Allgemein

LU 060: Marya Hornbacher – Fighting the stigma of mental illness and eating disorders.



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Hey, lovely radicals… podcast time!

In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I’m talking to Marya Hornbacher from Minneapolis, USA.

Marya is known for many things. She is an assistant professor of Writing Arts at Rowan University, she is an award-winning journalist and – as most of you might know – she is also a bestselling author, most known for her memoir on anorexia called “Wasted” (which was published when she was 22 years old). Ten years after that, she published a memoir on Bipolar Disorder called “Madness”, after which she came out with an acclaimed novel called “The Center of Winter”, followed by two books about mental health, addiction, recovery and spirituality; one called “Sane”, the other one “Waiting”. Marya has a lot more in the works, but we’ll talk about that – among myriad of other things – in our beautiful conversation. You’ll hear Marya talk about:
– When and why she became self-conscious about her body as a child
– How her parents related to weight
– What she was hungry for as a child (apart from food)
– Why we grow up with the idea that our various emotional hungers are unwelcome
– Why people with a sensitive nature are often prone to eating issues
– What her own journey of finding out about (and coming to terms with) her mental illness was like
– How she fell into the trap of identifying herself by her problems, issues, and chaos
– How she found out that recovery meant to go beyond that “black hole of trouble”-identity
– How, for many people (not all!), an eating disorder represents a symptom of a larger issue, rather than the problem itself
– Why misdiagnosis are so rampant when it comes to mental illness
– How she started to re-establish trust in herself and advocate for herself when faced with medical professionals
– Why educating ourselves is vital in the process of healing from our own personal issues
– Why the right sort of medication can make all the difference
– What the key pieces were for her to finally start her healing journey for good
– Why recovery (from anything) is so hard at times, bringing forth what a person has been running from
– Why the investment we put into healing is the best we will ever do for ourselves
– How she understands her own past eating disorder in retrospect
– Why she ended up becoming an alcoholic after her eating disorder was “under control” (aka: addiction transfer)
– Why she doesn’t believe in the theory of certain people “just having an addictive personality”
– Why what we’re all looking for is already inside us, and why our need to “feel in control” often leads us into the trap of “being controlled” (be that by food / rules / compulsions, or substances)
– Why it is crucial for the healing process to develop our own opinion and to advocate for our own truth instead of just following random popular people’s advice
– Why we all need to be careful with our social media consumption
– Why self-acceptance really is the key to become comfortable with who we are
– What she finds helpful on the path to finding out “who we really are”, and what brings us the greatest joy in life
– What she wants us to know about Bipolar Disorder (I and II)
– How she deals with her illness and manages it these days
– How we can accept and live with our own personal limitations without beating ourselves up over them
– Why it is our personal responsibility to step out of the game our society seems to want us to play
– How important it is to find our own tribe outside of the masses
– Why the key to finding “our sort of people” is to step out of comparison-mode ourselves
– Why making friends with solitude can be a key step on the healing journey
– What “resilience” means to her
– How not to fall for “Do THIS… and you’ll be happy!”-lies anymore…
… And so much more!

Check out Marya and her books:
http://www.maryahornbacher.com

Lovelies, I need your support. If you enjoy and love my podcast, please consider supporting it by becoming a “Patreon”, so that I can keep producing it for you. Thank you!
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

If you want this sort of badassery to come to your phone automatically, please DO subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refi

 

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join

LU 059: Dana Sturtevant – How being truly nourished helps your body to trust you (and vice versa!)



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Lovely radicals, it’s podcast time!

In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I get to talk to Dana Sturtevant from Portland, Oregon.

Dana is a trainer, mentor, Kripalu Yoga teacher, and Registered Dietitian specializing in Health at Every Size (HAES) and Intuitive Eating. She is the co-founder of “Be Nourished”, a revolutionary business helping people heal body dissatisfaction and reclaim body trust. In her work, Dana loves to incorporate mindfulness and self-compassion practices, and she is specialized in Motivational Interviewing techniques. She has facilitated more than 300 workshops throughout the United States for health care providers looking to enhance their skills in behavior-change counseling, and her work has been published in various media outlets. You’ll hear Dana talk about:
– How lucky she was to be able to grow up in a household where there were no diets, body shaming or any sort of hyper-focus on “healthy eating”
– When and why she became self-conscious about her shape and size
– Why she went into the field of nutrition
– What she found out about her younger self from reading her own letters to her late grandmother
– What she experienced in her previous work as a “weight management” dietitian
– Why that work started to feel deeply unethical for her
– Why living a free, flexible life and weight-suppression don’t go together
– How our inner “trance of unworthiness” drives us to keep abandoning ourselves
– Why no amount of weight-loss will improve how you feel about yourself, and why feeling worthy and confident really is an inside job unrelated to weight
– The importance of recognizing the difference between “fitting in” and feeling a sense of “belonging”
– How her and Hilary’s clients often react when they first hear their message
– Why it is so hard to claim something (that we KNOW is true) for ourselves
– Why this current “health-ism” (hyper-focus on “having to be healthy, or else it’s our own fault”) is really about money
– Why so many people, including health-care providers, are in denial about “prescribing diets”
– Why we are often tricked into believing “well, this is not a diet, this is only a lifestyle change”
– What happens when one coping mechanisms is being forcefully removed without working on the underlying issue
– Why compulsive exercise always points to a complicated relationship with food/weight
– Why it’s totally ok that not all people are athletes
– Why today’s “gym-culture” is ruining a healthy relationship to movement for most people
– Why nobody can tell you what your body needs, and why there IS no black or white strategy that works
– Why it is always wise to be suspicious of people who claim to “have found the true way to health/fitness/weight-loss”, especially when they are trying to sell said truth
– Why it takes some time (and effort) to heal the “dieting mind”
– Why the healing process really only works when we put concerns about weight on the back burner
– Why most people have to hit “diet bottom” to kick-start the healing process
– What needs to be grieved when we find the courage to step into our fears and work towards freedom
– Why diet-talk is basically nothing else but women keeping up their own oppression
– Why the fear of a particular food is worse for your body than the actual food
– Why the moralization of food is particularly dangerous for people
– Why “going Paleo” and “going gluten-free” (except for the 1% of the population who actually has celiac disease) and “going vegan” are fads, too
– How absurd the whole “nutritionism” in the world looks when we zoom out for a minute to really look at all the contradicting advice out there
– What real success looks like for clients of “Be Nourished”
– Why rules are the problem, and not – as we might think – the solution
– How “full permission to eat” looks like and why it is the solution to stop the diet-binge-cycle
– Why it is important to process and release the anger that we have directed inwards for so long
– Why it is important to realize that it is not your fault that you have a complicated relationship to food (Dana’s dog agrees strongly here)
– How “Be Nourished” helps private clients as well as health care providers get rid of weight-bias…
… And so much more!

Check out Hilary Kinavey’s and Dana Sturtevant’s work with “Be Nourished” here:
http://www.benourished.org

Here’s the link to their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/benourishedpdx/?fref=ts

Please consider supporting the podcast with by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

If you want this sort of badassery to come to your phone automatically, please DO subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refi

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

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LU 058: Me, solo – “You don’t have to be thin to be underweight”: Anorexia at higher weights.


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Lovely radicals… podcast time!

This week on the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I am talking about a topic that sadly doesn’t get addressed nearly enough:
The importance of recognizing anorexia in people in bigger bodies.

In our thin-obsessed culture, eating disorders go undetected at alarming rates.

With the stereotypical depiction of an emaciated teen (white, female, cis-gendered) being at the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to eating disorders, the majority of sufferers either don’t “feel sick enough” to seek treatment, or their symptoms get dismissed if they don’t present said emaciated weight-status.
This has horrendous ramifications.
The majority of eating disorders happen OUTSIDE of this severely underweight range.

We need to start asking patients about symptoms, not weights.
How about:
– Is your hair thinning out?
– Are you still getting your period? (Meaning a natural period, not a withdrawal bleed from the birth control pill!)
– Do you have trouble sleeping?
– Tell me about your mood. Is it stable? Are you irritable? Depressed?
– Do you feel anxious a lot?
– How are you relating to food, your body, your weight, and exercising?

We need to start talking about anorexia in people with higher weights.

Doctors need to start asking better questions.

Love, always.
Meret.

“You don’t have to be thin to be underweight”.
(Tabitha Farrar, host of “The Eating Disorder Recovery Podcast” – I highly recommend you listen to her episode with Dr. Rachel Mullner.)

And here’s the link to the article I read in this episode:
https://www.verywell.com/anorexia-nervosa-in-individuals-of-higher-weights-1138302

Please consider supporting the podcast by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

If you want this sort of badassery to come to your phone automatically, please DO subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&
********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

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LU 057: Dr. Steven Prentice – Are you ready for “Healthnut Rehab”? Here’s how real health works.


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Hey, lovely radicals… podcast time!

In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I talk to Dr. Steve Prentice from Columbus, Ohio.

Steve, as a practicing chiropractor and health contrarian since 1996, has spent his career questioning the status quo and the accepted norms when it comes to health and wellbeing. His experience working with thousands of patients over the past 20 years led him to create what he termed quote “the stress-centered approach to health” and he now leads his patients through the process of restoring their health and quality of life while rejecting many of the restrictive and obsessive health recommendations that are promising quick results and lead so many people into feeling of increased trapped-ness and misery. His brand-new book called “Wrecked” has just come out, and rarely before has a small book made me sigh with relief like his. Steve will tell us:
– When he started to feel self-conscious about his body
– Why it was in his chiropractor education that he basically stopped trusting his own body and started dieting
– What he thought when he started regaining the weight, and what that set off
– How many disordered eaters make up sensitivities that they don’t really have and end up believing their own fear-narrative
– Why, when we hold on to a certain food fear (carbs, fat, gluten…) in our minds, we start brainwashing ourselves into believing that any negative reactions are caused by that particular food and we go look for confirmation for this
– Why eliminating foods from our diets (for no other reason than believing the latest diet fad) most often leads to more obsession, and subsequently, more eliminations, and more health problems
– Why restricting, overexercising, obsessing, compulsive behaviors around food and movement and fear of food are actual stressors for the body and therefore, in themselves, harm our health
– Why he recommends never to slap any labels on ourselves when it comes to eating and exercising
– The social, mental and physical dangers of food tribes and their moral pressure and group identity
– How diet culture, food tribes and eating/exercise rules make us forget that we really are free people with individual needs and bodies
– How much pressure he built up around his own “quest for the better body”
– How he found out the hard way that diets and restriction never work long term
– How rules set us up for obsession, especially around food, weight and exercise
– His guilt about having lectured people about weight-loss and dieting
– What today’s culture of “Go! Go! Go!”, social media, comparison, and unrealistic imagery does to people’s mental and physical health
– Why people get sucked into being health-nuts and actually risking their health in the name of “hardcore health”
– Why he recommends to just “take the pressure out” and stop believing that you need to be “fixed”
– When he came to the realization that he, too, was barking up the wrong tree and something had to give
– How we can all live the life that is being promised to us “once we’re thin/toned/better looking” RIGHT NOW, with the body that we have
– Why some soul searching is necessary to find out about our true values in life
– How his own diet-recovery looked like
– Why letting go of rules will automatically lead to a decrease in food-obsession and compulsive thinking
– Why, after diet-recovery, our bodies will find the weight they are happy and healthy at
– Why living at war with your body is just no way to live, and not the way to happiness
– How true self-acceptance is never related to size/shape/weight…
… And so much more!

