Can someone ever really fully recover from an eating disorder? Is there a difference between being in recovery versus fully recovered? In this podcast, Dr. Castagnini sheds light on these commonly-asked questions.


  • In recovery
  • Full recovery
  • “Biology isn’t destiny”

In recovery

  • When people are in recovery, they are actually still in the process of treatment. Someone who is in recovery might still deal with negative body image.
  • They may get triggered and may occasionally engage in their disordered eating, or sometimes deal with urges to engage in their disordered eating behaviors when feeling overwhelmed.
  • They may be worried about relapsing, meaning that the eating disorder is still prevalent and occupies their mind.
  • Avoiding eating old triggering foods.
  • Exercising is still a work in progress and can feel like it is to offset what was eaten.

Full recovery

  • Someone who is in full recovery has a more positive and realistic view of their body.
However, being in full recovery does not mean that you never have negative thoughts about appearance. It means that you function more with body neutrality and/ or positivity, more so than with negativity.
Their value and self-worth isn’t dependent on their body, and that’s more realistic. (Dr. Cristina Castagnini)
  • They no longer deal with urges to delve into disordered eating again and they no longer have the triggers that push them to engage with those behaviors.
  • They no longer have a fear of relapsing or consider it a possibility.
Weight recovery alone does not mean the eating disorder is gone or that treatment is no longer necessary. The person then is still in treatment, but they are not fully recovered. (Dr. Cristina Castagnini)
  • Looking forward to eating and knowing that food is fuel. Recognizing your body hunger signals and knowing when to start and stop eating.
  • Looking forward to exercising as a praise for the sake of a body and not as a punishment for eating.

“Biology isn’t destiny”

There is always hope for you to achieve a full recovery. Even though biology does play a small role in causing eating disorders, it does not stop you from fully healing from them. There are numerous factors that play a role in the causing of eating disorders, so just because someone may have a genetic predisposition to an eating disorder, through therapy, they are able to fully recover from their disorder.



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!


Did you enjoy this podcast? Feel free to comment below and share this podcast on social media! You can also leave a review of Behind The Bite on Apple Podcasts (previously) iTunes and subscribe!