Recovery Quote Of The Week: August 28th, 2010

Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures.
H. Jackson Brown Jr. 

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Eating Disorders Poll: Rewards On The Road To Recovery

Fears and doubts can be overwhelming when recovery is being contemplated or newly begun. Despite the obstacles and emotions that may arise, RECOVERY IS WORTH IT and POSSIBLE. Many have taken that first step, seen it through, and reaped the rewards at the other end. What rewards have you found on the road to your recovery?

Please take a moment to participate in the poll in the sidebar and share your experience with others.
  Feel free to add answers to the comment section that are not provided in the poll. 
Thank you.

This poll has ended. Click for Poll Results

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Eating Disorders Recovery: Self-Soothing Techniques

Using self-soothing techniques can be a strong defense when stress, circumstances beyond our control, or negative thoughts and feelings become overwhelming.

1. to tranquilize or calm, as a person or the feelings; relieve, comfort, or refresh
2. to mitigate, assuage, or allay, as pain, sorrow, or doubt exert a soothing influence; bring tranquility, calm, ease, or comfort.

Nurturing Your 5 Senses

Our 5 senses are powerful. What we hear, touch, see, smell, and taste can have a profound impact on our feelings and mood. Although it's impossible to always be in control of what our senses are exposed to, we can make a conscious effort to supply them with things that calm and soothe us, and lift our spirits. 

When you choose to do something to soothe yourself let everything go and be in the moment. Truly immerse yourself and allow what you're doing to seep deep into your being. Put everything else aside, relax and enjoy it while it's happening.

  • take a walk along the beach and enjoy the sound of the waves, the seagulls
  • stretch out on a blanket in the woods and listen to the birds, the wind through the trees, the gurgling of a brook
  • play music that makes you feel calm, comforted, safe
  • listen to a CD of nature sounds (the ocean, rain, birds singing...)

  • take your shoes off and walk in the sand, grass, or along the water's edge
  • soak in a warm bath (use a scented bath oil or favorite bubble bath)
  • float in a pool and feel the water around you
  • sink into soft sheets/comfortable bed
  • wrap yourself in a blanket still warm from the dryer
  • slip into your favorite, softest robe

  • take a walk through a park and enjoy nature
  • spread a blanket on the beach and watch the waves
  • sit in a garden and enjoy the flowers, bees, butterflies
  • study a favorite piece of art
  • look through your favorite pictures
  • take a ride through your favorite part of town
  • spread a blanket under the stars
  • treat yourself to your favorite flowers and put them somewhere you'll see them often

    • light a scented candle
    • walk outside after it's rained
    • step into a florist shop or garden and smell the flowers
    • put on your favorite perfume
    • shower with scented soap
    • spritz your sheets with a favorite scent before bed

    • enjoy a cup of your favorite tea (notice the taste, the warmth of the cup in your hands, the warmth of the liquid)
    • cook your favorite meal
    • have a picnic and invite a friend
    • try something new and different 


      Sit comfortably (if possible), spine straight, feet on the floor, shoulders and arms relaxed. Keep your throat open and your lips slightly parted. Close your eyes. Breath in slowly, through you're nose, to a slow count of 5. Let your tummy expand with each breath. Once you get the feel of how long a 5 count breath is, stop counting them. Let the breath linger for a moment before exhaling slowly through your mouth for 5 counts. (The best example that I've heard of on how this is done is see your breath like a wave that washes up onto the shore and lingers before receding back into the ocean).


      Use the above breathing technique. Choose a word that you can relate to how you want to feel, such as "relax, calm, or safe." Say this word to yourself as you exhale. As you begin to relax, picture yourself walking along a beautiful beach (or any other place that suits you). Take in the sounds and sights... the waves, the gulls, the wind. Feel the warmth of the sun and the cool breeze on your skin. Feel the sand under your feet. Notice how blue the water and the sky are. The tall grasses move gently with the breeze. Make it as vivid as you can, filled with the imagery of the things you find beautiful, enjoyable, and relaxing.

