I’m three inches shorter than you are, but I’ve had the same problems. Is it safe to guess that you don’t have a very active lifestyle? Muscle is more dense than fat, and even if you dont look any bigger or smaller, you will weigh more and have more in the way of curves. What helped me was going to college: I ate bigger meals less frequently, ate healthier overall, skipped caffeine (though I have to do this for non-weight reasons as well) and exercised more– I had more exercise in a day even than when I was in marching band in high school (which involves a LOT of physical activity, and is pretty grueling) just by walking… then I started running/jogging.
In detail, here’s what I did:
–I can’t recall exactly how many miles I walked in a day, but I had to walk around a large campus several times a day because my bike’s tires kept going flat and eventually I just locked it up and started walking to class. I also went running. I lifted weights for a bit, but I’m a weakling and all the smaller weights kept getting taken.
–I ate more healthy fats as have been mentioned above. One thing I didn’t know then, but know now, is to spike your food with olive oil. I recall one Bee telling me that she started spiking her hubby’s food with it so he’d bulk up more easily, and he never tasted it. I’m “almost vegetarian” so the salad dressings with more oil, and just eating more nuts, helped me.
–Skipping caffeine: I actually had to skip it because I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome my senior year of high school, but it’s also a stimulant that just makes you burn more calories than you have to. It’s bad not just for those of us with very obvious and scary-looking tics, but for those of us trying to gain weight as well.
–Fewer meals, more frequently: I don’t advocate only eating one or two large meals a day, but I do recommend eating 3 square ones a day. People trying to lose weight are told to eat 5-6 meals.
–Protein shakes: I tried them in high school, but they didn’t work because at the time I wasn’t very active (it was between marching band seasons). They only work if you’re getting exercise.
–RELAX. You’ve mentioned you’ve been very stressed out, but that’s probably why you’ve lost so much and can’t gain it back. Do you have a tendency to undereat when stressed? I know I do, and the best thing for me is to have a little something on hand– something small so you don’t feel like you’re forcing yourself to eat, but enough to get a little bit of food in you and calm you down. People get cranky as their blood sugar dips, it happens. That’s something I’ve had to work on too, because stress and poor eating habits can be a vicious cycle.