Recovery Love and Care

Recovery Love and Care Launch Week Recap!

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What a crazy couple of weeks it has been! I am feeling so many emotions! I feel grateful, humbled, empowered, inspired, driven, excited, enthusiastic, happy, thrilled, hopeful, tired, scared AND ready! (Remember, we MUST embrace those AND emotions, and I am certainly feeling a lot of them right now)!

It was a week filled with work, dedication, celebration and spreading awareness, and it was a major success! Together, we raised hundreds of dollars for Project HEAL, awareness on the truths and myths surrounding Eating Disorders, and body image, and had the best of times sipping on Onehope wine and enjoying delicious food with even better company! I cannot begin to thank my charitable partners, doners, family, friends, “crew” and all of the attendees who supported these events…it would not have been the same without YOU!

Recovery Love and Care
Onehope Wine towards Project HEAL!

Recovery Love and Care

Onehope wine was a smash!! If you don’t know already, Onehope Wine creates delightful wine that inspires others to indulge and do good! My two events were hosted by Onehope Wine, and within the next two weeks YOU can purchase this wine through this link, and 15% of the proceeds go directly to Project HEAL! Click here to check it out! 

At the Chicago event, over 50 people attended to learn a bit about Eating Disorders within our weight-loss and diet crazed culture, my personal story of recovery, as well as, support an AMAZING cause! It was incredibly fitting to have the launch party for Recovery Love and Care, LLC in the newly renovated backyard where I was raised! My family have been my support in so many ways, and I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful night!

Recovery Love and Care
Recovery Love and Care Balloons!
So much to be excited for!
Recovery Love and Care
Sharing my Eating Disorder and recovery story!

The raffle prizes were all donated from local vendors in support of Eating Disorder Awareness…check a few of them out below!

Kendra Scott

Onehope Wine

 JAYNE Boutique (How fitting right)?!

The Tiny Tassel

The food was provided by the AMAZING Italian Restaurant in Western Springs, Devanti Enoteca!

 

The Charleston Grand Opening Event for Recovery Love and Care was also a major success! We had a more intimate setting of about 35 people! The space was provided by the one and only Studio Barre James Island, and let me tell you…did we have a blast! We sipped on Onehope Wine, ate Callie’s Biscuits, and charcuterie from Napa Mt. Pleasant, and shook the night away at the barre! The amazing Shannon was kind enough to donate her services and teach an amazing 6 minutes of thighs at the barre for the grand raffle prizes! Don’t forget, we shake and burn for the fun and joy of practicing barre! In no way was this a punishment, as it is crucial we are always honest and intentional with our motivations behind exercise! 

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Shaking for charity!

Recovery Love and Care

Recovery Love and Care

 

 For the Charleston event, we also had a phenomenal line up for the raffle! Check some of the vendors out below!

The Tiny Tassel

Onehope Wine

Trish Mcevoy

Beauty Counter

Park and Madison

Katie Ashley – Living Life on Purpose

Katie Ashley – 75 minute coaching session

Napa Mt. Pleasant gift cards

Mylk Bar Nail Polish Trio

Silk Flower Crown From Fetes de Fleurs

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My Crew minus a few!
Wearing my Oysters All Around necklace as a bracelet!
Recovery Love and Care
Flower Crown Winner!

And of course one of the coolest parts of the night was the hashtag table! Everyone made a personalized hashtag describing what they love most about themselves! It was empowering, challenging, and incredibly enlightening! Recovery Love and Care will be sending these hashtags over to Project HEAL along with the funds raised, to encourage hope and self-compassion for those in treatment and recovery!

Recovery Love and Care
#ILoveMy

Recovery Love and Care

Recovery Love and Care

Recovery Love and Care

Thanks for the balloons Cannonborough Collective! 

As Recovery Love and Care blossoms I look forward to connecting with new individuals, educating teachers, classrooms, fellow colleagues, helping professionals and families on the myths and truths behind Eating Disorders! We must start to peel away those blindfolds and look at Eating Disorders for what they really are! Partial proceeds from ALL of my events go towards Project HEAL, make sure to check out Recovery Love and Care’s partnership with the here!

I cannot wait to take you on this amazing journey with me! Recovery Love and Care is here for YOU, your loved one, your classroom, colleagues, family and friends, to help work through the sticky topics of Eating Disorders, body image, and just health in general! EVERYONE is worthy of loving themselves, and that is why Recovery Love and Care’s mission is to help women find self-compassion, self-love and body appreciation through the practice of self-care and Eating Disorder awareness!

In a few short weeks, I will be announcing some upcoming events…so stay tuned! And in the mean time make your own hashtag, what do YOU love about yourself?! Remember, self-compassion is for ALL! #SelfCareitOut! #ILoveMy

Netflix Feature Film To The Bone – A Safe Viewing Guide!

I am providing my unique and educated perspectives and opinions on the Netflix feature film To The Bone. This is an incredibly controversial topic that I feel must be addressed, and I would like to preface this with this simple statement…. I, in no way recommend an individual within their Eating Disorder, or within the beginning and/or fragile stages of recovery to watch this film, just as much as I would not condone an individual who experienced trauma and has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), serving our country overseas to watch American Sniper, as these Hollywood depictions of mental illnesses can be incredibly triggering to those experiencing just that!

