What does it Take to Fully Recover?


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Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.

Benjamin Disraeli


Dear Readers,

Remember that recovery happens everyday. If you are struggling, know that there is hope for you.

One question I’m constantly asked what does it mean to be fully recover from your Eating Disorder? Lauren Marsh inspiring Recovery coach answers this question beautifully on her recovery website, ‘Healing for Eating Disorders’.

I asked a reader from Tehran (who recovered from her ED several years ago) on what is a full recovery and what does it look like:


“I suffered for 4 years from anorexia when we were in States. True recovery from Eating Disorder is allowing your body to get to its natural set point weight and eliminating all ED behaviors from your life. This is important and I can’t stress enough on how important this is. Now 3 years later, I will say for me recovery is not having negative thoughts in my mind and not having preoccupation over my body image, believing my worth doesn’t depend on the size of my waist. No longer obsessing over calories and not allowing food to control my life.” Sofia Tehran



What Does It Mean To Be Recovered From Your Eating Disorder?

Today I want to share something I’ve written about what it means to truly recover from your eating disorder.

Some people think that you are “recovered” just because you don’t engage in the eating disorder behaviors: the restricting, dieting, binging, purging, overexercising, etc.  But really, most people who simply stop the behaviors just go right back to the eating disorder.  It’s only a matter of time.  If you don’t go on to truly heal the core of you, heal in every area of your life, there will still be reason to use the eating disorder, if not now, then later down the line.  Or it will pop up disguised as a different addiction or type of ED.  You know that there is still something to heal if you are still struggling with some aspect of recovery or behavior.

So What Does It Mean To Be Recovered From Your Eating Disorder?

Recovering from an eating disorder means learning how to live without the bulimia, the anorexia, the binge-eating.   It means having to learn how to eat again ‘normally’ without using food to cope.

Recovering from an eating disorder means learning how to feel.  It means letting all of the feelings come up and sitting with them, without using the eating disorder behaviors to stuff them down, purge them out, or starve them away.  It means allowing ourselves to actually feel them, process them, accept them, and let them go as scary and anxiety-provoking as they are.  Remember, “This too shall pass.”

Recovering from an eating disorder means we have to let others in.  It means learning how to let others be there for us and letting them support us while we do the work – the hard part of recovery – ourselves.  It means opening up and sharing our feelings, thoughts and emotions with them whether they understand or not.

Recovering from an eating disorder means that we have to accept our body exactly as it is, flaws and all.  It means we must give up the eternal pursuit of ‘thinness’ and reject society’s distorted perception of ‘beauty.’  Weight is just a number throw out the scale!!

Recovering from an eating disorder means letting go.  It means letting go of the comfort the eating disorder provided, letting go of the negativity, letting go of the self-criticism, the perfection and surrendering letting it all go so that we can be free!

Recovering from an eating disorder means learning how to forgive.  It means forgiving others for what has happened in the past and forgiving ourselves too– we must process our past and forgive every part of it so that we can heal.

Recovering from an eating disorder means that we learn to love ourselves and take care of ourselves.  It means developing genuine love and gratitude for all of our parts – our body, mind and soul.  It means realizing that we deserve to be happy and be loved and understanding that we are worthy of this love, happiness, and contentment.

Recovering from an eating disorder means that we accept ourselves fully and live in the present.  It means that we aren’t ashamed of our past, we aren’t anxious or stressing out right now, and we aren’t afraid of what’s to come.  We can deal with life effectively without dysfunctional coping mechanisms.

Recovering from an eating disorder means that we have to grow outside our comfort zone.  Recovery is like an onion: there are many layers to peel away.  Each layer brings with it new things to work on, new fears, new anxieties, and new things to learn about life and about ourselves.  As we go through this process, we keep peeling back the layers and we learn how to better manage our lives and learn more about who we truly are.

Recovering from an eating disorder means believing in ourselves and believing that full recovery is possible.  It means having faith in ourselves, the Universe, in life, trusting the process and knowing that everything happens for a reason.

Recovering from an eating disorder means breaking the chains – changing and growing and stretching beyond the limits of what you thought was possible – so that you can gain FREEDOM!!

“If it is bread that you seek, you will have bread.

If it is the soul you seek, you will find the soul.

If you understand this secret,

you know you are that which you seek.”

~ Rumi


About Author

Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

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