Loading...

Follow Chime Yoga Therapy | Yoga For Eating Disorders | Bulimia and.. on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
Or

Valid


Anorexia. My demon. The entity that defined, determined, and disciplined me. The part of me I loved to hate and hated to love. The very part I spent the better part of my life striving to banish and preserve at the same time. For who would I be without my demon, without Anorexia?

I contorted my body to cling to it but commanded my mind to renounce it. I showed up to recover but dreaded letting go. What was this “freedom” everyone spoke of? Who was I to be free?

The guilt and shame of failing my demon was heavy, but so was the pain of failing to banish decades of beliefs, behaviors, and rituals. For as much as my favorable character traits and values were a part of who I am, so too was this eating disorder.

The effort to exile Anorexia was exhausting. The struggle was suffocating. The push and pull between wellness and sickness created a momentum of its own, making healing from years of an eating disorder slow going at best and frustrating beyond measure.

But then, a breakthrough. A most unexpected twist to my story. A therapist I deeply trusted asked me about my love-hate relationship with the eating disorder, pointing out how swinging between these two extremes was a barrier to accepting myself.

“What if you made friends with the eating disorder?” she asked. “What if you got to know it? Learn from it instead of hate it or love it?”

She went on, “What if instead of being ashamed of the eating disorder, you embraced the truth that you are capable of all that you are despite and because of it?”

Then this, the most poignant question: “Jennifer, this so-called ‘disorder’ has been a part of you for all these years. Is it realistic to think you can banish it in the first place?”

As I took in her words, something snapped into place. It was me; I snapped into place. The two parts of me that had been warring for so long—my demon and the “real” me—effortlessly integrated, like two puzzle pieces destined to fit together. I felt complete somehow, whole, no longer two halves.

She was right. If I flipped my thinking from believing I had to cast out the eating disorder to honoring it as a part of who I am, then I could also be free of the shame that kept the eating disorder going in the first place.

If I respected Anorexia as a teacher instead of labeling it a demon, then I could engage the eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs in the spirit of understanding, growing, and ultimately healing. Rather than dwell on the guilt of “being bad” or “having a bad day” when I used symptoms to the point of depression, I could look on those moments as “experiences” filled with wisdom and guidance—a truth about something within myself that needed attention, validation, and healing.

I’ll share that once I made this mental shift, of befriending versus demonizing the eating disorder, my symptoms decreased dramatically, I felt more comfortable and confident in my body, and I worked through “my stuff” with much more ease. Without the heaviness of guilt, shame, depression, and failure to hold me back, I was free to move through my life, to accept myself, and to value all my experiences (eating disorder related and otherwise) as opportunities from which to learn. By adopting this approach to relating to the eating disorder, I came to appreciate that I have a unique lens through which to see my life and the world.

To all my friends on a recovery path, you too have an opportunity to understand your life through a healing and empowering lens. What if instead of calling your inner struggles “demons,” you called them teachers, healers, or even friends? What if instead of striving to banish your “crazy,” you embraced the lessons and gifts of your experiences. How would your relationship with yourself change if you traveled the recovery path with a friend instead of a demon?

This can be a tough perspective shift to make. In fact, it may feel like more of a leap than a shift. I often share this story with my yoga therapy clients to introduce the notion that they aren’t “bad” for having a slip with symptoms, because the symptoms are a part of an experience that can be examined, discussed, and processed. As “ugly” as they are, eating disorder behaviors hold wisdom; they want to tell us something. The symptoms don’t make us “bad,” they make us students of our lives.

Certainly, we must resolve to learn our lessons and keep moving forward; I am not condoning actively engaging in eating disorder symptoms! Rather, I offer a perspective shift—from demon to friend—to enlighten you to the truth that you are whole already. No matter how divided or fragmented you may feel in this exact moment, you are whole. Befriend yourself.

Looking for new tools and inspiration for recovery?

Sign up to receive 3 free yoga-inspired tools for recovery plus news and updates about upcoming events and offerings.

Email Address Sign Up

Thank you! Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

By Faye Bird, Guest Contributor

Your body is the ship, and your life is the journey.