      Positive Self-Talk

      What we tell ourselves is powerful.What we attached to the word "I" has a deep impact on us. We all get negative thoughts now and again and the anxiety, guilt, shame, and stress they bring with them. When the old tapes start playing and we find ourselves faced with negative self talk, it's time to switch gears and provide positive, self nurturing replacements. Examples:
      • I am a good person
      • I can accomplish anything
      • I am special 
      • I am worth knowing
      • I am happy
      • I am capable
      • I am smart
      • I am confident
      • I am learning
      • I am growing
      • I am successful


       Bottling up our feelings, fears, and negative thoughts will not make them go away.Get it out. Put them to paper.

      Acknowledge and Act
      • acknowledge how you're feeling
      • accept your feelings
      • take time to calm yourself
      • reinforce with positive self-talk

        Practice, Practice, Practice!

        The more you practice taking care of yourself, the easier it becomes. Don't get frustrated if the first few times you try to visualize your beautiful beach (or whatever place you have chosen) that you're unable to see it clearly. That's to be expected for most of us. It will become clearer with practice.

        Each time you replace a negative thought or negative self-talk with positive alternatives you're changing  how you perceive yourself and eventually it will become easier and easier to do.

        When you're short on time or in a situation where you're unable to do anything that takes you away from what you're doing, slip in a few deep, slow breaths. It will help de-stress and calm you.

        Notice and enjoy the little things. Promise yourself that you'll take a moment to enjoy at least one thing everyday that you normally pass by without appreciating. It doesn't have to be anything big or important. Have you ever studied the intricate design of a spider web? Pretty amazing.

        Relax. Breathe. Nurture. Enjoy. You deserve it!

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          Recovery Quote Of The Week: August 18, 2010

          God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to the know the difference.
          Reinhold Niebuhr
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          Eating Disorders Bloggers: What Some Are Discussing This Month

          Natasha's Story: "I Was Raised Thinking I Had No Worth, No Place In This World."

          Hi Medusa,
          My name is Natasha and I am 18 years old. When I think about my life, I'm never really sure when exactly I started hating myself. I had suicidal thoughts when I was around 9 years old. I was raised thinking I had no worth, no place in this world. My stepmother starved me, beat me, and ridiculed me daily.
          Read in full: Natasha's Story

          Being Rational
          ED Bites

          Although I've never experienced a full-blown psychotic episode, I found myself nodding my head in agreement with this neuroscientist's description of her own psychosis.

          "Erin, you are a scientist," they'd begin. "You are intelligent, rational. Tell me, then, how can you believe that there are rats inside your brain? They're just plain too big. Besides, how could they get in?"

          They were right. About my being smart, I mean; I was, after all, a graduate student in the neuroscience program at the University of British Columbia. But how could they relate that rationality to the logic of the Deep Meaning? For it was due to the Deep Meaning that the rats had infiltrated my system and were inhabiting my brain. They gnawed relentlessly on my neurons, causing massive degeneration. This was particularly upsetting to me, as I depended on a sharp mind for my work in neuroscience.

          The rats spent significant periods of time consuming brain matter in the occipital lobe of my brain. I knew, from my studies, that this was the primary visual cortex. And yet, I experienced no visual deficits. Obviously, I realized, I had a very unique brain: I was able to regenerate large sections of my central nervous system—and to do so extremely quickly. I relaxed a bit, but not entirely. Surely no good could come of having rats feed on my brain cells. So I sought means of ridding my body of them. I bled them out through self-cutting and banging my head until the skin broke, bloody. Continually, I kept my brain active, electrocuting the rats that happened to be feasting on the activated neurons.
          Read in full: Being Rational

          Don't You Realize That Fat Is Unhealthy?
          Shapely Prose

          Here’s the thing: I blog about fat acceptance.
          Fat acceptance, as you can probably guess from the words “fat” and “acceptance” being right together like that, does not go over so well in some circles. Even in some progressive circles — which are usually known for not hating entire groups of people because of their appearances, not thinking what other people do with their bodies is anybody’s beeswax, and not uncritically accepting whatever moral panic the media tries to whip up, but wev. Fat is different! Don’t you know there’s an obesity epidemic? Don’t you know that fat kills? Haven’t you ever heard of Type 2 diabetes? Don’t you realize how much money this is going to cost society down the line? Won’t someone please think of the children?

