How Will I Know When I Am Recovered?

How will I know when I am recovered?

This is a question I have asked myself over and over again. It has rolled around inside of my head until my temples ache with confusion.  Is it even possible to become fully recovered? Others claim to have reached this goal. Is it possible for ME to reach this goal? How will I know if I am recovered? Am I recovered

I know I am in recovery- and that this is the longest stretch I have had in recovery since before my eating disorder developed over 28 years ago. And that is something I am humbled and thrilled by.  And honestly sometimes in shock. But how will I know when I am finally recovered?

This is what I imagine being RECOVERED will look like for me:

-I will not diet or restrict, even when I am anxious, sad, angry, or experiencing any other uncomfortable feelings

-I will not restrict calories, binge, or purge

-Thoughts of food, calories, and exercise will not rule my mind 

-I will not exercise when I am in pain, I am sick, or the weather makes it unsafe 

-I will not silently compare myself to every other female in a room as soon as I enter, ranking myself to see who is thinner or larger than I am

-I will not silently calculate calories I have eaten or am considering eating 

-I will not silently calculate calories others are eating around me 

-I will not say, “No thank you,” as a knee jerk reaction anytime I am offered food

-I will eat in public if I am hungry, regardless of who is around me

-I will eat with others, if I am hungry, even if no one else is eating at the time

-I will drink calories without panicking

-I will not obsess over what I already ate, what I am going to eat, and what I want to eat

-I will not judge my worth based on my size

-I will not classify my day as “good” or “bad” based on what I ate or did not eat

-I will not avoid social situations simply because people will be eating there

-I will not feel panic before eating at a restaurant or eating foods someone else has prepared

-I will not spend hours changing outfits because I do not like the way I look in any of them

-I will not pinch, push, or poke my body while insulting it in my head

-I will not spend time scrutinizing over every real or imagined flaw I see in the mirror

-I will not feel tempted to lose weight as a way of solving any situation or problem


Want to find your version of recovery? Join us in the School of Recovery to help comprise your list.


-I will not judge myself based on my body size

-I will not judge others based on their body size

I will not attempt to manipulate the natural size of my body

-I will not attempt to feel better by controlling what I eat or how I look

-I will not feel tempted to engage in eating disorder behaviors whenever I am upset

-I will not believe that shrinking my body will solve any problems

-I will not attempt to express my feelings through my body or what I eat (or don’t eat)

-I will not immediately judge my appearance when I see a photograph of myself; I will focus instead on how I felt in the moment

-I will not engage in negative self talk immediately when I see my own reflection

-I will be able to tell when I am hungry and when I am full

-I will make it a priority to have access to food that I enjoy 

-In those occasions when I do not have access to food I enjoy, I will be flexible 

I will move my body in ways that feels good

-I will rest my body when it is in pain or I am ill

-I will listen to my body and eat what I crave, when I crave it

-I will be able to handle grief and loss without stopping eating or without purging

-I will be able to navigate change without stopping eating or without purging

-I will be able to resiliently overcome challenges without losing or gaining a significant amount of weight, without stopping eating, and without binging or purging

-I will practice self compassion when I am upset with myself

-I will be flexible with my eating and exercise

-I will appreciate my body for its resilience and power

-I will accept my perceived imperfections 

-I will move through this world in a body that I appreciate and accept 

-I will let go of trying to control or change my body size

-I will participate in celebrations that are centered around food

-I will accept social invitations if I want to go (even if there is food involved)

-I will feel connected to myself, to the present, and to my family and friends

-I will eat for fuel at times, for pleasure at times, and to celebrate at times

-I will accept my body as. it. is.

This list is not complete, nor is it exactly what every warrior’s “recovered” will look like. I encourage you to consider what recovered will look like for you. I believe there is power and magic in imagining what it will be like when we have achieved our goals. I would love to hear from you below in the comments. How will you know (or how DO you know) when you are fully recovered?


Want to find your version of recovery? Join us in the School of Recovery to help comprise your list.


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3 Comments

  • This is an EXCELLENT list of what being recovered can look like!!!! And all of the above mentioned items that you listed are all fully possible!!!! Thank you for this wonderful article that has filled me full of hope of what life will eventually look like for me someday!!!!

  • Lisette, another BEAUTIFUL article that truly touches my soul. Thank you for sharing your words, wisdom, and recovery.

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