Perspectives

What If Body Acceptance Doesn't Work? How About Body Neutrality?

I see a life coach.

The funny thing is, I call her my life coach when I’m doing well. I call her my therapist when I’m doing not-so-well. Because really, she’s one in the same.

According to her — and the firm for which she works — the difference between a therapist and a life coach is just that: where you are in life. If we were looking at a scale that goes from -10 to 10, a therapist would be there for you if you were on the negative side of zero, helping you to reach a healthier, more neutral place. If you’re already there, though, a life coach helps you improve that position, moving you up the scale into more happiness and life satisfaction.

A Worthwhile Journey

 

It didn’t start out as an eating disorder. If you had asked me back then, I would have never admitted to having one. I was a collegiate athlete, studying health…there was no way I would allow something so terrible to ravage my body. I needed my body, and so did my teammates.

Why it is Hard to Be an Eating Disorder Recovery Advocate

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It is impossible to articulate just how challenging the days with my eating disorder were, and to remember all the various roadblocks to overcome. It is equally as challenging when preparing for a speaking event to know what type of information would be the most helpful, and what people need to hear. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me because of my experience; I want them to learn, and act, and change.

Ever Present: The Potential to Relapse

Last June, I hit a milestone in my life with the celebration of my 40th birthday. Since then, it has been an interesting 7 months or so of reflection, soul searching, tears, and pondering how I am going to spend the next half plus years of my life. American actress Jane Fonda describes aging as having 3 acts, just like a theatre play (for more details check out her TEDTalk). I like that way of labeling these transitions of aging. I suppose that being 40 puts me in Act II of my life, where I have developed a keen desire to understand myself better, to find my life’s purpose (yes, I’m still searching), and to ultimately live up to my potential (whatever that may be). But in the corner of my mind, while I reflect on the meaning and next steps in my life, lurking in the shadows are some familiar voices – those damn eating disorder thoughts.

EDAW Reflections: Thinking Beyond the Stereotypes

So often we discuss body image, weight preoccupation, and eating disorders as issues that affect girls and women. However, when you take a closer look, through research, clinical cases, or through discussion with boys and men, it’s very clear that these issues are not exclusive to one particular gender. Throughout my pregnancy, I often thought about how I would promote a positive body image and healthy eating attitudes in my son. I never thought of difficulties in these areas as “girl problems.” As a new mom, I continue to reflect on the topics of body image, self-esteem, and eating related issues, and I’m already trying to put some positive practices into place. Thus, as this EDAW has come to an end, I’d like to share a letter I wrote for my son, with the hope that others will be inspired to share similar messages with the boys and men in their lives.

Six Steps to Creating Active Group Participants

Therapists- have you ever wondered why your patient who actively participates in individual therapy becomes invisible during group treatment? They may be shy or socially anxious, or perhaps autistic traits are impacting their participation. Researchers have demonstrated an overlap between eating disorders and autism spectrum disorder (Westwood, H. Et al, 2015).

The Importance of Taking Risks in Recovery

 

Even for individuals who have not been affected by eating disorders, there is an impulse to stay with what is comfortable and familiar. A comfort zone is a safe place to be; but no major growth ever happens there. In order to truly grow and strengthen your recovery, it is critical to continue to challenge yourself on a regular basis, whether it’s trying new restaurants, facing “fear or trigger foods”, being more flexible with exercise, taking rest-days, or resisting the urge to engage in food rituals.

I DID NOT Wake Up Like This: A Dose of Social Media Literacy

Long gone are the days where editing your photos simply means applying an Instagram filter to them (and until recently I thought of this as being pretty advanced). The use of Photoshop has always seemed like some kind of magic reserved for professional use on models, actresses, and singers. Anyone who has ever received any media literacy education knows of the dangers that can come from comparing ourselves to these fabricated images.

Having Compassion During EDAW - Let's Remember Your "Self"

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Imagine if a dear friend was going through a difficult time dealing with a personal failure in their life. How would you comfort them? You would probably not criticize or blame them for making a mistake.. Instead, when responding to a friend whom you care very much about, you would most likely provide them with empathy and kindness.

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