Book Review: 8 Keys To Recovery From An Eating Disorder by Costin and Grabb


8 Keys to Recovery is an excellent book for both people who have an eating disorder and their loved ones. Blending personal narrative with clinical expertise, Costin and Grabb bring a wide lens to the experience of living with an eating disorder and practical steps individuals can take to recover. Of course, recovery does not occur linearly, but 8 Keys is a framework within which to make changes and awaken a sense of curiosity about the relationship between the illness and yourself. If you have been to treatment previously many of the exercises and methods of approaching recovery may seem familiar. However, each time one revisits a different concept, attempts to change, or internalization may occur as an “aha” moment or a willingness to try something different.

Many memoirs and books about eating disorders include detailed affairs of behaviors associated with these illnesses, which can activate urges (triggers) to do the same in others with an eating disorder. While memoirs can be validating to other sufferers and help individuals without eating disorders better understand the illness, such detailed narratives of engaging in specific behaviors is often very triggering to people struggling and may even lead some sufferers to experiment with new behaviors. What I appreciate about 8 Keys is that acknowledges the internal experiences of suffers without focusing on such detailed narratives.

I also appreciate the focus on increasing skills, awareness, and self-compassion that can lead to behavior change and ultimately recovery. Insight is powerful, but without making changes moving toward recovery stalls. 8 Keys doesn’t dive into the proposed causes or etiology of eating disorders intensively, which are slowly evolving, rather it is a more forward-looking perspective-“here you are, and these are some steps to take to move forward.” Exploring the past in recovery is helpful and necessary at certain junctions and in particular situations, but it isn’t always the place to start.

I highly recommend this book to anyone in the eating disorder field, individuals struggling with an eating disorder and their supporters, or is interested. The only sections I feel were a bit out of date was some of the nutrition information. I hesitate to write even that because of the controversy nutrition information in the eating disorder treatment world, but ongoing and new research about genetics, the brain, and the microbiome will undoubtedly shed additional light on the nutritional aspect of the disorders and recovery.

Check out 8 Keys To Recovery From An Eating Disorder from your local library or order it here.

For more information about Carolyn Costin visit