“Have You Tried That Cleanse?!”…..#OverIt

“Oh are you doing the cleanse!?”

“Have you tried the Whole 30?”

“You eat carbs!?”

“Do you do clean eating?!”

These are all questions I have been asked in the past week. No, I am not ever offended by these questions, as I believe that people are usually doing their best to exist in this world, and trying to connect on a deeper level. Yet these questions are incredibly problematic, why you ask? Because the diet culture is rampant and oh so wrong! Yes, a cleanse is a diet! Yes, the term “eating clean” is a diet culture term. Yes, restriction of ANY food group is all due to the diet-crazed culture that we live in! Also please keep in mind I am not shamming anyone who has chosen the diet life, if anything I am bringing to light the reality in which we live!

These concepts, such as, cleansing the body, eating “whole” and “clean” foods, and restricting ESSENTIAL food groups such as carbs and gluten, are incredibly destructive  to the human mind! Words have so much power, and these terms and concepts put labels on our daily nourishment, it claims one food as BAD and another food as GOOD, it says that what we are doing is either “clean” or “dirty!”

(Pancakes are not and “indulgence” and donuts are not “dirty”….they are energy, they are FOOD!)

It is so important for us to educate ourselves and be aware of these words, questions and concepts that are being thrown at us on a daily basis! Such black and white terms cause us to feel self-hatred and self-resentment for purely nourishing our body, and this causes for a fear in food! And as you know I am all about #NoFearInFood

The weight loss industry is a BILLION dollar industry…I wonder why we haven’t cracked the code yet? If ANY diet or cleanse EVER worked it would be a ONE-dollar industry.

Diets do not work; they are incredibly problematic for our youth and detrimental to our emotional and mental well-being! They cause for us to lessen our self-worth, they create a culture that breeds self-loathing and no room for compassion.

As you can tell, I am incredibly passionate about this topic, and I will be touching on it a lot more, as it is the season for diets…(sigh)!

In the mean time, if you are for ANY reason want to start a cleanse or go on a diet check out this easy and DELICIOUS meal that is a natural anti-inflammatory and has those “cleansing” qualities. Keep in mind that when I use the word “cleansing” I use it very lightly, hence the quotations! The body naturally cleanses itself, you do not ever NEED a cleanse, especially if you are going to substitute the cleanse for a meal. Therefore if you feel the desire to “cleanse” take these tips instead! Avoid those fad diets!

This meal has a great balance of fat, grain, vegetable, and goodness! So skip the diet or cleanse and go with this stuff!

(This is a typical lunch for me, a balanced meal with not restriction.)

-A toasted bagel (whatever kind you fancy!)

-An avocado (how ever much you like!)

-A good sprinkle of turmeric and fresh cracked black pepper (powder turmeric mixed with black pepper is a natural anti-inflammatory, liquid turmeric is also a natural anti-inflammatory, so it’s really preference!)

-Topped with sliced cucumber and butter lettuce or spinach (yummy and crunchy vegetables)

-Always topped with olive oil and some garlic salt! Yummy and nutritious!

Stay tuned for more and don’t forget to self-care it out!

Take Up Space

In light of my new collaborative series, What WOMAN Means To me, as well as the social state in which women find themselves in on a daily basis I felt it would be beneficial to talk about the importance of community and this concept of taking up space.

During childhood and adolescence and in the absence of self-care we were taught, coached and trained to constantly compete against one another. We were taught that in order to win or to make it to the top we must be better than someone else, this competition and constant comparison breeds a feeling of confusion and a state of constant second guessing ourselves.

In addition to this competitive nature, women are taught, and told to be small, sweet, coy, kind, polite and caring. We were taught that in order to be a “good little girl” we must smile, stay sweet and take up AS LITTLE SPACE as possible. This concept of small has transcended into our adult years into our concept of woman hood.

In addition to the whole body image piece, how is this even possible or fair?! How can young girls be expected to thrive and grow while being told to do the exact opposite? How are young girls supposed to “win” in this competitive world, while also staying SMALL and quiet? It is quite the concept, and a ridiculous one at that!

