57 Ways People With Eating Disorders Got Well

No two recoveries are exactly alike, but these are some of the things that have helped real people in their struggles with an eating disorder.

Will Varner / BuzzFeed

We recently asked BuzzFeed community members to tell us what helped them while they went (and continue to go) through eating disorder recovery.

Please note that these aren’t medical recommendations, and you should absolutely seek help from a professional if you feel you might have an eating disorder — but they are motivational suggestions and sources of inspiration that might help you through your own recovery.

1. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable with your loved ones.

The single greatest thing I’ve done for my recovery is to be vulnerable. The last thing I wanted to do was open up about my struggle, but it was only when I decided to directly defy this instinct that I began to find peace. Every single time that I’ve shared my struggles with others — without exception — their responses have been more positive and supportive than I could have ever imagined. Instead of confirming my deep fear that they would judge me in the way I judge myself, every single person I have talked to has responded with an outpouring of love. —Eva Hicks

2. And opening yourself up to new people.

When you’re diagnosed and folks find out, they sometimes treat you differently. It can feel like they’re watching your every move. The best thing that helped me was meeting someone who knew nothing about it. I was going to therapy when I met him, but I never took him, and I didn’t tell him about it for a long, long time. He just accepted me, giving me the confidence to get better without actively doing anything other than loving me. Nineteen years later, and I still think my husband of a decade really has no idea that he literally saved me. —Anonymous

3. Recognizing and avoiding your triggers.

I had anorexia on and off through my teenage years and twenties. One of the things that really helped me in my recovery was to stop buying magazines. Not seeing those unrealistically skinny women helped me a lot in recalibrating what women’s bodies can look like. —Akiyo Kano

4. Turning meals into a social activity.

To me, recovery is ongoing. Every meal is an opportunity to start over. I find making meal dates helps. Since I tend to isolate, I have friends who drag me out. I don’t like to cook, nor do I like the smell of food, so not focusing on the meal, and focusing on the company instead, is a huge help. —Leigha Menefee

5. Changing your relationship with food by learning to cook.

My therapist suggested I take a cooking class. I could pick whichever one I wanted, but I had to go. I thought she was batshit crazy for making a girl who wasn’t eating go cook, but I did it anyway! I picked a Spanish tapas class, and fell in love with cooking. I’m now healthy and an excellent cook. —Elle

I’ve been in recovery from anorexia nervosa for three and a half years now. When I was a junior in high school, I started watching the Food Network and ended up getting really into cooking. I found that following a recipe was something very therapeutic for me. Cooking helped me understand how important food was to everyday life, and, since I was cooking the meals, it was less anxiety-provoking when I ate them. I still cook for my friends and family whenever I can. —Claire Prestage

I started watching Jamie Oliver’s cooking show, The Naked Chef, and began to find it interesting. I started to focus on re-creating his dishes for my family and gradually started to eat the food I had cooked, although it took a long time! I often wonder where I would be now if Jamie hadn’t been around! —Emily Marshall

6. Smoking weed.

On the suggestion of an anonymous user on Whisper, I went to a medical marijuana dispensary. I hadn’t even considered it before! The girl I spoke to there was so excited. She had been wondering about the effects of THC on eating disorders, since THC was proving so helpful for people with anxiety. She showed me each strain, explained how each affects appetite and mood, and then got a sample for me to try in the back. Twenty minutes later, for the first time in almost a year, I was calm and hungry. I cried. I get help with my anxiety and depression now, and for the most part I can deal pretty well with it, but I always keep some Indica around just in case it kicks in full force again. Any time it does, I’ll have the tiniest amount, and I’m eating properly within half an hour. —Allison B.

