Recovery Love and Care

Recovery Love and Care Launch Week Recap!

This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing through them will help support this website.

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! 

Recovery Love and Care
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

Recovery Love and Care
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 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!

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!!

LeahLani Skincare! Organic all the way!

All Natural DIY Face Masks AND My Recent All Natural Skin Care Obsessions!

This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing through them will help support this website.

My loved ones can attest to my slight obsession with skin products…it has ALWAYS been my go to “luxury self-care” and I’m still finding ways to experiment with skin care within my self-care practice! Now YOU can benefit from my LOVE for skincare! I have tested out some fantastic DIY natural face masks, as well as, listed some of my favorite organic products for you to implement into your daily luxury self-care practice!

Skin care, face masks, and pampering myself was a major part within my personal Eating Disorder Recovery. Whenever I felt triggered or shameful for using behaviors I learned to resort to soothing and natural behaviors, such as, skincare and DIY masks! Therefore, the use of products and skincare was so much more than a concept of vanity, instead it was a replacement of unhealthy behaviors, it was a way to find comfort and treat my body with respect!

We constantly think about what we put INTO our bodies, but what about what we put ON our bodies?! We always read the ingredient labels on the back of our food, analyze every word that we can’t pronounce, every nutrient, or lack there of, so why don’t we do so for our skin products? Our skin absorbs everything it comes into contact with, it protects us from the outside elements, and in turn we should treat it with kindness and appreciation!

I talk about the many tiers of self-care within a previous post, that I will link here , and with that it is important to remember that skincare is a luxury self-care. I use face masks, creams, and other skincare products to ease my mind, soothe my skin, and just relax, therefore it is in the absence of loathing my skin, or wanting to change my skin for the better, instead it is to promote a state of overall wellbeing, and show my skin and body some love! To have some “me time!”

All Natural DIY Face Masks

1. DIY Honey and Turmeric Face Mask!

This is my favorite all natural DIY face mask! Turmeric is truly one of my favorite ingredients to use for almost anything, because it has so many benefits! Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory, as well as, a natural skin lightener. This mask calms irritated skin, hydrates the deeper layers of skin, fights and prevents bacteria that causes acne, and lightens any dark spots, scars and sun damage! It is my favorite “after the beach” self-care AND it is all natural!!

DIY All Natural Face Mask!

To Use: Take one table spoon of turmeric and put equal parts of honey in a bowl, stir until the mixture turns into a paste, you may have to add extra honey! Make sure you are wearing something that you don’t mind staining, as turmeric is difficult to remove from clothing! Generously lather the mixture onto cleansed and slightly dampened skin, and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes, rinse with warm water!


2.Apple Cider Vinegar

This is a tried and true, oldie but goodie, easy does it face mask! It is crucial to use raw, unpasteurized and organic apple cider vinegar with “the mother” as this is where all of that good nutrients come from! I use this face mask when my skin starts to break out, feels oily, or my skin tone is a bit uneven! You can use the apple cider vinegar as is, or you can add honey for some added moisture and acne fighting benefits!

To Use: Shake the apple cider vinegar, pour about two table spoons into a bowl, apply with cotton ball to a freshly cleansed and damp face. Let sit for about 10 to 15 minutes, wipe with damp washcloth or rinse with water! You can add equal parts honey for extra acne fighting benefits and added moisture. You can also add half part lemon juice to better even skin tone and combat dark spots! Below are links to my favorite apple cider vinegar brands.

All Natural Face Masks and Skin Care Self-Care!

1.Lime and Lotus is a Charleston based, all natural, phenomenal brand that is geared toward individuals with sensitive skin! All of their ingredients are free from synthetic chemicals, paraben preservatives, petrochemicals, phthalates, artificial colors and artificial fragrances I LOVE these products! Their mission is to enhance your natural beauty….naturally, how refreshing! The Purify charcoal facial masque is the ONLY charcoal based mask that I can use. I have incredibly dry and sensitive skin, and therefore most charcoal based products tend to dry my skin out, but this mask is somehow incredibly hydrating, and soothing! It purifies, detoxes and moisturizes the skin with a soothing feel and delicious all natural scent! Make sure to check this one out if you have dry and sensitive skin! (Linked below)

My Skin Care Stash!

