Make 2021 Your Comeback With These 21 Resources to Recover From an Eating Disorder
It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week — a week to “shine the spotlight on eating disorders by educating the public, spreading a message of hope, and putting lifesaving resources into the hands of those in need.”
To do my part in executing this mission, I’ve put together this article with my top resource suggestions to recover from an eating disorder.
Before I dive into the resources however, I want to say a few things.
First off, if you’re reading this because you’re in the midst of recovering from an eating disorder, well done. I know the road is tough and I promise it gets easier with time.
Secondly, if you’re reading this and haven’t yet committed to recovery, well done. I was once there and can confidently say it’s the baby steps we take that lead to the greatest healing.
Third, if you’re reading this because you know someone struggling with an eating disorder and you want to help them, well done. I can’t emphasize enough, how important it is to feel loved and accepted when battling an eating disorder.
Lastly, if you’re reading this simply because I said you should, well done. Thanks for being a good friend and source of support.
The best part about writing this blog post was not only recognizing the podcasts, books, and people who’ve contributed to my recovery from anorexia, bulimia, and exercise addiction, but recognizing also, the tough choices and hard work it took every time I hit play on a podcast, picked up a book, or gave my attention to understanding the roots of my disorder through online resources.
To that I say, glory be to God. The resources I list in this post are important, yet it was ultimately His goodness and grace which led me out of the trenches of my disorder and into my true identity.
To begin, let’s go over the podcasts I’ve come to love and believe do a fantastic job at opening up healthy conversations regarding eating disorders.
Podcasts to help you heal
1. The Recovery Warrior Show
I can’t remember how exactly I came across this podcast. I think one day I searched “eating disorders” into the search engine and decided to give it a listen. Not because I was ready to say “yes” to recovery, but because I was after comfort and acceptance — two things I felt I lacked at the time.
All it took was one episode of The Recovery Warrior Show, and I was hooked. I couldn’t stop listening. I’d turn an episode on when I was cooking, running, walking on the beach, riding my bike, and laying in bed at night.
Jessica Flint — a recovery warrior herself — is the host of the podcast and brings on women from all different walks of life to cover several topics related to eating disorder recovery. Some examples being: intuitive eating, diet culture, yoga, pregnancy, menstrual cycles, shame, grief, anxiety, and depression.
She also brings in her love for astrology, offers free classes, and has a website where she shares content from other writers, artists, and recovery warriors. I actually wrote an article published on her website awhile back. You can find it here.
So far, Jessica’s work has reached 184 countries! The bottom line is, this podcast changed my life and took my recovery to a whole new level. Hearing from women who had been in my shoes or ones similar made me realize I wasn’t as alone, crazy, and bruised as I once thought.
I promise I won’t go on forever about the rest of the resources like I have about this one, however, I do want to encourage you to — if you’re struggling with an eating disorder or know someone who is — listen to a few episodes of this podcast. Emotional intelligence is a powerful thing and we can never have too much of it.
2. Well and Weird
The Well and Weird podcast is all about the relationships we have with food, health, beauty, and our body, and how we can work to positively change those relationships.
The best thing about this podcast is (in my opinion) the host, Holly Lowery. As someone who has struggled with her fair share of unbalanced relationships in the eating disorder arena, Holly speaks out of pure vulnerability.
I’ve learned a lot from her about intuitive eating, what true self care looks like, and how I can practice it on a daily basis. In a few of the episodes I’ve listened to, she uses research to deconstruct certain articles wrote on diet trends, where she explains why the message being conveyed in the article is absolute nonsense.
She also speaks of health at every size (HAES) and through compassion, teaches her listeners how to accept, love, and grow away from disordered eating and into freedom and healing.
3. Hungry for Healing
If you need a friend during recovery, Emily Formea is your girl. The host of the Hungry for Healing podcast and “your self-love supporter,” Emily isn’t afraid of approaching the hard topics to come up involving eating disorders. She is transparent with her own story and through conversations with others, will walk beside you as you learn to be open about yours.
I was honored to be a guest on Emily’s podcast a few weeks ago. Here is the episode we recorded. In it, I share how trauma relates to eating disorders or disordered eating. I tackle parts of my story and journey self recovering and deciding to write my book.
4. Let’s Thrive
Emily Feikls is the founder of the Let’s Thrive podcast and talks with her guests about all things related to health and wellness. You’ll hear from Instagram influencers, bloggers, entrepreneurs, and more.
