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 beginning 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!

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!

“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!

What WOMAN Means To Me Series – Pt. 3 With Gissell Reyes

Gissell Reyes is another dear friend of mine, fellow woman warrior, future colleague and fellow sister! I am overwhelmed by her beautiful depiction of WOMAN….go ahead and indulge yourself in this amazing illustration of What WOMAN means to Gissell….

Defining your womanhood is unique to yourself. This is one woman’s perspective on what it means to be a woman. Using this word to define the manner in which we keep our relationships with your loved ones and friends, what you give of yourself to those relationships, and how you maintain your balance with both.

Being a WOMAN in today’s society means many things but these definitions belong to society.

 

My definition is my own, just as your definition is wholly your own. When I think of my womanhood, I think of the relationships I maintain and my role in these relationships. Beyond my biology, I am a woman because I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a partner to my boyfriend. All of these relationships have a specific meaning that makes it unique to my idea of a woman.

I am a daughter, different than a son because women are closer to their families. Traditionally, we stay closer to home even as we build our own separate families. There is a saying about this: a son is a son until he gains a wife but a daughter is a daughter all her life.

I am a sister. I am loyal and protective and the keeper of memories. Sisterhood comes from a bond that is soul deep. It is formed through the sharing of adventures and of secrets and of life. To be a sister means to give of yourself for the betterment and wellbeing of your sister. You share your soul with your sister. While your children are your heart walking in the world outside your body, your sister is a piece of you doing the same thing. This is the same for people you chose to share a sisterhood with, your close friends that sub in when you don’t have a sister or are apart from them.

I am a partner. To be a girlfriend or a partner or a wife as a woman means you share yourself with another person. It means that you take care of the other person with compassion and support. To be a woman in a relationship you walk a fine line. You give of yourself without losing yourself. It takes balance and self-awareness to be a woman in a healthy, thriving relationship.

In reality, it takes balance to be a woman in general. In today’s society, women are told how to look, how to act, how to feel, it is more important than ever to find balance and be confident in your own identity. For me, what woman means to me goes beyond the superficial. It is, at its core, about how I maintain my relationships, about what I put into them. It becomes a part of the identity I create for myself. The goals I have and the achievements I accomplish are defining characteristics of the kind of person, the kind of human being I want to be. But what I put into my relationships is what woman means woman.

-Gissell Reyes

For the rest of the series check it out here!

What WOMAN Means to Me- Series Kick Off!

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 2 – with Asia Vianna Mack

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 4 – with Claire Mattingly

What WOMAN Means To Me pt. 5 – with Becca Schutlz

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 6- with Ireana Nathan

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 7 – with Emily Dell

 

The Balance Between Self-Love, Self-Care and Self-Improvement – Feel Good Look Good Series

There must be a balance within self-love, self-care and the desire for self-improvement, and that is only natural!!
There must be a balance within self-love, self-care and the desire for self-improvement, and that is only natural!!

Above is a compilation of images that represent various stages within my personal recovery, love, and care journey. I changed within each of these moments, I desired growth ALONG WITH my deep appreciation and love for myself. I desired self-improvement while also practicing self-care, self-love, and self-compassion. There is a space for self-improvement within our self-love journeys, read more below to find out how to foster this space!

Within a world filled with weight loss tips, diet culture, and media manipulation we find ourselves lost within the shuffle. How can we practice self-care, self-love, and self-compassion within a world that keeps telling us to improve ourselves through a new diet, cream, hair product, or workout routine? This is a tough thing to do within today’s world, but it IS possible and OKAY to want to improve within certain aspects of your life, while also practicing self-love and self-compassion.

Trigger Warning! It is important to note, that these standards may not apply for individuals within the beginning of their Eating Disorder recovery, in that self-compassion and steps towards growth and change must be monitored closely, as certain things may be triggering to the process of recovery.

Self-love and self-compassion are finding peace within your body, within your present life, despite all external messages and stressors. Self-compassion is when an individual treats his/herself with kindness, understanding and support, it is an ideal response related to experiences of perceived failure, perceived inadequacy, self-judgment, and isolation. Therefore, it is important that we understand that self-love, self-compassion and happiness do not come from outside variables. A true state of happiness comes from inside.

Wanting to change and grow does not mean you don’t love yourself, it is the very opposite! Yes, loving yourself for what you are in the moment is crucial, in that numbers, products, appearances and compliments won’t and can’t make us happy…. and yes self love is finding compassion for you mind body and soul in the here and now… but wanting to improve is not a bad thing! Self-love, self-care and self-compassion are not black and white concepts! It looks different for everyone.

