Mental Health Information – Gaining weight during anorexia recovery to return to ideal is a challenge for people who have experienced anorexia. This is because the intake of calories and nutrients can drastically disrupt metabolism and be harmful to the organs in the body.
Here are some tips during the anorxia recovery period that you can do to maintain an ideal body.
Healthy tips to gain weight after anorexia
The recovery period for anorexia can take up to years. This period is very important. Before going on any diet to gain weight, make sure you have consulted with your doctor, nutritionist, and psychologist or psychiatrist.
Here are tips that you can apply:
1. Prevent refeeding syndrome
Refeeding syndrome is a metabolic disorder resulting from the provision of large amounts of nutrition in malnourished patients.
During anorexia, the body uses protein as the main source of energy. When the body returns to its glucose intake, there are sudden changes in metabolism and body fluids.
Instead of gaining weight, people with anorexia are at risk of experiencing organ dysfunction, coma, seizures, and death.
In order to prevent refeeding syndrome, you must increase your calorie intake little by little, not all at once.
Talk to your doctor, as each person’s range of calorie intake varies. You should also consult a doctor if you have any of the following conditions:
- Body mass index less than 16 kg / m2.
- Losing more than 15 percent of body weight over the past 3-8 months.
- Little or no nutritional intake for more than 10 days.
- Lack of potassium, phosphate and magnesium.
2. Know how many calories you need to add
In order to gain weight after anorexia, you need to increase your calorie intake every day. Calorie needs are not determined arbitrarily, but based on guidelines for one month.
If you are not at risk for refeeding syndrome, here are additional calories along with an example of a diet that you can follow:
Sample menu 1,500 calories (days 1-4)
- Morning: cereal and milk, sliced fruit (melon, watermelon, orange)
- Interlude: 150 mL of yogurt
- Lunch: 1 baked potato filled with egg, cheese and margarine, complete with sliced fruit
- Interlude: 2 biscuits
- Afternoon: 5 tablespoons of rice with 1 fried chicken thigh, complete with sauteed carrots
Sample 2,000 calorie menu (5-7 days)
- Morning: cereal and milk, cut fruit
- Interlude: 2 biscuits, 200 mL of skim milk
- Lunch: 2 slices of tuna and egg sandwich, complete with sliced fruit and yogurt
- Interlude: 2 biscuits, 150 mL full cream milk
- Afternoon: 4 small baked potatoes, top with sauteed asparagus and yogurt
Continue this diet until day 10. If this diet is not able to gain weight, anorexia sufferers need to add a snack after eating in the afternoon.
A substitute can be 2 biscuits and 150 mL of yogurt. Continue this diet until day 14.
Sample menu 2,800 calories (days 15-21)
- Morning: Cereal and milk, 2 pieces of whole wheat bread, 1 boiled egg, 2 bananas
- Distraction: 1 apple, 1 cup oatmeal
- Lunch: 1 small bowl of rice, 1 piece of grilled chicken breast, 1 small bowl of broccoli
- Interlude: 1 apple, 150 mL yogurt, 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- Afternoon: 1 medium sweet potato, 2 pieces of meat, sauteed green beans and carrots (use butter)
- Before evening: 1 cup oatmeal, 1 apple, 150 mL yogurt
Continue this diet until day 21. If you haven’t gained weight, add a snack before bed. A snack can be oatmeal, sliced fruit, yogurt, or milk.
3. Set strategies to increase food intake
For people who have experienced anorexia, gaining weight is not as easy as it sounds. You may already know the number of calories that need to be added, but how do you meet your increasing calorie needs?
In order to answer that question, here are a number of strategies you can implement:
- Increase the portion and frequency of meals in a day
- Adds calories from oil, butter, cream, sauce, and cheese
- Limit fiber-dense vegetables and fruits that make you full quickly
- Eat foods high in protein
- Eat high-calorie foods first, then fruits and vegetables
- Take supplements to increase calories
4. Choosing the right type of food
The type of food also determines the success of anorexia sufferers in gaining weight. Choose types of calorie dense foods and contain quality nutrients. So, not only do you gain weight, but you will also get healthier.
Here are some suggested food choices:
- Carbohydrates: rice, whole wheat bread, potatoes, corn, oats, sweet potatoes, cereals and pasta
- Protein: milk and its products, eggs, red meat, nuts, peanut butter, salmon, and protein supplements
- Fats: various types of oil, butter, and avocado
- Vitamins and minerals: dried fruits, vegetables and dark chocolate
The key to gaining weight during anorexia recovery is to meet the growing calorie needs. Make sure you have consulted with your doctor to find out if there is a risk of refeeding syndrome.
If there are no risks, you can increase your food intake based on the guidelines for daily calorie needs. However, people who are more susceptible usually need special supervision in order to gain weight safely.