Therefore within a world that breeds competition and comparison, young girls, and women have no fair chance, and with that we have learned to tear each other down. With society’s unrealistic standards, women now compete rather than connect, we compare rather than communicate, we tend to take each other down rather than lift each other up….but who is to blame us….we weren’t really given a chance to begin with! With all of that being said I say that it is about time that we stand up for one another! Why not TAKE UP AS MUCH SPACE as we possibly can, but in unison?! How about we put COMMUNITY before competition?!

As I continue to develop my brand, and network within the Charleston area, I am finding that this theme of community shines much brighter than that of competition! All of these incredibly successful, passionate, independent, creative and self-starting women build upon a sense of connection and empowerment rather than competition. We all take up space, and we embrace it! It is OKAY TO be LOUD, BOLD, COURAGEOUS, BIG, AND VIBRANT! I have been making beautiful and REAL CONNECTIONS  with amazing women with varying stories! Yes, we have ALL been told that we must be small in some way shape or form, but my goodness it is about time that we take up some space!

Why not have a girl gang that includes everyone, for ALL women, to lift each other up and thrive as a group?!

Take up space, be loud, be adventurous, be courageous, connect with others, lift others up, communicate, love and, as always, #SelfCareItOut!

The Awareness Doesn’t Stop Here!

National Eating Disorder Awarness Week is coming to an end, but the awareness does not stop here! I got this tattoo almost three years ago, this tattoo represents, strength, beauty, self love, self worth, and recovery! After living with an Eating Disorder the majority of my young life, I can now say I am recovered! Full Recovery IS POSSIBLE, but it takes hard work, dedication, and desire to grow and change!

It was the most difficult and trying journey,  but oh my goodness was it worth it! Let’s continue to spread awareness, truth and education about ED Recovery! Below are three truths within ED Recovery, that I will touch upon throughout my future posts!

Awareness in Body Checking: Taking One More Step Towards Living a Body Positive Life

As another extension to my body positive series, today’s post is about body checking. Body checking is a very common behavior within individuals with Eating Disorders. What do I mean by body checking?

Body checking: Constant “checking”, looking, touching, and/or intensely focusing on a body part and/or section or area of your body. The “checking” is fueled by insecurities on how the individual thinks or feels that they look.

My Story: This is something that many individuals struggle with throughout their Eating Disorder. One main form of body checking is involves mirror checking….

It started at the young age of ten, when I went through puberty, every single time I went to use the restroom, whether it was in a public place, school, work, or at home, I would wash my hands, look in the mirror, suck in my stomach, and slightly lift my shirt, to check my belly with my hand in the mirror. Every time I looked at my belly in the mirror I hoped to find some sort of strength, success, and worth. It became so much of a habit that I did not even realize I was doing it. One day my nutritionist advised me to try to not “body check” for just one day, I broke down in tears after the first half of that day, because I never realized how much I actually “checked” my body. Little did I know that every time I lifted up my shirt and grazed my belly with my hands, I lessened my self worth, tore down my self love bit by bit, and further engrained an emotionally dangerous behavior into my life. I was constantly judging myself, comparing my self worth to that of what I “wanted” it to be at that time.

The difficult thing about healthy body image is that it does come last within ED recovery. Therefore individuals within ED recovery are usually done with, or working towards, finalizing their treatment before they even graze the surface of their physical and emotional self worth, before they learn about how to develop a healthy and positive body image. Having an emotional behavior such as thinking and feeling poorly about one’s body is not immediately detrimental to an individual’s health like that of using other ED behaviors, such a,s binging, purging or restricting, therefore behaviors ,such as, Body checking often go unnoticed and untreated, but it does effect functioning and an individual’s overall self-worth, therefore it is worth addressing and treating!

Body checking is a behavior, therefore a habit that can be deeply engrained within an individual’s functioning, and can be very difficult and scary, leaving and individual feeling vulnerable. Starting slow is the safest way to go about eventually ridding of body checking…

The first step is awareness and acceptance. The second step is slowly acknowledging your feelings while practicing this behavior. This is the safest way to approach to an emotional behavior, such as body checking. The third step is slowly, and safely eliminating the behavior from your everyday functioning, therefore taking it one-step at a time. If you ever feel too vulnerable, reach out to your closest support, go to your comfort box, and practice self-care, self-care, self-care!

