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How to Not Recover from Your Eating Disorder

Many people don’t recover from dysregulated eating because they insist on doing things exactly as they always have done them and can’t seem to break out of that rut. My hope is that writing about what to do in order to stay stuck might actually help you get unstuck. Toward that goal, here are 10 ways to ensure that you will not recover.

1. Believe that it’s better to heal yourself than to garner support from others. Expect that you can make your eating disorder miraculously go away without telling anyone about it and not getting help.
2. Be very hard on yourself and beat yourself up for every eating “mistake” you make. Think that if you could only be harder on yourself, you’d get better quicker.
3. Believe that you’ll outgrow your eating disorder someday because it’s a phase you’re going through. This is similar to the belief that substance abusers have that they can stop any time they want and that they just haven’t wanted to stop badly enough yet.
4. Avoid reading or learning about how others have successfully gone from dysregulated eating to “normal” eating, believing you’ll find your own way.
5. Push away people who want to help you get better, convincing yourself that they’re being controlling or really don’t understand what you’re going through.
6. Pretend you don’t feel badly about having an eating problem or minimizing it.
7. Think that eating problems are all about food and weight and not about anything else your life.
8. Believe you’re the only one in the world with a problem that’s so challenging and that no one else could possibly understand what you’re going through.
9. Give up because you don’t think you’re worth putting effort into healing.
10. Think that just because you’ve tried and failed to recover that you never will. Be very impatient and fail to understand that recovery is a process, not an overnight event.

I hope that you understand that I’m blogging tongue in cheek here and have the utmost compassion for you as a dysregulated eater. I’ve been there in spades and counseled hundreds of people who have dysregulated eating. Most of them wanted desperately to be healthy and to never worry about their eating again. Some were ambivalent about giving up patterns that were hurtful but familiar. Many thought that other people could recover, but that it would never happen to them. Still others didn’t feel deserving of good health and emotional well-being. The key to success is self-honesty, self-disclosure, a willingness to seek and accept help, faith in the recovery process, feeling deserving of health and happiness, self-compassion, self-curiosity, learning new skills, resolving mixed feelings about recovery, persistence, patience, and never ever giving up.