Eating Disorder Recovery Is Not Linear

Introduction: Eating Disorder Recovery

Eating disorders affect millions of people around the world, and recovery is a long and difficult journey. Recovery from an eating disorder isn’t linear, as there are often highs and lows in the process. In order to understand how recovery works, it’s important to understand the nonlinear nature of it. This explores how recovery from an eating disorder is not straightforward or predictable, but rather a complex path full of setbacks and triumphs.

The complexities of recovery can make it difficult for those affected by an eating disorder to stay motivated or even recognize progress they have made. It’s also important to note that every person will have their own individualized experience when recovering from an eating disorder. No two people’s journeys look exactly alike; everyone recovers differently based on their unique needs and circumstances.

What is Non Linear Recovery?

Non linear recovery is an important concept to understand when it comes to recovering from an eating disorder. It refers to the idea that progress isn’t always linear and can take many forms, including jumping forward as well as backward in terms of progress. Non linear recovery recognizes that recovery does not always follow a straight line, but rather ebbs and flows with different obstacles and successes along the way.

Recovery from an eating disorder is often a long process. It can be filled with feelings of fear, worry, or uncertainty at times – all of which are normal parts of the journey toward health and healing. Non Linear Recovery acknowledges these emotions and experiences as part of the healing process, instead of seeing them as setbacks or failures in progress towards wellness.

Challenges in Non Linear Recovery

Recovering from an eating disorder is a difficult process for many, and often times it can be a non-linear journey of ups and downs. Eating disorders affect not only physical health, but also mental health and wellbeing, making the recovery process complex. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to navigate such a tricky path since there is no single formula that fits all.

The core of the challenge lies in the fact that each person’s story and experience with an eating disorder is unique, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery. Even after treatment has been received or support groups have been attended, managing recovery day-to-day can be difficult when old habits or triggers creep back in to play.

Coping Strategies for Setbacks

Recovery from an eating disorder is a long and difficult journey, full of obstacles and setbacks. It can be disheartening when progress stalls or even reverses, but there are several coping strategies that can help. It’s essential to stay positive and remember that these setbacks are common experiences in the recovery process.

The first step is to recognize what has led to the setback. Is it related to increased stress? A recent change in diet? Emotional triggers such as sadness or anxiety? Once these things have been identified, it will be easier to develop specific coping mechanisms for each individual circumstance.

It’s important to have a support system during this time, whether it’s family members, friends or professional counselors. Talking through difficulties can help identify solutions and create healthier perspectives on what might feel like an impossible situation at the moment.

Finding Support During Hiccups

Going through recovery from an eating disorder can be a roller coaster of emotions. As you progress on your road to full recovery, there are bound to be hiccups along the way. During these times, it’s important to have support and understanding from family and friends so that you don’t become discouraged. Finding this support during hiccups is key for successfully navigating the non linear path of eating disorder recovery.

It is normal for individuals recovering from an eating disorder to experience lapses in their recovery journey; it does not mean that they are backsliding or that their progress has been wasted. Rather than focusing on this setback as a failure, it is important to focus on the actions taken afterwards in order to get back up and continue moving forward with your treatment goals.

Celebrating Progress

Recovery from an eating disorder is a difficult journey, but it is possible with the right support and direction. Celebrating progress along the way is an essential part of this recovery process. As challenging as it may be to make consistent changes that pay off in the long run, small successes should be commemorated for their worth and meaning.

Living with an eating disorder can take its toll on mental health, which makes celebrating progress even more important. Progress can come in many forms, such as developing healthier coping mechanisms or making lifestyle changes to promote better nutrition habits. It’s through these successes that individuals can gain strength and motivation to keep working towards their goals of full recovery.

By celebrating progress during recovery from an eating disorder, individuals are able to recognize their hard work and understand how far they have come in achieving lasting change.

Conclusion: Taking it One Day at a Time

Recovery from an eating disorder is not a straight line; it is often full of ups and downs. The conclusion of this article explains why it is important to take recovery one day at a time. Although there may be periods of regression, being able to recognize the progress made can help individuals stay motivated in their journey towards health and wellbeing.

The first step towards recovery should be understanding that healing from an eating disorder requires patience and commitment. It is essential for individuals to remember that success cannot be measured within a certain amount of time—some days will feel like two steps forward and one back. Progress must also come with self-care practices such as getting enough sleep, engaging in physical activity, surrounding oneself with supportive relationships, and seeking professional help when necessary.

Butterfly And Eating Disorder SymbolPersonal Note:  This was something I had to learn from the very early in recovery.  I think I expected that we would come out of the hospital and she was “cured”.  Far from it, but at least we were on the pathway finally.  There were good days and bad days along the way, but we learned to take them in stride.  I remember one day finding spilt milk behind her bed and thinking that her recovery journey was over.  As I was told, this was just a blip in the recovery radar and we eventually had fewer and fewer of those blips until I finally felt that she was living in wellness. 




