Recovery from an eating disorder is not easy. In fact, it can be particularly complicated for those who have dealt with it — partially because our society is so steeped in diet culture and partially because it’s not like you can abstain from food the way you can abstain from alcohol and drugs if you have substance use disorder. And millions of people suffer from an eating disorder; about 30 million people, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD). But there is hope and healing at the end.
For the past two weeks, we have been tackling the difficult subject of eating disorder recovery on The Temper. Not only have we talked about how to combat fatphobia, stop using moral food language in front of our kids, stay sober through all of the diet messaging this time of year, and maintain your recovery when your friends and family are still steeped in diet culture, but we also wanted to talk to real women about how they found healing and recovery.
And so, we asked our Instagram followers how they healed from their own eating disorders. Here’s what they had to say:
- “Therapy and the Brain Over Binge podcast.”
- “For years, I replaced it with alcohol. Now, five months alcohol-free, daily walks soothe me.”
- “By following body-positive Instagram accounts so that I can find beauty in bodies that look like mine.”
- “I just started outpatient Eating Disorder treatment, and I was grateful.”
- “Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT!)!! Awareness and non-judgmental observation, too.”
- “By embracing intuitive eating and rejecting diet culture and orthorexia.”
- “Learning to love me more!”
- “Therapy, recovery coaching, emotional maturity, patience, honesty, and sharing my story.”
- “Food addiction was hidden under my other addiction. I’ve used tools of mindfulness, Ayurveda, and abstinence from processed sugar and gluten as my key tools.”
- “Lots of therapy, meditation, yoga, and mindfulness practices.”
- “Learning that my sober, authentic self was good enough helped me see that my body is too.”
- “Knowing that I could get sober meant I could handle this food and body stuff.”
- “CrossFit. I can’t be strong if I don’t fuel my body.”
- “Therapy, acupuncture, and being honest with my partner about my struggles with food.”
- “Challenging myself to quit dieting. I gained weight. I still loved. I embraced life change.”
- “It was long and hard and lonely and depressing, but it never made me want to drink.”
- “Therapy, learning to track what I eat based on science, and keeping my emotions out of it all.”
- “Eating food as fuel and treating running as therapy and joy instead of as a punishment.”
- “By accepting that I’d rather be heavier than spend 30% of my brainpower thinking about food.”
- “I healed the root issues that drove me to food. Plus, yoga, bodywork, journaling, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), walking, and books.”
Recovery from anything isn’t easy. But, if these stories prove anything, it’s that you can do it. If they can, so can you. It won’t be easy and you will likely have to continue to work on it for the rest of your life (possibly with the help of a good therapist) but you’ll get there too. In the meantime, make sure you follow our Instagram account for more.