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Holiday Gift Guide for ED Recovery and Intuitive Eating

Happy Holidays!

I’m so excited for the holidays and love this time of year. In the spirit of giving, it’s my turn to give back to all of you. This gift list is for you if you care about intuitive eating, working on eating disorder recovery, or just love the anti-diet message. I have many of these items on my own personal gift list!

Read on for the official favorite gifts from Eat With Knowledge. It’s broken down into favorite gifts for everyone, as well as some options for professionals working in this field.

Gifts for everyone!

Body Trust Card Deck: Are you looking for a way to reclaim trust in your body? We love these cards from Be Nourished in Portland, Oregon. They are a great reminder that Body Trust® is your birthright. ($30)

IDGAF About Your Diet SweatshirtWant to let everyone know you couldn’t care less about their diet? Be bold and give this sweatshirt a go. We can only imagine the conversations it will create! ($36.99)

The Intuitive Eating Workbook: Ten Principles for Nourishing a Healthy Relationship with FoodAre you ready to dive more into intuitive eating with specific assignments from the authors who created the concept? This workbook is an amazing tool to use on your own or in conjunction with your dietitian and/or therapist. ($15.83 New Paperback or $8.34 Kindle)

No Wrong Way to Have a Body Throw PillowsWant to have a cozy reminder at home or in your office that bodies are diverse? We love the art by Rachele Cateyes on this pillow, and we think you will too! (Starts at $29.17 Cover Only or $39.38 Cover and Insert)

Body Over Mind ApparelDo you like to make a statement that you EAT? Check out these shirts, sweatshirts, bags, and bangles that emphasize food freedom. (Starting at $21.75)

Rise With Radiance Calendar: This inspirational calendar which includes my monthly drawings and inspirational words to lift your heart and light your path every day of the year. ($18)

Dear Dietitian, what is my healthy weight? poster: Created by Tiffany Haug, it’s a perfect reminder that there is no perfect healthy weight. ($13.99)

Books/E-books for everyone!

Body KindnessAre you looking for a way to be kinder to yourself and your body? We think this book by Rebecca Scritchfield is just the book you are looking for. It will help you focus on being kind to your body, and after all “it all starts with kindness”. ($14.95 Paperback or $9.99 Kindle)

Savvy girl: Guide to EatingAre you wanting to ditch diets and learn more about Intuitive Eating? Then we think you’ll love this book written by Brittany Deal and Sumner Brooks, MPH, RDN. This is a perfect introduction to the concepts of intuitive eating. ($15.99 Paperback)

8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating DisorderDo you need to hear the story of two people who have recovered from an eating disorder? What makes this book special is that the authors are also therapists and have insight as both clients and professionals. We think this is an incredible take on ED recovery and the most important concepts to understand. ($13.13 Paperback and $12.47 Kindle)

Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That WorksThis is THE BOOK that started it all for me personally, and changed the way I practice as a professional. It changed my whole career! These are the 10 steps that define intuitive eating and the backbone of a LOT of the work I do with clients. ($9.49 Paperback or $9.99 Kindle)

Body Image RemixAre you curious how you can improve your body image without changing your body? Summer Innanen’s down-to-earth, funny, and not-so-PG style might be just what you are looking for! We think her book is very empowering and hope you check it out. ($4.99 Audio and $6.99 Audio+ PDF)

Courses for everyone!

Intuitive Eating FundamentalsAre you looking for a more structured way of learning Intuitive Eating, and in need of an online community? We think you’ll love this course with dietitian, Christy Harrison. ($429 or 3 payments of $157)

Intuitive Eating Basics 101Are you looking to learn the basics of intuitive eating? Erica Leon offers many different courses on Intuitive Eating, created with the newbie in mind, all the way to someone who is knowledgeable and experienced in intuitive eating. Not sure if intuitive eating is right for you? Try her “Dip Your Toes into Intuitive Eating” course for FREE! (Course prices are Free, $97, and $197 for both courses)

Educate, Embrace, EmpowerDo you want to become your own eating expert? Paige Smathers, RD, offers a really great 10-week self-paced course that we think will help you heal your relationship with food and your body. ($185)

Intuitive Eating Mastery Circle™Are you wanting a virtual support group to assist you with Intuitive Eating? Bonnie R. Giller, RD, has created a wonderful program to support women on their intuitive eating journey. ($97 monthly)

Joyful Eating ProgramAre you looking for a sustainable way to be healthy using mindful eating and Intuitive Eating? Three dietitians have created a 6-week program to do just that! Anne Mauney, Alex Caspero, and Rachael Hartley have been running the program for the past year. ($149 to start)

Courses for professionals!