2.The other all natural face products that I am currently obsessed with are the LeahLani Skin Care products! I recently stopped by Mylk Bar in Mt. Pleasant, SC and had a fantastic, all natural pedicure and manicure, while sipping on a lovely glass of rose! As a side note, Mylk Bar is THE place to be if you are in the Charleston area, I forbid you to go ANYWHERE else for a manicure or pedicure!  After my all natural pampering, I treated myself to the LeahLani Mermaid Mask and Siren Serum. Guys….these. products. are. amazing! The mask is truly like a green smoothie for your face, I had some hormonal acne around my jawbone and chin area, as well as, some dark spots from a recent trip to the beach, and no lie, with just TWO uses my skin was cleared! Full disclosure, I also used the siren serum, which is a nutrient rich, all natural, acne fighting serum that has absolutely aided to my glowing results. As a reminder, I am in no way affiliated with any of these brands, just a happy customer!

LeahLani and Mylk Bar Obsession!

LeahLani Organic Face Masks on Recovery Love and Care

Below are a few other all natural masks that I am currently trying, although I have not been using them long enough to review. I will ink them below!

1.I drink Matcha in my lattes, so why not use them on my face?!

2.Pumpkin?! I will never turn down anything with pumpkin as the ingredient, we will see how this pans out!

I can’t wait for you to try these masks! Remember, skin care for self-care can be in the absence of self loathing and in the presence of self-love! It is absolutely a luxury self-care, it will not bring instant body appreciation or a higher level of self-worth, but it will help you feel relaxed, feel soothed, and allow you to take care of YOU! I challenge you to show your skin some all natural love this week, you will thank me I promise! As always, #selfcareitout!

What WOMAN Means To Me Series

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

I met Emily while studying abroad in Florence, Italy my Junior year of college. Emily and I, along with five other fabulous women, were assigned to live with each other at random in a charming, quaint and tiny apartment above a Gelato shop (it was heavenly)! I was drawn to Emily right away, in that her vibrancy, unapologetic demeanor and confidence were contagious! It has now been over five years since we met, and Emily has continued on her own journey in California. Her presence with her friends and family has always stayed strong, and she is truly a unique soul in every way! I am honored to have had Emily author this post on her personal depiction of womanhood! I hope you enjoy!

#GirlBossLife! What WOMAN Means To Me Series

What WOMAN means to me; living a life of grace. Grace with others, but more importantly grace with yourself. I always tell my girlfriends not to be self-conscious.

I tell them how beautiful they are and who really cares about the love handles anyway?! Well, I need to be listening to my own advice. Too many times I catch myself hating my body, wishing I were thinner or just wishing I were different all together. What kill me are the rolls. Rolls rolls rolls rolls rolls. I obsesse over how many I have, how big they are or just the fact that I have them.

Body Love! What WOMAN Means To Me Series

Part of being a woman means having grace with yourself. It’s easier said than done, but once I was able to let that body image ridden anxiety go, I accepted my body for what it was and what it is. I accepted it for what it looks like, moves and how the “hips just don’t lie.” I still have my moments, even my days or weeks! However, learning to have grace with myself helped me to love myself, which in return enabled me to give and love others.

There are too many factors in life that weigh us down. Women get called names, we are constantly being labeled, “cat called” on the street, and made lesser than the opposite sex. It seems as though we are simply singled out just for being a woman.

However, this creates an opportunity for women to shine. We must handle these situations with grace. Forgive and forget. Move on and grow. Pick ourselves up. Grind. Learn from the ones who burn us and let that scar be a beautiful lesson. It’s not the fall that matters; it’s how you get back up. It’s hard to not let the constant negativity weigh us down; in fact it’s seemingly very easy. There are many people in this world that allow the negativity to encompass all that they are. We as women must be different from the crowd. We must remain buoyant.

What WOMAN Means To Me Series

We are tough. We are strong. We are smart. We are sassy. We are kind. We are beautiful. We are life givers. Every woman on her own is beautiful, but when women come together we create a beautiful, ass kicking squad.