To The Bone - A Safe Viewing Guide

My Opinion on To The Bone

I most likely will dissatisfy and possibly upset many within this post, as my opinions regarding this film do not necessarily coincide with the majority opinions within the Eating Disorder community. I actually liked this film, although I found several triggering and falsifications within the film….granted each and every story is different and we must start somewhere! If this is where we start talking about Eating Disorders….then I am in support! FYI: the Eating Disorder community is not necessarily  pleased with this film, in that Instagram gurus and fellow #EDWarriors have written several posts about the dangers, dislikes and falsities of the film….and to be clear, I do not necessarily disagree with these opinions! I absolutely believe that Hollywood has a knack for glamorizing mental illnesses, falsifying symptoms and fabricating truths, but that unfortunately is the definition of hollywood, people want an escape, people want to feel taken away by a film! Therefore, I will say this again, I DO NOT recommend or condone any individuals who feel vulnerable within the topic of Eating Disorders to watch this film, as it may be triggering! With that being said, here are my thoughts and tips in regards to viewing this film

The Film

The film focuses on a story of a twenty year old, heterosexual white female who has Anorexia Nervosa (AN). Ellen, the main character, depicts the stereotypical image and description of what an individual with an Eating Disorder “looks like”, emaciated, female, and white. This is absolutely a valid depiction of many individuals within their Eating Disorder (ED), although this exact stereotype is why so many cases go unnoticed; that is 50% of ED’s go unnoticed within primary care! With that being said, the film does depict other body types, ages, sexes, genders, and races, as ED’s do not discriminate!

Let’s Talk About it! 

The film focuses on one small aspect of Eating Disorders, in that the all encompassing process of Eating Disorders spans over years, sometimes decades! The plot focuses on a specific moment within the character’s treatment. Ellen, played by Lilly Collins, is admitted into an exclusive, and “radical” inpatient treatment center ran by a doctor, played by Keanu reeves. This treatment center is drastically different than that of a typical inpatient setting, in many ways, although that is not necessarily what this post is about! I am not writing this to review the movie, nor to shed light on the falsities and fabrications within the script, rather I want to talk about safe ways to watch and talk about this film!

Not a Film Review

This film is on Netflix, therefore it is accessible to many! Hence, seeing that I am not a film critic, and instead an advocate for Eating Disorder Awareness and healthy and safe practices of self-care, I have laid out some viewing and talking points for you! With that being said, whether you are a mother, a grandmother, a father, a son, a brother, a sister or a friend, I highly recommend reading these tips, as this movie can cause for triggering thoughts and emotions surrounding Eating Disorders, body image and mental health.

Safely View This Film With Six Steps

***I will say this again, I do not encourage individuals within their EAting Disorder or in the beigning stages of recovery to watch this film, as it may be triggering….just because it may be “relevant” does not mean you have to watch it!

To The Bone

1.Make sure that you are viewing this film in a safe space. Are you surrounded by people that care for you, or that you care for? Are you around friends, family or loved ones? Are you mentally and emotionally prepared for severe visual depictions of Eating Disorders? Ensure that you are feeling safe, whether that means you are surrounded by people that you trust, or maybe you are providing that support for someone else!

2.Have the remote in hand. Pause, rewind or maybe even fast forward the movie when you feel you need to process or absorb something! If you are watching this with your daughter, pause the movie at times where she may show discomfort or confusion and start a dialogue surrounding the feelings and emotions brought upon by the film. This film can cause for people to notice behaviors that they never realized they were practicing, such as body checking and food rituals, therefore if your loved one asks questions regarding these behaviors lend an ear and listen to their concerns. Afterwards, reach out to Recovery Love and Care or a clinician for professional advice!

3.Fact check and perception check! If you are watching this with a loved one or younger person, make sure to provide proper information and education regarding behaviors and symptoms surrounding Eating Disorders. Talk about the concept of body image, and process the feelings that may arise from the character’s depiction! Eating Disorders exist in ALL bodies, fat bodies, skinny bodies, “normal” looking bodies, black bodies, brown bodies, old bodies, young bodies, male bodies, female bodies, trans bodies, able bodies, rich bodies and poor bodies, therefore make sure to educate in a proper manner to supplement the images seen in this film!

4.Set aside time before and after viewing the film to process your thoughts, whether that is via a journal, text, phone call or face to face conversation! It is so important to give your thoughts and feelings a name, it will help foster a sense of understanding and safety surrounding this movie. This movie was meant to start a conversation, and there is not wrong one to have, because your feelings are your feelings! Process in a safe environment! I recommend either sitting down with a loved one and having a conversation, or journaling your thoughts!

5.Keep yourself and others accountable and encourage conversation! No, there is no wrong or right way to “feel” before, during or after viewing this film, although the conversation regarding the education surrounding Eating Disorders is crucial! Remember….people with Eating Disorder’s are not selfish, and they do not “choose” their disorder, Eating Disorder is a mental illness and serious addiction that requires clinical treatment and intense recovery, placing blame and fault is counterproductive and quite pointless – instead focus on help, and lastly, Eating Disorders exist in ALL bodies, all ages, sizes, races, ethnicities, socio-economic classes, genders, sexes and sizes…!