Pursuing Private PracticeHave you been wanting to jump into private practice, but fear is holding you back? This is my own course that I created to show professionals how to start and grow a private practice. The course is 10 modules of content on running a business, complete with a workbook and facebook group where you have access to ME to answer all of your questions. Get in now before the prices increases in 2018! ($425 but use code VIP20 for 20% off just because you’re a very special member of my email community.)

Nutrition Counseling for Eating Disorders Version 2.0Are you looking to deepen your counseling skills? Marci Evans, RD, has created a 5-module course with videos that is an incredible resource if you treat clients with eating disorders. You also get access to her closed facebook group when you purchase her course. ($397)

Master Your Anti-Diet Message: Are you ready to build a thriving practice or brand that magnetizes clients who are ready for change, and helps them break free from dieting and disordered eating for good? Christy Harrison has created a thorough program to assist you in consistent marketing and communication for your business. ($47 to become a member)

Diets and Our DemonsAre you wanting to learn more about shame, weight stigma, and binge eating disorder? This is an awesome day-long seminar recorded on DVD by Judith Matz. ($199)

Health, Not DietsLooking for an introduction to the non-diet approach? Fiona Willer and Fiona Sutherland have created a free program to teach the basics, with other offerings for more education (Free- $195AUD)

EDRDPro MembershipAre you wanting to stay up-to-date on the most current ED resources throughout the year? Check out the site for the list of member benefits that we think you’ll love! ($1 to start, $35/month)

Have fun shopping! Wishing you the best over this holiday season! Cheers to a great upcoming 2018!

Why my postpartum mental health is better this time around

Whenever I talk or write about something personal, I get a little nervous that I might be sharing too much.  But as many of you know, I’m very passionate about mental health advocacy and awareness.  So, if I have an important message to spread, I’m going to put that before anything else.  I’m excited to share this topic, knowing that many moms out there struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety — and don’t get help or get it extremely late.  If this post benefits just one person, it’s worth it!  Yes, this is targeted to new moms but anyone can take these tips and make them work in their own life.

I truly did not know just how vulnerable new moms are to postpartum depression and anxiety until I experienced it myself with the birth of my first son, Connor.  That was 3 years ago.  Luckily, I started to feel better a few months after Connor was born, but looking back I wasn’t fully myself for about a year or so.  Some would argue that new moms are never “back to normal”, yet find “their new normal”.  I could not agree more!

An old saying goes, “experience is everything”.  And so it is.  I did normal preparations for baby #2, such as thinking about a birth plan, finding a space in my house for the baby, and setting up childcare for Connor and baby #2.  However, this time around, I wanted to focus on a “plan” for postpartum.  I knew in my heart that this was the most important preparation I could make for myself and my family.

As I thought about my experience with my first son, Connor, I remembered my postpartum not being that great.  Of course, I was so in love with my baby, but I walked around like a zombie at times from lack of sleep, as well as having anxiety that I was doing something wrong.  My perfectionist personality was 100% back in my life after years of letting that go!  I truly felt horrible that I wasn’t being “perfect” at balancing my new identity as a mother, while also trying to focus on my husband, family, friends, and running my business.

This time around I knew something had to change!  My second son is almost 3 months old, and while I know I’m not fully “out of the woods” yet with possible postpartum depression (PPD) and anxiety (PPA), I have felt great this time around.  I know that a lot of PPD and PPA has to do with hormones and the baby’s personality and temperament.  So while I do think a lot of my good fortune of having an easier time this time is pure luck, I think there are certain environmental factors that have helped me.

Here are my top 5 tips for surviving postpartum:

  1. Let go of any expectations. It helped me so much to not put any crazy unrealistic expectations on how I would handle 2 kids at once.  I had no idea how my older son would be with a new sibling and I didn’t want to get my hopes up that everything would be smooth sailing.  I kept telling myself I would figure it out when I needed to.  That really helped me to stay present in the moment.
  1. Ask for help before you think you will need it. I learned this the hard way 3 years ago!  I didn’t ask for anything when I had my first son because I thought it was my job to take care of him.  This time around I knew I had to take care of myself first, and if that meant leaving him for a few hours to go do something for me, than that time was time well spent.
  1. When making decisions, just keep in mind that not everything is going to get done! At the beginning of my maternity leave, I started to delete commitments on my calendar and left blank spaces everywhere.  Even though my calendar is full again, I’ve learned how important it is to say “no” when you need to, allowing you to have time for yourself.  When you think about the most important values in your life, what comes to mind?  My top values are honoring the importance of self-care and devoting time to the relationships I have with the people I love.  I try to put that before anything else in my life (and on my calendar!)
  1. Communicate with your partner. It is so easy to take out all of your negative emotions onto your partner! After all, he or she is the person that loves you no matter what, even at “your worst”.  It really helped me to be open and honest with my family about how I was feeling.  It didn’t stay bottled up inside, only to explode one day.
  1. Self-care is priority #1. All of these tips have to do with you taking care of YOU so you can then take care of your family.  After all, moms are role models to their kids and we want to show them how self-care is vital in building self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-efficacy.