If you are interested in working with Steve, you can find him here:
http://www.healthnutrehab.com

Here’s the link to his book “Wrecked” on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Wrecked-Quest-Health-Weight-Failed-ebook/dp/B074K5BBLB/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1501955529&sr=8-6&keywords=steve+prentice

Please consider supporting the podcast by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

If you want this sort of badassery to come to your phone automatically, please DO subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refi
********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

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LU 056: Michelle May – “Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat” as the way to heal eating issues.



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Hey there, lovely radicals… podcast time!

This week on the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I get to talk to Dr. Michelle May from Phoenix, Arizona.

Dr. Michelle May is a former physician, mindful eating speaker, and recovered yo-yo dieter who founded the “Am I Hungry?”-company that offers mindful eating programs and training. “Am I Hungry?” empowers people to end chronic dieting and to get back a fulfilling life without deprivation and guilt. She is also the award-winning author of the book “Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat” and, based on the success people had with her first book, Dr. Michelle May wrote and published three more books: “Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Diabetes”, “Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Binge Eating” and “Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Bariatric Surgery”. Her books, programs and retreats are all designed to help people increase self-awareness of beliefs, habits, thoughts, feelings and physical sensations, to finally understand why diets do not work, to discover simple yet powerful methods for knowing when, what, and how much to eat without restriction. Since finding her passion in helping people get out of their dieting traps, Michelle has retired from her medical practice to focus fully on sharing the mindful eating method. Along the way she has been featured on countless media outlets and publications, her personal success story is featured in “Chicken Soup for the Dieter’s Soul”, and it could well be that Michelle’s unique yet common sense approach will change the way we think about eating.
Today, Michelle talks about:
– How she felt in her body as a child
– Why she though she “needed to go on a diet” when she was only 11 years old
– How easy it is to market anything “weight-loss-y” to people, and what specific product her mother bought to “suppress her hunger”
– How much we tend to keep believing the “weight-loss guaranteed”-products/programs because their advertisements is so convincingly designed, and at what cost that comes
– What lies she bought into as she was looking for “the best diet”
– How, as a physician, she sees behind the mechanisms of specific diets that falsely promise results
– What “ketosis” really means for the body (!), and we should never override our body’s signals of distress
– How many women get sidetracked by diets, and how much energy gets wasted in “trying to figure it out”
– How different the world could look if women invested their energy into living fully, instead of perpetually chasing the “once I’m thin”-illusion
– How women perpetuate the cultural oppression by comparing/diet-talking/body-shaming behavior
– How she describes the “eat, repent, repeat”-cycle
– Why never to fall for the “sugar/carbs are the devil” narrative
– How to disprove the “you are addicted to food” narrative by digging one layer deeper
– How to use the “Mindful Eating Cycle” and its brilliant questions to decipher your food behaviors
– How dieting, food-obsessing, and a hyper-focus on weight messes with our natural “Mindful Eating Cycle”
– How dieting/restriction is just as much a coping mechanism as eating is
– Why stopping dieting/overexercising/restricting/overeating is harder than jumping on the next diet bandwagon
– Why no company will ever sell you the message that “you can trust yourself”
– Why empowering yourself works better than following rules in every case
– How to stop proving your diet-beliefs right and start seeing how it was all set up to fail you
– How, at first, the pendulum might swing widely, and how not to give up and keep trusting the process when that happens
– How mental restriction has the same ramifications as physical restriction and how to combat restrictive thoughts
– How to find out what unmet needs we might have that we are restricting/overexercising/overeating over
– How not to demonize emotional eating and fall into the trap of turning Mindful Eating into another diet
– What she learned in all those years of teaching her programs (and why „weight-management“ is not in her vocabulary anymore)
– What she thinks about the way bariatric surgery is being marketed
– What the misconceptions about the efficacy of bariatric surgery are
– How to be there for someone when the “honeymoon phase” of the initial weight-loss after bariatric surgery passes…
… And so much more!

Check out Michelle’s website:
http://www.amihungry.com

Here’s the link to Michelle’s books on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=michelle+may

If you are interested in going to an Am I Hungry retreat, there is one coming up this fall.
The “Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating for Emotional Eating and Binge Eating Retreat” will be from Thursday, Sept. 14 – Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, near Chicago, Illinois. Here are the details:
https://amihungry.com/mindful-eating-for-binge-eating-retreat/

And: This conversation will be continued! Michelle and I have already set a date for a follow-up conversation in which we will address the specific cases she encounters where people tell her “Well, this is all great, BUT I can’t do this, because…”, and how she counters that and helps those people, too. We will be diving into the topics of diabetes, weight-loss surgery, athletics and how “Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat” works for all of them individually.

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

If you want this sort of badassery to come to your phone automatically, please DO subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refi

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/ 

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LU 055: Me, solo – Stuck on the island of disordered eating? Miserable, yet afraid of leaving it?



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Hey there, lovely radicals… podcast time!

This week on the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I’m telling you about the shame we feel to be stuck in patterns of disordered eating, disordered exercise and our fears to break out of those patterns.
It’s not a coincidence that I should be talking about this in this week’s episode; it’s the humbling experience of the persistence of my own struggles and my own seeming inability to change certain behaviors for good.
It’s the painful realization that, for most of us – certainly for me – recovery isn’t something “we just waltz through”, even if we have all the expert’s advice in our heads.

Also, I’m in the mood for a little metaphor, inspired by my internal challenge. A little story about:
– How we get tempted by the diet-siren’s call
– How our disordered eating thoughts convince us that recovery is too hard
– How we get sucked into diet-cultures images, messages and false promises
– How we often lose faith in ourselves and our strength
– How we doubt ever finding that long-lost trust in our body’s wisdom again
– How we forget that we are FREE to leave the miserable island of diets, disordered eating, overexercising and eating disorders, the island that was once sold to us as the “happy, skinny, self-confidence island”, the place we believed we would find what we were yearning for
– Why we often forget how much we really do sacrifice when we’re stuck on this island that only causes us misery, despair and obsession, just to keep suppressing our body’s natural weight
– How we forget that our bodies are our friends, not projects to be fixed
– Why we end up putting up with increasingly unacceptable conditions and more and more rules
– How we’re influenced by the people surrounding us who have bought into the same set of body-lies and
– Why we often don’t leave, or why we return to this miserable place.

Love, always.
M.

Please consider supporting the podcast by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

If you want this sort of badassery to come to your phone automatically, please DO subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refi

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

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LU 054: Amy Pence Brown – Taking a badass stand for radical self-acceptance & body image healing.



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Hey there, lovely radicals… podcast time!

This week on the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I get to talk to Amy Pence-Brown from Boise, Idaho.

Amy describes herself as a fat feminist mother who believes in opening her mouth and her heart. From both of these places she tells stories – as a writer on her blog and other local & national publications, as a historian giving tours for Preservation Idaho, and as a visual artist creating subversive stitchings and performance pieces. She has a Master in Art & Architectural History, she has worked at many museums and has juried and curated numerous exhibitions. You might know Amy from her radical stand for self-love at the Capital City Public Market on August 29, 2015, in Boise, Idaho, or from her TED talk. Amy’s message of self-love and the value of all bodies, no matter their size, went viral and has been written about by countless media outlets. You’ll hear Amy talk about:
– How she remembers feeling about her body as a kid
– How her chubbiness was perceived at different stages of childhood
– Why she considers herself lucky in terms of how her parents related to food and bodies
– Where the bullying about her body came from
– What her parent’s ideas were about “beauty” and “being a woman”
– What she describes as her “first defiant feminist act”
– Why she got pulled in the direction of feminism
– How her experience with boys and their reaction to her body influenced her view of herself
– Why books and education were (and still are) key to her body positive attitude
– How early she started drawing attention to the public body image crisis
– When she first experienced online trolling and what that did to her
– Why she created the “Boise Rad Fat Collective”
– Why feminism and a positive attitude about bodies must go together
– Why feminism is not a concept “against men”, but including men
– Why we all get hurt when we get put in societally predefined boxes of what “masculinity” and “femininity” are supposed to look like
– Why women are often other women’s harshest critics, and thereby reinforcing the very limitations that they would like to free themselves from
– How her famous “stand for self-love” came about and subsequently went viral
– What she experienced in those 50 minutes of standing half-naked and blindfolded in the middle of a public square in Boise, Idaho
– How men engaged with her during her stand
– Why she wore a blindfold
– How the media shapes our culture’s assumptions about bodies and how different it would be if there were adequate representation of those people who are happy with their bigger bodies (instead of the usual, dehumanizing depiction)
– Why it is crucial to feel secure and confident enough in your own body positivity to do such a thing
– How, after her video went viral, lots of women started speaking up
– How each one of us can find ways to send a powerful message to the world
– Why stepping out of our comfort zone is leading us to live fuller lives
– What she does in her “Radcamps”…

… And so much more!

Check out Amy’s website:
http://www.amypencebrown.com

Here’s one of the video’s of Amy’s famous “Stand for Self-Love”:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2n50KVLgwlY&index=4&list=PLXsBK-DbXmku30EaoWD4AZxBdbAo2mt3a

Here’s the link to Amy’s TED talk:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnTLFlQ419s

Please consider supporting the podcast by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

If you want this sort of badassery to come to your phone automatically, please DO subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refi
********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

Posted in Allgemein, Podcast | Comments Off on LU 054: Amy Pence Brown – Taking a badass stand for radical self-acceptance & body image healing.

LU 053: Me, solo – When the inner Gremlin insists on perfectionism and productivity, give him this.



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Hey there, lovely radicals… podcast time!

This week on the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, it’s time to call out the inner Gremlin voice and all its rules that it is constantly making up for us.
Most of you might be familiar with those thoughts; the ones that tell us we have to be “on” all the time, that we “better pull ourselves together”, that we have “to soldier on, no matter what”, that we have “to power through”, that it’s our “duty to be productive”, that we need “o prove our worth”, that it’s our job to always “be the responsible one”, and that we – heaven forbid! – can never (ever!) be perceived as “a slacker”…
Sound familiar?
Now… wait a minute.
Whose thoughts are these?
Mine?
Yours?
No way!
These are inner Gremlin thoughts.

They are NOT truth.

And in order for us to keep our sanity, and to take responsibility for ourselves and our wellbeing, we need to talk back to those Gremlin thoughts.
We have to learn to let those Gremlin thoughts be just what they are: Thoughts.
Not something we have to act upon.

Because we are of no use to the world when we are burnt out, when we are running on empty, and when we are secretly breeding resentment left and right, because we aren’t listening to our needs, and not creating healthy boundaries.

