024 Fighting Anorexia – Overcoming Obstacles To Recovery

by Anne-Sophie

in Podcast


In this episode of Fighting Anorexia, I talk about some of the many obstacles that we face in our recovery.
I share with you how I have dealt with many challenges along the way and what I have learned from these occurrences.
Some of my fears included:

– Simply Eating Dinner
– pride often presented an obstacle, what will others think?
– Perfectionism
– Not believing that I could ever like my body again
– negative thoughts and negative self-talk
– Being scared of life without my eating disorder because that is all I ever knew
– Being scared of getting to know your true self because all you know is your ed
– Being scared of not being liked by others anymore
– being terrified of totally losing control of myself and my body

And here are some ways of coping:

1. Make an emotional connection to how you will feel after having overcome these obstacles.

2. Tell yourself over and over again that these obstacles are merely tests to see how strong you really are and how committed to recovery you are.
These challenges are horrible, they are hard, but if you keep trying and keep finding ways of working on what needs to be changed, you can do it. I believe in you.

3. Overcoming an obstacle means that you are one step closer to health.

4. Sometimes you just have to be very disciplined.
For example, when you feel like you are way too big already and you still have to eat dinner.

5. A positive attitude helps tremendously and it reduces the size of the problem automatically.

6. Staying inspired throughout your recovery process is very important too. Continue to read stories, autobiographies, listen to recovery music, poems etc. Surround yourself with positive people who have survived this illness.

And here are more specific answers to some of our challenges:

1. How will my life look like without an eating disorder? will I be able to handle this change?
You will get used to your life without an Eating Disorder.
You have to trust those who tell you that it will get better and that you will be able to handle it.

I promise you, it will get better and eventually you won’t even remember your everyday life with your eating disorder.

2. How can I cope with feelings?
Most of us have developed an eating disorder to control our emotions and block out things in our life that we cannot deal with at the moment.
We can use distractions at first. Maybe writing helps you? Maybe you can talk to a friend? Maybe you can scream into a pillow? Maybe you can do kickboxing to get rid of anger.
Eventually you will learn how to deal with your emotions and they won’t be so scary anymore.

3. What if I don’t have coping skills other than my ED yet?
You can develop them and after a while, these skills will become your new go-to coping skills.

4. Will I lose control over my body?
No matter what it seems like, your eating disorder is controlling you and not the other way around. So, you don’t have control over your weight or your body. You will be able to control your body – in a GOOD and healthy way.

5. What if I cannot stop the negative self-talk?
Pay attention to your Eating Disorder thoughts, your emotions and your behaviors.
You will get better at this over time and then you can start talking back and telling yourself that you are worthy, that you are wonderful, beautiful, one of a kind, a master piece, allowed to eat and enjoy life.

6. I want my recovery to be perfect.
Nobody’s recovery is perfect. We ALL struggle.
Besides, there IS no perfect recovery.

7. Will others still like me without my eating disorder?
Your friends will see how much more energy you have and that you can be a much better friend without your eating disorder.

8. Who am I without my eating disorder?
You are a wonderful, beautiful person. You will have so much more freedom without your eating disorder and you will have the chance of getting to know your true self.

9. But will society accept me if I am not a skeleton anymore?
Maybe, maybe not. But your friends and your family will. And that is all that matters, right?

10. I am all alone. I don’t know whom to turn to or what to do when I feel like I cannot eat dinner or I feel like I have gained way too much or I feel like I just cannot cope with all these feelings.
The best thing would of course be to talk to your therapist, but also group therapy sessions help a lot and I would suggest you search for a mentor. Someone who knows what you are going through and who is there for you and helps you.

A wonderful resource is Mentor Connect.


“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.”


Now, which obstacles do you or did you face?
Do you have more examples and ideas on how to overcome these challenges? Please share them with us!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening to this episode!

If you would like to leave me some feedback, you can mail it to feedback@fightinganorexia.com

You can follow me on twitter: @anneso87

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Be Inspired! January 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Dear Anne-Sophie,

I just recently found your site. I have been reading and listening back your new and older posts and podcasts. You are an inspiration! You glow mature health. You have a solid base to talk about anorexia because you have been there.

I hit the rock bottom in the summer of 2010. I had a BMI of 15. Ever since I have been working hard on recovery. I am at a much more healthier place today, but I still feel quite frail especially inside. I feel lost at times, and others I am quite okay. I am still afraid of totally letting go of control. I would say that I am 85% recovered.

