Posts Tagged ‘Recovery’

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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Navigating the Pressures of Swimsuit Season

A group of friends at the beach

Swimsuit season. Beach body. Bikini ready.

The terms are thrown around casually every summer. In regular conversation, on social media, and via media and advertising, we’re hit with messages that suggest we must prepare and perfect our bodies before changing into warm-weather clothing. “Get ready” for the summer, the messages say, by getting your body “ready.” “Follow this workout, stick to that diet plan, and you’ll look and feel your best!” The noise is hard to escape.

This summer, we’re confronted by messages not only about “beach bodies,” but about “post-pandemic bodies” as well. We hear and see chatter about getting our “pre-pandemic bodies” back. Diet and exercise routines are sold as a way to “fix” any COVID-related body changes or to make up for the pandemic time we “should’” have spent fixing our bodies. Amid this noise, we may also feel anxiety about others seeing us in person again, fearing body judgment or commentary. 

Combine the “summer body” pressure with the “post-pandemic body” pressure, and it’s no wonder that this summer is a challenging time for those experiencing body image concerns, disordered eating, and eating disorders. But while Summer 2021 is a unique time to reenter and reconnect with the world and our loved ones, we actually don’t need to change our bodies at all to do it.

In this article, Dr. Jillian Lampert, Chief Strategy Officer of The Emily Program and Veritas Collaborative, helps us explore how we can all practice self-compassion this “swimsuit season” and help our loved ones do the same.

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Redefining My Relationship with Food

A group of friends eating at a picnic table

**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 woman in eating disorder recovery.

For most of my life, I thought of food as the enemy. I actually used to say that it was my biggest weakness. It was like a drug I was supposed to avoid instead of something my body needed to live. If I ate only a certain amount or type of food, I was being good, but if I ate more than that limit or a “bad” food, I was being bad. The food made me bad (or so I thought), and therefore it was something I needed to fear or fight. Just like an enemy.

About two years ago, a therapist told me something that helped me finally move away from that thinking. I was working on challenging the idea of “good” foods vs. “bad” foods, and week after week, this therapist kept telling me that food is neutral. It still wasn’t clicking. I still couldn’t get away from the categories. And then she encouraged me to reframe it: to think less of the particular food—and whether it is “good” or “bad”—and to think about my relationship to it instead. Instead of thinking, “x food is bad,” she recommended that I say, “My relationship to x food could be improved.” Rewording it in this way helped me see that it was not the food that was the problem, but it was my relationship with the food that was.

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Strategies for Grocery Shopping in Eating Disorder Recovery

A person selecting produce in a grocery store

The average number of products in a grocery store tops 28,000, according to the Food Marketing Institute. It’s enough to overwhelm any shopper. For those with eating disorders, the tremendous selection can further heighten difficulties with food and make grocery shopping an errand that is anything but enjoyable.

Food is a common preoccupation and trigger in eating disorders of all types, including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, and OSFED. Thoughts of food often consume the day, as do rules of what, when, and how much should be eaten. The abundance of food at the grocery store can exacerbate these thoughts, sparking significant anxiety, fear, and distress upon entry. Factor in the store aisles awash with food labels and fellow shoppers commenting on food, and it’s no surprise that the grocery store is a highly stressful environment for those with eating disorders.

In this article, we provide several strategies for grocery shopping in eating disorder recovery. Learn how to navigate the shelves in person or virtually, and ensure you check out with items that serve your recovery.

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Recovery Conversations: A Q&A with Melanie Stephen 

Melanie Stephen

**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. This story includes mention of self-harm. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Melanie Stephen is a wife and mother to two beautiful girls. She obtained her graduate degree in social work in 2020 and began pursuing a fulfilling career in the field of eating disorders. She has volunteered her time as a mentor and support group leader, while also working as an Inpatient Clinician for those struggling with eating disorders and co-occurring illnesses. She is pursuing a life that is full of adventures, opportunities, and possibilities that allows for self-growth, passion, authenticity, and genuineness.

Through her recovery, she has learned to be true to herself, scars and all, and to allow the world to see that it’s realistic to be perfectly imperfect. She has earned her certification as a Certified Eating Disorder Recovery Coach and Certified Eating Disorder Peer Mentor, as well as certification in Expressive Therapy. She also plans to continue advocating for the Eating Disorders Coalition and become a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. It is her deepest hope that with her personal and professional experiences, she will be able to help others in their journey to recovery and be free from disordered eating.  

Recovery Conversations is a question-and-answer series that features voices and stories of eating disorder recovery. Melanie Stephen joins us today to reflect on the “roller coaster ride” of her recovery and the lessons it has for others currently struggling.

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Episode 54: Building Body Trust with Holly Toronto

Holly Toronto

Episode description:

Holly Toronto is a Certified Master Level Coach who specializes in body image. She has five years of experience helping people stop prioritizing other people’s expectations of beauty, belief, or behavior so that they can live their life from a place of wholeness, fully aligned with the truth of who they are. Holly joins us in this episode of Peace Meal to explore factors that impact our relationship with our bodies, as well as some strategies to improve it. 

Holly first unpacks how purity culture shaped the way she learned to relate to her own body. Messages about sexuality contributed to body distrust and triggered negative body image at a young age. Her body shame increased as she grew into early adulthood and experienced acne. She adopted a “pure food” diet meant to clear her skin, but lost weight and received validation for that instead.

Though it seemed normal and even “healthy,” in reality, the highly restrictive diet was taking a serious toll on Holly’s mental and physical wellbeing. And then came a turning point. Holly shares how finding intuitive eating impacted her life and career by challenging misguided ideas of health and set her on a path toward food freedom and body trust. She dispels common myths about intuitive eating and describes how she walks alongside her clients who adopt it. Emphasizing the importance of body trust and partnership, she offers tips for anyone seeking to heal their relationships with their bodies.

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