Key Steps To Overcome BLOATING And DIGESTION Issues In recovery (Part 2/3)

This is the second video of this 3-part video series about bloating and digestion issues in recovery.

  • In the first video, we talked about the reasons why you are having issues with bloating and your digestion.
  • In today’s video, we will discuss the key steps you need to take to overcome these symptoms.
  • And in the third video next week we will talk about how to deal with these symptoms.


Never recover alone and always seek professional and medical advice. And the information in this video is for general information purposes only.

And what is right for you and what YOU should do for your recovery is something you must discuss with your doctor.


Key Steps To Overcome Bloating And Digestion Issues In Recovery

So now let’s talk about the key steps you should take to overcome bloating and digestion issues in recovery.

1. Eat enough food

One of the primary reasons why people fail to overcome issues with their digestion in recovery is because they are not eating enough calories.

Because when you have been through restriction, dieting, and an eating disorder then this has done a lot of damage to your body.

As we discussed in the last video, restriction causes your body to slow down your digestion, you can have stomach muscle atrophy, you have lost digestive enzymes and healthy gut bacteria that is needed to have healthy digestion.

Your body has been through a form of starvation and it needs plenty of calories to recover from this.

In order to heal your digestion, you must first give your body enough fuel so it has the energy to reverse the damage.

In order to heal your digestion, you must first give your body enough fuel so it has the energy to reverse the damage.

Your digestion won’t be able to heal itself no matter how much “nutritious food” you eat, the primary nutrition your body needs in recovery is for calories.

And to make sure you are eating enough I recommend temporarily counting your calories and getting a minimum of 2500-3500 calories per day. And keep in mind these are just minimums, not maximums. And most people eat and need way more than that.

And learn more about calories and how much to eat in recovery HERE. 

2. Get enough rest

This means taking a break from exercise and also making sure you sleep enough and just overall relax and rest more.

This ties also with the first point I made about eating enough. Because if you start to eat more food but you spend those calories to fuel your exercising and still being highly active then your body cant put those calories towards healing your digestion.

Exercising won’t be healthy for you if you are in an unhealthy state.

Exercising won’t be healthy for you if you are in an unhealthy state.

In a context of an eating disorder recovery and all the damage it has caused to your body exercising will just add more stress to your already stressed-out system.

You can also see one of my recent videos about exercising HERE.

I personally saw so much improvement in reduced bloating after I completely stopped exercising in my recovery.

Because for a period of time I didn’t know exercising is also a form of purging and compensating calories.

I really thought I’m just being “healthy” if I keep exercising. But actually, it rather kept me stuck in quasi-recovery and not being able to fully overcome issues with my digestion and bloating.

But after I stopped exercise completely and gave my body a full break I finally saw improvement not just with my digestion and bloating, but also with normalizing my hunger cues.

And by resting more I also mean sleeping more and having a healthy sleep schedule. Because sleep is your body’s primary restoration time. If you don’t get enough sleep it will interfere with your body’s recovery.

Our body has something called a circadian rhythm that affects your energy levels, your hunger cues, your metabolism, and even your digestion.

If the circadian rhythm is out of wack our body cant performs optimally and it will absolutely set you back in recovery.

Learn more about sleep and circadian rhythm HERE.

3. Be consistent

This goes without saying but it’s worth repeating – to see lasting improvement in your digestion you must stop all restriction, all compensating calories, and also stop going back and forth with recovery and then relapse.

And everybody’s recovery is full of ups and downs. Recovery is not a straight line and its not perfect.

I had so many setbacks in my recovery as well.

But in order to fully recover I also had to come to a point where all the relapses and compensation and going back and forth finally stopped.

Otherwise, I wouldn’t be fully recovered.

And I’m saying this because very often people ask me why they still keep on having symptoms with their digestion and bloating despite being “in recovery” for maybe even several years.

But it’s not the length of time you have been “in recovery” that matters but what matter more is what you have done with that time.

But it’s not the length of time you have been “in recovery” that matters but what matter more is what you have done with that time.

If you have been in recovery for several years but you still keep on restricting and compensating calories here and there, you still relapse time after time, then your body can’t fully heal your digestion and overcome bloating.

If you are constantly going back and forth with recovery then it rather confuses your body even more. This way your body won’t feel safe enough to fully come out of the starvation mode and to speed up your digestion.

