Recovery Love and Care

Self Love, Short and Sweet

 

Here is my professional and personal take on self-love, I’ll make this short and sweet!

Self love is a new concept to many, in that it is not something that we were taught about in school, it is not something that was drilled into our minds much like math, science, and geography, instead it is a concept that is incredibly foreign to us. Why is this? Why is such an important and crucial concept so new to us within our adult years? I don’t quite have the answer to this, because the lack of self-love has fostered a world of negativity, hatred, illness, and self-loathing.

In a world filled with selfies, hash tags and filters, it can be easy to view self love as selfishness, narcissism, and fabrication…. and yes, this does exist, but this is not self love. Self-love is appreciating the person that you are, accepting yourself for your flaws, loving yourself for the good and the bad, loving the black and white while also embracing the grey! Self love is loving yourself, for yourself, not for someone else’s gratification, not doing it for likes on Instagram and Facebook, not doing it for followers, or social acceptance, instead doing it for YOU!

Because we haven’t been taught how to practice self-love, it may come as an overwhelming and intimidating task, therefore, practice patience, and give yourself time; you will eventually learn to love yourself! Therefore, the next time you take a selfie, do it for self love not selfishness, do it for self-appreciation, not to prove something to others! Below are a few ways to begin your practice of self love, and let me tell you….it is worth it, I promise!

Write yourself a daily love note

Journal words of love to your self-hatred

Smile when you wake up in the morning

Give yourself a hug

Wear something that makes you FEEL good

Do something that makes you FEEL good

Read a book

Cook a meal

Spend time with a loved one

Go for a walk

Wake up to watch the sunrise

Take a selfie for self-love

Light a candle and listen to your favorite song

Watch your favorite movie

Take a picture for self-love NOT selfishness or self-loathing

Take away negative self talk, such as, should, shouldn’t, good, bad, fat and ugly

Self-love is something that we ALL need, it is a non negotiable. Therefore, whether you are working your way through eating disorder recovery, trying to find body positivity, struggling with self-loathing and self-hating language and behavior, or just need a bit more self-love in your life, take a moment today, tomorrow, and the day after that to begin your practice of self-love! Be the model of your own life!

The Grieving Process within Eating Disorder Recovery

Grief is a feeling of despair, uncontrollable and inevitable loss, disappointment, pain, numbness and sadness, an experience that can last a moment or a lifetime, something that is not tangible and can cause isolation and a feeling of alone. Grief is a normal reaction to any kind of loss, as well as, all of the emotions that coincide with the grief, although some emotions may feel abnormal due to misunderstood or unidentified grief, they are not (James & Friedman, 2009). Grief has various definitions, as it is an experience that all individuals face, and in different ways, depending on their loss, and this can cause for confusion and conflicting feelings. These conflicting feelings are usually caused by change in some aspect of an individual’s life, such as, death, and in this case, loss of innocence and identity.

Trust the process
Grief is a process, much like recovery, it ebs and flows

Grief is something that is experienced on so many levels, as the feeling the feeling of change and loss do not necessarily have to correspond with what we conceive to be a negative belief. Below is a list of the various forms of grief that an individual may experience within their lifetime (James & Friedman, 2009).

Death of a loved one

Death of a pet

Divorce

Marriage

Moving

Starting School

Death of a former spouse

Graduation

End of an addiction

Major health changes

Start of a new job

Retirement

Financial Changes – positive or negative

Holidays

Legal Problems

Empty Nest

The list goes on and on, in that most major loss evens in life do not have to be associated with death, there is loss of trust, loss of safety, loss of control, and several conflicting ideas and feelings come within a grieving process.

In terms of Eating Disorder Recovery, much of the process seems rocky, tumultuous, incredibly challenging and at times, unbearable. So much of this struggle has to do with the grieving process; our minds and bodies are reacting in response to grief! Below is a list on the various factors that trigger a sense of loss and grieving within Eating Disorder Recovery.

Loss of what you perceived your body to be

Loss of perceived control over your body

Loss of perceived control over your food

Loss of perceived control over your physical activity

Loss of a toxic relationship with food

Loss of the perception of what is healthy

Loss of the perception of what is perfection

Loss of the body that has been desired

Loss of the body that was controlled by ED

Loss of the safety within ED

Loss of a toxic relationship

Loss of identity

This list just touches the surface of the overall grief process involved in ED recovery. Our perception of grief as a society is incredibly black and white, and in reality grief is completely grey. Eating Disorder Recovery has so much to do with loss and grief, and you can’t truly move through the process of recovery without bringing awareness towards your grief reactions and grief process.

Therefore self-awareness is crucial to this overall process in order to safely and successfully move through recovery. Once self-awareness is implemented, compassion is incredibly important, in that compassion towards the mind and body will help you move through the grieving process. This is where self care comes into play, surprise surprise! To live a life without ED is living a life full of self-love, body positive thoughts and behaviors, and forming healthy bonds with the mind, body and other relationships through self-care, self care, self care!

So as we move into this weekend, I ask you to bring some self awareness to your grieving process within your own life and ED Recovery, be easy on yourself, and allow for compassion and self care!

Trust the Process

 

Body Checking is a behavior

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trust the Process

Find your Flow and Growth within 2017

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

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

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

  

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Happy New Flow my friends!

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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