National Eating Disorders Association

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Would like some advice

Hello, I'm new here.

Background Info: I have only recently begun to admit that I have disordered thoughts about food and body-image (and even now, I'm uncomfortable with the fact). I've begun seeing a therapist, and have found out that a lot of what I've gone through most of my life (self-loathing, perfectionism, feelings of never being enough, etc.) have stemmed from being victimized 16 years ago by somebody I trusted and whose acceptance/approval I desperately wanted. This is something that I buried hoping it would simply dissapear and go away. Unfortunately (according to my counselor) I never really "buried" it, but tried to hide it and let it manifest in another way (i.e. my relationship with food). I am 30 now and finally coming to recognize the thoughts for what they are and trying as hard as I can to ignore them.

Behaviors: I have done a lot of restricting and excessive exercise as well as some other methods I do not want to mention here as it may be triggering/suggestive to others. I also have Celiac Disease so it has always been easy for me to make excuses when going out with others as far as why I cannot eat.

Currently: I am engaged to the most wonderful woman in the world who also happens to have an ED. She was diagnosed with AN when she was a teenager, and is making progress towards recovery every day. Since meeting her, I have done a lot of research about eating disorders and how to support people who have them (prior to my admission that I have a problem). I recognized some similar thoughts and behaviors to my own in my research, so I made a concerted effort to eliminate those behaviors (ex. I no longer count calories and have changed brands of foods that I normally eat so I don't know the calorie content/serving size, I threw away my scale, I no longer measure food, etc.). Unfortunately, this has had the negative side effect that I have been very anxious lately and feeling like I've lost control over one of the only things I can control in my life.

Problem: My fiancee noticed some of my eating patterns (before I ever admitted my own problem) whenever we have meals together, and it was triggering her ED thoughts. I have been making a concerted effort to eat more than she does whenever we eat together in order to keep her ED from becomming competitive with me, but she says I still eat like I'm on a diet. I want to be healthy for her to be around. I want to commit to eating "normal" meals from now on around her because I maintain that my thoughts and behaviors are not as severe as hers, but I do have the thoughts, and that is a trigger for her as well. I love my fiancee dearly and do not want this to defeat us. I will also mention that I am a very slow eater and am triggered pretty badly by eating when others have either finished their meal or aren't eating for any other reason.

Any advice or similar experiences would be very helpful for me, and much appreciated. Thanks

Hi there!!

Hello!! Thank you so much for your post! I hope that I can be of some help!!

I can tell that you truly love your fiancé and that every effort you've made has been with her in your heart! I find that so strong and endearing. I know it can be difficult when ED is involved with any relationship, but it sounds like you have been making very mature steps towards strengthening your relationship with your fiancé!

The first thought I have is that it may be very useful for you and your fiancé to see a couples counselor. I definitely love how much you've done to help with both your and your finances recovery! That's awesome!!!! Seeing a counselor would just allow for more opportunities to receive support in what you both are struggling with. I think the more input we can have from professionals the better!!!

If you aren't sure where would be best to find a therapist, the NEDA Helpline is here to help!! All you'd need to do is call 1-800-931-2237 and a representative will assist you!!!

I hope this helps!! Remember to always take care of your needs just as well as you attend to her needs!

Stay strong!!!

Thank you for your response


Thank you for responding with kind words and good advice. My fiancee and I have considered pre-marital couseling (at the suggestion of her therapist), however, my fiancee is still very apprehensive about me having similar thought and behaviors as she does. She hasn't given me much of a chance to do anything but wait while she takes the time she needs to think about what she wants to do. In th meantime, I am suffering through some of the worst reactive thoughts (almost as if a small voice tells me that I'm not good enough for her and that the only way to fix it is to return to my unhealthy habits). I resist as best I can, but that seems to make the voice louder. It almost feels as if I'm falling and the only thing there to catch me is my old behaviors and negative food thoughts. I'm back to thinking about food all the time again, and I believe I have been subconciously restricting.

Staying strong is not as easy as I thought it would be. I've always held pride in my willpower, but I think it is beginning to fail me. I'll hate myself for it, but I'll keep eating, and I'll keep avoiding unhealthy behaviors. Thank you again.

