3 More Parts of Ed Recovery to Throw in the Trash

ED recovery - image of female wearing glasses and gauge earrings, with a slight smile

There are about as many opinions on how to recover from an eating disorder as there are varieties of yogurt at the supermarket. So many that my head spins when I try to focus on just one. In a recent article I challenged the practice of assigning a target weight that is very common practice in treatment. I believe there are many other problematic ways of thinking that are all too common in the world of ED recovery.

3 More Things We Need to Stop Focusing on in ED Recovery

1. BMI

BMI is garbage. It belongs in the trash right next to target weight and your scale. If you dig into the history of the usage of BMI in health, you may be shocked to learn it was never intended to be used to determine health. Even more disturbing are the racist roots that BMI is built upon.

There is also no scientific evidence that low BMI causes positive health outcomes. In fact, scientific studies actually often support the opposite. Check out this article for more information. Our health is affected by so many factors. Genetics, mental health, socioeconomic status, exercise, nutrition, and environmental factors all impact a person’s health. BMI ignores all of these by only focusing on height and weight.

2. Doing ED Recovery the “Right” Way

Don’t fall for trying to do recovery the same way you did food before.

There is no perfect way of recovery that guarantees a perfect life.

Achieving recovery won’t give you all of the things you hoped being thin enough would. Why? Because perfection does not exist.

Life is going to be hard. it will continue to be filled with struggle, ups and downs, endings and beginnings, lessons and tribulations. Whether you choose life living with an eating disorder, or you go all in on ED recovery, you will still encounter stress. The difference is, when you are free of the ed, you can handle these things on a full stomach. And with your full attention you can clearly and mindfully go through hard times without losing yourself.

3. Comparison

Stop comparing yourself to other people’s recovery journeys. Just like constantly comparing your body to other’s causes despair, so does comparing your recovery journey to others.

No two people are the same, no two journeys are the same. And no two recoveries are the same.

There are a million different paths that all lead toward freedom from an eating disorder. You don’t have to take the same path as your friend, your aunt, or even as me. In fact, it probably won’t work if you try.

Dig deep into your gut and trust yourself. Eat that food you know deep down you really want. Do the thing your soul calls for, even if your knees are shaking. Break free from the rules society has taught you, and connect with your true purpose.

Make sure you stay connected to your truth and you will find your best path. Hint: your best path involves challenging the ED, and taking risks. It requires doing the hard things in recovery and letting go of the disorder.

Trust yourself, NOT the eating disorder.

Most of all, remember that living with an eating disorder for the rest your life guarantees a small existence. Breaking free and choosing ED recovery gives you the possibility to live fully in connection and with purpose.

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7 Comments

  1. Avatarsays: Annonomous

    Amazing article. I have relapsed and procrastinated for years. I just need that push to know that gaining weight is not eveil, and that there more to me than being known as the skinny one. I’m scared of losing that label as I wonder what else I have to offer

    1. Thank you so much! It is terrifying for sure to let go of that label. The thing is, if we wait until the fear is gone, we will never let go and try it. It takes doing the thing we are terrified of doing to break through. Then only way you will see that gaining weight “isn’t evil” is by actually allowing yourself to do it- if that makes sense. We can’t wait until we are no longer afraid- we have to do the thing we are afraid of most. The good news is, when you are brave enough to do it anyway, you will see just how much free-er your life can be. Sending you strength. I know you can do it. πŸ™

      1. Avatarsays: Annonomous

        Your right. I’ve decided there no time like now so I will eat all the food that makes me happy but I have denied for 17 years. If any has a problem with how I look, feel or act then they are not worth knowing.
        I deserve to be happy and free
        Wish me luck

  2. Avatarsays: Emily

    Thanks Lisette. I needed to read this today. Daily life without scales or BMI feels essential for my recovery. In Scotland, at your first antenatal appointment, they weigh you and record your BMI on your maternity notes. My husband and I are talking about having another child and I am anxious that I will be weighed and have my BMI recorded at the start of pregnancy. Do you have any advice? Best wishes.

    1. Lisettesays: Lisette

      Hi Emily! Thank you for reading and commenting. How exciting that you are considering having another baby. I relate so much to your anxiety- they do the same thing here in the US. I told my doctor at my first appointment that I was in recovery from an eating disorder and did NOT want to ever see or know my weight. She was very understanding and assured me she would discuss with me if she was ever concerned but not tell me specifics. Whenever the nurses weighed me I always told them the same thing. Here they call it a “blind weigh” and I would either stand on the scale backwards, or stare at the ceiling while being weighed. I was always anxious and uncomfortable asking this, but I knew that uncomfortable situation was WAY better than getting triggered into ed behaviors. Any time I was struggling I reminded myself I had to speak up in order to be healthy for myself and my children. I hope this is helpful. Best wishes for a healthy baby <3

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