What to Do When You Don’t Want to DO Recovery


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“Healthy looks different on every single person and every single body.  Recovery is a process rooted in the idea that I love myself too much to keep myself from my best. Fuel your body to be capable not crippled.”

–  Maria

Dear Readers,

Please find below a wonderful post by Lauren. I hope it will help many of you in your recovery.  One of the big challenge I face is when people suffering from Eating Disorders tell me they don’t want to recover and they want to live with their illness for rest of their lives. It’s very hard to encourage people to go for recovery. Recovery has to come from within.

What to Do When You Don’t Want to DO Recovery


I remember many times in recovery how one of the biggest blocks to moving forward was simply NOT WANTING TO DO IT.

It felt too hard.

Too difficult.

Too much energy needed to get started again to do it.

I just plain DID NOT FEEL LIKE IT at times.

Do you feel like this sometimes?

Do feel like this most of the time?

Don’t worry, you are not alone.

I speak to so many women and men that say they do actually KNOW what to do– they just DON’T DO IT (this was one of my biggest blocks to recovery and I resonate with this SO DEEPLY).

Before we go into how to overcome this block, we first have to look at WHY we don’t do it.

Here is what I’ve found to be the major reasons that we don’t do recovery:

~Feels too hard or impossible to achieve.  You might think “I’m going to struggle with this the rest of my life so what’s the point?!  Why should I even try…”  

~It feels really comfortable and safe right where we are at right now, even if we *know* logically that its not good for us, that it is killing our body, mind and soul.  For many women and men, it has been around so long that it is simply just all we know and since we are good at that and don’t know any other way of being.  We stick with it because it is a risk to change and it feels safer just doing what we know. even if it is destroying us there is always that secondary gain because in some way it is serving you.

~Feeling fear/anxiety/overwhelm.  These feelings typically act like a STOP button on recovery because they tend to come up and stop us dead in our tracks.  Even in the face of major change, or attempting to change habits of action or thought, or having some success in doing so, the fear and anxiety and overwhelming emotions will come up.  When the feelings do come up when stopping the behaviors, they can feel too overwhelming and they trigger us, so we revert back to the old dysfunctional coping behaviors because that is what is comfortable, natural and normal and what has been “working” for us for so long.

~Not taking responsibility for your recovery.  This is a tough one to talk about but I have to say it is probably the most important.

The reason many people don’t ever recover is because they continue to look outside of themselves for  “the answer” or someone to save you or rescue you or fix you.

Now that we know why we get stuck, let’s look at some ways that we can overcome these limiting mindsets and habits:

~When recovery feels too hard or impossible to achieve, it can be helpful to shift into a more open place.

Write in your journal this question and then answer it, “What would happen if I believed that full recovery was 100% completely possible for me?”  You don’t have to *believe* it yet, but see if you can shift into an open place where you can feel OPEN to the possibilities of life after recovery.

~When it feels comfortable and safe to resort back to the eating disorder behaviors, it might be because of a few major reasons: 1. you don’t have enough positive support around you to consistently guide and uplift you in achieving new states of being and thinking and/or 2. you are taking too big of a leap in what you are trying to accomplish in your immediate recovery goals.

Instead, start small.  Set small, daily, achievable goals for yourself when it comes to food and behaviors.  I recommend shifting one new thing a week to start that gets you out of your comfort zone but feels do-able and realistic.

For example, one of the first things I recommend to my clients is to set aside a minimum time each day for “ME” time.  All this requires is taking 5, 10 or 15 minutes a day– depending on what feels do-able and realistic to you– and set a timer.

Push start on the timer and during that time, ONLY do things that MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD and that are LOVING ACTIONS for yourself.  Journaling, meditation, yoga, reading a self-improvement or spiritual book, listening to music, working with crystals or angel cards, doing reiki or creating art are some of my go-to habits during my own personal self-care time.  During this time you do NOT check Facebook, do dishes, clean your house, check emails, or anything else that does not fall under SELF-CARE and SELF-LOVE activities.

When it comes to food, try shifting ONE food or behavior habit a week.  If you are struggling with your food intake, one way to start small is to simply add in a hearty breakfast each day for a week.  Then once you can do that for a week, try shifting another habit the following week such as adding in a mid-morning snack, or adding 1 carbohydrate to your lunch each day.