Thank you for being there and providing inspiration!
Be Inspired! recently posted..Mint Glitter Self-Love BoosterMy Profile


Anne-Sophie January 4, 2012 at 7:43 am

Dear Susa,
thank you so very much for your beautiful comment.
It is good to hear that you have left the dark days behind. I know what it is like to feel frail and just not quite at the end of the road yet. But please don’t be discouraged. Recovery takes a lot of time, but I truly believe that if we work together, if we encourage each other, we will fight this beast. I am always here for you to help you master those other 15% to complete recovery.

Lots of love,


Lita S. January 22, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Good Points noted down..worth sharing..


Anne-Sophie January 23, 2012 at 9:04 am

Yay, this is great to hear, Lita. Keep sharing it!


antony January 22, 2012 at 5:59 pm

again a superb post.. loved reading it.. thanks for sharing..


Anne-Sophie January 23, 2012 at 8:59 am

Wow, thanks so much, Antony. Thanks for reading!


Birke July 2, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Of your obstacles mentioned, two stood out for me: “not being able to stop exercising” and “feeling fat and still having to eat.” It’s so very empowering to learn that others face the same challenges as you do and in fact successfully overcome them.

In addition to these two obstacles, two others personal ones instantly came to my mind.

Firstly: fat & sugar. With me, it’s not so much about “simply eating dinner,” as with you, but about eating fatty and sugary things – and especially about cooking with them, as I love cooking.

Then: The use of anorexia in order to destroy the notion (oh so widespread among my relatives & friends) of an ever-perfect and problem-free Birke – which originated in the (erroneous) belief that being seen as problem-free means being seen as dull and un-special.

To cope with this, I have to (re-)learn that people are also – in fact: particularly – special WITHOUT anorexia. If you are constantly told that YOU don’t have to worry because with YOU everything’s always fine etc. – then take this as a compliment as it means that you seem successful to others. You don’t have to tell every single one that his/her view is superficial and wrong.

This coping mechanism relates to your suggestion to think of one’s self before ED. Before, I was special: especially bubbly, always talking too much too quickly 😉 , always smiling, especially friendly and open. But mainly, my relatives & friends valued me for being especially ready to help. I was – as you call it – “a better version of myself” (I’d specify “the TRUE version of myself”) and thereby “a better friend.” But through my ED, I became solely focused onto myself, disabling myself to help others and instead causing them to feel they have to help ME. Today, I want to be special again not because I destroy myself and worry my relations – but because my relations value me. I do not want to remain focused onto myself but want to turn outwards again and be there for others.

As usual, my post is already way too long (I’m sorry!!!), yet there’s one final thing I absolutely would like to get back to: Your comment that we won’t instantly become overweight if we gain a few kilos and reach a healthy weight. In a previous podcast, you had said a similar thing: If on one day we eat more than our body actually needs, our body will regulate itself. This phrase has since stuck in my mind since it deeply soothes me and has already helped me a LOT, even though I only heard it some days ago. It’s stunning (and empowering) to see how one particular idea – no matter how seemingly obvious – can particularly help you. Thank you, Anne-Sophie.


Anne-Sophie July 16, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Birke, thank you so much for adding two more obstacles to the mix. The more examples we have here the better and the more people can relate. Obviously, my own experience does not relate to everybody else`s.

Fat is actually good for your body and it needs it in order function (I know you know that, but still thought I would add it.)

To you second point, yes you can and you are absolutely amazing and perfect without problems and you are so very special even if you do not cause others to constantly worry about you. I know you will be able to get out of this eating disorder hell and you will go back to your old self. You have achieved so many incredible things already and are still so very young. Those accomplishments, your true nature, your true self are what make you perfect and special, not the notion that you have to be noticed in a negative way. We all have problems and it is OK, but anorexia only causes YOU to suffer and hurt.

I am so glad that this sentence helped you. I just returned from a big family reunion and there was a lot of food. I have to be honest that my anorexia kicked in every now and then to tell me that I was going to grow fat, but I kept telling her that she is not right and that she has to shut up. I am not fat because of eating a tiny bit more on a single weekend in a long period of time. Your body does regulate your weight and it wants to keep it at a certain level. There is NO WAY you will wake up overweight after eating more than you are used to.

love you, Birke, and thank you for commenting.
Anne-Sophie recently posted..The 15 Top Myths and Stereotypes about Eating Disorders and RecoveryMy Profile


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