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You are here: Support for Australians experiencing eating disordersBlog › Why the waiting game? Building trust between mind and body

Why the waiting game? Building trust between mind and body

21 March 2018

Category: Research


"Your body and mind are learning to trust you again during recovery. Recovery can be seen as rebuilding a trust relationship between yourself, your mind and your body."

Does this look familiar?


If so, you have come to the right place. Let's talk HABIT, PATIENCE and the mind. 

What do we mean by habit?
Habits are practised behaviours which overtime become subconscious. Habits can relate to anything that we do to avoid or numb a feeling, including our own thoughts/ thinking processes and compensatory measures.

Why are habits relevant?
As you can see in the cycle above, we have developed a routine (neural pathways) through habitual thinking, which is why it feels so hard to break the cycle or certain habits and we sometimes feel ‘stuck’. This can be un-motivating, disheartening and make us question whether recovery is possible.
The good news? Habits can be broken and new ones can be created!

What does gaining trust mean?
Just like you are placing trust in your support team and the people around you, your body is also learning to trust you again during recovery.

In essence, your body’s biological make-up is designed in a way to optimise health, fight disease and support survival. With this in mind, it will do everything in its power to keep you alive and look after you. For long periods of time, your body has been deprived of nutrition or punished, so it goes into ‘survival mode’ to ensure the safety of you. Your body will hold onto all sources of nutrition as it is confused and unsure of ‘when will I get fed next?’ or ‘what will happen after he/she eats?’. This is why during recovery it can feel as though you are continuously gaining weight and thoughts that ‘weight gain will never stop’ or ‘thoughts will never stop’ can occur. This is where the importance of habit and trust come into play.

How does the body and mind gain trust?
Put in more simple terms, through breaking habits and creating new routines we can develop new neural pathways to rewire our brains and establish a trust relationship with our body. What happens then? Our thoughts become quieter and our metabolism stabilises as our body is no longer questioning when it will get fed next or what will happen after eating, but knows that you are looking after it – it relaxes. And so do you.

If you, or anyone you know is experiencing an eating disorder or body image concerns, you can call the Butterfly Foundation National Helpline on 1800 33 4673 (ED HOPE) or email or jump on our website to chat

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