Also in this shortie:
– Why the myth of „we should be happy all the time“ is detrimental to our wellbeing
– What the myth of „we should be productive at all times“ does to our mental and physical health – Why „I’m Fine!“ is one of the most common lies
– Why we take on false identities (“The Fit one”, “The Healthy Eater”, “The Perfect Mom”, “The Not-Ever-Complainer”, “The Productive One”, “The Happy, Smiley One” etc…) and how these false identities end up shackling and constricting us
– Why it’s an act of bravery and the only path to true liberation to step up from behind our masks and reclaim our truth, our own personal values, our purpose, and to let go of old identities that might once have served us
– Why we will only find „our people“ when we start showing up „real and authentic“ ourselves…

… And so much more!

Time for some permission slips!
Re-listen to episode 23 with me:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/lu023

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

If you want this sort of badassery to come to your phone automatically, please DO subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refi
********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

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LU 052: Jennifer Rollin – Exercise bulimia, engrained habits, ED myths, and getting very personal.



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Hey there, lovely radicals… podcast time!

This week on the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, it’s not just vulnerability time, it’s not just real, raw badassery time, no, it’s also … Well, it’s actually the most fun episode with the most unexpected circumstances I’ve ever had. Mix that with the incredible depth of the conversation, and you’ve got a pretty unique ride ahead of you. And the mission for this one is pretty simple: It is to say, hey, who ever you are out there, you are not alone, you are not crazy, you are not broken… Recovery is messy like that. Eating disorders really come in all shapes and sizes, and they take many forms for the sufferer too. So, lovely radicals, It is my extreme pleasure to bring you Jennifer Rollin, a professional psychotherapist in private practice in Rockville, Maryland.

Jennifer is an eating disorder and body image specialist, and expert writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people to find freedom from eating disorders and body-hatred. Jennifer has completed certificates in CBT-E for Eating Disorders (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy), and is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She is a member of The Junior Board of Directors for The National Eating Disorders Association, and her articles have reached thousands of people through print and online media including The Huffington Post, Psychology Today, FabUplus Magazine, Social Work Today Magazine… From out of her practice in Rockville, she offers eating disorder therapy and eating disorder recovery coaching to people worldwide. If you were wondering where the fun part of the situation comes in…… Well, listen for yourself!
Jennifer talks about:
– Why this very interview is proof that perfectionism is a hindrance to fully experiencing life
– How she discovered Health at Every Size (HAES) and why she didn’t fully understand it at first
– Why being weight-centric is an active hindrance to recovery from yoyo-dieting, disordered eating, eating disorders AND binge eating
– Why she often gets frustrated when people completely misunderstand the message of HAES
– When to invest in educating others about HAES and when to prioritize self-care and step back
– Why it is so hard to recover into a world that actively promotes disordered eating and disordered exercise behaviors
– How we can talk to ourselves when we’re struggling and there’s no one around who seems to understand
– How weight-stigma in eating disorders treatment often hinders a full recovery for those who are in treatment, and prevents millions who suffer from actually GETTING treatment
– What she would want the world to know about eating disorders and the myths surrounding them
– Why the common depiction of eating disorders (anorexia, skeletally skinny, mostly white teenage girls) in the media actually represents the smallest percentage of how eating disorders manifest, and why this is detrimental for all of those who suffer and “don’t feel sick enough”
– Why some of the sickest people are not officially diagnosable
– What she means when she describes eating disorders as being “competitive and comparative diseases”
– Her thoughts on exercise bulimia and why this – very common! – subtype of eating disorders is not being openly addressed more widely
– What makes exercise bulimia so hard to overcome
– How to reframe exercise behaviors in recovery from compulsive exercise, when the voice in our heads tells us that we “can’t rest”
– How to decode those negative body thoughts and find what they really stand for
– How to find out what our compulsive behaviors around exercise and food are really about
– How to make behavioral changes and set small challenges that support recovery
– Why discomfort is an inevitable result of going against our ED voice, and how to see that discomfort as a sign of success in recovery
– How she would deal with a client who suffers from exercise bulimia
– How she would address entrenched behaviors and habits/rituals that have been in place for years
– Why it is so important (in any process of recovery) to find out what really brings us joy in life, and add those things into our lives that do NOT revolve around food or exercise
– How we can start to decode and make sense of our are behaviors
– How we can recognize moments of body neutrality and slowly create more of those
– Why it’s important to ask ourselves “what would I like my life to look like in 5 years from now?”
– How she addresses the fear of weight gain with her clients
– How to find out what we really want when we say that we “just want to be thin”
– How to give less of a damn about what other people think of our recovery, our looks, our eating, our weight or any other comments
– How to see the gift in losing those people who only “loved” us for an artificial version of ourselves
– Why this process of recovery is the doorway to finding those people who really love us for who we are
– The advantage of getting into the mindset of “giving recovery a try”, just as one would do with an experiment
– Why we need to change behaviors first, in order for the thoughts to be able to adjust and change (or in other words, why there is no “thinking ourselves into recovery”)
– Why eliminating all restrictions is the crucial step in recovery from anorexia and bulimia
– How, after eliminating all restrictions, the most important next step must be to eliminate all compensatory behaviors for eating
– Why never to forget that eating disorders are sneaky, and so behaviors can sneak back in almost unnoticeably and suddenly we’re deep in unwanted behaviors again
– Why having an accountability partner when reducing the amount and intensity of exercise can be the key to avoid denial…
… And so much more!

Check out Jennifer’s website:
http://www.jenniferrollin.com

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

If you want this sort of badassery to come to your phone automatically, please DO subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refi

********* Don’t forget!*********
Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

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LU 051: Andrea Wachter – How to make therapy work for you (whatever your struggle might be).



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Hey lovely radicals, podcast alert!

This week on the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, it’s my pleasure to talk to Andrea Wachter from California.

Andrea is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the author of “Getting Over Overeating”. She is also the co-author of “The Don’t Diet, Live-It Workbook” and “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Breaking the ‘I feel fat’ Spell”, a book for kids who struggle with body image. Andrea is an inspirational counselor, author and speaker who uses professional expertise and her personal recovery to help others overcome their struggles with food, body image, exercise and weight. Today, you’ll hear Andrea talk about:
– How she remembers feeling in her body as a child
– How her parents related to food and weight
– What made her feel ashamed about her body and got her to start dieting
– How she hid her struggles with food from her family
– Why she compares the way she related to food with the way a drug addict relates to drugs – Why she, as so many, believed “If I just change my body, I will be ok”
– How her eating disorder took over her life, and no one had a clue, because she looked so “put together” and pretended everything was fine
– Why she eventually did turn to alcohol and drugs to numb her pain from feeling “not enough”
– How she found her way back to herself
– Why she feels hope that more people are getting help these days
– What concerns her about this “age of social media” we are living in today
– How she has to deal with younger and younger girls and boys who are already obsessed with their appearance and restricting food
– How to avoid the “addiction transfer”-trap
– How our emotions (usually the ones we repress the most) play into the way we relate to our bodies
– Why body- and weight-obsessing is often a distraction from deeper issues
– Why for so many, their struggles with food tend to get overlooked in therapy
– What she found out about people’s issues with their bodies when she worked with recovering drug addicts and alcoholics
– Why having the “wrong” therapist can do much more harm than good
– What to look out for in a therapist, and how to spot it it’s the right one for you
– The fallacy of thinking that “staying in the disordered mindset is easier than having to face the pain”
– The fallacy of believing that we are supposed to “be happy” all the time
– What happens when we try to avoid difficult feelings
– Why it is crucial never to forget the reality behind social media and people’s performance of “health”, “happiness”, “fitness”, etc.
– How we can all upgrade our unkind mind patterns
– How to become aware of the nasty tricks our minds can play with us
– How our negative thoughts turn into negative feelings and into negative behaviors
– How to find out what the next steps are that you are actually capable of taking that will lead to more and more steps
– What she found out about the bad body image legacy that was passed on to her from talking to her parents
– How our own beliefs shape our perception, which, in turn, shapes our behavior
– How we can break the bad body image legacy
– Why never to expect other people to change, but to focus on our own growth instead…
… And so much more!

Check out Andrea’s websites:
http://www.andreawachter.com
http://www.innersolutions.net

Here’s the link to “The Human Fulfillment Institute”:
http://www.humanfulfillment.org

And here’s the link to Andrea Wachter’s books on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Books-Andrea-Wachter/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=i%3Abooks%2Cp_27%3AAndrea%20Wachter

Please consider supporting the podcast by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

If you want this sort of badassery to come to your phone automatically, please DO subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refi

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

Posted in Allgemein, Podcast | Comments Off on LU 051: Andrea Wachter – How to make therapy work for you (whatever your struggle might be).

LU 050: Sarah Harry – Yoga without pressure or fancy pants; the kind that is for… EVERY BODY!



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Hey, lovely radicals… podcast time!

In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I talk to Sarah Harry from Melbourne, Australia.

Sarah is a psychotherapist, yoga teacher, researcher, writer and university lecturer. As a leading body image and eating disorders specialist and experienced clinician she has a refreshing perspective on bodies, weight, movement and inclusivity. Sarah was the first yogi in Australia to offer yoga for bigger bodies. She has practiced yoga for more than 20 years, and as the owner and founder of “Fat Yoga”, she runs specialist classes and retreats. She is also co-director of “Body Positive Australia” (alongside Fiona Sutherland, whom I interviewed in episode 28). Sarah is a member of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition USA, sits on the National Advisory Board of Health at Every Size Australia and she is a member of the National Eating Disorders Coalition. Listen in as Sarah tells us:
– How Fiona and herself started working together, and how “Body Positive Australia” came into existence
– Where they both see the problem with the term “Body Positivity”, and how it’s being co-opted
– Why there are opportunities to help change the system from the inside
– How she aims to get her message across in interviews
– Why authenticity and humor have helped her a great deal
– How she decided to show up in regards to her own personal family story
– What readers of “Fat Yoga” tell her they are most thankful for
– What she remembers about growing up in a body that was different from what her parents believed was “a good body”
– How her 20-year-long quest to be thin started, and what it cost her
– Why she never told anyone about her raging eating disorder
– How her body hate led her to have various surgeries and why she believed the massive pain those caused her was “the punishment for being bigger”
– Why she would NEVER recommend weight-loss-surgery to anyone
– At what point she started to turn her life around
– Why she hit the jackpot with the person she ended up working with
– Why yoga is often misunderstood in the west, and what it’s really about
– Why she works on bringing more “real” yoga to the field of recovery
– How she called out “The Yogi Times” on their weight-stigmatizing articles
– Why people react with anger when their beliefs, that they were invested in for so long, are challenged
– When and how to address people’s weight-biases, and what reactions to expect
– Why “body love” can be a misleading and overwhelming term, and why “body acceptance” or “body neutrality” can be much more helpful
– Why Instagram (and social media in general) are intensifying people’s focus on bodies and appearances, and what she has to say about that
– Why there are people who dislike the term “all bodies are good bodies”…

… And so much more!

Here’s the link to Sarah’s website:
http://www.fatyoga.com.au

Check out the “Body Positive Australia” website:
http://www.bodypositiveaustralia.com.au

Link to the “Weight Bias & Stigma Tools” of the Uconn Rudd Center: http://www.uconnruddcenter.org/weight-bias-stigma-tools-for-researchers

Please consider supporting the podcast by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

If you want this sort of badassery to come to your phone automatically, please DO subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refi

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

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LU 049: Erica Leon – Free yourself from chaotic patterns of yoyo-dieting and overexercising.



