girl sitting at the table anxious to eat chocolate as she is struggling with an eating disorder
  • December 9, 2022

Episode 5: How to get started with eating disorder recovery

In this podcast, we will outline the first 5 action steps to help you get started with eating disorder recovery. […]

In this podcast, we will outline the first 5 action steps to help you get started with eating disorder recovery.



Step 1: Recognising if you have a problem

Before you start fixing the problem, you have to identify that you have one. Start by asking yourself – are there any areas of your diet or body image that you feel distressed about?

Taking the EDEQ questionnaire is a great place to start. Ideally take it with your dietitian or psychologist if you already have one. It is available on the Inside Out Institute here:

There are a few common signs and symptoms of an eating disorder or disordered eating that you can look out for also:

  • Deliberately trying to limit food to influence your size, shape and/or weight
  • Spending long periods of time without eating
  • Excluding certain foods or food groups from your diet
  • Following strict diet rules
  • Thinking about food all the time
  • Fear of losing control over fear
  • Fear of gaining weight
  • Strong desire to lose weight
  • Engaging in harmful behaviours to lose weight e.g. over exercising, laxative abuse, intentional vomiting



Step 2: Start opening up about your eating disorder

This can be challenging as eating disorders thrive in secrecy but, in order to recover it is important step to start building a support network. This should be someone you feel safe with such as friends/family or your psychologist, dietitian or GP.


Step 3: Get a GP who understands and can help individuals with eating disorders

It is important that your recovery involves medical monitoring by a GP. This will include testing things such as blood pressure, heart rate, sugar levels and other blood tests.

We recommend looking for a GP who has experience in this area as not all GPs know everything required during support for ED recovery.

If you already have a GP you have been working with for a while that you feel safe with, they are a great place to start if they are comfortable to continue working with you. If not, they may be able to refer you to a different GP with ED experience. Alternatively, the Butterfly Foundation have a database of GPS here:



Step 4: Set up your care team to support you through recovery

Your care team will involve a GP, dietitian and psychologist who are all well averse in eating disorders.

It may take a bit of time to find suitable practitioners who you feel safe with and fit your needs. It’s ok to ‘shop around’ to find the best fit for you as everyone practices differently and just because one dietitian/psychologist experience wasn’t the best doesn’t mean they all will be. Social media platforms such as Instagram can be a great way to get an idea of what a health practitioner such as a dietitian is like (e.g. their personality and philosophy).



Step 5: Ask your GP if you are eligible for an Eating Disorder Care Plan

One of the best ways to get started with eating disorder recovery is to have a chat with your GP.

This is a specific type of referral that gives you a Medicare rebate on up to 20 sessions with a dietitian and 40 with a psychologist. However, there is strict criteria you have to meet to access this care plan. You do not need this referral to start your recovery journey but it is a helpful resource to have.


Some common therapy modalities you may come across during your recovery

From a psychological aspect, your psychologist may take you one of a few different options such as:

  • Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Family Based Therapy (FBT)


Dietitians will often work with you through the RAVES model which includes focussing on:

  • Regularity
  • Adequacy
  • Variety
  • Eating Socially
  • Spontaneity


Remember, recovery can be a long journey (up to 12 months or more) and not always linear but recovery is possible and always worth it!


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