“Take Up Space” Should Be Your New Recovery Goal

take up space - image with purple background, stars, and a swirling pattern in white, yellow and gray

What does it mean to “take up space”?

I’ve heard this phrase over and over in recovery. But until recently, I never appreciated what it meant. Or how important it is to when recovering from an eating disorder.

So, what does it even mean to take up space?

In the most literal sense- taking up space means allowing your body to be full, large, and present.

It is the opposite of shrinking away. When we are owning our space, we are visible and seen. There is no blending in or hiding.

Diet culture silently but powerfully tricks us into falsely believing that the less space we fill up, the more valuable we are. This strips us of our power and keeps us in diet mentality while preventing us from living fully and joyfully.

By feeding and nurturing our bodies, we allow them to show up in this world in the exact way they were meant to. That shape and size looks different for everyone.

It’s only when we choose to declare peace with our body and no longer fight its natural shape that we can experience true, lasting recovery.

In it’s most basic sense, we allow our body to take up as much space as it needs without placing judgement on it. This is a choice we must make not just one time, but consistently, over and over again.

And it is worth it.

Beyond the physical when taking up space

Showing up fully and claiming space can be extremely uncomfortable when we inaccurately believe we are not worthy or valuable. We may fear we are too loud, too messy, or simply too much.”

We can take up space with our bodies, but we can also fill space with our thoughts, feelings, concerns, passions, and needs.

Taking up space means realizing that we are here, on this earth, with a purpose.

We are just as valuable as the stranger sitting next to us on an airplane… Simply because we are.

Our opinions and beliefs are just as valuable as those of our loved ones and those of strangers. Even if we sometimes believe we are inherently flawed and less deserving than others – we don’t have to live in that lie.

Every person on this earth has value, simply because we exist. I am not an exception to this. You are not an exception to this.

Take the power back

When we actually start to believe in ourselves and fill up our world both literally and figuratively, we start to gain our power back.

This can feel scary, especially in the beginning of recovery. But in order for us to live full, meaningful, joyful lives, we must learn to show up courageously and own our place in this world.

And as we begin taking up space we actually make this space, this world– a better place.

Because every single one of us is unique and has gifts and passions to share with this world. So taking up space is not only helpful for our own recovery but also helpful for this world.


So the next time you start wishing you could disappear or wanting to sink into yourself and not be seen – I challenge you to remind yourself that you were put here on this earth to take up space. You have a purpose, whether you know what it is yet or not. And your purpose is NOT to shrink.

Remind yourself that by claiming space in this world you are not only empowering yourself to heal, but also are giving yourself to this world. And we need you, warriors.

So please, take up space.

To read more from Lisette and learn about opportunities to work with her in private coaching please visit her website here, or follow her on instagram here.

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