6.Question WHY you or your loved ones are watching this film. This statement is in the absence of shame, and instead to challenge your motivations behind this viewing. Is it to educate yourself? Is it to form an educated opinion on the reliability of the script? Is it for entertainment? Or is it another voice telling you to watch it….maybe it is your “diet” voice, that “Eating Disorder” voice, or another toxic and sneaky reason why you “want” to view this film. That is all OKAY….but if it IS your ED voice, or you are watching the film to pick up new habits and indulge yourself in toxic thoughts, I challenge you to combat that voice. You are bigger, better and stronger that that voice! This film is not a “funny” movie, it is not a “feel good” movie, therefore, again, I ask you to question your motivations behind viewing this film! Make sure you are staying safe and true to your own voice!

 For more posts like this click here, here and here!

Fat Is Not a Feeling!!

Fat Is Not a Feeling – Identifying Your Fat Feelings and Finding Freedom in Your Body!

Finding a positive and healthy body image is so incredibly challenging…especially when you don’t FEEL as if you look your best! But first let me remind you…FAT IS NOT A FEELING! Once you can come to terms with this concept, you will feel free from this socialized stigma that comes along with the word fat. You will find freedom in your independent body, you will find love and truth with who you are and what you “look like.”

But Why?

Each and every one of your feelings and emotions is valid, therefore, once you identify your ACTUAL FEELINGS….NOT YOUR FAT FEELINGS you will be on your way towards a healthy body image!

Fat Is Not a Feeling!!

Whenever I “feel” fat….I always need to remind myself that FAT IS NOT A FEELING…and when I forget, which admittedly is quite often, Sean reminds me, my support system reminds me!

Identify Your Feelings

Once I remind myself that fat is not a feeling, I first refer to my trusty vocabulary wheel…which I basically have memorized…I then identify my feelings. I suggest you give this baby a good look, because it is gold!

feelings-wheel-1

Once you can identify your “fat feeling” through a broader vocabulary, it is that much easier to face that feeling and/or feelings.

Facing your feelings looks different for each and every person, and is dependent on the situation. For instance, there are times where I find that instead of “feeling” fat, I feel vulnerable and powerless. I then identify what I NEED based off of these feelings….in the moments I feel vulnerable and powerless I usually need extra love, whether that be self love, or love from another being. Sometimes I lay down with a good book and cup of tea, other times I cuddle up with my dog Gio and a glass of wine, other times I just blatantly tell Sean that I need a bit more love, and ask for a hug!

Celebrate you!!

When you “feel” fat try thinking of what you truly NEED. Most often what you need is happiness, and then ask yourself how you can TRULY achieve that happiness! What will bring you to an emotional level of what you NEED? Try identifying your feelings, then identifying what you need, and then identifying how you can get that, is it self-care? Is it sleep? Is it a hug? Is it a good cry?

Live an AND life

Here is another thing to keep in mind…it is possible, and more often than not, very likely to feel more than one feeling! Therefore, instead of using BUT, use AND. For instance, you CAN feel sad AND happy at the same time; you CAN feel guilty AND confident at the same time! Once you identify your “fat feeling” as a valid feeling, you may find that you have several feelings flooding your mind and body….and once you identify those feelings, you can face each one head on in a SAFE AND HEALTHY way.

If you do not feel that you are in a safe place to identify and face your feelings alone….then do it when you are safe, when you are with a loved one, when you are with a helping professional, and then once you are safe, you can slowly learn how to gain the courage to face those “fat feelings” on your own.

The more you face your “fat feelings” the more often those feelings will change to “healthy body” and “body positive” feelings.

Find Freedom in “Fat”

Once you identify your fat feelings, and come to terms with what you NEED, YOU CAN AND WILL FIND FREEDOM! Separating your feelings from your perceived “fat” is a beautiful thing, but taking away the stigma of being “fat” is an entire different type of freedom! Why is it bad to be fat, why is fat a bad word, what is fat anyway? Find freedom in your own body, in your own state of health, in your own beauty ideals! You can find freedom in the socialized concept of “fat”, the fear of fat no longer needs to exist!

Choose Freedom!
Photo: Aneris Photography

Recap

  1. Your feelings are valid
  2. Fat is not a feeling
  3. Identify your “Fat Feelings”
  4. Identify that you can feel multiple feelings at one time – use AND instead of BUT
  5. Find self-awareness through ACTUALLY feeling your feelings
  6. Face your feelings
  7. Practice self-love and self-care
  8. Find freedom in “fat”

This is one small step towards finding a healthy body image! As you move through your weekend, remember that you are capable of loving yourself from the inside out and the outside in!

Self Care It Out Everyone!!

For more posts like this click, here, here, and here!

Interview With Dana Suchow From DoTheHotPants!

