Poems can be an excellent way to reflect on eating disorder recovery. They can help us tap into our feelings and thoughts about bodies, food, our identity, and our place in the world. Most of all, they can help us consider what healing and recovery means for us as individuals, since one size does not fit all!
Reading poetry can be therapeutic. While poems are often brief, each word of a poem is chosen with care and artistry. Each word serves a purpose.
In this way, poems can help us connect with our emotions in a way that is deeply personal and goes beyond what is written on the page. The beauty of poetry is that we each get to interpret poems in our own way.
Why did I pick these poems?
Many people explore writing poetry during recovery from an eating disorder. It can be a great way to explore feelings and find inspiration. However, I have not chosen any poems that are specifically about eating disorder recovery.
This is for a reason. Mainly it’s because many recovery poems include the rawness of being within an eating disorder. This rawness, while completely valid and important for the writer, can be triggering for someone who is not solid in their own recovery.
Therefore, while there are some beautiful poems about eating disorder recovery, I have focused on poems that people who are in recovery often find inspirational and uplifting, but not triggering.
People who have eating disorders may relate to these poems on different levels, and I’ve tried to provide some suggestions for how the poem may relate to your own experience. But each person’s eating disorder recovery journey is unique! Remember to take this at your own pace and view them through your own lens.
For parents to consider:
If your child has an eating disorder, consider whether you can read these poems together. Some people find it helpful to read the poems and then write how the poem made them feel in a journal or letter. Take some time to meditate on the poems and consider the feelings they bring up. There are many options for how parents can use poetry as a way to open up communication and share something special with a child.
If you really love these, or if you think I’ve left something off the list, please leave a comment below and let me know!
The Ocean You, by Nikita Gill
Lots of people in eating disorder recovery feel as if they are broken. But this poem points out that, like the ocean, we are and have always been whole. The ocean doesn’t stay the same, and we don’t need to either.
what is the greatest lesson, by Rupi Kaur
Girls and women are bombarded with self-improvement messages. From our weight to makeup, hair and clothes, we’re asked to “improve” our appearance. And it doesn’t stop there! We also seek self-help and self-improvement in other areas of our lives. But what if we considered that we are already perfect just as we are? No improvement necessary!
Today I asked, by Hollie Holden
So many of us tell our bodies what we want them to do, how we want them to behave, and how they “should” look. But what if we asked our bodies what they want rather than telling them what we want. Our bodies are wise. When we listen to our bodies (which takes work during eating disorder recovery!) we can learn new ways of being in this world.
The Body Is Not An Apology, by Sonya Renee Taylor
When we have an eating disorder we use our bodies as a way to communicate and process our pain. In many ways, our bodies become a way to apologize to the world for existing as a messy human being. We can learn that our bodies are not something we need to apologize for, nor are they the vehicles for our apologies. Our bodies are beautiful, powerful things.
it was when, by Rupi Kaur
When we have an eating disorder we tend to look outside of ourselves for knowledge. We seek external validation and keep ourselves with rules and structures to feel safe. But our greatest wisdom comes from within. Learning to listen to our minds and bodies is often the path to healing. What would it look like to come home to yourself? To realize that you are already whole?
a love note to my body, by Cleo Wade
An eating disorder can sever the connection between our souls and our bodies. But our souls are so deeply connected to our bodies. Our bodies will stand by us even as we abuse them. But how beautiful it is when we seek healing and recovery and finally love our bodies just as they are.
What I Weigh, by Nikita Gill
The number on the scale cannot possible capture who we are or what matters most in life. We are not limited to a specific way of looking and being, but can expand and take up space in all directions of our lives. We are the whole universe, and when we realize our greatness, we can find healing and peace with our bodies.
Pleasure and Peace, by Evelyn Tribole
This sweet poem is written by the co-author of Intuitive Eating, a book that has helped many people recover from eating disorders. In her new book, Evelyn Tribole provides some meditations on eating to help us find peace and healing. This one feels like a wonderful way to start a meal.
I hope these poems resonate with you. If you have any suggestions for poems I should add to the list, please leave a comment and let me know. Or just tell me what you think of these poems. How do they make you feel? Please leave a comment below!
If you want to learn more about how you can help your child recover, please reach out for parent coaching. I’d be glad to help!
Ginny Jones is on a mission to empower parents to raise kids who are free from eating disorders and body hate.
She’s the editor of More-Love.org and a Parent Coach who helps parents handle their kids’ food and body issues.