Dream Bigger Than Your Eating Disorder

Girl dealing with shame

I remember very well my “aha” moment in recovery, the second I saw through the Myth of The Eating Disorder, and I realized I actually wanted recovery. I had almost blacked out after over-exercising on too few calories, and my head was spinning.

The first feeling was tremendous fear: I felt out of control of my body in a way I never had before and had the shocking realization that I really could die from my eating disorder. It was, in fact, trying to kill me — no less. The second feeling I felt strongly was that I did NOT want to die.

“But why did I not want to die?” I asked myself. And that is when the dam of my heart burst wide open, and I felt something real – for the first time in years. I felt desires that were mine, the healthy self’s, Kirsten’s before the eating disorder had distorted and perverted all desire to suit its own interests (which essentially were, to destroy me under the guise of leading me to salvation).

I realized that I wanted more from my life than calorie counting, than obsessing over my body, than sacrificing everything to please others, than hiding in my own shame and guilt, than slavery to perfectionism. I was exhausted by that life and wanted more.

I realized I wanted to travel, to learn new languages, to try foods from all over the world, to have adventure, to explore, climb, blast through barriers both personally and professionally, to have a beautiful relationship with a man who loved me, to one day get married, maybe have a kid.

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I had big dreams and big desires, too numerous to name! Tears started to fill my eyes as I could clearly see a vision of my life that I desperately wanted. And the most powerful moment was when I also saw, clear as day, that it was not possible to have that life and also be enslaved to the eating disorder.

So, I challenge you, wherever you are in your process, what are your dreams? Why do you want to recover? Yes, so you can be healthy so that you can live, but the bigger question is for what?

To what are you recovering? What kind of life are you going to build? In order to maintain that motivation and drive through the thickest slogs of recovery, I discovered we need dreams and goals for our life beyond what the eating disorder can offer in order to make recovery a worthy goal.

Ladies Dancing in relation to views of the bodyDreaming big is risky and can be scary. But, look into your heart and ask yourself: what do you really want? What is that unsafe, wild, crazy dream that lurks deep in your soul? What is stopping you from going after it, from getting there?

You can create the life you want. Eating disorders are not a choice, but recovery is every single day. And I found that my dreams for my life were the biggest motivator for me to choose recovery, every single day. They continue to motivate me today.

It is not enough to merely want to beat the eating disorder, though that is commendable. We need to be inspired by our dreams for our life. You are not only recovering, but you are also discovering a new way forward, and have the blessing to create a new vision for a life of freedom.

What is the life you are discovering? To what are you recovering? Get excited about your life beyond the eating disorder, because it is better and more beautiful than you can ever imagine.


About the Author:

KIrsten Haglund

Kirsten Haglund is an international speaker, mental health advocate, and digital media strategist. Through her media and communications company, En Pointe, she works with a diverse group of clients in both the profit and non-profit sectors increasing social engagement and scalability, social listening, communications training, spokesperson work increasing brand awareness.

Kirsten serves as a media spokesperson, speaker, and Director of Global Business Development and Digital Media for Eating Disorder Hope & Addiction Hope. She is also Community Relations Specialist for Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center and is Founder and President of the Kirsten Haglund Foundation.

She also does political analysis across television news networks and radio, including on MSNBC, CNN International, Fox Business Network, and Fox News Channel. Her Op-Eds on politics, culture and non-profit advocacy have appeared in the New York Daily News, Forbes.com, Huff Post and in industry journals.

She served as Miss America 2008 and Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Kirsten graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Political Science and is currently based in Zürich, Switzerland.


The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective on eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on April 5, 2019.
Reviewed & Approved on April 5, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC

Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

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