– Emily Dell

Check out the rest of the series here!

What WOMAN Means to Me Series Kick off 

What WOMAN Means to pt. 2- with Asia Vianna Mack

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 3 – with Gissell Reyes

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

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga!

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga – Being a Charleston Local, Facing Fears and Embracing Dreams!

A Day Out on Folly Beach, Tackling My Fears and Embracing My Dreams

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a yogi, but I am absolutely a lover of all things yoga! I am also an avid lover of all things beach! This past Monday I combined those two loves, I took a stand up paddle board yoga class at Charleston SUP Safari! This is something that I have always dreamed about doing, but my fears and insecurities got in the way, welp, I went for it, and oh my goodness was it worth it! Keep reading to hear about my experiences at Charleston SUP Safari, out on the water, and some great places to stop by after your stand up paddle board experience out on Folly Beach!

Starting The Day Off Right

I made sure to start my day right with confidence, courage and of course coffee at Black Magic Cafe. I had a delicious iced soy latte and pastry to compliment my workout out on the water! This cafe is a great local spot out on Folly and promises to use only wholesome and fresh ingredients!

This coffee sure is magic!

This menu is life!

Croissants all day everyday!

Becoming a Local

Ever since I moved to Charleston, I have made it my mission to start facing my fears, be more active and embrace everything local, as I truly believe in community over competition! Charleston SUP Safari is an all inclusive, incredibly laid back, locally owned, beach town wonder! For an incredibly reasonable price me and a group of friends paddled out on Folly creek and took a yoga class on our paddle boards!

Dolfriends for sure!

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga

My worries and anxieties surrounding failure and incompetency were completely calmed once I spoke with the staff at Charleston SUP Safari. They answered all of my questions, made sure we were all safe, and guaranteed a good time! The paddle out from the dock was fun on its own, as the scenery was truly breathtaking! Once we anchored our boards we started the yoga class.

I couldn’t believe it, I was in a bikini, out on the ocean, floating on a paddle board, and doing yoga without a care in the world about my body or my ability to “succeed”. If I took this class a few years back, I would have been worried about how my body looked, stressed about falling and embarrassing myself, and looking ridiculous to others, I would have loathed the entire experience due to my own insecurities and fears. Now, because of the forgiveness and compassion that I hold near and dear to my heart, I can do a freaking back bend, on a stand up paddle board, in a bikini without a care in the world if my back fat is hanging out, or if I fall into the water! I was able to, not only conquer my fears, but fulfill a dream of mine and truly enjoy doing it!

SUP Yoga in Charleston, SC!

 

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga

The class was challenging but not overwhelming, and within seconds I became one with my breath and the water. All of the awkward giggles subsided, and in unison, all of our bodies were flowing with the motion of the waves and slight breeze. This may sound woo woo to some people, but this stand up paddle board yoga experience changed me in a small way! It is proof that the power of movement, breath, forgiveness and courage is paramount when we feel insecure and fearful! AND I now have a new hobby!

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga!

Don’t get me wrong, people were falling off of the paddle boards left and right, but you know what? The water caught them, and the waves embraced their “slip-up!” With one quick pull up to the board, they were back to their practice! We took a phenomenal private yoga class, from a local free-lance yoga instructor, and she was truly skilled and amazing within the entire process! I highly recommend checking out her page here!! 

I will absolutely be a returning customer to Charleston SUP Safari, as they offer their own Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga classes as well! Check out their website here!

Good Eats and Great Waves

After the class was over we went to the Lost Dog cafe, and oh my gosh, it was fabulous! It is a small, locally owned, and dog friendly restaurant, with quality and wholesome food and incredible service! I had the Grapefruit Mimosa and the Chicken Salad Sandwich on a croissant (If only everything could be on a croissant, I’m somewhat obsessed)!

Dog Friendly Beach Cafe!

The Lost Dog Cafe

After I was well worked out, and properly nourished I went to the beach and played in the waves until the sun went down, the waves were insane and the water was perfect!

RecoveryLoveandCare.comFacing Fears and Embracing Dreams!