Dear Yoshi,

Dear Yoshi,

You wrote :

"(almost as if a small voice tells me that I'm not good enough for her and that the only way to fix it is to return to my unhealthy habits)"

Boy, these sorts of thoughts are *so* common among people with EDs, so I hope you won't feel that you're the only one who finds their thoughts running along those lines. The whole "good enough" thing really does seem to be one of the central themes of eating disorders, so I hope you won't feel alone with that either.

Of course there are scores of ways that people without EDs go about judging if they are good enough or not, but even among those people, I suspect many of them still worry if they are good enough or not. So it's not really that unusual a thing for humans to find themselves thinking about.

But yeah, when it comes to EDs….the whole restricting thing….it really is kind of an odd way for a person to approach that issue for sure. And one that can lead a person off in a bunch of disruptive directions, both emotionally l and physically as well.

Being able to judge our "good enoughness" on other more reasonable levels, and really being able to trust in those judgments, that's a big part of getting better I think.

But as you said, those old sorts of associations can be awfully difficult to shake, but I do think it's possible, so I hope you won't find yourself giving up hope, particularly when you hear those old voices calling.

Bob J.

Thanks but it's done

Thank you guys for your support and kindness. Unfortunately, my fiancee and I are now single again with no hope for a future together. My problems are too much for her to handle while on her own path to recovery, and I'm just not good enough to drop my problems and live healthy right now. Unfortunately, I am not worthy of an attempt on her part, and I can't blame her for that.
I've fallen back into my habits and my ED symptoms are returning. I'm still within the normal BMI range, but very close to the underweight zone (I won't give numbers). I know it's not healthy, but I feel more comfortable being able to control this aspect of my life, and I do get a sense of joy from seeing lower numbers on the scale.
I want to be healthy, but I need the comfort right now. I'll try to be careful and make certain I get enough to maintain where I'm at... Again, thank you for the support and advice.

Thanks but it's done

Dear Yoshi,

I'm truly sorry for your break-up with your fiance'. She may have been equally apprehensive about giving up control of her ED. Perhaps you both will allow one another to heal and recover, and if it's God's plan, you will be brought back together. I can only imagine how painful this must be though.

I would echo what Michael26 recommended. Have you reached out to the NEDA Helpline? They can provide you with resources and support. You cannot do this alone, and you don't have to. They can help connect you with a therapist, counselor, support group and nutrionist near you.

During my recovery journey, I struggled with fear of losing control. After I recovered, I realized those were just the unhealthy thoughts created by my eating disorder, in an effort of the disease trying to actually keep control over me. You'll learn how to replace those negative thoughts with healthy, positive self-worth thoughts. You are DEFINITELY worth recovery and claiming a life free of an ED.

Another great resource to consider is the NEDA Navigator program! This free program connects you with a volunteer who has experience in recovery and is there to listen, support, and advise you along the way!! I think it is a great way to receive absolutely sincere support! It’s like having your owner “recovery” buddy. Here is a link to learn more!

Please know we will always be here for you to help you through this process! You're NOT alone!

P.S. I would encourage you to throw away your scale and not count calories. You did this before ~ and although the ED created negative thoughts and anxiety around doing this, I think you must have felt powerful when you did it, because YOU were actually in control and not your ED.

Legacy of Love

Spiraling Downward

Due to some issues piling up, I ended up in a hospital and on a 72 hour hold for a very near attempt on my own life. That time in the acute care facility introduced new stress and self hatred that has exacerbated any ED thoughts I have ever had. I can now no-longer ignore them. I no longer have power over them, and I cannot fight them. I now have a diagnosis of Anorexia, and Depression-not otherwise specified.

The only good thing that has occurred as a result of this is that my family is back in my life, and I have found that a few friends I had are indeed closer than I ever thought. I will never try to do anything that drastic again only because I know what it would do to those who care about me, but I don't know how I will live with this. I have been able to use physical pain to distract from the emotional for short periods of time, and that allows me to continue to at least smile and push through each day.

