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Sharing My Recovery Story

Sharing My Recovery Story

It’s Eating Disorders Awareness week! This week always holds a very special place in my heart because I feel like our community comes together in a big way to support eating disorder treatment. This year is extra special for me because I’m sharing my own recovery story on Christy Harrison’s Food Psych podcast, Episode #91!

Spearheaded by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), the goal of National Eating Disorders Awareness (#NEDAwareness) Week is to shine the spotlight on eating disorders and put life-saving resources into the hands of those in need. This year’s theme is It’s Time to Talk About It and we’re encouraging everyone to get screened. Take a 3 minute screening here offered by NEDA.

In honor of #NEDAawareness week, I want to highlight eating disorder treatment and recovery. Recovery is possible and I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without seeing the stories of hope, love, survival, and resilience. I am so proud of all my “recovery warriors” and so honored to be a part of your journey.

Sharing My Recovery Story

Help is available and you are not alone. Here are some ideas to reach out for support.

1. Talk to a parent, friend, family member, or healthcare professional.  Reaching out for help and being honest with another person about what’s going on is extremely hard to do. But this is often the start of finding treatment and can be the most important step in getting help.

2. Seek online resources. The NEDA helpline is often the first stop for many people who want to get treatment. Call, email, click to chat, or even text!! to get help that you need. NEDA also provides guides and toolkits for parents, coaches, educators, and medical professionals.

3. Find an Eating Disorders Dietitian. The International Federation of Eating Disorder Dietitians (IFEDD) community is filled with ED-savvy dietitians who are ready to help heal your relationship with food. Find one by zip code here.

4. Talk to a therapist. Eating disorders are about food and feelings. A therapist can help you navigate the difficult emotions that arise when talking about disordered eating. The best directory for finding a therapist is Psychology Today.

5. If you are local, please reach out to me if you need help finding a professional. Not all healthcare professionals are ED-trained but I know a lot of them in Rockland and surrounding areas!! Please know that I keep all information private and confidential and will honor that to anyone needing help or support.

Hearing stories about eating disorder recovery can be uplifting and positive for anyone going through treatment or in recovery. Here are my favorites!

NEDA Faces of Recovery

Recovery Warriors

Project Heal on Recovery

I was honored to be a guest on Christy Harrison’s podcast Food Psych #91 talking about my own journey and how I ended up as an anti-diet dietitian. I’ve been thinking that I should share my recovery story for so long and it was finally the right time. Back when I first started my private practice Eat With Knowledge, clinicians being so open about themselves wasn’t really a “thing”. But so many people have since “come out” and I think it’s made a huge impact on our profession, the awareness and education of eating disorders, and have impacted clients in such a positive way. So here is my story!!! All the way back to high school, through college and the ups and downs of my recovery, into intuitive eating and then in pregnancy and postpartum. Spoiler alert: I am pregnant again (!!) and talk about how I’m feeling now. In the spirit of being vulnerable I was open and honest about everything. Listen in itunes, your podcast app, or on Christy’s website.

10 Easy Self-Care Practices for Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

This holiday is usually all about celebrating those that you love, but what if we flipped it and made this holiday all about you? The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Self-love and self-care are concepts I find myself talking about all the time with my clients, especially as they relate to food!

So what can you do today to take care of yourself? Show yourself love and kindness this Valentine’s Day.

1. Learn something new! One way to boost self-worth is to gain a new skill set. Been wanting to learn how to woodwork, crochet, or bake the best Valentine’s Day cake? Take a local class or even an e-course.

2. Start a journaling practice. Taking even 5 minutes out of your day to reflect, jot down ideas, or even vent by writing in a journal has been shown to have tremendous benefits for mental health.

3.Disconnect from the internet for 2 hours. In our digital world, this is a tough one. We have become increasingly dependent on our computers and phones. However, this can often feel like we are forced to constantly check in. Taking a 2 hour break from all technology daily and instead taking a walk, an exercise class, or reading can do wonders for your self-care.

4. Act like a kid – or play with a kid. Get a coloring book, a puzzle, or do some crafts. If you have kids or nieces and nephews, take some time to just play pretend with them. Let your mind travel to far away places, like Narnia or Oz. This gives your “adult brain” a much needed rest.

5. Join a book club. Not only will this force you to take time out of your day to disconnect and read a book for fun, but you will have a built-in social activity to look forward to at least once a month. You will also start to built new friendships who share common interests.

6. Be a tourist in your own town. Plan a whole day of activities in your very own town, as if you were visiting. Or, just head out for the day and let yourself wander. Who knows what you’ll stumble across – it could be your new favorite restaurant or spa spot.

