Navigating Recovery: A Guide to Overcoming Eating Disorder

Eating disorders are complex and multifaceted illnesses that affect millions of people worldwide, including many Australians. Overcoming an eating disorder is a challenging journey that requires courage, support, and a comprehensive plan.  

In this insightful episode of me&my health up, Marie Savvas shares her courageous journey of overcoming bulimia through a combination of a 12-step program, meditation, hypnosis, and her innovative Mind Map Method. Hosted by Anthony Hartcher, who brings personal experience and clinical insights to the discussion, they delve into practical strategies for managing and recovering from eating disorders. Together, they illuminate a path to recovery, offering hope and practical guidance for anyone facing similar struggles. This blog aims to provide valuable insights and practical tips to help you navigate the path to recovery. 

Watch the full video here:

Understanding Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that can have severe physical and emotional consequences. They involve an unhealthy preoccupation with food, body shape, and weight. Understanding eating disorders is crucial in order to support those who are struggling and provide effective treatment options.

There are several types of eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Each disorder has its own unique characteristics and symptoms, but they all share a common thread of distorted body image and an unhealthy relationship with food.

It is important to recognize that eating disorders are not just about food, but are complex conditions that are influenced by a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. They often coexist with other mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

By understanding the underlying causes and psychological factors that contribute to eating disorders, we can better support individuals in their recovery journey and help them develop a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.

Common Myths and Misconceptions 

  • Myth: Eating disorders are a choice. Fact: Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses influenced by genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. 
  • Myth: Only young women develop eating disorders. Fact: Eating disorders can affect individuals of any age, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background. 
  • Myth: You can tell if someone has an eating disorder by looking at them. Fact: Eating disorders are not always visible, and individuals can be of any weight or size. 


Early Symptoms and Warning Signs

Recognising the signs and symptoms of eating disorders is crucial in order to intervene early and provide timely support and treatment. While the specific signs and symptoms may vary depending on the type of eating disorder, there are some common red flags to watch out for:

  • Drastic weight loss or weight gain
  • Obsession with calorie counting, dieting, and food restriction
  • Excessive exercise or compulsive movement
  • Preoccupation with body shape, size, and weight
  • Distorted body image
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom after meals
  • Hoarding or hiding food
  • Noticeable changes in eating patterns


Treatment Options and Pathways 

Treating eating disorders requires a multidisciplinary approach that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of the condition. The goal is to restore a healthy relationship with food, promote a positive body image, and address any underlying mental health issues.

Successful treatment of eating disorders integrates physical and psychological care. Strategies include:

  • Psychotherapy: Individual, group, and family therapy can help individuals explore the underlying causes of their eating disorder, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and improve self-esteem.
  • Nutritional counseling: Working with a registered dietitian-nutritionist can help individuals establish a balanced and nourishing meal plan, and learn to listen to their body’s hunger and fullness cues.
  • Medical monitoring: In severe cases, medical intervention may be necessary to stabilize the individual’s physical health and address any complications.
  • Medication: Antidepressants or other psychiatric medications may be prescribed to manage coexisting mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety.

It is important to remember that treatment needs to be tailored to the individual’s specific needs and circumstances. Recovery from an eating disorder is a journey that requires ongoing support and commitment.


Building a Support System

Building a strong support system is essential for individuals recovering from eating disorders. Having a network of understanding and compassionate people can provide emotional support, encouragement, and accountability throughout the recovery process.

Here are some tips for building a support system:

  • Reach out to trusted friends and family members who can offer support and understanding.
  • Consider joining a support group or attending therapy sessions with others who are going through similar experiences.
  • Educate your support system about eating disorders and how they can best support you.
  • Communicate your needs and boundaries to your support system, and let them know how they can help you.
  • Make use of online communities and resources that provide a safe space for sharing and connecting with others in recovery.

Remember, recovery is not a solitary journey. Having a strong support system can make a significant difference in the healing process.


Self-Care Practices 

Self-care plays a crucial role in the recovery from eating disorders. It involves prioritizing your physical, emotional, and mental well-being and engaging in activities that promote self-nurturing and self-compassion.

Practical tips to stress management

Here are some self-care practices that can support your recovery:

  1. Practice mindful eating: Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, and savor each bite without judgment or guilt.
  2. Engage in regular physical activity that you enjoy, focusing on how it makes you feel rather than the number of calories burned.
  3. Cultivate self-compassion and challenge negative self-talk. Treat yourself with kindness, patience, and understanding.
  4. Engage in activities that bring you joy and help you relax, such as reading, writing, painting, or listening to music.
  5. Prioritise rest and relaxation, ensuring you get enough sleep and take breaks when needed.
  6. Surround yourself with positive influences, such as uplifting books, podcasts, and social media accounts that promote body positivity and self-acceptance.

Remember, self-care is not selfish. Taking care of yourself is an essential part of the recovery process and can contribute to your overall well-being.


Journey to Recovery 

Marie Savvas exemplifies resilience and innovation in overcoming bulimia, blending traditional methods with meditation, hypnosis, and her Mind Map Method. This approach underscores the importance of personalized, holistic treatment plans tailored to individual needs and circumstances 

  • 12-Step Program: Originally developed for addiction recovery, the 12-step program provides a structured approach that fosters community support and personal accountability. For Marie, this program was crucial in building a supportive network and establishing a framework for her recovery journey. 
  • Meditation: Incorporating mindfulness and meditation helped Marie reconnect with her body and mind. This practice reduced stress and anxiety, which are often underlying factors in eating disorders. 
  • Hypnosis: Hypnosis allowed Marie to address subconscious patterns and behaviors. By tapping into the subconscious mind, she could identify and alter negative thoughts and habits contributing to her disorder. 
  • Mind Map Method: Marie’s innovative Mind Map Method involves creating a visual representation of thoughts, emotions, and triggers. This technique helped her understand the root causes of her bulimia and develop coping mechanisms. 


Overcoming an eating disorder is a challenging but attainable goal. By seeking professional help, building a supportive environment, developing healthy coping mechanisms, and establishing a balanced relationship with food, you can navigate the path to recovery. Remember, recovery is a journey, and each step you take brings you closer to a healthier and happier life.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, don’t hesitate to seek help. There are numerous resources available in Australia, including the Butterfly Foundation, which offers support services and information for those affected by eating disorders.


Holistic Health Coaching with me&my wellness 

At me&my wellness, we provide holistic health coaching tailored to your unique health and wellness goals. For personalised support in managing stress and enhancing heart health, book a 15-minute FREE consultation with us at me&my wellness.   

If you have any concerns about your heart health or stress levels, please consult with a healthcare professional.