Are you recovering from: chronic dieting, overtraining, overworking, a lost period, an eating disorder and you've been thinking:
🤔 Why am I so exhausted, tired and even hungry in recovery, even after a year?
🤔 Does recovering from anorexia make you tired?
🤔 Does refeeding cause fatigue and weakness?
🤔 How do you deal with recovery fatigue?
🤔 Why did I have so much energy when I was restricting versus not when I'm taking care of myself?
🤔 Why do I have no energy and feel so unproductive?
🤔 Should my extreme hunger be lasting this long?
🤔 Why am I facing extreme laziness, adrenal fatigue, sleeping all the time, extreme hunger after getting period back and after weight restoration after restrictive eating?
Then you are in the right place! In this article we'll be discussing why you may feel ongoing or a wave of exhaustion, low energy, extreme fatigue, a spike in extreme hunger even after getting your period back in your recovery.
First, I want to share a brief story as I was recently on a call with a client the other day and she brought something to my attention that I almost had forgotten which was a very pivotal transition in my recovery..
This experience was where a shift happened.
She brought it to my attention because she’s in a similar spot.
She’s about 10 months in, after getting her period back, so she was already recovering before that, but now, this is the 10-month mark after her period returning.
So we were talking about how getting your period back in recovery is often only the beginning in your recovery (not the end).
It’s the beginning, to more healing.
It’s a transitional mark, proof to show you what you're doing IS working, IS healthy and IS healing.
It’s a motivational point in your recovery, that you’ve gotten your period back, that your body is healing enough to be able to turn back on the reproductive system and balance out your hormones.
Now you want to make sure you get at least 3 consecutive regular periods, and even after three months your period may not still be back to totally normal.
It may take a bit longer to still balance out everything and to become a normal period again.
So be cautious, too many people get this wrong, and ruin their progress.
Stay on top of yourself and stay on top of your recovery to make sure that your intentions are in the right place as you move forward around food and exercise, so that you don’t get your period back and be like:
“Okay, well, I’m recovered, so now I can restrict again,”
or, “Now I can go back to my extreme exercise regime and start exercising every single day again.”
It’s not a period where you should just let everything go but to just take that as motivation to keep going, that this is working, and that you still need healing, that your body is healing and that it is taking all the energy coming in to continue healing and balancing out.
With that said, if you’re later on in your recovery…
Let’s say you got your period back or maybe you never even lost your period, but you’re later on in your recovery and you’re doing everything right..
You’ve let go of these fears, and you’ve challenged yourself with food fears and anxieties and the obsessive behaviors of calorie counting and body checking and all of these things..
...A lot of the starvation/malnourishment symptoms from a lowered metabolism have eased...
You’ve gotten a new take on life, and you’re inspired again to live your life, and you can live your life again because you’re not weighed down by the obsessive food thoughts or the extreme hunger...
...You get to this point in your recovery where things have been going good.
It’s not perfect.
You still need more healing to take place, but things are a lot better than they used to be...
...Then, all of a sudden, 10 months, a year in, you’re hit with a wave of exhaustion, fatigue and low energy - like extreme exhaustion...
...the kind of exhaustion that may even be worse than when you first came to recovery or perhaps even six months into your recovery where you felt very fatigued and tired and exhausted.
...Even trying to explain it to people, it doesn’t even do it justice because it’s that extreme.
If you can relate to this, I can relate as well, and so can my client who's going through this right now.
Our conversation reminded me of this because I went through this.
I want to relay to you that this is normal in your recovery.
It doesn’t happen to everyone, but it seems to happen more often than not, later in your recovery, even after you’ve gotten your period back and it’s about a year later, and then all of a sudden, boom, it’s in your face, and you’re like, “Whoa, why is this happening? This can’t be recovery. It’s so much later on. There must be something wrong with me. I gotta go to the doctor’s,”
...which, if you want to go to the doctor’s, by all means, go to the doctor’s, but this is just my experience. I’m not my doctor. I have to disclaim that. It’s just my experience and what I’ve seen working with people.
And from what I've seen, it’s pretty common.
If you’re thinking something’s terribly wrong with you, I want to relate because when this happened to me, I still was, exercising with HIIT workouts here and there, and it was too much for my body, but I was in denial.
