When You Don't Feel Ready for Eating Disorder Recovery

Have you become stuck in the tension of how to approach eating disorder recovery when you don't feel ready? This is a common dilemma—the belief that you can't pursue healing until the motivation, desire, and commitment all of a sudden materialize.

In fact, I just had a conversation about this last night with a woman who is currently in the trenches of her own eating disorder. She admitted to me over the phone that she knows recovery is both crucial and possible, but she isn't ready to course-correct in this direction. I understand and empathize because I too have experienced this; but in time, I also learned that waiting for readiness means never stepping into freedom. Often, there is no decisive "light bulb" moment in which the need to heal connects with the want to be healthy and whole. So how do you approach eating disorder (ED) recovery when you don't feel ready?         

What I Learned About ED Recovery When I Didn't Feel Ready

When I first embarked on the healing process as a 19-year-old, no part of me felt ready—not ready for a counselor, not ready for a nutritionist, and absolutely not ready for residential treatment. But this lack of "readiness" soon became irrelevant. My life was at stake, the need for help was dire, and my parents made the final decision when I was too unstable to choose treatment for myself.

As I walked across the threshold of an inpatient facility and heard the sharp, metallic wrench of a door lock behind me, I did not feel ready. As I slumped into a chair and examined the circle of faces around me in a group therapy session the next morning, I did not feel ready. As I was taught how to consume a balanced meal and adjust my level of exercise, I did not feel ready. As I watched myself transform from starved and frail to strong and resilient—even then, I did not feel ready.

Why It's Essential to Start ED Recovery When You Don't Feel Ready

I started to heal nonetheless; and over time, my perspective shifted from reluctance to desire. I was forced onto the path of eating disorder recovery before I felt ready, but the more steps I took out of those familiar shadows and into uncharted possibilities, the more forward momentum I gained.

So based on my own experience, I will confirm that a feeling of readiness does not always precede action. If you remain on the sidelines of healing due to an assumption that you're just not ready, then I issue a challenge to be brave—to cross the line and risk the uncertainties when ambivalence would be so much easier. If you are skeptical of how to approach eating disorder recovery when you don't feel ready, all it takes is a willingness to place one foot in front of the other. This might not be simple or desirable, but it can be done.

Why are you not feeling ready for eating disorder recovery? What holds you back? Share your thoughts in the comments.

APA Reference
Schurrer, M. (2020, May 21). When You Don't Feel Ready for Eating Disorder Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 28 from

Author: Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

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