Again let me remind you that my message is anti- diet culture, so by no means am I promoting weight loss, diets or self demeaning behaviors, instead I am bringing to light that it is okay to want something different and better for your life! I have always been an advocate for first finding happiness within yourself, as you are, and then finding joy in other aspects of your life… because it is WONDERFUL to feel good and it is OK to look good too!! Therefore, skin care, makeup, hair products, and other self-care inspired activities are ways that make me feel good AND look good… they are my additive luxuries to my already present feeling of happy!

Wanting to feel good AND look good are only natural reactions and desires that we have, therefore, when practiced in a safe and manageable manner, we can successfully practice self-care, self-love and self-compassion, as well as, self-improvement. Therefore it is best to stay self-aware of our motivations behind the desire to self improve, in that if we are looking for a state of happiness we must re-evaluate WHY we  believe that a spa treatment, makeup product, or work out class will make is  happy, as this is not possible. Additive luxuries only ADD to our current states of happiness, they ADD to our self-care routine, our feelings of self-love and self-compassion. Therefore, check your motivations behind self-improvement in order to practice safely and successfully!

-Skin Care

-Make Up

-Workout classes

-Spa treatments

-Hair Styles

-Face Masks

-Lingerie

-Swim apparel

-Sun time

As this Feel Good Look Good Series continues, I will touch on these additive luxuries within my self-love, self-care and self-improvement! And as always Self Care It Out!

Bay State to Broad Collaboration – A New Take on More Than Just a Number

Bay State to Broad’s original post….

More Than Just a Number

I’m so excited to feature one of my sweetest friends on Bay State to Broad today!

Jayne grew up just outside of Chicago. I grew up just outside of Boston.

Jayne transferred schools after her freshman year to The College of Charleston. I transferred schools after my freshman year to The University of South Carolina.

Jayne and I both decided to study abroad in Florence, Italy. We were paired in an apartment together more than 4,000 miles from home.

After college, Jayne and I went in opposite directions. I went back to Massachusetts, while she made a cross-country journey to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Five years later, Jayne and I live just a few miles down the road from each other in charming Charleston, South Carolina.

Week three of friendship! Wine tasting excursion through the hills of Tuscany. (Hashtag babies.)

Jayne blogs over at Recovery Love and Care, a blog, website, and brand that helps those with Eating Disorders and their loved ones move through the journey of self-care, self-love, and recovery. She is working towards obtaining her graduate degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and is planning on becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor.

While you may not think our blogs have much in common, she got me thinking about the idea of our lives being “more than just a number.” In the case of Eating Disorder recovery, this concept often equates back to weight, size, and body image. But numbers sneak their way into nearly every aspect of our lives, and we often think of them as defining factors of success, happiness, and worth.

Clothing size
Instagram likes
Social media followers
Bra size
Salary
Weight
How many people you’ve slept with
Age
GPA

Society – one that is edited, filtered, and oftentimes seen through a lens – uses the above numbers in an attempt to indicate our worth or to paint a surreal picture of “perfection” we feel obligated to strive for. How many times have you joked with your friends about deleting an Instagram photo if it didn’t receive enough likes? Or maybe you’ve let your salary, weight, or age – all very different things, mind you – define you . I know I have, probably more times than I can actually count.

Jayne is here to remind me that my self-worth, beauty, strength, and overall awesomeness is not defined by a number. More than a Number.

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!

Our “BUTS” are getting in the way…How AND Why to Live an “AND” Life!

After a long and grueling week at my second, and final Residency in Chicago I am feeling more grounded in not only my professional skills, but also my personal skills on a level higher than I ever imagined possible at this point within my life! I learned that despite my mental and emotional exhaustion, despite moments of self-doubt, and feelings of being invisible in the midst of an obvious power differential, I was able to trust the process, and come out even stronger because of it.

Within our lives we constantly cut ourselves short from growth and change, and we stay within a place of comfort by avoiding the unknown.

We “yes, BUT” ourselves through life, by excusing out of the box or adventurous ideas with “realism”, we nod our heads when in reality we are saying no, and with this we stunt our lives and we cut off chances for opportunities and growth.