And this will keep your body in a suppressed state because all of your behaviors still indicate that there is still a threat to your survival. There is still a lack of food and there is still a lot of stress going on.

So what matters more is the consistency in your recovery and not going back and forth with restriction. Consistency is needed in order to see lasting results and solid improvement.

You must provide your body an environment that feels safe and secure so it can stop fearing any starvation or sensing any excess stress.

4. Eat regularly.

Many people make the mistake that they start to eat enough calories but maybe they get the bulk of their calories during night time. And this is not good for the consistency we talked about in the last point.

For your body to feel safe enough to recover and speed up your digestion you must show your body that there is an abundance of food coming in. Not just in a matter of increased calories but the calories must come in regularly and consistently throughout the day.

And this means eating 3 proper meals per day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Plus, eating 2-3 snacks in between. So this means you will be eating something every 2-3 hours.

And this means eating 3 proper meals per day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Plus, eating 2-3 snacks in between. So this means you will be eating something every 2-3 hours.

And also, in the last video we talked about how starvation can mess up our hunger cues and this is the reason many people can’t just “eat intuitively” in their recovery.

Many people don’t feel hungry in recovery because their digestion has slowed down thanks to starvation. And here they can’t rely on their hunger cues to guide them to eat enough but must eat regularly and mechanically for a while in order to speed up their digestion and heal their hunger cues.

Even if you are not physically hungry but still have many starvation symptoms, like being underweight, having constant food obsession, no regular period, feeling cold all the time, feeling physically full but mentally still hungry…then you need to eat regardless of your hunger because you have all those starvation symptoms that indicate you are still malnourished.

And also, if you struggle with bloating and digestion already its much better to rather spread out the food throughout the day than to eat a huge amount in just a few meals. Regular eating actually helps to stimulate your digestion since there is always new food coming in that pushes the old food out and stimulates the gastric emptying.

5. Reduce high fiber, high water, and low-calorie foods

This means reduce eating things like high fiber, high water, and low-calorie foods like fruits and vegetables and lots of whole foods.

Because when you come from an eating disorder then your digestion is already slowed down, it’s weaker because of the starvation it has been through and it’s damaged because of the eating disorder behaviors like self-induced vomiting or using laxatives.

So when your body is already in this state then adding lots of high fiber and high water foods will make your bloating and digestion worse.

Eating lots of whole foods takes much more time and energy for your body to digest and be utilized for energy. And if it takes much longer to digest, when your digestion is already slowed down, then these foods stay in your digestive tract for longer which results in feeling more bloated, feeling stomach pain, more gas, constipation, or diarrhea.

Plus, if this food takes much longer to digest and it’s already lower in calories you must eat so much more volume of foods in order to get enough calories for recovery. And this is a recipe for extreme discomfort in recovery when the high fiber foods takes much more time to pass your digestion but you need to eat so much more of it in order to get enough fuel for recovery.

So rather focus on eating calorie-dense foods that are lower in fiber and more processed. And processed foods are great for recovery and much easier to digest because they are already “pre-processed” so it takes less time and energy for your body to break down those foods for energy and this is what your body needs right now.

And also generally focus on eating more high fat and high carb foods.

And these are just some of the examples, you can eat whatever you want and crave. 

I also recommend watch my video on “8 Tips To Restore Your Metabolism After An Eating Disorder”

And also “5 Reasons Not To Worry About “Unhealthy Eating” In Recovery”

And since we are talking about foods here, then also be aware of artificial sweeteners. For example in chewing gums or in fizzy drinks, because these things can also make you feel more bloated so it’s just something to be aware of.

6. Don’t overdrink water.

Overhydration can be a real problem when people are forcing themselves to drink tons of water because they have heard somewhere that they must get many liters of water per day.

But actually it might be too much for you and contribute to more bloating and digestion issues.

Drinking too much water dilutes our electrolytes and this prevents our cells from working properly.

Your kidneys must work overdrive to filter out the excess water which taxes your adrenal glands. And this means that you are putting your body in stress and this can lead to symptoms of anxiety and even adrenal fatigue.

And drinking too much water dilutes your stomach acids, which makes it harder for your stomach to break down foods.

And too much water can actually slow down your metabolism because excess water dilutes your sodium and glucose levels and then its harder for your body to produce energy.

