The Process of Transformation

Girl thinking about her goals for the day in Bulimia Recovery

When recovering from eating disorders and body dysmorphia, one of the biggest challenges can be to change our inner perception, that negative self-talk, especially when we have a distorted outer vision of ourselves.

The Way We See Ourselves

However, we must consciously work on shifting the way we see ourselves on the inside, before we will ever love who we are on the outside. Everything begins in the mind. In my debut memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, I write about how I was able to wipe away that negative, monstrous outer image, starting from the inside [1].

“Transforming my image, and the way I see myself has been one of the hardest parts of recovery. I am everywhere I go, and so I have to constantly remember to think loving thoughts to myself, and speak kind words. There are still days when I really do not like the way I look, and when that happens, I try to stop and make time to do something nice for myself. This isn’t always practical, but it’s important because I am.

Knowing that I am a beautiful and confident woman sounds empowering – and it is – but it comes with a lot of pain and inner work. I used to see all kinds of things when I looked in the mirror, and I couldn’t tell if what I was seeing was the result of hallucinations, body dysmorphic disorder, or just my general low self-esteem.

As I studied from The Life Recovery Bible and my intimate relationship with God grew, however, I learned that my worth was not rooted in anything superficial. Nothing that society tells me I am, I am. So over time, the hurting, little girl from Charleston was set free, and I gained a new image: God’s child.

— Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

Transformation is Hard Work

ButterflyWhile many of us want to transform our image, we fall short when it comes to doing the actual work. Transformation is painful, it’s hard and it takes a lot of time and energy. The human transformation process is similar to that of a butterfly; the butterfly is beautiful, but time spent in the cocoon is nasty and rough.

In the same way, our new image seems beautiful, but it’s not a beautiful process. Recovery is hard work and that work has to be something we want to do because we want to be better for our Higher Power and ourselves.


Nikki_Dubose_2015 Web-6About the Author: Nikki DuBose is a former model turned author, advocate, and ambassador. Her debut memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, details her recovery from trauma, severe mental illnesses and the dark side of the modeling industry. Nikki has been featured on television shows and networks such as The Doctors, The TD Jakes Show, CBS Los Angeles, and the Oprah Winfrey Network, and profiled in publications such as People, LA Times, Vogue UK, Esquire, India Times, and Inquisitr. To find out more about Nikki, visit

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.

Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on March 20, 2017
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