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August 18, 2015

Clients’ Thoughts About Recovery

Re-posted from the Cleveland Center for Eating Disorders (CCED) blog archives and updated with additional Emily Program client thoughts. CCED and The Emily Program partnered in 2014.

Recovery from an eating disorder is the clear goal of treatment; however, the scientific literature on clients’ experience of recovery is often defined in different ways. In general, the literature tends to focus on re-feeding, growth curves, medical stability, and resolution of behaviors. At TEP we fully endorse that these are the first steps towards recovery and without them, no discussion of recovery can take place. That being said, recovery from an eating disorder can have various meanings for those who suffer from these illnesses. In general, there are psychological, social, and identity issues that also change when someone describes themself as being in recovery.

We feel it is important to talk to our clients and their families to gain an understanding of what recovery means to them. With this in mind, we had a conversation with clients about this issue. We asked them to answer the question “How do I know if I am in recovery?” Please find their responses below:

I know I’m recovering if I…

  • Am able to go out and get what I want
  • Do not count calories
  • Feel hunger cues and am not anxious when hungry
  • Eat when I’m hungry
  • Have a whole day without thinking about the eating disorder
  • Go to sleep without worrying about what I have to eat tomorrow
  • Engage in a cause bigger than myself
  • Listen to my body’s needs and functions
  • Give up fear about talking about the eating disorder
  • Am known to others and have them aware of who I am
  • Can do the things I want, despite ED telling me that I can’t
  • Can recognize that bravery is following my meal plan, NOT restricting

Get help. Find hope.