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What is Eating Disorder Recovery?

I’ve spent the past 10 years recovering from an eating disorder and currently I feel like I am in a beautiful time of my life. Why do I feel my life is beautiful, you might ask? For the first time that I can remember, I am not obsessed with eating disordered rituals. I don’t feel like I need to explain those eating disordered rituals to you. If you’ve ever had an eating disorder, or known someone with an eating disorder, then you know what eating disorder rituals are. If you have never had an eating disorder and you want to know what eating disorder rituals are, go to www.google.com and do a quick search on the internet for “eating disorder symptoms”. You are apt to find an array of information regarding whether or not you or one of your friends have an eating disorder. Another place you can go is www.somethingfishy.org, a site geared for eating disorder resources and recovery information. What you’re not likely to find, is information on eating disorder recovery.

Not being able to find resources on recovery is a problem, a huge problem that is ignored by writers and researchers alike. The only people that appear to have an answer to my question are eating disorder recovery clinics. Many eating disorder recovery clinics state that they have programs for eating disorder recovery, what they do not provide is a definition for what eating disorder recovery is?

After spending large amounts of money and time on therapists, eating disorder programs and books, I have formulated a conclusion. My conclusion is that there is no formal definition for eating disorder recovery and that is why clinics can profess that they offer eating disorder recovery. A common problem I faced in my eating disorder recovery is that I would spend time and money on treatment and then my insurance company, Western Health Advantage or Pacificare, would inform me that I was recovered. The reason these insurance companies believed that I was recovered is because while I was at the hospital under extreme behavioral modification and under surveillance by health care professionals, I was not exhibiting eating disorder behaviors. What my insurance company did not take into account is that the moment I walked out of the hospital, the eating disordered behaviors magically resurfaced. They did not resurface because I was a loser that didn’t want to recover, but they resurfaced because I did not have the skills required for recovery. I wanted to recover more than anything else in the world, but there was a roadblock that continually stood in my way, I did not know what recovery looked like; I knew what an eating disorder looked like, but I did not know what being without an eating disorder looked like. After nine years of eating disorder treatment (in addition to more than a decade of eating disordered behaviors before recovery), I am finally starting to understand what recovery is. For this reason, I want to share my discovery with the world. I want to provide women and men that are struggling with an eating disorder, an example, a picture of recovery.

“What is eating disorder recovery?” is a portion of the project ‘Dancing in Color’. The ‘Dancing in Color’ project notes can be viewed at www.dancingincolor.com

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