Will Varner / BuzzFeed

7. Paying it forward.

I spent nearly half a year in an outpatient program at the hospital, where I was forced to face my worst fears about my weight, food, and myself. Being around other girls and boys who struggled with the same mental thought processes and fears helped greatly, allowing us all to share our experiences and encourage each other to battle our inner demons. I now volunteer at a hospital, and have been part of many opportunities in university that aid in boosting students’ self-esteem, health, and mental wellness. It allows me to spread that positive message, and reminds me why being kind to myself is so important. —Elvira Chan

Purposeful activity using my eating disorder experiences has really helped. I have a project called Stitching Out Stigma, which has really taken off. We have lots of support globally, and a wonderful, supportive online community. This gives me a sense of pride, a feeling that I’m not alone, and the belief that, even from something as bad as an eating disorder, some goodness can come. —Natalie McCulloch

8. Sticking with therapy

The biggest thing is finding the right therapist and sticking with it! Six years into recovery, and I still see my therapist every week. It is so important. Recovery is a journey — you want someone to be with you and help guide you! —Sarah Cole

9. Even if you have to meet with a few before you find the right fit.

I suffered with binge-eating disorder for three years, but now am in my recovery and haven’t binged for almost a month. One thing that helped me was allowing trial and error with therapists. When my first counselor didn’t help me much, I was really discouraged. I thought no one could ever help me. After keeping with it, though, I found a counselor who I felt really understood me, and who was very experienced. When she told me how many people with BED she’d helped recover, I knew that I could do it too. —Leonie Hyman

10. Finding reasons to be excited for the future.

What helped me to recovery was my mum showing me how my life would improve if I were recovered. Of course when you’re anorexic, you just think that’s a lie, but my mum proved it by setting goals for different levels of progress — promising me I could go scuba diving and complete my advanced qualification, take an overnight shopping trip to London, and — ultimately — fly to New York, a place I have dreamed about visiting since I was little. —Lili Sawyer

11. Tracking your progress on Instagram.

I’ve been getting better with the help of an Instagram account I created. It helped me post the meals that I’ve been eating and discover people who were struggling with the same things that I am. This has given me the strength to eat more, and even have some of my “fear foods.” I am not recovered, but I am in the process, and I’m not that great at taking pictures, but slowly getting somewhere. —Anonymous

12. Seeking comfort in furry friends.

One thing that helps me is my dog. I adopted her a few months into recovery, and she has been a real gift to my spirit. She keeps me on a schedule, and the simple act of caring about her health made me recognize how my parents and people who love me feel about my own health. She’s a constant companion, around whenever I’m feeling stressed, and having her with me helps to ease feelings of pain or anxiety. —Alanna Grace

13. And focusing on their needs.

A few months after reaching my sickest point, I adopted a special-needs German shepherd named Buddy. Buddy had his tongue cut out when he was young, and he struggles to do many things that we take for granted. He was underweight, mangy, and had severe anxiety. In order to care for him and have the energy to meet his needs, I needed to be stronger. Slowly, I began facing my fear foods and gaining weight. Physically, it was uncomfortable; mentally, however, the more I ate, the better I felt! By taking care of Buddy, I was taking care of myself. We both got healthy, and now I can focus on taking care of him instead of counting calories or working out obsessively. He is the most loving and loyal best friend I could ask for. I know that if I had not gotten him, I probably would have not let go of my ED. Everyone always says that I saved him, but I know that he saved me as well! —Sara

Will Varner / BuzzFeed

14. Finding even one person you trust to check up on you.

Accountability has been huge for my recovery. Having that one person who I am able to turn to and say, “I’m struggling with food today” or “I really want to purge right now” has really helped. Eating disorders are all about secrecy, and when I am able to expose my eating disorder to someone trustworthy, it keeps me more accountable in maintaining healthy behaviors. Though it has taken me a long time to reach this point — and sometimes it is still hard for me to reach out — expressing my thoughts and feelings in the moment have made a world of difference in keeping my eating disorder behaviors minimal. —Sarah Attal

