Part 2: Obstacles in Eating Disorder Recovery

As discussed in the Part 1 of this article, “the usual suspects” are your unique set of challenges that can sabotage your eating disorder recovery efforts and create feelings of hopelessness and frustration. I encourage you, as we continue to explore some of the more commonly mentioned obstacles here, to consider what your usual suspects are and to write them down along with ideas on how you can overcome them. Here I will address one of the most challenging obstacles that keep people stuck:

# 3 “Whatʼs the point in doing all of this work? I still hate my body and Iʼm scared that eating all this food (following the recommended meal plan) will just make me fat.”

This is one of the BIGGEST distortions that keeps people stuck in their eating disorders. Mistreating your body sends a loud and powerful message to your brain that you are not worthy of self-love. While youʼre stuck in this toxic thought loop, you will NEVER feel comfortable in your body regardless of your shape, size, weight, etc. ED will tell you that you must fit into a certain box to be “good enough.”

For some, that is about a body type, number on the scale, clothing size, etc. For others, it is dependent on feedback from others on how you look. For most, the key lie that ED (aka your eating disorder)  will tell you is that you have succeeded when you have acted out on symptoms leading to a TEMPORARY false sense of feeling better only to be followed by much deeper feelings of self-loathing and hopelessness.

Overcoming this obstacle is one of the toughest and one of the most pivotal in getting to a place of freedom from your eating disorder. The truth and challenging these distortions lies in knowing and working toward accepting that feeling good about yourself and building your self worth means going completely out of your comfort zone and learning how to properly nourish and take care of your body in ways that are helpful NOT harmful to your health.

If having the perfect body was the answer, then eating disorders would discriminate based upon body types, but as I have seen over many years, this is NEVER the case. Instead, consider taking the first step of considering these important truths:

  1. Treating my body well vs. staying in a cycle of body abuse are the first steps I must take to learning to accept my body and become comfortable in it.
  2. Using my body as a measuring stick to evaluating my self worth is and will always be a dead end.
  3. Doing the work that your personal recovery requires will help build better body image (not “perfect” because there is no such thing.”