Chronic predisposition, but not chronic illness

Lightbulb moment for me:

"you can't change your genetics and your d will have this predisposition forever. But this is not a chronic illness.

I've struggled with how to explain to people that genetics and predisposition are not destiny, and why we should not be defeatist or think this means we must commit to a life spent chasing our kids with a scale. Either that, or we get to the top of the sandhill and declare our job done, thinking we cannot possibly face it again.

Thinking of an eating disorder as a chronic predisposition and not a chronic illness works for me. That predisposition is why the illness was inadvertently tripped in the first place, that predisposition is why we can't rest until we are completely clear of symptoms, and why we have to have early warning systems in place to identify problems, and why building a lifestyle with no room for ED is so important.

Keeping ED out of the picture with skills, habits, self-knowledge, support systems, and maturity: these are what I'm talking about when I refer to recovery. Not living a life fearfully and suspiciously on the edge: that's letting ED run the show.

What I want for our kids is that they get what they need to get away from ED and live free of ED but that also means maintaining his cage, and knowing where the key is.


  1. I absolutely agree. The tendency to relapse under stress will probably always be there and the answer is to recognise one's personal warning signals.

    For me, those signals are feeling overwhelmed and out of control of both my existence and my feelings. It's so hard to explain, but under those frightening circumstances my 'natural' urge is to restrict food and carefully control my food intake and exercise output. It has nothing to do with fear of fatness; it's just an urge, like having an itch that I MUST scratch.

    A major part of my recovery (apart from weight gain and establishing a healthy eating plan...) has been learning how to identify triggers and warning signals, and to tackle these in a manner that is self-affirming rather than self-destructive.

  2. Hi Laura. Great blog. I have just written a blog post with my views and would love for you to stop by to comment and give your input...


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