How Eating Disorder Treatment Centers Are Holding You Back

About two years ago, I was in a place where I felt helpless. I felt as though I had no chance of coming out of the deep and dark eating disorder I was enveloped in. After over a decade of fighting such a strong force, I felt trapped and alone. After many failed attempts at trying to be healthy, I was sure there was no way out. I was convinced that my only hope was to admit myself into an eating disorder recovery center such as Center for Change or the Renfrew Center. Of course, treatment at these specialized centers does not come cheap, running at nearly $1000 each day for inpatient care. Three months of care, and you’re looking at a $100,000 debt. On top of that, many insurance companies do not cover this sort of treatment. They may cover critical care where your weight and vitals are made stable and you are able to be released again to go home after maybe a couple short weeks, which is generally not enough time to reach full recovery.

Unless, of course, you understand that you have the power within yourself to achieve recovery on your own.

I believe that along the way through our struggles, many of us (myself included at one point in my life) come up with excuses for why we are not able to take charge and strive toward a healthier life. I want you to realize how much you are able to do on.your.own!

That’s right. You can do it.

I’m not saying you may not need a therapist to help you with some deep issues. I’m not saying you wouldn’t benefit from some slight guidance from a nutritionist. And I’m not saying that you don’t have some possible medical issues that need some attention from a doctor.

What I’m saying is this:

You have the power to put one foot in front of the other. You get to decide if your foot is going to take a step forward or backward. {tweet this!}

You’re probably just about to close this tab and head on back to Pinterest and keep on with what you were doing before you got here, but please just hear me out.

I used to tell myself and everyone that wanted me to get better that I needed extensive inpatient therapy if I was ever going to have a chance at complete recovery. Looking back, I can now see that this was just an excuse. That was my way of holding on to my eating disorder. I knew that going to a treatment center was out of the question because of how expensive it is and because of how disruptive it would be to my life. So I just convinced myself that I was stuck in the confines of my sickness.

I was stuck until I found my power.

My power to make myself a plate at dinner time.

My power to exercise my body at the gym.

My power to choose some healthy foods and some indulgences.

My power to listen to my body and really pay attention to my hunger signals.

My power to admit that I do want to eat a certain food that I had denied in the past.

My power to eat when and what I want.

My power to be in complete charge.

My power to write my own story!

My power to decide which path I would take!

My power to not only survive, but to thrive!

Did you know that you have this power too? Do you know that you are strong and you can take a step toward recovery on your own? There is a beautiful life on the other side of your food issues. You can do this today. There is no need to wait until you can make it into a treatment center. You can choose if your next minute or your next hour is going to be one that leads you to a healthy life or one that takes you deeper into an eating disorder.

Maybe I can help you with your first step. Let’s start with your next meal. Ask someone you can trust to have lunch with you, so you aren’t feeling so alone and vulnerable. Before meeting up for lunch, consciously decide that you are going to listen very closely to your body’s signals. You have the power to feel these physical feelings. If it happens after three bites, that’s fine. It is happens after fifty bites, that’s also fine. As long as you use your power to feel your own body, you do not need anyone but yourself. Choose something that you genuinely want to eat. Not something you’ve programmed yourself to think you should eat. Really take your time to eat this meal. This way you are truly able to listen to your body. Remember that you are in control of the situation.

This first meal might be difficult. Maybe you’re used to eating alone. Maybe you’re used to eating only 3 carrots and 4 almonds for lunch. Maybe you’re used to eating out of control. Maybe you’re not even sure what foods you like. It’s important to really be aware here. Really in tune with yourself.

With this first meal, you will have taken this first step forward. And by choosing to accept that a normal meal just happened, you are taking yet another step forward. And by moving forward with your day, you are stepping again. Each step at the beginning is slow. You are re-learning healthy habits. Once you get to your next meal, you may feel the urge to tip-toe into the meal, because it’s still new and pretty scary. Once you make it through, you still start walking normally again, and after more and more meals, you may even begin to soar! Eating may become so normal to you that you don’t even have to think about it anymore. How would that be?! Isn’t that something you want for yourself?

Just remember that you have the power within yourself. Waiting for a way to get to a treatment center is just another excuse. This goes for so many other things you may use as excuses. Don’t wait on getting a personal trainer you may think you need. Don’t wait until you reach a certain weight. Don’t wait until the next time you’re feeling really low. You make that first step yourself, and if you need other resources to supplement your own work and choices (nutritionist, therapist, or doctor), then by all means, go for it. But just know that you have options. You have all the control in the world, and it is only up to you to use it!

What excuses have you made that are preventing you from taking your own step forward?


  1. says

    Gosh, I can really relate to this. I’m at age 56 and have battled with my eating disorder all of my life. I attended over eaters anonymous meetings for 25 years and learned so many things about myself, but I don’t want to attend meetings anymore. I am retired and have the time to do whatever I want now. It’s good to hear that I have the power to make myself well. I am so glad to have found you. Thank you for your honesty. You are a breath of fresh air. I ‘ve thought for years that I needed a treatment center but I know there are many things I can do for myself and I certainly have the time now!

    • Holly Waterfall says

      Patty, thank you for your kind words. I wrote this when my own mom was struggling with her own eating disorder at 57 years old and felt like everything was weighing on “i’ll get better once I can get to a treatment center” when in my mind she could start living NOW! I hope you are able to see that there is a lot you can do to start living now. Maybe eventually you’ll need to get to a center. Or maybe not. But why don’t you start with YOU and see how far that can take you. My best wishes to your health and happiness! xo

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