Archive for the ‘Healthy body’ Category

No matter how good our intentions at times, we can find it very hard to stand alone and not become part of the crowd we hang with. It is so easy to take on mannerisms, beliefs, attitudes, habits etc without even realising. It doesn’t matter whether you are online or in a physical social environment. We become, far too easy, what is around us. We may have the best hope and strength for recovery, but the everyday whittling away from those around us, particularly the online environment, can find us falling back into relapse or struggling more than we need to in our recovery.

Where our mind or thoughts are focussed on, that is where our heart resides.

We might have to rethink our lives, clear things out, stay away from social media, make new friends, look at our spiritual self, make our homes a safe and strong environment. Whatever it takes to continue recovery, to continue health.


If you spend the most time with people who are consumed by calorie-counting and their appearance, you’ll probably start watching your food and nit-picking your body.

If you spend the most time with people who bash their bodies and themselves, you’ll probably start looking at yourself with disappointed, angry eyes.

If you spend the most time with people who consider themselves martyrs, you’ll probably start to feel selfish for practicing any kind of self-care.

If you spend the most time with people who don’t respect your privacy, like to gossip and are very judgmental, you’ll probably feel alone and hesitate to open up to anyone. You may even view humanity with some suspicion and dread.

If you spend the most time with people who have zero boundaries and get upset when you set yours, you might find it hard to have a healthy relationship with both them and yourself.

If you spend the most time with people who have strong boundaries and treat themselves kindly, you’ll probably be inspired to do the same.

If you spend the most time with people who love to laugh, really listen to their loved ones and practice self-care, you’ll probably feel more fulfilled and energised yourself.

If you spend the most time with people who love you for the real you, you might be inspired to turn this love inward and start the process of loving yourself.

It’s the same with the shows we watch, the books we read, the places we go, the things in our homes. We often are our environments. That’s why I suggest recycling diet books and “health” publications and creating a home that nourishes you and helps you feel good about yourself.



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What if you gain weight from all of this? You’ve already gained weight since last summer. What if it all goes straight to your expanding hips and thighs? What’s wrong with you? Did you really need to eat the whole plate? You know, you look pregnant, right?eating and food guilt

While I can’t control these automatic thoughts, I can remind myself that they’re definitely mistaken. I can remind myself of the truth.

If you’ve recently had the same kinds of demoralizing, irritating thoughts, here are a few reminders:

  • You have permission to eat whatever you want. The only rule, if there is a rule, is simply that you savor and enjoy what you’re having.
  • Normal eating is flexible.
  • You have permission to reach for seconds, if you like, or to stop after one helping. It’s totally up to you, your cravings, your hunger and satiety signals.
  • You aren’t naughty, bad, stupid, disgusting, an idiot or ______ for eating certain foods or for having more of certain foods. These are the words of the 60 billion-dollar diet industry (and many women’s and “health” publications). Unfortunately, they’ve become engrained in our vernacular. Which is understandable, because, sadly, such statements, seem to be everywhere. But they’re false (and manipulative).
  • Whatever you’re feeling is OK. Sometimes, we have a tendency to berate ourselves for feeling guilt or shame or discomfort. Why can’t these feelings just go away? Shouldn’t I be over this by now? But those automatic thoughts and feelings — yep, the negative ones — are OK. These may be deeply held beliefs. So try not to judge yourself for having them. Acknowledge how you’re feeling, and try to feel those feelings. Again, whatever you’re feeling is valid.
  • The guilt we feel is really more of a habit than the truth. Those are the words of Susan Schulherr, who told me a few years ago:

“…Feeling guilty about high-calorie foods, or fats or sweets, is a habituated response…the habituated thought is going to come up whether we like it or not. So the trick is to recognize it for what it is: a habit, not a truth.”

“As I say to my clients, you may not be able to stop the thought  or related feelings from popping up spontaneously, but you don’t have to set out the tea service and invite them to stay. Once we recognize we’re in the guilty feelings, the step toward change is to interrupt them rather than to let them romp at will in our psyches.”

