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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.


Eating Disorder Triumphant Journey: Preparation plan in the recovery workbook

Preparation for Eating Disorder Recovery

In following these exercises you will create a book which will become a map, guide and vital resource for your triumphant journey. As you proceed on this new healing path, you will gradually see your secrets unfold and become known by you in many surprising and relieving ways. You will begin to recognize how overeating and other out-of-control behaviors shield you from self-knowledge.

Soon, you will be stronger and more free to choose new and more positive actions. You will begin to experience more health and joy in your life. You will not only recognize opportunities but have more courage to act on them. You will bring more quality to your life than you have ever known.


Establish a trustworthy support system so you have one or more friendly witnesses who are aware of your efforts.

Support could be:

  • Sympathetic friend on a similar journey
  • Trusted friend or friends
  • Members of a psychotherapy group
  • 12-step companions
  • 12-step sponsor
  • Another trustworthy and reliable person who is capable of tolerating your strong feelings without getting pulled into them
  • Your psychotherapist

(As close and sympathetic as some family members might be, it is usually best to have support for this process from someone other than a relative.)

There will be times when you feel more than you think you can bear. You will need a trustworthy companion.

At first, one kind friend may be enough. Eventually, if you seriously engage yourself in these exercises, you may need more regular and reliable support than one friend can give. That's normal.


Remember and list experiences that soothe and inspire you. Your list might include:

listening to music
playing with a pet
model building
working cross-word puzzles
warm baths or showers
dance classes

playing sports
lifting weights
exercise classes
board games
watching movies
working with clay

Whenever you find yourself having an enjoyable experience where you are happy or just more comfortable being you, describe that experience on paper and add it to your list. You are building your awareness of genuine support, health and joy resources. You will need this specific and written list as you proceed through the Action Steps on your Triumphant Journey.


Be kind and appreciative of yourself. Acknowledge yourself as part of your support system.

Every morning, read aloud several affirmations to the walls, the garden, the furniture and the mirror. This will help you build a kind appreciation for yourself. When you discover a thought that is meaningful and helpful to you, add it to the affirmations list. Create your own affirmations, making sure they are each in a positive form.


Let yourself know how much of your life has been consumed with protecting your secrets. Often, guarding and hiding inner secrets becomes the basic organizing principle that governs all your actions.

Think about what you have been absolutely certain about what you can and cannot do. Examples to get you started thinking about this are:

  • What kinds of things are okay for you to talk about?
  • What kinds of things must you or dare you not talk about?
  • What kind of people can you be with?
  • Who must you not be with or dare not be with?
  • What can you ask of yourself or others?
  • What must you not dare to ask of yourself or others?
  • What kind of treatment or environment or lifestyle must you accept, like it or not?
  • What kind of treatment, environment or lifestyle do you barely allow yourself to dream of?
  • Are there ways of living that other people can have but never you?
  • Is it forbidden, for some reason, for you to try to bring that way of living into your life?

Getting acquainted with the power and influence of your belief system takes time, patience and courage. When you start to question these beliefs, you begin to challenge the power of your inner secrets.

Some limits you impose on yourself are free choices. For example, you may choose to take a boring part-time job because it gives you time to be with your baby, take a class, or work on a project that is important to you yet brings in no income. That's a free choice.

But if you take a boring part-time job because you believe that you can't ask for more or expect more, then you may well be under the influence of inner secrets you don't know about.

Hidden inner secrets can't let you know about your own strength. If you have knowledge and strength, you might challenge the system that holds you down. And overeating holds you down.


Remember to breathe and allow yourself to be surprised.

Breathe evenly and surely. Watch your breath and allow oxygen to nourish your body and mind.

As you breathe, allow yourself to be surprised. When you are surprised, allow yourself to breathe. Remember to exhale fully.

When you are surprised, you are discovering something. Your surprise is a major signal that you are uncovering inner secrets. In time, those nameless secrets will be understood, named and resolved. With every surprise and resolution of secrets comes more understanding and freedom.


Elaborate on these exercises to make them your own.

You can add to your book:

  • Thoughts
  • Memories
  • Conversations of the day
  • Daydreams
  • Night dreams

You might include a phrase, comment, affirmation, prayer, or quote that touches your heart or your imagination.

These are personal strands of awareness that touch your genuine self. As you gather these strands, your desire to live healthy and strong will weave them into a healing, teaching, and strengthening support system that will help make you whole.

Overeating is such a puny substitute for the strength and beauty you can create within yourself.

You can have self-confidence based on true personal strength and wisdom.


At least once every three weeks, read your book aloud. You will be sharing truth and freedom with yourself.

These are seven preparatory steps for your taking specific action. What follows is the Action Plan, the method you will use to be free of overeating.

The Action Plan is the heart of your Triumphant Journey.

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Written by Joanna Poppink, MFT. Joanna is a psychotherapist in private practice specializing in eating disorder recovery, stress, PTSD, and adult development.

She is licensed in CA, AZ, OR, FL, and UT. Author of the Book: Healing Your Hungry Heart: Recovering from Your Eating Disorder

Appointments are virtual.

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

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