7. Declutter! Decluttering your home is a powerful way to practice self care. We meet a lot of our needs at home: sleep, relaxation, nourishment, support, solitude and reflection. By cleaning up and decluttering, you make your space a place of sanctuary instead a place of chaos and stress.

8. Treat yourself to a spa day. This is something we rarely think to do for ourselves because it seems like too much of a luxury. But it’s important to treat yourself to luxurious things too. Book a spa day for yourself, or just get a manicure or a massage. It doesn’t have to be for a special occasion – it can be just because it’s part of your self care practice.

9. Edit your social media feeds. It’s sometimes helpful to go through your social media profiles and unfollow people who routinely make you angry, anxious, or upset. This can be a friend or even a celebrity who you have been following. If you realize that someone’s posts regularly make you annoyed, you can simply unfollow them. This “mutes” them even if you don’t want to un-friend the person.

10. Move around or stay still. Sometimes it’s incredibly healing to put on some music and dance in your living room for 15 minutes straight. Other days, it’s rejuvenating to lay down on your yoga mat in complete stillness and silence for 15 minutes. Ask yourself which one of these your body and spirit is craving regularly and let yourself do either – or BOTH!

Body Shaming

Over the past years, “body-shaming” has become a hot topic, not just online but in everyday life. Unfortunately, body-shaming can happen to almost anyone — regardless of gender, ethnicity, social class, or age. Celebrities, pregnant women, thin people, curvy people, fit people, athletic people, young people, old people — the list of who’s become a target for body-shaming is endless. We also have a tendency to talk negatively about our own bodies, not only to one another, but to ourselves.  As a culture, we’ve become obsessed about body size, shape, and weight.

What is body-shaming?

  • Inappropriate negative statements and attitudes about another person’s or your own weight or size.
  • Criticizing yourself or others because of physical appearance

Body-shaming can manifest itself in a variety of ways, but usually it will usually appear as:

    • Self-criticism of yourself and your appearance through comparison to another person.
    • Criticizing another person in front of them.
    • Criticizing others behind their back.

Examples of body-shaming:

    • Look at my ____ (body part).
    • I can’t wear that… because ____ (reason)!
    • I am such a “insert negative feeling” for eating that.
    • You shouldn’t wear that because of the way you look.
    • You’re so thin that you look like a skeleton.
    • You’re the kind of person who needs to exercise.
    • Did you see what she’s wearing today? (said in a negative tone)

Regardless of how or why body-shaming happens, it most often will lead to comparison and shame, reinforcing the idea that outward appearances are essential for human worth and love. The result — an unhealthy relationship with food, exercise, and especially an unhealthy relationship with yourself.  This just continues the cycle of shame, comparison, and never feeling like you’re “good enough”.

This month, I challenge you to become more aware of your relationship with body-shaming. Is this something you do on a regular basis? Is this a way you cope with being uncomfortable in new situations? Do you surround yourself with people who are body-shamers? What can you do to reduce and eliminate body-shaming?

Remove the Body Shame

Stop commenting on other people’s body shape and size. Find something else to talk about. End of story.

Enough with the negative thoughts and words. Instead of criticizing yourself, come up with ideas on how you’re going to move forward on your journey. For example, when you’re buying a dress and have tried it on, only to find it’s too tight, say to yourself, ‘I’ll get the larger size so it hangs better” rather than saying “My legs are so big and I’m so fat.” Acknowledge not being comfortable and embrace your body and self for who you are and where you are on your journey. All bodies fit.

Fuel your body with foods that empower you to live mindfully. Choose foods that make you feel good, energizing you to live the way you want. Keeping a food and symptom journal and working with a dietitian can help you identify what foods work well for your body, helping you achieve your goals.

Appreciate your body with a neutral approach. Instead of focusing energy on what your body is not, try to think of your body as a vehicle for your life– and that’s it! This simple shift into “neutrality” can make a big difference in the way you perceive yourself and your capabilities. In time, self-love and appreciation will in return result in a healthier body and mind.

Recognize that negative self-talk and body-shaming are not productive. Negative self-talk and body-bashing only sinks you into a deeper depression, leading to a cycle of self-loathing, emotional eating, and more body-bashing.

Practice self-love. Practicing self love means practicing self care. Nourish yourself with good food, movement, hydration, and rest. Remember to lift yourself and others up with positive words, thoughts, and actions.