“If guilt pops up when you’re trying to enjoy [food] in peace, you need to take that step back and respond with your own version of ‘Oh, of course, there’s that guilt stuff again. It makes me feel like I’m being bad, but I’m actually not.’”

  •  I also really like these other phrases from Susan: “I don’t have to earn the right to enjoy what I eat.” “What I eat has nothing to do with being good or worthy.”
  • Try to meet yourself — and those negative thoughts and feelings — with compassion. Talk to yourself in a kind way. Try to act in kind ways.

When guilty feelings and negative thoughts arise, try to remind yourself that you haven’t done anything wrong. Remind yourself that you are still worthy.

You are worthy whether you reach for a second helping or not. You are worthy whether you eat an apple or a piece of apple pie.

You are worthy whether you have these feelings or not.


From Weightless Blog

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This post by Jodie Gale sums up beautifully why people avoid therapy. Her 25 points of what you gain from therapy is also worth reading.


Here are some common mindsets that might be holding you back:

I must be sick, diseased, broken or just plain crazy if I need therapy

All sorts of people come to therapy with all sorts of problems. Many also come, not because they feel there is something wrong, but because they want to get to know themselves better, to ponder the meaning of life or to unleash their creative and authentic selves. As a society, we need to change the way we think and talk about therapy. Ultimately, therapy is a creative process whereby you will learn how to build a healthy relationship with self and others.

Why should I be the one to do all the work once again?

How are you neglecting, re-wounding or punishing yourself by staying stuck in anger or pain? Investing in therapy and taking responsibility for where you are in the present moment does not let whoever hurt or abused you off the hook; it lets you off the hook. Therapy can help you to move forward with your life regardless of your history.

I have tried therapy before and it didn’t work

Perhaps try again with a different therapist and / or a different style of therapy. When I choose a therapist, I always go with my gut – never by location, cost or whether a rebate is available. Good therapy is worth its weight in gold and many people travel to the other side of town for the right therapist. It is perfectly acceptable to interview a few therapists before making a decision. Also, therapy takes a commitment in relation to time, money and relationship with self – so the timing needs to be right! If you are unhappy at any stage with your therapist, it is worth sharing your feelings so that you and the therapist can work through it together.

What’s the point? I am beyond help

Somewhere you have learnt that you are not worth it.

When we are struggling with toxic shame, low self-worth and a sense of feeling flawed at the core, it is difficult to see that we are indeed worth investing in ourselves. It’s important that we don’t believe everything we think! It could be one of our subpersonalities such as the ‘inner critic’ or the ‘internal saboteur’.

You are worth it and the point is you. Therapy can help you to realise this.

Therapy takes too long

Clients report feeling better at the end of the first session, are making healthy lifestyle changes after just a few sessions and many see a significant difference in their lives within three to six months. Yes…it is rare that long-term healing occurs within the limited number of sessions provided by Medicare. Yes, therapy does take time, money and commitment. But…what is the alternative?

Try reflecting on these important questions:

  • How long have you been suffering?
  • How is the way that you are currently dealing with your suffering working for you?
  • If things stay as they are, how will you feel this time next year?
  • How would you like your life to be by this time next year?

It is tempting to go for a quick fix solution. There isn’t one. How long you will be in therapy is ultimately up to you but healing takes time. Allow yourself the time to heal – you’re worth it!

Therapists charge too much

Psychotherapists and counsellors with rigorous training are highly skilled professionals. They often train longer than lawyers, doctors and dentists. To maintain a high level of psychological safety for their clients, psychotherapists often invest in their own weekly psychotherapy as well as a period of group therapy. They are required to participate in at least 20 hours of continued professional development a year as well as monthly clinical supervision. Therapists also pay for association registration, insurance, room overheads, marketing and website development. Rarely do therapists overcharge for their time and in fact, they are one of the only professions to offer a sliding fee scale!