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Hey, lovely radicals… podcast time!

This week on the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I get to talk to Erica Leon from Westchester County, New York.

Erica holds a Bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Cornell University and a Master’s degree in clinical nutrition from New York University. Erica works with clients all over the globe – by all technical means necessary -, people who struggle with food, their body, and people who want to overcome years of dieting or being stuck in disordered eating. She meets people where they are at and guides them to a better relationship to food and their body with a non-diet approach. She has 25 years of experience under her belt and her career has included working in hospitals, corporations and colleges. Ultimately combining all of her skills and interests, she established a private nutrition practice over 15 years ago. As a Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian (CEDRD) she also volunteers on the Board of the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals, she has written professional articles on nutritions, she frequently gives talks, and she has often been quoted in the media on topics such as eating disorder prevention and childhood weight issues.
Today, you’ll hear Erica talk about:
– How she remembers being in a body felt like as a child
– Where she internalized the message that her body was too big
– What the role of her family was in the development of her relationship to food
– What counting and tracking points/calories can do to our self-image
– Why it is so important to curate your social media feed, and to look at bodies in all shapes and sizes
– Why striving for “a flat stomach” is complete BS, and why having belly-fat is, in fact, important for a woman’s overall health as she gets older
– Why it is crucial to realize that we are all so much more than a body
– How it can be helpful to think about what we would love our legacy to be
– How long she lived with her own internal diet-mindset
– How she got into the field of nutrition
– Why she was working in the marketing department for a weight-loss company (and what memories about her connection to one of Oprah’s many weight-loss incidents still make her cringe)
– How she herself unknowingly contributed to diet-culture and its message that “thin is better”
– What made her realize that something was not right
– How working with eating disorders helped her on her own journey
– What she would tell her younger self with the knowledge she has now
– Why women often automatically objectify themselves according to what they see in the media and in ads
– Why she loves the “Poodle Science” video of the Academy of Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH)
– The problem with today’s celebrity worshipping culture and the unfortunate influence they have on our children’s self-esteem
– How she’s helping one of her clients with exercise bulimia
– What the key ingredient is in the journey to give up lifelong dieting, as well as recovering from disordered eating or eating disorders
– Why it takes time, self-compassion, patience and community to heal our societally damaged body image and how we relate to food and weight
– How she curated her social media feed and left all the groups (and unfollowed/unfriended people) that were repeatedly engaging in of diet- and weight-loss-talk
– Why social media opened up a whole new world for her and made her realize that she wasn’t the only one AT ALL who was preaching the non-diet approach to health
– Why it is so hard for the old paradigm-believers to change their minds
– What kind of transformations she gets to witness in her practice…
… And so much more!

Check out Erica’s website:
http://www.ericaleon.com

Here’s the link to the wonderful “Poodle Science” video of the Academy of Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H89QQfXtc-k

Make sure to support the podcast by becoming a “Patreon”, so that I can keep producing it and help as many people as possible. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

If you want this sort of badassery to come to your phone automatically, please DO subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid

********* Don’t forget!*********

Feel free to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

Posted in Allgemein, Podcast | Comments Off on LU 049: Erica Leon – Free yourself from chaotic patterns of yoyo-dieting and overexercising.

LU 048: Chevese Turner – Breaking the stigma of Binge Eating Disorder with insight and compassion.



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Hey there, lovely radicals… podcast ahead!

This week, on the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, it’s my pleasure to talk to Chevese Turner from the Washington DC area.

Chevese is the woman who almost 9 years ago founded the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) in June 2008, recognizing the need for an organization to advocate on behalf of individuals affected by Binge Eating Disorder (BED), as well as the providers who treat them. Turner’s well-rounded career in the health care, pharmaceutical, political and non-profit arenas, as well as her many leadership roles within these fields, prepared her to launch BEDA, the only organization specifically suited to support individuals and treatment professionals managing BED.
Today, you’ll hear Chevese talk about:
– How old she was when she lost the innocent, joyful, and non-judgmental attitude towards her own body
– What drove her to start searching for, stealing and hoarding food
– What every type of binging behavior stems from
– How her mother related to food and weight
– Why denial about unhealed past wounds always leads to us passing along the same pain (we can not outrun our own shadow)
– Why those old painful memories are often the ones that leave the deepest imprint on our soul
– Why we often treat ourselves the way we have been treated as children
– Why food (restricting/dieting, or overeating) is so commonly used to try to escape difficult emotions
– How we can start to make sense of our own behavior around food
– Why there is no need to be ashamed for recognizing those behaviors for what they are
– How shame and weight-bias affect a person’s physical and mental health
– Why all the advice she got actually only perpetuated her eating disorder
– Why she never really knew what she liked/what her hobbies were
– Why she immediately regretted having lap band surgery
– What is commonly misunderstood with Binge Eating Disorder (BED)
– Why, at the root, anorexia and BED are much more alike as they outwardly seem
– Why our society is too quick to categorize people, instead of listening to the person in question first
– How terribly effective diet-culture and its constant messages and images really is, and why it is important to be aware of how all of that seeps into our subconscious and colors our own judgment
– What she wants us all to know about our bodies
– Why bariatric surgery is often done solely for profit, and why there’s so little information about the dangers and the long-term effects of it
– The medical ramifications of our society’s belief that “healthy” looks a certain way
– How she reacted when she first heard that her Binge Eating Disorder was only to be treated effectively by nourishment
– How many years she wasted by being stuck in the diet-cycle, and having little mental space for anything that would have really sparked her interest
– Why so many body-obsessed women have no idea who they really are outside of dieting
– What led her to found BEDA, and how wonderfully that organization developed
– What BEDA is about and what they are actively working on
– Why it is important for all of us to resist any sort of weight-stigmatization, and to speak up against it…
… And so much more!

Here’s the link to BEDA (where you’ll also find info about the conferences)
http://www.bedaonline.com

And here’s the toll-free number that Chevese mentioned (only for US listeners):
855 855 2332

Make sure to support the podcast by becoming a “Patreon”, so that I can keep producing it and help as many people as possible. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

If you want this sort of badassery to come to your phone automatically, please DO subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

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LU 047: Jessica Setnick – When eating and exercising turn into attempts at escaping emotions.



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Lovely radicals, it’s podcast time!

This week on the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, it’s my pleasure to talk to Jessica Setnick from Dallas, Texas.

Jessica is an internationally known pediatric dietitian, an award-winning writer and she is training professionals to work in the field of eating issues. She is definitely the best sort of woman to talk to about the origins of our world’s body image problem and our issues with eating and weight; Jessica is an icon in the eating disorder field. Her academic background is in human behavior and with her Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition, she has become an expert in dysfunctional and disordered eating who has a unique ability to see what others might miss. As a Certified Eating Disorder Dietitian and Dietitian Supervisor, she has treated thousands of patients in the hospital and out, and she knows how to identify the underlying issues influencing patients’ eating. Jessica is the author of “The Eating Disorder Clinical Pocket Guide” and “Eating Disorders Boot Camp”, and she is a co-founder of IFEED, the International Federation of Eating Disorder Dietitians. In 2013, after 16 years of hospital and community work, Jessica closed her private practice to fulfill her mission of educating health professionals about our current understanding of eating disorders and thereby empowering them to confidently and competently help those who suffer. In all of her work, Jessica combines humor, science, and professional experience to help us all improve one of the key relationships in life—the one we have with food.
Today, you’ll hear Jessica talk about:
– How she related to food and her body as a child
– What drove her to get a degree in Anthropology as well as one in Sports Nutrition
– What she learned about people’s eating behaviors
– Why there is always a reason for the way we relate to food
– Why the oldest emotional wounds often have the deepest imprint on our soul
– Why we are so often attracted to people who end up treating us like our fathers or mothers did
– Why we can only recognize as love what we grew up to believe was love
– What we hope to achieve by re-creating our childhood “drama”
– Why our habits very often evolved as way to self-soothe, at a stage when the particular behavior was the only way we knew how to deal with difficult experiences
– Why there is no need to be ashamed for recognizing those behaviors for what they are
– What our own judgments can tell us about ourselves
– Why our society is too quick to categorize people in their particular problems, and how to look at eating disorders from an individual’s perspective
– Why it can be the most powerful thing to just be present with someone who’s currently struggling
– What the advantages are for recovering from disordered eating as an adult, no matter how long their behaviors have been disordered
– Why it is never too late to start un-dieting, recovering, and befriending food and our body again
– How early in life we get conditioned to detach our eating from our internal cues
– What she wants us all to know about our bodies
– Why it’s important to remind ourselves who’s profiting off our insecurities
– How weight-bias in the medical field can cause people to die
– The medical ramifications of our society’s belief that “healthy” looks a certain way
– What’s dangerous about our society’s unhealthy coupling of the concepts of food and exercise
– Why our controlling tendencies can only give us a false sense of safety
– How little is actually known about eating disorders
– What an ideal eating disorder professional should bring to the table
– What she means when she says “start being an anthropologist in everyday life” and why it is so helpful
– The danger of repeated exposure to seemingly harmless advertisements
– How to see the ridiculousness of the made-up/fake-advertisement world
– Why awareness (and self-awareness!) is key on the journey of growing more resilient
– What she thinks about the memes that tell us to “love our bodies”…
… And so much more!

Check out Jessica’s website:
http://www.understandingnutrition.com

Find more info about the “Eating Disorder Bootcamp” and other resources here:
http://www.understandingnutrition.com/store/default.php
http://www.eatingdisordersbootcamp.com

If you enjoy and love my podcast, please consider supporting it by becoming a “Patreon”! It would greatly help me to keep those episodes coming to you. Thanks!
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

If you want this sort of badassery to come to your phone automatically, please DO subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

Posted in Allgemein, Podcast | Comments Off on LU 047: Jessica Setnick – When eating and exercising turn into attempts at escaping emotions.

LU 046: Jessamyn Stanley – What yoga is about, what it’s not about, and why it is for EVERY BODY.


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Hey there, lovely radicals… up for a mind-stretching podcast?

In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I talk to Jessamyn Stanley from Durham, North Carolina.

