Finding the Good in Your Eating Disorder Traits with Carolyn Costin

Fighting an eating disorder can feel like an uphill battle. You’re constantly trying to resist the eating disorder voice and the controlling, obsessive, compulsive, perfectionistic, critical eating disorder traits that tell you to engage in behaviors. All you want to do is stop, and yet it’s SO tempting to continue.

On a recent episode of Equipped to Recover on The Recovery Warrior Shows, Carolyn Costin, MA, MEd, MFT shared that instead of resisting all your traits and writing them off as “bad”, there are some you may actually want to hold on to!

Carolyn Costin is a trailblazer in the eating disorder treatment landscape. She’s a speaker, author, and therapist with decades of experience in helping people break free from an eating disorder to live a better life. She was one of the first to confidently proclaim that full recovery is possible, and to advocate for the inclusion of recovered people as professionals and practitioners in treatment.

She believes you may actually want to keep some of your eating disorder traits. Let’s dig into why…

What is Your “Healthy Self?”

Carolyn Costin has revolutionized many ideas in the eating disorder landscape. One is the idea that your “healthy self” will heal your “unhealthy” eating disorder voice.

She believes that we all have these two parts. Recovery is about turning up the volume dial on the healthy voice, while allowing the unhealthy voice to get quieter. You can integrate those parts and become whole.

It’s less about getting rid of the eating disorder voice, and more about changing behaviors.

While reducing behaviors is the goal, many of the same traits the drive an eating disorder can be channeled into things that are helpful and recovery promoting.

Embrace Your Eating Disorder Traits

Many people with eating disorders experience harmful perfectionism that fuels disordered behaviors. Carolyn believes that you don’t need to stop or get rid of any of those traits, but that you can hone in to your healthy self to use them in helpful ways instead.

That same drive can be used towards healing or towards following your passions, rather than continuing down a path of harm.

Which eating disorder traits and recovered traits can you spot in yourself?

  • Perfectionism → Detail-oriented
  • Obsessiveness → Thorough
  • Anxiety → High-Energy
  • Impulsivity → Spontaneous
  • Critical → Discerning

Pretty interesting to see how you can channel your eating disorder traits into recovered traits, huh?

What about these eating disorder traits transformed into recovered traits?

  • Stubborn → Determined
  • Controlling → Directive
  • Compulsive → Driven
  • Avoidant → Careful
  • Rigid → Methodical

Yes, we have genetic traits. We are born with them. What matters is where we utilize them.

We know that eating disorders are brain based, and many of the traits that drive the eating disorder voice are hardwired into our neurobiology. But this is not a bad thing! These traits say nothing negative about you. They are amazing parts of you, and you can use them to heal and do amazing things.

Click here to learn more about Equip.

Connect with Carolyn Costin, MA, MEd, MFT & Equip

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