How to Recover from an Eating Disorder

Updated: Oct 6, 2020

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There is no one way to recover from an eating disorder. Eating disorders are not one size fits all, so healing isn’t either. If you have anorexia, your recovery is going to be different than if you have bulimia or binge eating.

I wish I could give you a twelve-step plan to recovery, but there isn’t one. I want to talk to all of you one-on-one and make an individual healing plan tailored to you. That is how I got over my eating disorder, and you can do that too!

These are all viable options to recover:

  • Therapy. A professional can help you talk through your eating disorder. Sometimes we don’t know what we are dealing with or what we need to do to recover. I recommend talk therapy as part of any recovery plan for mental illness.

  • Recovery Center. If you need 24/7 help, this is for you. A center might be the last resort for some people, but it is still a legitimate option. Recovery centers can provide products and services that no one else can.

  • Journal. When everything is in your head, it isn’t real. Once you write it down, it brings everything into the light. Light is the best disinfectant. Just like talking to someone, journaling can help you sort your thoughts and, in turn, think through what you are going through. Here are a few from Biblio.

Book: Eating Disorder Recovery Journal

Author: Sophia Side Publish Date: July 19, 2019 Price: $9 (Paperback)

*Description: "EATING DISORDER JOURNAL to help you on your journey and can be used to supplement your therapy (skip any sections that are not helpful to your recovery) and help overcome your eating disorder. Track your meals, triggers after mealtime to help with purging or binge eating, mood, energy, symptoms and comes with mindfulness eating worksheets and other FOOD TRIGGER TRACKING worksheets as well as blank symptom sheets where you can customize your own trigger tracker, there are also gratitude prompts and motivational quotes!"

Book: The Anorexia Recovery Skills Workbook

Author: Catherine L. Ruscitti, PsyD.

Publish Date: August 1, 2017

Price: $25 (Paperback)

*Description: "If you have anorexia, there is hope for a full recovery.The Anorexia Recovery Skills Workbook offers an integrated and comprehensive program to help you rebuild a healthy relationship with food, gain a sense of autonomy and independence, develop a sense of self-worth and self-esteem, and set healthy goals for the future."

  • Self-help books. There are many books out there about eating disorders. Some written by professionals, others written by everyday people. I recommend these:

For binge and emotional eating:

Book: Tasting Grace

Author: Melissa D'Arabian

Publish Date: September 10, 2019

Price: $22 (Hardcover)

*Description: "It wasn't until Melissa d'Arabian evaluated her relationship with food in light of her relationship with God that she began to appreciate food as not only a gift from him but also as a deeper invitation into his love. As she prayed, studied Scripture, and reflected on the stories from her own life, Melissa saw how God had used food to draw her into community, to redeem her moments of greatest tragedy, and ultimately to connect her more to him."

Book: Living Beyond Your Feelings

Author: Joyce Meyer

Publish Date: September 6, 2011

Price: $23 (Hardcover)

*Description: "In LIVING BEYOND YOUR FEELINGS, Joyce Meyer examines the gamut of feelings that human beings experience. She discusses the way that the brain processes and stores memories and thoughts, and then - emotion by emotion - she explains how we can manage our reactions to those emotions. By doing that, she gives the reader a toolbox for managing the way we react to the onslaught of feelings that can wreak havoc on our lives."

Book: Brain Over Binge

Author Kathryn Hansen

Publish Date: March 23, 2014

Price: $17 (Paperback)

*Description: "Brain over Binge provides both a gripping personal account and an informative scientific perspective on bulimia and binge eating disorder. The author, Kathryn Hansen, candidly shares her experience as a bulimic and her alternative approach to recovery. Brain over Binge is different than other eating disorder books which typically present binge eating and purging as symptoms of complex emotional and psychological problems. Kathryn disputes this mainstream idea and explains why traditional eating disorder therapy failed her and fails many."

Book: Embody

Author: Connie Sobczak

Publish Date: June 10, 2014

Price: $20 (Paperback)

*Description: "This book’s message is rooted in the belief that people inherently possess the wisdom necessary to make healthy choices and live in balance. It emphasizes that self-love, acceptance of genetic diversity in body size, celebration of the unique beauty of every individual, and intuitive self-care are fundamental to achieving good physical and emotional health."

Book: Food: The Good Girl's Drug

Author: Sunny Sea Gold

Publish Date: January 1, 2011

Price: $17 (Paperback)

*Description: "Bingeing, compulsive eating, food addiction, emotional overeating—no matter what you call it, too many women wrestle day to day with what they eat. It’s a love-hate relationship that always seems to be spiraling out of control. Food: The Good Girl’s Drug is one recovered binge eater’s attempt to inject some sanity back into the discussion about food, body image, and overeating."

Book: Never Binge Again

Author: Glenn Livingston, Ph.D.

Publish Date: October 10, 2015

Price: $14 (Paperback)

*Description: "If you struggle with binge eating, emotional eating, stress eating, or if you repeatedly manage to lose weight only to gain it all back, you may be approaching things with the wrong mindset. Most contemporary thought on overeating and bingeing focuses on healing and self-love. But people who've overcome food and weight issues often report it was more like capturing and caging a rabid dog than learning to love their inner child...Open the cage even an inch—or show that dog an ounce of fear—and it'll quickly burst out to shred your healthy eating plans, undoing all your progress in a heartbeat. From his perspective as a formerly food-obsessed psychologist—and previous consultant to major food manufacturers—Dr. Livingston shares specific techniques for isolating and permanently dis-empowering your “fat thinking self.”  He reveals much of his own personal journey in the process."