Okay everyone, I am thrilled and giddy with excitement to share this post with you! I had the privilege to meet with and interview Dana Suchow of “DoTheHotpants” via Skype this past month, and let me just say it was so enlightening and empowering! Dana is a fellow ED warrior, fellow feminist, and advocate for ALL women, and I am 100% confident you will gain some knowledge about body image, self-love and womanhood within this post! Dana now lives in New York City, has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and has appeared on Good Morning America and The T.D. Jakes Show, and she’s been featured in The Huffington Post, Vogue, Marie Claire, Seventeen Magazine, ABC News, and Yahoo!

Dana Suchow from Do The Hot Pants!

I have participated within the body positive and Eating Disorder Recovery “world” on Instagram for about a year now, and since, I have grown so much appreciation for certain accounts, one of my favorite being @DoTheHotpants!

DoTheHotpants was started by Dana Suchow, a fashion blogger turned speaker, activist and event producer. Dana came to the realization that the fashion industry was fueling her eating disorder, and that the unattainable, unrealistic, and unhealthy beauty standards she was surrounded by were toxic to her wellbeing. Dana touches on the hard and sometimes “sticky” topics within our society, and she does it with so much grace and power! Over the years, she transformed her blog into a safe space for ALL women to talk about the underlying feminist issues that ignite body image issues, Eating Disorders, and various forms of prejudice within the world of women! Dana now also leads workshops, and feminist events that support all self identifying women in need of spaces to talk about tough topics like body image. Dana’s most recent endeavor is her Makeup Removal parties, where she empowers women to learn about why we wear makeup and to ask difficult questions about whether or not our “self love” beauty regimens are truly a manifestation of our misogynistic society.

When I asked Dana about the beginning of her body positivity and feminist “journey” she shared the personal struggles she experienced as a female.

Dana Suchow from Do The Hot Pants!

“I struggled with body image for a long time, not exactly with just my weight and Eating Disorders but with beauty! When I started getting zits I was immediately sent to the dermatologist, and I began living under this microscope. I developed this hyper awareness of my body, my existence, and how people viewed me and interacted with me based on my looks.”

Dana then went on to explain that she started Do The Hotpants as a fashion blog. “I was already deep in  my Eating Disorder when I started Do The Hotpants. I had Bulimia and before a photoshoot for the blog, I wouldn’t eat, and I would exercise… I mean I would run for two days before we would do the photoshoots, and then when I’d edit the photos I was seriously photoshopping them! Covering up all of my acne. I was terrified of being seen! I was terrified to do photoshoots, and I noticed that the pressure and stress of having the fashion blog was exacerbating my Bulimia and my hate for myself. It wasn’t creating any self love and I was constantly comparing my body to thinner and prettier bloggers, because the fashion industry is focused on thinness and youth and clear skin and height. I had privilege, but I didn’t have all these things.”

Dana then discussed that she knew her privilege: her thin privilege, her white privilege, her financial privilege to start a fashion blog in the first place, and the fact that she fits many of society’s beauty standards. But with all of that being said she still struggled with her battles of body image and her Eating Disorder recovery.

“Fashion was triggering me, rather than helping me, so I started to talk about what I was going through with my readers and followers. I started to discuss my insecurities, and I began slowly showing cracks in my hyper polished exterior. People started to really resonate with me and my vulnerability. And after a while, I did this post called Photos I Wish I Didn’t Photoshop, and it went completely viral! That truly catapulted me into body positivity and helped get me out of fashion. It made me focus on what would end up being a much healthier direction for me in the long run.”

Dana Suchow from Do The Hot Pants!

“In the body positive movement, I learned that body positivity and fat activism is a feminist issue. And through my eating disorder recovery, I learned how society hates women and women’s bodies. And once I discovered feminism I learned about all the intersectional layers of hate that different marginalized women experience. Things my white, thin, cis, or able-bodied privilege allowed me to remain blind to for so long. I began seeing violence against women and control of women’s bodies everywhere I looked, and that is why I always say that if you truly want to get over your Eating Disorder you have to understand feminism and fat activism. Self-love will only get you so far, but you have to fight against the miseducation and fear of fat and that our sexist and capitalist society have created. Because you can love yourself, but once you turn on the TV or see an advertisement, all the things you’ve worked so hard on can go out the window in a moment.”

When I asked Dana about the concept of self-love in relation to these unattainable beauty standards within our society, she touched on her experience as a “junior feminist.” As a side note, Dana recently stopped shaving her legs, and has received mixed reviews via social media from fellow women.

“I get a ton of love, but I’ve also received some flack for not shaving. For instance, when I first stopped shaving I believed that all women shave because of the patriarchy, and you know what, I still question people who say they shave because they like smooth legs. I still question people who say they put on makeup for the gym out of self love. And I’m not talking about make-up as an art form, I’m talking about the daily pressures women feel to be beautiful without looking like we’re trying. If you lived in the woods sequestered from society would you shave your legs, would you wear makeup, would you be working out…? Those are the questions I’m asking.”

