**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.
Katie Price is a registered nurse and yoga teacher whose understanding of what it means to care for bodies—both hers and others’—has been shaped by her recovery from anorexia. She cares deeply about walking alongside those who are struggling with eating disorders and hopes that by sharing her story, she can offer hope and support.
I spent Thanksgiving this year in an eating disorder treatment program. Laminated index cards with encouraging phrases like, “You are enough,” “Recovery is worth it,” and “One bite at a time,” decorated our long wooden table. When we sat down to eat, each person shared an intention for the meal: “Stay present,” “Ask for help if I’m struggling,” “Just get through it.” Then a timer started and forks were slowly lifted. Legs jittered beneath the table. We talked about funny family holiday traditions. There was some conversation, some laughter, and then long silent pauses. The internal battles being fought were almost palpable. Some battles were won. A young woman looked at the girl sitting beside her and asked, “First bite of dessert together?” And they sunk forks into pumpkin pie in unison. But others were lost in their struggle. Wide eyes stared frightened at stuffing and turkey. Tears welled up and fell silently. I know this battle well, when you sit down at the dinner table and your body reacts with panic like it needs to run away from a bear. I remember how it feels for your hand to shake with anxiety as you lift a bite to your mouth and how the food seems to expand on the plate as if the portion could continuously grow. But now, working for the program as a nurse, I don’t think too much about the food; my mind is present and my body is relaxed. I have recovered from my own eating disorder, a grace I am endlessly grateful for and do not take for granted.