Recovery from an Eating Disorder without the weight gain

I think I am not alone in saying that getting better without gaining weight or changing what I was eating was something which I have desperately searched for. I wanted to find that place where I could have both the positives of the illness and the ability to experience the positives of everyday life.

I have learnt that place doesn’t exist. Sometimes I forget that I know that and go out searching for that place again, determined that it is possible; unwilling and unable to finally accept the devastating reality that it isn’t.

Those times of searching are getting shorter and further apart.

And here I am, having called off the search party, having settled on the reality that place doesn’t exist.

I have battled through the weight gain, I have allowed my body to maintain a healthy weight, I have eaten and I have started to live life. But what is recovery beyond those ESSENTIAL building blocks? Is it possible to describe recovery from Anorexia without mentioning what is necessary and essential but rather what makes the essential things possible?

It will be different for everyone but for me…..

Recovery goes so far beyond food and weight. It is the most complicated, muddled, messy and painful experience to express let alone to live. It is about changing the way I interact externally with the world around me and changing how I interact internally with myself. It is integrating compassion, compromise and imperfection into EVERY ASPECT of my life despite those things going against everything I’ve ever learnt about how to protect myself. It is living in a way that is gentle on myself when society has a sick admiration for those who ignore their bodies and minds. It is putting myself first. It is being utterly scared, directionless and lost. It is wanting to go back but having to trust that there is another way. It is uncertainty. It is vulnerability.

It is the hardest and best thing. It is letting go slowly and changing slowly until, for the first time, I get the positives of everyday life without needing to have an Eating Disorder  in tow.

Recovery isn’t what I imagined,







Recovery from an Eating Disorder without the weight gain

Guilt, weight gain and the recovering body

I am ashamed and guilty. It comes over me in waves and it makes me want to run away from myself. This body (which has taken months of nurturing, patience and courage to heal) repulses me and I want to hide it and the physically obvious care that I have shown it.

I feel judged, vulnerable and unsafe in a body which is cared for and healthy. Fundamentally I am uncomfortable with the idea of looking after myself and even more embarrassed by the idea that anyone else will be able to see that I am doing so.

I fear getting hurt; I fear I am becoming ‘too big’- OVER confident and TOO much. I pin it down on to my body because the waves of self loathing are easier to direct onto something measurable.

But the truth is that I haven’t learnt to fully trust that it is ok (and incredibly necessary) to nurture and respect myself DESPITE what the Eating Disorder says.

Rather than getting lost in a focus on weight, shape and measurements I choose to carry on, I choose to turn away from over simplifications and I choose to believe that by doing so, one day I might feel worthy of the care and respect I am showing myself in the process.

Recovery is the hardest thing we are likely to have to ever face. If there was ever time to treat yourself gently, it is when you feel the least able to.

Hugs and courage from a fellow traveller,



Guilt, weight gain and the recovering body

Choice and recovery

I have ‘messed up’ doesn’t seem to cover it. I am gutted. Totally and utterly gutted.

After months of recognising eating disordered thoughts and saying to myself “no thanks, that life is not for me” and “that is not an option- not even once” I’ve had a moment where I recognised that I was thinking in a disordered way and backed myself into a place where I thought “I don’t have a choice but to do that”.

I chose to take the Eating Disorder route BUT I didn’t choose to feel like that was all I could do.

It sounds like an over simplification but….

There is ALWAYS another option than the deceptive world of an Eating Disorder. If you don’t chose that option, it isn’t because recovery isn’t possible for you it’s because in that particular set of circumstances, you don’t know what your other choices are yet.

Keep searching for choices and don’t give up if you stop seeing them for a bit,





Choice and recovery

When your Anorexia is screaming at you to lose weight again (or something equally unhelpful you’ve worked so hard to stop) remember this….

Would you talk to someone the way you talk to yourself?


Didn’t think so.

But you don’t understand. I’m different. I deserve this.

Maybe you don’t see it right now but those thoughts are the illness. I’m having them as well. We are in this together stranger.

You are no different. Nothing you have done or ever will do warrants the way this illness makes you treat yourself. You are perfect how you are. I don’t know you but I do know that. I also know that you’ve probably heard this all before BUT there is no arguing with this- you really don’t deserve this whether you can believe it now or not.

And that is exactly my point. You cannot argue with this illness. I’m sure there are a million and one things you could come up. I am sure you could describe in detail why you should do X, Y or Z. Plus it would only be once, right? It wouldn’t be that bad if you just….


When someone is angry and shouting at you they aren’t really in the mood for a sensible debate. I am yet to meet someone who is better at talking sense when they are @*&%ed off.

Walk away. Come back to it if you need to. Now isn’t a great time to make a decision methinks.

You have come a long way and now isn’t the time to turn back.

Love, strength and hugs stranger,




When your Anorexia is screaming at you to lose weight again (or something equally unhelpful you’ve worked so hard to stop) remember this….

What to do on difficult days in recovery

Today has been a difficult day in recovery.

All I’ve wanted to do is to go back to what I used to think was the answer; focusing on food and weight, because today they weren’t what I ‘used to think’, today they really did feel like the answer.

Many professionals will tell you that on a difficult day you need to get out your box of ‘recovery tools’ and remind yourself of all of the things you have learnt.

What the professional don’t always tell you is that on these days sometimes the illness is so strong that you want to shout “screw recovery, it’s too friggin difficult and it isn’t worth it anyway”.

