Posts Tagged ‘Guest Bloggers’

P.R.E.P. for the Holidays

A place setting with orange leaves on the plate and around the plate with pumpkins on the table

As the season changes to fall, our attention is drawn toward the upcoming holidays. Often marketed as the “most wonderful time of the year,” the holidays can be an especially challenging time for those dealing with disordered eating and eating disorders.

Now is the time to prepare for this approaching holiday season so you can feel the greatest level of support for your recovery efforts and create the opportunity to engage in what can be enjoyed or appreciated. Here are a few tips on how to P.R.E.P. for the holidays.

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The Longest Match: Rallying to Defeat an Eating Disorder in Mid-Life: A Q&A with Betsy Brenner

Betsy Brenner

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, or symptom use. Please use your own discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Betsy Brenner is a high school tennis coach, bereavement group facilitator, and a retired hospital attorney. For many years, she worked as a hospice volunteer and speaker on grief and loss. More recently, Betsy has been an eating disorder recovery speaker, peer support mentor, and support group co-leader. Her recovery story has been shared widely on many eating disorder blogs and websites. Originally from Rochester, New York, Betsy and her husband Jeff have resided in Barrington, Rhode Island for 30 years and are the proud parents of three grown children. 

Here Betsy tells us about her memoir, The Longest Match: Rallying to Defeat an Eating Disorder in Mid-Life, how healing from trauma doesn’t have an age limit, and how sharing your story can be incredibly empowering.

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How Coping With Another Diagnosis is a Big Deal in Recovery

Chocolate kisses and an apple shaped like hearts

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

While navigating her own recovery journey at The Emily Program, Teresa Schmitz discovered a hidden gift in being known as a great listener with a compassionate heart. Being earmarked as an IT Leader who was more into the people on her teams than the technology they were building, she realized her purpose was beyond her title. She connected the dots and soon realized her purpose was to help empower others. She pursued her dreams of becoming a coach and launched her own coaching business, My Best Self Yet.  She now helps women feel empowered to navigate the journey of loving themselves unconditionally. She also empowers others to know and use their character strengths in the In It Together group coaching program. Learn more about Teresa’s story and follow My Best Self Yet on FacebookInstagram, and her blog.

Grief. We usually associate it with what happens when someone passes away, especially someone near and dear to us. It’s “normal” for people to grieve in that situation. We send cards. We call them up. We tell them how sorry we are to hear about their loss. We expect that they will need time off from work. We expect that they will cry and be sad. It’s a given. It’s grief after all.             

Did you know that grief can also show up when navigating a new health diagnosis during your eating disorder recovery journey?

I didn’t recognize this was the case until a recent appointment with my eating disorder dietitian. I’d been diagnosed with heart disease after a calcium CT scan in early February revealed that I have significant calcium built up in my left ventricle. This ventricle, if blocked with enough calcium build-up, can lead to a fatal heart attack since it’s the main artery. It’s why they call it the “widow maker.”

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Breaking the Silence

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

This blog was submitted anonymously by a person in eating disorder recovery.

I do not know if I remember how to speak. My voice still cracks, I still stutter. I think my heart broke alongside my throat. I miss the ways I could sway people. Now all I hear are disjointed sounds mimicking someone incompetent. I watched as my body grew and my emotions and soul shrunk. It’s hard to breathe now, without a throat to swallow the oxygen to fill parched lungs. Words won’t come out right, but I am learning, re-teaching myself how to speak.

My first ever therapy session went smoothly. She asked questions, I answered them, and that was that. Our second session did not go as well. I was quiet. Not the quiet type who does not speak loudly. No. I was the type of quiet that barely said two words. I was a closed book with a chain wrapped tightly around it, locked with an iron latch. She patiently waited while I learned how to shape my mouth into words. Over time, I began sharing more information but remained mostly silent.  

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Traditions

A computer with a letter resting on the keyboard

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

While navigating her own recovery journey at The Emily Program, Teresa Schmitz discovered a hidden gift in being known as a great listener with a compassionate heart. Being earmarked as an IT Leader who was more into the people on her teams than the technology they were building, she realized her purpose was beyond her title. She connected the dots and soon realized her purpose was to help empower others. She pursued her dreams of becoming a coach and launched her own coaching business, My Best Self Yet. She now helps women feel empowered to navigate the journey of loving themselves unconditionally. She also empowers others to know and use their character strengths in the In It Together group coaching program. Learn more about Teresa’s story and follow My Best Self Yet on FacebookInstagram, and her blog.

A tradition of mine was started on August 13, 2017. That was about a week shy of when my daughter was heading off to college for the first time and moving away from home. It was also a little more than two months shy of my official eating disorder diagnosis.

At that time in my life, I was struggling with not only my eating disorder (unbeknownst to me at the time), but also underlying depression and anxiety. It was a time when I tried hard to find small bits of hope in the everyday of life yet would come up short many days due to the depression and loud eating disorder. That summer, I had been painfully counting down the days until my daughter would leave (as if my life would stop when she did), rather than counting up the hours I had with her in the present moment. I was finding all the things “wrong” rather than all the blessings I had. To say it was a tough time in my life is an understatement.

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Outgrowing Ed’s Clothes

Teresa Schmitz with shirt that says Beautiful Capable Worthy

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

While navigating her own recovery journey at The Emily Program, Teresa Schmitz discovered a hidden gift in being known as a great listener with a compassionate heart. Being earmarked as an IT Leader who was more into the people on her teams than the technology they were building, she realized her purpose was beyond her title. She connected the dots and soon realized her purpose was to help empower others. She pursued her dreams of becoming a coach and launched her own coaching business, My Best Self Yet.  She now helps women feel empowered to navigate the journey of loving themselves unconditionally. She also empowers others to know and use their character strengths in the In It Together group coaching program. Learn more about Teresa’s story and follow My Best Self Yet on FacebookInstagram, and her blog.

Self-love journeys are not easy. They cause you to reflect on your beliefs and challenge what society has taught you about your worth and your body.

About three months into my own self-love journey, I spent a few hours doing something that challenged some deeply rooted beliefs. As homework in between my weekly sessions, my therapist suggested that I part with clothes that no longer fit me. She told me it would set me free. I didn’t realize how emotional this would be when I decided to do it one Saturday afternoon.

I went through my closet and gathered up clothes that I’d been shaming myself with. These clothes had fit me only months before when I was on an appetite suppressant that resulted in weight loss. But they no longer fit me now. Former diet plans taught me to keep these clothes as a reminder of what I once could fit into and should aim to return to. Shaming was an everyday approach to getting into those clothes again (along with the next best diet). I thought it was what you did to love yourself. You kept the smaller clothes as a reminder, and you quickly got rid of ones that became too big. I spent hundreds of dollars on clothes in a short period of time. How could I part with the clothes I bought at a “normal”-size women’s clothing store? I thought.

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