- Sara Mann
Happy Saturday Everyone!!!
*******I want to start by giving a trigger warning! This blog will be talking about overshooting and weight loss.
If these subjects cause you to be triggered, I suggest you take care of yourself and pass on todays blog!
I’ve had a lot of readers ask about my overshoot and I want to address it over the next few weeks,
but also don’t want to cause others to stumble! When it comes to recovery, take care of yourself first!*****
I would say that the questions I receive the most about my recovery have to do with overshooting.
So, these next few blogs I’m going to talk about overshooting, what it is, what my personal experience with it has been and how I’ve dealt with it. I will answer the BIG question.......is it true, when you overshoot, even by a lot, does the weight go back down?
For those that have no idea what I’m talking about, overshooting is when your body, during recovery, gains weight past your normal set point (a.k.a .your normal weight, the weight where your body, when eating and exercising in a balanced way, just hangs out). Some people recovering don’t overshoot, while others overshoot by 60% or more!! Typically in anorexia we start underweight, (BUT NOT ALWAYS, NOT EVERYONE WHO IS ANOREXIC IS UNDERWEIGHT) but during recovery our weight will go past our normal weight onto a much higher weight while we heal, and then once our body heals, our weight will go back down to a normal set point for us. For example, before becoming anorexic Jane Doe was 140lbs. She then suffered from anorexia and entered treatment at 100lbs. During treatment and recovery her body gained up to 200lbs. She over shot her "set point" by 50lbs. Once healed and because she continues to eat well her body slowly went back down to around 140lb. Get it?
Overshooting is probably THE biggest fear in a recovering anorexic. I know it was for me. What if I get fat? What if I don’t lose the overshoot weight? What if I gain 100 pounds!? What if the weight never stops and I just keep gaining and gaining?! It is VERY scary and VERY real. Anorexics love control. We control our weight, our bodies, our food and our exercise. Overshooting puts us out of control and it is frightening. The likelihood of overshooting is high, simply because of how the body works and heals. The body needs to overshoot in order to feel safe and heal and store up after the famine, but the mind is going NUTS dealing with it. It is hands down ONE of the THE WORST parts of recovering from anorexia. It also is hands down something that for me, needed to happen and the further I get into recovery I’m glad it did. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. I overshot, by a LOT, and I now am glad it happened! It saved my life.
If you are in recovery, I bet these next questions are ones you ruminate on a LOT. How do I know if I will overshoot? How much will I overshoot by? How long will it take before the overshoot weight comes off? Will my body ever stop gaining? I had all these questions and they have plagued me my entire recovery. The problem with these questions is....... and you will HATE this, but it’s the truth......no one knows. If someone tells you how much you will overshoot by, and how long it will take to heal, I suggest going somewhere new for treatment. The truth is, no one knows! It is different for every person, BUT there are enough similarities that what we can say is.....
Overshooting is a response to the body being starved.
If you keep eating enough and resting for long enough and allow your body to heal, your body WILL let go of the overshoot weight slowly and return back to it’s set point.
Our bodies are VERY cool and have the ability to heal and recover from starving! It just takes time, trust, acceptance and surrender. All of which anorexics HATE.
The problem with this for me was.....ummmmm that’s a little vague isn’t it??? So I’ll gain a bunch of weight, and then at some point it will come off. When? A year of recovery? Three years? Five years? Fifteen Years?!?!?!
No one could tell me.
It was VERY scary and VERY difficult. Surrendering to the process of recovery, overshoot and all, is HARD. This is why we get treatment, have support and a team of experts who help us through it. Even then, relapses happen. Why? Because gaining weight in recovery SUCKS! Physically, mentally and emotionally it is hard even if it is necessary.
So, I’m going to share about my overshoot in the next few blogs. It IS something that is hard for me to talk about and share. There is a lot of shame, fear, emotions and anxiety that come up when I talk about overshooting, BUT considering it is the question I get asked about the most, I think it’s important to talk about. I will be sharing numbers at some point. When I do this I’m sure it will be shocking. I’ve always kept my overshoot numbers private for my own sake, but if it will help others feel normal I think it’s worth it. (I will also share photos if you want and think it will be helpful. Let me know in the comments or a message.) My fear is that I will scare people away from recovery by sharing about my overshoot. Please pray that these blogs are used to motivate people to keep going and give them hope instead of that fear. I am a person that overshot, by a lot, and it IS coming back down. I want readers to see that it works, recovery is possible! It’s just not easy.
I promise I will always give trigger warnings about what I will be discussing in the blog each week.
Above all else, as I blog about my overshoot, I want you as my reader to know that this is MY story. It does not mean it is or will be your story. Eating disorders effect peoples bodies very differently. There are so many things that go into it. Age, length of restriction, exercise, gender, how we do treatment, re-feeding etc. For me, I was anorexic for seven years straight. I didn’t have times of eating well and then relapsing. I just restricted and over exercised for all seven years. This took a MAJOR toll on my body, to the point of near death, heart problems, severe malnutrition, loss of bone density, worsening eye site, the list goes on. I think this is why I overshot as much as I did and why it took as long as it did for my body to heal and for the overshoot to start to come off. Know that my story is not your story. Your overshoot may not be as much or as long as mine, it may be less, it may be more, it may not happen at all.
At the end of the day, I hope the next few blogs bring comfort that if you are overshooting, scared of overshooting or coming down from the overshoot, you are not alone. We are here to support one another and help each other recover and live full lives free from the control of anorexia!!
See you next week when I will be talking about gaining the weight! (Seriously, pray for me!!)
- Sara -
P.S. Just a little preview. My plan is to talk about gaining the weight, plateauing, losing the weight and finally why Im glad it all happened.