Post image for Eating Disorder Recovery is the Death of an Identity

Eating Disorder Recovery is the Death of an Identity

by nina on February 13, 2011

end of eating disorder identity“Sometimes a part of us must die before another part can come to life.”

I read this quote today and thought about how true this was for eating disorders and recovery. I really do feel that 4 years later a certain part of me has died.

While I was in the midst of the eating disorder it was like I was possessed and determined to self destruct. Against my better judgment and willpower, I was wired for self defeating and self destructive behavior. I was almost PROUD of it. It was like a “I could care less” attitude that I had to wear with pride, because the alternative would be to face the reality of the hopelessness and despair.

There had to be a death of that persona before I could emerge from the disease and achieve full recovery. There also had to be a ot of pain and struggle because I was ultimately attached to that persona – it WAS me.

But ultimately, the pain that comes with the letting go of the eating disorder, the confusion and disorientation is absolutely necessary. It is a signal that a major shift is taking place. It may happen to us many times over, during different stages of our lives, as we say goodbye to the identity that we formed in order to survive through that period of our lives.

Just remember that some part of us must die in order for another to come into existence. Have faith that this will bring you to a higher level of growth, joy and abundance.

When I was letting go of my eating disorder and becoming a “normal” eater I faced a massive amount of fear, confusion and disorientation. I was so used to being “eating disordered”  – it was my identity.

Its all I talked about, researched, shared and journaled. And then all of a sudden in was gone. I had to be ready for the change.  To truly accept that whatever purpose that eating disorder served was now complete. I was ready  to move on to my next phase in life – that of becoming a normal or intuitive eater, having full eating disorder recovery and seeing what new things the universe would bring me.

There are many feelings that come into play at these times, both grief and excitement, because on the one hand there is loss and on the other there is the birth of a whole new identity and exciting new adventure.

Death and rebirth are a part of the cycle of life. We can do our best to surrender to this, letting go of what is no longer serving is us with an attitude of love and gratitude and then being excited with an open heart fot the next part of our journey in life.


Are you ready to let go of your disordered eater identity and enter the new phase of eating disorder recovery?

Nina Vucetic

Love this article? Signup for FREE Updates!

I never spam, just pure QUALITY contents!

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

nina March 31, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Hi Alexis,

Spot on! It was a tool that worked while it worked and helped you survive and cope with difficult emotions, but you are in a different place now and can use new tools do deal with whatever life throws at you.
Part of the whole intuitive eating process is learning new ways to deal with out emotions, anxieties, insecurities and depression. It is all part of the process.
Congratulations on seeing this and I cannot wait to hear more about your progress!



Alexis March 29, 2011 at 9:07 pm

I like your idea of a letter to yourself, Andrea.
I’ve been thinking about the past and how I used food to cope while living through a brutal situation, the behavior carrying on into the rest of my life. I needed love and acceptance, so I ate. I was rejected cus I was fat. What a nightmare!
Forgiving myself to use food to survive emotionally was a real hard won victory for me. I hated myself for being fat, never being able to lose weight and become acceptable. But if I didn’t use food to take myself away from the abuse, where would I be now? Would I have survived? Would I have done worse to myself than eating more calories than I burned? Was that soooo horrible to do? No, it got me through. And now I don’t need it anymore. I can get back to me minus the food, with “myself” protecting myself.


Andrea Owen March 7, 2011 at 3:47 am

This is an interesting post! I’ve been recovered for 4 years as well, and last year I had an “aha moment” where I realized I was ashamed of the girl I used to be when I was sick. And it was as if she was trying to tell me something. I had pushed her away so much, partly because I was so proud of how far I had become, and partly out of shame. I never tried to hide who I was, I write openly about it, but when alone with my thoughts, I loathed her.
I wrote a letter to my former self, apologizing for how I was treating her. Here’s the link if you’re interested It was major healing 🙂


nina March 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Hi Andrea,

I just read that letter and wanted to cry! It was so beautiful. It makes me sad because I did the same things to my own body, when all it wanted was love.
Thanks for stopping by and I love your new site!


Susu Paris Chic February 16, 2011 at 5:16 pm

This is really good stuff… I am ready. I am shy but ready. I am not completely believing it yet, but it is happening and I do make small progress. I want to live again!

Thank you once again sweet you. For sharing.


admin February 18, 2011 at 5:15 am

Hi Susu,

It takes time for us to make changes and let go of things that have become such a part of our identity.
Congratulations on being WILLING and on all the small changes – they add up!



Alex @ Healing Beauty February 16, 2011 at 4:28 pm

I am trying as hard as I can to let go of that identity as “eating disordered.” It’s a difficult thing to do and I think you almost have to mourn that loss in order to find out what else is out there. My eating disorder made me into a lot of things, but it never made me into a happy person, and now, trying and learning how to be happy, or happier, is a odd but real challenge. Thanks for the great post!


admin February 18, 2011 at 5:29 am

Hi Alex,

It is so true that we need to mourn the loss. Even when something was destructive and unhealthy, it gave us a sense of comfort. It takes faith to let go and believe that there is a better life out there for you, that doesn’t involve so much pain and suffering. It is much like grieving a bad relationship. There is the loss of security, comfort and identity.

Be gentle with yourself, see your life and recovery as you want it to be and you will notice signs, new experiences and options appearing.



admin February 14, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Hi JMJast,

Thank you! I am glad that you relate. It is certainly a huge task to let a new identity in, but when one is ready, it comes! And it is often so much more beautiful, creative and fulfilling. The trick is to have faith and LET GO of the old one.

Thanks for the words of encouragement!



admin February 14, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Thanks Kell! And thanks for stopping by. I hope the site offers you useful help and information. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help or any questions that you have.



JMJast February 14, 2011 at 8:52 am

Spot on, Nina! One of the biggest challenges in breaking free from an eating disorder nis the fact that it becomes this person’s identity. So the only way of letting your ED go is to… let it die. But then, a new identity need to grow to fill in the void. This is a huuge task for anyone, and particualrly for a young person.

Well done on letting go of your eating disorder. Keep spreading your message of hope 🙂


kell February 14, 2011 at 3:06 am

wow, you said it all!


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: