Why you keep wanting to go back to that old diet or body.. – Quasi Recovery // Stages of Dietary Grief // Diet Recovery

Uncategorized Mar 09, 2020
 I want to address a certain behavior or mindset that seems to happen for a lot of people either early on or mid way through their recovery.

It’s as if the some part of you, (the disordered brainwashed side of you) keeps popping up trying to tempt you to go back to restricting or to go back to your old body size or body aesthetic or leanness..

and some of us often to do back and forth and back and forth between restriction like ketogenic or paleo or whole30 or vegan and then back to recovery once we feel out of control and binge again..

or feel so weak that it’s either our life, or recovery but then we find ourselves back to an exercise regime like high intensity, draining as hell exercise regimes and then hate our lives and say this time we’re committed to recovery and then the cycle may continue for a period of time some longer or shorter for others.

So I want to address this because I totally understand and I went back and forth for years.

Most of the early times of bingeing and purging after my fitness completions or photo shoots or then later bingeing after the orthorexia of trying to heal my body with clean eating fads like paleo, keto, veganism, detoxing etc.

but then went back to a water fast and raw veganism again and then keto again and all this bullshit.

And I didn’t understand what was happening – I didn’t understand recovery I didn’t even know it was a thing until very later on, which is what I refer to as my “real recovery,” which is when I became aware of what the hell was happening but still then I yo-yoed for months between keto again and veganism and clean eating and intermittent fasting and HIIT workouts !

So if you’re wondering what to do when you want to keep going back to old diets or your old [malnourished] body, after a certain point in your recovery, within the first few months or 6 months in a year in or more, then this article and video below, is for you..

This is the hard part where people get stuck in quasi recovery or they relapse fully.

This is normal and by understanding what’s happening maybe you can give yourself some self compassion to feel it, but not act on it.

And that is – the grieving process.

You’re literally in grief – dietary grief.

And grief takes a long time.

In most cultures or religions, they give individuals up to a year or more for full grieving, but not in our culture where everybody forgets or thinks you should be over it within a few months.

I’ve come to understand the stages of “grief” we face in recovery from disordered eating and body image. And why a lot of us stay stuck in quasi recovery for so many years sometimes.

Grief can be caused by: 

  • the loss of a belief system,
  • an identity,
  • a relationship
  • a capacity or role,
  • a hope about ourselves
  • or an overall attitude toward our life.

And it goes something like this:  


1. Shock. The initial paralysis of the news, so the news of how the diets and restrictions and mentality around food itself and how it’s been hurting you and pushing you further away from health, rather than getting you closer to happiness, health and freedom. And how your beliefs around food could be wrong.

2. Denial. You’re trying to avoid the inevitable. So avoiding giving up the food restrictions, the over exercising, the food rules, the need for willpower and self control. Denial that you’d have to give up strict 100{bc41f1766daa04dbdd5b5711e818927d3780af7c44cc3bed9ffa58212d0b10bc} clean eating. Denial that what you’ve been doing has not been the culprit to your health suffering and food problems.

3. Anger. you’re frustrated and have an out-pour of bottled up emotions. You’re angry at Diet culture, at certain gurus that made promises that deceived you, at yourself for what you’ve done to your body out of ignorance, to the world for how a lot of people never question the system, at your body for bingeing or not cooperating with your minds demands and desires and whatever else.

4. Bargaining. So you seek in vain for a way out. You try to say okay well I can still be at this super lean body fat percentage that’s caused all these hormonal problems and digestive problems AND still recover at the same weight and body fat {bc41f1766daa04dbdd5b5711e818927d3780af7c44cc3bed9ffa58212d0b10bc}. Or you say well I can still exercise as much I was when in my eating disorder AND recover my period back and overcome extreme hunger and bingeing. I can do both simultaneously. Things like this.

5. Depression. you’re Finally realizing of the inevitable. You’re depressed that you’re going to have to gain a bit of body fat and potentially overshoot in order to get your health back. You have to let go of this level of fitness for the time being in Recovery that you “worked so hard for” to achieve, and you feel it’s all going to go to waste (which this isn’t the case long term) you’re depressed that you’re going to have to break your “safe” and “comfortable” routine. You’re depressed that you’re going to have to eat certain foods that are necessary for your health and sanity that you’ve believed are the devil and “bad” for so long. Things like this.

6. Testing. You seek realistic solutions. You try different methods and approaches, learning from others who have recovered or from personal research, and seeing what’s going to be sustainable and realistic for you, your body and your priorities in life. You seek all paths to recovery and see what’s going to be the most beneficial for you and balanced, regardless or what your starved irrational reptilian brain is saying you “need”. This is finding and defining your own unique balance. (Which is always subject to change at different stages of our life)

7. Acceptance. Finally finding the way forward. We accept what is, and what is not; “it is what it is,” becomes our mantra. We accept  how it’s been and what’s going to change now in order to be where you want to be a few years down the line. You surrender, you accept and you let go. You look forward, take necessary action and you commit. You set out on your path to full recovery and continue living your life, knowing that each day you’re getting closer to where you need to be. Not trying to control and change everything along the way. Allowing things to happen as needed.

The fastest way to move from the bottom to the top of the grief scale is by:

  • Telling the truth to ourselves and others.
  • Not staying in denial and suppressing unwanted emotions.
  • And committing ourself to our healing journey and doing whatever it takes to allow ourselves to fully heal.

