What Do You Really Give Up In Recovery?

Recovering from an eating disorder of any type is complex, difficult and not a quick process. Recovery is not linear, nor does it move at a constant pace. There may be periods when a person feels ‘stuck’, and is confused as to why.
One of the hardest parts of recovery for many people is actually letting go of their eating disorder. This is often because the eating disorder served some purpose in that person’s life, which at the time seemed useful.
‘Giving up’ an eating disorder can feel very much like a loss, which can cause increased fear of what being without the eating disorder will really mean.
Some of the ‘functions’ that an eating disorder may serve in a person’s life include:
-Praise or attention from others
-Diversion from family or relationship issues
-Delays adult responsibilities
-Avoidance of sexuality
-Avoidance of memories or feelings
-Maintains a sense of control
-Creates an identity: sense of self
What purpose has an eating disorder had in your life? Do you know? The important thing in recovery is to begin to pursue other means of getting these needs met, or facing the issues that have been avoided.
Some ways to move forward can include:
-Practice ways of relaxation or self-soothing
-Direct communication to get your needs met
-Don’t rush recovery. Set a realistic pace
-Separate sexuality from recovery (if applies)
-Work on ‘sitting’ with feelings
-Look for ways to define and feel good about YOU.


Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

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