I am 21 years old now, but my eating disorder started when I was 16.

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I am 21 years old now, but my eating disorder started when I was 16. Most of the past 5 years were spent in hospitals or in a blur. I am 4 feet 10 inches weighing 130 pounds at the start. Which was truly overweight since my normal weight range was supposed to be 95 to 100 pounds. Slowly, but aggressively got myself to the low weight of 42 pounds.

Of course, after I had regained to my normal weight of 95 pounds, my body was no longer under my control. I was stripped of my rights and held captive in and out of hospitals for 2 years. The first year back home in recovery, I exploded to 145 pounds. Mostly because of suspicious judgments about me, plus the food was constantly being pushed on me. Not to mention I was not allowed to exercise or go on any excursion that might burn calories. Not doctors orders, but the SWAT team of friends and family around me.

Now another year has passed, where all I’ve lost is 10 pounds. For that year I was set free to eat and exercise as I pleased. So for an entire year now, I’ve walked on the treadmill 5 days a week for 35 to 45 minutes, ate a 900 calorie diet of wholesome real foods like veggies and rice, took bottles of herbal supplements and vitamins, and drank 11 glasses of water daily plus 2 tall glasses of green tea. I’m a vegetarian, but make sure to get my proper intake of protein daily.

I’m moderately active overall and I eat several small meals due to my hypoglycemia. I even treat myself to a chocolate bar a day. So you see, according to all the health guidelines, I should be in great shape. But I’m not and I’m always sick. Am I ever going to get my shape back?

I really don’t have the energy to get all fanatical on losing this load anymore for fear of a repeat anorexia takeover. No, I was not bulimic. I would appreciate your help in relieving my depression. Keep in mind that I’m currently jobless and without insurance. Any suggestions?

It sounds like you’ve had a difficult time with your weight. Due to your past history though, it is good not to obsess about your weight. Aim for a healthy body weight around 100 pounds for your height.

It sounds like your exercise is a reasonable amount 5 days a week for up to 45 minutes. That is a healthy exercise goal.

Your 900 calorie intake per day is too low to provide you with enough energy for exercise especially if that 200+ calorie chocolate bar is included in your 900 daily calories. You need to have enough energy to do your daily activities and should aim for at least 1,340 calories per day (not including a chocolate bar) at your current exercise level. Remember your body needs these calories each day for basic activities and to keep your body functioning. If you were to do nothing but lay in bed all day not moving a muscle, you would need at least 980 calories just for your body to maintain muscle and organ functions. Where’s your body going to get additional calories to fuel your exercise?

One possible explanation for your always being sick is that your body isn’t getting enough calories to be able to fight off infection. It’s very difficult to get all of the nutrients you need from only 900 calories a day, especially with your exercise schedule.

With a vegetarian eating plan, you need to be conscious about eating proteins that have all the protein your body needs to build and repair muscles and organs. Have you thought about eating soybeans or tofu in addition to rice and vegetables? It’s best to follow the My Plate when planning your meals. Be sure to eat a variety of foods to make sure you get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. You are missing fruits, whole grains, dairy, and healthy oils.

About the supplements you take, because you are eating less than 1200 calories a day, you are probably not meeting your RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of vitamins and minerals probably iron and calcium at the least. So I would recommend you take a multivitamin with 100% of the RDA for vitamins and minerals. I would recommend you ask your doctor to review the herbal supplements you are taking so that you aren’t wasting your money given your current unemployment.

It sounds like you are drinking a bit too many fluids from water and green tea. Pay attention to the color of your urine which should be light yellow during your waking hours other than your first urine after waking up. That will give you the best indication of how much fluid your body needs.

For hypoglycemia, it is good that you are eating small meals frequently during the day. Make sure you eat enough carbohydrates which are found in whole grains, fruits, and dairy.

American culture today puts way too much emphasis on a thin female body, rather than a healthy, strong woman. Try to work toward feeling healthy rather than being thin. As far as relieving your depression, you should make an appointment with a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders to talk about your depression. You could also make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian who could work with you on a healthy eating plan for your hypoglycemia.