Sunday, January 24, 2021

How did you recover from your eating disorder?

April 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Recovery

I am often asked to tell this story, and I’d like to hear yours.

Background information on my modeling-hell past life.

Want more information on eating disorders and medication? See here


13 Responses to “How did you recover from your eating disorder?”
  1. love2eatinpa says:

    i feel like i’m straddling the line between being “in recovery” and saying i’m “recovered” from my bingeing / compulsive overeating.

    overall, i’d say i have gotten to this point via overeaters anonymous, therapy, blogging and utter honesty.

    • mamaV says:

      Hi love2eatinpa: This brings up a great point which is — do we ever really, completely recover?

      I still have the negative body image thoughts from time to time, but they are never to a point that I fear the reaper is coming back. The thoughts are always squashed by the realities of my life, the things that matter, my kids, my husband, my parents, my career — and when pitted against those loves, it dies quickly.

      I hope you too find solace in the “real” things that matter to you in your life, the love you are surrounded by, and what your deeper purpose is (maybe you are finding it now as we speak!)


  2. julie says:

    I’d say the hardest part of this is split between learning to eat like a “normal” person, and developing the ability to tolerate emotions, even uncomfortable ones, without having to try to numb, distract, or resist. The learning to eat normally may have just been me, don’t really hear much about this. I just never learned, had no clue.

  3. Kristin says:

    I think you said it well when you answered how you recovered from your eating disorder with, “very slowly.” It’s a long process of therapy and having to deal with incredibly uncomfortable things.

    I did an intensive outpatient treatment program for 3 months and continued with individual therapy after that. The most important keys to my recovery were:

    -Learning to feel and deal with my emotions in healthy ways and most importantly not judging any one emotion I’m feeling.
    -Creating a support network of people who care about me and who I care about too. Getting myself out of isolation helped tremendously.
    -Being compassionate with myself and keeping the faith that life without an eating disorder is possible and is wonderful.

    I had no idea how truly amazing recovered life is! If I would have known, I may have hurried there faster!

    About the question of ever being “truly recovered”: I’ll probably always have eating disordered thoughts, but what defines recovery for me is how I deal with them. I know that when my thoughts turn more toward eating disordered thoughts, I’m not allowing myself to truly feel some emotion that is coming up for me. It’s my signal to sit with myself and work that issue out. Once I do that, I feel better and don’t have to resort to eating disorder behavior. It’s actually a useful barometer.

    I could write about this all day…thank you mV and others for sharing your stories.

  4. Shelly says:

    Great post.

    I made a choice. And then I stuck to that choice no matter how hard it got. Oh and it got hard. There were times when I sat on the floor and cried. I wanted to give up many times.

    Unfortunately, I didnt have the option of anti-anxiety medication. SSRI’s jack me up and make me manic and I was addicted to (and abused) benzos. So it sucked and it still sucks a lot of the time. But I will not give up. Anxiety is rough, but I am lucky to have the opportunity to find ways to deal with it.

    I went to therapy and actually talked about things. I stopped being so secretive. Cant tell you how much not being a big liar has helped. But my whole family had to change. Me and the hubs went to therapy and without that we would have been divorced and I would probably be dead. I now feel I can tell him anything and it has helped A LOT. I started setting boundaries left and right. It was hard, but it felt good.

    I surrounded and still surround myself with positive people.

    The biggest thing for me is knowing that if I have a small lapse it doesnt have to turn into a relaspe. Before, if I “messed up” in recovery, I threw in the towel ad went downhill from there. I cut myself some slack, gave myself some room for mistakes, and tried not to be so perfect.

    The benefits I have gained because of recovery (fixed relationships, new friends, having a life, not feeling like shit all the time, etc….) has helped keep me where I am today.

    I am not sure I will ever be” recovered.” I was on a panel in Feb. and this question was asked. I am in “recovery” and that is fine with me. If I stay in recovery my whole life I dont even care if I cant declare myself recovered. Recovery for me means having thoughts, but dealing with them and then moving on. A part of me knows the thoughts will always be there and may never leave and I have accepted that. Accepting the thoughts has helped my recovery. But accepting them does not mean I listen to them. No way.