For anorexia or bulimia:

Book: Brave Girl Eating

Author: Harriet Brown

Publish Date: September 13, 2011

Price: $17 (Paperback)

*Description: "In Brave Girl Eating, the chronicle of a family’s struggle with anorexia nervosa, journalist, professor, and author Harriet Brown recounts in mesmerizing and horrifying detail her daughter Kitty’s journey from near-starvation to renewed health. Brave Girl Eating is an intimate, shocking, compelling, and ultimately uplifting look at the ravages of a mental illness that affects more than 18 million Americans."

Book: Rehabilitate, Rewire, Recover!

Author: Tabitha Farrar

Publish Date: March 19, 2018

Price: $20 (Paperback)

*Description: "Rehabilitate, Rewire, Recover! focuses on: 1) Nutritional rehabilitation to heal the body. 2) Neural rewiring to shift neural pathways of restriction, exercise compulsions, and anorexia-generated thoughts and behaviours in the brain. Using experience from her own recovery, and accounts from adults whom she has worked with as a recovery coach, Tabitha Farrar takes you through the process of building your own, personalised, recovery. As well as non-traditional ideas and concepts, this book delivers a "Toolkit" to help with the neural rewiring process, and action-based ideas to help you eat without restriction."

Book: Recover Your Perspective

Author: Janean Anderson, Ph.D.

Publish Date: February 27, 2018

Price: $25 (Paperback)

*Description: "Learn how eating disorders work and how to reclaim your life! When you're living with an eating disorder, things can feel confusing. Sometimes it's hard to separate yourself from the eating disorder. Recover Your Perspective is the playbook for recovery, walking you through the ways eating disorders change your thoughts, feelings, and actions. In her straightforward, compassionate, and humorous voice, psychologist and eating disorder specialist Dr. Janean Anderson helps you learn: 1) how eating disorders distort your thoughts. 2) how eating disorders keep you off-balance with your emotions, and 3) how to break the eating disorder cycle and live your values"

Book: Starving in Search of Me

Author: Marissa Larocca

Publish Date: February 13, 2018

Price: $17 (Paperback)

*Description: "This confessional self-help guide explores the complex emotional truth of what it’s like when food, weight, and body image take priority over every other human impulse or action. Activist author Marissa LaRocca's revelatory tale includes her struggle with her secrets, including sexuality, and how she emerged as an outspoken advocate for gay rights and women’s health issues."

Book: 8 Keys to Recovery From an Eating Disorder

Author: Carolyn Costin and Gwen Schubert Grabb

Publish Date: February 21, 2017

Price: $43 (Paperback)

*Description: "A unique and personal look into the treatment of eating disorders, written by a therapist and her former patient, now a therapist herself. An interweaving personal narrative with the perspective of their own therapist-client relationship, their insights bring an unparalleled depth of awareness into just what it takes to successfully beat this challenging and seemingly intractable clinical issue. This product includes the original 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder and the companion workbook."

Book: Rather Than Rehab

Author: Lori Losch

Publish Date: February 20, 2018

Price: $17 (Paperback)

*Description: "Are you ready to break up with your bulimia, for real? Has your long love affair with the binge/purge cycle finally run its course, but breaking up with it has proven impossible? Even scary? In this candid account, addiction recovery coach Lori Losch leads those struggling to break up with bulimia through ten strategies to help them gain freedom with food, while learning to love their body. Between a two-decade battle with bulimia and body dysmorphic disorder, along with her experience helping others overcome their disordered eating, Lori has created a process that works.

Part Wasted by Marya Hornbacher and part Recovery 2.0 by Tommy Rosen, Rather than Rehab will help you break the binge/purge cycle, embrace your body, and create the life of your dreams."

Book: The Bulimia Help Method

Author: Richard Kerr

Publish Date: October 5, 2015

Price: $10 (Paperback)

*Description: "There's a new way to overcome bulimia nervosa, but few have ever heard it. With the Bulimia Help Method, you're not weak, broken or faulty if you binge on food. Nor do you need to solve all of your other problems before you can recover. You have the power to recover within you right now. The Bulimia Help Method is relatively simple. Anyone can do it regardless of age or how long they've suffered. That's the thing: because binge urges feel so massive and powerful, we convince ourselves that overcoming it must be hard and complicated too. In reality, it doesn't have to be that way at all.

Based on hard science and over 10 years helping people who suffer from bulimia, Ali shares her most effective technique in this book."

  • Eating Disorders Anonymous. Another method of recovery is accountability partners. There are special groups for people who struggle with every kind of eating disorder. It’s another way to talk to someone about your issues, but this someone is going through the same thing you are going through.

Use one to all of these methods. There is no right answer. Just remember all recovery takes time - no matter how you are healing. Give yourself some grace and lots of time. Find a plan that works for you. I tried therapy, and it didn’t work for me, but books and journaling did.

I want to touch on motivation. No one does anything without it. Inspiration will help you climb mountains, travel deserts, and overcome adversity. What is your motivation? I’m sure you have tried to overcome your eating disorder before. What was your motivation then? To lose weight? To live a normal life? Recovering to recover wasn’t enough motivation for me - I still overeat when I was stressed or anxious.

What is your motivation this time? After I got married, I realized I could pass my eating disorder on to my future children, and that scared me. I don’t want my kids to go through the same issues I did.

I could list some potential motivations for you, but I’m not going too. You have to find your motivation. It has to inspire you. That motivation will allow you to FINALLY get over your eating disorder. But what I can tell you is the biggest inspiration is loved ones. Who is worth living for in your life?

*Description is taken from

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