How to tell if you are SICK ENOUGH to recover from an eating disorder!


Have you ever questioned whether you’re sick enough? Whether you truly have an eating disorder, or are just a fraud? If you are dealing with eating disorder imposter syndrome, you are in the right place because today’s post is all about how to tell if you are truly SICK ENOUGH.

You think about food all the time. You obsess over when, what, and how much you are going to eat. You feel you need to exercise to deserve food and fear what would happen if you “gave in” and just let yourself eat whatever and whenever you wanted. Yet still, you don’t think you’re “sick enough”.

Why is this? Or perhaps a better first question to ask is, how do we define sick enough?.

Defining Sick Enough

There’s obviously no dictionary definition of the term “sick enough”, making it highly subjective. This subjectivity is the very reason why so many people with eating disorders don’t perceive the true severity of their illness, because the very nature of the eating disorder is to manipulate your subjective views. Your eating disorder completely distorts your frame of reference, taking your true core beliefs and twisting them to match its own.

When we zoom out and look at the eating disorder behaviors, we see that your eating disorder tells you to restrict when you are actually being tantalized by mental hunger. Your eating disorder forces you to work out when you are actually exhausted and just want to rest. Your eating disorder is hyperaware of what everyone else is eating so you can compare, while all your true self really wants is to eat what YOU want to eat!

Seeing the Eating Disorder as a Parasite

Your eating disorder pulls you into a life that revolves around food and exercise, because that’s all it needs to survive. But just like a virus or a parasite that can only survive when it has a host, an eating disorder can only survive within you, its host. As you can imagine, an eating disorder will do anything and everything it can to make you believe you need it. Admitting that you’re sick enough would mean choosing recovery, and that’s exactly what the eating disorder DOESN’T want!

So your eating disorder comes up with excuses to tell you that whatever problems you have with food, whatever problems you have with exercise, that they’re not “bad enough” to count as real problems. When the TRUE you thinks that maybe –  just maybe –  this IS serious and you ARE deserving of help, the eating disorder jumps in to tell you you’re a fraud. When the true you admits you are constantly thinking about food and thus need to eat more, the eating disorder discounts you by saying that the mental hunger is probably just a bad habit.

Something I hear all too often when I ask people why they don’t think they’re sick enough has to do with not being clinically underweight or not being as thin as someone else with an eating disorder. But this again, is simply an excuse of the eating disorder, because eating disorders have nothing to do with weight! They’re a mental prison..

The tell-tale sign of being sick enough

The very fact that you believe you’re not sick enough simply justifies how sick you really are, because that’s how submerged you are in the depths of the eating disorder’s ocean of disordered beliefs. As long as you try and swim in that infested water and engage in the behaviors you know are keeping you stuck, you won’t believe you’re sick enough.

So stop swimming in the eating disorder’s ocean. And before you think, well, I still think it’s not that bad, let me tell you this, if ANY aspect of your life is compromised by disordered eating behaviors, you ARE sick enough. You are sick enough and you need help. There is no MOLD you have to fit in order to have an eating disorder, and there is most definitely no “definitive point” you need to be at to reach the state of “sick enough”. To your eating disorder, sick enough means dead. And the world needs you! 

What do YOU need?

What I needed when I was sick, was someone who understood me, listened, and held my hand while I embarked on my journey to freedom. That's why I created my 1:1 Coaching Program and my Extreme Hunger Course, so that you can learn from someone who’s been there, done that, and come out stronger because of it. I hope to see you on the other side!

Want to learn how to navigate ED recovery as an autistic person?

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