Embracing Resistance in Eating Disorder Recovery

July 13, 2016 Z Zoccolante

Embracing resistance in eating disorder recovery is key to our health and happiness. It can be a confusing process because the eating disorder didn’t develop overnight. We didn’t wake up one morning and say, “Hey, I found a brilliant way to destroy my life, my relationships, my health, and my self-esteem. Hello, eating disorder, come right in.” We didn’t realize that our “diet” would lead to a downward spiral. At some point, we all face the choice of recovery, and it’s scary (An Exercise in Letting Go of Fear in Eating Disorder Recovery). We must venture in the opposite direction of the path we’ve known. Resistance is normal. Here’s how embracing resistance in eating disorder recovery can be simple.

It’s normal to resist change. The reason we resist things in life is because they’re new, different, and a change from what we’re previously familiar with. Embracing something new means that we’re choosing to give up something old. We’re choosing to replace old beliefs, and habits, with new ones. Our old eating disorder habits and beliefs were destructive, but we clung to them because it’s what we knew (The Surprising Reason We Resist Eating Disorder Recovery). It’s how we controlled our world. Here are four steps to help give them up.

Embrace Resistance by Inviting New Things

Let’s not think of recovery as though someone is tearing the safety blanket of our disorder out of our hands and dragging us out of the room while we kick and scream. Let’s think of embracing healthy things. Let’s think of sitting in the room with our safety blanket and inviting new, healthy things to walk through the door and take a seat around us.

Embrace Resistance by Listening

When faced with new thoughts, beliefs, and patterns our safety blanket will begin to tell us all the reasons why we should never let it go. Instead of trying to silence it, let’s peacefully embrace the resistance. Sit peacefully and listen.

Embrace Resistance by Identifying The Message

When we listen, what does the resistance say? Is it angry? What’s it angry about? When we listen, we can identify the things that have been missing in our life. We will begin to see what the eating disorder has stolen, or hidden, from us.

Embrace Resistance by Examining

Embracing resistance in eating disorder recovery is key to our health and happiness. Resistance is normal. Stop fighting. Start embracing it. Here's how.

When we see the things the eating disorder has blinded us from, there may be pain. Maybe it’s a childhood trauma, a relationship, some form of abuse, or some skill we never learned and needed. In this way, the eating disorder tried to shield us from facing painful memories, but we can move on. We are strong enough to face them and shed the disorder. Be kind to yourself as you move through this examination process in your time. If possible, move through this time with the help of a licensed eating disorder therapist (Questions to Ask When Considering Eating Disorders Treatment Options).

Resistance can be a blessing in disguise because it tells us about the things we fear and the things we long for. If we peacefully embrace, it gives us the courage keep moving through recovery. And remember to enlist your support team during your recovery. You can do this.

Watch this Video on Enlisting Your Support Team

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APA Reference
Zoccolante, Z. (2016, July 13). Embracing Resistance in Eating Disorder Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 24 from

Author: Z Zoccolante

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