Now, I know sometimes you feel lost. I know sometimes you wonder if the waves that beat against your sides will ever release your from their tumultuous path of destruction. I know sometimes you ask yourself if it would be easier to simply let the crashing tides carry you far, far away from here.

I know sometimes you fear that you’ll live forever in this in between, this life of solitude on your ship as you ceaselessly grasp for tethers, trying to escape from this world where you feel you cannot be reached, or loved, or known, or saved.

I know sometimes you question if the currents will ever guide you home.

What if I told you that the answer was not in the keeping your eyes locked onto the violent waves of your sea, for you already know the pain they are capable of.

What if the answer was not in learning the damaging nature of your tides any longer, for you have learned all you have to learn from them just by surviving into the present, right here and right now.

What if the answer was simple? What if the answer was clutching your wheel with white knuckles, with the ocean’s cold salt water permeating into your bones, and steering your self, your ship, your body, and your life just one degree?

And what if I told you that after many many thousands of miles, after many many thousands of breaths and days and rising suns, that your ship would be somewhere so vastly far from where you had always expected it to be destined for?

What if it is in this one degree shift, that you can save your own life?

See, our lives, our ships, our bodies and minds and souls, are all exactly where they are, in any given moment. The minute we lie to ourselves and pretend we are somewhere far from where we are is the minute that we are overcome with a storm of darkness, of discord, and of disconnection with our truth.

We must realize that it is in this very moment, no matter what storms plague us, no matter how relentless the barrage of gales may be, no matter how cold and exhausted we undoubtedly are, we still have the courage to shift our ships just one subtle yet profoundly courageous degree.

I have thought long and hard about what this degree of mine will be, and have come to the realization that my degree is in the letting go.

The letting go of the belief that no longer serves me, the belief that keeps me stuck in the who-i-used-to-be rather than the who-i-am-yearning-to-become.

The belief that I deserve to hurt for every second that I am alive; the belief that my life is a worthless mistake that must be compensated for and punished.

So, I grasp my wheel. I turn my eyes from the crashing dark waves that lulled me into hopelessness for too many nights, and change my course.

I leave this belief to rest, and instead I believe I am real, I am a soul filled with wisdom and sacred truth, I am a window into infinite wonder and change, and I do belong. I belong here, alive, free of this old thread of darkness that has stayed woven into my heart for much too long.

And yet even with this shift I am not anywhere yet near calm waters. My ship is still reeling from unrelenting walls of surf, I am still fearful of the waters below. But, I am no longer headed for a continuation of that old darkness, I am setting a new course.

Degree by degree, we change our endings. With time and patience and an unending fight, we build our new harbors and tether ourselves and our ships to a life we have never before known.

Degree by degree, we leave our past selves behind and embrace the truest selves we can be; the beings we are when we hold both our present and our future selves with the utmost grace, while still carrying with both pain and gratitude the lessons our darkness has bestowed upon us. When we are integrated, when we are whole. Whole, just as we have been all along.

So, my dear friends. The time has come. What is the shift you know so wholly in your heart that you need to bring about?

What is the belief that is still stealing away your breath, leaving you incapable of moving forward?

What is the piece of your darkness that you need to relinquish? What is the piece of your darkness to which your soul cries “let go”, “let go”, “let go?”

And how, today, will you begin that shift? How will you being the turning of your ship, your being, and your life, to use this small movement to bring about the beginning of the truest freedom?

About Faye Bird
My name is Faye; four letters, a single syllable, but I am on a journey to become so much more. I am 20 years old, living in the California Bay Area, and after many dark years lost in the depths of anorexia, from which I did not believe I could ever survive, I am now a soul rediscovering what it means to feel whole, to find worth and purpose, and to accept my whole being as all that I am. Through words, yoga, art, volunteer work, and connection, I am cultivating the pieces of my being once again, and am so honored to have the opportunity to share my words here today. Keep on keeping on. Always. 

Read more of Faye's brilliant writings on her blog, The Art of Becoming.

 

Looking for new tools and inspiration for recovery?

Sign up to receive 3 free yoga-inspired tools for recovery plus news and updates about upcoming events and offerings.