I have watched my numbers on the scale drop steadily over the past 20 days. At times, they will yo-yo back up, and I will become angry, annoyed, sad and irritable. At the moment, I am still within the normal range of BMI (barely), but am under the "ideal" weight for my height. I will be talking to my therapist tomorrow and see if she recommends I reach out to one of the recovery centers. I am apprehensive about seeking help at the moment. I don't know if I will be able to handle being forced to eat. It is hard enough that my parents are making me eat some meals with them. They are happy when I eat, but I am not, so it feels as if they are happy when I'm unhappy. I cannot throw away the scale or stop counting calories. Just the thought of doing so makes me so anxious that I can barely function. I think I may need more help, but I know I shouldn't take attention away from those who are truly sick and more deserving of the help. I'll continue to work with what I have and make every effort I am comfortable making.




I can almost see a replay of what happens to me. Often, when life takes a bad turn, the ED flares up very strongly. In the past an ED has been a very effective (although inappropriate) method of dealing with feelings. At a very basic level, depriving the body of food leads to hunger, which then takes precedence over other feelings. This often explains why people who suffer anorexia, then eat, and then turn to bulimia. Once you eat, the feelings are allowed 'loose' and the only way to get the feelings under control again is by purging. Of course, this leads to a yo yo situation that is as much bad (if not more) than not eating at all.

So, try to recognise that your feelings are controlling your eating. Try and move towards eating as treating it like a medicine. Eat to be well.

I hope you can post back and let us know how you're getting on.



In recovery but struggling

Hello all,

First of all, thank you to everybody for your support and encouragement. I spent almost four months in treatment, and came out of the ERC healthier. Unfortunately, I have been struggling over the past few weeks while at home. I bought a new scale (again), and have started to fall backwards into my ED. All I can focus on lately is how much weight I gained at the ERC and how I can loose the excess. I am not certain what triggered this aside from just feeling huge. Each stressor or obligation makes it harder for me to follow my meal plan. To make matters worse, my dietitian told me that I was restricting even when I thought I wasn't. Has anybody else experienced these struggles after treatment? I keep telling myself that I can control it and not let it get extreme again. Is that even a possibility? Is it wrong for part of me to want my ED and the comfort it gave? Thanks.




I’m sorry to hear that you are struggling post-treatment, but I want you to know that your situation is not abnormal. The transition from treatment to regular living is drastic. But look back at the post you just wrote – you said you came out of the ERC HEALTHIER! And then you say that you are focusing on all the weight you gained. You are an incredibly strong person, and I think that you can stay healthy and on track toward a full recovery. So to answer your question about whether or not you can control yourself and “not let it get extreme again,” I think that is completely possible. But I don’t think you should try to do that on your own, without professional help. Please continue to see your dietician and listen to what he/she says regarding how much you’ve been eating, because you ultimately might not be completely well enough to make those decisions by yourself. Also, I recommend you continue to see a therapist/psychiatrist if you aren’t already doing so. You need as much support as possible to keep working toward a completely happy, healthy, ED-free life. You seriously deserve one, and I hope you’ll continue to use the forums for a little extra support here and there if you ever need us.

Best wishes as you continue this journey – it is worth it, and you can do it


I can't help but get the feeling that I am relapsing. I have started using behaviors again, though not as many as before treatment. I hate the number on the scale, and I hate the clothes that I fit into right now. I keep looking at the clothes I "grew out of" in treatment with longing and regret for not being able to fit in them anymore.

I don't want to live in this disease. I want to be free from the overwhelming thoughts and urges. But at the same time, a very large part of me is afraid to let go of the ED.



Can you get rid of your old clothes? Or put them into storage? You could even sell them and buy new clothes with the money, clothes that make you feel good about yourself. Also, when you think about your pre-treatment clothes or weight, try to focus on the bad things they represent - an unhealthy, unhappy, sick version of yourself, a version of yourself that you don't want to go back to. I know you can do this. Please keep working hard.

Stay strong

Hello Yoshi!

I've read your case, living with your fiancee and suffering this problem. Sad to know what is happening now. Why don't you try eating smaller, more frequent meals instead of three large meals? Have you tried that? Take stock of mental health. If you are depressed or anxious, medication may be prescribed to stimulate your appetite. Eat with family and friends. Take the time to prepare a proper meal. Make a change. Try making something different than your usual fare. If your appetite has been zapped by an illness, ask your doctor to recommend a medication or other remedy to make food more appealing.
Hope you and your fiancee get well soon. Stay positive!


