Eating disorder recovery - starting the journey

It is very natural from time to time that we can find ourselves feeling dissatisfied with how we look, or feeling uncomfortable in our own bodies. For some of us, this may occur every once in a while, however, for a great number of people this is a daily, ongoing struggle that has a significant impact on their ability to live a fulfilled and happy life.


In some circumstances, this may result in the development and diagnosis of an eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa, orthorexia or binge eating disorder.

It is important to recognise that anyone can be affected by a challenging relationship with their body, and it is not a requirement to have a formal diagnosis to still be worthy of support. 

Recovery from an adverse relationship with food or body image is entirely possible, with the right support and resources. Taking the following steps can be a good way to get you on track to healing your relationship with food and your body and help you to live a more fulfilled life.

Healing a relationship with food 

Acknowledge that you are struggling

This is one of the most important things you can do. By recognising its existence we begin to break down the barriers to addressing our feelings toward ourselves and food which can help us to be more compassionate to ourselves.

Build a support system

Surround yourself with healthy relationships that support and encourage you. Being as open as you can and talking about how you feel can help others to be able to offer the support you need. There are also organised support groups, specifically set up to offer peer support for those struggling with their relationship with food. These can give you the opportunity to connect with others who share similar experiences.

Gain more information

Having a greater understanding of what you are experiencing may be beneficial and help you to recognise you are not alone. However, be careful when searching the internet for information as some sites will not always have your best interests in mind. Focusing any research toward legitimate sources of information, such as the NHS and Mind is advisable.

Look after yourself

Make sure you are trying your best to maintain other elements of your life that don't involve food or your relationship with your body. Keeping involved in hobbies and going to social events are a great way to maintain a sense of purpose in life. Making sure you are looking after yourself in a day-to-day sense such as getting enough sleep and keeping up with personal hygiene can go a long way. This will be very dependent on you and where you are on your journey, so the important thing to focus on is doing things, and filling your time, with what is right for you, specifically.

Recognise your achievements

Even the act of openly admitting to yourself that you are struggling is a massive step that involves no small amount of courage. Taking time to recognise the steps you are taking along the way will help to keep you motivated and aware of what is working for you.

Seek professional support

If you feel that you are in any way struggling with your relationship with food or your body image, having professional support is important. The best person to speak to is your GP, who can support you in maintaining your physical health and discuss any further referrals to more specialist services. It can also be a good idea to speak to a counsellor if you feel ready. A counsellor can help you to move forward, by helping you to explore and gain clarity around your feelings and thoughts, so that you can gain a better understanding of yourself and the struggles you face.

A vast number of people experience a difficult relationship with food and their body, to some degree or another. It is important to remember that you are not alone in this and support is out there. Everyone's journey is unique and deserves support and care. If you feel that you are struggling, reach out to a counsellor and your GP to discuss what support is available. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Derby, DE1
Written by Rob Smith, BACP Accredited Psychotherapist
Derby, DE1

Hello, my name is Rob, I am a qualified counsellor with years of experience providing psychotherapy. During this time I have had the privilege of working with a diverse range of people in many different settings, including Occupation Health, and supporting people struggling with their relationship with food and their bodies.

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