As I have discovered, learning about eating disorders does not stop simply because one is getting better or recovered. In order to truly be well from eating disorders we need to continue to educate and challenge ourselves, to learn and try new things, and to sometimes risk what feels comforting and familiar as a necessary step to break free from those deeply inscribed patterns of behaviour that just don’t serve us anymore.
"I stand behind self-care being a critical part of recovery. Not because a bath (or any other form of self-care) is the answer to your struggles, rather because learning to engage in a respectful and kind way towards yourself is what turns your relationship with yourself from destructive to healthy."
"I started practicing meditation and yoga, and through these contemplative practices, I developed a greater capacity to sit with discomfort. With mindfulness training, we learn to sit quietly with every sensation, feeling, thought, and emotion as they arise. We learn through experience that all sensations, feelings, thoughts, and emotions inevitably pass away, no matter how intense they seem at first."
Q: The Holidays have just ended and now my anxiety has gone up. All of a sudden it feels like everyone is talking about going on a diet and how their New Years resolutions are to lose weight and workout a lot. A part of me feels like I need to do the same even though I know that wouldn’t be healthy for me. How should I navigate these next few weeks when everyone is obsessing over weight and exercise?
Not only is this season busier than we often want (even though its portrayed as a time to slow down and sip hot chocolate while walking in the snow), but it’s also really food centered, which can be really overwhelming and triggering. As the December approaches, here are some suggestions that may make the month seem a little easier on your heart and your mind.
Often when someone struggles with disordered eating or an eating disorder, they are blind to the different ways in which they engage with food that may be sabotaging them. In this blog post, you'll read about the 5 D’s of eating. Underneath all of these is usually an individual who has either long neglected their real need, or is more accustomed to being cruel to themselves than kind.
It's very important that you take some time and space to reflect on the things that trigger you around Hallowe’en. Is it the overtly sexy costumes, candy and treat marketing, gore/violence, crowds, past negative experiences, fireworks, or maybe something else? Once you can identify your own personal Hallowe’en triggers, it will become much easier to come up with healthy self-care practices that will alleviate their effects when you encounter them.
Q: I spend a lot of my time in isolation because of my eating disorder. My goal for myself this year was to try to spend a bit more time with those I love but whenever I get asked I automatically want to say no. How can I challenge myself to spend more time with my friends while still feeling safe?
"The word “radical” comes from the Latin “radic”, meaning root, and thus radical acceptance refers to a complete, fundamental acceptance of a situation from its root. However, to me it also reflects the other meaning of the word “radical”, the independence of or departure from tradition; innovative or unorthodox. In many ways deciding to stop fighting felt less like “giving up” and more like leaping off a precipice into the unknown and frightening. The freedom it offers is thrilling."
As the summer passes into a fresh school year, we often see some anxiety associated with changes in schedule beginning to manifest among students – especially those who experience eating disorders or body image issues. If you are a parent or caregiver of a student who faces these challenges, this blog entry may be a helpful resource as you find your footing in the first few weeks of school.