National Eating Disorders Association
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Recovery

Thank you to Eating Recovery Center for sponsoring this blog post in conjunction with Eating Recovery Day on May 7, 2019. 

Dear Me– 

I know, it’s been a while since we’ve talked. I mean, really talked. Not just “What do you want to watch on Netflix?” talk, feelings talk. 

Checking in with yourself” talk.

Remembering your worth” talk. 

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Hi, everyone! My name is Ali, and I’ve been a fat activist for quite a while now. So, what am I doing here, on an eating disorder organization’s blog, talking about fat people stuff?

Well, I think of fat people stuff and eating disorder stuff like chocolate and peanut butter—they just kind of go together. Sure, we can talk about them separately, but why should we? Especially when some people can relate to BOTH.

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This week, during Shabbat morning worship, Jews around the world will read the foundational laws of kashrut (Jewish dietary law) from the Torah. These laws are extensive and specific because they describe the species of land, air, and sea animals that are kosher. In the thousands of years since this first iteration of kashrut, Jewish legal authorities have interpreted and expanded upon the original rules. Today, kashrut is a system of procedures for harvesting, preparing, and serving food, which people follow with varying levels of strictness. 

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Once upon a time… Well, this is no fairytale. I want to start at the end and work my way back, like one of those flashback episodes of a TV crime drama. So here goes, my name is Kymberly. Currently, I live in NYC and am working on building a career out of my everything passions art and dance, helping people feel and live better, and lifting heavy things. So far, so good. What’s interesting to me, however, is that when I look back on everything I’ve been through and everything I’ve accomplished, I see it’s in fact the struggles I’ve faced that have made me successful at what I do.

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Equine-assisted therapy has been an emerging form of psychotherapy in recent decades. While research has demonstrated its efficacy in treating mental health diagnoses such as PTSD, autism, and mood disorders, research regarding equine-assisted therapy and eating disorders is lacking. As a therapist using the Equine-Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) model of equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP), I have been able to observe how aspects of the model and working with horses in general could be beneficial in the treatment of eating disorders.

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When I logged onto Facebook this morning, a friend had posted the following excerpt from Margaret Atwood’s poem Shapechangers in Winter:

This is the solstice, the still point

of the sun, its cusp and midnight,

the year’s threshold

and unlocking, where the past

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When I left treatment several months ago, it was all I had known for twelve years. I was excited to start my new life, but I also realized that I had no clue what I was doing. I had never had to be an adult, and I was now in my early 30s and trying to navigate the world. I had missed out on so much growth, and I had no idea if it would be possible to catch up. I still have no idea, but at least I am fumbling through trying to figure it out. 

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Yoga, with its tenets of peacefulness, self-compassion, mindfulness, and self- empathy, both empowers and enhances recovery from eating disorders and body image despair. Yoga promotes harmony within and strengthens the relationship with the body through physical poses (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), non-harmful self-care (ahimsa), and meditation,

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I was told early on, that journaling might be a really effective tool to help me on my journey to recovery. I know from talking to so many other people who suffer with an eating disorder that I’m not the only one who has been encouraged to use writing as a way to connect to my thoughts and feelings. 

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