National Eating Disorders Association

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Body Image Thoughts

Hi there, so outside of individual therapy I haven’t reached out a lot about this topic besides sharing with a few family and friends. It’s been almost ten years since I engaged an any eating disorder behaviors. Sometimes I catch myself trying to count calories or over exercising but I have been able to get back on track with my recovery and remind myself of that time in my life that was regally consumed by my eating disorder. This helps me stay grounded but I have a lot of body image thoughts and thoughts about food throughout my day. How do people deal with those thoughts in recovery?

What I’ve struggled with mostly is also how to identify with my recovery. Some people say recovered and others say recovery. I am more comfortable with recovery as to me it is not a linear process but I also realize that it varies depending on the person. Additionally I am going to counseling which helps but I struggle sometimes with body image thoughts after all these years. I’m also in a counseling program and my focus is eating disorders and substance use disorders.

Sometimes because I never went to a program as a part of my recovery process such as outpatient or residential I feel uncomfortable sharing my experiences.

What I am wondering is how to become more comfortable with this and also find out if it’s normal to still have negative body image thoughts or feelings of being triggered after this many years?


Hello and welcome to the forum. First, I want to say it was a brave step posting here. Good for you for reaching out for support. In terms of not having been part of an IOP or PHP or inpatient, that does not invalidate your struggle. It truly makes no difference in the fact that you are needing support now. I would take as much advantage of the support group you are in just as much as someone who might have been in a program. The important thing is is that you are getting help and are in a group of others who understand what you are dealing with.

There are different views on recovery. Some believe that one can be in complete recovery. I believe this. I do not believe that once one has struggled with an eating disorder I will always have to be on guard or have eating disordered thoughts. I believe that full and complete recovery is possible. Part of this has to do with my faith in Jesus and that because of Him I can walk in complete freedom. I am in that process now. It has taken me thirty years to get to this place though, so it didn't come easy. Others believe it is something one will always struggle with and that it is something that may sit on the back burner but one always has to be cautious that it can return if life gets stressful again or it just rears its ugly head again. Then there may be another in between thought. I think what is important is what you think about recovery. As far as still struggling with body image thoughts and being easily triggered, you may want to talk about this in the group. It may still be a way of you coping with some uncomfortable things in your life that you never fully dealt with. I don't know. So for you to share these questions with your therapist and the group and see what they think, may be the best approach to getting an answer that those that understand you and your situation may be better able to answer. I am sorry I am not more helpful on this. I wish you the best and hope you post again and let us know how you are doing. Take care,