As you acknowledge your body checking behaviors, I also challenge you to find a positive emotional behavior that you practice on a daily basis, for instance, the joy that brewing your morning coffee brings, listening to your favorite music, cuddling with a loved one, warming up by the fire place, lighting your favorite candle, any healthy behavior that make you feel your best! Please reach out if you have any questions or comments, don’t forget to subscribe, have a wonderful weekend, and self care it out my friends!

Find your Flow and Growth within 2017

Happy Day to everyone!! 2017, I have positive, healthy and manageable expectations for you!…..oh my….even I rolled my eyes while writing that!

What I mean is that, as we move into this new year, I remind myself, and others, that a specific day and number do not dictate the outcome for the next 365 days of life! Instead, our thoughts, words, and actions affect the present and future, therefore having healthy expectations about this “new year” is incredibly helpful to our happiness, because, yes, we will set out a new plan and goals for ourselves, but we will have ourselves to thank for bringing any change to our current life flow.

I use the word expectation fairly often within my blog posts, and I do this because expectations can either set us up for success, and reality, or failure and disappointment, therefore when a manageable, and positive expectation is set, only growth can occur…no matter the actual outcome. As you set these expectations for 2017, I encourage you to change your train of thought and consider your current situation. Within your life, are you allowing flow? Are you truly experiencing the present, and flowing through the reality of your individual experiences? In other words, within this New Year, instead of setting expectations consider your flow, allow flow to occur, allow growth to occur.

  

 

 

 

 

 

I have been capturing different photos of water recently, because I find that it is the perfect description of life, of recovery, of growth and flow!

Eating Disorder recovery is not linear, in that it ebbs and FLOWS, there are dips and plateaus and peaks, but every experience is a part of recovery, because no matter what, we learn, and grow. Recovery is not linear, and it does not look or feel the same for everyone, remember this.

I say this, that recovery is not black and white, right or wrong, good or bad, but there are times that I do not apply that to myself. This is a common quality within individuals with eating disorders, we are selfless, we give more than we get, we give more, if not, all of our care and love to others, leaving nothing for ourselves, therefore ending up completely drained. I have been caught up in this spiral many of times, especially recently. I have been giving all of my care, emotional attention and knowledge to others within recovery, or others having a hard time within their lives, so much so, that I have drained myself. Yes, I have been practicing self care, but when I do so, I feel so emotionally drained that I have very little to run off of, in other words at times I feel as though I have been talking the talk….but not walking the walk.

I have felt somewhat of a disconnect from myself and my recovery self….when in reality we can be one! I do not have to put on my “recovery glasses” on to truly delve deep inside the secrets of ED recovery, rather, I need to take a step back, look at myself (literally and figuratively) and find where and what that disconnect is! I need to confront that disconnect, and be honest about it, without shame! I can help others while also helping myself and I can love others while also loving myself. I think a big part of me has been fearful that my readers would doubt MY FLAWS within their own recovery. But in reality, I can also go through those ebbs and flows, when I am in a ditch I can use my strength and knowledge, learn from that low point, pull myself up, and grow in the process of doing so!

I am no perfect picture of Eating Disorder Recovery, as there is not a perfect picture! Therefore, as I move through this new flow, this new process, this new year, I will cherish every moment, as it only allows me to grow, and mend that disconnect that has been lingering for a while now. Instead of setting expectations for this New Year, I will embrace my new flow, my growth with every high point and low point, and heal every wound with intentions, acceptance, recovery, love and care….and I encourage you to do so as well!

Happy New Flow my friends!

An Honest Look At Body Image Within Eating Disorder Recovery – Series pt. 1

Body Image. This is a tough one….I have said it before, and I will say it again and again….positive body image ALMOST ALWAYS comes last within recovery. Loving what you see in the mirror, appreciating your size, your weight, your natural curves, and appreciating all of the beautiful flaws within your physical image is so much harder than it seems.

So many individual’s struggle with this aspect of recovery….in that the mind can get away from us at times, and we start to become emotionally and sometimes physically consumed by the unrealistic perceptions we have about how we currently “see” ourself, how we want to “see” ourself, how we “see” other’s in comparison to ourself, and how we believe other’s “see” us. Yep, it sounds exhausting, and maybe even ridiculous, but this is the mind of someone within recovery.

