Are you currently in ED recovery? Which things should you try to do to reduce the risk of relapsing in recovery? How can you break the habit of comparison and learn to be with yourself in the present moment? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about things NOT to do during recovery with Harriet Frew.


Harriet Frew is an experienced counselor who specialises in supporting clients in eating disorder therapy, to find peace with food and body image. She is the host of the eating disorder podcast, The Eating Disorder Therapist, and trainer in eating disorders and body image.

Harriet offers individual therapyonline coursestraining, and Breakthrough Days. Her approach is anti-diet and promotes a healthy relationship with food and her clients' bodies. She works with the psychology of disordered eating, helping clients understand their stories and then supporting them in learning the skills, habits, and behaviors to find peace with food and then live their lives. Visit Harriet's website and connect on Instagram.


  • Be mindful with mirrors
  • Don’t compare your body to others
  • Wearing the wrong clothing sizes
  • Learn how to self-soothe

Be mindful with mirrors

People have loads of thoughts a day, especially when they are fixating on something - or trying not to fixate. If you do the “behavior” of looking in the mirror and your thoughts are spiraling, you might start to “see” things that aren’t really there, and find false evidence to “prove” the thoughts that are running through your mind.
You have more distressed feelings, it drives more of the eating behaviors because you probably don’t like what you see in the mirror so you restrict more or you binge to punish yourself … and it’s a perpetuating cycle. (Harriet Frew)
Depending on your frame of mind, you will find evidence of what you are concerned about. So, if you are getting stuck in bad thoughts about yourself, and you mirror-check, then you might see things that aren’t really there just because that is what you are looking for. Notice when you are not in a good headspace, and change the behavior. If you feel like you are about to start mirror-checking, then go for a walk or do something else to snap out of that spiral. The same thing goes for scales!

Don’t compare your body to others

Mostly when we’re comparing we’re usually comparing with someone else where we’re putting ourselves in that inferior position, you know, we’re putting that other person in the superior position … and we’re looking again for the “evidence”. (Harriet Frew)
Again, it is about your mindset and where your thoughts are at. If you are feeling insecure and the ED is running your thoughts then you might be more likely to compare yourself to others. When you notice this happening, stop. It is not real, not true, and is just the ED. Remember that you have the ability to cultivate the skill to select your thoughts and that you do not have to be subject to them.
It’s just really helpful to notice if you’re comparing yourself a lot to try to interrupt that pattern and realize; “Oh, I’m doing that again … it’s really unhelpful.” (Harriet Frew)
Remember that this can go in the other way too where you feel superior to the other person, and feel that you are or look “better”. This is a habit to break; comparison, from either direction. It only serves to distance you from your fellow humans and isolates you.

Wearing the wrong clothing sizes

Sometimes people will try on clothing that they used to wear or that used to fit them just to try it, but it often ends up upsetting them more than anything else, especially if they are still in recovery or are in a bad mindset. Wear the size that feels comfortable and fits your body in a way that allows you to move freely and easily. Additionally, don’t keep clothes that no longer fit you “just in case” they might one day because it means that you are stuck living in the future - or the past - and you are not being present with yourself.
There is a lot of power in being able to let go and accepting yourself much more as you are now. (Harriet Frew)
When you wear clothes that fit you well and look good on you and that are the most comfortable size for you, you are often more happy and accepting of your body. However, if you force your body into a size that does not fit it, you may feel much more insecure, self-conscious, or frustrated. Wear clothes that help you feel comfortable, happy, and free to move and enjoy your life.

Learn how to self-soothe

With all of these tips and ideas, they are much easier to practice in your daily life when you are able to self-soothe. This means that you are able to recognize your emotions, ask for what you need, and make space for yourself to regulate your emotions and choose a response instead of feeling pressured to only act.



  I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "Hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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