What does it mean to fully recover from bulimia?

Catherine Liberty's picture

Today I wanted to talk to you about something you’ve probably given a lot of thought to -

What does it mean to be fully recovered?

When you think about recovery how does it look?

How is it different to your life now?

What does being fully recovered really mean to you?

The truth is there is a lot of confusion out there in regards to what it means to really recover from bulimia. It doesn’t help that we have a lot of people (even professionals) telling us that recovery will require a life long commitment.

Everywhere I look I hear people talking about how recovery is “a battle for life” – well let me just clear this up right now:

  • Recovery IS hard
  • Recovery DOES take time - but
  • Recovery is NOT a life-long battle!

With enough dedication and perseverance I truly believe that every single person has the ability to fully recover – FOR LIFE. This means complete freedom from all of the behaviours, compulsions, thoughts and feelings that you associate with bulimia.

Since Bulimia Help was founded in 2008 we’ve helped literally thousands of people to achieve life long freedom and recovery from bulimia (myself included).

It’s always a great idea to check out our wonderful collection of Bulimia Recovery Success Stories for more recovery motivation.

When you are fully recovered from bulimia you “no longer crave, desire or want to binge”; you never feel the urge to purge and you are able to truly love and appreciate your body and yourself.

When you are fully recovered you are finally the one who is in control – you are not simply a slave to your bulimia.

So why is there so much confusion out there about the prospectsof a real life long recovery? Why do some people say they have recovered but still find living their lives bulimia-free such a struggle?

It’s very possible that they simply haven’t recovered fully yet.

A lot of people try to beat bulimia using willpower alone, but when you just rely on willpower you are not working to remove the urges and desires to binge and purge you are simply fighting against them.

Try using willpower to stop breathing - It is impossible; eventually your body will override it. You are compelled to binge because your body is in a distressed state of hunger and is deprived of the food and
nutrients that it needs for survival

If you’ve never learned how to remove those compulsions and urges then of course you could be under the impression that recovery would be a life-long battle.

This is because trying to recover using willpower alone is impossible!

During my own recovery I often struggled with the concept of what a true recovery would look like. I saw others around me experiencing the same things.

I would often see questions in the Bulimia Help Forums asking “How will I know when I am recovered” and sometimes worrying statements from members saying that they didn’t believe a time would come when they would feel 100% recovered.

Luckily I also started to read blogs from members who were recovering and starting to understand the true concept of life long recovery.

I began to realise that a true recovery did exist, although I still wasn’t sure if I would know when I had fully recovered.

Reflecting on personal experiences, after 12 months in recovery I was feeling so alive. I was living again for the first time. I was healthy, vibrant and generally full of life.

I hadn’t relapsed in a while and I felt that I never would again (I was right!). I loved structured eating but I still couldn’t eat intuitively. I had a lot of great strategies that I used with precision in order to successfully protect myself from any relapse danger but I didn’t feel I could live strategy-free.

I hardly ever thought about bingeing or purging. It was an amazing place to be in, a far cry from the desperation I was trapped in just a year before.

At this time I wondered if I had recovered, if this was my recovery for life. Yet even with all of those positives, this was still not really a true picture of recovery.

For me true recovery came just after 15 months.

I didn’t have to worry about trying to guess when I was fully recovered anymore because when it happened I knew it – you will too!

It was undeniable freedom, it’s the point when you realize that living bulimia-free is the most natural thing in the world.

It’s the real moment where you realize you don’t have to work hard to recover anymore because you have recovered.

This is the same true, life-long recovery that I know is out there waiting for every single one of you!

Today it could be a great idea to take some time to think about all of the things that bulimia
holds you back from.

  • What does bulimia stop you from doing?
  • How does bulimia stop you from being the person you will eventually become?

After you've done this make a list of the things you will be able to achieve once you have removed bulimia from your life forever.

How will you change as a person? What dreams that you had dismissed as impossibilities will you be able to achieve?


Talk Soon,

Catherine Liberty


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The information provided in this website is for information purposes only. The information on this website is NOT a substitute for proper diagnosis, treatment or the provision of advice by an appropriate health professional. Please refer to the full disclaimer and copyright. If you do think you might suffer from an eating disorder, it is important that you talk to your General Practitioner, as there are many physical complications that can arise from being at an unhealthily low weight or from losing weight very quickly, or from purging. We advise you to seek professional help with working on an eating disorder.


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