Plus water has a very cooling effect on your body and if you are already in recovery from an eating disorder, having low metabolism and digestion, and always feeling cold and tired, then this cooling effect will rather slow down your healing further.

  • So what I recommend is to drink when thirsty.
  • Also, make sure that you are not peeing clear, it’s normal and healthy if your pee is yellow.
  • Take note that you are not going to the bathroom every hour but maybe 6-7 times per day, to indicate that you are not overdoing it with water.
  • And if you do drink water then rather do it between your meals, not with your meals.
  • Also, it can be very good if your drink contains some calories, so you are not just getting full of liquid but you also get calories so it’s easier to eat enough and not feel so full and bloated. Drink calorie dense shakes, smoothies or juices, add some sugar to your tea and some full fat cream to your coffee, and so on.
  • And if you drink water then sip it slowly and not just gulp it down in one go so you don’t shock your kidneys.

7. Reduce stress

In the first video of the series, I talked about how being in a state of chronic stress takes a huge toll on your digestion.

Because when you are in stress and in a state of fight or flight then your body produces stress hormones that also suppress your digestion.

And with recovery, when you stop all restriction and compensation, you start to eat more, eat, sleep more, take a break from exercise, get plenty of carbs and fats then all of this already starts to lower your stress levels that came from an eating disorder.

But also look into the other aspects of recovery and your life.

For example, focusing on your mental recovery is a huge part of full recovery. Making peace with foods and accepting your body also helps to lower stress.

And take a look at your current environment as well. Because what we are surrounded by can also contribute to our stress levels.

For example, being at the job you hate or being in a toxic relationship. All of this contributes to stress and doesn’t help with healing the digestion.

And start to add in practices that help to reduce your stress levels.

  • For example, some self-care practices like having a calming night routine, journaling or taking a hot bath.
  • Or maybe developing some positive coping skills like meditation, breathing exercises, or mindfulness practices.
  • Or doing things that bring you joy like engaging in your hobbies, maybe painting, singing, doing crafts, reading a book, or meeting with friends.

So start to also include in activities that help you to cope with stress and things that bring more joy and pleasure into your life.


So these are all the keys steps that will help you to recover and overcome the bloating and digestion issues.

And in the next and last video of the series that will come next week, I will tell you even more things you can do in order to manage the digestion issues and to help you deal with it.

Please also see the first post of this series HERE and the third one HERE.

And if you want to know more about recovery and how to do it step by step then please read my book “BrainwashED”

If you wish to work with me one one one, then I offer 12-Week Recovery Coaching where I can help you go through your recovery step by step and offer support and accountability. Read more and apply HERE.

7 thoughts on “Key Steps To Overcome BLOATING And DIGESTION Issues In recovery (Part 2/3)”

  1. Thank you for this information! It’s really helpful. Are fruits and vegetables still acceptable during the recovery, just not eat them in excess or put my primary focus on them? I myself have always loved eating them, even LONG before my eating disorder. Also how much should I limit exercising? I’m an athlete and soccer nut, so I love working with my ball and stuff. I didn’t know if that would be too much for me right now.

    1. Generally yes they are ok but more as side-dish and not a primary focus or where the bulk of calories come from, also if you have bloating or digestion issues to try generally reduce so much fiber or high water content foods. Again it all depends on a situation. And also exercise really depends on a situation – I would say generally some light exercise like yoga or stretching or light walking might be ok, nothing strenuous or too energy-consuming or long.

  2. Thank you for this info, I am currently in recovery and getting all of the digestive symptoms as well as more fat distribution around my stomach/waist area. I am starting to feel hunger signals again and feel a little sweaty/warmer after I eat a meal. Are these signs of changing metabolism or digestion?

    1. yes they could be all positive signs of things progressing and you recovering, that included metabolism and digestion as well, yes.

  3. I’m a recovering bulimic and have these issues with bloating and digestion but I am not very underweight, I’m a normal weight for my height, can I still have these issues in recovery after years of binging and purging and restriction, I just wondered if I wouldn’t have muscle atrophy etc as I wasn’t underweight?

    Thank you

    1. I was never underweight in my bulimia as well, these tips can still help. if you need more individual advice I recommend reaching out to a doctor who specializes in Ed or a recovery dietitian or a coach.

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