Hi Nickolasphillips!

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Please feel free to review the community guidelines to help make this forum a safe place for all users:

We would love to hear your insight and hope you keep posting :)

Back after a long break away from this site

Well, I've been to two different treatment centres for eating disorders and had multiple stays in mental health facilities. I have learned a great deal since I last posted here, but little has changed. I have learned that I wasn't just compensating for a singular trauma from my past but for an entire traumatic childhood. I have been diagnosed with several co-occurring illnesses to include DID (Disociative Identity Disorder - formerly Multiple Personality Disorder). As it stands right now, I have been "on track" with my eating disorder and have been focusing on the long and very difficult process of trauma work. While I have made strides in my trauma work, I have only really been biding my time with the eating disorder. I got very good at putting on a smile, saying everything is okay with my eating, and staying within the bounds of "health". Now, I have reached a breaking point where I cannot hold it in any longer. I have stopped eating (except perhaps a small, low-calorie snack here and there), and tensions between my mother and I have never been higher. On one hand, She says I don't care about her and that I can only prove that I care by eating meals, while on the other, she has simply given up on trying to encourage me at all. Thus I continue with my pattern of not eating, and I hope to GOD that I am losing weight.

I haven't seen my numbers on a scale in a long time, and I gauge my weight and appearance on musculature and how clothes fit. I know I am not as "sick": as I was before, but my parents are pushing to have me put back in the ERC again. I am not sure why I am posting this here. I am not sure if I even want help. I want to let this consume me as it has been struggling to do for almost thirty years. I want to disappear and not have to worry about the stagnant life I have found myself in. I've lost so much to this disease (job, career, friends, hobbies), why not let it take what little of this life I have left?


Strife and Struggle

Hey Yoshi.
Sounds like you're at a crossroads. You've expressed some nihilistic longings. From what I'm getting its seems to me like you feel like you've been struggling for so long and you've lost so much so what's even the point in continuing to struggle against the ED? And I can appreciate that. The struggle is tough, its rough, and unless you've gone through it yourself or something similar the average laymen just can't appreciate how difficult it is, how hard it is to resist urges that hark at you with the power of a primal urge.

But I think that a struggle can be more than that, that it doesn't have to been some endless battle against evil; I feel that even if the fight never ends, it is one worth continuing and one that lessens with time and practice. Think about professionals - golfers, business men, even something like competitive chess. Do you think those people were born experts? They may have some latent inborn talent but even then, on top of that it takes something like 10,000 to become an expert at a craft. 10,000 hours is a long ass time. That's consistent sweat, blood, and tears borne on the back of perseverance and grit day after day, week after week, year after year. Struggle is hard, struggle is real, but I believe that it can also be transformative. Great human feats and progress have been birthed through struggle.

And your being here, you're checking in and posting on a board about struggle, about change, in my humble opinion, shows that you've still a little fight in you, you've still got a little grit left to draw upon. Man may be born unto strife but he can rise above it and use it as a catalyst for great change. That's what brought you and I into this world and that is what we can use to elevate ourselves. We're here when you need to check in my dude - man to man.

- Adage

Yoshi - Trauma and EDs

No kidding, past trauma can really do a number on a person. It's terrible and we are rarely to blame, but we're the ones who end up paying the price. And the continuing effects that it has on a person's life in the present really can be hard work to resolve.

I wanted to say that I have quite a bit of experience with people who have DID, so you've got someone here who understands that condition. I'm not sure how much you and your therapist are in touch with your gang, of how they are doing with trusting you both, but in the long run they can be your allies I think, even if they may have caused disruptions in the past. Because really, on the whole they came into being as a means to protect you, so there's that which sits at the heart of the thing, even if their behaviors and attitudes can still be disruptive at times.

In any case, it was great to hear from you again even if things continue to feel kind of on the edge, and I hope you can keep writing, if it feels like it helps a bit.

Bob J.