          So, before I start getting comments like that, I want to lay out ten principles that underlie pretty much everything I write about fat and health.

          1. Weight itself is not a health problem, except in the most extreme cases (i.e., being underweight or so fat you’re immobilized). In fact, fat people live longer than thin people and are more likely to survive cardiac events, and some studies have shown that fat can protect against “infections, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, anemia, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and type 2 diabetes.” Yeah, you read that right: even the goddamned diabetes. Now, I’m not saying we should all go out and get fat for our health (which we wouldn’t be able to do anyway, because no one knows how to make a naturally thin person fat any more than they know how to make a naturally fat person thin; see point 4), but I’m definitely saying obesity research is turning up surprising information all the time — much of which goes ignored by the media — and people who give a damn about critical thinking would be foolish to accept the party line on fat. Just because you’ve heard over and over and over that fat! kills! doesn’t mean it’s true. It just means that people in this culture really love saying it.
          Read in full: Don't You Realize...

          Eating Disorder Recovery: From Inpatient Treatment To Life
          Margarita Tartakovsky

          I’m thrilled to publish today’s guest post by Elizabeth Short. Just recently Elizabeth shared her story of recovery and resiliency here at Weightless (part 1 and part 2). Currently, she’s a Masters student in Counseling at The University of New Orleans, and writes the blog Fiding Hope.. Elizabeth is also in the process of  writing a memoir about her recovery. I love that Elizabeth is reaching out to others with her positive and hopeful message, and I love her guest post. It’s raw, insightful, brave and beautifully written. Plus, it offers really valuable advice. And I can’t say enough great things about it. I’m so grateful to her for sharing this with us.
          Inpatient treatment for eating disorders:  Locked bathrooms.  Staff watching your every move, including time in the bathroom.  Meals and snacks are closely monitored.  No shoelaces, tweezers, coffee, gum or mouthwash.  6 a.m. weigh-ins.  Room searches.  Individual and/or group therapy all day long.

          Sounds a little like prison to some, but for me, it was safety.  It meant I couldn’t restrict my intake or purge after eating.   I couldn’t use laxatives or diet pills.  I couldn’t weigh myself 50 times a day. I couldn’t stay isolated in my house for days at a time.
          Read in full: From Inpatient Treatment To Life

          Watch It
          Happy Bodies

          The other night, when refusing a second helping at a dinner party, a guy said: “None for me, I’m watching my figure.”

          We all laughed.

          What a silly thought, a guy, who’s young and looks fit, dieting? Ridiculous. And yet this is just expected for so many people. So often people who are read as fat (and therefore automatically unhealthy) are subjected to judgements and unwanted advice: if you only ate a little less, worked out a little more, watched your figure, you could look young and fit too!

          This comment struck me particularly because I’m reading two book right now (by white men) where major female characters are made into joke figures because of their weight. While the eating habits and fitness of other characters are not chronicled, paragraphs are dedicated to Lizzyboo stopping for ice cream before dinner and every time Vera moves across a scene her jiggles or heavy breathing are remarked upon. The joke is not just fat = funny (which it isn’t) but also how stupid these women are! If she didn’t have those extra snacks she wouldn’t be such a fattie! Silly Vera, always going on binges after diets and gaining the weight back. They make it character flaw that they are fat. A flaw that they don’t know how to properly watch their figures.