Email Address Sign Up

Thank you! Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

*Healing is defined as the process of making or becoming sound or healthy again.
*To treat and treatment mean to care for or deal with medically or surgically and the management and care of a patient.

In my recovery from an eating disorder, healing has always been "my word." Healing feels like permission to mend, revive, restore. I visualize healing as en energy running through me like a thread gently renewing the connection between my mind, body, and spirit. I imagine physical and mental pain being enveloped by this nurturing energy that allows me boundless time and space to feel, process, and practice new patterns and perspectives until the place of pain is soothed---healed. 

I often refer to recovery as a healing path. Healing path allows me to feel more “in process” and keep an open mind to that process, whereas "recovered" and "recovery" elicit ideas of landing, arriving, or conquering a destination. I believe that no matter how long we are "recovered," "in recovery," or "recovering," if we are truly engaged in our lives we are always healing in some capacity as we attend to life's twists and turns.

Recent conversations with my Yoga Therapy clients have highlighted the significance of the word healing in their lives as well. One client in particular shared her profound realization of the difference between treating and healing her eating disorder. She shared that, to her, "healing" means (1) connecting to her "real" self and (2) accepting where she is with the intention to change. She told me healing feels empowering, like she is actively and purposefully choosing her actions, words, thoughts, and behaviors; that she is the energy that drives the course of her recovery journey.

My client shared that to treat the eating disorder, on the other hand, feels like the day in and day out "recovery activities" she has to do to stay out of treatment or maintain a baseline of wellness. These moments feel more rote, mandatory (but optional), and are perceived to be associated with less personal agency or power. 

Essentially, for this client, healing is personal and treating is medical or prescribed. 

I've been exploring treating and healing with other clients too, as I am fascinated by the nuances of these words and how they apply to recovery. These conversations and my own reflection on the topic have illuminated how both treating and healing are essential to recovery. It can't be one just one or the other.

Especially in early recovery, most of us need medical care and prescribed physical and mental care. We need to establish a foundation of wellness that only treatment (inpatient, outpatient, etc) can provide. From that stability, we can begin the work of healing. Without the daily "treating" activities (like following a meal plan, going to appointments, or not buying laxatives, for example), we aren't ready to receive healing. And surely, it takes time before doing those treating things feels OK or becomes the new normal.

As I see it then, healing comes in the working through the feelings around our daily treatment steps. It comes from practicing perseverance, trust, surrender, courage, strength, and all the virtues--the "weapons of the warrior" in Yoga speak--we possess.

Here's what I mean:

Treat = not weighing yourself obsessively
Heal = the perseverance to work through the anxiety of not knowing your weight 

Treat = following a meal plan
Heal = taking the hard steps to choose trust in your dietitian and talk out the fear about doing so 

Treat =  limiting time body checking
Heal = asserting courage to let go of depending on the mirror and processing angst around making this change

Treat = calling a friend when you want to restrict or binge
Heal = connecting with your strength to make the call in the first place and giving yourself credit for doing so

I could go on and on here, calling out how equally essential these two parts are to our recovery journeys. Both treating and healing can be tedious and take commitment, patience, repetition, and a whole lot of up and down. But we can handle that, we can ride that wave. We can treat the symptoms and heal the pain. 

When we are in the depths of fearful, painful, and insecure moments, we can become ensnared in eating disorder thoughts and behaviors or begrudgingly stay on the "treat" side by believing "this is as good as it gets" (I remember saying those exact words to my therapist many times in years past). That attitude blocks our healing capacity; it disconnects us from our truest sources of power, our "weapons of the warrior." Opening ourselves to healing as my client defined it (accepting where one is with the intention to change) lightens the "weight" of recovering from an eating disorder. It gives us permission to mend, revive, restore.

As you continue you on your healing path, I invite you to notice the interplay of treating and healing in your life. Give yourself the credit due for how far you have come. Acknowledge that you dig deep everyday. Honoring your grit and persistence is the very first step in healing. Honor it each day, make healing a daily practice. 

Looking for new "tools" and inspiration for recovery?

Sign up to receive 3 free yoga-inspired tools for recovery plus news and updates about upcoming events and offerings.