It is possible to live a busy life AND take care of yourself….trust me I test this skill out every single day. There are times within our daily lives when we believe that there is no chance for rest, there is not time for self-care, and there is no possibility for quiet…. “It would be great for me to go for a walk this afternoon, BUT I have to write that paper” or “I could go back to school and pursue my dream job, BUT I will have to quit my job, and it just isn’t realistic” or “I am really hungry, BUT I ate a few hours ago, so I should hold off”….What are these “yes BUTS” doing to our lives!? They are stunting us, harming us, forcing us to stay in a negative space that will only cause for comfort, and comfort and growth cannot coexist. We must lean into our discomfort, in order to allow for any growth or change.

“Yes AND” can bring us to a place of change, growth, bliss, positivity, and possibility! This week, for instance, I learned that I can be tired, AND adventurous, I can be distraught AND find clarity, I can make meaningful connections with people AND connect with myself, I can want to give up AND persevere through! I can dislike someone AND respect them. I can LOVE others AND love myself. The “ANDS” within our daily lives are waiting for us, they are opportunities waiting to happen, they are shinning bright and we only dull them down every time we “BUT” our way through the day.

You can be in recovery, AND revert back to unhealthy behaviors AND learn and grow in the process!

You can loose hope AND power through the hard times!

You can trust the process of recovery AND hate the process of recovery!

You can eat that muffin for breakfast AND have that pizza for lunch!

You can struggle with self-love AND love yourself!

You can be happy AND be within recovery AND miss your ED AND want to get better!

How are you “BUTTING” yourself through life? How is this “BUT” affecting your happiness, and self-care? Once you bring awareness to your “BUTS” try implementing an “AND” into your day, see how it feels! I promise you will thank me!

 

Healthy Is The New Skinny Book Review

Healthy Is The New Skinny – A Five Star Book Review!

Healthy Is the New Skinny started out as a blog, website, and forum for women of all shapes, sizes, ages, and demographics, who were in need of a new message that challenged the common conception that women need to be small in order to achieve success and happiness. The blog, turned into a brand, Instagram movement, clothing line, and now book! Katie H. Willcox provides a fresh perspective into the world of size shaming, consumer America, and the finding happiness within our lives dependent of our shape, or weight!

As a growing blog, and brand focused on body positivity, self-love, self-care and Eating Disorder Recovery, as well as, a developing Clinical Mental Health Counselor, I can proudly say that Healthy Is the New Skinny is a book worth reading! It is a safe and helpful read for ALL individuals, in that Katie has created a strong piece of work that is clearly based on research and awareness towards true self-love within a “picture perfect world”. We live in a world filled with filters, hash tags, likes, Photoshop, and fabrication, therefore books like Healthy Is the New Skinny are necessary and crucial within our journey towards a world filled with honesty, self love, self care, and health!

Healthy Is The New Skinny brings self-awareness towards media manipulation, the true working life of models, Photoshop, redefining beauty, creating a healthful life, choosing self-love, and spreading the love. This entire book is truly dense with information that does not come easily to the average American, in that we have been programed to think in a certain way, towards ourselves, towards others, as well as, towards consumer America.

We are living within a picture perfect world, basing our happiness off of what we believe is ideal, what we believe is true and real, when in reality happiness is dependent of these unattainable ideals. Katie touches on the words of Freud, in that the subconscious and conscious minds are what fuel our ideals and concepts of worth and beauty. We have conditioned ourselves to store certain images, messages, and concepts into our subconscious mind, therefore we must bring consciousness to what we are retrieving and absorbing and condition our thoughts and behaviors towards true self-love and self worth.

Self-love does not come from losing weight, gaining weight, Instagram likes, or food, instead it comes from a state of consciousness towards what we truly need, not what we desire. Once we tune into our conscious mind we start to become self-aware, and with self-awareness comes self-love. It is our thoughts, actions and behaviors that fuel our self-love, and with self-love comes true happiness and health!

Healthy is The New Skinny is a book that I would recommend to my professional colleagues, my academic peers, my fellow women, and all individuals living within Eating Disorder Recovery!

This is not a book that you read one time and put on display, this is a book that will endure wear and tear, it is a book that you will keep on your nightstand and reach for every night. This is a book that you will re-read over and over again, a book that you will recommend to others, share and appreciate on a day-to-day basis! Thank you to the HNS team, and Katie Willcox for producing a beautiful message, because in truth, Healthy IS the New Skinny! Go order a book now on Amazon or Barnes and Noble!