Jessamyn, as many of you know, is a yogi who breaks all the stereotypes. She has built a life as an internationally recognized yoga teacher and award-winning Instagram star by combining a deep understanding for yoga with a willingness to share her personal struggles in a way that touches everyone who comes to know her. Now she brings her body-positive, emotionally uplifting approach to yoga in a book that will help every reader discover the power of yoga and how to weave it seamlessly into his or her life. It’s called “Every Body Yoga”, and just like herself, this book breaks all the stereotypes. You will hear Jessamyn share:
– Where she thinks our self-consciousness about our bodies comes from
– What it was that made her become dissatisfied with who she was and how her body looked
– What brought her to yoga
– What anxiety/depression have to do with our mind’s tendency to ruminate about the past and/or worry about the future
– How she understands the spiritual aspect of the yoga practice
– Why there’s so much to be said for having a healthy detachment to the materialistic focus that our culture promotes
– Why she thinks that the obsession with surface-level things, like the “look” of bodies, are huge shortcomings of our society
– What the dangers of social media and the display of fake “perfection” are
– Why “getting likes” is never something we should be aiming for
– Why no amount of outside approval can ever fill the void in our hearts
– Why the disconnection that happens when everybody “lives” on the screen is so harmful for our soul’s wellbeing
– Why most of what we see on social media is fake and—upon closer inspection—completely irrelevant
– Why she says what she wants and doesn’t care too much about what other people think of her
– Why we often look for “meaning” in life in the exact wrong places
– Why people who feel insecure make better customers
– How we can become more comfortable in our own company
– Why facing and owning our “shit” is the only way to liberation
– Where true inner contentment comes from
– What most people plain misunderstand about yoga
– What the problems are with “modern” (westernized) yoga
– What she feels yoga is really about (hint: it’s not about how the body looks)
– How she got connected to her emotions after years of stuffing them away
– What emotions she has most difficulty with
– How she deals with critics and haters
– How she deals with getting so much attention and having to be more social than she feels is her nature…

… And so much more!
Check out Jessamyn and all of her work (including her book “Every Body Yoga”) at:
http://www.jessamynstanley.com

If you enjoy and love my podcast, please consider supporting it by becoming a “Patreon”! It would greatly help me to keep those episodes coming to you. Thank you! https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

If you want this sort of badassery come to your phone automatically, please DO subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid

********* Don’t forget!*********

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LU 045: Carolyn Costin – What recovery means & why undiagnosed eating issues can be the worst.



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Hey there, lovely radicals… podcast ahead!

In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I am talking to Carolyn Costin from Malibu, California.

Carolyn is a world-renowned clinician, author and speaker acclaimed for her expertise, passion and accomplishments in the field of eating disorders. She is a certified Eating Disorder Specialist and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. After having recovered from anorexia in her early 20s, Carolyn became a psychotherapist, and it was her successful treatment of those with eating disorders that led her to bring her philosophy to the public through her speaking and her books. In 1996, Carolyn created “Monte Nido”, the first licensed, residential eating disorder treatment facility in a home setting that has since spurred into 14 facilities nationwide offering a continuum of care. Carolyn’s career is dedicated to lecturing, training, teaching and supervising clinicians, dietitians and physicians. Having left “Monde Nido” last year, she remains active in the eating disorder field and she is involved in several professional organizations including the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals as a board trustee and the Academy of Eating Disorders as a fellow. Her advocacy work continues in many arenas including organizations such as Project Heal, Eating Disorder Hope and the Eating Disorder Coalition. At the start of this year, 2017, Carolyn has opened “The Carolyn Costin Institute”, which offers Eating Disorder Coach Training, a mentor program, continuing education for clinicians as well as other specialized training. Carolyn talks about:
– How long the carefree, joyful feeling of “being in a body” as a child lasted for her
– How our habits of comparison and our ideas of “status” are detrimental to body image
– What the “Fiji-study” is all about, and what TV/advertisement can do to women
– What body-bullying does to kids
– What triggered her eating disorder
– Why she doesn’t support the idea that eating issues are “a genetic thing”
– How people with anxiety can calm their anxious thoughts
– Why it is so important to become aware of the fact that we are NOT our thoughts, but we can observe them, and let them pass without grabbing on to their message
– Why spiritual bypassing is not solving anything, yet so many people try to do just that; avoid difficult emotions by trying to meditate them away instead of facing them in a calm state
– What there is still to be fixed in our cultural way of relating to weight and bodies
– Why eating disorder treatments that still have a weight-centric approach often backfire and make a full, lasting recovery impossible
– Why it is so important for all of us to just detach from the number on the scale
– Why it is critically important that everyone working with people with disordered eating resolve their own body- and weight issues first
– How she trains therapists and coaches to become good eating disorder therapists
– What it actually is that makes a good eating disorder therapist/coach/mentor/dietitian
– How she defines „recovery“
– Why people with undiagnosed eating issues can often be the ones that are the sickest
– The danger of today’s obsession with “clean” eating, detoxes, the idea of having to earn or burn food, and all the food advice out there
– Why she thinks people still go on diets even if it is a well-established facts that diets don’t work
– The horrible consequences of fat-shaming people
– How the weight-loss industry (together with the advertisement “geniuses”) manage to suck so many people in, again and again
– The risk factors of developing an eating disorder
– Why eating disorders still often don’t get addressed at schools, even though the numbers are rampant
– Why she made it her mission to train recovered people to become eating disorder coaches
– Why a feeling of secure attachment is critical to overcome any issues we might have developed to protect ourselves or to cope with difficult feelings…

… And so much more!

If you are interested in Carolyn Costin’s work, check out her website:
http://www.carolyn-costin.com

Here’s the link to Carolyn’s books:
https://www.amazon.com/Carolyn-Costin/e/B001HCYYJ8

Podcasting is expensive. So if you enjoy and love my podcast, please consider supporting it by becoming a “Patreon”! It would greatly help me to keep those episodes coming to you. Thanks!
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Like the podcast? Great! Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join

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LU 044: Elena Rossini – The woman who helps changing the world with her movie “The Illusionists”.


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Hey there, lovely radicals: Podcast ahead!

This week on the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I get to talk to Elena Rossini from Como, Italy and Paris, France.

Elena is a filmmaker, photographer, social entrepreneur and public speaker. Her latest film is called “The Illusionists”, a feature-length documentary about the marketing of unattainable beauty ideals around the world. Filming locations included the United States, the UK, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Lebanon, India and Japan. The film has been featured in countless news outlets, and I hope it will be talked about for a long time. Elena has been taking “The Illusionists” on tour, showing it at the biggest companies in Silicon Valley (Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter…) and at dozens of renowned universities in the United States and Europe. Apart from being a filmmaker, Elena is also the founder and editor-in-chief of “No Country for Young Women”, a website whose aim is to provide positive role models for young girls. The site features over 100 interviews of women representing five continents, seven decades, and over two dozen professions – from NASA engineers, illustrators, architects, to filmmakers and entrepreneurs. In 2014 Rossini co-founded “Gender Gap Grader”, a platform empowering companies and organizations with innovative tools to measure the gender gap. Today, you’ll hear Elena talk about:
– Why she thinks that right now is the best time to be an activist
– Why she is concerned about kids and body image in the age of social media and ruthless advertising
– Why she lived in so many places and what country she feels most rooted in
– What upsets her most about how women are being portrayed and presented in the media and in advertisement
– Why we often buy into (and literally buy) the message of products we don’t really need
– How much time we end up wasting just “to look in order”
– What we really put on our bodies and skins every day – that basically only hurts us – just to look and smell like we think we should
– What she found young girls to be most affected by in terms of their body image
– The danger behind online-personalities that present their disordered behavior in a way that makes people who watch their workout-/diet-/make-up videos think that they have to achieve the same look
– What sparked the idea in her to make a movie about how we are, as women, being presented with illusions, and how we then start to perform an illusion to the outside world
– What she found out about the growing epidemic of body dissatisfaction in women and men
– Why it took her eight years to complete “The Illusionists”
– How she gets treated as a relatively young, female filmmaker
– How she responded to the people who wanted to make her believe that she wasn’t “able enough” to make this movie herself
– Why she selected the countries that she did
– What shocking discoveries she made
– Why she strongly believes in activism and how she saw that it really DOES change things
– What kind of reaction she got from advertising companies when she screened the film
– Why the current way eating disorders are represented in documentaries can contribute to the continuation of the problem, and why it keeps many women/men from actually seeking help
– What she intents to do in the future to help women change those self-defeating behaviors
– What her project “The Realists” will be about
– Why we should spend more time OFFline than online…

… And so much more!

Check out Elena’s work:
http://www.elenarossini.com
http://www.theillusionists.org

The books she mentioned in our conversation:
„Fat is a Feminist Issue“ by Susie Orbach, you can find it here:
https://www.amazon.com/Fat-Feminist-Issue-ORBACH-SUSIE/dp/1784753092/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1490895011&sr=1-1&keywords=fat+is+a+feminist+issue

Here are books about the dangerous power of advertising, by Jean Kilbourne, Mary Pipher, and others:
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=jean+kilbourne

„Amusing ourselves to death“ by Neil Postman, you can find it here:
https://www.amazon.de/Amusing-Ourselves-Death-Discourse-Business/dp/014303653X

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation on “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Like the podcast? Great! Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

 

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LU 043: Dr. Stacey Rosenfeld – Today’s body-obsessed culture promotes disordered eating.



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This week on the the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, we all have a chance to meet Dr. Stacey Rosenfeld from Coral Gables, Florida.

Stacey is a clinical psychologist specializing in eating disorders and body image concerns. She also works with substance misuse, anxiety and mood disorders, infertility, and relationship difficulties. A certified group psychotherapist and certified eating disorder specialist, Dr. Rosenfeld has worked at various treatment centers and universities and now directs the “Gatewell Therapy Center” in Miami, Florida. Dr. Stacey Rosenfeld is the author of “Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation’s Fixation with Food and Weight”, based on her award-winning blog of the same name. She is committing to helping people develop healthier relationships with food and their bodies. She is a member of the National Eating Disorder Association, the International Association for Eating Disorder Professionals, and the Academy for Eating Disorders, she lectures around the country, and she has appeared on numerous media outlets, including the Today Show and ABC News.
In this talk, Stacey shares with us:
– When her first judgment about her body entered her mind
– What she found out in all of her years of clinical work with regards to women and eating issues
– What the terrible consequences can be of the myopic depiction of eating disorders in the media
– Why people so often deny having a troublesome relationship to food, weight and exercise
– What she has to say to those people who are “waiting” for the symptoms to go away as they age
– What defines disordered eating, eating disorders and a compulsive relationship to exercise
– The different ways in which she sees the display of disordered eating
– How she uses motivational interviewing with her patients
– Why it is that eating issues often go unaddressed in therapy, and the cost of that
– What it is that connects eating issues with alcohol and/or substance misuse
– What is wrong with the increasingly thoughtless prescription of (speed-like) drug for ADHD
– Why bodies break down when they are pushed to the limit, be it with exercise/drugs/etc.
– What a person with an addiction is trying to get away from
– How everything can be used to self-medicate, but sadly, some of those behaviors even get applause (work/exercise/perfectionism/restriction), no matter how hellish the person might feel inside
– Why we don’t really want to be accepted for a facade-like life, but our real selves, warts and all
– What happens when women start asking themselves what they could be doing with all the mental and physical energy wasted on “managing their appearance” (diets/exercise/surgeries, etc.)
– What she means when she says “women are zoomed in way too much”
– Why the concept of exercise and the concept of food should be divorced to avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms and obsessive behaviors
– Why the fitness classes she teaches are different than the usual ones
– How we can let go of exercising compulsively and reframe “success”
– How to become a more critical consumer of media instead of getting sucked in by its toxic messages about bodies
– Why language (towards ourselves and other people) is so important
– Which of her findings should really shake us all awake to how much this general “fear of fat” is holding us back
– How to recognize if a professional who specializes in eating disorders still has their own issues and biases…

… And so much more!

