Your Say Yes to Life Monday Motivator: The path to body peace is paved with good intentions

In this final post of our three part series on examining body peace, it is time to acknowledge that our intentions have always been good.

Your intentions have always been good.

Not a one of us, when we were small, dreamed of growing up to hate our bodies. I know I didn’t!

While in other blogs I may write from a more objective, clinical space to help you better understand medical complexities in layman’s terms, in this series I am speaking to you directly from the heart.

I want you to know that I, too, had great intentions even while my eating disorder was getting worse and worse, and even when I feared I wouldn’t survive it. At no time in my journey to where I am today was I trying to develop a life threatening disease. I wasn’t trying to kill off my body. I wasn’t trying to worry those around me. I wasn’t trying to fail at life or destroy my potential to live it.

I developed my eating disorder for two reasons. One, I had a biological predisposition to do so. And two, I experienced a variety of environmental triggers that in turn triggered my own inner survival mechanism to  control what was within my power – my own body.

The path to body peace often makes several detours along the way, but there is never a lack of good intentions. In fact, after more than two decades of serving and supporting individuals to move from the dangers of an eating disorder and low body esteem back to the holistic health and wellness they desire and deserve, I can state with the utmost confidence that I have not yet met a person struggling with body dissatisfaction and eating disorders who didn’t have good intentions.

We mean well. We truly do. We are trying to make sense of a complex world full of complex choices and complex people. We are incredibly strong, and even while enduring experiences that might level others, we survivors have found a way to survive.

Now, it may be that the way we survived such experiences in the past no longer works for us now, but that does not take away from the fact that we survived them – somehow.

Again, we had the best of intentions.

So now, to seek and achieve body peace, it is time to re-examine our intentions in light of the new information we have that what we did yesterday or last year or ten years ago to survive is no longer the only or best option we have. It is no longer the path we wish to choose to get to where we want to go.

We are ready to try something new.

Knowing this, we can now make a new intention to choose a different path than an eating disorder or body dissatisfaction to manage life’s stressors.

Wow!

For instance, we can choose to seek help, and in so doing we can choose to work on the intentions beneath our intention to survive, which may include our intention to thrive, to love, to succeed, to connect, to experience, to accept ourselves and others as we are, to serve and give and also receive and appreciate all that life has to offer.

Again, these intentions have never changed – and they never will.

All that has changed is the path we now choose to get there.

At Southlake Counseling, we have more than two decades of experience with guiding and supporting individuals just like you to achieve and exceed your recovery, health, and wellness goals. We offer the full range of professional support services, from dietary and nutritional coaching to group support to wellness consulting to individual therapeutic sessions. Visit us to learn more about how you can put your wealth of good intentions to work for you in a positive, nurturing, self-respecting way as you say “no” to body hate and YES to life! www.southlakecounseling.com.

Be Well,

Kimberly


Your Say Yes to Life Monday Motivator: Without war, we wouldn’t know peace

I know what you are thinking – where there is a will to avoid war, there is always a way.

I couldn’t agree more.

However, after more than two decades working in the clinical field as a trained health professional, it is clear to me that sometimes we are at war before we realize what war is.

At that point, it is time to call a spade a spade and take the steps necessary to return ourselves to the peaceful state we prefer.

For instance, I see many individuals who are suffering from an eating disorder. Anorexia, bulimia, eating disorders not otherwise specified, and binge eating disorder are increasingly common in today’s “War on Obesity” thin-obsessed culture.

Here is the problem we are facing – the world we live in glamorizes declaring war on our own body for the purposes of making peace with other dreams we hold dear – like the dream to be accepted, to be loved, to be successful. Somehow, without our probably even realizing it (I know I didn’t realize it when I was in the early stages of recognizing my own battle with an eating disorder 30 years ago!) we have adopted an internal belief system that states that where we desire peace, we must also accept war.

There is another way.

But for those of us who are suffering with an eating disorder, it is both useless and unproductive to spend time beating ourselves up for what we could have or should have done differently.  An eating disorder is a lethal psychiatric disease for which there are effective treatments, and just like any other disease it deserves our highest respect and the full complement of professional care.

So for those of us who are suffering from an eating disorder, or from other forms of body-war such as low body-based self esteem, poor body image, disordered eating habits, and reluctance to engage in life’s opportunities due to how we believe that we look, we must simply acknowledge that for reasons we may not even fully understand, we have declared war on our body, and we now instead desire war’s opposite – body peace.

Body peace IS possible. I know that it is possible because I too at one time declared war on my body, and I was able to turn my own ship around and instead declare first a truce, and then a state of peace, with my own body.

It is no one’s fault when an eating disorder develops. No one single factor causes an eating disorder to unfold. Eating disorders are a complex dance of biology, psychology, and sociology, and just like for any other disease, when all the causal elements are present in one place, an eating disorder is likely to arise.