Email Address Sign Up

Thank you! Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

  

 

  

 

 

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

I dedicate this blog post to sharing a really sweet conversation I recently had with my 6-year-old daughter about appreciating our bodies. It went something like this:

Demetra: Mommy, my favorite part of my body are my eyelids, because I love to sleep and it feels so good when I close my eyes and sleep.

Me: I love sleep too!

Demetra: Mommy, what's your favorite part of your body?

Me: My favorite part of my body are my arms, because they are strong and allow me to hug and hold you and your sister. I can do yoga and rock climb, and reach with my arms for your hand to hold.

Demetra: That's nice, Mommy. I like my arms too.

And in that moment, that very pure moment, I thought to myself, after all these years of honest hard work, what a breath of fresh air to not miss a beat, to not even hesitate, or pretend for her sake to say something positive about my body. I could have said more, actually!

And what a gift to me, to witness Demetra celebrating bodies--celebrating HER body. What a cool little conversation between the two of us. Unforgettable. May both of my babies celebrate their bodies always.

Looking for new "tools" and inspiration for recovery?

Sign up to receive 3 free yoga-inspired tools for recovery plus news and updates about upcoming events and offerings.

Email Address Sign Up

Thank you! Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

By Sarah Kinsel, Guest Contributor

A short while ago, just under 1 year, I was in a partial hospitalization program at Castlewood. In honor of Valentine's Day, clients were given a “self-love” challenge for 1 week. I tend to think these types of activities are far too Hallmark holiday for my preference, but I made a fair attempt to participate. At the end of the week, I was to reward my attempt in taking a chance on loving myself. Looking back on that time in my life, I had absolutely no way of knowing just how much would manifest from my attempts at self-love.

Last year’s practice in self-love became a lesson in how to simultaneously hold two things that seem like complete opposites: strength and vulnerability. A few times over the last nine months I’ve done my fair share of mucking up the progress I had made towards a consistent meal plan AND that doesn’t necessarily mean I had relapsed. In starting the work of loving myself last February, I had begun the foundation for what would turn into compassion for myself when things (bills, school, relationship, work, etc.) did not go how I felt they should have gone. Side stepping the meal plan did/does not mean I have failed, but it has become a beacon that things may be more difficult than I would let myself believe.

Loving myself--believing in myself--has not been a decision I’ve made once and didn’t need to revisit; it has been moment-to-moment decisions and choices. It has been in the very cognizant choice to continue connecting and being present in my body, even if I was afraid of what my body was trying to tell me. It was in finding things and activities that I love, that I could do outside the eating disorder, that has given me so many opportunities to feel strong and resilient within myself, even though I was afraid of what being strong could mean.

Sometimes that act of self-love has come down to stopping, just for a moment, to breathe, notice what I am genuinely feeling, and giving those feelings space to be heard and felt.

The last year has been amazing, even when it wasn’t. The bottom hasn’t fallen out all the times that my body’s nervous system was telling me the world was ending. In completing my Master's degree, I was able to grasp the line between self-care and avoidance through being productive. I had traveled pretty far from what my heart was telling me I wanted to do and, now, I have found my way back to myself. And that’s really the big ‘thing’…being strong AND vulnerable, because it’s far more likely that life, and those things, are not so black and white. Rather, strength and vulnerability together is like a spark that guides and grounds me as I continue in and through my recovery process.

Sarah Kinsel, based out of Maryland, just completed her Masters degree in clinical mental health counseling and is working within the thanatology sector of therapy. As an individual that has struggled with an eating disorder for 17 years, she is savoring the ways she has connected to her body more recently, and the strong resolve this connection has given her in her own recovery.

 

Looking for new "tools" and inspiration for recovery?

Sign up to receive 3 free yoga-inspired tools for recovery plus news and updates about upcoming events and offerings.

Email Address Sign Up

Thank you! Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Yesterday I passed up 15 seconds of fame. I was invited to participate in a marketing campaign for a very well known brand name company. If I passed the interview, I'd be featured as an "everyday hero." In a 15-second video I'd share my story and about my work in the eating disorder community. That all sounded pretty great--really great! The catch was I had to do it wearing only underwear (remember, this is a marketing campaign, so of course there's a product to be promoted) and demonstrate what it feels like to be comfortable in my skin to express myself.

