This is an unavoidable process in recovery. From start to finish, it can be terrifying, so the best we can do is try to understand and embrace it!!
PHASE ONE: HEALING. This is the phase that took me from the first picture to the second one. When I first started recovery my body obviously had a lot of healing to do. I can't believe how terribly I was treating it, giving the poor thing only ~300 calories per day apart from my daily purges. When I started recovery, I vowed to increase my calories from a starvation amount to a healthy amount. I did this over the course of about two months,so it wasn't an immediate change, but the influx of nutrients totally shocked my starved body! So I got bloated, as most of us do, as my body used the nutrients to protect the vital organs in my abdomen and started re-learning how to process adequate nutrients. I respected that my body was doing these things to save me, but I didn't exactly love feeling like I had a watermelon under my shirt! Bloating can be one of the hardest things to cope with in recovery, but it's NECESSARY!!! Wear some loose clothes and remember why your body is doing this. .
PHASE TWO: ADAPTATION. This is the phase that took me from the second picture to the third picture. This is when my body learned that the nutrition I was giving it was there to stay- I wasn't going to start starving it again. My body remembered how to digest lots of food each day, and it accepted that my vital organs were no longer in imminent danger. Simply put, once I had reached a healthy intake, my body began to adapt to it! I've been adequately nourishing my body and maintaining this weight for about a month now. After months of meticulously planning my meals and counting my calories to ensure that I kept increasing, I finally realized that I didn't need the crutch anymore and began to eat intuitively- following my cravings and hunger- and not counting calories. I don't track my weight either, but I would guess it took my about 15 happy pounds to go from the weight I was maintaining through anorexia to the weight I am maintaining through health. Now, I LOVE my body and all it represents!