          A study came out recently that reported that when Forty dietetics and health promotion students enrolled in a university obesity course followed a a calorie restricted diet (1,200 calories for women and 1,500 calories for men) for just one week their was a significant change in their fat-phobias. It makes sense that once these future dietitians and health professionals realized how high the expectations were of their fat patients they would become more sympathetic. It so easy to look at someone else and think you know what is best for them, but in actuality, individuals are in the best position to make choices about their lives and bodies. Even doctors trained to take care of our health can be subject to fat-phobia, and take it out on their patients.
          Read in full: Watch It 

          Defining Wellness 

          I’m proud to say I’m an optimist. Even when I’m feeling stressed, anxious or upset, and even when I’ve felt so low that I couldn’t summon the strength to get out of bed, there’s always been that voice inside of me that says, “It WILL get better. There IS hope.”
          And I don’t just feel that hope for myself. I feel that hope for anyone who needs it. I believe that we all have the power to be thankful for what we have even in the midst of sadness, to take the necessary steps to make life better.
          But even with this optimistic attitude, there are times when I get in a funk. I wake up and feel anxious and think, “Huh, where’d that come from?” Or I get in some kind of existential rut and I obsess about my place in the world. Or eating disorder symptoms re-emerge and I think, “You again? I thought I folded you up, packed you in a box, and buried you in a bottomless pit.”
          It’s at times like these that I use that optimistic energy within me to reboot.
          In a recent post, I discussed my desire to plan less . . . do more . . . NOW.
          When I get in a funk, that’s half of the solution. Stop thinking about everything that’s going wrong and start living.
          Read in full: Reboot

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          Eating Disorders In The News: August 2010

          Judge OKs $55K Anorexia Bullying Settlement in Pa.

          PITTSBURGH —  A federal judge on Wednesday approved letting Pittsburgh Public Schools pay $55,000 to settle what's believed to be a first-of-its-kind lawsuit by a woman who claims her daughter was bullied into anorexia - even though the plaintiffs now feel slighted.

          The 37-year-old woman identified only as "Mary V." in court documents, and her daughter, now 15, sued last August over harassment by boys during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 school years, when the girl was in sixth and seventh grade.

          The girl's mother now pays about $6,000 a year for the girl to attend private school, attorney Edward Olds told U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose on Wednesday. That tuition was apparently part of the reason the woman and her daughter were upset that the judge enforced a settlement agreement signed in May after a five-hour mediation session.
          Read in full: Anorexia Bullying Settlement

          Why Airbrushing of FashionPhotos is so Dangerous

          WITH impossibly thin waistlines, they have been airbrushed to perfection.

          Photographs of waif-like celebrities and models are impossible to escape as they stare out from magazine covers or TV adverts.

          Now two young women from Hampshire battling anorexia and bulimia have spoken out to back a new campaign to make sure altered images are labelled.

          Girlguiding UK has called for the coalition Government to force the media to take the measures to protect young women.

          It says its research shows half of 16- to 21-year-old girls consider having surgery to change the way they look, with 42 per cent of 11- to 16-year-olds admitting to watching what they eat. 
          Read in full: Airbrushing Dangerous

           Gaga's Battles With Bulimia

          She’s big news. Named on Time Magazine’s list of most influential people in the world and seller of 5 million albums and over 40 million singles worldwide, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, better known as Lady Gaga, has made news yet again: by talking about her struggles with bulimia. This month’s Vanity Fair cover story details the exploits of pop diva Gaga, including her eating disorder.

          Gaga follows a long list of celebrities who have had eating disorders, including Alanis Morissette, Amy Winehouse, Renee Zellweger, Elton John and Karen Carpenter. Celebrities are under tremendous image pressure -- pressure to be thin and fashionable. Gaga was inspired by glam artists Madonna and David Bowie who meld their music with artistry based on clothing, makeup and hair. Gaga is considered a fashion trailblazer, and receives as much attention for her appearance as she does her often synthesized music.
          Read in full: Gaga's Battles Bulmia

          The Unattainable Lightness of Being: Eating Disorder Madness

          Is someone you know on a diet? Probably. Because just about everyone is on a diet, or at least watching their weight, or their carbs or their intake of fats and sugars. But when does normal moderation become not so normal? Is it when you start to see the outlines of ribs and bones that weren't there before? The situation doesn't have to become that extreme for someone to be suffering from an eating disorder. Over 5 million people in the United States have an eating disorder, and the majority are female. But the number is probably higher since so many cases go unreported.

