Re-enter dance slowly to keep yourself healthy. Photo via Thinkstock

After spending a year away from the studio to recover from anorexia at age 12, Jillian Verzwyvelt admits that she was extremely nervous to return to class. "I was terrified I would be far behind not only technically but socially," she says. Fortunately, she encountered strong support from both teachers and peers, who treated her the same as they always had, even though she was only strong enough to take part of class.

Returning to the studio after recovering from an eating disorder is not unlike coming back from injury, except that the challenge is deeply stigmatized. For most dancers who suffer from eating disorders, the impulse to control their physical appearance and their passion for dance are closely linked.

So fighting the urge to fall into bad habits can be extra-challenging as dancers confront the same environment where their disorder manifested. But with the right approach, it's possible to find a way back into a loving relationship with dance and your body.

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