Recovery from disordered eating and eating disorders is a complex and challenging journey that requires resilience, determination, and support. In this blog post, we will explore how can your support system help you in recovery, the profound role and numerous benefits of having a support system in the healing process. We will dive into the positive impact of support, highlighting how it reduces isolation, cultivates engagement in recovery behaviors, facilitates effective communication and boundary-setting, and provides a space for coping and venting. We wil also talk about potential drawbacks and times when support is not beneficial.

While support may not be universally accessible or necessary at all times, its potential to foster growth and transformation cannot be underestimated.

Prefer to listen? Tune into this week’s podcast episode to hear Marie-Pier talk about the role of your support system in recovery! (episode 147)

The Impact of Support on the Healing Journey

The environment you are in and your support system have a direct impact on you. Just as the soil affects the growth of a plant, the support system acts as a catalyst or hindrance to an individual’s growth and recovery. By engaging your support system, individuals can find the healing process less isolating and increase their recovery behaviours which ultimately expedites their recovery journey.

Benefits of Support in Recovery

ONE: Reduced Isolation and Shame:

Recovery from disordered eating and eating disorders often involves grappling with shame, which can lead to isolation. Supportive relationships and connections with others who understand the journey can help reduce feelings of isolation and provide a sense of common humanity. Connecting with a support system can alleviate shame and foster self-compassion and kindness, critical elements of the recovery process.

TWO: Increased Engagement in Recovery Behaviors

Recovery is challenging, and having a support system can facilitate engagement in healing behaviours. Supportive individuals can provide encouragement, accountability, and assistance in navigating the complexities of recovery. This support can significantly impact the time spent in recovery by creating a conducive environment for growth.

Effective Communication and Setting Boundaries

While support is beneficial, it is essential to acknowledge that interactions within the support system may sometimes be triggering or hindering recovery. Open and effective communication with loved ones allows individuals to express their needs, set boundaries, and create safer environments for recovery. By advocating for oneself and fostering understanding within relationships, stronger bonds can be formed, leading to more profound support and a greater sense of security.

Pssst: If you want to learn more about communication join our low-cost workshop on Communication!

Connection as a Coping Mechanism:

A support system offers individuals a space to cope with challenges, vent their feelings, and seek support without resorting to disordered eating behaviors. Having strong relationships and communities outside of the eating disorder can drown out unhealthy patterns and build a toolbox for coping and thriving.

The Nuances and Considerations of Support:

Like everything when it comes to food relartionship and body image, there is nuance to this and considerations to think about.

1- Spectrum of Support:

The level of support required may vary depending on where individuals are on the eating spectrum (read blog on eating spectrum here). While support is generally helpful, the need for it may be more pronounced when eating disorders behaviors are prominent. Support during the recovery process can also change greatly depending on the loudness of the ED, the age of the person struggling, past recovery attempts, co-occuring illness, etc. However, even at different stages, we beleive that support can positively impact individuals’ healing and recovery.

2- Accessibility:

Support may not always be readily available within one’s existing relationships. In such cases, seeking support elsewhere, such as in online communities or through providers, can be a viable option. Building a support system may require exploring different avenues and finding individuals or groups who can offer understanding and assistance.

*Side Note: At The Balanced Practice we really value the community aspect of recovery. We believe it can greatly impact recovery outcomes and are now offering group support at all levels! See services for more information:)

3- Personal Hesitations and Limitations:

Asking for help and engaging in support can be challenging, particularly if individuals have internalized beliefs that seeking assistance is a sign of weakness. However, recognizing that support is essential and reaching out for it can be profoundly healing. Overcoming personal hesitations and limitations can lead to transformative growth and progress.


Support, while not always necessary, often plays a crucial role in the healing and recovery journey. Engaging with a support system can create a nurturing environment that fosters growth, reduces shame and isolation, and enhances engagement in recovery behaviors. Effective communication, setting boundaries, and seeking support beyond traditional relationships are essential considerations when building a support system. By recognizing the benefits of support and addressing the potential cons, individuals can create an environment that optimizes their recovery and healing process.

Remember, reaching out for support is not a sign of weakness but rather a courageous step toward a healthier and more fulfilling life.