Too often, people emerge from eating disorder treatment in a partially recovered state. This makes sense living in a culture that has normalized dieting and body shame, but we at EDRDpro stand strong in the belief that for many people full recovery from an eating disorder is possible and absolutely worth it. How can we support our clients in the journey toward complete recovery that isn’t on a platform of having to “recover perfectly”? Today, we’ll explore just that.
This post was written and submitted by Tess Patterson, a registered dietitian practicing in Texas. Connect with Tess on Instagram @hellotheretess or on her website.
Quasi recovery describes when people are not ‘clinically determined’ to be in a high-risk state of their eating disorder, but they are still not living in full freedom from the grasps of their disordered thoughts and behaviors. Why is it that so many don’t feel the full freedom of recovery? Let’s dig a little deeper into how to disengage from the half-healed state of mind that quasi recovery offers.
Quasi recovery is commonly associated with the stage when an individual feels that they are stable enough in their own recovery to stop intentionally working on recovery goals related to food and exercise, stop going to therapy, and/or stop taking medications before they truly are fully healed. The root of these thoughts is that owning recovery as an ongoing process can be extremely inhibiting. The truth is that we are all beings who are continuously adapting and growing. It is especially important for people who have experienced an eating disorder to acknowledge that the disorder is a mental illness that manifests itself through food. Though the food-related thoughts may decrease, they can still creep in unexpectedly. Without actively noticing and engaging with these thoughts, they may even start to sound inviting once again.
So, what can you do to disengage with these thoughts in order to honor your recovery?
First, acknowledge that thoughts may still be prominent, even if only to a slight extent. If you are unable to acknowledge that the thoughts are there, it becomes next to impossible to make changes.
Second, realize that recovery is an active process in which you are connected with your body and your mind. This involves checking in with yourself regularly to see if your motives and intentions are fully free from the influence from your eating disorder.
Third, realize that relapse is common – and doesn’t mean you’ve done recovery “wrong”. Asking for help, even after straying away from therapy for some time, is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of humanness. We all need help in life at one time or another. Know that it is no one’s place to judge your recovery journey. At times you may feel very solid, and other times you may feel like the world is a more difficult place to manage. Licensed Psychologists, Therapists, and Dietitians are here to support you. We want you to live your best life, just like you do. If you ever feel like the eating disorder thoughts are creeping back into your head, don’t be afraid to reach out.
You deserve full and complete recovery, not just quasi recovery.