More often then not people struggling with or in fact even in recovery from an eating disorder say that they don't know who they are without it, hence this is some of the reason they try to hold onto a little piece of it (myself included). Even though we know that this logic is flawed, it's petrifying to try and think of a world that doesn't revolve around food, calorie counting, exercise and anything else your ED may entail.
But if you think about it the way we think about it actually makes a lot of sense. Just think about how much time and energy you put/are putting into your eating disorder, at it's worst it's an all consuming thing, it becomes a part of you and in the darkest times may even seem like your only friend and the only way to cope with everything else that feels out of control in your life.
From my experience I saw my eating disorder as mostly as a means for control and order at a time when I felt that everything that was happening was completely not how it should have been. Also in some sick way it was a last ditch attempt to maybe some how fix what was a big shift in my life - even though pretty much by that point I wouldn't have been able to pull myself out of the disorder even if I wanted to - But I thought that finally getting treatment may help fix a problem that was completely out of my control and to be honest had nothing to do with me in the first place. But with all those good intentions recovery didn't help mend that situation.
Yes, recovery didn't have the desired effect I wanted it to but really since the situation didn't involve me I really shouldn't have thought it would. But recovery has taught me so much about myself and just how strong I can be. I remember what it felt like when I first TRULY laughed when I started being in recovery from my ED. It felt completely foreign and uncomfortable but most of all UNNATURAL. If you have ever met me personally (and have actually gotten to know me considering I'm pretty shy until I get to know someone) then you would know just how out of character that is for me. When I was younger I used to laugh at anything and everything, yet my ED and depression took that away.
Recovery is about finding yourself again, finding those old and new passions you have, laughing when you find something funny even if it feels unnatural because one day soon it will feel like you had never stopped. But most of all life outside an ED is about freedom. Freedom from rules, routines, numbers, rituals... Just living life to the fullest the way you want to, having a week where you don't exercise here and there, eating as much as you want at a buffet with your friends because the food is that good and not worrying about it because in perspective its one day/week out of the hundreds upon thousands you are going to live.. But in saying that also why waste that one day/week listening to what your ED says when you could be living life?
Your ED is only there to bring you down. People say they feel like a "bad/fake anorexic" where in reality the only "good" anorexics have been killed by the illness.