I use these words carefully, in that when I say “see ourself”, or how “we see others”, I mean this literally, because that is what we are doing, I do not mean how we look or who we are, instead I mean how we perceive ourself. At times it seems that the physical self is somewhat dissociated from the emotional self, in that our appearance is wounded and therefore separated from the rest of us. In order to recover one must be ready to mend that wound, and finally introduce that physical self to the emotional self, and be ready to fight for a positive body image and finally be whole!

You may look one way to someone, and another way to someone else, but all that truly matters is how you perceive yourself and this is why a positive body image is so incredibly difficult to obtain. NO ONE, and I mean, NOONE, can change your mind about how you “see yourself”, EXCEPT for YOU. For goodness sake, Justin Timberlake could declare your beauty to the entire world, tell you that you are perfect, skinny, curvy, a bombshell, whatever…and still it won’t matter, because you won’t believe it, not until you can believe it.

It’s up to you, to do the work to literally retrain your brain, to eventually train your mind, and emotions towards how you “see” or perceive your body. Throughout recovery, you are taught to rid of your unhealthy behaviors, cope with life’s obstacles in a healthy manner, practice self care, love your inner self, and nourish your body, and all of this is a major triumph in itself….but to love what you “SEE”, to rid of that negative self talk, and accept that person staring back at you in the mirror….now that is AMAZING! I promise you, that this is possible, you can fully recover from your eating disorder, and by this I mean love who you are, as well as, love your perceived self.

Therefore, with the holidays approaching, and the new year creeping up on us, I believe it is time to take this oh so difficult part of recovery by the reins! As a collective force, we are going to start “seeing” ourselves with love, and true admiration….we are going to become inspired by what we “see” in ourselves. Throughout the next couple of weeks, I will be posting about the various components that relate to body image conception and eating disorder recovery….and with each other….we will get through this together!

As you move through this weekend, I challenge you to commit to working towards true self-love, in that, you will work towards loving what you “see” as much as you love who you are. Start to wrap your mind around the fact that this is possible, and you will get there….we will get there together!

To come: Clinical depictions of body image and eating disorder recovery, ways to implement self care into your healthy body image initiative, outside resources to keep you motivated, and personal and professional tidbits about body image conception and working towards full recovery.

New Beginnings

“Beginnings can be delicate or explosive. They can start almost invisibly or arrive with a big bang. Beginnings hold the promise of new lessons to be learned, new territory to be explored, and old lessons to be recalled, practiced, and appreciated. Beginnings hold ambiguity, fear and hope(Beattie, 1996).”

This past week has been all about change and new beginnings. Sean, the furries, and I moved cross-country to start our new journey in Charleston, SC! We packed up our lives up North, drove a truck down to Charleston, moved in to our quaint apartment that we had never seen before, dove into our new jobs, and started our new beginning.

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Change….an anxiety provoking word for many. Change can be triggering to recovery, in that it can consume the mind, the soul and the body, leaving no room for self awareness, self love or self care….and that only leads to more stressful situations that can be damaging to recovery. Change also triggers feelings of control, in that when it comes to many aspects of life, personal control is unrealistic, which again, is more than intimidating and scary, causing for detrimental feelings and thoughts towards recovery. Therefore, taking steps towards managing the stress that comes along with change is crucial.

Perspective is important when it comes to change, in that it is possible to reduce some of that stress and fear by changing your perspective. Instead of viewing the situation as change, try looking at it as if it is a start to a new beginning. Instead of closing a chapter, you are just starting a new one. Instead of ending a journey, you are embarking on a new adventure…..there are no endings, only beginnings.

As Sean and I were unpacking our boxes, the anxiety quickly settled in…doubting questions overwhelmed my mind about our situation, our future choices, and what we left behind in the past. During this somewhat of an emotional spiral, I reminded myself that life is all about coping and perspective, therefore it was and is up to me to make the situation what I want it to be. Therefore, as I moved through the week I made sure to protect my recovery and embrace the new beginnings with these five easy steps in addition to changing my perspective.

  1. Bring a travel size “comfort box” everywhere you go!

-I have mentioned this plenty of times, the comfort box is EVERYTHING, and you can read more about it here.

