Today is Independence Day in the United States. When I think of independence and freedom, I also think about BODIES. My work is body liberation. Body liberation is the radical idea that all bodies deserve respect, compassion, and equal value. It throws off cultural standards of beauty, saying “Fuck this. I’m not interested in your…
There’s a bunch of lingo in the eating disorder treatment world that can be confusing. You’ve probably seen me mention Health at Every Size or HAES many times. For a lot of folks, HAES is a relatively new concept. So what the heck is it? And why should you be interested? Here’s a description from…
Diet culture is like social media. It grabs your attention, feeds you a fantasy, and leaves you longing for connection when you’ve decided to kick it to the curb. But by removing yourself (even for a little while) you allow yourself to get clear.
Over Memorial Day weekend, I took a social media sabbatical for about four days. It doesn’t seem like a long time, but it definitely made a difference in my wellbeing.
Eating disorders are like an asshole college ex-boyfriend. Super seductive. Keeps you hanging but calls when you’re feeling desperate. Hard to break up with because he makes you feel really good sometimes (but makes you question your self-worth most of the time). After your breakup, you know hooking up is going to make you feel terrible but tell yourself, “It’ll just be this one time. We’re super casual.” (Heartbreak ensues).
Breaking up for good with your eating disorder can be the same way…
If you read my last wedding post or have ever been to a wedding, you know there’s a lot of emotion when folks tie the knot. Much of that emotion gets wrapped into body stuff: the dress, attendee’s desired weight loss to meet a size goal or look good for photos, reevaluation of life goals…everyone seems to have their own agenda when it comes to body image and weddings.
I was pretty stuck when it came to getting my own wedding plans off the ground because of these hangups. But, surprisingly, wedding planning actually helped my eating disorder recovery.
Anxiety is like a border collie looking to herd sheep. It gets anxious and runs in circles if it doesn’t have a job. Our brains work the same way. Anxiety can be hard to overcome because your brain is designed to think and our thoughts can make us anxious (especially when we’re stressed, tired, hungry). But anxiety doesn’t have to rule your life. Our brains have what’s called “plasticity,” meaning they can be retrained like that border collie. By repeatedly practicing skills to cope, you’re actually changing your brain wiring. It takes patience, but it’s possible.
Bathing suits and I have a sordid history. I was wearing a swimsuit the first time I noticed other girls had different body shapes. I was 10. Here’s what I wish I could say to her.
I have always loved swimming and never used to mind bathing suits. I remember being very proud of my first bikini. It made me feel older, imagining myself like the young women I’d see on the beach in their bikinis. I loved the freedom of my bare belly in the ocean and TBH how easy it was to pee without a one-piece.
Swimming came easily to me. I loved (and still do) the freedom of the water gliding against my skin. The feeling of weightlessness (not because of weight, just because it felt like I was in space…but under water). The white noise echo of the city pool that made me feel like I was in my own world.
Bathing suits became more challenging, however. When I was 10 years old, at a swim meet, I remember looking at the other girls and noticed my belly stuck out beyond my chest. I remember thinking there was something wrong with that, but not knowing why.
Finding a new counselor can be overwhelming and confusing. So many choices! Too many therapist-y words! Here are my tips for shopping around.
Maybe you’re just getting started looking for a therapist or you’ve already been working with someone but it’s not the right fit. It’s time for you to find someone you’ll enjoy working with, who can help you with your mental health, and hopefully help you on your way to dealing better with the challenges in your life.*A note about “right” fit: Your relationship with your therapist (i.e. not romantically speaking, but the way you two work together on the issues you bring up, the synergy in the room, feeling comfortable in the therapist’s office) is probably one of the most important parts of seeing a counselor. If you don’t feel comfortable working with that person, you’re probably not going to trust sharing a bunch of personal stuff, so the counseling work–your inner self work–isn’t going to go as far. You’re paying a therapist for their expertise and *hopefully* are willing to figure your shit out, so make sure that person is someone you want to work with!
We’re adding a new segment: Ask Me A Question! Things get much more interesting when I hear from others and give practical suggestions for dealing with anxiety and eating disorders. No guarantees about tidy answers, short-form writing, and no f-bombs. Let’s dive in! (Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. I’m not a doctor, consult your own therapist, read and take suggestions at your own risk).
Growing up, pancakes held a special place at my house. They signified Dad or my grandfather (Papa) cooking breakfast and time spent together in the kitchen before everyone else was downstairs. Always an early riser, I’d come down to a glass of Donald Duck orange juice and either of them sharing the “secrets” to a perfect pancake. Admittedly, I never knew anyone who made pancakes as good as my dad and Papa. No burns. Always an even light brown on both sides. The perfect amount of fluffiness without being too cake-like.