Let's Talk About Quasi-Eating Disorder Recovery

April 14, 2021 Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

Let's talk about quasi-eating disorder recovery. This is by no means a term I invented, but it is a state of being I am acutely familiar with. I have experienced it myself, and I have seen it manifest in other people who are on healing journeys as well.

To be clear: I harbor no judgment toward anyone in quasi-eating disorder recovery. I understand how comfortable (not to mention easy) it is to be stuck there. But I also know that it's not a true expression of freedom and wholeness. So I want to talk about quasi-eating disorder recovery—what this concept means, how to identify it, and steps to overcome it.    

What Does Quasi-Eating Disorder Recovery Mean?

In my own life, quasi-eating disorder recovery takes the form of a justification that "I am healed enough." It's the outward appearance of a healthy change, but it's often unsustainable in the long term. This is because quasi-eating disorder recovery is about behavior modification—it does not reach below the surface to transform the beliefs, anxieties, fears, and thought distortions that fuel eating disorder behaviors in the first place. If I am in a state of quasi-eating disorder recovery, I might look the part of a healed, functional person, but on the inside, I continue to ruminate on all the insecurities that keep my eating disorder active. Here are some examples of what I mean by this:     

  1. I eat more consistently than I used to, but I still restrict my intake when it comes to certain food groups or portion sizes.  
  2. I no longer fixate on the number of calories in a meal, but I am still hyper-aware of the ingredients or nutrition density in whatever I eat.
  3. I do not exercise to the brink of collapse anymore, but I still use movement as a tool to compensate for how much I have eaten.
  4. I do not force myself to lose weight, but I still am consumed with body image obsessions.
  5. I am willing to eat, but I still enforce rules around my eating habits (when, where, what, and how much I can eat) as an attempt to quell the continued anxieties. 

In comparison to how I used to act and think while in the depths of my eating disorder, these behaviors can seem like improvements. But the truth is, quasi-eating disorder recovery cannot mend the relationship I have with food or body image once and for all. "Healed enough" does not equal freedom. Since I am learning this in my own life right now, I want to pass on some questions which help me clear this hurdle of quasi-eating disorder recovery to access the sustainable, authentic healing that's available. I hope these will resonate with others who are stuck in quasi-eating disorder recovery too.   

Questions I Ask to Help Overcome Quasi-Eating Disorder Recovery

  1. Can I enjoy this food I am about to consume without checking its nutrition label first? 
  2. Can I be present during a meal with friends without feeling immobilized by anxiety?
  3. Can I exercise when my body wants to move without allowing it to turn compulsive? 
  4. Can I rest when my body wants to slow down without criticizing myself for laziness?
  5. Can I eat a wide variety of foods without attaching a moral value to each food group?
  6. Can I choose to practice gratitude for my body without obsessing about how it looks?
  7. Can I respond to obstacles in life without reaching for unhealthy behaviors to numb out?
  8. Can I detach my own identity from the label "anorexic" without losing a sense of who I am?

Asking myself these questions is an intentional, deliberate coping mechanism that enables me to move past quasi-eating disorder recovery.

But now I would love to hear from you. Has the experience of quasi-eating disorder recovery been an obstacle in your own healing process? If so, what helps you overcome it? Please share in the comment section below.

APA Reference
Schurrer, M. (2021, April 14). Let's Talk About Quasi-Eating Disorder Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 25 from

Author: Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

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