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Follow @jennifermcgurkrdn

"I was officially the heaviest woman to complete a marathon. This title will serve as an example to the plus-size community that there is no such thing as a limitation. I'm often asked if I think everyone should run a marathon. The answer is no. Running -- and sports in general -- isn't for everyone, and that's cool. What I do think, and the reason that I'm on a journey to complete an Ironman, is that whether you want to run a marathon, or knit the world's largest tea cozy, if there's an achievement that captivates you, go after it. The bigger or more ridiculous, the better!" I just love what @ragenchastain  is doing for the plus-size community!! I hope you all read her story in @espnw  about how she decided to go for this Guinness World Record!!
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#eatwithknowledge #haes #bodypositive #healthateverysize #healthyliving #bodypositivity #endED #allfoodsfit #edrecovery #balancednotclean #nourishnotpunish #eatingdisorderrecovery #eatingdisorderdietitian #HAESdietitian #RD #HAESRD #intuitiveeating #bodykindness #bopo #effyourbeautystandards #antidiet #selfcare #foodisfuelforthebody #ragenchastain #marathon #plussizefitness #bigfitgirl
Happy Valentine's Day!! Wishing you all a beautiful day filled with #selflove and #selfcare. Go out and do something loving for yourself!! #linkinbio to last year's valentine's day post all about self-care practices for Valentine's Day.
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#eatwithknowledge #pursuingprivatepractice #eatingdisorders #endED #eatingdisorderdietitian #dietitian #healthateverysize #HAES #haesdietitian #healthyliving #soulfie #dietitian #rd2be #antidiet #allfoodsfit #bodypositivity #edrecovery #eatingdisorderdietitian #selfcare #bodykindness #bodypositivity #foodisfuel
Yep!! It’s happening again!! Thursday at 8pm #Repost @balancedtx with @get_repost
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Ready for Take 2 of the Twitter Takeover?! Join us Thursday night @ 8PM to make our voices heard with force. Keep the conversation going from now until then, spread the word & let’s remind @weightwatchers we won’t be silent! #WakeUpWeightWatchers 💥👊💥💪 (link in our profile for details!) #edrecovery #bodypositive
This. Is. Everything. @streetsmart.rd with @get_repost
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If you've been following along with me you know it struck a chord when @weightwatchers announced free memberships for teens 13-17. These years (pictured here, horrible fashion and hair styles galore) are the time when teens should be allowed to grow - without attempts to subtly or openly shame their bodies, police their food choices, and initiate them into diet culture. My friends & fellow RDs have been sharing photos of themselves during these (painfully) awkward years to remind us bodies are meant to change. Here are some fast facts:
☝🏼️Children gain an average of 40 pounds during the years before, during & after puberty. It is normal for some kids to gain weight before they grow taller. But there is no wrong way to grow and restricting nutrition or limiting food choices can also limit critical nutrients needed for a lifetime of good health
☝🏼️Teens are among the highest risk populations for developing issues with body image. The average age of onset for an eating disorder falls during the years in which WW is offering a free membership
☝🏼️Diets do not work. If you look at the success rate (meaning, someone reaches and maintains a "healthy" body weight or normal BMI and maintains it for 5 years) it's embarrassingly low. WW in particular cites ~6% success rate and many of those people started at a BMI around 27. Meaning they didn't have a significant amount of weight to lose (on average, ~10 pounds)
☝🏼️ Dieting is the top predictor of future weight gain & weight cycling. That's what we used to call yo-yo dieting, where someone loses X number of pounds only to gain it all back plus some. Weight cycling is more harmful than simply existing at a higher weight and never engaging in dieting behaviors. Fatness isn't the problem. Fatphobia and misinformation about health is the problem
☝🏼️ Taking dieting behaviors like counting points, compensating with exercise, assigning morality to food, and letting the scale determine your worth and happiness and calling it "not a diet" doesn't mean it's not a diet. It's a way to capitalize on the high failure rates of diets
#WakeUpWeightWatchers
As an eating disorders dietitian, I need to to do all that I can to prevent disordered eating. By allowing teens to have free access to the weight watchers program (aka dieting) it sets them up for weight cycling and negative body image for the rest of their life. But guys weight watchers knows what they’re doing. They’re capturing an audience young to get them to “diet “lose a bunch of weight” only to have it come back on, and therefore thinking Weight watchers is the only way to go. So many weight watchers have been weight watchers for so long. Let’s end the ups and downs and teach teens positive body image and a healthy relationship with food. Join me on Twitter tomorrow!!!! JenmcgurkRDN see you there!! #repost @balancedtx with @get_repost
