A Journey of Recovery and the Joys It Brings

Trigger Warning: This article mentions eating disorder recovery.

Emily Gass is a current Boston University senior who is working towards an undergraduate degree in psychology. Born and raised in Flemington, New Jersey, as a triplet with an older sister, her childhood was one filled with normal suburban stories. However, Emily was diagnosed with anorexia when she was in high school, where she struggled with restriction and exercise addiction for about two years before seeking inpatient treatment. After being discharged, she continued to struggle with other eating disorder behaviors—such as binging.

Hesitantly, Emily made her first Instagram post during her sophomore year of college, which labeled @eatwithcare as a food blog, rather than a recovery blog.

“@eatwithcare began as a food blog, but it wasn’t authentic at all. It was just a cover up for me not facing true recovery,” Emily said.

Now, however, @eatwithcare is a recovery blog which documents Emily’s daily thoughts and drives during recovery and illustrates the liberation she feels exploring intuitive eating and food freedom.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

another week, another list of gifts recovery has given me: 1. meeting people for the first time without worrying about how they will perceive me physically. or without feeling the need to use behaviors beforehand or manipulate my weight. 2. having the energy to walk over to my friend’s apartment, then go get coffee, and then engage in a really lovely conversation. 3. having the energy to walk to and from opposite sides of campus. 4. having flexibility with my schedule and meal times; i had a meeting last night at 6, which is around the time where i would normally have dinner. instead of restricting or panicking, i had a snack before, had energy for my meeting, and then had dinner after. flexibility is wonderful. 5. getting a regular period (although it’s been hard adjusting to having my period, whenever it comes around i practice a lot of gratitude for my health) 6. getting lunch out with friends and genuinely looking forward to spending time with them and eating delicious food. 7. positive phone calls with my parents and grandpa in which i have the mental capacity to pay attention and engage. 8. sleeping through my alarm and not panicking or beating myself up for that. 9. feeling hopeful and excited for the future. 10. dessert after dinner. it’s pretty crazy how every day that i lean deeper into recovery, more little gifts come up. small things like running an errand, making a phone call, or eating dessert are actually really big things worth celebrating. ❤️

A post shared by emily (@eatwithcare) on

When naming her Instagram blog, she chose the phrase “eat with care” as a play on the phrase “handle with care,” in order to reminder herself to be intentional with how she takes care of herself.

“While struggling with my eating disorder," Emily said, "I was doing the opposite of taking care of my body. But now, in recovery, food has been such a healing thing for me and I have realized that caring for my body is done by eating.”

The transition from a food Instagram to a recovery Instagram was frightening at first for Emily.

“I remember that first transition post so well and it was intimidating, but being inauthentic was too time-consuming," she said. "I switched to a recovery blog in hopes to help myself and help others as well.”

Emily expressed how gratifying her recovery has become and her experience with helping others. The transition took place because Emily knew she wasn’t being true to herself, especially when she had friends and family commenting on how healthy of an eater she was and how great her diet was.

“In the back of my mind, I knew that my message was diet-focused and I was exhausted putting out an image that wasn’t me," Emily said. "That wasn’t what I wanted to share. So, I decided to make a change to promote full recovery, intuitive eating, and food freedom.”

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

i receive questions about my body image quite frequently. how are you so comfortable in your skin? how did you overcome negative body image? although these are loaded questions that are difficult to answer succinctly, i’d like to share a little bit of my answer on here. i overcame negative body image and learned to love my body by eating when i hated my body. i stopped waiting for some lightbulb to go off where i loved myself and eating was easy. (it took about 6 years to get to the point where i had the strength to do this consistently on my own.) i believe (despite how counterintuitive and scary it may seem) that is the only way to achieve good, long-lasting, positive body image. over time, the more i ate, the more i did the opposite of what the ED was telling me to do, i began to feel infinitely better mentally and physically: more energetic, compassionate, focused, kind. and my body image started to improve. because my personality was coming back and i found comfort knowing that that radiated in my physical appearance. eating more gave me energy to foster the things that make me beautiful: my sense of humor, my compassion for others, my passion for psychology, etc. i let go of the goal of looking in the mirror and loving how my form looks. now, my goal is to cultivate the things that make me unique and beautiful on the inside, so that i can continue to radiate that energy outwards. because humans cannot outwardly express true beauty, peace, and self-acceptance while still obeying the rules of the ED. so i defy them. and i feel stronger, more compassionate, energetic, hopeful, empathetic, kind, and creative every single day that i settle into full recovery. it’s THOSE things that make me feel beautiful, confident, and comfortable in my growing body.

A post shared by emily (@eatwithcare) on

Emily has found the environment she has created for herself to be exceptionally safe due to the amount of support she gets from those around her. When she opened up to her mother, a huge influence in her life, she found her support system to be super receptive to her needs.

“The people who have followed my journey are just so incredible and supportive, and we have all been able to maintain a space that is comforting and helpful for each other," Emily said.

The posts that Emily finds the most engaging are her posts that include a list of gifts recovery has given her; she calls them her joys of recovery. Her favorite joy that she has found through recovery is her relatability to those around her.

“I enjoy being around people again, and in turn, my social life is so much richer now," she said. "I am no longer angry at the world and irritable all the time. I see the world through a different lens now and I’m able to positively interact with my surroundings.”

“I am constantly working on myself for myself," Emily said. "When I made the conscious choice to fully recover from my eating disorder, I really assessed my coping strategies.”

When life gets stressful for Emily, she turns to hobbies that indulge her mind in different ways than stressors do.

“My favorite hobbies include knitting, which I learned in treatment, journaling, which I do every morning, and playing guitar, which I picked up on my own about a year ago," Emily said.


When the going gets tough, Emily has found ways that allow her to create things on her own that don’t need a deadline. She has found joy in taking life as it comes and realizing there is a world larger than herself that she wants to be a part of. But most importantly, Emily has reminded herself time and time again that @eatwithcare is for her recovery and should never be a stressful thing for herself.

“If I don’t have an idea to post, I don’t post," Emily said. "It’s that simple to me. I do what feels good to me and I’m very intentional with what I post, making sure it fits my message and is authentic. Any sponsorship or opportunity I have has to fit my message or else I can’t consciously choose to promote it.”

As time separates Emily from her eating disorder, she reflects back on the little things she has accomplished and worked towards throughout her years in college.

@eatwithcare is a positive platform that gives Emily a space to share her daily thoughts about full recovery and show how it is achievable over time.

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