Seven Lies Your Eating Disorder Tells You that Halt Recovery

March 7, 2018 Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

The lies your eating disorder tells you are some of the most dangerous lies you'll ever know. Combating the lies with the truth is vital for eating disorder recovery. Learn the truth at HealthyPlace.

The lies your eating disorder tells you will prevent your recovery. The eating disorder masquerades as your closest friend and trusted confidant, but it is a fraud, and the lies your eating disorder tells you saturate your brain and hold you back from eating disorder recovery. The more entrenched those lies become, the more fearful you are of envisioning a future that doesn’t revolve around the eating disorder. You’re trapped in a vortex of wanting to escape its death-grip but wondering if you’ll have a sense of purpose or an identity without the eating disorder. The eating disorder is a persuasive storyteller—I believed it for decades, and am often still tempted to again. But those lies that your eating disorder tells you to hold you back from eating disorder recovery aren't worth pursuing once you know the truth.

Lies Your Eating Disorder Tells You -- Offset by the Truth

  1. “You need to be skinny in order to be happy." Here’s the truth: If you base feelings of contentment on how much you weigh, then you will never be satisfied. Reaching an arbitrary number on the scale or being able to wear a certain jeans size will not contribute to lasting happiness. It might cause momentary pride, but that deep-rooted sense of joy, worth and gratitude can’t be found in physical appearance. This happens when you decide to love yourself in mind, body and spirit.
  2. “Once you start eating, you will lose control.” Here’s the truth: The reason you’re obsessed with thoughts of food is because you are in starvation mode. When the body is malnourished, it fights to keep you alive by flooding the brain with hunger cues. That’s why sometimes the desperation to gulp down everything in sight feels so intense, but this fear of losing control is unfounded. When you start eating balanced portions again, your appetite will re-stabilize, preventing an impulse to binge.
  3. “There are two types of food: good and bad.” Here’s the truth: Some are healthier than others, but no food is inherently corrupt or off-limits. Demonizing specific food groups and categorizing them as "bad" perpetuates the notion that morality is attached to what you consume, not how your character develops. There is no ethical hierarchy on the food pyramid. Kale, quinoa and avocados aren’t good. French fries, pizza and refined sugars aren’t bad. They’re all just food.
  4. “Without an eating disorder, you are nothing.” Here’s the truth: An eating disorder is not your sole identifier and your struggles don’t have to define you (Your Eating Disorder as Your Identity: Who Are You Without It?). This illness is not something that renders you talented, unique and special. Being thin doesn't make you deserving of other people’s acceptance and love. The belief that you are the eating disorder could not be more of an eating disorder lie. You’re a human being with a vibrant personality aching to be unleashed.
  5. “Eating is a privilege you have to earn.” Here’s the truth: The body needs fuel in order to keep you functioning which makes eating nonnegotiable. Food isn’t something to reward yourself with for performing to a standard or meeting an expectation. Food is for nourishment and enjoyment which you don’t need to compensate for and feel ashamed of. The lie the eating disorder tells you is that responding to hunger is a sign of weakness, but it’s a natural physiological part of your wiring.
  6. “You’re not thin enough for an eating disorder.” Here’s the truth: Your weight does not determine how severe the illness has become, so assuming you don’t “look the part” can be deadly. In spite of the cultural stereotype, there is no eating disorder profile you must conform to before your condition is validated and taken seriously. It’s not uncommon to maintain a normal weight range while exhibiting the same behaviors and thought patterns of someone who is noticeably underweight.
  7. “Emotions are unsafe and must be avoided.” Here’s the truth: If you want to pursue healing and wholeness, you need to move toward scary emotions instead of resisting them. The eating disorder convinces you to numb anger, trauma, pain or insecurity with self-destructive, negative coping methods, but this plunges you further into darkness and despair. A sustainable path of recovery starts with giving yourself permission to just feel those emotions, no matter how uncomfortable they are.

APA Reference
Schurrer, M. (2018, March 7). Seven Lies Your Eating Disorder Tells You that Halt Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 17 from

Author: Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

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