The last thing you want to do is force yourself to sit down and go over a list of ‘reasons to get better’ and in fact you are so firmly in self destruct mode you intentionally don’t do what you know you need to do.

The reality is, within all of us is the knowledge of what we need to get well and what we need to do. No amount of forcing yourself to get well is going to work if you don’t want to get better. It’s a hard fact to swallow (pardon the pun) but one which is ultimately uplifting when you realise that you do want to get better, even on the bad days.

I can choose to not eat and I can choose the live my life how I used to but fairy-tales of simplicity and mindless oblivion aside, I know I was desperately, desperately unhappy. All I need to do is look back on the few blog posts I managed to hash together during that time to get a small glimpse of the hell I was spiralling towards. The memories of it are so much sharper and painful.

So what did I do on my difficult day? Nothing. I didn’t read anything I had written to myself, I didn’t throw myself passionately into thinking how great life would be without this illness and I didn’t think about what I had to lose if I got sick again.

I just went through the motions and did what I had to do. No overthinking and contemplating. I just did what I always do now that I am recovering because eating is non negotiable these days and going back is not an option.

And what have I learnt? I don’t have to force myself into recovery because I want recovery. A difficult day hasn’t knocked me or taken that away. I have times where relapse seems like a good idea but I know (and more importantly cannot forget) that it isn’t.

I want to get better and if you are reading this, I have a feeling at least a part of you wants to as well. That part isn’t going to go, even if you lose site of it for a while on a difficult day.

Bring on tomorrow!

Keep fighting,


What to do on difficult days in recovery

How to manage other peoples expectations of you in Eating Disorder recovery.

You won’t eat that type of food. You won’t be able to cope with a normal weight. You will loose weight when you get out of hospital. You will always be underweight. You won’t want to come out for a meal. You don’t enjoy eating.

The list is endless.

The people around you are trying to be understanding but they are understanding your Eating Disorder and not you.

The answer? You need to tell them again and again and again that you are doing things differently now.  The problem? Recovery is exhausting and telling people again and again and again is just too much sometimes, especially when your illness is going to try and make you feel ashamed of just living normal life.

So what do you do? You hold onto the fact that your recovery is yours.

You don’t need to justify the decisions that you are making. It doesn’t matter how other people think you should act in recovery, it doesn’t matter how other people do recovery and it definitely doesn’t matter what your Eating Disorder thinks you should or shouldn’t do.

I like chocolate brownies A LOT. I’m going to continue to gain weight although I’ve reached a place that is safe- because that is normal for MY BODY and that is what is right FOR ME. I get excited about going out to eat and trying new foods. The illness is what makes me feel guilty and ashamed of these things but these things are awesome and these things are ME and MY DECISIONS.

It takes an incredible amount of strength to defy your Eating Disorder and it’s even harder when sometimes it seems even the professionals are expecting a ‘half recovered’ life for you.

Go for your version of recovery whatever that means for you and however much you have to defy expectations. The Eating Disorder and it’s frankly CR*P expectations for you, can go do one! Nobody wants you to be ill and more importantly YOU are allowed to not want you to be ill.

Give yourself the permission to live the life you deserve,

It’s about time don’t you think?


How to manage other peoples expectations of you in Eating Disorder recovery.

BMI targets and stages of Anorexia recovery

Is it important to have a target weight in recovery?

Some people, professionals included, would say that the answer is yes. Those people argue that having a safe BMI is paramount to being physically safe (it’s all in the name) being able to think straight (should we say emotionally safer)  and having a healthy goal to aim for.

I can see the benefits of this but for me, the most important part of Eating Disorder recovery is recognising that Eating Disorder recovery is not about the numbers (or in fact about food) and if we adopt that strategy we are running the risk of feeding into the illness (Pardon the pun!)

How I see it, Eating Disorder recovery in which weight restoration is a factor is a staged process. This is how it was for me, obviously it might be different for others….

Stage 1

Committing to the idea of recovery and that weight restoration is a part of this picture. If you aren’t committed or open to the possibility, then you aren’t going to restore your weight or recover. Fact.

Stage 2

Tentative change. Small initial steps. Small goals.

Stage 3

Shifting your focus onto what a healthier body will give you. Reaching life and weight goals and hanging out there for a bit (or realising there will never be a time when it feels right and moving to…)

Stage 4

Re-committing to new goals; weight or otherwise.  Start building a different life for yourself. Start recognising that holding your weight at a particular place (healthy or otherwise) means that you have less flexibility to do the muddy, beautiful mess that is life.

Stage 5

Accepting the idea that weight is fluid, changeable and irrelevant to the person you are or are becoming. Reaching a healthy weight. Living, living and more living. Ups, downs and all the in-betweens.


It isn’t a linear process. I have to commit, re-commit and re-commit again and again. I move backwards and forwards between the stages. I get scared. I find courage from somewhere. I get scared all over again.

I am going for full recovery from this illness. It’s going to be a fight but one which I am committed (and have re-committed to on multiple occasions so far and expect to have to do so again!) to. My weight is irrelevant in this battle; but I am going to maintain a healthy BMI (There is no escaping this one) but I would also like to point out that I’ve been unwell at a healthy BMI so in short….

Recovery is so much more than BMI but you need for your body to be healthy. If having BMI goals helps you to take those first steps than go for it but at some point, if you feel brave enough and stable enough to let your body lead the way then take the leap. Life is better when you are free.

Love and hope,





BMI targets and stages of Anorexia recovery