I spent hours examining myself. I measured the pros and cons of participating. I consulted with trusted friends and colleagues. I considered my husband's feelings, if I would feel proud to show the video to my daughters, if it aligned with my personal recovery values, and most of all, if it would inspire and empower others, especially my clients and the eating disorder community and all women. I also studied my ego in all of it, too. Certainly I was flattered to be asked, and who wouldn't want to have 15 seconds of fame?

In the end, I turned it down. Something in my gut knew this opportunity wasn't right for me. Although I truly do respect the marketing campaign's overarching message, I just didn't feel comfortable putting my body on display. Just 2 weeks ago I had new photographs taken for the banner image of my website because I didn't want the focus to be on my body in a yoga pose. I also insisted with the publisher of my upcoming book that the cover doesn't include bodies on it, because I don't want to promote "ideal" representations of beauty.

If I don't want to display bodies on the cover of my book, then how could it be appropriate for me to display my nearly naked body?

In my work as a yoga therapist, I teach others to relearn how to experience their bodies and find empowerment in the experience. I believe the empowerment is in the experience, not the exterior.

Now, a day later, after much time reflecting, I feel proud that I said no. I feel proud that I am clear with myself about who I want to be in my own recovery and for the people I am committed to serving. I feel proud of my values and integrity. I feel empowered knowing that when challenged, I chose to stay true to sharing my message in ways that align with my values and who I want to be in the world for myself, my daughters, and all on the healing path of eating disorder recovery and body image struggles.

I am thankful for the opportunity and for the gifts and lessons I learned from it being offered to me.

Looking for new tools and inspiration for recovery?

Sign up to receive 3 free yoga-inspired tools for recovery plus news and updates about upcoming events and offerings.

Email Address Sign Up

Thank you! Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

By Natalie A. Asayag, MSW, LSW, Guest Contributor

For individuals in recovery from an eating disorder, the nagging fear of a slip, lapse, or full-on relapse can underlie daily activities. When one has worked so hard to create a healthy life promoting recovery, this anxiety can feel omnipresent, lurking around every corner.

Fortunately, recovery doesn’t have to be riddled with fear. Taking time to explore and connect with your experiences, perspectives, and feelings through writing can significantly assuage the distress that comes from fear and anxiety.

Journaling is a valuable tool for guiding introspection and inspiration throughout recovery. Taking a big “exhale” in the form of exploration through writing will allow you the opportunity to explore your perspective on your path, journey, and adventure. Allow yourself to take some time to explore the following journaling prompts to get you started.

  • What does recovery look like to you? If you are unable to imagine this for yourself, imagine it for a friend. What would it look like for that individual? How would they feel along their journey? How would they know they are feeling better?
     
  • Which individuals within your support system who accept you for who you are? Have you worked to create healthy boundaries, despite the discomfort of doing so? If you haven’t, are you willing to assess the holes or negativity in your support system? How might you do this when you feel ready?
     
  • How did you handle a challenging situation one year ago versus how you would today? What is different? What lessons have you learned to help you make positive changes in your approach to challenges?
     
  • Can you identify the critical eating disorder voice? Do you allow your healthy, mindful voice to counter the unhealthy voice? How so? If not, what would you like this dialogue to look like
     
  • How present is your self-care routine? What makes you feel good? How often do you partake in these feel good activities and practices?
     
  • Do you hear yourself apologizing often? Tune in to your words and take some time to note how often and in what scenarios you find yourself saying “I’m sorry.” Do the scenarios warrant an apology or have you become accustomed to apologizing? If the latter, explore why.
     
  • Do you feel like a burden to those around you or do you feel you deserve to take up space in your everyday life? Just in case you forgot: it’s the latter.
     
  • How could you be kinder to yourself? More patient? 

