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Posts Tagged “Guest Bloggers”

April 1, 2021

Putting in the Work

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

While navigating her own recovery journey at The Emily Program, Teresa Schmitz discovered a hidden gift in being known as a great listener with a compassionate heart. Being earmarked as an IT Leader who was more into the people on her teams than the technology they were building, she realized her purpose was beyond her title. She connected the dots and soon realized her purpose was to help empower others. She pursued her dreams of becoming a coach and launched her own coaching business, My Best Self Yet.  She now helps women feel empowered to navigate the journey of loving themselves unconditionally. She also empowers others to know and use their character strengths in the In It Together group coaching program. Learn more about Teresa’s story and follow My Best Self Yet on Facebook, Instagram, and her blog.

“You have to put in the ‘work.’ You have to be willing to put your health and recovery above everything else.”

These are words that I said in my recovery story on the Peace Meal podcast. I can say them now because I am recovered, and putting in the “work” is exactly what it took.

I didn’t think recovery was possible when I was first diagnosed, as my eating disorder had convinced me that I was the problem. “I” just could not lose weight. “I” just could not seem to get a grip on my food consumption. “I” just couldn’t get my act together. There would be a lot of “work” unraveling these and many other beliefs.

March 16, 2021

‘Ed’ and All Her False Promises: A Story of Recovery

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

By Abby Couture

At the age of 14, I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. My admission into intensive care was sudden. I had gone from starving myself for months to being fed three meals and snacks a day in a hospital bed. Needless to say, I didn’t exactly embrace this abrupt change in routine. Though as traumatic as living through an eating disorder was, I believe I was able to survive for a few main reasons.

The first was my reckoning with control. A common feature of individuals struggling with disordered eating is an underlying fear of lacking control in one’s life, or feeling powerless and uncertain with their sense of self.

Throughout my freshman year of high school, I struggled to feel grounded and secure in shifting family dynamics, redefined friend groups, and a fluctuating identity with academics. In middle school, everything seemed so much easier, my grades were above average, and I felt more or less socially safe. In high school, I found myself frequently shifting between different social groups that were often in conflict. I felt tethered between old ties and new ones, constantly shifting “selves.” This ultimately led me to constantly question how I could be defined. At the end of the school year, my grades had dropped and I was no longer on the honor roll. Compounded by a disconnection with my academic self was a feeling of alienation from my own bodily identity. As I navigated puberty, I began to gain attention from older boys, leading me to objectify my own body as I learned to view it as social capital.

March 11, 2021

My Eating Disorder Is A Character

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Lisa Whalen’s book, Stable Weight: A Memoir of Hunger, Horses, and Hope, is now available from Hopewell Publications. Her writing has also appeared in An Introvert in an Extrovert World; The Simpsons’ Beloved Springfield; Introvert, Dear; and Adanna, among other publications. Whalen has a PhD in postsecondary and adult education and an MA in creative and critical writing. She teaches composition, creative writing, literature, and journalism at North Hennepin Community College, where she was selected Minnesota College Faculty Association Educator of the Year in 2019. In her spare time, she is an equestrian and volunteer for the Animal Humane Society. Learn more at her website, and follow her on social media @LisaIrishWhalen. 

“Describe how the antagonist drives your book’s plot.”

Those were the instructions 74 other authors and I received as we prepared to attend a conference in New York City. The conference would teach us how to pitch our books to agents or publishers, which involved a lot more time, research, and effort than I realized. We were told that to get the most out of each session, we should complete some assignments before we arrived. The first was describing how our book’s antagonist (villain) drives our story’s plot. It was a straightforward task for every author…except me. The others had written novels; I had written a memoir describing how The Emily Program helped me recover from an eating disorder. My story doesn’t have an antagonist, I thought, frustrated.

March 9, 2021

Rooted

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Jason Wood is currently in recovery from orthorexia. He is now determined to turn this battle into a movement aimed at raising awareness of orthorexia as well as eating disorders in males. You may read more about his journey and movement at mentalstormwarning.com

Trees amaze me with their relentless nature. They bend to the mercy of the wind. They shield from the heat of the sun. We watch them strip in the fall and awaken in the spring. Such a resilient force, rooted into the earth with unwavering confidence. Do you ever stop to think how stout they are?

Imagine what they’ve witnessed and experienced. Scientists have found olive trees in the Middle East that exceed 5,000 years in age. Talk about a lifetime full of memories! In California, redwoods are known to be almost indestructible, thanks to their thick bark. Some trees are even known to regenerate after wildfires. Here in Colorado, I love seeing the evergreens that stick true to their name. Always green, come snow and ice or heat and sun. These trees seem to know their identity and wear it proudly.

Why can’t humans be so courageous, so resilient, and so stout? Well, my friends, I believe we are! Just look at our bodies. They are our only true home. No mortgage or rent payment required. All they need is love and nutrition. And talk about sturdy–the human body amazes me just like the forest full of trees.

February 16, 2021

Recovery Conversations: A Q&A with Andrea Kelly

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Andrea Kelly is a transformational coach and writer who also has a background in real estate. After many years of struggling silently with anorexia and bulimia, she has found freedom in the last few years. She shares her eating disorder story in Fear Less: Transforming Fear into Courage within Relationships, Career, Society, and Self, available for preorder now. Follow her on Instagram @andreakellylove.

Recovery Conversations is a question-and-answer series that shares voices and stories of eating disorder recovery. In this post, Andrea Kelly describes the ways fear presented itself in her eating disorder and how she learned to confront it in recovery.

February 12, 2021

The Language of Eating Disorder Recovery

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Lisa Whalen’s book, Stable Weight: A Memoir of Hunger, Horses, and Hope, will be available from Hopewell Publications on March 2, 2021. Her writing has also appeared in An Introvert in an Extrovert World; The Simpsons’ Beloved Springfield; Introvert, Dear; and Adanna, among other publications. Whalen has a Ph.D. in postsecondary and adult education and an M.A. in creative and critical writing. She teaches composition, creative writing, literature, and journalism at North Hennepin Community College, where she was selected Minnesota College Faculty Association Educator of the Year in 2019. In her spare time, she is an equestrian and volunteer for the Animal Humane Society. Learn more at her website, and follow her on social media @LisaIrishWhalen.  

Whether we know it or not, language shapes our perception. I never thought much about how the language I speak and the way I view the world were connected until I took foreign language classes in high school. My Spanish teacher explained that translating wasn’t just word-for-word substitution. Unlike the equations I learned in algebra, where I could replace X with a number to answer a question like 4x + 2 = ?, I couldn’t always replace an English word with its Spanish equivalent to answer a question like, “How do you say _X  ?”

Learning Spanish was my first introduction to the idea that each language has a unique structure. Studying Spanish taught me that some structural differences between languages are minuscule, like the English rule that adjectives should come before nouns, as in “the blue car,” versus the Spanish rule that nouns should come before adjectives, as in “the car blue.”

Later, when I began teaching college English classes, I saw how other structural differences between languages affect every aspect of communication, such as English verbs having up to 12 tenses to indicate time versus Hmong verbs having a single tense. English requires us to say I eat, I ate, I have eaten, I will eat, I will have eaten, to tell listeners when the action happened because Western culture perceives time as linear and moving toward the future, while Hmong speakers say I eat yesterday, I eat tomorrow, I eat before sunset because traditional Hmong culture perceived time as cyclical and anchored by the present moment.

Get help. Find hope.