Over the course of our lifetime, we are taught how we should respond to and express our emotions, what emotions we are allowed to feel and when, and how much emotion we are supposed to feel in any given situation. Unfortunately, these lessons are often unhelpful, and lead us to feeling like we should be able to control our emotions – we come to fear them, and react to them by either stuffing or numbing, or acting out from our emotions. Both of these forms of response work for
Setbacks often have a tendency to be perceived as failure and this perception can initiate and intensify a vicious cycle of negative thoughts, emotions and behaviors which can be difficult to break. However, it’s necessary to identify there is a cycle so new strategies can be developed to address setbacks and further maintain your focus on moving forward in your recovery. Here are some tips to help you handle setbacks when they happen. EXPECT SETBACKS
No one is perfect! Setb
This week (Feb 1-7) is Eating Disorder Awareness week across Canada. One million Canadians struggle with eating disorders. An eating disorder can affect anyone regardless of shape, size, age, gender, ethnicity or socio-economic status. Eating Disorders are serious mental illnesses that affect a person’s physical, mental and emotional health, and can have significant and potentially life-threatening consequences. Eating disorders such as Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge Eating
‘Tis the season! A time for reuniting with family and friends, and sharing in the memories, traditions and the magic of giving and receiving. It is also a time of year that can bring many challenges to those struggling with an eating disorder. Many holiday gatherings tend to revolve around food and this can be a tremendous source of stress and anxiety, even for those in recovery. But to try and keep all of that extra stress and anxiety to a minimum, it can be crucial to ment
Approaching physical activity with a mindful perspective can aid in recovery from eating disorder and improve body acceptance. The human body was designed to include motion. However, as with all things in life, exercise must be approached with balance. Our purpose in life is not solely to exercise; rather exercise is one small part that can add to a healthy lifestyle. If an eating disorder has distorted your body image, participating in appropriate and enjoyable activity ca
Tips to use when considering nutrition advice Nutrition information is all around us and highly accessible. With the abundance of information supporting the link between diet and health, it is no wonder individuals personally seek out remedies to improve their own health and well-being. Based on the sheer volume of information out there, it is easy to feel overwhelmed when looking for health information. A simple google search of the phrase: “nutrition and health” yields 666,
When people are starting something new, or something scary, or something important, they often feel they need to have the right amount of motivation before getting started. This is particularly true when they are considering pursuing recovery. And that motivation is likely tied to the “perfect” circumstances – I’ll start when I’m not in such a low mood, when I have more money, when I have the energy, when I feel like it, when my eating starts to get better. The problem with u
While meal times for most of us are viewed as a time to sit and relax with others and share the events of the day, for someone in recovery, meal times can be a complicated and stressful time. In today’s society it is not uncommon to hear or make comments about how the food is made, the nutritional content of the food, or what will need to be accomplished in order to burn off the energy provided by that particular meal. However, is this information respectful and helpful? For
The holidays are a time for gathering with family, enjoying delicious food, and giving and receiving gifts. While it can be filled with joy, laughter, and love, for many of us it encourages a focus on buying, over-indulging, and pleasing others. The holiday season is filled with tradition, and with this comes expectations for how we “should” participate, which can lead us away from living by our values. For many, this creates resentment, dissatisfaction, and a lack of enjoyme
Friends and family members of our clients often ask us "how can we help?" Friends and family have a great opportunity to support their loved one in their recovery journey. We always encourage family and friends to ask their loved one what they view as personally helpful to them, as support can vary for different individuals and people at different stages in their recovery. Creating space for open and honest communication is so helpful, to learn how to navigate alongside your
Researcher and thought leader Brené Brown encourages us to dare greatly: to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives. Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable, or to dare greatly. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our c
The decision to choose recovery over an eating disorder (ED) is one of the most rewarding decisions you will ever make. However, the recovery journey itself is not easy and there are many recovery fears that need to be overcome along the way.
When I am working with individuals who are recovering from an ED there are many questions I ask during our first encounter (ED history, goals, health, etc…). However, there is one question that I feel is particularly vital in recovery
Ever wonder what it’s like to be comforted by gradually piecing together a new found appreciation for something that once so aggressively tore apart your life and completely and utterly devastated you? To take every insurmountable step, leap and bound towards being grateful for the overwhelming and uncontrollable fear and anxiety that once left you paralyzed? To intentionally breathe in gratitude for the suffocating pain, hatred and hopelessness you once endured? Well, it jus
It's that time of year! When the school year begins again, and along with it comes all the excitement and challenges of another year. Navigating school while in recovery from an eating disorder brings its own set of added challenges. Including the challenges of a demanding performance based environment, as well as social challenges, which can exaggerate perfectionistic self expectations and add stress to life. School can also be an exciting and enjoyable experience, and provi
Social media can be an amazing tool for connection, learning, and sharing – it allows us to have access to information, people, and images that we may otherwise never get to experience. But while platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can enrich our lives in many ways, they are also rife with negative messages and unhelpful photos. For someone struggling with an eating disorder and negative body image, this can be particularly difficult.
With summer starting and th
The ways in which we communicate with others can be an important part of our personality, our self-image, and our relationships. Some people bring a lot of humour into their communication, others are direct and firm, and still others are passive and quiet. While there is nothing inherently wrong with any one communication style, passive /submissive communication can develop into people-pleasing, which can drive unhelpful behaviors for someone struggling with an eating disorde
Perfection is an impossible goal. The pursuit of perfection leaves us feeling fearful, self critical, and disconnected from others and the activities we love. Pursuing perfection can creep into many areas of our lives such as appearance, school, career, hobbies, relationships and just about any area of life! When we choose to let go of pursuing perfection, we can embrace compassion, courage and connection with others.
THE PROBLEMS OF CHASING PERFECTION
When we chase after p
Saturday May 6th, 2017 is International No Diet Day. With summer fast approaching this is a good time for organizations and individuals to push back against harmful diet messages that state in order for us to enjoy summer we must be “beach body” ready. On this day, we celebrate body diversity and body acceptance, including fat acceptance, and embrace health at every size®. We honor our bodies in adapting health habits for the sake of health and well-being, not for weight cont
Determining when to eat should be a simple decision but for many the question "to eat or not to eat?" is a stressful decision. What was once a simple question of responding to a biological cue of physical hunger has transformed into a misguided, mistrusted, and shameful decision, and more often than not we are choosing to eat for the wrong reasons.
Before describing how to eat for the right reasons, it is important to note that it is okay to eat for reasons other than true
Recovery from an eating disorder includes many different areas and one area that Westwind feels is important to address is that of values. When we speak of values, we are not referring to morals necessarily, but more about what you want your life to be about. What do you want to be meaningful in your life? Ultimately one would aspire to lead a value-driven existence, that is, living according to your values.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE LIVING BY YOUR VALUES?
Living by your valu