Check out Dr. Stacey Rosenfeld’s website:
http://www.gatewelltherapycenter.com

Here’s the link to her book “Does Every Woman Have An Eating Disorder?”:
https://www.amazon.com/Eating-Disorder-Challenging-Nations-Fixation/dp/0989851834

Please consider supporting the podcast by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Like the podcast? Great! Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

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LU 042: Josée Sovinsky – The cost of denial in relation to disordered eating/compulsive exercise.



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Lovely radicals, let me make your ears happy: Podcast ahead!

In today’s episode of the “Life Unrestricted.” podcast, I get to talk to Josée Sovinsky from Toronto, Canada.

Josée is a Registered Dietitian with French Canadian roots, who, after facing and dealing with her own struggles with disordered eating during her degree, developed a passion to help those affected by eating disorders and mental illness. She now specializes in eating disorders, intuitive eating, community nutrition and seniors’ health. She holds an Honors Bachelor in Nutrition Sciences from the University of Ottawa, and she has educated herself on topics such as body-acceptance, Health at Every Size and feminism, all topics that guide her work as a non-diet, weight-inclusive, body positive and dietitian whose dreams are similar to mine: We both want to see a world free from mental health stigma, body shaming, dieting and disordered eating, where people of all sizes deserve nourishment, wellbeing and happiness.
You’ll hear Josée talk about:
– How she felt in her body as a little girl
– Why she didn’t develop bad body image until later in life
– How lucky she was to have her parents be her biggest cheerleaders
– Why she felt different than other kids when she was a teenager
– How studying nutrition can easily trigger disordered eating for people who feel insecure
– Why she became convinced that changing her body was the way to acceptance and happiness
– How exercise turned into a problem for her
– Why it is so dangerous to marry the concepts of weight and exercise
– Why nothing she did ever felt “good enough”
– Why, for a very long time, she didn’t actually realize how disordered she had become with eating and exercise
– How she never told anyone that she was struggling, so no one was suspicious
– Why it is especially dangerous for nutrition students to have their struggles go undetected for way too long
– What her deepest fears were when she considered opening up about her struggles
– What her own denial looked like
– What it was that made her realize that what she went through was a serious thing
– Where she first came across body positivity and the non-diet-approach
– What’s wrong with official guidelines regarding diabetes and weight
– Why she thinks no one who adopted the Health at Every Size (HAES) model ever turned back
– Why it is so important to recognize that neither fame, money, looks or any other source of potential outside approval will ever be enough to fill a void that exists in our soul (no matter what advertisement, movies or media might make us believe!)
– Why it is so easy to fall into the trap of comparing our insides to other people’s “performance of happy”
– What the steps to true healing can look like (and what the key ingredients are)
– Why she decided to truly take a break from exercise, and why this could be key for all of us who struggle with divorcing the concepts of weight and exercise
– Why accepting size-diversity is the key to healing our relationship to food and weight
– How she introduces the concept of Health At Every Size to women who haven’t heard of it before
– Why facing our fears is key (even if remaining in a disordered place might feel “easier”)
– How to become aware of the different ways our inner Gremlin pushes us into behaviors that don’t serve us and our recovery
– Why opening up about our struggles contributes to healing on a much larger scale…

… And so much more!

Check out Josée and her work here:
http://www.joseesovinskynutrition.com

Like the podcast? Great! Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation on “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

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LU 041: Zoe McNulty – Body confidence is an inside job completely unrelated to your body size.



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Hey there, lovely radicals: Podcast time!

This week on the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I get to talk to Zoe McNulty from London, UK.

Zoe had always dreamed of being a backing dancer on Top Of The Pops, but due to her being larger than a dancer “SHOULD” be, she avoided the commercial dance scene and the negative body image that she would – as she says – undoubtedly have developed. However, with the pressures of a thin-obsessed society, she still struggled with her body through much of her adult life, until she realized how much time she had wasted worrying about what others might think of her. These days, Zoe refers to herself as a champion of curves, and is honored to be an official Body Image Movement Global Ambassador, just like myself. Zoe works as a Top Dance Fitness Presenter, Group Exercise Teacher and Body Positivity Activist and calls herself “Headmistress of School of Strut”. She specializes in helping women feel good about their figures, regardless of shape or size, through fund and feisty dance concepts.
Today, you’ll hear Zoe talk about:
– How she grew up to feel self-conscious about her body and her weight
– What kind of body image role-model her mother was
– How her dream of becoming a dancer got destroyed by arbitrary beauty-ideals
– Why it is crucial to recognize that many women actually get the most “compliments” when they are actually sick, compulsive and highly disordered eaters
– How she experienced her own changes in body size
– What is wrong with the gym-culture and the fitness-ideas of today
– How the current “go hard or go home”-paradigm is harmful for girls and women
– How women and girls are led to disconnect from their own sensuality and femininity
– Why those super-toned body ideals mean “becoming sick” for most women and girls
– How health has absolutely nothing to do with those ideals
– At what point she hit rock bottom and decided “no more of this dieting crap”
– Why it is so important to realize that – no matter what size or shape we are – we will never be for everybody
– When she realized that it was not her size or weight that made her attractive
– What helped her in growing her internal confidence about who she was, including her size
– What the idea is behind “Strutology” and “School of Strut”
– Why “strutting” is more about a state of mind than anything else
– How we can become self-confident and feel sexy without contributing to the objectification of women
– What kind of feedback she gets from women who have been to her classes
– What she means when she says “harness the power of the wobble”
– What her advice is for ALL women…

… And so much more!

Check out Zoe’s work here:
http://www.zoemcnulty.com
http://www.schoolofstrut.com

You can watch her “Raunch” video here:
http://www.zoemcnulty.com/raunchgiveaway

Like the podcast? Great! Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

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LU 040: Kelsey Miller – The author of “Big Girl” talks about overcoming dieting and getting a life.



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Hey there, distinguished radicals – it’s podcast time!

In this week’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, you’ll hear me talk to Kelsey Miller from Brooklyn, New York.

Kelsey graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor’s degree in Film & Television. She began her career in the film production industry before transitioning to full-time writing. Soon after joining the staff of the online magazine Refinery29, she created The Anti-Diet Project, one of the website’s most popular franchises. She is currently a Senior Features Writer and of course she is the author of the wonderful memoir “Big Girl”.
Kelsey shares her story with us, and you’ll hear:
– How old she was when she became convinced that there was something “wrong” with her body
– How her mother related to her body and weight
– How early she started restricting food and trying to become skinnier
– How easy kids pick up even indirect comments about food and weight and internalize them
– How her dream of becoming an actor was being put under the condition that she loses weight, and how that kicked off years of her trying to starve herself into some arbitrary ideal
– Why, for so many people, the first diet-success (the high of getting compliments and being applauded for the effort) becomes the carrot they end up chasing for decades
– Why people innocently end up sacrificing their self-esteem, their values, the full experience of life and their peace of mind
– How she ended up with a black or white, on/off mindset regarding food and exercise
– Why re-learning to relate to movement without obsessing/counting/tracking is equally important as developing a normal relationship to food
– Why it often takes hearing or reading about someone else’s struggles to wake us up out of our own trance
– Why dieting and over-exercising are often ways of distracting ourselves from self-exploration
– When and how she finally realized what her being stuck in dieting actually cost her
– What happened when she decided to let go of this body-loathing way of escaping her own life
– How, at first, she was at a complete loss of how to proceed, since all she knew was dieting
– How she realized that “Intuitive Eating” would be her life-saver
– Why “true permission to eat” turned out to be the key to healing
– How re-learning to trust our body’s signal is an ongoing process
– What the issues were that came up after she stopped escaping from them by her dieting behaviors
– Why denial plays a huge part in someone’s obsession with weight, food and exercise
– How her hard work on her deeper issues really paid out for her
– How her relationship developed through her process with giving up her weight-obsession
– Why accepting love when you don’t love YOURSELF first is extremely difficult and uncomfortable
– Why becoming vulnerable and honest towards a partner is so crucial in a relationship
– Why it is so important to start challenging our own internal thoughts and beliefs
– Why representation of “real” bodies matters so much and what she does to make this more of a reality
– When to address someone else’s bias and when to let the ball drop
– How family and friends reacted when her book came out
– What she has to say to you if you are on the fence of writing about your journey…

…And so much more!

Check out Kelsey’s website:
http://www.kelseymiller.com

Here’s the link to Refinery29:
http://www.refinery29.com

Here’s the link to her memoir “Big Girl”:
https://www.amazon.com/Big-Girl-Gave-Dieting-Life/dp/1455532630/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1492549935&sr=1-1&keywords=big+girl

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation on “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Like the podcast? Great! Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!

We’re right over here at:

We’re all a click away…

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LU 039: Robyn L. Goldberg – Intuition and real knowledge are fundamental for confident eating.


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Lovely radicals, it’s podcast time…

In today’s episode, we all have a chance to meet Robyn L. Goldberg from Los Angeles.

 

Robyn is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Eating Disorder Specialist. Over the last nineteen years, Robyn has developed her own private practice in Beverly Hills, where she specializes in disordered eating, eating disorders, HAES (Health at Every Size), medical conditions, preventative nutrition and pregnancy nutrition. Robyn serves as a Nutrition Consultant for the Celiac Disease Foundation and she currently is the eating disorder specialist at “The Control Center” and has several body image/eating disorder groups at “Sober Livings” in Los Angeles. Robyn also teaches the nutrition classes for the Motion Picture Wellness Program. She is a contributing author that has been quoted in countless publications, and she has made appearances on national TV shows as a nationally known speaker in the eating disorder community promoting positive body image, weight stigma and size diversity. In this talk, Robyn shares with us:
– Why she felt awkward and self-conscious as a kid
– How she felt around her mother
– What’s wrong with the sizing of clothes
– Why BMI is simply a statistical average and definitely not made for individual determination of health
– Why the medical model fails so many patients when BMI is used as an indicator for health
– What kind of questions doctors should be asking instead
– How she addressed this issue with doctors
– How money plays into the fact that patients are not getting properly examined
– Why doctors are often so heavily biased against weight-acceptance
– How people with higher weight can be anorexic and not get help
– How much treatment and therapy would be ideal for a stable recovery
– Why recovery can only happen at your own pace
– The problem with weight-bias in the medical profession
– Where she sees slow shifts in the medical field away from focusing too much on weight
– What she addresses in her presentations
– Why overexercising can be a form of an eating disorder in and of itself
– How recovery from dieting and from a full-blown eating disorder can be like riding waves
– How do deal with, for example, exercise-relapses, where an individual gets tempted to engage in compulsive exercise routines (so-called “challenges”) again
– How to deal with relapses related to eating
– Why carbs are necessary for our bodies and why we need to de-villainize them once and for all
– How stress is the worst we can do for our health; and that includes stressing over food and exercise
– Why we should all watch the short Youtube-video called “Poodle Science” (find link below)
– Why we should all honor our uniqueness and our individual bodies…

… And so much more!

Check out Robyn’s work on her website:
http://www.askaboutfood.com

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation on “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Like the podcast? Great! Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid

Here’s the link to the awesome “Poodle Science”, made by the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH):

 

 

 

 

 

********* Don’t forget!*********

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LU 038: Ragen Chastain – Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are NOT size-dependent.


