Eating Disorder Recovery

Recovery describes a continuing process. To start eating disorder recovery is to start a journey.

Recovery from bulimia, anorexia, binge eating or compulsive eating is not just about making peace with food and developing healthy eating habits. Learn what eating disorder recovery really entails.To be on that journey is to be on your path to health and emotional and intellectual development. Your path leads to your true self, to your inner resources of courage, creativity, self respect, strength and ability to be committed and dedicated.

Recovery from bulimia or anorexia or binge eating or compulsive eating is not just about making peace with food and developing healthy eating habits. Recovery is not just about developing or forcing yourself into living with a realistic sense of your body.

Recovery involves living a balanced life. It means feeling all you can feel and digesting your feelings so they inform and enrich your entire personhood. They don't spill out for others to take care of. They don't create such distress that you need to use food or drugs or sex or shopping or high drama or manipulations or dissociation to get relief.

Recovery is about being real in the real world. It is about having the ability to live, cope, adapt, work, love, play in freedom. It means being responsible for yourself and your actions. It means respecting and honoring boundaries so you can truly take care of yourself while respecting and being in relationship with others.

It means more serenity, joy and smiles in your life. And it means being able to eat and enjoy food in freedom.

Eating disorder recovery work involves just about every dimension of your life, and that's a good thing. As you gradually let go of your problematic food related behaviors (eating too much, too little, purging, exercising to make up for a binge, laxative use etc.) you find yourself experiencing powerful and sometimes subtle physical and emotional sensations and feelings. You want them to stop and your eating disorder behaviors are no longer an option. Your task and your challenge become: How do I take care of myself instead?

This is your great guiding question that leads you to your new and better life. Follow where this question leads makes up the bulk of true eating disorder recovery work.

The question not only guides you along your path, it creates your path. For example,

Instead of compulsively eating to numb your feelings, perhaps you paint to express them, or get involved in a political movement to express them, or get into an academic program so you are more equipped to address the issues beneath your feelings like, I want to be more competent in the world, I want a job, I want a different job, I want to advance in my career, I don't want to be an assistant - I want to be the prime mover who has an assistant. You can eat or starve over your frustration and live with an eating disorder. Or you can tolerate your frustration, name it and equip yourself to rise above it. That's recovery work.

Recovery is an endless journey where life continues to get better as you go.

Joanna Poppink, Los Angeles psychotherapist, licensed since 1980 (MFT #15563), is deeply committed to bringing recovery to people suffering from eating disorders.

"When I found recovery for my bulimia I was already a psychotherapist and dedicated my private practice to eating disorder recovery. Now I find that I am writing about eating disorder recovery as part my commitment to not only heal but prevent eating disorders. Conari Press gave me a contract to write a self help book on eating disorder recovery for adult women. I love how my long held passions and commitments are coming together. I have a private practice in Los Angeles, where I specialize in working with people who want eating disorder recovery and who want a satisfying and successful life beyond recovery."

Joanna's specialized psychotherapy practice is designed to allow clients to progress through anxiety situations to ongoing recovery from bulimia, compulsive eating, anorexia and binge eating. Her primary goal is to provide people with a way to achieve thorough and long lasting healing.

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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2009, May 29). Eating Disorder Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 24 from

Last Updated: April 18, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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