Weight overshoot: What it is and how to deal in disordered eating recovery

Have you stumbled upon the term “overshoot weight” while navigating eating disorder recovery and found yourself tangled in a web of confusion and emotions?

Overshoot weight is the phase in recovery where weight gain exceeds what may be considered a ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’ range. Understanding and embracing overshoot weight is a pivotal aspect of the recovery journey, often fraught with anxiety and doubt.

As a non-diet nutritionist and therapist, I think it’s so vital to accept your body at all sizes

What is overshoot weight?

Overshoot weight is where your weight temporarily surpasses your body’s “natural” or pre-disorder weight range.

Something that my clients struggle with is that they develop disordered eating when they are already weight-suppressed. Or they were still growing when they started losing weight.

So there is nuance here.

Why overshoot weight happens

Recognizing overshoot weight as a natural occurrence in many recovery journeys is crucial. After enduring periods of malnourishment, the body’s metabolism fluctuates, potentially leading to weight regain beyond initial expectations.

Remember, malnourishment can happen at really any body size! All bodies experience harm from disordered eating, especially restriction.

Overshooting weight is essentially all about survival. It’s to repair damage caused by malnutrition, regulate hormones, and reestablish a healthy metabolism.

How to feel okay with overshooting weight

Embracing overshoot weight in recovery is about more than physical healing; it’s a path toward reclaiming mental and emotional well-being. Here’s what you can focus on during this phase:

Trust the process:

Recovery isn’t linear; it involves ups and downs. This includes weight fluctuations too.

Trust your team and the resilience of your body.

Remember, any weight restoring and gain is your body taking care of you.

Health over numbers:

    Prioritize holistic health over fixating on scale numbers.

    Focus on eating enough (I like the RAVES framework to guide this), healing your body image, building a healthy relationship with movement, and self-care.

    Compassion and patience:

    Be kind to yourself. Cultivate self-compassion and patience as you navigate the challenges of recovery.

    Seek support:

    Surround yourself with a supportive network that understands the complexities of eating disorders and disordered eating.

    Me and my team can help you with 1-1 support or with our on-demand resources.

    Looking ahead

    Remember, overshoot weight is transitory. As your body heals, weight stabilization often occurs, leading to a settling point where the body finds its equilibrium.

    You might have heard of the weight set point. Simply put, it’s the weight range your body is comfortable at without engaging in any disordered behaviours.

    It’s important to remember it’s not a set point. It’s a range, usually of around 10-20lbs.

    The journey of recovery from an eating disorder or disordered eating is unique. But embracing overshoot weight as part of this journey is integral to long-term healing and fostering a positive relationship with food, body, and self.

    I hope this blog helped to help you understand overshoot weight more.

    Speak soon,

    Shannon

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