  1. Make your house a home

-This is relevant to my recent major change/new beginning, in that moving into a new place is incredibly exciting but also filled with so many expectations. I say this, because I spend so much time at home, I am a homebody. I not only sleep, cook, drink, dine, and live at home, but I also work at home, therefore…. making my house a home is so incredibly important to my emotional and mental well being. Therefore, we unpacked, and set up the new place in about 2 days, filled it with our favorite things, and started to settle in!

  1. Create a safety net within your social life

-Friends. Everyone needs friends….and friends are so hard to find in your adult life. Even that one person that you can be yourself with is so important, in order to keep yourself accountable within this new beginning of your life.

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  1. Weekly goals of self care

-Setting goals has always been important to my recovery…and no I do not mean setting goals based around food or body weight, yes I know how your mind works! I mean goals about emotional well-being. For instance, I have set and, so far, met the goal of going to the beach ATLEAST once a week!
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  1. Letting go

-Let go of that fear, and those past stories that you are holding onto. Check out a previous blog post about Letting Go Here.

“Don’t let the lessons, the experiences of the past, dampen your enthusiasm for beginnings. Just because it’s been hard doesn’t mean it will always be that difficult. Don’t let the heartbreaks of the past cause you to become cynical, close you off to life’s magic and promise. Open yourself wide to all that the universe has to say ”(Beattie, 1996).

“Let yourself begin anew. Pack your bags. Choose carefully what you bring, because packing is an important ritual. Take along some humility and the lessons f the past. Toss in some curiosity and excitement about what you haven’t yet learned. Say your good-byes to those you’re leaving behind. Don’t worry who you will meet or where you will go. The way has been prepared. The people you are to meet will be expecting you. A new journey has begun. Let it be magical. Let it unfold”(Beattie, 1996).

Have a wonderful week, and if you are being confronted with any form of change, I challenge you to change your perspective, and protect your recovery during your new beginnings. Let’s Self Care it Out Everyone!!

References

Melody Beattie, (1996). Journey To The Heart, Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul. January 1. HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY 10022.

 

Essential Oils and Self-Care Series pt.1

Essential oils are the Holy Grail to my self-care routine. They were an amazing supplement to my therapy, nutrition planning, and treatment plan during the beginning of my recovery. Therefore, I will be starting a Self-Care series about how I use essential oils within my daily, and weekly routine.

Today’s post is dedicated to prevention and intervention for that oh so dreaded cold….yes it’s that season, everyone is getting sick, therefore why not boost that immune system and soothe the senses!?

When it comes to Eating Disorder Recovery, getting sick with a cold, or the stomach flu, or really anything, is just a part of the process. Your body is doing its very best to build up your immune system, therefore weird things start to happen, like getting sick! In the beginning of my own recovery, I was constantly sick with a cold, sinus infection, bloated, and swollen, because my body was figuring out how to be healthy again…. because in reality, my body wasn’t being treated very well for a good ten years! This was the hard part of recovery…. remember, it gets worse before it gets better! Therefore, essential oils played a major part within this not so easy and somewhat painful part of recovery, to soothe my mind and body, and boost my immune system in a natural and safe way!

This week is a big week for me; Sean and I are moving cross-country with our two furry animals, to start a new life in Charleston South Carolina, and this on top of starting a new job, finishing school work, and saying goodbye to friends and family is incredibly exciting but stressful…and with stress comes sickness! Therefore, I have been diligent with my preventative essential oil routine, to not only build up my immune system, but to also manage my emotional and mental stress!

Essential oils for the immune system:

There are various uses for each and every essential oil, whether that be single oils or blends, therefore this brief list is what I have found useful within my self care routine when it comes to my immune system. The Essential Oils Pocket Reference by LifeScience is my Essential Oil Bible…

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Thieves:

This is AMAZING….it is a blend of essential oils designed perfectly to ward off a cold!

Ingredients: Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary

Applications:

  1. Dilute 1 part essential oil to 4 parts vegetable oil
  2. Diffuse for 15 minutes every 3 to 4 hours
  3. Apply to he bottoms of the feet….This is my favorite way to use this oil blend, as I have found it to be most effective!
  4. Put one drop on the tongue and push against roof of mouth
  5. Add 2 drops to wet cloth and put in clothes dryer

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Peppermint:

Medical Properties: anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, pain relieving, and digestive stimulant

Uses: Respiratory infections, viral infections, headaches, and nausea

Fragrant Influence: Purifying and stimulating

Application: There are various options with the actual usage of each essential oil.