15. Socializing — even when you don’t want to.

A huge part of my eating disorder has always been about feeling like I don’t fit in. One of my biggest triggers is social isolation, or situations that leave me feeling like I’m disliked. If I’m feeling especially broken on any given day, it’s essential for me to talk to people. No matter how much you want to self-isolate — and the urges can be strong — force yourself to be around people you get along with. It will give you other things to think about, and remind you that you do have people in your life who want to spend time with you. Realizing that this is one of the roots of my eating disorder has been essential to understanding myself, and being able to evaluate how I feel. —Sarah

What has helped my most in my recovery from anorexia is not isolating myself. Spending more time outside of my bedroom. Eating with my family. Hanging out with friends. Doing all those things that teens normally do, but which an eating disorder usually keeps you from. —Tamara Howell

16. Defying people’s expectations.

What has gotten — and continues to get — me through my recovery? I started my own cake-making business after being told I was too unwell to work. This gave me such a confidence boost in having a purpose, and creating work that others not only appreciated but were eager to pay for. This gave me a lifeline I critically needed, and I can never be able to explain to all those who supported me how important their support really was. —Cara Edwards

17. Changing your environment.

What helped me recover from anorexia and other destructive behaviors was pushing myself outside my comfort zone, and going on an adventure. Last summer I studied abroad in Italy. It was by far the best experience of my life. Being in a different environment forced me to change negative habits like weighing myself daily. I also had to give up control over everything I ate. Eventually being happy in such a beautiful place and with a bunch of new friends made me appreciate the better things in life. Life is so much better when I focus on who I’m with and where we are, rather than how many calories I am consuming. —Julia

18. Leaning on allies found in online communities.

The best help I received was free — an online community of people recovering from their eating disorders. They would share their feelings and thoughts and their good and bad days, and you never felt like you were alone. You could have group chats and make friends and speak to each other whenever you wanted and needed. If you were struggling, they would be there to help, and it’s more than likely they understood what you were feeling. Without online support from people recovering together, I don’t think I would have recovered from my bulimia. —Amy Atkinson

19. Or in group therapy.

After months of therapy and a plateau in my treatment process — which included medication, outpatient therapy, and eating logs — my therapist suggested group therapy. Sharing my thoughts with complete strangers who don’t know me? It sounded absolutely crazy and unappealing to me, but I figured anything was worth a shot. I quickly fell in love. These girls went from strangers to my closest confidants, coming from all walks of life but still able to not only relate to me, but also prove to me that I wasn’t completely crazy and alone. Group therapy taught me so many things about myself and other people, and even strengthened my relationships with people I interacted with outside of group. —Emily Bendin

20. Retraining your mind through yoga.

Just after turning 25, I broke up with my boyfriend of nearly four years. I live alone, and had used that as an excuse to feed into the ED previously, but I knew I couldn’t fall into that hole again. On a whim one morning, I decided to give yoga a try. I pulled up a video on YouTube for a 30-day challenge, and once I made it through the 30 days, I kept going, eventually finding a studio but remaining self-taught. After a few months, I realized my mind-set had completely shifted. All of a sudden, I couldn’t justify not eating or barely eating, because I had this newfound awareness and appreciation for my body, and I wanted to take care of it, for the first time in my adult life. I’m now enrolled to get my 200-hour teacher certification this winter, and plan eventually to leave my corporate job to pursue yoga full-time. It’s completely transformed every aspect of my mental and physical life, and the best part is that I like me. —Lauren B.

Will Varner / BuzzFeed

21. Expressing your creativity in a judgment-free zone.

The most helpful tools or outlets for me have been drawing and coloring. The things I’m drawing aren’t usually even about my body; it’s more about knowing I have control over what I create, marker in hand, whatever color I want. It’s my chance to express myself freely and openly. It seems so silly that coloring would do that, but that’s been huge. I’ve found something similar in dance. When I’m on my own in the studio — not rehearsing, usually wearing a lot of baggy, darker clothing — it no longer becomes about my body, but just the movement. —AJ

