Contrary to the widely circulated myth that full recovery is impossible, appropriate treatment can make life without an eating disorder truly a reality. Treatment provides tools to fight back against eating disorders by developing self-awareness, new healthy habits, and alternative behaviors for coping. This foundation enables individuals to take ownership of their own recovery and confront challenges within their often trigger-laden personal and sociocultural environments.
This is not to say, though, that it is ever quick and easy. Since recovery is far more than physically maintaining a healthy weight, it can be an intense and intensely difficult process. Progress is not linear and relapses will likely occur along the way. Seeking support when necessary and acknowledging that these setbacks are not failures but moments of growth and learning can prevent a relapse from derailing the recovery process completely.
In addition, the very notion of what “recovered” looks like will need to unfold over time. The process of recovery means empowering and caring for oneself by cultivating new patterns of thought and behavior. Smaller achievements that gradually liberate one from the grasp of the eating disorder should be regularly appreciated and celebrated as they accumulate into a new sense of what is “normal” and open up new horizons. Full recovery is both so challenging and so rewarding because it means generating and embracing an identity that is no longer dependent on the old disordered external measures of value. Recovery will look different for every single person because it is a radically personal means loving, nourishing, and ultimately reclaiming oneself.