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Obesity and Weight Management

`normal weight anorexic`

02/25/2005

Question:

I wanted to know if you have ever heard of an anorexic being at a normal wieght. I have been in and out of anorexia for 19 years and have been in it now agian for the past year, although my weight is fine I do restict to 400 cal a day on 2 to 3 hours of excercise, is this really a problem if my wieght is fine?

Answer:

I have never heard of an anorexic being at a normal weight. I wonder if you have been misdiagnosed. However, no matter what it may be called, you seem to have an abnormal eating/exercise regimen. At 400 calories per day you aren't taking in enough food to get all the recommended nutrients for good health. It's hard to get all the nutrients you need when your calorie level falls below 1200 calories per day. I hope you are taking a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement.

Weight shouldn't be your only criterion for judging whether your diet is okay. I would get some blood work done to make sure you are not anemic, that your cholesterol and triglyceride levels are okay, and that your electrolytes (sodium, potassium etc) are within the normal range. At 400 calories per day you have put your body in starvation mode, which means that your Basal Metabolic Rate has decreased to conserve the few calories you are eating. You may be able to increase your calorie intake so that your basal metabolic rate increases. If your BMR increases you may be able to cut back on the amount of exercise you do to 1 - 1-1/2 hours and still maintain a good body weight. With an increased BMR your body won't be as dependent on the exercise to burn the extra calories.

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Response by:

Sharron   Coplin, MS, RD, LD Sharron Coplin, MS, RD, LD
Former Lecturer
Food & Nutrition
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University