22. Adopting an “anything goes” philosophy of journaling.

During my recovery I saw therapists, did acupuncture, tried recovery meetings, took medications, and even though all of this added together helped me in some way, it was ultimately the journaling I did all the way through this 12-year process that got me through. Sometimes it would just be swear words scribbled out, and other times there were beautiful poems. But every time I wrote, I understood just a little more about myself. It helped me to process everything inside my head. Now I have four completely filled journals, and it’s quite fun to go back and read them, to know everything that was going on in my head at certain times. All those obsessive thoughts in my head needed a place to go — otherwise I probably would have exploded. —Fionella

23. Distracting your mind.

Jigsaw puzzles are the best! They keep your mind and your hands occupied. —Kate Mulholland

24. Surrounding yourself with positive role models in books.

I struggled with an eating disorder throughout high school and into college. I was ashamed of it and dependent on it at the same time. Then I read Bossypants by Tina Fey and I started to realize there is so much more to being a woman than what you look like. I turned to other strong women in their memoirs, too — from Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert to Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Yes, Please by Amy Poehler. They all taught me how to be a confident, funny, independent, compassionate, forgiving, badass woman. Their books saved me. —Anonymous

25. And on television.

Honest to god, Parks and Recreation was the super-boost I needed to kick my eating disorder’s ass. When I made the decision to go into recovery, insurance wouldn’t cover inpatient, but I had options through my university’s campus counseling center. My therapist on campus realized the best way for me to get through a meal was to be distracted, so I wouldn’t think about all the “bad” things in my food. My boyfriend at the time would always eat dinner in front of the TV and he was really into Parks and Rec. So we’d make dinner, sit down, and watch TV.

Seeing someone like Leslie reignited something in me. She was someone with goals, and filled with optimism, even when she failed. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t see myself as this horrible, ugly person who needed to fade away. I saw myself as someone with goals and the ambition and ability to reach them. —Anonymous

26. Expecting and accepting setbacks.

Recovery is not easy and it’s not quick. It can be a two steps forward, one step back sort of process, especially at the beginning. Setbacks will happen — you’ll purge or restrict or binge — but that doesn’t mean that recovery is hopeless. I slipped hundreds of times, but I kept going to therapy. I told my therapist about my slipups. We worked on them. I went home, slipped up again. You need to be patient with yourself. If you want to get better, you will get better. —Anonymous

27. Keeping your hands busy with some yarn and a crochet hook.

I have been recovered from anorexia for about a year and a half, and the three things that kept me calm and sane were journaling, reaching out to friends, and crocheting. I still crochet whenever my anxiety comes up and it’s a lifesaver. —Madigan Haggerty

One of the coping mechanisms that I use a lot to help distract me is crocheting. I actually learned to crochet while in treatment, and it still really helps me out. It’s satisfying to create something useful: blankets, scarves, hats, etc., and it takes my mind off of things! —Hillary Falk

28. Losing track of the numbers.

One of the things that really triggered my downfall was calorie counting. It was my drug. I was aware of every calorie that went into my body and every calorie I burned. I was obsessed and paranoid. When I finally decided to quit, it turned out to be the best and biggest step of my recovery.

As of today, I feel in control of my life again. I don’t count calories, and I don’t use scales. I don’t even look when I go to my doctor. The numbers are irrelevant to me — what matters is how I’m feeling. —Anonymous

Will Varner / BuzzFeed

29. Finding your feel-good power songs.

The thing that has helped me with my recovery is Taylor Swift. When I was at a camp in Arizona for an eating disorder, her Fearless album was released and the whole house jammed to it. I realized that I actually was fearless, and that things could change. I spent the rest of my time there constantly thinking about how fearless I was — I had a huge fear of heights, and with the phrase “fearless” in my mind, I was able to climb a telephone pole and zip-line off of it. I am so proud that Taylor helped me through that and that I still am a fan to this day. —Anonymous