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Hey there, lovely radicals… Podcast ahead!

This week on the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I get to talk to Ragen Chastain from Los Angeles.

Most of you know Ragen as the author of the fantastic blog “Dances With Fat”, but she also wrote a book called “Fat: The Owner’s Manual” and she is the editor of the multi-volume anthology “The Politics of Size – Perspectives from the Fat Acceptance Movement”. Her blog “Dances With Fat” is followed by thousands of people from every continent around the world; men and women who are as fed up with weight-stigma as herself. Ragen describes herself as a professional speaker, writer, and real live fat person. She has spoken everywhere from friend’s living rooms to Google Headquarters to Cal Tech and Dartmouth. She will not stop until we live in a world where the full diversity of body sizes is respected, and fat people are able to live in fat bodies without shame, stigma, bullying, and harassment.
Today, you’ll hear Ragen talk about:
– How she remembers herself as a kid
– What protected her of excessive bullying in school
– What triggered her to start restricting and overexercising
– Where that landed her…
– What bias lies underneath the fact that so many eating disorders go undetected and untreated
– How she experienced the competing dancing world as a very talented dancer in a bigger body
– What made her realize that she needed to become an activist if she were to become a fat dancer
– What started her to want to personally look into the science around weight and diets
– What she found out, when she applied all of the skills she had acquired when she studied research methods and statistical analysis (scientific literacy)
– How doctors often prescribe to fat people what they would diagnose as an eating disorder in a thin person
– A few very real examples of terrible advice she got from actual doctors (weight-bias in the medical field)
– How she experienced the effect of being stuck in diet-land
– How to read science and tell the difference between causation and correlation
– The fallacy of the “good fatty/bad fatty”-dichotomy
– Why none of your health decision make you more or less worthy or morally valuable
– Why size diversity is completely normal, yet our society want us to believe otherwise (and buy into their weight-loss programs and products)
– Why “healthy” and “thin” are not synonymous
– What her mantra is to survive in this culture that bombards us with weight-loss messages
– What she did to stop hating her body
– How our childhoods play a role in recovery…

… And so much more!

Check out Ragen’s famous blog:
https://danceswithfat.wordpress.com/blog/

Here’s the link to her book:
https://www.amazon.com/Fat-Owners-Manual-Ragen-Chastain/dp/0985667400
Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Like the podcast? Great! Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

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LU 037: Beth Rosen – Life is for living, and food is for eating; here’s how she does it.


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Lovely radicals, podcast joy ahead…!

This week, on the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, we all have a chance to meet Beth Rosen.

Beth is a Registered Dietitian in private practice in Southbury (Connecticut, USA) and virtually everywhere else. She subscribes to a non-diet philosophy to wellness and is a Health At Every Size® practitioner. Beth has an undergraduate degree in Dietetics, and a Master’s degree from Columbia University in New York City in Nutrition Education. She has been a Registered Dietitian for over 20 years. Currently, she works with chronic dieters who are struggling with the vicious cycle of dieting to ditch all diets, learn to eat fearlessly through self-regulation and Intuitive Eating principles, and respect and care for their bodies. As someone who knows how it is to live with serious food intolerances, she loves sharing recipes and food ideas for joyful eating. Being a mother, she also writes about parenting, sustainable living, gardening and crafting. In this talk, Beth shares with us:
– How she was taught to feel about her body
– How her mother’s (and grandmother’s) relationship to food and weight got passed on to her
– How dieting became the “normal thing to do” for her
– How her brothers were affected by her mother’s obsession with thinness
– How she learned that girls “bonded” through body-hatred and diet-talk
– How diets mess with our body’s signals in a harmful way
– What kind of people she met in her studies to become a Registered Dietitian
– That – disturbingly! – even people with full-blown eating disorders were allowed to take these courses
– Why what is being taught at nutrition school is always to be taken with a grain of salt
– Why she made herself a disservice by following the advice she learned at nutrition school
– Why all foods – fun-foods included! – are important
– How the “stocking”-method words to get over the fear of certain foods
– How she remembers the moment she herself snapped out of her diet-obsession
– How her “way out” looked like when she decided to leave diet-culture behind
– What traps she fell into when she started intuitive eating
– What keeps us from actually letting dieting go, even if we know that it’s imprisoning us
– How to create new, better inner self-talk
– What it takes to make a new habit – like positive self-talk/not dieting – stick
– Why it is so important to separate the negative voice from ourselves and personalize it
– Why dealing with body image issues before motherhood is so crucially important
– How she made sure that she passes on a positive or at least neutral body image…

… And so much more!

Check out Beth’s website:
http://www.goodnessgraciousliving.com

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Like the podcast? Great! Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!
We’re right over here at:

We’re all a click away…

LU 036: Judith Matz – How the diet-/binge cycle works and what it takes to break free from it.



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Lovely radicals, it’s show time again!

This week, it’s my honor to welcome Judith Matz to the podcast.

Judith is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 25 years of experience as a therapist who helps people make peace with food, their bodies, and themselves. As someone who knows the struggle of feeling out of control around food, she now specializes in the treatment of Binge Eating Disorder and compulsive eating. Judith is the director of the “Chicago Center for Overcoming Overeating”, an organization dedicated to ending the preoccupation with food and weight through educational programs and workshops. She also loves public speaking and frequently presents at local and national conferences and meetings. Judith also is the co-author of two acclaimed books for adults called: “Beyond a Shadow of a Diet” and “The Diet Survivors Handbook” as well as a book on body image for kids called “Amanda’s Big Dream”. Her work has appeared in countless media outlets, and today, here she is!
Judith tells us:
– How she remembers being in a body in her pre-teen years
– How her family related to food and body
– Why her body image plummeted in high school
– How she learned that girls “bonded” through body-hatred and diet-talk
– What she experienced in the years she was restricting in order to “fix her body”
– What made her realize that it was restriction that messed with her once-normal relationship with food
– How the false promise of diets keeps people trapped in the same cycle
– What we are avoiding by making everything about our body’s size and its weight
– How to approach the journey towards self-acceptance and body acceptance
– Why this healing work is so worth it
– How she helps the many, many health professionals, nutritionists and personal trainers who are struggling themselves and unwillingly pass on their biases
– How the diet-binge cycle works and why it takes courage to break free from it and actually empower ourselves
– How you can tell if someone is dieting (no matter what they might call it to make it sound like they are not)
– Why there is often so much resistance when we tell them that diets are harmful
– How to find out what to do instead of dieting
– What she teaches parents about how to address body, food and weight
– What the research on the bodies of identical twins says in relation to diets
– Why you simply can not tell a person’s health by looking at their body
– How to re-learn eating after a lifetime of dieting and restricting
– How to switch to a kinder way of talking to ourselves…
– Why self-compassion and patience are pivotal in healing our body image and how we relate to food and weight…

… And so much more!

Check out Judith’s website:
http://www.judithmatz.com

Please consider supporting the podcast by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you!
Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Like the podcast? Great! Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid
********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders. We’re right over here at:

We’re all a click away…

 

 

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LU 035: Dan Lewin – A man turns his body image and weight issues around and helps others heal.



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Hey there, lovely radicals!

This week on the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, you’ll hear me a chat with a fellow official “Body Image Movement Global Ambassador”: Dan Lewin from the Sunshine Coast in Australia!

Dan is 35 years old and has recently graduated with a Bachelor of Nutrition & Dietetics (Honors) and he has started working for a group of specialized dietitians dedicated to working with clients who are battling eating disorders, disordered eating and weight and body concerns in general. In all of his work, he uses the principles of Health at Every Size (HAES) and the non-diet approach. He is very passionate about working with community and raising awareness around body image issues, for women as well as men. As a professional photographer, he uses imagery as a tool to bring attention to male and female body image concerns.
Today, you’ll hear Dan talk about:
– How he remembers his relationship to food and body as a young boy
– Where he got the message that his body was too big
– What the role of his family was in the development of his body image
– What experience kicked off his first engagement in dieting and trying to “look normal”
– How he became a slave to restricting and counting, even while traveling overseas
– Why he took things to the extreme after meeting his wife, especially with exercise
– How his behaviors influenced his relationship
– How, when he got the most compliments, his mental and physical health suffered the worst
– What made him let go of his perfectionistic tendencies
– Who and what made him see that he didn’t want to spread the diet-word and make others as miserable as he was
– What helped him to let go of his old belief that his worth was tied to his looks
– What he replaced self-hate and self-criticism with
– Why he describes the journey towards body acceptance as an ongoing, fluid process
– How defining his personal values helped him move through the initial phase of letting go of dieting
– Why uncomfortable feelings and difficult emotions are part of the way to liberation, not a sign that it’s not working
– Why we need to face our fears and actually go collect the evidence (that nothing bad will happen if we gain some weight or lose tone) to see that it was only our mind holding us prisoner for so long
– Why the study of dietetics and nutrition often only reinforces body-negativity and fails to address the epidemic of disordered eating and the increase of eating disorders
– How he discovered “The Body Image Movement” that was created by Taryn Brumfitt, the creator of the documentary “Embrace”
– Why he would love to see more men watching this movie
– How he tries to encourage and inspire other men to talk about their struggles
– Why he thinks body image can never be a static thing
– Why he believes it is critical to teach the younger generation about media- and marketing literacy
– How he intends to fight against the disgraceful “headless fatty” phenomenon in media imagery…

… And so much more!

Check out Dan’s work here:
http://www.innerselfrevealed.com.au
http://www.fmb.com.au

His favorite quote:
“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best to make you everybody BUT yourself means to fight the hardest battle that any human being could fight.”
– E. E. Cummings

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you!
Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Like the podcast? Great! Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

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LU 034: Anne Poirier – No more compulsive exercise: How to break the chains of “being the fit one”.



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Hey, lovely radicals… it’s podcast time!

In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I’m talking to Anne Poirier.