I didn't think it was "that much" because it wasn’t for too long (~15min), too many days a week (2-3x per week), but it was still high-intensity type workouts (stressful on the nervous system and metabolism)...
...but I justified it as:
“Well, I’m not doing it for hours a day or even an hour a day like I use to,"
or "I’m not doing it six times a week, so…”
And my client was doing the same.
She was saying that she had been still going on very long walks and other things "here and there."
(this is why I've laid out a very specific and intentional step-by-step program that takes you from a proper exercise rehab process and then a proper integration of balanced movement that won't hinder your healing or metabolism during or after recovery, in my program Find Your Balance, I can't emphasize this enough, as this is so common.)
It’s almost as if, going through this point in your recovery is like a wake-up call.
It’s like the body has been trying to communicate with you for so long that it still didn’t want even that much activity in your recovery, and still you were pushing your body...
...because you felt you had gotten to a certain point where you got your period back, and so you "just wanted to get back to it" and went down that road.
You didn’t get as extreme as you used to be, but it still was too much for where you were at in your recovery and you didn't ease into it or anything either.
It’s almost like your body’s saying, “You know what? That’s it,” and the body sends this extreme fatigue and exhaustion to where you can’t even fight it this time.
Or you get injured or something that forces you to take a total break whether you like it or not.
It’s not like before where you were able to still push through the fatigue, if you were.
(Hopefully you weren’t, and you actually listened to the fatigue the first time around)
...but you may have slowly gone down this road again, and then you’re hit with this wave again, and the body forces you, literally forces you, to completely rest.
And there’s nothing you could do about it.
In my situation, I couldn’t find anything on being a year in and facing extreme exhaustion in recovery.
And so I thought something was completely wrong with me.
I thought frantically, “I gotta go get this checked out because this doesn’t seem right. I can’t even get out of bed.” It was that bad.
I can’t even explain how bad it was. It was just…
I couldn’t get out of bed, and even thinking of getting out of be exhausted me. 😆
This went on too for a couple months straight where I could not do anything.
Even if I felt guilty or I didn’t get to work out even at least once a week, I couldn’t, for months.
I was on complete bedrest.
I ended up going to the doctor’s, and they couldn’t find anything of why.
The only thing that they could’ve potentially found was wrong, was a dormant, (not even active), dormant mono - "mononucleosis."
I don’t know if you know what that is, but it’s a virus in which one of the symptoms is extreme exhaustion to where you have to go on bedrest.
If you do too much physical activity, then you could actually burst your spleen, but again, that’s the only thing that they could’ve potentially found, and they thought maybe it could be that because it was my system, but it was dormant and wasn’t active, but there was no other explanation.
That just didn’t make sense because it was dormant.
They didn’t really know what was wrong, and when no body can find anything with the tests, the tests look fine, then that's when it always means the symptom was just part of the recovery process.
It was as if my body was just completely done and fed up with me justifying these little bits of activity that I was trying to do when my body was still trying to recover, even though I had gotten my period for more than three consecutive months and I was just starting to add back stuff here and there - I was in denial.
At this point, my body one day just completely said, “Nope. That’s it,” and I couldn’t get out of bed for the next couple of months.
That was a very healing time because up until that point, as I was still facing extreme hunger.
I would wake up in the mornings just ravenous and starving for food still.
I’d never been a morning person of eating, and neither was my client.
She’s not feeling as hungry and she’s more on the side where food has lost its novelty, and she doesn’t feel like she needs to constantly thinking about food and food isn’t as exciting anymore.
That was the same with me as well.
But up until then, I was ravenous.
She said the same thing.
She said, “I’m not as hungry in the morning. It’s really hard to get myself to eat so much in the morning, and it’s really hard to eat now all of a sudden.”
So I asked her, “Did you used to be like this in the beginning of your recovery, or the first part of your recovery, did you have extreme hunger in the morning?”
She responded, “Oh, yeah.” She was like, “Yeah, I consumed a lot of calories, the majority of my calories were before 11:00 a.m., just ravenous, just stuffing my face because I just couldn’t get enough of food in the morning. Now, all of a sudden, that’s gone away. The novelty of the food has gone down. It’s not as exciting."