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Want to make your voice heard? Join us & many other #eatingdisorder, #HAES & #bodypositive professionals and advocates tomorrow afternoon for a Twitter Takeover to let @WeightWatchers know what we think of their free teen program! 💥 Get all the details via the link in our profile 💥#WakeUpWeightWatchers
Another great quote from a @recovrywarriors article about how yoga can be a part of eating disorder recovery. Obviously not everyone is going to like yoga. It can be useful for some people to learn how to get through difficult emotions and learn to be in their body in ways that may not have been possible before. Plus learning to be grateful for your body can be really useful tool of recovery. It can help to move away from body hate to a body neutral and/or body appreciation space.
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#eatwithknowledge #haes #bodypositive #healthateverysize #healthyliving #bodypositivity #endED #allfoodsfit #edrecovery #balancednotclean #nourishnotpunish #eatingdisorderrecovery #eatingdisorderdietitian #HAESdietitian #RD #HAESRD #intuitiveeating #bodykindness #bopo #effyourbeautystandards #antidiet #selfcare #foodisfuelforthebody
I found this quote in an article by @recovrywarriors and I think it is sooo important to remember! Recovery from an eating disorder doesn't only include physical recovery, but mental recovery too. Changing the thoughts that ED can bring is usually harder than stopping eating disorder behaviors. Thoughts can be overwhelming, and it can be easy to dwell on them. They key is to learn how to either fight back, distract, or (perhaps the hardest thing) just be a human being in the moment of uncomfortable feelings. I want you to remember that you aren't broken or failing!! It's all part of the recovery journey. Keep going because it’s worth it 💜
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#eatwithknowledge #haes #bodypositive #healthateverysize #healthyliving #bodypositivity #endED #allfoodsfit #edrecovery #balancednotclean #nourishnotpunish #eatingdisorderrecovery #eatingdisorderdietitian #HAESdietitian #RD #HAESRD #intuitiveeating #bodykindness #bopo #effyourbeautystandards #antidiet #selfcare #foodisfuelforthebody
I love this quote from @marcird who was featured in the January issue of Today's Dietitian! Focusing on weight loss is not the way to reduce weight stigma. The problem with weight stigma is a societal problem, and not something that should be put on individuals to solve by treating their bodies as a never ending project. And really weight stigma effects all of us, not just those at higher weights. It's time to let go of fixing ourselves and concentrate on decreasing weight stigma within our society as a whole. Articles like this really help move our profession (and society) forward. We have a long way to go!!!
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#eatwithknowledge #haes #bodypositive #healthateverysize #healthyliving #bodypositivity #endED #allfoodsfit #edrecovery #balancednotclean #nourishnotpunish #eatingdisorderrecovery #eatingdisorderdietitian #HAESdietitian #RD #HAESRD #intuitiveeating #bodykindness #bopo #effyourbeautystandards #antidiet #selfcare #foodisfuelforthebody #weightstigma #endweightstigma #weightinclusivehealthcare #weightneutralselfcare
Time is almost running out!!!! Sign up for @foodpeacedietitian PCOS course before enrollment closes!!! Also as a dietitian wanting to learn more about PCOS, Julie has taught me so much!!! I credit her for a lot of my nutrition knowledge and am so thankful 🤓. If you are a dietitian wanting to learn more about PCOS this course is for you!!! And continuing education credits are coming this spring, what better combo of learning and crossing off CEU’s!!! #Repost @foodpeacedietitian (@get_repost)
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The Step-By-Step Guide to PCOS + Food Peace course is an investment + not for everyone. Wonder if it is right for you? I want to help! Here's who I designed it for:
**The Recovery Warrior: 
If you experience PCOS + trying to recover from an eating disorder this course is for you. It is laid out to help you make steps toward health w/o triggering relapse. You have worked SO VERY HARD to recover + you can continue to do so wPCOS.
**The Chronic Dieter:
So you're at diet rock bottom, huh?! I totally get it. We know diets don't work because you have tried them a million times. This course will NOT be million + 1. This is a new path to reclaiming health + diets are not included.
**The Determined Newbie:
Did you just get word you have PCOS? Don't get sucked into Google's dark hole of confusing PCOS information. This course will help direct you to accurate research based info gathered over 20 yrs of working in nutrition + avoid the common rookie mistakes.
**The Wanna Be Mama:
Has your PCOS lead to infertility? I am so very sorry. This course will give you access to non-diet approaches to enhance your body image (because infertility will tear it apart!) + promote healthy ovulation.
**The Dedicated Diabetic:
Are you concerned you will never find a non-diet way to treat your PCOS because you have Pre-Diabetes or Diabetes?? I appreciate diabetes is a scary diagnosis + the course has you covered. You CAN make peace w food too + there's even a special BONUS designed just for you.
THIS COURSE IS NOT FOR those w/o PCOS or unsure if they have it. It is not for you if you are only looking to lose weight. This is not a quick fix rather a long term way to promote health. 
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