Do The Hotpants

“And I’m the first person to admit that I wear makeup, I take kickboxing classes, I even got my armpits lasered, but I’ve never truly done any of these things for self-love. I can say that I got my nipple hair lasered off for self-love, but when you look at the root causes, it’s about marketing, it’s about porn, it’s about internalized misogyny, it’s about classism and racism and unattainable beauty standards for all women regardless of who she is. But I will say this over and over again, that until we live in a world where a woman without makeup and woman wearing a full face of makeup are both treated the equally, I 100% support women wearing makeup, and I myself will continue to wear it also. Not wearing makeup and not shaving isn’t my message. My message is: Why are you doing it? I want women to question why we do things, that’s all.”

Dana made a beautiful point that feminism and feminist causes are not meant to shame women for falling into beauty standards, instead she is calling women to delve deeper into WHY we are following rules we didn’t make about how to live and function in this society.

“Do what you need to do to feel safe and valued and loved and sexy, because this society has already defined what sexy is. But don’t lie and say that it’s because of self-love when it might isn’t. It’s OK to adhere to something because it’s a societal standard and we want to fit in! Because at the end of the day, not everything has to be for feminism and self love. We can also be playing by shitty rules simply to survive, because we didn’t make the rules but we have to play the game.”

I asked Dana how she practices self-care within a society that tries to define self care and self love as adhering to society’s beauty standards like getting facials or shaving or painting our nails.

Dana Suchow from Do The Hot Pants!

“It is so hard as an influencer to feel bad about my body, especially as a privileged body, but I still get those feelings, and they are valid and very real. But at the same time, I can’t give them too much power! I can’t let these feelings take up all of of my mental space! So a lot of times self care for me means sharing what I’m experiencing with a friend or family member that I feel safe with. Even with an online community if that feels comfortable. Sharing is a great form of self-care, because when we share our struggles and find community, we realize we are not alone, and that allows us to take our power back from those internal voices that tell us we’re unlovable or different. Sharing is a non classist way to practice self-care, because many people can’t afford manicures or facials or new clothes, but there’s always someone who will listen to us.”

“Self-care for me used to be going to the gym to get my stress out and over the years it’s evolved to taking naps, or going out for a cup of coffee with a friend, or sharing on social media! I am not saying that going to the gym can’t be self-care but I do think that is a slippery slope and I don’t believe we need that type of exercise in our lives to love our bodies.”

Dana made it clear that she has knows she has the privilege of being a spokesperson for body positivity and feminist issues, because while she is a disenfranchised women, not all disenfranchisement is equal, and she still has financial privilege, white privilege, thin privilege, and a cis body. But speaking about her experience with Bulimia and as a woman in a sexist world that wants all women to hate their bodies, she has connected with so many women going through the same struggles who felt completely alone before connecting online. Dana also makes sure her messages are always intersectional and that her platform discusses the disenfranchisement of all women.

“We have been trained to think about our bodies, and not our status in the world! I always say we need to focus on our wage gap not our thigh gap!”

And with that, I challenge you to dig a bit deeper today, ask yourself if the things you believe are self-care, are truly self care. Ask yourself WHY you think one body type is more beautiful than another. And today I challenge you to learn about body positivity, fat activism, and feminism, because we need all of you on board to change the world.

Dana Suchow From Do The Hot Pants!

#selfcareitout!

Learning How to Love Your Body....on the blog!

Learning How To Love Your Body

Learning how to love yourself, learning how to love your body, loving your body more, love your body, love your body love your body…..I could say it over and over and over again, but it will not happen unless you WANT it, unless you WORK for it, unless you want to make the sacrifices to truly love yourself! No, I am not talking about dieting, going to the gym, and transforming yourself in order to love yourself, I am talking about truly loving yourself down to the core! Loving your body for what it is NOW, because in the end that is all you have. You have you. You have your mind, your body and your love for yourself. This takes desire, will power and a level of discomfort! But I am going to tell you, lean into that discomfort, embrace this feeling of uncomfortable and dive into a life of loving yourself!

Encourage Self Awareness to love your self and love your body

Self Awareness, this is a concept that I touch on a lot within this blog, because self-awareness is an underlying theme within all recovery processes. Bringing a sense of immediacy and honesty towards your current, and past emotions, thoughts, and behaviors is a not only a beneficial, but crucial step towards living a healthy happy life within recovery and just in general.

When you are in a safe space, take a brief moment to reflect on your present state. What are you feeling right now? Why are you feeling this way? Is this a constant feeling, or a new feeling? How are these feelings, emotions and behaviors affecting your overall process towards reaching body positivity? Take all of the time that you have and need for this step, this could be a simple process in the morning, or a continuous process throughout your day, it can be an inward conversation with yourself, or a written note in a journal, there is no right or wrong way of practicing this step, as long as you are honest and true to the process of self awareness.

Love your curves, your bumps, your insecurities! Embrace!

