Eating Disorder Recovery Symbol Becomes Tattoo


I was doing some research for my eating disorder recovery website and came across the recovery symbol from the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA).  I’m not sure if it’s just their logo or is actually a symbol they created to symbolize anorexia or bulimia recovery. (examples below)

I read online that the red color in the logo symbolizes anorexia, so I’m guessing the purple/blue might then symbolize bulimia recovery or just ED recovery in general.  Because more and more eating disorders are being recognized by medical professionals than when the disorders were first diagnosed back in the 80’s, this one symbol is probably meant to be a symbol of any type of eating disorder recovery including binge eating disorder, compulsive overeating and others.

I also wanted to share an example of how women are expressing their joy of being in recovery – they’re tattooing the symbol on their body!  Personally I think it’s cool.  Anything that reinforces our confidence in ourselves, our bodies and strengthens our recovery I’m all for it.

If you have a tattoo and want to share it, please email it to me so I can post it here.



































































































There are a lot of great eating disorder recovery tattoo ideas also showing up on Pinterest.

If you have an eating disorder recovery tattoo and want to share it, please email it to me so I can post it here.


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  1. I’m excited to share that I’ll have another tattoo to share soon. If you email me through my contact form, I can reply to you and you can attach your image to that email. Sorry, but the forms on the blog don’t accept pictures. Not to worry – I’ll get them all up there one way or the other! Thanks for visiting and I look forward to hearing from you if you’d like to share your story or tattoo.

    • Hello Polly,

      I came across your website when searching for eating disorder recovery tattoos. You actually have mine posted on here – it’s the ninth one down – the butterfly with the blue National Eating Disorders Association’s symbol in the wings. It’s on my left foot. I was wondering actually how you came across it? I remember posting it on the NEDA Facebook page.

      To clarify, the NEDA logo symbolizes that everybody’s body is different – hence the straighter line and curvier line. It symbolizes any eating disorder in recovery – not just bulimia or anorexia. I share my story and do trainings and presentations on mental illness, lots on eating disorders.

      • Hi Colleen,

        Great question! I don’t recall if I saw that on Facebook, but that’s possible. Usually I search on Google from time to time to include new images and share them with others.

        If it bothers you that your tattoo is on the page, I’m happy to remove it. Just let me know.

        I feel that the more aware people are of recovery (which is part of what the NEDA symbol is for me), the more the message of recovery can be spread to those who are still in the dark tunnel.

        Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to hearing from you!

        All the best,


  2. This is near and dear to my hear because between the years of 2003-2007 I suffered from Bulimia. I slept, and breathed my disorder and allowed it to control me and everything I did or did not do. I first was diagnosed with BiPolar, and it wasn’t soon later that the Bulimia set in and eventually over took even the BiPolar.

    I have since then had a son (May 2009), who will be 4 in this May. For I owe him so much, because he really put live into perspective and let’s face it with the damage I did to my body, it is a miracle I could even conceive. Along, with the love and support from my family and friends, life would not be possible. I am not going to sit here and lie that the “nightmare” of which is bulimia does not cross my mind today, however, I know now what to do when I have those “iffy” moments, and it is definitely not running to the bathroom within 30 minds of eating anything! I embrace life and what it has to offer these days, and this is why I have decided that one of my next tattoos will be the “recovery” symbol for bulimia. I think I owe it to myself to carry this symbol strong & proud because it takes a lot to over come. The first step is realization, the next is determination/will power, and the third and final step is putting the plan into action.

    I look forward to reading more blogs by you. Actually I am in the process of writing my memoir as well.

    Thank you and God Bless!
    Candi Bobst

    • This is just an incredible piece of work thank you for the time you put into the phoots and the stories of 65+ people struggling with an incredibly difficult illness. I have two sisters who struggled with ED for years; one still suffers from low self-esteem and body image. I believe this had much to do with her husband leaving her. I also had a friend/business partner who struggled with a deep affliction of anorexia and alcoholism we finally had to part ways when I couldn’t deal with the incredible (self-imposed) feeling of needing to save or be responsible for her well-being. At several points during our partnership, she almost died and I couldn’t handle the daily stress of wondering if she would show up for work or if I’d have to visit her in the hospital that morning. She is currently sober and working hard to stay that way. My guess, based on her appearance, is she is still a practicing anorexic. I try to encourage her recovery through cards and short phone conversations, but I continue to keep my heart at a distance because it is too painful otherwise. The strain that various forms of this illness has put upon me and other family members has cut deep into our relationships, own self-worth, etc. By nature, I am a thick-skinned soul, so it took me years to understand the effects that careless words can have on people and I have become much more careful with my own word choices when dealing with women friends, girls in the neighborhood, my own child. I find that, because of my many experiences with ED victims, I tend to be a little less in control of my own habits not faithful to an exercise regime, usually 5 lbs or so over my ideal weight, always having that extra glass of wine or having one more bite of cake almost as a reassurance that I will not fall into the same trap as my sisters and friends. One of your photography subjects talked about turning off the tv, cancelling magazine subscriptions, etc. What a smart, smart young woman! I think she cut right to the core of one of society’s main negative self-image influences and I was really happy to read that she is now so much healthier since she shut out that part of our culture. My prayers and hopes go out to all of your subjects and to the many, many people out there who struggle with eating disorders.

      • Segio,

        You are a kind, kind soul. Thank you for caring for the women in your life who have had ED issues and for loving them through it. I hope you find what it is that is unfulfilled in your life that is causing you to turn towards the coping mechanisms you mentioned. I’m learning about our 6 human needs from Tony Robbins and it’s amazing how if our underlying needs aren’t being met that we find outlets to meet those needs. I can’t explain it all here and you didn’t ask for coaching, so I’ll just say I wish you the best in life. Always. We all deserve to love, to be happy and to feel as good about ourselves as possible every day.

        Thank you,


  3. I truly love your website.. Excellent colors & theme.

    Did you develop this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m wanting to create my very own site
    and want to learn where you got this from or exactly what the theme
    is called. Thank you!

    • Thank you so much for the compliment. I had a graphic designer in my local town design it for me…sorry, but it’s custom so I am not sure how to help you with ideas for your own. I know there are a zillion themes out there to choose from. I know someone in the UK who does design if you need a referral. Wishing you the best! Polly

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