I love this podcast because of how casual it is. Whenever I’m listening, it feels like I’m in the same room with Emily and the guest she is having a conversation with.
What I’ve gained most from the Let’s Thrive podcast, is the confidence to do the things that scare me. I’ve been given new ideas to lead me to more freedom from disordered eating, as well as ideas for how to use my story to help others, tips for improving my skin and anxiety, and education on specific health conditions involving the gut.
Books to help you heal
Continuing on, here are some of the books I’ve read and want to share for recovering from an eating disorder. Even if you’ve never had an eating disorder, the books listed are still great reads to learn more and discover how you can be a friend to those who do.
In fact, a few of the books listed aren’t even about eating disorders. Still, I included them because I do believe they will be helpful for this audience especially.
5. Eating in the Light of the Moon by Anita Johnston
This is the first book I read on eating disorders. I heard about it on The Recovery Warrior Show and after learning how much it helped one of the women on there, I decided I’d look into it.
That’s another thing I want to say about the podcasts I listed above…they were all useful for the purpose of pointing me toward other tools, resources, and influencers — including this one.
Anita has a true gift and continually had me turning the page. This book expresses the importance of processing feelings and embracing our femininity. Through storytelling I learned for the first time what following my intuition actually means.
I walked away feeling more confident and prepared to bravely confront the gunk in my life and unleash my true self.
6. Hunger by Roxane Gay
The first thing I’ll say about this book is, don’t read it if you can’t handle naked honesty. It will grab at your emotions in a powerful way. Roxane shares the story of her childhood trauma, and psychological and emotional battles to portray how they affected her relationship with food and her body.
She gives raw details of her experience living in a fat body, in a fat-phobic world. It’s not a self-help or how-to read, yet it’s a refreshing story of a woman who will inspire you to accept the reality of your own body. I connected many of the dots to my own eating disorder through this book and still reflect back on quotes I noted while reading it. Here’s just one:
It is a powerful lie to equate thinness with self-worth. Clearly, this lie is damn convincing because the weight loss industry thrives. Women continue to try and bend themselves to societal will. Women continue to hunger. And so do I.
7. Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green
A graphic memoir that tells a moving story of a girl who overcame the dark voice of anorexia. Not only did this book help me empathize with my younger, starving self, but it helped me empathize with other women to fall victim to eating disorders, body dysmorphia, the achievement trap, and sexual assault.
I had tears running down my cheeks and pursed lips while holding my breath because of how relatable I found Katie’s story to be. Her memoir reminded me of the messy journey that recovery is.
It’s not linear, clean, or easy. It’s hard, it’s scary, and it’s damn intense at times…especially for someone who has used their disorder as a source of control for so long. Because it’s a graphic memoir, you will find this book a quick and easy read with beautiful illustrations to follow along.
8. Good Enough by Carly Newberg
Okay, I may be bias about this one being that I’m the author, yet I did write Good Enough mainly for those going through an eating disorder or trying to recover from one. In it, I tackle the many layers to contribute to eating disorders, and I challenge readers to confront their trauma so they can heal and move forward.
In this book, you will learn the power of forgiveness and vulnerability, as well as how to overcome your “monsters” to create a greater sense of self acceptance and self love.
I share my personal story battling and self recovering from an eating disorder, and I intertwine that story in with my journey of faith. The main message of this book is you are good enough. Simple yet powerful words to lead you to believe in your inherent worth.
9. The Gifts Of Imperfection by Brené Brown
I’m a Type 1 on the Enneagram, a personality tool that outlines 9 different personality types and is based on the ulterior motives to guide our actions each day. Some numbers on the Enneagram are fighting a war with achievement, fear, envy, or the desire to feel needed, but the war I’m fighting is with perfection.
Type 1’s on the Enneagram are most often called “perfectionists” or “reformers” and strive to do all things right. We tend to be black and white thinkers who value justice and contribute good to the world through an assortment of leadership positions. We tend also, to forget our worth is not dependent on works.
We have a voice — sometimes many voices — in our heads telling us to do, do, do and be, be, be. A big reason for the onset and continuation of my eating disorder had to do with my personality type and the constant pressure I felt to obey my inner critics (what I refer to as monsters).
Reading The Gifts of Imperfection led me through a handful of exercises to help quiet the voices in my head, accept my imperfection, prioritize play, and move toward a life of joy and gratitude.
Brené is a shame researcher and will blow you away with the knowledge she’s gained through studies she’s both conducted and observed. She has a sense of humor that will leave you feeling refreshed and comforted.