Recovery takes time and patience, both with yourself and your journey. Journaling can be a valuable tool for keeping you connected to your values. Writing can also help you stay honest and in touch with how you are caring for yourself. If journaling is not your preference, then I encourage you to explore art, dance, and other forms of expression to help forge a solid self-connection. Remember: You are enough. You are worth recovery. You are not your eating disorder.

Natalie A. Asayag, MSW, LSW, is a psychotherapist and the co-owner and founder of Renew Wellness & Psychotherapy, LLC, located in historic downtown Easton, Pennsylvania. Much of her work focuses on disordered eating/eating disorders, anxiety and depression, body kindness, self-compassion and mindfulness. Natalie most recently presented at the 2017 PA-NASW Social Work Conference, focusing on the intersection of substance abuse and eating disorders. She enjoys helping clients reclaim their sense of self, promoting positive self worth. Renew Wellness & Psychotherapy, LLC can be found on Instagram and Facebook.

Looking for new tools and inspiration for recovery?

Sign up to receive 3 free yoga-inspired tools for recovery plus news and updates about upcoming events and offerings.

Email Address Sign Up

Thank you! Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Me climbing at the Philly Rock Gym Wyncote location.

I recently started rock climbing at a local gym. I’d been searching for an empowering activity that I can do alone and with my family. I quickly took to climbing for many reasons, one being that it reminded me of Yoga, just on a really steep, high wall. To move safely and successfully up the wall, I need to be super present and I must breathe to keep my body steady and mind alert.

Rock climbing is also an opportunity for me to practice two profound lessons of my eating disorder recovery—acceptance of the moment and letting go of perfection. Let’s face it, if I am anywhere but in the moment on the rock wall, I will fall or even hurt myself. Every movement requires my complete attention to harness strength and determination.

I'm especially excited that my 6- and 4-year old daughters are enjoying climbing. I am hopeful this activity will help them forge affirming relationships with their bodies and cultivate the virtues of resilience, confidence, and perseverance. Their expressions of amazement and pleasure when they reach a new point on the wall gives me great peace of mind, enforcing the hope that my girls will always be proud of their bodies.

Since adding rock climbing to my life, I’ve naturally been more hungry. In the past, exercise and food were complicated for me. I could never quite believe that I needed to eat more to compensate for my activity. This harmful belief caused grave problems two decades ago in my years of overexercising. Vestiges of that belief have showed up over the course of my recovery, especially with intense cardio workouts. I’ve learned to respect my truth that certain activities aggravate old ED beliefs versus view this reality as a limitation or failure. I am stronger when I engage in activities that inspire self-empowerment instead of self-doubt.

After a recent climb the words “give back to your body” came to the forefront of my mind. Expressions like “food is fuel” or “energy in, energy out” have never resonated with me. Sure, I understand and agree with the rationale of these sayings and others like them. But they aren’t my go tos when it comes to how I describe nourishing myself.

In all honesty, I think so many people used to say those sayings to me when I was in the eating disorder that I developed a visceral resistance to them. For me, and because of my history with the eating disorder, those common expressions feel empty of motivation or comfort.

I believe our recovery works best for each of us when we use language that most powerfully resonates with our personalities, values, and true selves. The more I tuned into this new mantra, “give back to your body,” the more right these words felt, the more deeply they resonated with my beliefs around how I want to nourish mind, body, and spirit.

After a climb, giving back to myself means satisfying my hunger, hydrating, stretching my muscles, and resting. When framed as “giving back to my body,” these self-care activities feel like an extension of the climb I had enjoyed, which is a palpable shift from the frustrating feeling of needing to fit in a meal or remember to hydrate on busy days. “Give back to your body” also incites a sense of permission to truly take care of myself and honors the fact that all day long I exert myself physically, mentally, emotionally in various capacities.

I plan to use this language with my daughters with the intention of instilling in them a sense of responsibility to care for their precious bodies with respect, diligence, and care.

How does this mantra, “give back to your body” resonate with you? I invite you to try it out or explore other language that will foster a kind and respectful relationship with your body. I also encourage you to explore all the areas in your recovery and life you can give back to your body.

Giving back to ourselves is a true act of recovery. Giving back to our bodies builds our strength to continue healing and expanding our possibilities for happiness.  