I can’t afford therapy because I can’t get the Medicare rebate with my counsellor or psychotherapist of choice

The Medicare rebate is currently at around $85 in Australia. The fee for Medicare providers is around $150-$200; therefore the out of pocket cost is anywhere between $65- $115. The average counselling / psychotherapy fee with a non-Medicare provider is between $75-$130 so it works out much of a muchness. One problem with relying on a Medicare rebate is that the limited number of sessions provided are rarely enough and this can result in revolving door syndrome or therapist hopping. See Why pay out of pocket? for more reasons why paying privately is conducive to your emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.

I can’t afford therapy

Many of us spend hundreds of dollars each week trying to boost our esteem, pleasure seeking, wasting money, being overly restrictive with money to save for the future and by soothing our unbearable feelings, dependencies and addictions. But at what cost?

How much money ($AU) are you wasting that you could be investing in your well-being?

  • Taking a gram of coke = approx. $300.
  • Drinking a bottle of bubbly/wine a night = approx.  $70 a week.
  • Smoking a packet of ciggies a day = $105 a week.
  • Gambling on the pokies = $$$.
  • A night of binge drinking $100-$300.
  • Bingeing on food and overeating at meals = $$$.
  • Buying takeaways = approx. $140 a week.
  • Joining diet clubs over and over again and purchasing their weekly menu = $120-$150 a week.
  • A gym membership that is excessively used or never used = $30 a week.
  • A shopping spree = $$$ on new clothes, often left unworn.
  • Working excessive hours, in a job you hate, neglecting the family to earn more $$$ that you then spend trying to make your family happy.
  • Buying stuff, stuff and more stuff for the kids thinking it will make them happy or because you feel guilty.
  • $$$ on anti-ageing, make-up or plastic surgery because you are not happy with your appearance.
  • $$$ on medication because you are sick all the time.
  • Expensive holidays  – only to spend the whole holiday sick because you are so run down.
  • Expensive health retreats that you are not able to integrate and follow through with on your return.

Are any of the above costing your emotional, psychological and spiritual health and wellbeing?

I really can’t afford therapy

Unfortunately, many counselling and psychotherapy services are currently not provided for, as they should be, by government mental health plans.

There are some other options available:

  • Ask your therapist of choice if they have a sliding fee scale
  • Ask work if they have an Employee Assistance Program
  • Ring around counselling and psychotherapy training organisations for reduced fee or free therapy. Choose a training organisation where their students must participate in a significant amount of their own therapy.
  • There are numerous help lines that offer free telephone counselling for crises e.g. Rape Crisis, Lifeline and Financial counselling
  • Join group therapy – approximately $50-$100 a group
  • Join a self-help group – many organisations such as eating disorder foundations run groups at little or no cost.
  • Join a 12 step program – there are groups for gambling, sex addiction, narcotics, alcohol, children of alcoholics, overeating and co-dependency. Often this requires a minimal donation to go towards tea and coffee.
  • Join a self-development workshop through a local community college – they cover everything from building self-esteem, how to manage money to creating emotional intelligence
  • Build self-worth through self-help. Borrow or buy self-help books, watch some TED talks/YouTube clips or listen to podcasts – there are 1000s available free of charge.
  • Boost your well-being by taking care of diet and exercise regularly to boost the ‘feel good’ hormones in the brain.
  • Ask for a raise, work towards a promotion at work or upgrade to a job that mirrors and affirms your worth.

The cost of ignoring the call of the Self

The Self calls us towards our innate wholeness in mysterious ways; symptoms, health breakdowns, life-crises or perhaps through a peak spiritual awakening. The more we ignore the call, the louder the knocking becomes. It pays to invest in our emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being before crisis comes a knocking!

See more at: http://jodiegale.com/therapy-rocks-why-invest-in-therapy-because-youre-worth-it-part-2/#sthash.T3dSLnwl.dpuf

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leaving the nestYes Sophie has gone. Gone to chase her dreams, gone to become fully independent and be responsible for her own life. Whatever happens now is on her terms.