30. Flipping the language of your eating disorder.

One of the habits I had for the longest time was writing “fuerza” (“strength” in Spanish) on my wrist, as a reminder to be stronger than the urge to eat. This was terrible, but as I entered the recovery process, I started writing it on my wrist to remind myself not to make myself throw up. Then it was a reminder to be strong and healthy, instead of fighting my body’s natural urge to literally just keep me alive. The message of that word totally flipped, and I decided that in 2015 I would be healthy. When I didn’t binge or purge for about five months (the longest by far in a long time), I got my handwriting tattooed to my side, as my permanent reminder to be strong — and as my college graduation present to myself. I can’t NOT be strong if it’s tattooed to my ribs! —Anonymous

31. And talking back to it.

The other day I was shaming myself for the size of my clothes, and I immediately killed the thought by thinking, Fuck off. It may sound weird, but talking back to my eating disorder — whether that be in my head, out loud, or in writing — has been so beneficial and given me a sense of internal strength I didn’t know I had. Externalizing the eating disorder was a big first step to realizing I could make changes, even if those changes will take a long time (maybe even the rest of my life) to adjust to. —Sarah Lazzeroni

32. Seeing your story reflected in a book.

To recover from anorexia, I needed time. But what really expedited the process was a book called Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. It was a perfect representation of the mental state of a person with anorexia nervosa, which I never heard anyone ever correctly voice, and haven’t heard since. —”Notrace”

33. Focusing on family.

Becoming pregnant helped me. It was something I never thought would happen, and suddenly it wasn’t about me anymore. It was about my son — nourishing and growing him, and seeing him safely into the world. Once he was born he needed a mom who was present, healthy, and happy. My baby boy is the light of my life and the reason for my recovery. —Ruth

34. Bringing someone along with you in your recovery.

There have been so many incredible women in my life who have shown me how to be strong and take control of my life, but the best women for me in my recovery have been the women who have gone through similar things. I met my best friend Elizabeth in the hospital six years ago. We held each other’s hands as we both healed. We learned to laugh again, cry again, feel again. We supported each other, and continue to support each other. We have become “friend soulmates.” I don’t think I would have healed as easily without her by my side. Knowing you’re not alone is a powerful tool. —Anna Smith

35. Working with a nutritionist.

Having a nutritionist who specialized in ED literally saved my life. She helped me understand what my body needed versus what my brain wanted to eat. It’s an addiction, and it will never go away, but I take baby steps each day, and I have no shame in admitting it. —Kristine

Will Varner / BuzzFeed

36. Exploring a new passion.

The thing that helped me the most was acting. At first, it was just a chance to be someone else, because it was so incredibly painful being myself. Then I realized that when I was in the theater, or while doing acting-related things, the ED voice couldn’t reach me; the harmful thoughts I used to have constantly would simply disappear. I had something that kept me safe, something I loved so much that I wanted to stay alive so I could keep doing it. Although anorexia is still a part of my life and I’ll have to keep watching out for it, I’ve found something that is way more important to me. —Chloe

37. Devoting yourself to your work.

I am a teacher. This is how I find my recovery possible: thinking about the children, the work that I do, the love I have for the job and for them, and, ultimately, that I am a role model for them. I keep distracted through daily work tasks and keep reminding myself that I have 49 little minds to educate and support. If I were to relapse, I wouldn’t be here for them. —Shannon Binkley

38. Exploring different modes of expression.

For me, having an eating disorder meant consistently having multiple voices in my head — one telling me to eat because I don’t want to pass out, one saying I can’t afford the calories, another negotiating how much I can eat, and still another saying I can eat whatever I want as long as I purge. I started drawing out my thought processes in diagrams, sometimes accompanied with pictures. I could point out the gaps in my rationale, and also journal out the things that made me feel helpless. I didn’t realize until recovery how irrational these thoughts truly are. —Emily

39. Writing your story down — through fiction or nonfiction.

When my eating disorder was at its worst, I felt very alone. I didn’t know how to explain it to anyone, so I made up my own friends I could talk to about eating disorders. It was similar to journaling, but it felt like I was confiding in a friend. I would write numerous short stories about people with eating disorders, making their situations similar to or different than mine. Now I look back to read them, almost fully recovered, and my made-up characters still bring comfort and warmth to me. The journey was still difficult, but as I grew, so did my “friends” — which proves that art, creativity, and sensitivity are some of the most important things an individual can discover and utilize. —”SevenWholeGrains”

