Posted by: Concerned | 2009-02-21


Hi Doc

I' m extremely concerned. Is it possible to gain 3kgs in 5 days? I have battled anorexia and my weight was 53kg on Monday and today I was 56kg! I' m trying to recover slowly so gaining 3 kgs in 5 days makes me extremely anxious! I' m 1.7m and I know my BMI is normal but I feel fat and uncomfortable in my body!

I was diagnosed with bipolar about 2 months ago and I' m on Cipralex, Lamictin (and i' m now starting Seroquel). I didn' t notice weight gain due to the meds but my appetite has increased. I' m now even more concerned that the Seroquel will cause even more weight gain.

My dietician has given me a low fat diet to follow and I' ve been very good at following it except I' ve been consuming more alcohol than normal (which has never caused me to gain weight before). I also ate chips &  biltong (not part of the meal plan &  very high in fat!) last night and that' s why I think my weight was so high today.

I just want to gain weight healthily and slowly. I' m freaked out that my weight can increase so drastically in such a short space of time! I know I' m going to start restricitng again because my weight feels out of control!

Please help. I can' t put my finger on this weight gain!

(Thank you for offering your advice to us - it' s very helpful)

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Concerned
Firstly you need to tell your dietitian that you are panicking about gaining weight gain (no matter what the cause) because this can be indicative of a relapse into anorexia-type thinking and she needs to guide you through this dip in your progress. Now about those 3 kg you gained - please stop worrying about this - it is perfectly normal to gain up to 3 kg in one day depending on a variety of factors: a) hormonal fluctuations - I don't know if you are menstruating normally at the moment, but changes in female hormone levels can cause water retention which can make you weigh more even if you have not gained any body fat! b) eating salty foods like chips and biltong can also cause water retention, as does alcohol, so once you have got over your weekend eating, and excreted the stored water, your weight should return to normal again. I also don't know how much weight you need to gain to get back into the normal range, but the fact that you panic and want to revert back to anorexic practices the moment you do gain a bit of weight, indicates to me that your ideas are still strongly influenced by the anorexic mind-set. Discuss the possibility of also having some psychotherapy (if you are not already under the care of a clinical psychologist) to help you control your reactions to food, your body image and weight.
Thank you for your kind words, they make my day.
Best regards

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Our users say:
Posted by: Angie | 2009-02-25

I was exactly 53kg at 1.69m and I felt strong and healthy. I could run, jump, lift weights, help the old lady next door move her house, push a car, change a tire…  etc. You should be focusing on how it feels to be empowered and strong as an individual. You have battled anorexia and won and now you need to keep winning. The meds you are taking actually cause weight-loss so that is definitely not the cause Alcohol is not processed by the body as a sugar or fat so that is not the cause either. You have achieved far more than most other women and you should give yourself a lot more credit.
Weight can fluctuate by 1kg –  4.5kg a day, simply by water retention, and believe it or not by the cycle of the moon! In order to feel healthy you should be relying on your mind and not the scale!
“ It is the mind that builds the body”  –  Joseph Pilates

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