Huge step forward and a wrenching for us both. Being only a 3 hour drive would have been hard enough. But instead she is a two hour flight. It is a long distance in between. We have grown close and are good friends as well as mother/daughter. It is about learning to put our relationship into the new and right context.

We are both worried as to how she will cope once semester starts and a full uni load is added. At this stage, she is full of confidence and trying hard to grow up and be responsible. It is the first time  she is fully responsible for shopping for her food, cooking and eating it. So far she is probably over compensating her food in fear she may not be eating enough.

In time that will all even out too. Recovery is about learning to be flexible, intuitive and normal about food eating. Soph can now really learn what that means when she is on her own and doing it for herself.

As her teachers and support people have said, to have seen her four years ago and to see her now. What a difference and many never thought she would get this far, this well. It makes my heart swell with pride (and my eyes prick with tears) to know just how hard and fraught the journey has been, and how my beautiful daughter has risen over it all to be where she is now.

Yes you can recover, and recovery is never to be compared to anyone else’s. You cannot compare your journey to someone else. You cannot say someone else had it easier/harder than you. There is no such thing in the world of eating disorders, particularly anorexia.

The journey in and out is hellish hard but the recovery level you reach will ALWAYS be far better than having the eating disorder in charge of your life.

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It’s about learning what are healthy boundaries. How to protect ourselves, our identity, our health, our mental state.

Boundaries work two ways – us protecting ourselves from others who don’t respect our boundaries; and us learning to respect other’s boundaries.

Often those with mental health illnesses have never learnt to build boundaries that protect them from people, situations and emotions around them. We have allowed others to crash our boundaries, giving up our rights and identity to others.

But more than that, eating disorders being the nature they are, are another unwanted crasher of boundaries. We can learn to push back people who would treat us like this, but will still allow the eating disorder to destroy and deny us every human right and life itself.

Recovery encompasses learning to build healthy, loving boundaries that respect us as people and keep us safe. We learn to set limits on the people who hurt and deny us, but we also learn to set boundaries on the eating disorder. We learn to tell it “you cannot come here again”.

Like all boundary building this takes time. It is not easy learning to build boundaries. We feel like we may be selfish or manipulative but building boundaries are not like that. It is critical, healthy and right to do so. It takes time and practice to build the boundaries. To tell people they cannot talk or treat you like this. And most importantly for those with an ED, that it is no longer welcome. You will not give it the time of day, it cannot continue to treat you this way or destroy you life.

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family therapy

As confronting and difficult as it is, getting 3 people in a room to talk about the past, feelings, where things are at the moment for them, is a good thing.

That was us this week. One mum, 2 kids and our counsellor. Sophie found it difficult, she is used to having the space all to herself and didn’t want to share. Will found it also confronting as he isn’t ready yet to talk. I no longer have anything to hide but found it hard to listen to my kids.

No one wanted to talk about dad, but we did get to talk a bit how anorexia stalled our family, and what it meant for brother and sister to live through that. With Will teetering on the edge of an ED it is was more poignant.

However as our counsellor said (and she is right), it’s about hearing, really hearing what is going on for other members of the family. We are all affected by the same events but see and feel them differently. By opening up, we can share, empathise and journey towards wholeness as a family.

It’s never about wiping out the past, but harnessing it and using it for growth and wholeness.

Our counsellor was so thrilled, we all get to do group therapy again next week!

Today Sophie sees the psychiatrist and tomorrow Will sees her. The psychiatrist has rung the dietitian Sophie saw, he has txt me. Our counsellor already knows this. Clearly a lot of phone calls and talking has gone on this week. Meaning, Will is not in a good spot and possibly his bloods have problems. Get those results tomorrow. Once Will is settled on his new medication, we will bring the dietitian into the mix of appointments. Yes it is back to the days of early recovery with Sophie, with rounds of appointments, medications and supplements.

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This post is to all those who are still struggling to weight gain but are compelled to exercise. Exercise is a form of purging, is unhealthy, and has a negative effect on the body’s ability to recover. Basically all the food you are eating to weight gain is being used to fuel the exercise regime and your body is still self-destructing.


