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Thursday, 7 April 2011

Criteria For Recovery From Eating Disorders A Reader Request

Someone has asked me if there is a definition for recovery. What do you think recovery means? What does it mean to you? Recovery to me meant that eating did not rule my life. Many people think that recovery is about gaining weight if you are anorexic or stopping symptoms like vomiting or taking laxatives. The good therapist knows that recovery is much more about the person than their weight or their eating disorder symptoms. Recovery is helping a person to reclaim what has been surrendered to the illness. This means finding their potential, their trust, their sense of safety, their ambition or purpose and their ability to manage their feelings and connect properly with other people. But the following can do for a start.

Does not take laxatives
Is able to express their emotions (verbally)
Does not feel too fat
Self esteem is no longer dependent on weight
Does not punish herself after a meal
Has a realistic image of herself
Can eat three meals a day
Has no binges
Does not vomit after dinner
Does not use diuretics
Is not obsessed by food and weight
Is able to express emotions (non-verbal)
Is able to handle negative emotions
Is not isolated
Feels no need to slim excessively
Does not exercise excessively
Does not use slimming pills
Accepts appearance
Is in touch with their own feelings
Has a positive experience of their body
Has adequate self-esteem
Is able to handle positive emotions
Is not depressed
Amount of calories is normal
Heartbeat is normal
Is able to handle conflicts
Sleeps normally
Is able to make contact with others
Has some friends
Is not extremely perfectionistic
Dares to express a different opinion

Finally, recovery is when the person can accept his or her natural body size and shape and no longer has a self destructive or unnatural relationship with food or exercise. When you are recovered, you do not use eating disorder behaviours to deal with, distract from, or cope with other problems. When recovered, you will not compromise your health or betray your soul to look a certain way, wear a certain size or reach a certain number on the scales.

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