Quasi-recovery in eating disorder recovery

Are you currently in your eating disorder recovery journey and are feeling like you have been stuck in the same place?

You might feel physically better, but not mentally.

It might be that you’re in quasi-recovery.

What is quasi-recovery?

In this blog, we will cover exactly what this is, the signs of it, and how to break free.

Ouasi-recovery in eating disorder recovery is when you have physically recovered, but you have not fully recovered mentally. It is very common for people in recovery to get stuck at this point.

Especially those recovering from anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. It’s one of the hardest points in recovery. It is not spoken about enough.

In my clinical experience, it’s a halfway point where people often feel safer in going back towards eating disorder behaviours. It’s important to be honest with yourself.

It does not mean you have not made progress. It doesn’t mean that you’re failing at recovery from your eating disorder.

Quasi-recovery is a normal and needed stage of recovery.

Signs of quasi-recovery

There are many signs that you are in quasi-recovery.

Signs of quasi-recovery include:

  • Avoiding food by telling yourself you “don’t like” it. Commonly foods that were once fear foods or that you restricted in the past.
  • Mostly choose the diet version or a low-fat/carbohydrate version of certain foods. Commonly foods like yoghurt, ice cream, grains, or cereal products.
  • Trying to make up for calories by exercising.
  • Feeling fearful of gaining weight, especially if you would weight restored or gained weight in your recovery.
  • You think about food and your body a lot. Not as much as you did in the past, but still more than you know is “normal.”

What’s the difference between quasi-recovery + full recovery?

The main difference between quasi-recovery and full recovery is that quasi-recovery is halfway to being fully recovered. Your body may have physically recovered but you are still engaging in unhealthy behaviors.

Quasi-recovery is when you’re not feeling your ultimate worse. Clients often say they could live like this, but it’s not a full life.

You’re still mentally stuck in your eating disorder thoughts and behaviours. It means there’s still more to overcome, for you to be in full recovery.

Full recovery from an eating disorder is different for everyone. A part of moving on from quasi-recovery is discovering what you want your life to be outside of your eating disorder.

Can you stay in quasi-recovery?

You have full permission to do what you want. You might feel like it’s all you’re capable of. Maybe you feel like full recovery just isn’t possible for you.

As an eating disorder and disordered eating specialist, I know full recovery exists. Remember, quasi-recovery is simply a stage in recovery.

If you want a full, big, dreamy life – you will have to move past quasi-recovery at some point.

When does that happen? That’s up to you.

How to get unstuck

You can feel stuck and trapped in this stage of your recovery.

The good news is there are steps you can take to move forward.

I recommend these three starter tips:

1. Recommit to your recovery and be honest with yourself. Commit to fully recover. There will be many challenges and obstacles. But this is your journey to recover your life and freedom.

2. Define what true freedom looks like for you. Ask yourself what you want to achieve when you reach your full recovery. I have a podcast episode talking through the first five steps in eating disorder recovery.

3. Acknowledge it’s not “all or nothing”. When it comes to an eating disorder, we usually hear people say it’s all or nothing.

But quasi-recovery is that grey part which makes it hard to acknowledge and move past. To move through, you need to fully commit to recovery again.

This can be a long journey so be patient with yourself and celebrate all your achievements along the way.

I hope this blog post has helped you understand that quasi-recovery is a normal part of eating disorder recovery. This stage of recovery can be lonely and isolating.

Do reach out if you would like private 1-1 support.

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