Looking for new "tools" and inspiration for recovery?

Sign up to receive 3 free yoga-inspired tools for recovery plus news and updates about upcoming events and offerings.

Email Address Sign Up

Thank you! Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Mending the severed relationship with our bodies is a vital yet difficult aspect of eating disorder recovery. There is great truth in the common saying that “body image is the last to go.” As our symptoms pick up momentum and take on a life of their own, our bodies become the battleground upon which the self-doubt and loathing play out. Intensely dislike yourself for a month, 1 year, 5 years, a decade, or half your life, and it’s no wonder that body image is the last to go in recovery. “Body disgust” becomes deeply ingrained in the brain, thoughts, and emotions. It becomes the narrative we live by, and often the one that defines us and locks us into unhappiness.   

Based on my own healing path and what I’ve observed as an eating disorder professional, I believe that negative body image is a trauma. Every time we stand in judgement of our bodies—criticizing, hating, pinching, despairing, wishing to be different—we widen the divide between feeling safe and unsafe in our bodies. We doubt them. Mistrust them. Worry they will turn on us. That they will disappoint us. Abandon us. That no matter how disciplined, we can never be certain that our body won’t betray us.

So often, in the frustration of not feeling at peace with our bodies, we bash ourselves by blaming our body image struggles on vanity. Or we compare our own strife with others’ stories of heartache and hardship, as if self-loathing isn’t a valid enough pain for one to carry. I assure you it is. That pain is traumatic. That divide within yourself is traumatic. And it takes time to heal.

Rebuilding trust with our bodies is essential to strengthening body image. It’s only through establishing trust that we can begin to feel safe in our bodies again and experience a sense of peace and wholeness. In the same way we don’t wake up one morning and automatically love our bodies, we also don’t magically begin trusting them without practice and commitment.

I’d like to share with you 6 ways to work on building trust with your body. These may seem small and insignificant at first glance, but if you proactively integrate them into your life little by little, they will make a difference.

No. 1. Talk kindly to yourself. Watch the way you speak to yourself. What words do you use to express how you feel about your body? I challenge you to call yourself out when you are being mean and talk back with kindness. Tell yourself you are working on feeling better in your skin, that you are working on building trust with your body. If it feels right, you can even apologize to yourself. You don’t need to say things you don’t mean, but it is important to verbalize your efforts in making a shift in your relationship with your body. Doing so will be a tangible reminder to yourself.

No. 2. Remove what reinforces distrust. Old pictures, scales, mirrors, social media pages and websites—get rid of anything in your physical and mental space that reinforces bad feelings about your body. It will be impossible to rebuild trust with your body if the first thing you do in the morning is read Thinspiration memes or look at old pictures of a different and probably very unhealthy time in your life. Those items are cluttering your recovery and personal space and reinforcing the “unsafe” feeling. Free yourself of the limitations those things symbolize.

No. 3. Limit mirror and closet time. It’s so easy to lose track of time inspecting our bodies in front of the mirror or changing our outfits over and over in the fury of trying to find one that looks “ok.” Time is precious. Your time matters. Filling up time with self-doubting thoughts and expending energy on frustration, disgust, and other strongly negative feelings sabotages your trust with your body. Put limits on how long you will allow yourself to get dressed for the day. Start with small reductions in time and slowly increase them as you feel more trusting of your right to be in your body and in the world versus trapped in distress front of the mirror.

No. 4. Be with people who raise you up. Choose to spend time with others who are not obsessing over their bodies or food. Trust me on this: be with those who raise you up rather than keep you down. Those people are not wrong for their own struggles, however, as you are building trust with your body it is imperative that you surround yourself with people and energy that uplifts your hard work.

No. 5. Let others in on your body image goals. If it feels right, share with supports that you are working on building trust with your body. Consider how they may be of help to you throughout the process. We don’t have to go this road alone, and you deserve support.

No. 6. Remind yourself why often. I strongly encourage you to journal, list, draw, or vision board all the gifts that will result from having a trusting relationship with your body. I also encourage you to remind yourself of these gifts daily. On hard days, you can use your what you wrote or drew to reinforce why you are choosing to persevere and why all your efforts are worth it and truly necessary.  

