Signs of Recovery

Its been like a forever and a decade since I posted about eating disorders.

I know, snore, yawn. But I think its time for one.

I get asked all the time from people both struggling with eating and/or exercise issues and by people who are just plain curious:

“How do you know when you are ‘recovered’ “

That’s a loaded question. And the truth is, one never really “knows”. But I thought about it, and there are for sure some signs that mark your getting close to recovery.

So here’s what I came up with:

…You no longer do complicated mental algorithms of calories consumed and burned to avoid dealing with problems.

…You exercise for the sheer fun of it. (Ha, not gonna happen with me. Running will forever and always be torture.)

…You see your reflection in a store window and your first thought is, “Shit, I’m hot!”

"Shit, I'm hot!" (me of course, not the dog)

…You realize that you’ve forgotten the number of calories in a grape and you don’t care to find out.

…You only use a scale to measure how much you bananas cost.

…You ovaries go, “Yes, we work! LOLZ!” (I don’t know about your ovaries, but my ovaries totally “LOLZ”.

…You order the most drool worthy item on the menu and not the lowest-cal. (And if you think a salad is “drool worthy”, your not yet recovered).

… you stop compulsively reading books, blogs, websites etc. about recovery  and wondering if and when it will happen to you because it has already happened.

…Running out of diet soda is no longer the greatest emergency in your life (but running out of chocolate is totally acceptable)

…you no longer need to layer 3 sweaters and leggings under jeans just because it dropped to 60º outside.

…When you start to use “carby” as a good adjective

Like for these beauties!

What do you think is a good sign of recovery? It doesn’t even have to be for eating disorders. What are some signs of genuine happiness?


42 thoughts on “Signs of Recovery

  1. favorite line = And if you think a salad is “drool worthy”, you’re not yet recovered

    this was dead on! i hope anyone on their road to recovery reads this because it was really good.

    i am so excited to hang out.

  2. Yeah. I haven’t ordered a salad in YEARS. Well, 2 years to be exact. I think I might start ordering salads now…only because sometimes, I really do want it. But I’ll order it only when I want it. Hm, that would depend on the menu…

    Sigh. I have yet to look into the mirror and go, “Shit, I look good.” This is why I still avoid mirrors.

    P.S. Did you mean…” running out of chocolate is totally UNacceptable”?? –> I almost, always have some sort of chocolate in my room.

  3. Not avoiding plans with friends (happy hour how I’ve missed you) because you’ve met your “calorie limit” for the day.

    Or worse, no longer feeling the need to starve all day to go to happy hour.

    There’s always room for vodka.

  4. When you can watch TV and actually SIT, instead of standing/pacing because it burns more calories

    When you no longer fit into little girls’ clothes and are just fine with that.

  5. I would add this:
    …you have more hair on your head than in the shower drain

    I lost so much hair. It grew back, but there was a really awkward “growing out phase”. But when it stops falling out and starts growing back, you know you’re getting proper nutrition anyway.

  6. signs of genuine happiness: never looking further into the future than the moment you have right now. smiling walking down the street for no apparent reason other than you’re alive in the present. i don’t like any kind of cardio haha, my workouts are crossfit and/or bodyrocktv related. short, sweaty and i feel amazingly good afterwards!

  7. I have to disagree that 50-pound salads with all kinds of great things in addition to veggies are delicious, but not out at a restaurant. That’s where you order things you can’t make at home, which for me, is just about everything 😉 It’s choosing food, activities, etc. based on instinct and not on what you think you should choose/like.

    It’s not even realizing you’re happy or content or relaxed because it’s become the norm, not the exception. In other words, it’s letting go of attachment to results and control and just “being.”

    I could go on, but I’m still working on a few…

    • I still love salads, but when I go out to eat, I need to order a proper meal. This is for me own personal recovery. Everyone has their things that they’re working on. I used to just order the same naked, dressingless salad for years and call it a meal. Its not like I do it all the time, but the days I stop doing it, I guess I’ll be recovered then.

  8. I’m sure to those dealing with and recovering from eating disorders, you are providing some realistic yet humoristic (new word!) blog posts. I enjoy reading them too!

    As far as looking at recovery from a general sense, I’d say a good sign of it is when it doesn’t consume every aspect of your life for most of the time (I mean physically and mentally here).

  9. When given the option of having something 10 more calories over, and you take it anyway. And condiments come back into your life. Can you believe I shunned ketchup for years?! Crazyness…

    I do still order salads when I’m out though. That’s because fresh produce is not at my house that often, so I take it when I can get it! Lol!

  10. Love what you said about “not remembering about how many cals are in a grape..” I used to be a calorie nazi, you could ask me the cal count in just about anything & I would probably know it.
    Obviously, that knowledge is gone and life is MUCH BETTTTAAA!!

  11. Well shoot, this is a damn accurate post if I’ve ever seen one.
    I seriously used to have to have diet something on hand all the time– and I’d freak if I didn’t. Thank goodness I’m over my Diet Mnt. Dew obsession. I still have diet pepsi though — but luckily I don’t need it

  12. I love this post. So much!

    And I must say that when I was lean a few years ago, I must have been so because of unidentified disordered eating. Although I still do rainmanlike calculations and weigh and measure everything *Just like all the magazines tell you to do!!**, I no longer order a salad when I’m out b/c hell, that’s what I make when I’m home!

    Sadly, the “i look hot” comment would have taken place more then than now, but it’s not worth living life like that. And my ovaries also said ZOMGLOLZ, peace out.

  13. When I stop having to chop my broccoli up a million times (and always an even number) and not eating anything food while some “unhealthy” is on TV, my computer or in a magazine I’m reading.

    And everything you said as well!

  14. Im not recovered but have come a long way.
    One thing I recall is realizing that I go to the grocery store and stick numerous things in my cart without checking the nutri label or ingredients. I used to check EVERYTHING.

    Oh, and when your car brakes down your first thought is not “How am I to get to the gym!!!”

    Thanks so much for sharing Eden.

  15. For me, one big sign would be:
    -When you stop sacrificing time with people that are important with you for the sake of your ED eating and exercise routines.

  16. I love this, just as I love each and every one of your posts! You are so hilarious!

    I think this post made me think a lot about my own recovery, and that maybe I myself am not totally recovered. I don’t know, it is just your post made me think about things a bit more, and quit hiding from my own problems by pretending they are resolved. Thank you, you are awesome 🙂


  17. I’d say it is not letting what you ate or how much you ate dictate your mood and reduce to you tears; not leaving you in such a panic and state of fear that you are paralyzed and can’t breath; not considering diet coke lime a “reward” because the whole bottle has 7 calories as opposed to 4 in regular diet coke.

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