From Libero Network, Jodie Mechielsen

“Exercise is good for you. You’re not doing anything wrong, keep exercising. It will make you fit and strong and lean. You’re not exercising too much, those other people are just jealous. You’re only feeling tired because you’re so unfit, exercise more. You have to work hard if you want results.”

That was what my ED said to me day in and day out to keep me trapped and compulsively exercising. I know now that voice was lying. I work as an exercise scientist, personal trainer and group fitness instructor and study exercise physiology at university so a very large portion of my life revolves around exercise.

When I first started exercising, I genuinely loved and enjoyed it, but as my ED developed it began to use this to its advantage. I began exercising excessively and obsessively, yet despite all my own knowledge about exercise I still wasn’t open to the thought that I was doing anything unhealthy and denied it when anyone asked.

Exercise, as a general rule, is good for you. However, there are two factors which shift exercise from the ‘good for your health’ to the ‘bad for your health’ basket: exercising to the detriment of your body and exercising to the detriment of your mind.

1. Exercising to the detriment of your body is the result of the amount of exercise you’re doing and the lack of recovery your body is receiving.

At this point, you might even still be enjoying exercising (as I was at the beginning) however your body will eventually begin to feel tired, sore and weak. You may experience dizzy spells, fainting, irregular or absent menstrual cycles, difficulty sleeping, increased injuries or illness. The amount of exercise that is healthy will vary from person to person – what is healthy for an iron man isn’t healthy for me. My ED told me that the amount of exercise I was doing was perfectly healthy, because athletes do it and they’re healthy. Athletes also gradually build up to that level over many years, they fuel their bodies appropriately, they have regular recovery sessions and they stop or reduce exercise when injured/sick.

2. Exercising to the detriment of your mind develops because of reasons why you are exercising and the thoughts behind it.

You may be engaging in a healthy amount of exercise (or you might be over- exercising as well), but the thought processes behind it are still damaging. Being motivated to exercise purely as a means to burn calories, as opposed to improving the health of your body is a red flag. If you are consistently prioritizing exercise over social situations/study/work, feeling anxious or guilty at the thought of missing an exercise session, exercising because you ‘have to’ rather than because you ‘want to’ and/or spending a large amount of time thinking about or planning exercise, it is likely that you’ve developed an unhealthy obsession with exercise that leaves little room in your thoughts and life for other things.

Signs that you may be compulsively exercising or over-training:

  • Irregular or absent menstrual cycles
  • Depression
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Muscle soreness, aches and injuries
  • Prioritizing exercise over social events/work/study
  • Exercising despite being sick or injured
  • Inability to miss an exercise session or feeling guilty for missing an exercise session
  • Exercising because you ‘have to’ rather than because you ‘want to’
  • Exercising purely to burn calories
  • Consistently thinking about exercise
  • Exercising at inappropriate times (eg middle of the night)

So, what is healthy exercise?

Healthy exercise occurs when we exercise because it makes us feel good, physically, emotionally and mentally. As mentioned earlier, it’s difficult to set general guidelines on what constitutes the right amount of exercise for everyone; for most people 2-5 hours per week is an appropriate range. However, with some thought and listening to your body (and maybe some professional advice) you can determine the healthiest amount of exercise for you.

Signs of healthy exercise

  • Exercise makes you feel good – physically, mentally and emotionally
  • You can take a day/week/month off of exercise without feeling anxious or guilty
  • You rest and recover if you are sore, injured, tired or sick
  • You engage in physical activity that you enjoy (walking, dancing, kayaking, cycling etc), rather than the type you think you should do/burns the most calories
  • You allocate no more time to thinking about exercise than you would to household chores or what’s on television
  • You are comfortable with missing an exercise session to attend a social event/work/study
  • You think about exercise as a way to keep your mind and body fit, strong and healthy; as opposed to simply a way to burn calories or change your body shape

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