UNpodcast 095: There’s No Cure (for Disordered Eating) Like Travel

UNpodcast 095: There’s No Cure (for Disordered Eating) Like Travel

TL;DR: Go listen to this week’s podcast with Jana Schuberth!  I find that the more I travel, the less I find myself planning. Twice this year already I have booked tickets on a whim, figured out where I was staying last minute, looked up my flight details the night before to remind myself exactly when I needed to be at which airport. Cole Porter wrote, “There’s no cure like travel to help you unravel the troubles of living today,” and I think he was right, although if you had asked me about how I felt about travel when I was in my sickness, I would have given you a completely different answer. The thing is: I used to hate travel. Even when I was looking forward to a vacation, the very fact of having my schedule thrown off, my meal timing uncertain, and my ability to get to a gym hampered was enough to trigger panic on a grand and untenable scale. Travel was not just inconvenient; it was unsafe. However. Over the past year, one of the biggest shifts to which I credit my recovery Discovery was learning how to turn travel from “unsafe” into just “uncomfortable.” Because “uncomfortable,” in the right setting, can actually be a good thing. In December of 2013, my sister came to visit us in San Jose (in the San Francisco Bay Area, for those of you not in the know), and we decided to take a weekend trip to Los Angeles (a 5-8 hour drive, depending on route and traffic, again for those of you who are under the impression that LA...
Most Likely to Succeed

Most Likely to Succeed

This weekend, I had a few moments to go into the garage and start emptying out the boxes that my Dad and grandmother sent to me from Florida. Unpacking boxes is always a fraught proposition, because, if they’ve been sealed up long enough, you may be surprised by the memories hidden away inside. Of course, the first few boxes that I opened were filled with those selfsame dusty memories: photo albums and year books from high school. I spent a little bit of time going through each one, laughing at my horrible hairdos and how young everyone looked. But the nostalgia quickly became bittersweet as I started tagging people on Facebook and following up on my friends’ journeys over the last 9 years. One thing that stuck out to me particularly was how, during senior year, I was voted “Most Likely to Succeed.” Succeed at what, exactly? In many cases, I can say that I am a success—I successfully recovered from my eating disorder. I successfully got a job in marketing/copywriting at which I happen to excel. I successfully provide hope and help for hundreds, if not thousands, of people weekly all over the world with this blog and my podcast. But what is “success,” really? I look at friends who finished their degrees and balanced their education with building the rest of their lives. Friends who have entered family businesses or started their own and still managed to keep in touch with the people who mattered—and even found time to add new people into their lives. Friends who married their high school or college sweethearts. Friends who are...
UN-Podcast 065 & Consciousness and Chemicals

UN-Podcast 065 & Consciousness and Chemicals

TL;DR: Go listen to today’s podcast with Carrie Arnold! Which of the following disordered eating patterns sounds like you: My parents never really talked about their weight or mine. I never really dieted until I got to college. But then, I tried going on a diet, and all of a sudden, I wanted to starve myself until I died—and I couldn’t stop, even after going to recovery. My parents talked about nothing but weight. I’ve been on a diet since before I could walk. I don’t actually know what a good relationship with food is, and that’s probably why I can’t stop yo-yo dieting. I have obsessive thoughts about being thin. I don’t know if it was nature or nurture—but I’ve been secretly or not-so-secretly pro-ana since I was a teenager. Being thin is like a compulsion or something. I have always eaten poorly, and it wasn’t until recently that I realized what a burden my habits placed on my health. I’ve been using all kinds of tracking devices for accountability, and I have to stick to a really rigid plan or I’ll fall right back into the same destructive patterns. So, here’s the thing: it actually doesn’t matter which one you answered, because all four types of disordered eaters exist (and more, unfortunately), and all four types come to disordered eating from different places. Some of it is nature—genetics and epigenetics—and some of it is nurture—culture and upbringing. Some of it is controllable through therapy and coaching; some of has to be managed with neurotransmitter support or a change in diet. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? And, more important,...
Developmental Transformations: Reclaiming the Language of Play

Developmental Transformations: Reclaiming the Language of Play

When I was in the 3rd grade, I was one of the playground ringleaders. We all spoke the language of “pretend,” and I was often the Rosetta Stone, translating between realities for me and my girlfriends:   “Okay, pretend that I’m the mom and you’re the baby. Pretend that she’s your sister and he’s the mean monster.”   Pretend was a verb, and I could conjugate it like a pro.   By the 5th grade, play was falling out of fashion. We still had the playground, but more often than not, girls chose to sit on the benches and gossip instead of turning the jungle gym into a castle or a forest. One girl even got her period, and she became a different kind of playground ringleader—translating between the preteen and adult worlds. Life became less about role play and more about Tiger Beat Magazine…except for me and a few of the other outcasts who refused to grow up.   By middle school, I had firmly taken on misfit status, actively shunning the language of adults by retreating into books during school hours—and secretly, shamefully, playing pretend with my younger sisters on the weekends.   That all changed the summer I developed my eating disorder.   It was my last summer at drama camp. I was cast as Rizzo in our production of Grease (which, if you know me, is pretty much completely opposite type). I was moments away from my first “kiss,” my first period, and my first diet.   The day that I committed myself to my eating disorder—to staying thin and fit and “sexy” at all...
UN-Podcast 064 & When Eating Disorders Become Your “Business”

UN-Podcast 064 & When Eating Disorders Become Your “Business”

TL;DR: Go listen to today’s podcast with Jodi Rubin now! I’m not going to pretend that the main reason I got certified as a personal trainer in 2010 wasn’t because of my eating disorder. I “wasn’t” an anorexic at the time. I was just getting my toes wet again with EDNOS—a nice combination of “clean eating” (read: rabid orthorexia) and “lifting heavy” (read: compulsive exercise). I wanted nothing more than to be featured in the pages of Oxygen Magazine, so I spent as much time as I could in the gym and the kitchen, the latter of which I learned was “where abs are made.” When grad school and theatre—two things that I formerly loved with a fiery passion—started getting in the way of my workouts, I knew that I needed a way to be in the gym as much as possible. I reasoned that personal training was a great way to live my new passion, while also “helping” the “pathetic cardio bunnies” I sneered at while I did my own fasted cardio after lifting a favor by showing them how to fall in love with the squat rack as I had. I was not in a good headspace, as you can clearly tell. Now, I know a whole bunch of fitness professionals who are the most UN-disordered people in the world—people like Jessi Kneeland and Luke Robinson and Kevin Geary, who truly, truly get that fitness isn’t a punishment and that women’s bodies are different and beautiful and don’t require harmful force to reach and maintain some perfect ideal. There are also a lot of trainers out there...