          We know the main names: anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. But what many people may not know is how dangerous, debilitating and potentially fatal eating disorders can be. Patients with anorexia nervosa have a disturbed body image, an intense fear of gaining weight and pursue being thin at all costs. They are unwilling to maintain a healthy weight. Bulimia is characterized by episodes of compulsive eating, then purging through vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics fasting, and excessive exercise. With anorexia, bulimia or other eating disorders not otherwise specified, sometimes referred to as EDNOS, extremely disturbed eating behavior becomes a viable method of altering a perceived (and usually distorted) negative body image.

          The Health Risks of Eating Disorders
          While it is true that eating disorders are usually, but not always, curable medical illnesses, their underlying causes are so varied and complex, they can be extremely challenging to treat. They have been found to recur within families, can result from disturbances in the central nervous system and are often associated with temperamental features like perfectionism, low self-esteem or an extreme need for control. Those with eating disorders often display other psychiatric illnesses like clinical depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, substance abuse or anxiety disorder.
          Read in full: Eating Disorder Madness

          Local Girl Speaks Out About Eating Disorders

          COLUMBUS, Ohio --A local girl is speaking out about her six-year battle with an eating disorder and said that as college students head back to campus, now may be the time to have a tough conversation.

          Julia Weisenborn is a born runner, born competitor, and surviving an eating disorder.

          "It becomes very addicting and a lot of times, it's a control thing," she said.

          Weisenborn was a student at Ohio University enjoying time with her friends, medaling at cross country meets and playing a dangerous game with her weight to become more competitive.

          "The worst point was just after my 20th birthday. I was performing the best but I was at the lowest body weight I'd ever been…close to 80 pounds and my body just gave out," she said.

          Weisenborn said she had simply stopped eating.

          "I spent a night in cardiac wing and that's when I realized I needed help," she said.
           Read in full: Local Girl Speaks Out

          Mary-Kate Olson: Childhood Acting, Anorexia Not Enough To Regret $100M Net Worth  

          Mary-Kate Olson says she's happy and healthy after her battle with anorexia. While she says she's happy in her day job now, she looks back and feels "bittersweet" sorrow for her childhood days.

          Working as a child actress as the adored "Michelle" on Full House, Mary-Kate says looking back she felt like a workhorse.

          "Little monkey performers," Mary-Kate said of her past in the recent interview as Marie Claire's covergirl. "I look at old photos of me, and I don't feel connected to them at all".

           Read in full: Mary-Kate Olson

          What Parents Can Do About Anorexia

          Regarding the Aug. 1 article, "Wrenching Question Haunts Family After Death of Athlete, 16, from Complication of Anorexia," on the tragic death of Kingsley's Krista Phelps from anorexia:

          I know her parents' sorrow. We lost a daughter who just wanted to shed 50 pounds too quickly - for her 20th high school reunion. Margaret leaned too hard on DIEuretics (aptly named) and appetite suppressants.

          In just three months since Christmas when we last saw her, she had almost achieved her goal. It was to be a surprise. She did not tell us, so we could not make her more aware of the dangers of fast dieting using pills.

          More books need to be written; more articles need to be read that will help teens return to the saving path of moderation. Too many kids equate moderation with mediocrity.
          Read in full: What Parents Can Do

          Recovery Quote Of The Week: August 2nd, 2010

          Challenges come so we can grow and be prepared for things we are not equipped to handle right now. When we face our challenges with faith, prepared to learn, willing to make changes, and if necessary, to let go we are demanding our power be turned on.
          Iyanla Vanzant

          *see sidebar menus for more Recovery Quotes Of The Week and Inspirational Recovery Quotes

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