  • Sometimes it is just asking yourself if you love yourself, and if so, what do you love about yourself? Whether it is your smile, your positive demeanor, your hair, your sensitivity, whatever it may be….sit with it for a while! Enjoy that part of you that you love!
  • Once you can identify one aspect of yourself that you love, identify one physical attribute and one personality attribute about yourself that you love, that you adore! It is OKAY if this takes you a while, because it takes time to love yourself in a world that doesn’t allow us to do so.
  • Once you identify both a physical and non physical attribute that you love about yourself, try and pull them apart, how are these attributes totally dependent of one another? Does your smile have anything to do with your success? Does your hair have anything to do with your sensitivity? The answer is most likely no, your physical attributes are completely separate from your non physical attributes, your worth is not defined by your body!
  • This level of awareness takes time, it takes WORK and it takes WHILL! You can do it, you are deserving!
  • You CAN and WILL learn to love your body, learn to love yourself! YOU ARE WORTHY AND DESERVING OF SELF-LOVE! Love yourself, love your smile, love your laughter!

Embrace The Grey in order to love yourself

As human beings, we often see in black and white, in that the world is good and bad, dark and light, heavenly and hellish, right and wrong, but in reality nothing is black and white, everything is grey. Therefore simply understanding that life is all a personal process within that grey area can bring you one step closer towards living a body positive life. For instance, it is not bad that you have that extra squish on your tummy, it is not bad that you have those stretch-mark’s on your inner thigh, it is not bad that you ate that bagel or had that piece of cake.

Appearance is neither good or bad, it is all a part of who we are, it is all a part of the process we call recovery. My pouch below my bellybutton is no more or less beautiful than another woman’s six-pack; we are both within our own grey area, our own process. Therefore embrace the grey area, because the grey area is where all of the growth occurs! Remind yourself everyday that we are all in the grey. Once you embrace the grey you are that much closer to loving yourself, towards loving your body! For more on embracing the grey in a black and white world click here! 

Learn to love yourself! Embrace the gray....embrace all of the colors!

Find Your Happy

Happiness is all relative right? Everyone has their own experiences with joy and the feeling of happy, although within recovery, happiness is usually focused around our health, our physical bodies, and food, because the first stage of recovery is usually stabilizing those aspects of our selves. Therefore, it is crucial to find at least one thing that you can find happiness through that does not involve food, or the physical body, such as, exercise. Finding a feeling of happy outside of food and the physical body gives your mind a break from the intensity of recovery, and also trains your mind to find ways to feel happy without food and exercise!

Yes, these two things are crucial to live, but true happiness is completely dependent of those two things, and once you find genuine happiness without those things, you can eventually find safety with them in your life. What makes you feel happy that doesn’t involve food or exercise? What can you do once a day that can bring that feeling of happiness into your life? For instance, reading a book before bed, starting your day off with an affirmation, listening to a podcast or your favorite radio station on the way to work, cuddling with a loved one, watching your favorite show, taking a bath, etc., will introduce happiness without the dependency of food or the body, as these two things run parallel to one another! Once you find that happy you will start to love yourself that much more! Your mind will have some compassion towards your body , and you will find self-love! For more on happiness within finding body love, click here!

Find your happy!!

When these three steps are implemented into your daily routine you will be that much closer towards living a body positive life, you will be that much closer to loving your body, to loving yourself as an entire human being! Remember this is a process, as is life. Recovery is all about the process, learning from the ups and the downs, understanding that it is not linear or easy, and it is hard work…. therefore, taking small steps like these will bring you closer towards a love your body, and loving yourself! As always #selfcareitout!

For more posts on self-love click here, and here!!! Oh and here!!

Road Trip Self-Care Kit!

Self-Care On The Road – Road Trip Self-Care Kit!

Keep reading to learn my tips and tricks for maintaining self-care and protecting your Eating Disorder Recovery while on the road! Self-care is so very important, especially while we are traveling! Self-care can be used as a preventative practice in place of unhealthy behaviors, such as restriction, dieting, overexercising, binge eating, purging, etc. We can live a life filled with self-love, self-compassion and body appreciation through the constant practice of self-care!  More on my road trip self-care kit below!

Recovery Love and Care is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This post is not sponsored by any of the independent brands, I am just a HUGE FAN of the products and wanted to share them with my amazing readers!

This past weekend Sean, Gio and I drove from Charleston, SC to Washington DC to celebrate my younger sister’s college graduation! What a fabulous weekend it was, filled with family, food and fun! We made it a quick trip because Sean had to work on Monday; therefore we made somewhat of a “guest appearance” in DC.

My best friends just so happen to also be my sisters! #girlgang
My best friends just so happen to also be my sisters! #girlgang
Recovery Hero and Self-Care Buddy!
My Recovery Hero, my love and my self-care buddy!

Even within hectic weekends on the road, it is so very important to implement a safe self-care routine to ensure healthy behaviors and body appreciation! And for anyone within Eating Disorder Recovery, maintaining a self-care routine is that much more crucial, as it ensures a continuous and SAFE recovery!

No Fear iIn Food! A delicious start to the day! Coconut milk latte, a freshly baked butter croissant, and banana.
A delicious start to the day! Coconut milk latte, a freshly baked butter croissant, and banana…. Remember, no fear in food! Some fat, grains, fruits, protein, and sugar…the perfect meal!