You’re not as hungry as you once were in the earlier stages of your recovery.
Again, that was the same thing that happened to me as well.
And this was the turning point.
So as our bodies forced us to to completely rest again...
(because we already had earlier on, but not enough apparently)
...this is when, after facing extreme hunger up until that point, then and only then when that wave hit, after some time, that’s when the satiety cues finally started to become more present or you could notice that feeling of satisfaction more and be more in tune with them.
And that's when this whole "recovery" thing started to make more sense, all of this stuff of "you'll be able to eat when hungry and stop when full, and feel full after eating a normal amount of food."
You could actually feel that.
The satiety started to go up a little more.
The extreme hunger started to go down a little bit more.
...and that was the pivotal point.
The complete rest, this wave of exhaustion, and then the satiety and the hunger began to balance out all at this turning point.
This is where everything started to really take a turn, and I was able to experience this new part of recovery.
That’s where I was like, “Wow, it’s really happening.”
The water retention at this point started to finally fully go away.
It was slow, so the water retention at this point, (again, about a year after I got my period did this stuff happen at this turning point), the water retention and the overshoot weight started to go down and balance out...
...and everything just started to come together.
You almost become fearful of this turning point, thinking:
“Oh, no. I need to do recovery right, and I need to be good at recovery, and I can’t sabotage my recovery and compromise my metabolism again, I don't want to go back or ruin anything,”
because you have good intentions - you want to heal, you don’t want to ever jeopardize your recovery or go back to where you’re coming from..
...but when your hunger and appetite finally begins to decrease and your satiety’s going up, you almost think that you’re doing something wrong and you gotta continue eating like you always have been up until that point in your recovery.
That’s just not always the case.
You don’t want to ever go back to restricting, but the whole point of this recovery thing is that your body will guide you when it’s ready.
The goal is to not experience extreme hunger forever, that's freedom!
If it gets to this point, you’ve done recovery as you’re supposed to, as it’s supposed to happen, and as it’s naturally supposed to happen according to your body's timeline,
...which she did and which certain clients do and what I ended up doing after yo-yoing for a long time...
But finally I gave it a full chance, and this was that transitional point.
This is what you do this whole recovery thing for.
It’s that beginning of you really getting to that place of normalcy and balance again, like things are going back to normal - calm, peace and freedom.
You don’t have to ever listen to a meal plan or listen to this person said you have to eat this way or this person says you have to eat this way or…
You’re just going back your normalcy, whatever works for you and whatever used to work for you before the diets.
And the body will guide you to your own balance.
Your body will guide you back to that when she/he is ready.
This only happens, when the body’s ready.
I can’t say that this wave of exhaustion will happen for you, but I wanted to share this for anyone that’s going through this and they’re a year or year and a half in or whatever, and it’s almost as if your recovery just took a 180 and you feel like you’re back to square one.
It may feel like that initially, but it may not be that.
It may just be that last turning point, that last stage of recovery, the last stretch of your recovery.
If you just stick with it in continue to allow your body to guide you and trust your body, continue to trust your body, and that’s okay.
It’s okay to do that. It’s okay to listen now.
I know that you’re probably fearful because you never want to go back to where you’re coming from, like I was saying, but this is why you’re doing this.
Your body is healing.
It’s going to back to normal, and it’s guiding you, and it wants you to come along.
Just slowly follow your body at this time.
Be gentle with yourself.
Continue to rest if you’re severely exhausted, but be okay with that and give yourself permission to rest and fully embrace this because when other time in your life can you have permission to just completely rest from extreme exhaustion?
This is a great excuse to heal, so take advantage of this time, rest, and then listen to where your body’s taking you.
I hope that this all makes sense.
If anything, I wanted to share this for people that may be scared of the extreme exhaustion, even after being long-term into their recovery, and just know that it’s happened to a lot of us and that it does get better.
See it more as an opportunity and a great place to be in rather than something to be feared.
I hope that this article has helped you.
Thank you so much for reading, and until next time, I’ll see you in the next post!
P.S. I’m hosting a free masterclass specifically for people who want to stop feeling obsessed around food and truly heal their metabolism and you’re invited! Click here to sign up.