  • Preface
  • Before A Diagnosis
    • Can you Prevent an Eating Disorder? 
    • How Do I know If My Loved One Has An Eating Disorder?
    • Food Behaviours To Watch For
    • Everything you Should Know About an Eating Disorder But No One Talks About
    • Do I Have an Eating Disorder?
    • What Are The First Steps To Take After an ED Diagnosis?
    • What should you do if you think someone has an eating disorder?
  • Eating Diagnosis, Now What? 
    • What Caregivers Need to Know
    • Securing A Good Team Is Critical
    • Some Questions You Need To Ask After an Eating Disorder Diagnosis
  • Things Caregivers Need To Know
    • You Did Not Cause This – No Blame, No Shame
    • Can you randomly get an eating disorder?
    • What factors can contribute to eating disorders?
    • Dos And Don’ts Of Eating Disorder Care
    • Externalization of an Eating Disorder
    • Setting Boundaries
    • How to Handle the Holidays
  • Language Matters
    • Common Eating Disorder Abbreviations
    • Words Really Do Matter
    • Communication Is Key
    • Giving Loved Ones Permission to Share Their Concerns and Triggers
    • Not Sick Enough
    • Validating Statements
    • Learning to Live with Distress
  • Secrecy and Deception
    • Why Is There So Much Secrecy in an Eating Disorder?
  • Eating Disorders and Family
    • Siblings (The Forgotten Ones)
    • Hope Through an Eating Disorder
    • Relationships
    • Find An Outlet and Self Care
  • Eating Disorder Types
    • What is Anosognosia
    • What is Anorexia Nervosa?
    • What is ARFID? 
    • What is Binge Eating Disorder?
    • What is Bulimia Nervosa?
    • What is Disordered Eating?
    • What is an Orthorexia?
    • What is OSFED?
    • What is Pica?
  • All About Food
    • Meal Support in Eating Disorders
    • Menu Planning
    • Fats, Carbs, Iron, Calcium
    • Vegetarian And Restrictive Type Diets
  • Food Police/Rules
    • Food Rules
    • Fear Foods
  • Exercise
    • Exercise and Eating Disorders
  • Tests And Monitoring
    • Eating Disorder Indications and Blood Work
    • Other Tests Done for Eating Disorders Assessment
    • What Are The General Guidelines for Treatment?
    • Setting Goal Weights
  • Health Risks And Complications of An Eating Disorder.
    • What Is Starvation Syndrome
    • Dental Damage
    • Metabolism
    • Hormonal Changes
    • Cardiac Issues and Eating Disorders
    • Hair Loss / Lanugo
    • Bone Density
    • Gastrointestinal Issues
    • Why Isn’t My Loved One Thinking Clearly? The Brain!
    • Laxative Use
  • Body Checking / Social Media
    • Diet culture
    • Social Media
    • Body Dysmorphia Disorder (BDD)
    • Mirror Mirror On The Wall. Body Checking
    • Body Avoidance
    • Perfectionism And Its Correlation To An Eating Disorder
  • Eating Disorders And Mental Health
    • What mental illness has the highest mortality?
    • Anxiety And Eating Disorders
    • Self Esteem
    • Eating Disorders And Self Harm, Suicidal Ideation
    • Eating Disorders And Substance Abuse
  • Eating Disorder Myths
    • Eating Disorder Myths
    • Core Beliefs
    • Can I have anorexia if I’m not underweight?
    • Men And Eating Disorders
  • Eating Disorder Statistics
    • Canadian Eating Disorder Statistics
    • How has Covid-19 affected the prevalence of eating disorders? 
    • What country has the highest incidence of eating disorders? 
    • What group has the highest rate of eating disorders in Canada?
    • How many people are on a “diet” or want to lose weight in Canada?
  • Common Therapy Methods
    • DBT – Dialectal behaviour therapy
    • CBT – Cognitive behavioural therapy
    • FBT – Family-Based Treatment
    • EFFT – Emotionally Focused Family Therapy
    • IFS – Internal Family Systems
    • EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
    • Exposure Therapy
    • ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy)
    • Eating Disorder Treatment Types – Links
  • Available Treatment Types in Canada
    • Treatment Types in Canada
  • Transitions
    • Transition to Post-Secondary and Adulthood
  • Road To Recovery
    • Cycles of Readiness
    • Extreme Hunger
    • Refeeding Syndrome And What to Look For
    • Does an Eating Disorder Just Go Away?
    • Intuitive Eating in Recovery
  • Thoughts Of A Person Recovering From An Eating Disorder
    • Two Stories of an Eating Disorder Journey
  • Resources
    • Mental Health Resources in Calgary
    • Crisis Lines in Alberta and Canada
    • What Calgary Eating Disorder Resources  Are Available?
    • Registered Dieticians Specializing in Eating Disorders in Calgary
    • Registered Psychologists Specializing in Eating Disorders in Calgary
  • Eating Disorder Organizations
    • Eating Disorder Treatment Programs in Alberta
    • Online Eating Disorders Resources Worldwide
  • Disability Tax Credit
    • Disability Tax Credit
  • High Calorie Recipes
    • Links to High Calorie Recipes
  • Book References
    • Books on Eating Disorders
  • Tools/Manuals
    • Other Toolkits, Manuals and Resources
  • New Section