40. Making lists of the reasons your life is worth the fight.

Whenever I was having a hard day in recovery — which happened a lot, especially at the beginning — I would make a list of things that I was excited to live for, whether that included a movie night with my sisters at the end of the week or my wedding dress that I would wear in 10 years. My list expanded every hard day, until I had pages and pages of things worth living for. When I got sad or thought of restricting, I would read through my list and remember that it wasn’t worth the rest of my life to look a certain way. I am still on the road to recovery, but every day I get closer to being happy with who I am, and that is definitely worth living for. —Mackenzie

41. Curating your social feeds and dashboards.

I adapted my habits to combat the 21st-century onslaught of impossible standards. Like most people with access to social media, I’m pretty active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. And like most people, my feeds were inevitably consumed by images of other women’s perfect bodies. So I starting seeking out women of different body sizes to follow, for a more positive view of women’s physique. As a result, not only am I getting regular reinforcement that all types of bodies should be celebrated, but I’m exposed to women who celebrate all of the many other attributes that make someone beautiful. —Lindsay B.

42. Dropping the people who bring you down.

Getting rid of toxic people is HUGE for recovery. My ex-boyfriend was a huge trigger for my eating disorder, although I denied it before recovery. If you rely on someone else to supply your happiness and comfort, something’s wrong. Thoroughly reevaluate who’s in your life and why. Get rid of them if you don’t smile when you think of them. —Emily

43. Finding peace in nature.

Whenever I am having a hard time, I reach out to my loved ones or counselors to talk, or I meditate. I go for a hike, take some time to reflect on my thoughts myself. I find nature a great place to reflect and also sometimes use mediation apps to center in. —Casidhe Gardiner

Will Varner / BuzzFeed

44. Letting go of secrets.

For me, what helped to bring me to the point I am now was to not be secretive. It helps to not be ashamed of what you used to do. By being open about my experiences, it’s hard for me to fall back into old habits. No one person’s experience with eating disorders is the same, but knowing that there are others out there with similar stories is really helpful. —Sarah

45. Appreciating your body for what it can do.

The hardest part of recovery was trying to find appropriate outlets for my anxious energy. One afternoon, I put on my athletic shoes and went for a run. And I know exactly what you’re thinking, but don’t worry. The act of running actually reinforced the amazing power that my body held. I would go for a couple miles and just look down at my legs and think, Whoa, these things are amazing. I started to appreciate my body more and wanted to take care of it. My runs started getting longer and longer; my confidence grew, and the self-critical voice in my head diminished. Running helped me understand how much I am capable of when I actually love myself enough to take care of it and listen to what it needs. —Kate Johnson

46. Getting off the treadmill and going outside.

Running. Instead of going to the gym, where machines show you calories burned and you can find some really F’d up posters that only serve to fat-shame people, I took to the streets. I felt strong. —Becka Wall

47. Finding strength in faith.

As a guy with an eating disorder, it was very hard on me. I always had a very unhealthy relationship with food. When I was younger, I always overate; during my late teen years, I didn’t eat at all. To help me get back into a routine of eating again, I started to rely on who I was in my relationship with the Lord. I remembered that I am wonderfully made, and I wasn’t honoring my body as a temple. It’s been about three years of eating well. To this day, I still have negative thoughts, or times when I feel I over- or undereat, but it’s a process in learning to love myself for who I am, and love my body for how God created it. —Joey Gonzalez

48. Making your goals impossible to ignore.

I feel that the act of reflecting on my values and goals help in moments of frustration. I’ve made posters and placemats, and decorated crockery and my scales to put those goals in front of me. It started as an attempt to keep my focus on the bigger picture in a helpful way, but the act of creating them is also a helpful activity. —Natalie McCulloch