  5. Kaylee says:

    Don’t get me wrong, just like everyone else, I still have the thoughts. For me, I don’t want to have to go to my soon-to-be husband, and have to tell him, “So… I binged today…” and I can’t keep a secret worth shit.

    And I’ve gotten chewed out so many times for trying to puke it up or starve it away that I don’t even want to step a foot in that direction. A kick in the ass and honesty was all I needed.

    I think being honest with everything about me really let the binging urge go away. The more honest I became, the more accepting of everything I was. The more I stopped hiding, the less I wanted to binge. I’ve been through a lot of stressful moments in this past week, and I can say with pride that I did not binge once.

    But will that mean I wont ever omnomnom a cookie when I’m sad? Nah. For me, that’s okay. I accept that. I just don’t hate myself, or go through further punishment afterwards. That, to me, is recovery.

    If someone who was going through those times and asked me the keys to recovery (in any road or method you decide to take for recovery), I’d say:
    – Support from others. Friends, family, or even support groups really make it happen.
    – Something to do. Don’t make your ED an identity, branch off and do something else with yourself for once.
    – Honesty.. With the ones you love, and yourself. Speaking how you feel instead of hiding it makes a HUUUGE difference.
    – Love for thine-self. I work on this everyday, and I may not gush over myself yet, but I don’t mind who I am. That’s important.

  6. sIM'One says:

    my pregnancy was what made me want to recover. the idea that i could bare a child made me feel like i had power that connected me to the rest of humanity. it took me years and i’m still sort of struggling with behaviors, but i’ve come a long way and am truly happy with who i am now.

  7. Michelle says:

    This really have become a problem in our generation and may be it is because of self esteem issues but overcoming this is really rewarding.

  8. Tara Tulley says:

    I stopped listening to how everyone else told me was the proper way to recover! I started recovering improperly, and in the process found that I had an intuitive voice telling me how to find a different identity then my eating disorder.

  9. Mari says:

    I quit therapy. I started seeing a therapist for depression, etc. and he focused on my weight. As my depression worsened my weight dropped. He became fixated on my weight, and every week badgered me about being anorexic. “How much do you weigh this week? Will you promise to try and eat more this week?” etc. I think part of me was angry because I wanted to talk about other things. I think I rebelled and was mentally fighting him. Refusing to eat to prove him wrong: I was OK. I could still function. I wasn’t anorexic. If I had an eating disorder I would be unable to live my life like a normal human being, right?

    After I quit therapy I noticed my thinking towards food and exercise became less constrained. Slowly, very slowly, I was able to incorporate different foods into my diet. It started painfully slow. Maybe I could have a tomato with my lettuce-only salad. Or some salt on my food. Maybe a vitamin (I used to dread the extra calories of simple vitamins!) But I did it. This led to incorporating actual foods into my “safe list”.

    I’m still in recovery, and probably always will be. But without somebody aggrivating me, someone I had to prove wrong, someone to rebel against, things are getting easier.

    While I was in therapy I also attended ANAD meetings. I felt these were a safe haven because everybody there honestly understood and didn’t push or judge.

  10. Orlaith says:

    I began listening to WHAT I WANTED…. not what food i wanted necessarily but how i envisaged my day…where I wanted to go, things to do… if it was lunch time/dinner time and I needed to eat …. then it was decision making time. Ask myself, will I eat? If so, What? Then Id ask myself if it was really me answering the question or was my eating disorder answering the question, saying no?! Its not easy, I still cry, it still burdens me, it still breaks me, it still hurts and tears me apart and everytime it breaks me I swear its the last time ive to drag my ass up from rock bottom… dont know how many times ive hit rock bottom but its tiring draggin my backside back up again and going on…

  11. sui says:

    My story is here:

    But really…
    fierce self-love, self-discovery, self-reflection.

    I worked on myself, and how conscious I was of my own choices & lifestyle.

  12. Nina says:

    I recovered from my eating disorder by finally letting go of all of the dieting and restricting behavior. After “failing” so many diets and having them lead to disastrous binge eating sessions, I finally gave up.
    I started on my journey of being an intuitive eater. I That was over 3 years ago and I have not looked back.
    I consider myself recovered today and have not had an urge to binge, purge, restrict or diet for three years.

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