The new eating disorders movie “To The Bone”

On Friday July 14th Netflix released a documentary about eating disorders and anorexia called “To The Bone”. The movie stars Lily Colins as Ellen who has been though treatment for anorexia many times and her family decides to try an “unconventional” approach with Dr. William Beckham, played by Keanu Reeves. The movie features characters from Ellen’s treatment center struggling with various eating disorders, as well as a focus on Ellen’s family life. The trailer for the film was already controversial and many eating disorders experts had commented that the movie could be triggering for many to watch. I have loved reading everyone’s thoughts on the film over the past month but wanted to wait until I saw the documentary before officially commenting.

I respect the fact that you cannot easily make a movie about a controversial topic and that many are going to disagree with details and have strong opinions about the outcome. However I really do appreciate that the project was made in the first place and know that it was made with the best intentions. Both the movie’s director, Marti Noxon, and star, Lily Colins, admit they have struggled with disordered eating and wanted to bring awareness to the public about this topic. This specific documentary has raised so much awareness about anorexia and eating disorders in a way that no “safe” educational documentary would have done. I believe the movie showed the pain and obsession that people go through when it comes to struggling with disordered eating. It presented a picture of anguish around food and showed all characters struggling with anxiety and depression, which is very true of clients with eating disorders.

With appreciation for the creation of the movie, I do have many concerns as others have expressed. My main concern is not really about triggering details, but rather about the overall concept that the movie showed “eating disorder treatment”. This “unconventional treatment” was NOT eating disorder treatment. In the movie this character was actually told “she needs to hit rock bottom before getting better”. Umm WHAT? Would you ever tell someone “Well you need to get to stage 4 cancer before getting chemotherapy?” The movie didn’t show the realistic amount of food someone actually needs in a day of ED recovery. The movie didn’t show therapy needed to process thoughts, feelings, and emotions of recovering from an eating disorder. And unfortunately it didn’t mention all the negative side effects of anorexia, including that anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.  Some clients in the movie were given a TON of freedom, allowing for the “dramatic effect” to play out. Clients were allowed to skip meals if they choose to do so, and one client was allowed to eat peanut butter as a meal, not realistic in eating disorder treatment. As a side note, of course that “peanut butter client” had to be overweight and struggle with binge eating disorder, presenting a dangerous stereotype.

It’s a passion on mine to educate others about weight inclusive wellness but also weight-inclusive struggles. I liked the fact that the movie did not give specific weight numbers when characters stepped on the scale or talked about their body image (although the movie did reference calorie amounts), but I feel they could have done a better job at educating others that people in all different body shapes and sizes can struggle with disordered eating. There was a lot of controversy surrounding the main lead Lily Colins having to “lose weight in a healthy way” to play the role of Ellen. I understand that she worked with a nutritionist and had a lot of medical supervision, and was fine throughout the process. However, my jaw still dropped when I heard that considering she admitted she struggled with disordered eating. Trying to lose weight or “diet” when you’ve come from disordered eating is a recipe for disaster and can be a major trigger for stepping back into disordered eating.

Recovery is possible and unfortunately this movie missed the opportunity to educate others about that. I truly wish they showed what the other side of ED recovery is like instead of ending at unknown points with so many of the clients that were struggling. Even just a brief 10 minute closing about recovery would have made such a difference in this movie because it would have shown that life is worth living. I also would have loved to see resources about getting help, but there was no mention of valuable resources like NEDA (https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/) or ED referral (www.edreferral.com) to reach out to get help. But yet, to all the people involved with “To the Bone”, THANK YOU for getting people talking. If this movie was “safe”, it wouldn’t be receiving the attention it is. My husband sat with me as I watched the movie and actually had thoughtful questions about eating disorders and mental illness. I talk about this topic all the time but it took this movie for him to think about it in a different way. Remember if you are struggling, reach out for help because recovery is worth it.

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