As we go through the stages of dietary grief and initially have an overwhelming feeling of despair we slowly may then begin to surrender, but there may be anger that arises.

Anger is associated with pride.

There is a lot of anger in the form of resentment.

So whether anger with diet culture anger, with people who bullied us when we were younger and contributed to our insecurities, anger towards ourselves of how could we have damaged or depleted or neglected our bodies, or anger that our bodies aren’t cooperating in the way we think they should – such as “why won’t my body stay skinny or lean and lose the weight quicker!”

This is self-invalidation which is a form of anger expressed against themselves.

There is also considerable amounts of fear.

When these arise, they can be addressed, such as letting go of the fear that one will just eat and eat until they’re obese and that they’ll never be able to fix their metabolism or that their body will never find a healthy set weight point..

When we can begin to let go, rather than escape or suppress (via restricting and suppressing our natural body’s set weight point), no longer does residual harm such as ending up in bitterness, unconscious [or conscious] guilt or lower self-esteem, persist.

Fragmented expression of emotions may continue to occur for a period of time, even years, but each time the fragmented expression of a specific emotion arises and reoccurs, we can slowly let a little by a little bit go.

Handling a crisis from the emotional rather than the intellectual level will shorten its duration and presence dramatically.

When someone begins to eat “unsafe or bad foods” or sees the body start to change, handling it from an intellectual level will produce thousands of thoughts and hypothetical scenarios.

The “omg omg omg” thoughts, that cause panic attacks and extreme anxiety.

Such as well “what if this and what if that and omg what if what if what if!!”

Rather than, just going with it and allowing “what, is” to organically fall into place.

The person suffers through many sleepless nights due to the racing thoughts about the situation as the mind reviews it over and over again. 

Such as constant nutrition facts and diet beliefs and fears racing though the mind or all the thoughts about fat and weight gain and weight loss and what others will think and so on.

We all know, or may not, that grief over something traumatic happens all different stages and is not a linear process, it comes in waves and it can jump back and forth and back and forth and can do so for YEARS..

>from anger > to sadness > to guilt > to not letting go > until you finally get to acceptance.

>And you may reach acceptance and then find yourself one day back at guilt, doubt or anger.

And you think you’ve failed because you thought you had finally over come it and now you feel you’ve taken a hundred steps back..

Or you thought it’d be easier from there on out after letting go and “accepting”.

You found yourself frustrated because it wasn’t easy after that.

Acceptance is only the start to your new journey of healing.

But you have to get to acceptance and letting go in order to begin the real deep healing process.

Without it you’ll be forever stuck.

And this is really hard and uncomfortable work which is why so many suppress, hide and distract themselves from facing it for as long as they can.

It takes patience and commitment along with dedication, persistence and resilience.

So why even go through it?

…Because it’s worth it.

…It’s freedom.

…It’s sanity.

…It’s a bit more peace.

…It’s being able to manage the suffering, rather than the suffering managing you and making your life even more of a miserable stress whole than life already can be.

So when it comes to:

  • letting go and committing  in diet recovery
  • and letting go of the restrictions in your diet that have been hurting you and stealing your health and joy,
  • and letting the beliefs around all these foods “being terribly bad for you,”
  • and accepting that food is just food and you can’t demonize and blame food solely in order to be set free from the food problems,
  • and letting go of the shame and guilt mindsets around eating as well as how your body looks right now,
  • and how you have to apply more willpower and more self control in order to reach your goals,
  • and all these different limiting mindsets around food and body and Health beliefs itself, ..

…we may and often do go through a long period of grieving these mindsets and beliefs.

This is pseudo-, half ass-, quasi- recovery.

BUT, it’s completely normal.

And this shouldn’t be another thing we try to suppress and avoid from happening.


Because it’s just part of the recovery process.

And it can turn into yet another thing that we shame ourselves for beat ourselves up for.

We have to understand the grieving process and know that each time we face adversity to recovering and of letting go of these behaviors and mindsets [that have been hurting us even when we’ve believed for so long they would make us happy and healthy], takes a long often drawn out time.

But we’re just slowly chipping away, peeling back the layers of the onion.. the onion may make us cry along the way, other times it might not..

and we keep going back and forth, and doubting and feeling guilty and feeling angry at ourselves and food and our body but also at diet culture and the media..

but we slowly begin to let go of the anger and fear..

This grieving process – which is longer for some and shorter for others.

It looks different for everyone!

And eventually (hopefully) we get to a place where we’ve had ENOUGH.

We’re fed up, we’re done, we’ve grieved and we’re ready to ACCEPT.

Accept what is, what we’ve been through, what we’ve done for the past years, and where we’re at now because of it all, and we accept it.

And a shift occurs.

We let go, and we fully commit to letting go, because we know it’s what’s best for us.

We know the path ahead of us, and it’s not easy for he next year or couple years or several years, but we persist nonetheless.

And very slowly we get our health and life back piece by piece.

I wish the best of luck to you along your recovery journey.


Kayla Rose

Holistic Nutritionist

P.S. I’m hosting a free masterclass specifically for people who want to stop feeling obsessed around food and truly heal their metabolism and you’re invited! Click here to sign up.



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