  1. Dilute 1 part essential oil with 2 parts vegetable oil and apply 1-2 drops on location (abdomen, temples, etc)
  2. Rub into hands, cup hands and inhale
  3. Diffuse with a diffuser, or soak cotton balls in the oil and place on your air vents.
  4. Put a few drops into hot water, and make a tea!….My favorite!
  5. Put a few drops on your tongue and push against the roof of the mouth

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Lavender:

Medical: Antifungal, relaxant, anti-inflammatory

Uses: Respiratory infections, high blood pressure, PMS, Nervous tension

Fragrant Influence: Calming, relaxing, and balancing

Application:

  1. Apply 2 to 3 drops on location
  2. Apply on chakras
  3. Inhale directly
  4. Diffuse with a diffuser, or soak cotton balls in the oil and place on your air vents.
  5. Put a few drops into hot water, and make a tea!….My favorite!
  6. Put a few drops on your tongue and press tongue to the roof of the mouth

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Arbor Oil/Eucalyptus oil:

Medical Properties: Antbacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory

Uses: Respiratory/sinus infections, and viral infections

Applications:

  1. Dilute 1 part essential oil with 1 part vegetable oil
  2. Apply 2 to 4 drops on the location
  3. Apply on chakras
  4. Rub into hands, cup hands and inhale
  5. Diffuse or put in a humidifier

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I have displayed various brands of Essential Oils, as some are more accessible than others. My favorite brand is YoungLiving, because they offer beautiful blends of different essential oils, and from my experience their oils are without fail, pure and safe to use!

So there you have it, as we move through the month of November and December, I will be talking about my self care routine with essential oils, please let me know if you have any suggestions or questions! So lets conquer this week and #SelfCareitOut!

The Fitness Culture within ED Recovery

We live in a fitness driven culture, and there are healthy ways to co-exist and thrive within this intense culture, therefore over the next few weeks, I will touch on how individuals within ED Recovery can succeed within today’s intense fitness culture. This #MotivationIsNotJustForMondays post is an overview of the current fitness culture, and how it affects those within ED and ED Recovery.

Millennials…this is somewhat of a tainted word in my book…. why you ask? Because it is a label that my peers, and myself fall under, a label that is saturated in shame, false assumptions, and negative perceptions, therefore I cringe when using this term, because in reality Millennials are incredibly innovative, hard working, and understand the balance between work, health and happiness.

Across the country, Millennials have revolutionized exercise, more so than any other generation. Think of all of the gyms, fitness clubs, yoga studios, barre boutiques, and spin classes with cult like followings, and even fitness apps where you can have access to a fitness class literally at your fingertips (See my Skyfit app posts…linked here). Yes, this generation has changed the way the world looks at physical activity, and health; statistics even prove that Millenials are the healthiest generation as of yet. 81% of Millennials claim to exercise on a regular basis, compared to that of 61% of Baby Boomers…therefore 76% of all regular exercisers are Millennials. Therefore, Millennials have had a major impact on exercise culture. For more statistics click here.

There are so many pros within this new view on physical activity, in that it creates a new focus on overall health within our every day lives. Focusing on health and wellbeing is a beautiful thing that I, and most helping professionals promote. Although, it is important to remember that when within a state of recovery, or a vulnerable state within your Eating Disorder (ED), it can be somewhat dangerous to engage within this exercise focused culture. I am not, by any means, saying that this fitness culture is negative or bad, instead I am pointing out the risks and dangers within this culture when living with ED.

For instance, as a millennial (cringe), a major part of my self-care is exercise and physical activity, but the intense hype that exercise receives on a social basis is incredibly triggering and intimidating for me within my own recovery. I consider myself far along within my recovery, and many professionals would consider me fully recovered, therefore it says a lot that I feel triggered within this fitness culture.

This fitness culture, focused around the intensity of exercise, can be incredibly triggering for anyone within ED Recovery. Certain messages can be persuasive to push oneself harder than necessary, to carry unhealthy motivations behind one’s exercise, and cause for behaviors that are detrimental to one’s recovery.

