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What Does Complete Recovery From Eating Disorders Mean?

by nina on March 3, 2011

recovery from eating disordersI was recently interviewed on Healthy Place where I was asked a lot of questions about my eating disorder recovery and what complete recovery from eating disorders means.

The questions were great and obviously created by someone who had a great deal of insight or experience with eating disorders. They realized that not many therapists or specialists even agree or acknowledge that complete recovery is possible. This is a fallacy and I want to spread the message that complete recovery is absolutely possible.

First of all I want to quickly share my story about my eating disorder, so you understand the severity of it. I stared off as an anorexic, moved on to binge eating, compulsive overeating, obsession with diets, over exercising, bulimia and finally just binge eating compulsively without the ability to even compensate for it. I was at a rock bottom place and just could not manage it any more.

During this time there were numerous therapists, counselors, specialized eating disorder groups and 2 hospitalizations. I also lost a job and a fiancé, lied all the time about my eating and was completely isolated, depressed and hopeless.

So it was 4 years ago that I gave up on trying to manage my eating disorder and just gave up. I knew it was a fight that I just could not win the battle against this powerful disease and I had a desperate desire to be a “normal eater”. I visualized this clearly in my mind and became determined to reach this goal. I had to! I had no life whatsoever and this was my last solution.

The main initial things that I had to do were:

  • Get rid of scales
  • Get rid of diet/weight loss books and magazines
  • Stop researching weight loss and pro Ana sites on the internet
  • End my obsession and compulsion with food
  • Start eating what I actually wanted – becoming an intuitive eater

Complete Eating Disorder Recovery

It sounds simple enough, but anyone with a history of eating disorders knows how terrifying this is. Eat what you want? No more diets or meal plans? It seems crazy, but it was what led to my complete recovery from eating disorders.

There were trials and challenges – I wouldn’t call any of them mistakes as such. It is a process that requires a lot of faith in yourself, learning to trust your body again and believing that full eating disorder recovery is possible!

I have now been completely recovered for over 4 years and what this means is that I eat exactly what I want, I eat when I actually feel hungry, no food is off limits and I have no obsession or compulsion around food whosoever. The only time I will think of food is when I genuinely feel hungry or am about to eat at a restaurant.

Intuitive Eating

I would credit my complete recovery from eating disorders to the process of intuitive eating, giving up diets and restrictive meal plans entirely, making sure that no food is “off limits” and some serious creative visualization and affirmation work to reprogram my subconscious.

Complete and full recovery is possible! If it was possible for me then it is absolutely possible for you too.

Please leave any questions or comments and I will get back to you!

To your Recovery and Freedom

Nina

Nina Vucetic

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Brooke July 28, 2011 at 2:14 am

Hi Nena,
I know these were written a while ago, but I’m just now stumbling on them. Thank you so much for your advice. I know we are all in different places and it is awesome that there are places like this where we can share.
I’m confused and I don’t know what to do next. I am eating regularly and am exercising for the right reasons, and for the most part there aren’t off limits foods, although I do think I kind of trained myself not to like certain foods so I’m trying to get out of that.
But I still feel the guilt. I feel like I’m DOING all the right things and following the steps…I’m eating and I’m a healthy weight again and all that…but my guilt and that feeling giant are still there. It’s even more silent because I’m eating and everything, which makes it really hard to talk to others, let alone convince myself, that there’s still a problem and that the guilt isn’t always going to be there. It’s like I know the facts: I know that we’re all inherently beautiful and I know the importance of eating and taking care of self…but sometimes Ed’s voice is so loud while I’m in the process of going through those steps. And then I just feel guilty for listening to Ed.
I feel stuck.

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Amy March 5, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Nina thank you for this post. Your story is one that many of us have gone through and are looking for and end to. This helps to see that there is a way out even though we have to go through some tough times, it is a process.

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nina March 5, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Hi Amy,

Yes it is a process but there is definitely a way out. I cannot stress this enough! We can actually live with complete freedom and be like those “normal eaters” that I am sure you know.

Keep at it – never ever give up!

