I shared my HA symptoms in a past blog and video and now that I am almost 7 months into recovery I am sharing what to expect in the recovery process. First off, recovery is uncomfortable. When you first begin recovery every symptom can be seen as normal with a caveat. If there is anything life threatening then obviously you should seek help. There are so many things that happen in recovery we feel like we need some validation or reassurance that we are on the right path. I am going to cover possible things that can happen. Whether or not you get them doesn’t make your recovery any more or less normal. You may experience additional symptoms or have a different experience and that is OK. Every day can be different too. There were days I was starving and there were days I was felt so full. There were days I had insomnia and days I slept really good.
Recovery time can be dependent on your genetic and how suppressed your body is and how quickly you can bounce back. How long you have restricted or overexercised may influence your recovery because your body may have a lot of healing to do. If you are still under a lot of stress this can also affect symptoms and of course recovery time. If you are in what they call Quasi-Recovery (Half In), this could also impact your recovery.
Recovery is TOUGH and everyone’s journey is different. Since everyone’s recovery length varies you may see the symptoms when you first start, when you are all in for a month or scattered throughout recovery. Remember just because you get your period back doesn’t make you 100% recovered. Your body OR mind may still have some other healing to do so don’t you get all crazy and go run 10 miles!
Symptoms and Experiences in Recovery
1. Obsessiveness about food
If you didn’t have this before you will most likely have it now. If you have restricted in the past you may start to see what they call extreme hunger. What you think you are doing in regards to binging may likely just be your body asking for the calories it needs. Don’t go into panic mode that you now have a binge eating disorder. I would see this as a good sign that your body is waking up. You may start allowing yourself certain foods and it will turn into eating a ton of that food or you may give yourself a little bit and it may feel like you just can’t stop. Don’t freak out! This can be normal! For me I kept craving a Dunkin Donuts blueberry muffin. I hadn’t had one in years and every time I had one I would need another one. I was scared because every time I thought about one I had to stop and get on. Every time I would see the sign I would panic and it felt uncontrollable. This will go away. It won’t last forever. It could last days, weeks or months. Once your body is nourished and comfortable you won’t be obsessed.
2. Weight Gain
As with eating a lot you can imagine weight gain will come. Weight gain looks different for everyone. You may gain rapidly then stop gaining, you may lose and then gain or you may have slow gradual weight gain. At times you may feel like if you keep eating the way you do that you will become huge or balloon up. Don’t worry your body will regulate even if you overshoot your weight set point.
3. GI Problems
Many people experience GI Issues. This can include nausea, extreme fullness, constipation and bloating. You GI tract is just waking up and adjusting to the increased amount of food, calories and carbs.
4. Bloating and Swelling
Along with bloating you may have swelling. This will look different for everyone. It could be your face, hand legs or stomach or anywhere else. It is your body retaining water and adjusting to the increase in calories and carbs. My face swelled for a few weeks and so did my stomach.
5. Aches and Pains
Aches and pains is another symptom in recovery. Your body may ache like DOMs or delayed onset muscle It may feel like you just ran a marathon or were working out like crazy. You may feel old injuries resurface.
6. Sleep Changes
Sleep is can go to getting really good to being horrible. You may be awakened throughout the night due to hunger. You may have insomnia or you may sleep like a log. I personally have always had sleep problems so I am jealous of all of you that get a restful nights sleep!
Emotions are another part of recovery that can be affected. You may become more depressed or anxious and this could be the fluctuating hormones, lack of control, You may cry about everything or you may be feeling anger. These feelings hit me pretty hard as I felt numb for quite some time prior to recovery.
8. Brain Fog
My mind became more fogged before it became clearer. I was drained mentally when I first started recovery. Not only was my body tired but so was my mind.
9. Comparison Thoughts and Comments from Others
You may find yourself comparing yourself to others. No longer feeling like the smallest person in the room. You may begin to hear comments from others about your weight, food choices, amount your eating or how you are different. I had some people as me why I wasn’t exercising, people talk about the size of my arms, people that tried to figure out what was going on with me or if I was possibly pregnant.
10. Full On Identity Crisis
Recovery takes you out of your norm. It changes you and leaves you without your stress reduction or old habits. I personally felt like I had an identity crisis. I was no longer the fit girl. I didn’t have exercise in my life. The weight gain made me not recognize myself. I was wondering who I was without out these things. I wanted to be at the gym and I became obsessed with other things including podcasts, researching and needed to put my energy into new hobbies like blogging, creating YouTube and going back to school. I wasn’t exercising so I felt I needed to do something to fill the emptiness.
Let me know if your relate at all to any of these and check out the video if you want to hear me speak about each one of these symptoms.