While we co-exist within this intense, pro health, fitness culture, it is crucial to stand close to your recovery and continue to bring awareness to the motivations behind your exercise. So as you move through this weekend, I challenge you to acknowledge the feelings that are raised while we live within this culture. I challenge you to find healthy motivations, and to keep yourself safe within your recovery as you partake in self care, whether that be through physical activity or not!

We will check in next week to discuss how to safely approach and thrive within today’s fitness culture, when living within ED and ED Recovery. Dont’ forget to Self Care it Out People!!! #SelfCare

Self Care Through Cooking

Cooking and the art of making meals has always been at the forefront of my own self care routine. Ever since I was in grade school, I found joy in cooking, I always helped my mom with big holiday meals, I was a cook book junkie, and I was even enrolled at a four year culinary school for a hot minute before I realized that I desired the traditional college experience. For me, cooking has always been personal, in that I love the unique creations that come about within the moment, there are no real mistakes in cooking, it is all about experimenting, and learning. Let me just say…that it took some hard work and self-love, but I was finally able to find a safe place with food again…and having a healthy relationship with food is possible!

Keep in mind I am purely talking about cooking and not baking, as baking is all about measurements and accuracy…. therefore, I do not excel at baking…. But for those of you that do, please share your tips, tricks, recipes or just your story!

I’m very aware, that cooking is incredibly intimidating to many people, it seems like a chore, and to most people, cooking does not feel like self care….but it is important to remember that self care is personal, the same way that recovery is personal, therefore keep an open mind…maybe you will learn something new about yourself!

Learning how to have a healthy relationship with food can be an incredibly emotional, and painful process….and this surprises many within their own recovery, so I remind you to be gentle with yourself and make sure to reach out for support from your care team, if anything is triggering to you or your recovery.

One misconception that so many people have, is that individuals with eating disorders don’t like food…this is a blanket statement, a generalization, and quite frankly just silly! Most individuals with eating disorders, or individuals within recovery LOVE food, but the relationship with food is the real struggle, because remember an Eating Disorder (ED) is much like an abusive relationship, in that ED controls everything that you do, what you want to do, or any other relationship you have…. and one of the first relationships that ED destroys is your relationship with food… so again, I remind you to take the shame away, be gentle with yourself, and understand that finding a healthy relationship with food is so incredibly important, it WILL happen for you, and by practicing constant self care, you will rekindle that relationship….I promise! So for self-care’s sake, here is one of my many stories about cooking for self care!

Seeing that I only have about two and a half weeks left at home, I am soaking in as much family time as I can possibly get! Every Sunday night, since I can remember, our family gets in our pj’s around 5pm, we enjoy a glass of wine or drink of our choosing, gather around the TV to watch a movie, a show or listen to music, and we make dinner and just relax before the week starts! This has been somewhat of a ritual, and it just makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside, because no matter my history with ED, I have always found joy in cooking, and family!

There has been quite a bit of crazy in my life as of recent, but my parents have always taught me to embrace the crazy, embrace the bad, and find some happiness within the cluster of life! Therefore, last night, as we gathered around the TV, I stood in the kitchen surrounded by sounds of laughter, the heat from the stove on my hands and face, and the aroma of my personal masterpiece, and made a beautiful, nutritious and delicious meal for the family and myself to enjoy.

I put somewhat of an Asian twist into an Indian dish, and made it my own….delicious, and fun!

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I prefer not to use recipes, I go off of my own experience and imagination…which is part of the fun!

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Saute, saute, saute! I love mixing frozen veggies with fresh veggies….it saves you money and allows for a fun medley of flavor and nourishment! I went with tofu for the protein, but any animal protein or legume would be a great substitute!

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Embrace the crazy right?!…

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The final product! Delicious, nutritious and self care!

As we continue on with our workweek, don’t forget to practice self-care! I challenge you to find that unique gift that you have, bring it to life, and make it a part of your weekly self care routine, like I do with cooking!

Let me remind you, to stay accountable, take away the shame, learn from your mistakes, and utilize the support of your therapeutic care team!

Cheers to a beautiful week full of craziness, chaos, hard work and self-care! So let’s self care it out People!