49. Being a leader.

A lot changed when signed up to lead an Outward Bound-type program for freshmen at my college for a week. During the trip, we had to hike with huge packs, for many, many miles a day, and I realized that I needed to stay healthy if I wanted to have enough energy to carry out the physical challenges of the trip, and to take care of other people. In the process of leading this trip, I realized how awesomely powerful and functional the human body is. It ultimately helped me to treat my body with more respect and focus more on what my body could do rather than what it could not. —Christina

50. Channeling your stress into meaningful art.

I use paper crafting to help my mind relax and heal. I really like to use my hands, and small detail crafts can engage me completely and distract me from any ongoing stresses. It allows me to pause and take the time to put everything coming at me into perspective.

I love the idea of a pop-up card, because each is unique and made specifically for the recipient, based on things they love or on inside jokes we have. Crafting calms my mind down so that I can logically approach situations outside of the project I’m working on. Many have told me that I should sell my cards on Etsy, but that idea is unappealing to me. It would turn my hobby into another source of work and stress, which is a no-no. The detail and focus required to cut, paint, measure, glue, emboss, and whatever else I decide to throw on a card is a fantastic relief from any stresses in my life. —Annie Rao

51. Decorating and celebrating your body.

I’ve been bulimic since I was 11 years old. I went through friends and boyfriends who were encouraging, but it wasn’t until getting better mattered enough to ME that I started working on a way out. I can’t say the specific trigger, but the deciding factor was piercing my belly button. I had wanted it for years, but I always told myself I wasn’t thin enough for a belly button ring. One day, I said to myself, If I’m not good enough now, when am I ever going to be? Something about treating my body like it was beautiful — decorating it, making it look the way I wanted it — triggered a change in me. —Anonymous

Will Varner / BuzzFeed

52. Incorporating apps into your daily life.

One really important thing that helped me bound through the hardest parts of my ED recovery (aside from my amazing nutritionist and therapist) was the app Recovery Record. Being able to keep track of what I eat without tracking my calories helped me try to keep a balanced diet without restriction. —Becka Wall

53. Thinking about future generations.

When I read a few memoirs and novels about others who suffered like I did, I realized A LOT of these books started off with “I remember when I first heard my mom say she wanted to be thinner” or “I remembered seeing my mother poke her stomach in disgust.” It made me realize that if I didn’t get better, I could potentially raise a child who views themselves like I viewed myself — not good enough, or pretty enough, or smart enough, no matter what anyone else said. I want to teach my child how to be proud and confident, but how can I do that if I can’t practice what I preach? It didn’t cure me, but it got me in the door to finally ask my doctor for help, which did. —Ellen Thomson

54. Collecting uplifting lyrics and quotes.

Music has been such a savior in my life — one song in particular, especially if I was crying and trying to fight with myself about whether I was going to purge or not. That song was “Unpretty” by TLC. The lyric “But if you can look inside you / find out who am I to be in the position / to make me feel so damn unpretty” really stuck with me. It helped me realize that while there were a lot of pressures on me, ultimately I had to remind myself how “good enough” I was. I wrote out and added illustrations for the lyrics and put it on the wall of my bathroom. Some days it made all the difference. —Hanna

55. Bookmarking pro-recovery websites.

Read ED recovery sites like Let’s Recover or Bye, Dear Ana. Recovery takes a long time. Be patient — every day will make you stronger as long as you’re willing. It’s probably the best choice you’ll ever make. —Anonymous

56. Finding a way to laugh.

I used to color and journal whenever I felt anxious about food. I also watched funny YouTube videos to make me laugh. (I watched and still watch tons of BuzzFeed Violet, Blue, Yellow, and Red!) —Josie

It may sound odd, but watching comedy is a big part of my recovery. The amazing Russell Howard keeps me motivated — bit of laughter helps a hell of a lot! —Natalie McCulloch

57. Allowing yourself the time to recover.

What helped me through recovery is just time. Each day is different, and some are harder than others, but gradually that overwhelming darkness becomes only a shadow in the light. —Grace

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