“Every problem has a limited lifespan. Your storm will pass, your problem will be resolved”
– Robert Schuller

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Terri March 4, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Hey Nina,

Thank you for sharing this article. I am 26, and I have been a bulimic for nearly 12/13 years now. First time I reached out for help was a year and 9 months ago. And I have relapsed back to where I started. In fact, my dietitian recently told me that I will never be fully recovered, and it kind of broke a little part of me that still believed, no matter how many relapses I had or ups and downs, that I was on my way to a full recovery (eventually that is).

my question to you is the following: When you reached that point of “giving up” and “hopelessness” , what made you get back up again? I read the steps you listed above, and in fact I can check off 1, 2 & 3. But cannot even think of the possibility of achieving 4 or 5.

1-Get rid of scales
2-Get rid of diet/weight loss books and magazines
3-Stop researching weight loss and pro Ana sites on the internet
4-End my obsession and compulsion with food
5-Start eating what I actually wanted – becoming an intuitive eater

can you say more about what you did that would help me (and many victims of ED) understand how you reached total recovery? would love to hear more about your journey.

Thank you again,
Terri

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nina March 5, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Hi Terri,

Thanks for reaching out and congratulations on beginning your journey in recovery.

It is so sad to hear hat you dietitian told you that. It is something that I heard many, many times when I was struggling to find a recovery path.

You ARE on your way to a full recovery, do not listen to the negative hype from people who have probably never been through this. It takes FAITH and determination on your part to never give up and really believe in yourself.

When I reached that point of hopelessness it was pretty much a matter of life and death. I knew I would die from this disease or just go completely mad.

The fact that you can do the first 3 steps is amazing! That is all part of the journey and will lead to steps 4 and 5.

In order to reach my total recovery I started intuitive eating and doing all the othe steps mentioned above. It is a fragile journey, but has led to my complete freedom.

I will be writing a post shortly on the entire journey and I also have my detailed 80 page Ebook on recovery available on Monday. You also get a free step by step strategy on how I became an intuitive eater (and all the trials, tips and advice on it) as well as a 20 page free book on the most common questions about how to recover.

I will notify you when it is all available. In the meantime I am writing a post on the common questions and how I went from that place of hopelessness to intuitive eating and recovery.

To your recovery and freedom,
Nina

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Britta March 4, 2011 at 1:57 pm

I have to say that this post came with perfect timing for me. Thank you for sharing so much about your story! Would you be willing to also share the emotional work you did in recovery? Did you discover what lead to your eating disorder? How do you handle tough situations now that you are recovered? I understand if this is too personal to share but I wish more recovered people would share these kinds of tips and tools!

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nina March 5, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Hi Britta,

I am glad that the post came at the right time for you! I truly believe that whatever we are searching for is also searching for us!
I am more than happy to answer your questions. I will answer them quickly here and I am writing a new post on the most common questions I have been asked lately – and I will include these.
Also, just so you know my new Ebook is ready and should be available on Monday. With that you also get a detailed 20 page journey of my intuitive eating as well as over 20 pages of the most common questions.

Ok to answer your questions – the emotional work: This had a lot to do with learning to connect people in a healthy way, learning to manage my anxiety and slowly letting go of addictions as a coping mechanism. I am still a part of support groups that help me A LOT because a major part of this disease is the secrecy and isolation.

Did you discover what lead to your eating disorder? No! I think I was just an overly sensitive person who was predisposed to altering their unbearable feelings through food, drugs, alcohol, etc. These are still issues that need to be managed, but once the eating disorder is out of the way it becomes much easier as your mind is clear and you are not just obsessed with food and your weight. You can actually HEAR advice and suggestions.

How do you handle tough situations now that you are recovered?
Most importantly – NEVER with food. It does not even cross my mind. I fo to therapy and like I said I have a great support group netwrok that always saves me. Their is something very powerful and transformative in being able to share with people who “get it”.

Hope that answers some of your questions. Look out for the more detailed post coming up.

Nina

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Jessica March 4, 2011 at 8:42 am

I too have heard that one can never fully recover, but I am sick of hearing that. There is no hope when one hears this and I believe what you did is break through. I am on my way and following your footsteps and I know it’s still early for me to say but I feel freaking great! You are going to change so many people’s lives and gave me so much hope and when I was in my darkest days. Thank you!

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nina March 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Thanks Jessica!
It is an absolute fallacy that complete recovery is not possible, and this is probably why so many do not believe in it and are preconditioned to thinking that they will be this way forever.

You are right – it leaves us in a hopeless, dark place where we have nothing left but to carry on with the disorder.

But this negative thinking is what the disorder feeds on. It is absolutely possible to have complete freedom and I am so happy for you and your journey.

Nina

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