In one day I learned so much about myself, and the city in which I live! With a little bit of courage, and self-compassion I faced my fears and fulfilled a life long dream of mine! I cannot wait to get out to Folly Beach and Stand Up Paddle board my heart out! I challenge you to overcome one of your fears with the power of self-love and self-compassion, I promise you will thank me!! #selfcareitout my friends!

 

 

Selfies for Self Love

Lets Talk Body Image! Ways to Love Yourself More and Live a Self-Compassionate Life!

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Body Image.

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

Keep reading to learn how to obtain a positive body image in the absence of weight loss and dieting, as well as, suggested resources to reach a level of self-compassion and positive body image.

Sandy Smiles and Body Love!

The Truth.

The truth is that happiness does not come from weight loss, it does not come from that summer diet or beach diet, losing those five or ten pounds does not foster a feeling of happiness. Happiness does not come from dieting, #bodygoals, or a new workout regimen (Check out this post on the power of the scales and numbers within our society). Most of the time these concepts are so often combined, but in reality happiness, weight loss, and body image are all independent of one another. You can be happy, and not lose the weight, but still have a negative body image, just like you can be unhappy, lose the weight and have a negative body image….these concepts are not tied together! The majority of women are dissatisfied with their bodies. 80% of thirteen-year-old females have tried to lose weight. Our culture is driven by the concept that weight loss and dieting can create a sense of happy and confidence…when in reality, that is just not how it works.

National Eating Disorder Awareness! FACT Friday! RecoveryLoveandCare.com

Nation Eating Disorder Awareness! RecoveryLoveandCare.com

Check out FACT Friday for more!

Finding a sense of self-compassion and self-love for those love handles, for those stretch marks, for that back fat, and belly pooch, is a true sense of positive body image. Accepting your body and loving your body for what it is, appreciating your body for what it does for you…. THAT is achieving a positive sense of self and body appreciation!

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

How to Get a Beach Body....#selflove

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

It’s All About You.

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

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

Selfies for self love!

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

Lets Do This.

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


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

 

#NoFearInFood…. Everyday Can Be Donut Day!

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Happy National Donut Day! First off, let me be the one to remind you….ANYDAY can be national donut day, we do not need permission to eat certain food groups! No fear in food is a concept that truly applies to everyone, whether you are eating disorder recovered, working on your body love, in need of some extra self-care, or just are feeling shameful for eating that donut, fear and shame should NEVER be connected to food! So much of body appreciation, body positivity, and loving your body, starts with your relationship with food!

Everyday can be donut day

First and foremost, food is nourishment, but food can be fun, it can be exciting, although it should never be off limits! This is a tough concept, and it takes sometime to truly grasp it…because we live in a culture that tells us we SHOULDN’T be eating certain foods, and that some foods are GOOD, some are BAD, some are, CLEAN, and some are even SUPER or WHOLE! What does this all mean?! Let me help you interpret all of this…take the fear away from the food, and I promise you will be happier!

I mean….I know that donuts and pancakes make me a better person, because without them I restrict, I then binge, I then feel shame, and the cycle starts all over again!! So everyday should be donut day!

**Below is THE BEST pancake mix I have ever baked with!! Also high in protein, and organic! I highly recommend adding rainbow sprinkles!

Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes: Flapjack and Waffle Mix Whole Grain Buttermilk 4.5 Lb

**This donut mug is in my cabinet!

Ceramic Donut Mug – Delicious Chocolate Glaze Doughnut Mug with Sprinkles – Funny “MMM… Donuts!” Quote – Best Cup For Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate and More – Large 14 oz Size

rainbow sprinkle pancakes....now that is self-care!

#NoFearinFood is another concept/statement/hash tag that you may see floating around the Internet and social media. This is a beautiful concept, yet one that is much more complicated than it seems, and one that affects almost every individual, eating disorder or no eating disorder.

#NoFearinFood, a simple statement riddled with a complicated message. What does this really mean?

Having no fear in consuming food in general

Having no fear in calories

Having no fear in a certain TYPE of food…despite allergies

-Gluten, meat, sugar, butter, dairy, bread, pasta, fat (just to name a few)!

