Today I will talk about the 9 positive signs and symptoms you may start to experience that will indicate you are getting closer to full recovery! 🙂
And next week I will post Part 2 where we will talk about the MENTAL signs of full recovery so stay tuned!
Physical signs of full recovery
1. Not cold anymore
In eating disorders, it’s very common to feel constantly cold and freezing and this can be a sign of lowered metabolism as well as having too little fat on your body. But I was never underweight and I still felt cold. I remember even in the summertime I had to take long hot showers because I was so cold all the time.
But in recovery, you may start to experience more body heat and feel a lot warmer in general. Some people also experience night sweats. It definitely happened to me – I would wake up during the night and be drenched in sweat. I had to put a dry towel underneath because I would sweat so much. This can be due to faster metabolism and also because you are eating more food and therefore are producing more heat. Nigh sweats could also be a sign of hormonal work.
2. Getting back your period
If you lost your period during your eating disorder you will get your period back. Or if your period was very light you may start to experience a more normal flow again. Or if it was very irregular it may finally get more regular. Getting your period back is a good sign that your body is getting into a much better place and you are getting healthier hormonally.
However, getting back your period is not a sign that you are now completely done with recovery or that shouldn’t gain more weight, it’s just one positive sign and symptom.
I personally never lost my period in my eating disorder so please keep in mind that you can have an eating disorder and need recovery whether you did or did not lose your period. Everybody is different.
Also, as we are already talking about hormones you may also notice a higher libido or sex drive. It’s another positive sign and symptom of recovery and improved hormonal work.
3. Normal hunger cues
I have talked a lot about extreme hunger and please know that it’s a very normal part of recovery and it doesn’t mean something is wrong and it’s not “bingeing”. But as you are fully responding to your hunger, extreme hunger, mental hunger you will start to experience more normal hunger cues again and feel more satisfied with foods. Eating is not such a struggle anymore, you feel you can easily eat when hungry, stop when full, and move on with your day. You still eat a good amount of food and get hungry and have cravings as it’s just a sign of a normal functioning body but the whole eating experience is a lot more normal, natural, and enjoyable.
4. Eating to full hunger and maintaining weight
The next positive sign is that you can eat to your full hunger and also maintain your weight. You can eat as much as you want, whatever you want, eat regularly, get satisfied with food, you eat all the foods, and maintain your set point weight.
If you gained weight during your recovery then now it appears to be stable while eating with no restrictions.
And keep in mind that it’s normal for our weight to fluctuate as our set point weight is a range, not a specific number.
5. Less bloating and edema
In recovery, it’s very normal to feel bloated and to have edema or water retention.
And even normal people are sometimes bloated or may retain some water due to hormones, hot weather, their activity levels, and so on.
But if in earlier stages of recovery you felt more extreme bloating or water retention then this will normalize now.
6. Better digestion
In recovery having lots of digestion issues is very common and normal – when you come from an eating disorder, food restriction, harmful behaviors like purging, using laxatives and so on it takes a great toll on your digestion. So if you start to eat more and eat the foods you have been previously restricting there can be many uncomfortable symptoms.
But as you recover, are consistent with eating enough, resting, and introduce back in more variety of foods your digestion will get stronger. You build up good gut bacteria and a healthy microbiome and over time your digestion gets better. Your digestion is more regular, your stool has a better consistency and overall your digestion is healthier.
7. Better skin, nails, hair
In eating disorder we can experience hair fallout, our nails get very weak and brittle, our skin feels dry or dull.
And even in recovery, some people experience hair fall and some skin issues like acne. There is so much going on in your body when you are going through recovery so it may feel that it gets worse before it can get better.
But in the long term, you may start to see your hair growing back, having stronger nails, and better skin.
8. Better sleep
Another great sign of recovery is better sleep. To be honest this took a very long time for me. I don’t know why, maybe because going through recovery by itself was stressful. But in the end stages of my recovery, I started to sleep much better, I didn’t wake up to pee 3 times anymore, I didn’t feel restless during the night, I could sleep throughout the night. Also, the hunger wouldn’t keep me awake anymore as I was feeding myself better now. So improvement in your sleep can be another great sign.
9. More energy
And lastly, you may experience more energy again. And I want to stress that in recovery it’s very very normal to feel tired, exhausted, to have a lack of energy, to feel very unmotivated to do anything. And this is why rest is the second most important aspect of physical recovery besides eating enough. But in the long term, you may start to experience more energy, more motivation to do stuff again, doing normal daily tasks gets easier, and so on. So having more energy is definitely something you can look out for.
These are just some positive physical signs and symptoms but of course, there are even more but for the sake of this video I only chose the most common ones. But other positive physical symptoms can be – healthier vitamin and mineral levels, better immune system, feeling stronger, healthier bones, healthier heart, stronger teeth, better wound healing, better sex drive like we mentioned, and so on.
And I also want to be very clear that it’s not like after recovery you never have any issues in your health. People can have health issues or physical symptoms for so many other reasons than just eating disorders.
I have also experienced less energy, bad sleep, or some digestion issues as I have been fully recovered. For me those things are mostly affected by stress or hormones. So just to be clear that full recovery doesn’t mean we now are bulletproof to any other issues or stressors that may also affect our health.
But overall these are some signs and symptoms of improvements that I experienced in my recovery and what I see happening with many people who recover, but keep in mind it’s all very individual and depends on various factors.
If you want to learn more about recovery and how to do it step by step then please read my book “BrainwashED”
You can check out my recovery online courses HERE.
Or you can book a one-off coaching call with me HERE.