Eating Disorder Recovery is Possible

 source: recoveryspiration

source: recoveryspiration

It's National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and I wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to you if you are currently struggling.  You may feel like there is no hope, like you're at the bottom of a mountain that seems impossible to climb, but I want to let you know that recovery IS possible.  I see it every day.  I tell all of my clients that if I didn't believe in full recovery, I wouldn't do this work.  It doesn't matter how long you've had your ED or how severely you're struggling.  There is hope, and I PROMISE there is so much freedom and joy waiting for you if you embark on this journey.  

My former client and rockstar, Amy Sullivan, wrote the letter below to help inspire people who are at the beginning of their recovery journey.  She gave me permission to publish it here.  Now that she is in recovery, she wrote a letter to her former self, from her future self about what she wished she had known when she started her recovery journey.  I hope it inspires you.  You can also check out the amazing work she does with her business JOY'D getting the message out that recovery is possible here.

Dear Amy,

Fragile, tired girl, today’s the day, today is the day you enter treatment for the second time around.  You may think you know what you’re getting yourself into, but this time is different, this time you’re entering treatment for YOU, not for anyone else.  You’re probably sitting there thinking, “I’m not that bad, I don’t need treatment” but let me remind you how miserable you are, just because you aren’t in a hospital bed doesn’t mean you don’t deserve help. I know how hard your journey has been. Here’s some advice for you...

Trust your treatment team: Right now you probably aren’t too sure about your team, you’re still getting to know them, so trusting them seems so hard.  Let me tell you, they’re the best of the best.  You were blessed with the greatest dietitian and counselor that money can buy.  They aren’t going to let you get away with anything, but remind yourself that it is a good thing.  For now, just do whatever they say, you can do it kicking and screaming {and some things you will do kicking and screaming}, as long as you do it.

Be thankful for those who went before you: You will ask yourself time and time again if recovery is really possible.  You will have people in your life who tell you they don’t think you’ll ever recover.  Find the stories of those who have gone before you and listen to them.  Soak in the words of those people who are living proof that recovery is not only possible, but oh so worth it.  Cling onto these stories of hope when things seem hopeless. 

You’ll gain so much more than just weight: I’ll be honest, weight restoration sucks. Having to get rid of most of your wardrobe is painful, but there is no way around it.  At times you will think that you are losing everything, but let me tell you what you will gain. You will gain the chance to watch your niece grow up, and she will be the cutest little girl ever.  You will gain days full of laughter and joy.  You will gain the opportunity to travel, to watch sunsets over the ocean and to eat amazing food. 

Your parents will come around: You don’t realize this now, but this is almost equally as hard on your parents as it is on you.  You know the feeling you get when you see your dog in pain?  Multiply that times 10,000 to get what they’re feeling.  One day soon, your mom will become your best friend and your dad your biggest supporter.

One day you’ll share your story: Right now you’re not even sure if your story will have a happy ending, but it will.  Right now you still have a hard time uttering the word anorexia. You will one day share your story on the news, in front of your church and at your alma mater. Remember that non-profit you would scour their page late at night looking for encouragement?  You’ll one-day work for them. You’ll one day send over 300 pairs of earrings to eating disorder treatment centers across the U.S. to remind those brave women that recovery is possible. 

You can do this {even though you don’t think that you can, you totally can}!

Love,

Amy

If you or a loved one is struggling with an Eating Disorder or disordered eating, please reach out for help.  You can call the NEDA Hotline at (800) 931-2237 or you can use their click to chat function here.  You can also reach out to me at info@mindfuleatsnutrition.com.  If you're unsure if you have an eating disorder you can use the NEDA screening tool here.  You can also watch the video below about signs and symptoms of an eating disorder.

One of the hallmarks of eating disorders is believing that "it's not that serious".  Believe me, it is.  Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate.  Please don't wait to get help!  Let today be the start or re-start of your recovery journey, because YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Sincerely, 

Nikki

NEDA Awareness.jpg

How to Love Yourself and Why It's So Important

 

All about Self-Love

It’s Time to Love Yourself.  You Deserve It.

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Today is a day we always think about showing or giving love to others.  I have a challenge for you though – what if we were to step back and think about showing that same love to ourselves?  How much happier might we be?  How much more capacity to love and give to others would we have?  Today my wish for you is that you show yourself as much loves as you do for others

Because we are human beings, we have all experienced self-hate in one form or another.  Sometimes it’s hating our physical bodies.  Sometimes it’s being harsh and judgmental of our own actions or thoughts.   To manage this hate and discontent, our brain searches desperately for ways to change our body or change who we are to fit a certain mold that might be more lovable. 