Having no shame in eating food in general

Having no shame in consuming a high amount of calories

Having no shame in consuming a small amount of calories

Not imposing a greater sense of importance on food

Having no fearful  feelings after consuming food

Not imposing a sense of shame surrounding food in general

Not imposing a sense of shame surrounding a certain type of food

Not imposing a sense of guilt after consuming food

No thoughts of needing to EARN or DESERVE your food

Having no fear in over eating food

Having no fear in binging food

Not using unhealthy behaviors after consuming food

Not having fearful feelings and a need to purge after consuming food

Not imposing restrictions on certain foods

Not imposing restrictions on eating at certain times during the day

Not working out for food

No dieting

#NoFearinFood is an incredibly complex concept, one that many struggle with on a day-to-day basis. The concept of food consumes us, especially when living with an eating disorder. #NoFearinFood is not just about ED life and ED Recovery, instead it is about obtaining a healthy relationship with food, in that food does not control us, it does not define who we are, instead it is fuel, it is nourishment, it is a necessity, yes it can be fun, but it is dependent of happiness!

In addition to ridding of shame and guilt below are some ways to ease into this concept!

  • Take away vocabulary like GOOD and BAD, or CLEAN and DIRTY….food is food, and words have power!
  • Allow your body to eat when it is hungry and stop when it is full
  • Forgive yourself if you overeat
  • Don’t restrict ANY food from your diet
  • Identify your own food rules, what are your irrational food rules?
  • Break your food rules, defy yourself!
  • Hydrate yourself with water, this can keep the mind and body in check with hunger and fullness queues.
  • Think about your motivations behind exercise, to read more click here
  • Find comfort in things outside of food! Below are several links on my favorite comforting self-care remedies

Self-Care Comfort Remedies!!

I have always been a huge fan of essential oils, my favorite way to use them is to diffuse them!
Essential Oil Set 14 – 5 ml. Pure Therapeutic Grade Includes Frankincense, Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, Orange, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Clove, Spearmint, Lemongrass, Cinnamon

I lay with my diffuser before I go to sleep at night, and right when I wake up…or whenever I feel triggered!

PureSpa Natural Aromatherapy Oil Diffuser – Ultrasonic Mister with 200ml Water Tank, Wood-Grain Accents and Soft Color-Changing Lights

I love giving myself facials whenever I need to calm down or feel a little bit of comfort! This is THE BEST facial oil EVER!!! (reminder that I am not sponsored…just obsessed)!
RMS Beauty Oil, 1 oz

 

coconut milk iced latte for the win!

Tie-Dye Cake Balls for the win!!
Tie-Dye Cake Balls for the win!!

One thing to keep in mind is to be easy on yourself, this concept is incredibly complicated, complex, strongly engrained, and intertwined within our lives. Therefore #NoFearinFood may be something to work towards, it is not something that will come instantaneously. It all starts with self-awareness, and self-love, no shame or guilt! Remember….

Food is fuel

Food is nourishment

Food is fun

Food is beautiful

Food is a necessity

Food does not define you

 

My Recovery Kitty – The Saga of Lilly!

Buckle in for a funny and plot twisting post, you’ll be shocked at what happens!

At the very beginning of my Eating Disorder (ED) Recovery, Sean and I moved in with one another. Maybe I should be clearer, I moved in with Sean and three of his friends, and yes, I know what you are thinking… Why would I ever do such a thing?!!

Yes, it was chaotic, extremely trying and oh so difficult, but it worked! But that is for another post, this post is about my first little fur baby!

This was 4 years ago! I had just moved out to Jackson….and the journey was JUST beginning…I had no clue what I was in for!

When I moved into Sean’s place I decided that I needed something that I could call my own, something that I could love, hold onto, take care of, something that wasn’t connected to anyone else, and that wasn’t related to food, or my body.

The Animal Adoption Center in Jackson, WY, had just received a litter of kittens, and it just so happened that I was a crazy cat lady…so it was really meant to be! Sean was on board, after a bit of convincing…and it was decided! I was going to be a kitty mother! I specifically wanted a boy, that was my only requirement. I went to the adoption center and played with all of the tiny creatures, and picked out this little black kitten, he was PURRFECT (lol…too corny)? Sean made a separate visit to the adoption center, and unknowingly connected with the same kitten, and the deal was done! We named the adorable little man Liam, and counted down the days until we could take him home!

