F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum

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Hi there! 

My daughter has been obsessed with stretching, exercise, walking etc. and we have both decided to cold turkey it all. 
She said this: 
I was wandering if someone could pleeaseee help me….
I am stiff all the time! I am in anorexia recovery, currently with a BMI of about 15.5. I am gaining, and have gone ‘ cold turkey’ on all jigging/exercising/ walks/ moving.
Of course I still have the urges and find it extremely hard to keep still. But it’s good.
Anyway, as I said, I am stiff all the time. Most people would stretch, making them get over it\satisfied. But when I stretch, I am never satisfied from it, and keep on wanting to feel that ‘ burn’ that one gets from a stretch. I realise this could sound rather sick….
So i want to keep stretching. Do i just accept the stiffness and stop the stretching or stretch like an ordinary person but put a time limit on it otherwise I wouldn’t stop.
The simple question is –
Am i just simply stiff – is it normal to be stiff in recovery?
I think its best to stop all... 
Any thoughts would be much appreciated!
My daughter used to stand all the time. When we went on a car trip the begining of the summer, her whole body hurts terribly after sitting for some time and she described the stiffness you spoke about. When we went again at the end of the summer, she was able to sit a few hours and wasn't in pain anymore. This was with more weight and further along in recovery
 She doesn't stand anymore.
Yes, she should stop the exercising
 With more weight and nutrition, and no exercising, the stiffness should improve

Hi and welcome EmC,

As debra said, continued normalising of eating and exercising should help. In the meantime perhaps a bath or weighted blanket would provide some comfort. Many have reported that the weighted blanket especially helps reduce the urge to jiggle etc. Distractions are also useful.

I don't know what age your daughter is but if she is a teen or older then the DBT technique of Surfing the Urge may be helpful.

Urge surfing is a technique attributed to the late psychologist Alan Marlatt, Ph.D., a pioneer in the field of addictions treatment. We can think of an urge as an impulse to engage in an old habit, such as drinking or using, and they are often experienced as physical sensations in the body. Urges are like waves in that they rise in intensity, peak, and eventually crash.

Warm wishes,

2015 12yo son restricting but no body image issues, no fat phobia; lost weight IP! Oct 2015 home, stable but no progress. Medical hosp to kick start recovery Feb 2016. Slowly and cautiously gaining weight at home and seeing signs of our real kid.

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Building up hour by hour at school after 18 months at home. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, food variety, begin socialising. Sept 2017, back to school FT first time in 2 years. [thumb] 2018 growing so fast hard to keep pace with weight
  • Swedish proverb: Love me when I least deserve it because that's when I need it most.
  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence Recovery, then, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle.
  • If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal.
  • We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail.
hi EmC, 
I too welcome you to the forum. I do hope you find support and information that you need. 
As for your specific questions about your D,I am concerned about her weight, to be honest. A BMI of 15.5 is very low still, and with the "need" she has to be physical, even "just" stretching, demonstrates a lot of ED thoughts. I do agree with the others that more weight is likely needed and even more that most would have thought. It will take time for the brain to readjust to less or no stretching and it may be that she is not really stiff, she may have the urge to stretch and "feel" the physical sensations that it brings.  I would urge you to read about state vs weight on the forum and how the targets weights can be set too low. Many have had to get to a BMI of over 22 to see the brain healing/improvements in thinking.
I love that definition/explanation, deenl, has posted!
I am glad you found us. Please ask all the questions you have. There is always someone who has been there and we all want to help.
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
Also wanted to add, 
I do think you need to work on stopping the activity as best possible. My D stood all the time and we had to hit it hard to help extinguish her ED thoughts and behaviours. Please let us know if you have any other questions. It would be helpful to the group if we knew her age and what treatment modalities you have used or are currently using.
All the best,
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
Body aches/soreness and stiffness are very common in recovery. Just like all the other organs that need to heal, the ligaments that hold our muscle to bone are healing and getting nutrition. They have been dehydrated and malnourished and now are getting fuel which will cause them to function again. That will cause discomfort as they heal.  Stretching them now may cause damage because they are not fully flexible yet and neither are her muscles. I would also discourage stretching now also bc  your daughter is not yet weight restored and therefore, although she thinks she can control it, she will not be able to. I emphasize, she will not be able to even if she thinks she can. Her brain is the last thing to function well bc all the calories are going to the other vital organs keeping her alive and since she is still well below a healthy BMI (not that that is the only measure), her brain is not going to function correctly and it is too early to allow excercise of any sort. Even stretching will burn calories. All of those calories need to go to her body and nothing else. 
I know this is so hard and it is not what she wants to hear but slow and steady is the way to go. Prayers for you and your daughter.

15yD, restricted for 7 weeks, 4months in, weight restored but mentally still not there
A couple of days ago I woke up with a very stiff neck, it was so bad that I was getting a headache from it. Luckily I had magnesium in the house and took 2 tablets. The stiffness and headache were gone in a couple of hours. Here is what I took: 2 x 600 mg Magnesium - equivalent of 321 mg elemental Magnesium (total 1200 mg Magnesium - equivalent of 321 mg elemental Magnesium). 
D became obsessed with exercise at age 9 and started eating 'healthy' at age 9.5. Restricting couple of months later. IP for 2 weeks at age 10. Slowly refed for months on Ensures alone, followed by swap over with food at a snails pace. WR after a year at age 11 in March 2017. View my recipes on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKLW6A6sDO3ZDq8npNm8_ww
Hi EmC,

Welcome to ATDT! 
Is your daughter under the care of a physician, since a bmi of 15.5 is dangerously low and are her heart and her electrolytes being checked on a regular basis?


This is quite normal in recovery and healing of muscles takes a long time. My d is 2 years in recovery now and still complains about back pain a lot.I would also suggest to check her blood for defiencies around magnesium and other minerals and vitamins. Adding magnesium can help with that. It will get better but takes a lot of time, AN did a lot of damage to the body.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
I think having people that will support you without judgement are the ones you need in your life right now. IF she truly wants to be a friend then I would offer an olive branch and send her to NEDA website or send her information on AN etc and ask her to do some research. Then see what happens. If a true friend, will apologize and ask how she can truly help and support you and your daughter. If not, then that season of friendship is over. We all lose something along the way with an ED but I think we also gain much in terms of our learning about ourselves, strength, perseverance, courage and new solid friendships. Focus on your sweet daughter and there will lie the victory.
prayers and fierceness to you,

15yD, restricted for 7 weeks, 4months in, weight restored but mentally still not there
Her muscles may truly ache, but food (and perhaps supplements, vitamin D gummies🙂 is the best cure for this. In the meantime while you feed you can offer to give her massages on a warm blanket, warm baths, cuddles, etc... Sometimes its hard to do this with a kid who is cranky because of refeeding, but again, the cure for that is food. My son had horrible stomach pain which ED amplified at a certain point we just had to say that ED had made his stomach unhealthy. The best part about this is that he hated the pain and constipation and attributes it to ED and says that he *never* wants to experience that again.