With a total of 16 hours in the car, and an intensely scheduled weekend, it was needless to say that we were incredibly exhausted and sleep deprived! I am ALWAYS down for a good party and celebration, especially when it’s with my family…but with that comes transition, and with transition comes stress! Remember both good and bad things can cause stress; any state of change causes discomfort and creates a feeling of an off kiltered world. Stress can cause for emotional triggers and can lead to unhealthy behaviors and/or coping mechanisms. Therefore, it is up to US to take care of ourselves and prevent this transition and change from causing TOO MUCH discomfort. (For more about prevention within recovery click here).

All inclusive Girl-Gang!!
This girl-gang is all inclusive!!

As I have touched on previously within the blog, I am a huge proponent of the “comfort box” as a healthy coping mechanism within Eating Disorder recovery (make sure to check out this post to read more about the comfort box). If you are a newbie to the blog, the comfort box is pretty much a way to train the mind and body to use safe, healthy and alternate forms of coping to work through anxieties surrounding food, body image conception and stress. With that, I have used this notion of the comfort box, and weaved it into my transient life as a busy woman!

I have implemented self-care into my daily life through the use of self-care kits. I carry these “kits” in my purse; keep them in my desk, by my bedside, in my workbag, and even in my car! Below is a picture of my most recent self-care kit for this past week’s road trip!

Road Trip Self-Care Kit!
Road Trip Self-Care Kit!

1. Healthy Is The New Skinny is my bible these days, hence all of the post-it notes! Make sure to check out the book review here!
Healthy Is the New Skinny: Your Guide to Self-Love in a “Picture Perfect” World

2. Sheet masks are my favorite form of luxury self-care. This brand, (Tony Molly) I’m Real Mask, is amazing, and so much fun! The pack consists of 11 individually wrapped sheet masks, with a large variety of ingredients and purposes. One of my favorites is the Pomegranate (pictured) for elasticity, the red wine for pore care, and the broccoli for vitality!  Each mask, in addition to their fun ingredients and names, provide an enormous amount of hydration and nourishment to the skin. The masks always leave me feeling refreshed, revitalized and relaxed! AND they are cheap, at less than $11 per package…thats $1 per pop!
[Tonymoly] I’m Real Mask Sheet Package + Egg Pore Nose Pack with bonus Oil Blotting Paper – Best Korean Beauty Products, Facial Skin Mask. Pore Tightening Blackhead Minimize

3. Body cream is always a must….Juara (@Juaraskincare on Instagram) is a FABULOUS and AFFORDABLE option, I love it because of it’s natural ingredients, such as, avocado, turmeric and ginger! Pictured is a travel size of their Candlenut Body Creme, but the full size comes in a decadent jar for a small price of just under $27! (Reminder that I am not sponsored by these brands, just a huge fan)!

Juara Body Creme, Candlenut, 7.5 Ounce

4. I always need a good podcast on a roadtrip….Boss Girl Creative is my most recent obsession, you MUST check it out!….

5. Coffee, this of course, is within my everyday routine! I prefer to add some protein into my coffee, either soy milk or, even better, coconut milk….yum!

6. A cute hat to shade my face while driving in the sun is a must! You can find more like these at The Charleston Weekender.

7. Essential Oils are a HUGE part of my daily self-care routine, I prefer lavender to help me sleep and relax, and peppermint to energize and start the day off on a fresh note! Make sure to check out my past post on essential oils.
3-Pack Variety of NOW Essential Oils: Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Lavender

~Self-care is so very important, in that we must listen to our bodies and treat ourselves with respect and love like we do others!~

We must hydrate and nourish our bodies, minds, and souls, and with some extra self-care we can do that! I encourage you to create your own self-care kits, it is a HUGE STEP towards self-compassion and self-love!! #SelfCareitOut my friends!

This little guy made everything that much better this weekend! #recoverypuppy!
This little guy made everything that much better this weekend! #recoverypuppy!
Soapy Self-Care

Soapy Self-Care – The Three Tiers of Self-Care

Self-care is a complex concept, similar to many of the topics that are discussed on this blog. I will break down this concept into three tiers as well as, provide an example of a multi-tiered practice of self-care that I use on a nightly basis!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.Simplistic Self-Care is the purest tier of self-care and is also the most difficult to practice, in that it goes deeper than surface level. This level of self-care is introspective, it requires a level of self-compassion and self-awareness, it is allowing yourself to live in the grey, rather than a black and white world. For instance,

-Allowing yourself to feel multiple emotions at one time

-Feeling happy AND anxious AND regretful are all acceptable and rational feelings to have!