Liam’s first week home! Look at those saucer eyes!!

I took Liam home when he was about eight weeks, he wasn’t drinking his mother’s milk anymore, and they therefore allowed us to adopt him! Liam was about the size of a tennis ball, his fur was all-scraggly and his eyes were as big as saucers! I fell in love, and a small part of me started to heal with that newfound love and connection. My purges were less frequent, and I wasn’t constantly thinking about recovery, instead I was focused on this new little, but oh so big, love!

Only a few days went by and Liam got really sick, and I mean really sick. It turned out he had a parasite that is common in feral born cats, and most often ends in death. I was determined to keep my new little baby, nothing could take him away from me! I stayed up nights with him, cleaned him in the bath, spoon fed him and hydrated him to the best of my abilities. I took Liam to a different vet to get a second opinion, and they prescribed some intense antibiotics and fluids for my little 2-pound bundle of love. With a lot of patience, perseverance, fluids and love, Liam finally got better, and with every day so did a small piece of me.

Sweet little man! This was him at about nine weeks!

A couple of months went by, and Liam started to change. His attitude and overall demeanor completely shifted, in that he became protective of his food, he would hiss and bite every time we tried to pet him, and he never wanted to play. The anxiety started to weigh on me, this little kitty was getting in the way of my relationship, was causing me more stress than joy, was testing me! But I kept reminding myself that this was a sacrifice, this was the cost of being a kitty mother, unconditional love! Remember patience is so crucial within the most trying of times (Click on the link for more)!

I was counting down the days to Liam’s appointment to get “fixed”, the vet advised me that getting neutered usually helps the testosterone levels, therefore it might alleviate some of his behaviors, although it is best for male kittens to wait at least three months.

The day of Liam’s neuter appointment finally arrived! I brought Liam to the vet, they put him under a mild anesthetic, and began shaving his under belly. The vet advised me that I could stay in the room, as it would be a quick “snip, snip.” I sat there for a while, and the vet tech hesitantly asked me if Liam had been neutered already, I said no, as he was adopted at the young age of eight weeks. The professionals kept feeling around, and abruptly said…. “welp, um it’s a girl!” I paused, shook out my ear, and laughed “right!” thinking that they were joking, and after a few moments I quickly realized this was no joke! “Jayne, your cat is a girl, we are going to have to do this quickly, as a spade takes much more time, precision and need for anesthetic”

The vet tech pretty much pushed me out of the room, and told me to return in a few hours, they would call me if there were any complications. I, on the other hand, was a mess. This verdict tore me apart, my little baby boy, was not a boy, he was a girl! I was obviously not crying because of the social norm that gender is, instead my tears were coming from a place of uncertainty, in that I had put my heart and soul into something and now that something changed.

Those eyes!

Once I collected myself, I returned to the vet, and picked up Liam, it just so happened that poor little baby, girl, Liam had been in the middle of heat, and was in so much pain that she was coping the only way she knew how! The craziest thing was that two different vets had informed me that Liam was a boy; he apparently had two little fur toughs at the base of his under belly that shaved right off! The poor thing was hurting for the past couple of months! Liam was coping by biting, scratching and growling, he was hurting me because he was in pain. This behavior was synonymous of my ED, my behaviors were only manifestations of anxiety, stress, perfection, and pain….I was hurting my body because my perception of the world was hurting me, I was in pain. 

Happy brother and sister moment! Poor Gio had a little eye issue!

I brought Liam home, and quickly shed of my sociology background, rid of the notion that gender is a social norm, and got Liam a sparkly pink collar to go with her new name; Lilly…. for some reason this made me happy, probably a confirmation of the misogyny of society.

She thinks she is royalty!

Lilly started to recover, and her true personality started to shine through! She was a sweet, incredibly sassy, kitten with somewhat of an attitude problem! Lilly grew to LOVE her adopted Kitty dad, Sean, and rebel against me, her mother. She would scratch me, bite me, ATTACK me, and then go and cuddle with Sean, like the typical angsty teenager! For a brief period we allowed Lilly to be an outside cat, but when she came home one day all bloody and tore up from being hit by a car, Lilly quickly became an indoor cat again! I know…the drama!

