2015 2:46pm
If you are recovering from anorexia, you may feel like you are eating a lot, when you are really eating the right amount of food. You shouldn't have to worry if you are putting on weight, it's most likely a good thing.
April 17th, 2017 8:25pm
It is definitely normal to binge eat. Because you're recovering from anorexia, your body is learning how to eat properly again. Your body is hungry and trying to catch up on lost time. Focus on your recovery and on eating. You're doing great.
October 25th, 2015 2:53am
It is completely normal
February 8th, 2016 10:52pm
Yes, it's normal to act like this. Since you were starving your body, on the path to recover it claims food. It's up to you to control just how much you binge.
November 9th, 2015 4:13pm
It is common, but it is not healthy. When I went to treatment, at the time it was for bulimia and if I continued I would have died. But a couple years before that, I was an anorexic. All eating disorders are on the same spectrum. I met many people who had over come anorexia and then turned to binge eating, bulimia, or compulsive overeating. I strongly support anyone who suffers from an eating disorder or is in recover for one to attend ABA (Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous) and/or OA (over eaters anonymous) meetings and get a sponsor as soon as possible. I am here for you!
June 9th, 2015 4:18pm
It can go either way. You are eating, but if it continues to go on after recovery, then you are developing another eating disorder.
November 28th, 2017 7:43am
Hello there :) I used to have anorexia nervosa myself, and I understand exactly what you’re talking about. Eating more food is necessary in gaining weight back and recovering from anorexia. It gets unhealthy or problematic if someone is eating so much that they feel sick or cannot stop. I wouldn’t worry about developing another eating disorder, because I had to eat a lot of food to recover, but once I did, I was back to what people would consider “normal” eating habits. However, if you find that you are eating so much that you feel unwell or have recovered from anorexia and are still experiencing this, than I would reach out to someone (just like this!) I hope that helped and we are always here for you
February 15th, 2016 11:18pm
It's normal to have a LOT of cravings after such a long period of restriction... but if you keep bingeing (and not healthily satisfying your cravings with moderate amounts of the food that you have a craving for) it could also become a habit and then become Binge Eating Disorder (BED) but if caught and managed early it can be prevented. It's common to have so much cravings it's hard to control it during the anorexia recovery process.. that's why strictly following the diet plan created by your team (the dietitian) , really helps! Also apparently, from personal experience, having supplements such as Ensure for snacks , alongside meals, instead of sweet treats or junk food .. can help you manage the cravings and not binge on any really good stuff , while also providing you with a lot of vitamins and minerals . But that does not mean we should not allow ourselves slightly less healthy treats once in a while, in moderation :) (otherwise there's the risk of orthorexia too if you develop a rigid habit of not being able to eat anything that's not "healthy" and that can become an unhealthy obsession!)
October 17th, 2016 6:12pm
Well, your body is desperately craving all of the nutrients that it hasn't had for so long. Binge eating is not abnormal in such a situation, but it is still something you should speak about with your doctor.
May 22nd, 2017 6:01am
Recovery from any eating disorder is very different for each person. Someone recovering from anorexia might swing the opposite direction and binge eat. This can be because of the body's need for food, or because of a change in mindset. Eating disorders are not hard and fast rules. Many people can change between different diagnoses over time. The important thing is to communicate with your medical team and share your concerns. They can't help if they don't know.
September 10th, 2018 1:29pm
One thing that can help is seeing your eating disorder in a more positive light. However, the main goal of recovering from an eating disorder is to have the mental ability and be timed correctly for you and to have a more balanced diet and meals. It can help by maybe making a food journal and getting into a regular habit of eating 3 meals a day and some snacks during the day. This is going to take time, and I understand that it will be hard, but it will be worth it when you full recover and feel much better.
April 28th, 2015 6:04pm
the best way is to be mindful when eating. don't put too much pressure on yourself and taking thing step by step.
November 13th, 2015 8:54pm
I think it happens quite often. But in my view it's a good sign because you are able to let the old Habit go. Overeating isn't good, but it helped me to loose the fear of Food. To be honest I'm not fine yet because my eating Habit has to get the Balance but now I have the Chance to improve my mental health. I don't love my Body yet, because I've gained a lot, but It's something I can accept during working on my Problems. So Keep going, you will find your way! Never give up!!
February 16th, 2016 10:29am
If you're eating more than you should, then yes, it could develop into a problem. Even during recovery from anorexia, you have a certain limit to which you can eat. If you force yourself, then it'll have bad effects on your body and health. Eat the prescribed amount to regain your former health and shape back. Anything if excess is always bad.
May 9th, 2016 1:09am
it depends on what you're eating. try to start eating healthily, not only junk food. junk is good but it isn't beneficial to your body. binge eating disorder is when you eat emotionally, so if you think you're over eating (eating more than the average person would), you may have b.e.d.. talk to a doctor if you have suspicions for the best treatment. good luck! (:
October 20th, 2016 6:01pm
I think it is common to struggle with finding a balance. Part of recovery can involve swinging wildly from one extreme (starving, calorie counting) to the other (bingeing). The big picture goal is about developing a new relationship with food that isn't tied up with the deeper emotional issues. Good luck to you!
February 27th, 2015 11:33pm
you should look at a guide for what to do after your not anorexia anymore because that can affect your body
September 18th, 2020 8:50pm
Personally, I’d say yes because anorexia involves restricting yourself of food for dangerous lengths of time. For me, when it really got to an overwhelming stage, I found myself eating dangerously high quantities of food within a short span of time. And I initially felt relieved in the sense that my eating disorder is coming to an end. However, over time I could see that I was not able to limit my food intake and it spiralled into bulimia. But yes, it does seem like a normal reaction from the body as it frantically tries to restore lost nutrients to the cells to compensate for all the restrictive eating.
October 5th, 2020 10:31pm
Speaking from personal experience, it's hard to go from restrictive/no eating to a normal healthy diet. The times where I've gone through a recovery period, I've found it extremely difficult to hold back from eating so much the it becomes unhealthy in the opposite way. It's definitely normal and happens to a lot of people. I think it partly has to do with your body being in survival mode and wanting to ingest as many calories as possible since it feels it may not have the chance to eat again soon. I've set up a safety net of healthy meal plans to help me get on track quicker after going through a restrictive period and I would suggest doing that to anyone that is struggling similarly. It helps a lot.