Making Eating Disorder Recovery Part of Your Meaningful Life

Woman struggling with bulimia looking at lake

Contributor: Emily Keehn, M. Ed., LPC, Dialectical Behavior Therapy Specialist for Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center.

What Is A Meaningful Life

A meaningful life. What is it?

Maybe, it is something we dream about one day; maybe, it is something we expect to happen anyway, or maybe it is something we just believe could not ever be our own because too much has happened.

Yet, a meaningful life is something that we all can pursue each and every moment with intention, strength, and courage.

Seeking a meaningful life can look different from one person to the next, and for women in recovery from an eating disorder, there is an element of shared experience within this community.

A woman must first accept the process and commit to changing the things that no longer are in service to her if she is seeking her meaningful life.

Take Ownership

For a woman in recovery from an Eating Disorder, she can first commit to taking ownership of a meaningful life.

Only then, can she consider what has been holding her back or inhibiting her journey to full living and choose to leave these things behind. Similarly, she can also consider her innate strengths to support her each step of the way.

Values-Driven Choices

One way to continue to support the dynamic, and sometimes radical shift into recovery is to turn the mind to values-driven choices.

To deepen her relationship with her meaningful life, she can consider the following: Are these the values guided by my Eating Disorder, or are these values supportive of my true self? From there, she can find support and intentional guidance in her values-driven behavior to move her further along in the journey of her recovery and meaningful life.

Woman at lake

A woman in recovery might tell you that the journey is not linear; it is in fact, winding and turning. Sometimes, with a sudden unexpected detour, she could run the risk of returning toward an old yet familiar path.

This risk increases without the structure and commitment to values-driven choices and behavior. When she can find clarity and honest acceptance of herself, she can redirect herself back to the path of recovery and her meaningful life.

A woman in recovery truly has the choice to pursue her recovery and find guidance in values-driven choices. Then, a life worth living is available and waiting to be achieved and enjoyed.


Emily KeehnAbout the author: As a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Specialist, Emily supports residents within their recovery learning the principles of Dialectical Behavior Therapy and application of skills into daily life to help residents create their meaningful life while living in recovery.

Emily started at Timberline Knolls of March 2015 as a Behavior Health Specialist before transitioning to DBT Specialist in June 2015. Emily earned a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology as well as a Graduate Certificate in Eating Disorders and Obesity from Northern Illinois University. She was awarded a Master’s of Education in Community Counseling from DePaul University and became a Licensed Professional Counselor in August 2015.


The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer 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 August 1, 2017.
Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on August 1, 2017.
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com