Energy Deficit | Energy Debt | Target Weights | Weight vs State Restoration [Podcast] 10


Just me in this podcast! Responding to questions that I get frequently around Anorexia recovery and weight restoration. How to know when you are really weight restored? Let me tell you it is not something that you can calculate via a math equation or estimate via looking on a height/weight chart.

Weight restoration is a process of gaining weight until you are within a healthy weight range (I recommend a BMI of 22 at least) and continuing to eat without restriction until you no longer fear further weight gain. That is the mental shift we are looking for. That is the freedom of full recovery. This podcast fully explains my position on that weight restoration, target weights, and weight versus mental state restoration.


Support this podcast via Patreon!

You can support this podcast and ensure the continuation of it by pledging a patreon donation here:

We want your feedback on these podcasts!

Please take a second to fill out this survey with feedback so we can make these podcasts even better:

Subscribe to these podcasts in iTunes:

Community Links:

Adults in recovery community Slack Group:

Facebook Community:


Please follow and like me :):

About Tabitha Farrar

I work as Head of Marketing for a software startup in Boulder. As a recovered Anorexia sufferer, I advocate for proper understanding of eating disorders in my spare time. On that note, I wrote a book about my own journey into eating again called Love Fat.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

10 thoughts on “Energy Deficit | Energy Debt | Target Weights | Weight vs State Restoration [Podcast]

  • kim

    hello i’m one of the people who are recovering from anorexia. First, i am poor at English, so please understand if i use strange words. I leave this comment because i wanna share your great articles abour eating disorder with people. I want to share your post address and the contents of your posts but the problem is many people feel hard to read because of english. So could you tell me any opinions about my thought to translate contents of your posts and share them in my blog with your post address. I feel worried about distorting your posts with poor english, but there are people to whom your posts are great knowledges. If translation is not good idea, can i share your post address only?

  • Lawrence

    Tabitha, I agree with you on most points and especially on the idea of an ‘abstract’ target weight. That said, I have a few criticisms here and there and I hope you won’t mind if I write them down here.

    -About the BMI 22 that you recommend as an healthy minimum to achieve the “mind shift”…I don’t know, it sounds just as artificial as any other target weight. There’s actually plenty of people whose natural weight sits at lower BMIs and this advice sounds to me like telling them they are doing recovery wrong. To be honest I don’t understand where the idea that most people have a natural BMI higher than 22 comes from: most of the people I personally know naturally maintain lower BMIs. I mean, if we assume that BMI isn’t that important, why should anyone hope to reach a particular BMI?

    -About the idea that you’ll know you’re weight restored when you’re no more afraid of gaining weight…I know plenty of people who are afraid of gain weight and still don’t restrict. I was one of those before my ED onset: I was afraid of gaining weight, yet I didn’t restrict because it would have been too annoying and tiring for me; I just ate whatever I wanted and really hoped my body would maintain its weight regardless – which it did, but I was still afraid of gaining weight. So, if my “natural” state is being afraid of gaining weight even when I’m not restricting, how do I know I’m weight restored?

    -About the natural set point…I don’t know if there’s a single set point weight. I know people who have changed their bodyweight with a slimming/fattening diet and, after having finished that diet, went back to not restricting and still managed to successfully maintained their new weight. As long as one is eating without restriction and has no health issues I believe the body may be content with more than one single weight.
    My sister was clinically overweight until her late ’20s. She did not restrict. Then she decided to start dieting and lost some weight. I don’t know her BMI now but I guess it’s around 21-22 (she clearly doesn’t have Anorexia genes). She doesn’t restrict – she doesn’t even know the caloric value of most foods – and she still manages to maintain this weight.

    Thank you anyways, your blog and your insights are just as great as ever!

    • Tabitha Farrar Post author

      Great discussion points! Here is what I think:

      On the BMI 22, the point is that there is no harm that can be done from gaining more weight than needed, but there is plenty of harm that can be done from not gaining enough. Aiming higher is erring on the side of caution. If a person truly is a lower BMI naturally, their weight will over time, without restriction, lower to the natural point anyway.

      I understand your point about not being afraid of gaining weight, however, it feels very different when you are finally in energy surplus. Hard to describe I guess, but even people who are always somewhat afraid of gaining weight pre-ED notice a change in how this feels when they reach a higher weight. This is because energy deficit is no longer so rewarded by the brain and therefore doesn’t feel as good as it does when a person is underweight.

      -I do think that a person has a genetically dictated weight set point. However, this is opinion I guess. I also think that yes, a body can change.

      • Claiming Back My Life

        Hi, Tabitha and Lawrence! Hope you don’t mind if I get involved in your conversation.

        I’ve been forever (well, more like since I began recovery seriously…) wondering if there really is a “natural” weight for anybody or it is just one more truism that has become widely accepted and believed by the diet-obsessed society that we form. Is there such a thing as a naturally thin (or medium-size, or large size) person? I don’t know of anybody who eats a lot and is not physically active and stays thin. Likewise, I don’t know of anybody who eats very little, or burns a lot of energy, and stays fat (meaning, more than overweight). I find the logic of each body being naturally prone to one weight range or another hard to come to terms with. However, paradoxically perhaps, I do know that my own body is not one of those naturally thin (read: size 0 or 2) bodies,I know somehow that it is meant to be a little larger than that. How I know that does not obey to logic or experience, since I was in my mid-teens and still not fully grown at the time of my anorexia onset. Tabitha, could you please help me here and provide me with some evidence? I hope you are able to reply. Many thanks for your awesome work.

  • Karen

    Hi Tabitha

    Love your posts. I’ve been working with my 18 year old for 18 months now on her anorexia and EDPS and your podcasts are life savers. Do you have a full script of the energy state weight podcast? Wanted to send some of your statements to my daughter.