I often hear “If I just lost “x” number of pounds, then I could be happy” or “If I were better at “x” then I could be just as successful as this person”.  But what if we made a complete 180 with our thinking:  What if you started practicing accepting the person you are right now including the body you currently live in?  What if you decided to choose yourself instead of constantly wishing you were someone else or looked differently?   I know this sounds like a radical thought but hang with me.

The recent action by Weight Watchers to offer a free membership to teens this summer shows that the body and self-hate message starts EARLY.  This study found that 50% of the 3rd-6th graders interviewed wanted to WEIGH LESS.  70% had heard about dieting from family members.  Wow.  

I so desperately want to change this dissatisfaction trajectory for you.  I want to change it for every child out there who feels like they aren’t good enough.  Will you help me do that?

Today, instead of giving all our love to others while we secretly sit by and hold on to self-hatred and body dissatisfaction, let’s make the choice to think about all the reasons we are thankful for our body, for ourselves. 

I have a feeling that if we make the commitment to do this some INCREDIBLY POWERFUL things could happen.  When you love yourself, the world is yours for the taking. 

How to make an Active Choice to Love Yourself

Because I know this whole self-love thing doesn’t come easily for most of us, I have some ideas to get you started.  Remember that saying, Love is a verb?  It’s true and definitely true when it comes to loving yourself.  Its an active choice.  You will have days where you feel great about yourself and some where you don’t.  Finding ways to actively show yourself love will strengthen your inner compassionate self. 

1. Write a love letter to yourself

OK I know this sounds weird and mushy gushy, but I promise it can be powerful.  You might find you have trouble thinking of nice things to say about yourself.  I always tell my clients to develop their compassionate self, start with pretending it’s a close friend or loved one saying the nice things to you.  Or think about what you would say to someone you care about.  Here’s one I wrote to myself:

Dear Self,
Wow, what a year this has been! This year I'm more thankful for my body than ever before.  My body did some incredible things - it grew, nourished and birthed a beautiful baby boy.It's now continuing to sustain him through breast milk.  
It's amazing what this body is capable of.  I'm thankful my body is healing from that birth and that I'm able to run and play with my 2.5 year old again.  Physical and emotional change can be hard, and it feels good to focus on what my body can do, rather than compare myself to others, or try to measure up to impossible standards, created for postpartum women by our society.  There will be no "bouncing back" or crazy diets happening here!  
I'm also proud of myself.  I'm proud for the times this year when things felt impossible, and I kept putting one foot in front of the other.  I'm proud of myself for asking for help when I needed it.  I'm proud of the times when things didn't turn out how I expected, and I chose to acknowledge it for what it was, learn from it and move forward.  Thank you for choosing to be you!
Love, Nikki

2. Do something nice for yourself

What do you need?  What will make you feel human again?  It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.  Sometimes it’s curling up in bed and reading a good book.  Maybe it’s a new haircut, or a massage.  What brings you joy and happiness?  Go do that whatever it is!

3. Surround yourself with people who lift you up

The people around you can greatly impact your happiness.  Choose to spend your time with people who lift you up and support you.  If you don’t have people like that in your life, keep looking and don’t stop until you find your tribe!

4. Stand up for yourself when people put you down

Life is too short to wait to tell people how you feel.  If someone makes you feel bad, let them know.  If someone does something that puts you down, practice finding your voice and speaking out.  You are more powerful than you know.

5. Help me by letting Weight Watchers know that their free teen membership campaign is NOT OK.

I know that this campaign will be so tempting for teens who are feeling unsure of themselves and wanting a smaller body, not because they need a smaller body, but because someone told them they weren’t ok and now they are searching for a way to belong.  This is sending the wrong message to our teens.  They can belong in this world in the body they have right now.  We can talk about healthy behaviors if there are unhealthy ones present but let’s not pretend that this campaign is about health.  It is about them creating customers for life by making vulnerable teens feel the body they have is not ok.  Dietitian and blogger Julie Duffy Dillon just wrote this great post about it. If you want to speak out against weight watchers with me, consider signing this petition

Now it’s your turn – go do something to show yourself some love today!

Sincerely,

Nikki

Diets Don't Work. Advice from a Registered Dietitian

Diets Don't Work. Advice from a Registered Dietitian

The Problem with Dieting

Many of you may have read the New York Times article published last year discussing the results of research into the long-term follow-up of contestants on the TV show “The Biggest Loser.” I’ll give you the cliff notes in case you missed it:  After 6 years of following contestants, all but one had regained the weight they lost during the show.

The Effects of Dieting on Weight Loss and Gain

This is not an anomaly.  Research shows that 95% of the time, dieting leads to short term weight loss and long-term weight regain. Actually, diet cycling leads to a higher body weight over time – not lower.

So why is the diet industry so profitable? Weight-loss companies do a great job of finding people who can show they had short term results and they sell it, hard.