What is then important is to turn our attention from focusing on the problem – the war we were waging on our body that we now must wage against our eating disorder – to the opportunity. The opportunity is the chance to get better, and in the process to fully understand our own weaknesses, strengths, motivations, dreams, beliefs, judgments, expectations, needs, and desires at a deeper level than we ever dreamed possible.

In short, we get the opportunity to examine what it feels like to be at war, and to use that example to try on a different state for size – a state of peace. We can literally use the feeling of war to remind us of what we do not want more of, and instead turn our attention to anything that feels unlike war – and use that as a guide to explore moving closer to a state of peace.

In that way, the war can even be a gift. It is a clear sign from within telling us that something is wrong and needs our attention. It is a flag of warning trying to get our attention, and we should thank it for its devotion to warning us now, before it is too late.

If you are suffering with disordered eating, low self esteem, low body esteem, poor body image, or unwillingness to engage in all that life has to offer due to how you perceive yourself in the mirror, you both need and deserve help and support.  I am living proof that there is a different way to live life – before I became a health professional, I experienced what it felt like to stand in those shoes, and that is how I know it is possible to break free.

I started Southlake Counseling, the first comprehensive eating disorders care facility in the Davidson area, for precisely this reason. At Southlake Counseling, our staff is more than just skilled, trained, and experienced. We are compassionate. We can empathize. We have been there and we know how it feels. We can help you say “no” to the precariousness of living life side-by-side with an eating disorder and instead say YES to life!

Don’t let another day go by where you live at war with the skin you are in. Remember, without war, we wouldn’t know peace. To learn more, visit us at www.southlakecounseling.com

Be Well,

Kimberly


Your Say Yes to Life Monday Motivator: Making Peace with Your Body

When I was struggling through the recovery process to overcome my eating disorder, the word “peace” was never found in the same sentence with the words “my body.”

Yet today, I am able to see and support my body in all ways with a feeling of peace and also with gratitude for all that my body does to support me.

You may be reading this – or may even be tempted to skip reading this – for precisely the same reasons I would have been tempted to skip it when I was in the midst of the recovery process.

“Make peace with my body?” you may be thinking, “Impossible.”

But it is not impossible. You have my word on that.

Now, is it easy? No.

Does it happen overnight? Nope.

Does everybody achieve it? Not by a long shot.

But we all have the potential to make peace with our body, to love our body as it is, for all that it is. In fact, making peace with our body is good practice for making peace with ourselves!

But it is up to us. We get to choose how we will go through this life – how we will feel about all things “us” – starting with the physical expression of our uniqueness that we call “my body.”

In this first of a three-part blog series, we will examine some basic concepts that can be helpful no matter what your current state of health or fitness may be. In following posts we will devote more time to examining special instances where making peace with your body is even more critical – for instance, if you suffer from a health condition like an eating disorder.

But first, I want to share some of my favorite basic self-assessment tools that can help you get started on the path to lasting body peace and acceptance.

In my own experience as both an eating disorder survivor and as a professional working in the field, I have found that it is critical to assess where you are as a measure of what is not working and a tool for defining what you want.

So if, in this moment, you and your body live either completely or somewhat at odds with each other, then take a moment to examine where you fall in relation to the statement, “I accept and love my body unconditionally.” What comes to mind first when you read that statement? Jot it down.

Now you know where you are. You just put a dot on your own map – “you are here.”

Next, you have to figure out where you want to go – not where you think it is reasonable to go, or where you think it is possible to go, but where you would like to go. What are your goals when it comes to body peace? Do you long for total body confidence? Total body acceptance? Total body love?

Take a moment and jot down any goals that come to mind. Now you know where you want to go. You have put another dot on your own map – “your destination is here.”

Next, it is time to take a look at what seems to be standing between you and your goal. In other words – if you do not at this present time totally accept and love your body peacefully and unconditionally, then what could help you to do that safely?

It is also of critical important to be realistic here. Otherwise it is easy to set yourself up for failure by reaching for a goal that is literally impossible to achieve, whether due to genetic body type and features, health needs and requirements, or some combination thereof.

When you are done applying these basic assessment tools, you will have a roadmap of sorts that lays out on paper where you are now, where you want to go, and some of our own ideas about how to get there.

The next step is to identify safe, healthy, and affirming tools to help you get there. While it is possible to do this work on your own, it is always advisable to take help and support from knowledgeable professionals as well as family and friends while you are on the journey. Making the transition from body-hate to body-peace can be physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging, and having a knowledgeable, skilled and compassionate support team in place assures the highest chance of success.

At Southlake Counseling, we have more than two decades of expertise in helping people just like you to meet their recovery, health, and wellness goals, including transitioning from a place of total body non-acceptance and hatred to a space where the body is loved and accepted as a valued friend and protector. If you are having difficulty setting and meeting your body-peace and acceptance goals, contact us. We have been there. We know how it feels. We can help. www.southlakecounseling.com

Be Well,

Kimberly