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Did I stunt my breast development?

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    I’m a 16 year old girl and I’ve been recovering from anorexia/orthorexia for about a year now. For two years before that, I restricted my caloric intake to roughly 900-1200 calories a day. I had a severely limited diet, not eating meat, dairy, gluten, and many other foods I deemed “unclean”. It took reaching a rock bottom of 87 pounds to realize that I had a problem.

    For the past year, I have fought my hardest. Slowly but surely I have made my way up to eating at least 2000 calories every day. I eat meat, cheese, and lots of other full fat dairy every day. I am trying to not plan my meals AS MUCH, but sometimes it helps as far as getting enough calories in.

    Unfortunately, the severe restriction I put my body through for two years definitely had some effects. I am constantly cold, have killer chilblains on my fingers and toes, dry mouth, constipation, acne, and a whole slew of other symptoms. As I am raising my metabolism and body temperature, though, my symptoms seem to be improving.

    My biggest concern though is that I disrupted my hormonal growth. I do have a regular period (I actually never lost it, I have no idea how), but my breasts are still severely underdeveloped (like a 32A is too big). Right now I’m 5’3″ and weigh about 98 pounds, though most of the weight is in my arms and thighs.

    I’m no expert on hormones by any means, so can anyone explain to me exactly how breasts are developed in teens? Will eating more full fat dairy help them grow? Increasing body fat? I know some of you will tell me there is nothing I can do, that it’s just genetics, but I have a strong feeling that my alarmingly small breast size is directly related to depriving my body of nutrients in my pubescent years. I am hoping there is something I can do while my body is still developing! I just want to nourish myself and provide my body with what it needs to thrive.

    Thank you so much!


    Hey! I am glad you have upped the calories and are resuming some normal eating :). I am in recovery from Anorexia so I do understand the disease. Your calories are too low and your weight is too low. This could be the major component in your small boobies. The lingering symptoms such as being cold can be reversed by an adequate food intake. This site if you have not already heard of it is very helpful for those recovering from Restrictive Eating Disorders (REDS).


    According to the Scooby Calorie Calculator, someone with Jennifer’s stats would maintain their current body weight at 1780 calories (TDEE, with ‘light exercise’ selected).

    Its all relative, and playing around with numbers and learning your own body – I’m eating above my supposed calculated TDEE (2200) and still losing. I’d need to slowly increase calories until my weight stabilized to truly ascertain my TDEE. They’re only numbers and it all balances out. I too need to track (not obsessively!).

    Congratulations, Jennifer on accomplishing SO much. I’m sorry I’m unable to help you with your specific question. All the best, my sweets xx


    Someone recovering from an ED will likely not undue damage caused by restriction with “normal” calorie intake. Besides weight restoration, the body will need to repair. 2,000 is still too low you as is seen by your lingering symptoms.

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