Maintaining Eating Disorder Recovery While Relocating & Moving

Nature Lone Tree in Field

An important part of eating disorder recovery is consistency, the consistency of a support system, consistency of treatment team members, consistency of environment. When a life transition happens, such as moving, that consistency is gone.

Life-cycle transitions, such as moving, remove that consistency and can trigger an eating disorder, particularly if there is a lack of needed support during those times [1]. Maintaining eating disorder recovery in these periods can become more challenging.

Find Your Core Support System

Core support members are those that, no matter where you live, you are connected and in contact. Core support may consist of your family, friends, spouse, or anyone else that has consistently been there for you, especially in times of need.

When moving, you will be uprooted, and building a new support system will take time. Amid that process, it is nice to know who you can call when you need to connect, talk, vent, be held accountable, be reminded of your skills, etc.

Recognizing who your core support system is and letting them know in advance that you will need them in this transition sets you up so that you are never in a position where you have no one to reach out to.

Research New Resources

Depending on where you are in recovery, researching what your new resources for support and treatment will be is important. If you are still in the early stages of eating disorder recovery, you may need to learn where the nearest Intensive Outpatient Program is.

It might also help to search your options for an outpatient therapist, nutritionist, recovery-focused physical therapist. Your current treatment team may be able to help you with this.

You can also ask your insurance for information as to what resources are in the area. Other resources include Eating Disorder Hope’s and the National Eating Disorder Association’s database searches to find this information as well.

Create Consistency in Your Routine

African American Black Woman in Eating Disorder RecoveryEven if everything else in your life feels uprooted, there are ways to create stability and consistency within your new routine. Consider making a list of your moving-friendly coping skills on your phone. This is so that, in a turbulent moment, you can reach for it and exactly know what resources are at your disposal.

Additionally, find those aspects of your daily life that bring you calm, a connection to self, peace, and joy. Also, consider how you can continue to engage in them, whether it is moving day, unpacking day, or simply a few weeks after the big change.

This may include drinking coffee from your favorite mug, journaling, engaging in deep breathing or guided meditation, doing yoga, going for a walk, connecting with nature, etc. All of these things can be done no matter where you are and can help to ground and connect you with your inner peace and strength.

There are a few reasons I felt qualified to write this article. Not only am I a therapist, but I’m also an eating disorder recovery warrior and an Air Force spouse. As such, I have lived the experience of moving from place-to-place and re-building recovery-focused support many times.

It is my experience that what felt like it weakened my recovery has actually strengthened it in the long-run. I have found supportive individuals that added emotional depth and unique love to my support system. I have honed my skills in finding local resources in each place. I have strengthened my ability to become an advocate for myself in challenging moments.

If you are moving and feeling concerned about the impact on your recovery, know that all of these things are possible for you as well.


[1] Berge, J. M. et al. (2011). Family life cycle transitions and the onset of eating disorders: a retrospective grounded theory approach. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 21:9-10.

About the Author:

Image of Margot Rittenhouse.Margot Rittenhouse, MS, PLPC, NCC is a therapist who is passionate about providing mental health support to all in need and has worked with clients with substance abuse issues, eating disorders, domestic violence victims, and offenders, and severely mentally ill youth.

As a freelance writer for Eating Disorder Hope and Addiction Hope and a mentor with MentorConnect, Margot is a passionate eating disorder advocate, committed to de-stigmatizing these illnesses while showing support for those struggling through mentoring, writing, and volunteering. Margot has a Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Johns Hopkins University.

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 July 29, 2020, on
Reviewed & Approved on July 29, 2020, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC

About Baxter Ekern

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