She chose her Dad’s team over her moms Blackhawks….

The saga truly goes on an on, Lilly continued to test me, and with that I grew stronger. I was able to take care of something, watch a small being, MY small being almost die, come back to life again, change personality, and truly REJECT ME, and with that came so much pain, so much discomfort and so much growth.

Yes, we even tried walking her!!!

Lilly’s journey was symbolic of my Eating Disorder Recovery. It was tumultuous, painful, confusing, what seemed like a near death experience, challenging, forever evolving, uncomfortable, and beautiful! With pain, and discomfort came change and growth. Change cannot and do not exist within a state of comfort.

A game of “where is Lilly?”

Believe it or not, Lilly was a MAJOR part of my recovery. She tested me in so many ways, she pushed me to reevaluate what I believed was healthy, unhealthy, important, not important, life or death, Lilly taught me a new kind of love, one of constant challenge and testing, My recovery kitty reminds me everyday what unconditional love looks like, feels like, and let me tell you something, I have learned how to love myself, unconditionally…. and that is self-compassion at its finest! So thank you my little Recovery Kitty, I love you Lillykins!

This was when Lilly was an “outdoor” cat, she would go outside for about 15 minutes and come right back in! I miss this little bungalow we lived in!!
Lilly and Gio are the best of friends…their personalities shine through in this photo!

What WOMAN Means to Me – Pt. with Becca Schultz

Becca Shultz is an amazing soul, she is an inspiring presence and I am so very honored that she has written a post for this series! As an empowered WOMAN, Becca has now taken it upon herself to spread the powerful inspirations and ideations that she has been taught by women in her life. I came across Becca’s Instagram page, Becoming_Becca.Again_, and it blew me away, Becca is not only powering through Eating Disorder Recovery like a boss, but she is also busting through the feminist world and making it her own, while advocating for ALL! I hope you enjoy this incredibly depiction of what WOMAN means to Becca.

 

“Being a woman.” Where do I even begin? I hope I don’t jumble some of my words, I do struggle with self-confidence a lot.

For so long I never really thought about or pondered on the fact of what it truly means to be a woman, to encompass the feminine spirit.

Growing up in a society that has it’s set standards of what being a woman “really encompasses” has caused me to feel confused throughout the majority of my life, questioning where I stood in society, and if my role in society was important or not, and I know that many women feel the same way about this no matter what race, religion, sexual orientation, skin-color, or gender someone is or the sex they were assigned at birth, and the list goes on and on.

Ever since I entered recovery for my eating disorder and other mental and emotional illnesses, I really started to see the actual woman that I was, not the woman that society wanted or still wants me to be, and once I found my space in the community of self-love and intersectionality on Instagram, I actually found my voice, as they say, and that my voice actually does matter.

Crossing paths with so many inspirational and powerful women through Instagram and of course within the world in general (one of them being my bad ass mom!), I feel like I finally am using my voice, believing in the things that I BELIEVE IN, not what my family or others want me to believe. I am an intersectional feminist and it feels good to finally say it. I am so proud of myself in regards to the woman that I am becoming every day, and I thank all of those that have crossed paths with me showing me the way to who I am becoming.

I am more than my hair, my looks, and my legs. I am more than my body! I am an intersectional feminist that is learning every day…learning every day how to be a better citizen and woman to those around me. Taking action to derail patriarchal standards that have created unrealistic expectations that make me and so many around me feel inferior and not good enough.

I am so honored to have this opportunity to do a write up for this amazing blog. My hope is to continue to be the change in this world that needs to happen, to inspire my nieces and nephews and future children to keep fighting for what is right.

I want to give a special thank you and shout out to one of my biggest inspirations, Dana Suchow (@dothehotpants). Thank you for giving me the strength to start “being me unapologetically.”

-Becca Schultz

Check out the rest of the series here!

What WOMAN Means to Me Series Kick off 

What WOMAN Means to pt. 2- with 

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 3 – with 

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

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 6- with 

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