-Allowing yourself to cry when you are sad

-Allowing yourself to laugh and smile when you are happy

-Allowing yourself to eat when you are hungry

-Brining awareness to your fears and sitting in the discomfort of your emotions

-Having love and compassion for your flaws

-Taking care of your inner self and wellbeing

-Loving yourself for all of your flaws, inward, and outward

-Giving yourself the TIME to think and feel

-Doing what is best for you at a specific moment

-Calling to your needs

-Listening to your body and your emotional ques

Sometimes some cuddles with my pup is what I need for some introspection!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.Luxury Self-Care is the second tier of self-care and it touches more on the surface, although it is is incredibly beneficial and important to your wellbeing! Taking care of yourself in a more tangible way is just as important as taking care of your emotional well-being, in that the two usually go hand in hand. For instance,

-Getting your heart pumping and endorphins flowing through a safe and healthy practice of exercise

-Aroma Therapy

-Having that glass of wine when you need to wind down

-Painting your nails

-Reading your favorite book

-Going for a walk after work

-Having your morning cup of coffee

-Snuggling with your loved one

-A ritual practice of yoga, and meditation

Getting your heart pumping doesn’t have to be strenuous or torturous! Do what is right for YOU, and that is self-care! Listen to your body…
Me post exercise, sweat, sunspots and all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.Self-Care For You is the third level of self-care, and it is when you allow others to take care of you, as we are constantly giving and providing for others. This is also considered luxury self-care, and is JUST AS IMPORTANT as the other two tiers, for instance,

-Getting a massage

-Having someone make you dinner

-Going on a date night

-Sharing your feelings with someone

-Getting your nails done

-Having a girls night

-Going out to the movies

-Going out to dinner

-Getting a babysitter

-Getting your hair done

With all of that being said here is one way that I am able to implement a multi-tiered practice of self-care on a nightly basis!

Mindful Face Washing:

As I look in the mirror I think about all of the stresses, anxieties, and annoyances that I experienced that day, I then decipher which ones I want to shed of. I chose those instances and stressors and wipe away my makeup, and with each wipe I clear away that stress. As I lather my face with face wash I think of all of the emotions that were fostered due to those stresses and as the suds gather so do my emotions. As I collect the warm water in my hands I think of the power of letting go, and with each splash of water I cleanse away those emotions. Once the water runs clear I diligently watch as each droplet of water goes down the drain, ridding of all stress and negative emotion from the day. I then look in the mirror and pat my face dry, and with that I confirm my gratitude’s from the day.

My Soapy Self-Care! I LOVE my Foreo-Luna!
A Good Robe Never Hurt Anyone!

Mindfully washing my face is just one way that I practice a multi-level of self-care! Try it tonight, and let me know how it works, and as always #selfcareitout!

 

 

“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!

Living For Life, Love and Self-Care and Advocating For Eating Disorder Recovery

Be Your Own Advocate

Advocate for yourself!!!
Advocate for yourself!!!

Whether within recovery from poor self-image, people pleasing, lack of self worth, or an Eating Disorder, having a voice for yourself is crucial.

Advocacy is one of those things that doesn’t necessarily seem natural to us, in that we were never taught how to assert ourselves, promote ourselves and look out for the greater good of our souls. We grew up with parents, or guardians of some sort as our advocates, teachers, coaches, tutors, aids, peers, counselors, and even companies and government officials who speak on behalf of us. Within daily life, as an individual, the only advocate is yourself.

It takes courage, adjustment, and self-acceptance, but the moment you start to advocate for yourself, the moment you begin to look out for the greater good of your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, the moment you talk on behalf of your soul, is when you will truly be advocating for yourself, and this is self care at its finest!

If you don’t advocate for your emotional well being who will?! No one. Because, you, and you only, are the one who knows your limitations, boundaries, feelings, emotions and state of wellbeing. The absence of advocacy calls for compliance, blurred boundaries, lack of care for one’s self, and pure exhaustion.

You cannot live a happy and fulfilling life if you are constantly filling up someone else’s cup from your own supply, because that will only run you dry, leaving other people underserved in the end. Think of yourself as a barista…. you cannot properly and sufficiently serve others if you haven’t had the chance to stock up the fridge, prep the machine, or serve yourself! You must be your own barista, and serve yourself first, before you can serve others.

I am a recovering people pleaser, and self-advocacy is something that I struggle with on a daily basis, and with constant practice and time I have greatly improved! For a very long time I surrounded myself with friends that required constant service, in that I had hardly any time, if at all, to serve myself, metaphorically speaking, they were overly caffeinated individuals, and being their barista, I was at fault. It took me to the point of a breakdown that I realized I needed to speak up for myself. When a friend asks to go out for drinks during a busy week with school and work, I can now practice self advocacy by saying “I cant tonight because I don’t have it in me, I love you but I can’t.” Or sometimes I even say, “Thank you for the offer but I just need to have some time with Sean/myself/family.” It is OKAY to serve yourself, to advocate for yourself, to be honest and possibly displease others!

Advocacy is crucial in so many areas of our lives…

In Eating Disorder Recovery…

-Advocate for support when needed

-Advocate for space when needed

-Advocate for trust

-Advocate for treatment when needed

-Advocate for nourishment when needed

With friends

-Advocate for space when needed

-Advocate for support when needed

-Advocate for closure when needed

-Advocate for your self-care

With Work

-Advocate for your time

-Advocate for your professional and personal boundaries

-Advocate for your gender rights

-Advocate for EQUAL pay

-Advocate for a raise

-Advocate for a promotion

-Advocate for security

With yourself

-Advocate for nourishment

-Advocate for sleep

-Advocate for luxury

-Advocate for health

-Advocate for wellbeing

-Advocate for happiness

-Advocate for recovery

Lets advocate for self-advocacy! God knows that someone needs to stand up for your wellbeing!

Trust the Process

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!