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A Holistic Approach to Eating Disorder Recovery

Updated: Oct 6, 2020

What is a holistic approach to recovery?

A holistic approach to eating disorder recovery is checking in with all five aspects of life, spiritual, mental, emotional, social, and physical. An eating disorder is not about food, so why treat it that way?



1. Spiritually

The first part of holistic health is spirituality. It refers to your purpose or motivation in life. Some individuals find it in a belief or faith system; others find their meaning through other mediums. Either way, spirituality is the reason you live your life the way you do.


What does this have to do with an eating disorder? Spirituality has a significant impact on life. Finding a purpose can give you direction. It can instill confidence, make your choices simpler, and provide you with security. A lack of use can lead to depression, anxiety, and, guess what?! Addiction!


Check out Mind Health 360 for more information.


Purpose and motivation mean everything in this life. The right motivation can help you climb the highest mountain, and your eating disorder is your current mountain. WHY do you want to get rid of your eating disorder?


2. Mentally

The next part of dimensional health is mental. It refers to your cognitive function, usage of the brain, and your thinking patterns. Are your thoughts mostly negative or positive? Do you overthink situations? How do you reflect on life? Do you jump to conclusions?


What does this have to do with an eating disorder? Thoughts most likely got you into your eating disorder. As you binged, purged, or fasted, you lied about everything and anything. You focused on the negative aspects of your life, your body, or both.


Thinking patterns got you into this mess, what thinking patterns will get you out? HOW will you get rid of your eating disorder?


3. Emotionally


The third part of dimensional health is emotional. It refers to mood and encompasses how well you recognize, express, and control emotions. According to the Wheel of Emotions by Gloria Willcox, the six primary emotions are happiness, sadness, disgust, anger, fear, and surprise.

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What does this have to do with an eating disorder? Our mood can affect how we conduct ourselves at work, our behavior, our health, and our perception of the world. Emotions can play a huge role in any eating disorder; in that extreme emotions contribute to unnatural eating habits.


How do your emotions play into your eating disorder? WHERE are your feelings taking you and your eating disorder?


4. Socially

The next part of dimensional health is social. It refers to the ability to make and maintain meaningful relationships. How many connections do you have? How many can you retain? Are relationships meaningful? This aspect of health refers to how you interact with those around you.


What does this have to do with an eating disorder? Other humans have a massive impact on how we conduct ourselves. Comments, looks, or body language from others can change our moods, actions, or mentality.


People could be the reason an eating disorder is developed and maintained. These people can have an eating disorder or be oblivious to the disease. These people are individuals that we admire or that have particular influence over us.


We interact with others who have ED, who don’t have ED, and who don’t understand ED. Each has an impact on our eating habits. WHO is contributing, positively, or negatively, to your eating disorder?


5. Physically

The last part of dimensional health is physical. It refers to the body and if it is free of disease and injury. The physical is what a traditional doctor is going to check for health. They will test your reflexes and senses. Doctors make sure your heart and lungs sound healthy. They will ask for any physical concerns.


This part of health includes what you put into your body regularly, including water, medicine, oxygen, and food. It includes what leaves your body, such as water, sweat, urination, and defecation. It includes your everyday activities, like exercise habits, hobbies, and your job’s physical demands.


What does this have to do with an eating disorder? The physical aspect might be the most obvious link to an eating disorder, but it is the least linked. Your diet and workouts and physical health is a result of the first four parts of holistic health.


If something is wrong with your spirituality, mentality, emotionality, or socially, it will manifest itself physically. WHAT is your eating disorder?


Putting It All Together

These dimensions are in a specific order. I believe purpose leads to a thought process, which plays into your emotions. Your emotions control how you interact with others. Each aspect affects your bodily functions. An eating disorder is not a physical problem; it is all the above.


When I had an eating disorder, all five parts of holistic health were out of whack. I had no purpose; I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, late high school, early college. My thoughts were all negative because I was lying to myself about my importance and my self-worth. My emotions were everywhere, and they ruled me. I had absolutely no confidence. I didn’t have deep relationships, and I didn’t trust other humans.


All those factors resulted in an eating disorder.


How To Heal

The different dimensions are not mutually exclusive. You can change your mind without having a purpose, and you can have deep relationships without being able to control your emotions.


When I was healing, I was trying to find my meaning, but also changing my mentality. My thought patterns changed before I found my purpose. Because my mindset changed, I had fewer ups and downs with my emotions. I got more confidence and started making meaningful relationships.


That is how I want to tackle your eating disorder, first by finding your purpose, then changing your mindset to fit your use. Next, we will learn to recognize, express, and control your emotions. You will work on creating meaningful relationships. Finally, we will destroy your eating disorder.



It’s no five-day course or flip-of-a-switch healing method; Progress Not Perfection Company is a long-term solution and meant to last you a lifetime. Though the program has an end date, healing will not stop there.


Though the program goes in a particular order, you won’t necessarily heal that way. It takes months, sometimes years, to find your spirituality, while it can take only a few weeks to change your mentality. That is why we are striving for progress, not perfection.



Are you ready for your healing journey?


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