The Importance of Self-Acceptance During Eating Disorder Recovery

Many people who struggle with food may feel that it is seemingly impossible to get to a place where they are accepting of themselves and their bodies.

The journey to self-acceptance during eating disorder recovery is difficult yet incredibly rewarding. In fact, research has shown that self-acceptance is one of the key traits that promote eating disorder recovery.1

Today we will provide an overview of how self-acceptance plays a role in eating disorder recovery.

Eating Disorders and Self-Acceptance

In general, eating disorders are not primarily about food. Without a doubt, the harmful beliefs about food need to be addressed. But eating disorders usually don’t start solely out of a desire to be “healthier.”

At its core, eating disorders are often a coping strategy for something deeper. For some, extreme eating behaviors may be used to change a body that they are ashamed of.

For others, it may be an outlet for the pressure to be liked by everyone. It may be a tool to try to hold it all together when life feels overwhelming.

While eating disorders whisper the lie that you have to be everything for everybody in order to be loved, self-acceptance acknowledges that you are okay to exist as you are in the present moment.

We know; easier said than done. But you don’t have to figure it out alone. Our therapists can walk you through the balance of accepting yourself as you are while helping you shift to changes that will improve your overall well-being.

How To Practice Self-Acceptance

Below are four ways that you can begin practicing self-acceptance.

Acknowledge harmful patterns that are driven by your beliefs.

Identify areas of your life that are strained because of the way that you see food, your body, and yourself. For example, you may exercise excessively because of your belief that your body isn’t good enough.

Notice the belief that is driving your behaviors. Objectively acknowledging that you have unhelpful beliefs and behaviors can help lower feelings of shame, which is the first step to acceptance of self and productive change.

Differentiate between who you are and what you do.

Going to bed early while your house is still messy doesn’t make you a lazy person. It means that you are a valuable person who chose to rest rather than clean. Likewise, while binge eating may be an unhelpful behavior, it does not change your worth as a person.

It’s okay to identify behaviors that you would like to change without letting them undermine your perceived value of yourself.

Embrace your strengths and values.

Lean into your strengths and hold true to your values. This may mean speaking up about things that matter to you and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to develop your gifts. This can help strengthen your sense of identity outside of your eating disorder.

Practice self-care.

Doing tasks that care for yourself can help foster a sense of appreciation and acceptance of your body. This may include going to bed early, wearing clothes that feel comfortable, or taking a gentle walk on a stressful day.

Finding Recovery From Eating Disorders

At Magnolia Creek, we help people embrace their humanness and empower them to feel confident in who they are at the present moment. And we believe that this kind of confidence is possible for you, too. To get started on your journey to healing, give us a call at 205-678-4373 or fill out our contact form.



    1. Identifying fundamental criteria for eating disorder recovery: a systematic review and qualitative meta-analysis | Journal of Eating Disorders | Full Text (


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