Remember, healing the trauma of negative body image takes time, patience, and determination. Work at your own pace, but don’t give up. With every effort to rebuild trust with ourselves, we mend a severed connection. We become less fractured and more whole. I believe such peace of body and mind is possible with trust.  

Looking for new "tools" and inspiration for recovery?

Sign up to receive 3 free yoga-inspired tools for recovery plus news and updates about upcoming events and offerings.

Email Address Sign Up

Thank you! Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

My husband and I were in our mid 30s when our first daughter was born. Although we were elated to become parents, we were also shocked into broad sweeping life changes. We both had successful careers, a vibrant social life, a variety of athletic activities that we enjoyed together and individually, and practically no limitations on our time. Now, as parents, our hearts and lives were changed forever.

Sleep deprivation, overwhelm, and a general sense of disconnection with myself began to settle in. I no longer went to yoga, very rarely did I see friends, and I was too tired to spend quality time with my husband. But, that was all OK, I told myself, because now I was a mother, and my soul/sole purpose was to nurture my child.

Just as life began to ease, as my husband and I had a better grip on parenting, we were blessed with a second pregnancy. Although I modeled nothing but joy about this news to the world, internally I was unclear about my feelings. Did I truly want another baby? I was finally sleeping all night again and beginning to feel less overwhelmed. I did not utter these thoughts for fear of sounding selfish and ungrateful. And so, as I carried my baby, I also carried a secret—I was uneasy about having a second child, fearful of more overwhelm.

My relapse began the very day after my beautiful second daughter was born. Anorexia reclaimed my brain, and it took merciless root. As I held my baby in the hospital, filled with all the mother’s love possible, a sinister drive to drop the baby weight as fast as possible rang in my head. I spiraled into severe restriction and was hospitalized before her first birthday.

Years later, I am a strong woman and mother, confident and committed in my purpose to hold space for others' healing from an eating disorder as a yoga therapist. This is not to say motherhood is easy, that I always feel euphoric happiness with my children, or that I don't bump up against triggering moments in the overwhelm of temper tantrums and household responsibilities. I assure you, I do, and I have a hunch that many moms out there in eating disorder recovery do as well.

In reflecting on my own experiences as a mom, especially how isolating both motherhood and recovery can be, I felt called to open up the discussion around motherhood and eating disorder recovery. I reached out to my friend and fellow mom and recovered colleague, Melainie Rogers, founder of Balance Eating Disorder Treatment Center, in New York City about my ideas. From candidly sharing our own challenges and experiences as moms in recovery, we were inspired to create a video series on motherhood and eating disorder recovery. Our intention for this project was to offer support and let other women know they are not alone in the challenges of motherhood and recovery. 

In August, I went to NYC and spent an afternoon with Melainie filming our 4-part video series, covering topics like body image, what's hard about maintaining recovery, the importance of support and self-care, and how to help our children have a healthy relationship with food. We shared laughs, tears, and complete honesty. It was a day I will never forget, and luckily, we captured most of it on video to share with you. 

INTRO TO MOTHERHOOD & EATING DISORDER RECOVERY SERIES - YouTube

I invite you to view our INTRO VIDEO to the MOTHERHOOD & EATING DISORDER RECOVERY series and check out all four of our videos. Here's a snapshot of the topics we discuss:

As many of my closest friends have heard me say, motherhood is the greatest and hardest. It's taken time to allow myself to hold both of those feelings without guilt or shame. Melainie and I support you in your efforts in your life to embrace your feelings around motherhood and recovery. We sincerely hope you find our stories helpful and comforting. Also, we encourage you to share your experiences in the comments. What is hard for you about being a mom and maintaining recovery? What has helped you to manage motherhood and recovery? What's your self-care look like? Share anything at all! Us moms need each other, and we all will most definitely benefit from knowing we are not alone in our victories and challenges. 

Looking for new "tools" and inspiration for recovery?

Receive 3 free yoga-inspired tools to keep you feeling empowered and on your healing path.

Email Address Sign Up

Thank you! Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Read Full Article
Visit website

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free year
Free Preview