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If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.



Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.


 striving for perfection in eating disorders



Double helix, is an 'electric slide' for proteins.  It doesn't strive for perfection. It is what it is, DNA in the process of becoming.

Striving for perfection is a desperate and consuming aspect of living with an eating disorder. If you are in the thick of an eating disorder you know that finding fault with yourself is a constant issue.

 You may not even know that you are striving for perfection because your perceived faults, especially in the mirror, are overwhelming. 

  1. If only you had the shape you wanted. 
  2. If only the numbers on the scale were the numbers you wanted.
  3. If only your mind, your body, your hair, your skin, your shape, your muscle tone  were perfect.

Then you would be okay.  Then you would be happy.  Then you would have a good - no - a great life.  You would be safe, loved, successful in all your endeavors.  You would be perfect.

And, because your striving for perfection doesn't get your perception of perfection, you live a painful life in which your only reliable support is your eating disorder.

This kind of striving for perfection is the curse of a mind distorted by an eating disorder.  This kind of thinking is a symptom, not a reality. But as you know, it feels real.

Why even have the word, perfection, if it isn't real and cannot be reached?

Another view of perfection, more realistic, is that the world and all that is in it, as a whole, has reached perfection.  All that is needed is here.  The potential of anything is here. 

It's like saying that the DNA is perfect.  It contains the potential for all, but a considerable amount of effort is required for that DNA to actually become a complete animal or tree or person.

Recovery is not about striving for perfection. It's more about the effort we need to expend to become the best person we can be. And that is based on what  we are born with and all that we can gather to us that will nourish our healthy development.

Another way of saying this could be that a baby has reached perfection.  The sperm and the egg met and exploded into a new being.  It became a zygote that developed into a baby.  The potential was there in the beginning, is there now, and requires effort to continue on the journey of becoming the true and authentic person you are.

Leaning on an eating disorder seems like a device to support a person who has not yet achieved the wholeness of being true to her potential as a developed woman.

Striving for perfection doesn't blend with becoming the authentic woman you are. Healing and becoming the true you is your goal. This means, instead of striving for perfection, you strive to honor and develop your true self. Your efforts are aims toward  becoming the real you that you are without the cloud of an eating disorder and all its various symptoms, blocking your genuine presence from this world.

That's the goal of striving and recovery.

This means any perceived ugliness your find in your past is not your ugliness. Your perception is a challenge to know abut. You integrate, not the ugliness but the perception, into your awareness.

When you do this you become somewhat changed and more grounded on your path of healing, well being and self-assurance. You like yourself more and are more comfortable in the world. 

Joanna Poppink, MFT, is a psychotherapist in private practice specalizing in eating disorder recovery.  She is licensed in CA, OR, UT, FL and AZ. She specializes in eating disorders, anxiety, depression, PTSD and self doubt.

Author of 
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 Healing Your Hungry Heart: recovering from your eating disorder

All appointments are virtual. Ages accepted begin at 25 and go up, including seniors who are most welcome.

For a free telephone consultation e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Author of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Healing Your Hungry Heart: recovering from your eating disorder








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