Once you have small successes in one area, you will naturally feel good about yourself and by going through the initial fear and anxiety over it you will begin to build up your self esteem this way!!  You will automatically want to continue your progress by incorporating one new challenge the following week to continue feeling better and better about yourself.

So remember to start small and make it do-able, actionable and realistic, and always gain support and accountability from a coach or support person to encourage and inspire you to continue your work on yourself when the going gets tough.

~When the fear/anxiety/overwhelm comes up, it is SO IMPORTANT to simply LET IT COME UP.  Let it come up and allow yourself to FEEL your FEELINGS.  Most of the time I find that these fears, anxieties and overwhelm are simply the top layer and underneath it are the hurts, anger and deep sadness that are the result of emotional traumas and wounds from the past.

When you eat and stop engaging in the eating disorder behaviors, all of the pains and baggage from the past comes up to be healed and transformed.  When these feelings come up, know that IT IS A GOOD THING.  It might not FEEL GOOD in the short term, but know that in the long term this is the only way that you can move forward towards and go after full permanent recovery.

Allow the feelings to come up, process through them in whatever way you can and release them.  When the going gets tough (because I am damn sure that it will– this is effing hard!!), you can use one of my favorite quotes…


~What to do when you are blaming others, shaming yourself, regretting the past, denying the present and searching for answers outside of yourself?  It can feel easier to do these things, but I promise you they will continue to keep you stuck and relapsing over and over again until you take responsibility.  This is more of a mindset shift that includes taking action… how can you shift into taking FULL RESPONSIBILITY for your recovery?!

Taking responsibility means that you realize that NO ONE CAN HEAL YOU BUT YOURSELF.  

It also means that we have full acceptance of where you are at, right now.  I know.  This can be a hard one to swallow.  You might be thinking, but once I accept and take responsibility, how can I recover without help outside of myself?!?!  

Taking responsibility does NOT mean we don’t get help from the outside.  It is simply an INTERNAL SHIFT that needs to be made.  Let me explain.  When you take responsibility for healing yourself and recovering 100%, you no longer seek external help with the mindset, “I am broken, I am messed up, I need you to tell me what is wrong with me and please fix me.”  

I know I personally am guilty of doing this for many years, the seeking outside of myself, trying to find WHY I am so fucked up and looking for endless means to try and FIX me, because I was sure I was broken and something what wrong with me.

But that’s just the thing.  You’re NOT broken.  There’s nothing wrong with you.  You don’t have anything you need to “fix.”  Yes, you might feel lost and confused, you might be struggling and don’t know how to process things properly yet, however YOU HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED WITHIN YOU IN ORDER HEAL AND RECOVER 100%.  

ANYONE can do this.  There is HOPE for you NO MATTER WHAT you have been through or are dealing with right now.

Taking responsibility means you shift into the mindset of, “I might be struggling with these things right now, however I want to recover and I have hope for the future.  I am willing to learn how to help myself and heal myself, here are my goals– how can YOU help ME achieve them?”

Do you see the difference there?

This might be a difficult realization to make, however it is LIFE-TRANSFORMING and a much more EMPOWERING way to look at your recovery.  Because no one outside of yourself will EVER be able to cure you.

The best kind of help in recovery is a teacher, guide or coach who will EMPOWER you to learn the SKILLS and MINDSET you NEED in order to overcome this on your own while also holding your hand, with them guiding you and showing you along the way (Click here to read more about what I can do as your eating disorder recovery coach).

They do not do it for you, rather you take responsibility for taking your own actions in recovery for YOURSELF, as you learn to love yourself and treat yourself well along the journey, facing your fears and becoming more and more your true authentic self as you let go of the control the eating disorder has over you.

What do you think, beautiful soul?  How can you use and apply this knowledge in your daily recovery?  What is one thing that you can do TODAY based on what I shared?  What do you feel would be the MOST BENEFICIAL in your own personal recovery to implement?  How can I support you in doing this?

In Love + Light,

Your Best Eating Disorder Recovery Coach!!

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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.


  1. I really like all the info You have posted so far. You give us a choice to decide what path we want to pick. Thanks for not having one set view

  2. Pingback: Bulimia Recovery Stages You Should Know - Islam and Eating Disorders

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