One of the number one ways we can practice shame resilience, Brené says, is by recognizing we’re not alone in our struggles through vulnerability.
10. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
Another amazing read on the “how-to” part of practicing vulnerability. I read this book before I read The Gifts of Imperfection and if I was going to do it again, I’d read The Gifts beforehand. This order is also recommended by Brené.
Regardless of the order you read them in, you are guaranteed to be enlightened by plenty nuggets of knowledge and research on the courage it requires to open up and be transparent with others. This book was especially helpful in understanding how “daring greatly” is the key to healing.
I spent so long hiding from vulnerability because of how much it scared me, however, each time I’ve taken the risk and opened up about my brokenness, I’m met with so much compassion.
Shame, on the other hand, only leads us to destruction Brené explains:
Shame is highly correlated with addiction, violence, aggression, depression, eating disorders, and bullying…When we’re hurting, either full of shame or even just feeling the fear of shame, we are more likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors and to attack or shame others.
If you want to overcome shame, lead others, live peacefully, and love well, this book is for you. Here is another quote I took from it to share:
A social wound needs a social balm, and empathy is that balm. Self-compassion is the key because when we’re able to be gentle with ourselves in the midst of shame, we’re more likely to reach out, connect, and experience empathy.
11. 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do by Amy Morin
A big part of recovering from an eating disorder involves learning how to cope with your thoughts and feelings in new and healthy ways — not disordered ones. Amy Morin does a great job of explaining in depth, the 13 things to often keep us from living our best life.
You will feel inspired to adopt new patterns of dealing with struggles such as perfection, overthinking, comparison, fear, and more. I’ve found this an extremely helpful read in my recovery.
12. The Road Back To You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile
I spoke of the Enneagram and my personality type earlier. To everyone who is new to learning about the Enneagram, this is the book I recommend you start with.
Because it is based on ulterior motives, taking a free online quiz will most likely lead you in the wrong direction. Reading a book on all of the different types will I believe, give you the greatest understanding and guide to discover your type.
I know some people get weirded out by personality stuff, yet just like any other tool, it can be used for both good and bad. The book talks about this more in depth, but I confidently want to say identifying my Enneagram number was a major key to recovering from my eating disorder.
Unlike other personality tools out there, the Enneagram focuses on your good qualities as well as your poor qualities…things holding you back from being the person you were created to be. This book taught me why living in my shoes is sometimes hard; where I fail and how I can grow.
There’s also The Road Back to You podcast which I recommend checking out. Both are incredible resources that I have faith, will guide and nourish your soul.
13. Personality Types by Don Richard Riso
A deeper exploration into each Enneagram number. I recommend you read this book after familiarizing yourself with the Enneagram and learning (or at least having a good idea) of the number you identify most with.
Similar to Roxane Gay’s memoir, Riso gives the naked truth and can be confronting with the wisdom he shares.
Organizations to help you heal
Below are four organizations up to incredible work involving eating disorders. Each one is a place to learn, ask questions, and get involved. I’ve included the helpline of each organization in case you need to talk to someone right away. There is no shame is asking for help. Remember that.
15. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD)
Helpline: (630) 577–1330
16. National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
Helpline: (800) 931–2237
17. The Butterfly Foundation
Helpline: 1800 ED HOPE
Films & documentaries to help you heal
Over the years, I’ve found the below films and documentaries helpful in highlighting the harm of eating disorders through storytelling. All can be found on Netflix.
18. I Am Maris: Portrait of a Young Yogi
19. Miss Americana
20. To the Bone
Instagram accounts to help you heal
I want to end this post by leaving you with a list of Instagram accounts (listed in no particular order) that have helped me in some capacity throughout my recovery.
These are people who’re using their voice, experience, and education to empower others toward their healthiest, most authentic self.
I’m so grateful for Instagram being a platform where I can meet like minded people who — while still having their unique struggles and story — continue to inspire me to move forward in my story and dreams.
I encourage you to check out the below accounts. On their feeds you will be sure to find lessons on self acceptance, shared recipes that are both nutritious and delicious, powerful stories, interesting facts, knowledge, mental health awareness, and more.
Eating disorders are complex. There is no quick fix to recovery and I hope by writing this post, I didn’t lead you to believe there is. I do, however, want you to know there is an abundance of resources to help you or your loved one struggling. We are never alone — even when we feel isolated.
Keep staying strong, keep fighting, and keep believing in beautiful things for yourself and others because you are worth it. Your loved one is worth it.