UNpodcast 115: Trust: The Secret to Recovery

UNpodcast 115: Trust: The Secret to Recovery

TL;DR: Go listen to this week’s podcast with Paul Williams and Tracey Jackson! There’s a moment in recovery when it suddenly clicks for you that there is nothing romantic about your suffering, and that loneliness and desperation are no longer a badge of honor or an exceptional trait. There’s that moment, and it’s the moment when you start to reach out for help…only you’re so stuck in your old patterns of thinking or the depression and anxiety are still so strong or the eating disorder voice is so loud or the drugs or alcohol or binge foods keep calling even though you’ve told them to forget your number… …It’s the moment when it seems like everyone else seems to get it but you just don’t. How do I do it? You frantically ask Google. How do I do it? You email the coaches. How do I do it? You cry to your therapist. HOW DO I DO IT WHEN I DON’T KNOW HOW? Recovery is hard because there’s no handbook that says: you must do exactly this and you will definitely recover. You must do exactly this and you’ll know that it’s working because you’ll feel X, think Y, and look Z. There are definitely tools you can use. Gratitude is a big one. It’s one of my favorites. But gratitude can’t always erase years of pain. That’s where trust comes in. This is especially hard if you’re not a religious person. Faith—of any kind—can seem like a joke. There’s no order to the universe, so how in the heck can I trust it? There’s only one answer to...
UNpodcast 114: Why You’re Still Recovering

UNpodcast 114: Why You’re Still Recovering

TL;DR: Go listen to today’s podcast with Dr. Nina Savelle-Rocklin! As a writer, I’m a little obsessed with semantics (which, according to Wikipedia, is defined as “the branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning.”) I really do, however, that words hold incredible power often when (and even especially because) we are not thinking about them. I wrote one of my most important blog posts ever on why I’m no longer calling my recovery a recovery (and I’m calling it a “discovery” instead), but I think the word “recovery” warrants some revisiting. To recover literally means to “get back,” as I discussed in that post, but I think it has some secondary means that we need to address. Because eating disorders have an extremely and alarmingly high rate of recidivism (or relapse). And so does “non-disordered” dieting. The amount of time we spend getting on and off of the proverbial wagon is exhausting. And I think that one of the big reasons we do that is because the idea of “re-doing” the process is written into the word. REcovery. We’re doing it over and over again, because we’re being trained to “recover.” Whether you’re going into treatment for an eating disorder or just trying to stop dieting on your own, you’re practicing the act of recovery instead of actually experiencing change. And the more you do it, the better you get at it. Say the right things to your therapist. Change from vegan to Paleo. Become “strong not skinny.” Do a different cleanse or detox or clean eating challenge. Run less and lift more. Defend your thought patterns. Defend...
Before You Become a Health Coach, Read This: 

Before You Become a Health Coach, Read This: 

I get a lot of emails from women who are struggling with recovery or body image issues, and I get a lot of questions. But one of the number one questions unrelated to recovery that I get is: “How can I become a health coach, and which health coaching program would you recommend? Often in the same email, the sender will mention that she’s still struggling with body image/food and that she wants to inspire others to stop struggling based on her struggles. So I wanted to share my answer publicly in case it helps you in making decisions about your future career—and also helps you find greater freedom from your preoccupations with food, fitness, and body image: I did not start this blog with the intention of becoming a health coach. At least, not the kind of coach that I am now. I started this blog while I was still recovering and still very attached to both my story and my behaviors. I was an orthorexic. I was obsessed with food and fitness. I was still dealing with the vestiges of my exercise addiction. I was the “healthiest” person in the context of internet branding (clean food! paleo! weight lifting!), but mentally and emotionally? Not so much. I started this blog to inspire people, sure, but mostly to inspire them to get lean, gain muscle, fix their hormones, and do all of the things that every other health nut on the internet is trying to inspire other people to do. I discovered, through my writing, that my blog wasn’t about losing weight, but about recovery. But even then,...
On Thinness, Fatphobia, and Weight Suppression: Why You’re Not Recovering

On Thinness, Fatphobia, and Weight Suppression: Why You’re Not Recovering

TL;DR: Go listen to today’s podcast with Harriet Brown! Can we take a few minutes to talk about thinness and recovery? And fatphobia and recovery? Because I think we really, really, really need to address this issue. A few weeks ago, I read a blog post by a newish recovery blogger—who was talking about the amazing, important practice of letting go of your restrictive eating and obsessive exercise habits. Which is great. Super important. Good stuff, and keep going. But. There was a caveat at the end of the post: don’t worry: if you give up your disordered behaviors, don’t worry, because most likely you won’t get fat. Don’t worry. You won’t get fat. It’s the refrain I hear all the time. Or: I’m heavier now than I’ve ever been, but I’m learning to accept my body (says the size 2 girl who is still posting gym selfies and hashtagging her #cleaneats). The subtext is: I accept my body because it’s bigger, but it’s not big. And I won’t let it get big. Here’s the thing. I know how important it is to meet people where they are. I know how scary it is for anyone—eating disordered or just chronic dieter—to make those important first steps away from restriction and overexercise. I know how important it is to make that promise of “you won’t get fat” when the fear of fat is still so fresh and so raw. But. I think that, in a way, when we do that, we end up perpetuating a serious fatphobia that keeps us from ever actually recovering. That keeps us trapped in a...
UNpodcast 106: The 3 Stages of Love: How to Love Your Body

UNpodcast 106: The 3 Stages of Love: How to Love Your Body

TL;DR Go listen to the podcast with Bryan Reeves! Heads up: I’m writing as a cis, mostly hetero woman, about masculine/feminine as they manifest in the relationship models in which I’ve participated. I’m not trying to be exclusionary—I’m just writing in the pronouns and paradigms that have defined my own experience, and I invite you to insert your own spin on these words as they apply to your place on the gender spectrum and sexual preferences. What do relationships have to do with your body image? I’m not talking about the obvious stuff—a partner who says shitty things about you, a fear of sex, etc.—I’m talking about the very concept of relationships and how we seek, find, give, and receive love. In this week’s podcast with the incredible relationship coach Bryan Reeves, we talk about the “3 stages of love,” based on a concept from David Deida. I’ll break it down here, but you’re going to want to go listen to the podcast to hear Bryan explain it, because he’s amazing: Stage 1: You depend on someone externally for love. This is the stage of “Need.” This is the “I’ll die if they don’t love me back” stage, where we work to try to appeal to our partner’s desires and/or try to change ourselves to fit in with a potential partner’s framework. Think (within the stereotypical gendered paradigm): the woman who wears a pushup bra, heavy makeup, and heels to a club and postures all evening, when she’s really more comfortable in sweatpants; or the man who goes out and spends all of his money on fancy cars and the...