Anne is the new program director at Green Mountain At Fox Run in Ludlow, Vermont. Green Mountain is a non-diet mind and body wellness center that offers retreats for women who want to start the journey back from years of dieting, body shame, weight-obsession and food fears. They re-learn to enjoy food again, and re-learn to move in a way that brings joy, and has nothing to do with food, calories or punishment. Anne was a fitness trainer for 30 years, battling her own body-shame-demons, and she came to the realization that the fitness industry is – sadly! – making many people less healthy, instead of more. She saw, time and time again, that the same people she had been helping to lose weight through diet and exercise, were coming back to her, after they had gained the weight back, feeling frustrated, depressed and convinced that they had failed. At the same time – unbeknownst to her clients – this same cycle was happening to her as well. Even though she did everything to look like the usual fitness professional, even though she tried modeling a “good way of eating”, and “exercising harder” than others, she finally came to see that this was no way of living, as it really leaves everyone trapped in a vicious, painful cycle, and that it is time to think about sustainability and enjoyment again. Listen to Anne tell us:
– How her mother related to food
– How early she internalized the idea that her body was something to be fixed
– How quickly this idea led her to anorexia
– Why she resisted to be treated
– How her anorexia eventually morphed into exercise bulimia
– How her eating disorder made influenced her decision to go into exercise science in college
– How she managed to hide her eating disorder in her athleticism for years
– How she – for years – tried to find her identity behind labels like “fit”, “strong” or “skinny”
– Why her two pregnancies were the only time she remembers feeling free around food
– How the disorder popped right back up after she gave birth
– How her profession kept feeding her eating disorder, and why she wasn’t even really aware of it
– How exercise is a legit addiction like any other
– What kind of issues and pain we are numbing out from by exercising compulsively
– What the biggest hurdle is for many people when they are tackling their exercise obsession
– How we can reframe how we think about our bodies towards a more realistic, grateful body image
– How painful it is to realize that she lived like that until she was almost 50 years old, too afraid to let go
– Why it was that only when her body started to break down that she started waking up
– How a forced break from exercise turned out to be the first step towards real healing
– How suddenly she discovered a life beyond fitness and training and weight-suppressing
– How she dealt with her changing weight
– Why “Drums Alive” turned out to be a real game-changer for her in terms of exercise
– Why it’s never wise to compare our insides to other people’s outsides
– Why some people have to hit rock bottom before they start to see that they don’t really want to live life presenting a facade that isn’t even them
– How she now sees clearly how she was desperately trying to “be someone special” all her life and how she lost herself in that for a long time
– How she describes her life from, say, five years ago, compared to her life now
– What her focus is in her work as program director at Green Mountain At Fox Run…
… And so much more!

Check out the wonderful Green Mountain website:
http://www.greenmountainatfoxrun.com
Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you!
Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Like the podcast? Great! Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!
We’re right over here at:

We’re all a click away…

 

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LU 032: Diane Summers – There is hope for healing and achieving a life free from body issues.



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Lovely radicals! Welcome back.

This week on the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, it’s my pleasure to bring to you a fellow size-acceptance fighter: Diane Summers from Everett, Washington.

Diane is a nationally registered and state certified dietitian with extensive experience treating eating disorders at all levels of care. Diane has been involved in the awareness, prevention and treatment of eating disorders for more than 10 years, and has treated hundreds and hundreds of people of all ages and across the entire spectrum of eating disorders and eating issues. She is recognized as a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian through the international Association of Eating Disorder Professionals for her expertise in treating eating disorders and training other professionals in the treatment of eating disorders. She is also a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. Diane has presented at local and national conferences, schools, universities, clinics, and church groups.
Today, you’ll hear Diane talk about:
– How her parents feed her as a child and why she is extremely grateful for that
– What her emotional difficulties looked like as an “army kid”
– The ways in which her body image suffered in her adolescence
– Why she felt like “the odd one out” as a nutritionist
– What it was that made her question the diet-y ideas she got taught in nutrition school
– The reason why she got interested in working with eating disorders
– Why eating disorder treatments so often fail
– Why we are often unaware of our internal “size-ism” and how to bring that into awareness
– What it would take to make treatment success stories improve tremendously
– What she teaches her clients about weight-discrimination
– How we can smartly respond to body-shaming/food-shaming comments
– Why we should all abstain from making ANY comments on bodies, whether good or bad
– Why not just “the very thin”, but also a person in a bigger body might show signs of anorexia
– How a session with her could look like
– What it is that is way more telling if someone has disordered eating or an eating disorder than the actual weight
– What makes the diet-mentality so hard to break free from
– What people with disordered eating and eating disorders have in common
– Why the role of parents is crucially important in the development of a child’s body image
– How it is never really about food or weight, once the layers of the struggles are being worked through
– Why what the media presents us in terms of post-menopausal women is a legitimate set-up for body-wars
– Why weight-gain after menopause is the best life-protection for you…

… And so much more!

Check out Diane’s website:
http://www.hopenutritiontherapy.com

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
http://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Like the podcast? Great! Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!
We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

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LU 031: Julie Duffy Dillon – Have you hit diet rock bottom and need more peace with food and body?



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Lovely radicals, it’s podcast time!

In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I get to talk to Julie Duffy Dillon from Greensboro, North Carolina. Julie is a food behavior expert who helps people enjoy eating again. Award winning with her progressive approach, Julie was featured in TLC’s documentary “My Big Fat Fabulous Life”. She also has an active blog, writes the weekly “Food Peace Newsletter”, but she also hosts a podcast, called “Love Food”, where she addresses people’s struggles by way of a love letter from food.

Julie has a Bachelor in Nutrition from Ohio University, and a Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling from the University of North Carolina. As a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, she founded BirdHouse Nutrition Therapy, a group practice passionate about helping individuals and families recover from eating disorders. As a Certified Eating Disorders Specialist, she also supervises other dietitians who are on the path to become eating disorder specialists as well. Listen to Julie talk about:
– What kind of messages she got about weight and body
– Why she got into nutrition and counseling
– What she learned about the treatment of people who are considered “overweight”
– How she realized that, as a nutritionists, they didn’t give those people the right treatment
– What’s wrong with the education of future nutritionists
– Why it is often those who are themselves disordered choose to study nutrition or personal training
– What she found out when she dug into weight-science and research studies
– What she found out about diets, restriction, weight-obsession and the harm of it all and the risk of developing an eating disorder
– What the Minnesota Starvation Study was about and what happens when we diet/restrict/overexercise
– Why binge-eating and overeating are rooted in restriction, be it physical and/or mental
– How our mental health is closely related to how well-fed we are
– How, after periods of restriction, binge-eating is completely normal and our body’s way to save us
– How she discovered Health at Every Size and started to question her approach and her beliefs
– How feminism and the knowledge about social justice issues helped her in developing a deeper understanding of people’s body issues
– Why body image must be addressed on the way of diet- or eating disorder recovery, in order to make sure that people don’t get stuck in disordered eating and a full recovery is possible
– What she means by “hidden faces” of eating disorders, and why they are the vast majority of eating disorders
– Why anorexics often don’t look like the clichéd “skeletal-looking” person
– How she found out how hurtful our society’s fear of fat really is
– What we must be cautious about when choosing a dietitian or nutritionist
– How she found out how exaggerated the connection between weight and health really is
– Why it can be very helpful to feel healthy anger when we find out how we have been deceived
– Why those evasive 3 percent of people for whom dieting “supposedly works” are those who are sacrificing everything just to keep that weight off, and why even those people come to sanity (and their natural weight) eventually
– How weight-suppression keeps us from living our lives fully and freely
– How we can learn to consume media’s messages with a more critical, schooled eye
– Why developing a healthy anger towards the diet- and beauty industries will help us grow strong enough to channel it into advocacy…
… And so much more!

Check out Julie’s websites:
http://www.juliedillonrd.com
and
http://www.birdhousenutrition.com

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
http://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Like the podcast? Great! Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!
We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

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LU 030: Marsha Hudnall – Helping women find body-peace and a full life after an eating disorder.



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Lovely radicals!
In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I get to talk to Marsha Hudnall from Ludlow, Vermont. Marsha is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, and she really has been a voice of reason and a thought leader for the last three decades in helping women move away from restrictive notions of food and health.

Ever since 1986, Marsha has been a guiding force at Green Mountain at Fox Run, the Vermont women’s retreat that pioneered the non-diet approach to health and weight. She now serves as president and co-owner, and she is passionate about all of her work. She is an accomplished writer who has written hundreds of articles for popular magazines, and professional journals and has worked extensively to educate the public about nutrition and about the impact of dieting and the internal diet-mentality that drives our eating behaviors and obsession with weight. Marsha is also the president of the Center For Mindful Eating and a former board member of the Binge Eating Disorder Association.
Listen in as Marsha talks about:
– What it was the set the stage for her quest for thinness
– How her mother’s body image and diet-obsession influenced her
– Why her personality type is typical for a person with an eating disorder
– What perfectionism has to do with eating disorders
– Why she never talked about her bulimia to anyone
– How her bulimia has affected her health long-term
– How restriction exacerbates any food-issues and causes food-obsession
– What the diet-industry has taken from our experience of “eating”
– Why that diet-mentality-induced guilt for eating created so many problems
– Why she became a dietitian
– What the steps to her healing looked like
– Why Green Mountain At Fox Run literally changed her life
– How her husband’s mother became the pioneer in the non-diet approach
– What the non-diet approach is REALLY about
– How best to move away from body-hate
– Why having a community and supporting each other can make all the difference
– Why accepting size-diversity is the key to self-acceptance
– How she introduces the concept of Health At Every Size to women who haven’t heard of it before
– What she means when she talks about structure around eating (it’s not what you think)
– Why eating fun-foods is very much part of a “normal” eating routine
– Why sugar addiction is nothing but another misleading marketing tactic
– How we can overcome those feelings of “addiction” with food
– What kind of feelings and thoughts people are trying to cope with by obsessing over food and weight
– How she deals with difficult feelings
– What makes community the key ingredient to healing for people…

… And so much more!

Check out Marsha here:
http://www.greatmountainatfoxrun.com

The Green Mountain At Fox Run Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/GreenMountainAtFoxRun/?fref=ts
Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Like the podcast? Great! Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!
We’re right over here at:

We’re all a click away…

 

 

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LU 029: Isabel Foxen Duke – Learning from the mastermind behind “Stop Fighting Food”.



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Lovely radicals!

In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I talk to Isabel Foxen Duke from San Francisco. Isabel is a Certified Health Coach and Emotional Eating Expert.

She is the founder of the renowned “Stop Fighting Food”-program that has helped countless women making peace with food and their body, so that they could finally stop obsessing about food, and get back to enjoying their lives. After years of trying to overcome her binge eating through “traditional” and alternative approaches Isabel managed to heal herself, as she discovered how binge eating and dieting are linked. She is incredibly successful in her work and has helped thousands of women overcome their food issues for good. Listen to Isabel as she tells us:
– What her earliest memories are of “being in a body”
– What made her feel unattractive and “too big” when she was only a child
– What it was the set the stage for her quest for thinness
– Why she never got help and denied she had a food and body issue for so long
– Why no one recognized she had an eating disorder
– Why that quest for a thinner body has everything to do with her ending up with a cocaine habit
– What she learned in rehab
– What she thinks makes most eating disorder treatments resulting in such poor recovery rates
– What made her finally understand where her binging came from
– What helped her on the way to body acceptance, and why that work is key
– Why mental deprivation and restriction are just as binge-causing as physical deprivation
– How many people unconsciously restrict and don’t realize it
– Why diet-mentality is a stumbling block for our attempts to free ourselves of the “crazy feeling around food”
– Where weight discrimination comes from
– Where the term “body positivity” comes from
– Why healing our relationship with food does not mean acquiring a certain body size
– Why the “sugar addiction” and “food addiction” hype is so problematic
– How to overcome our internal diet-mentality
– What her program “Stop Fighting Food” is all about
– The difference between fat phobia and internalized fat-phobia and why both keep everyone stuck
– How weight-suppression keeps us from living our lives fully and freely
– Why it is important to see the toxic mechanisms behind diet-culture and the diet industry and how this can help us stepping out of old beliefs
– How to heal negative body image, let go of disordered eating, overcome food fears and end weight-obsession…

… And so much more!

Check out Isabel’s website and program:
http://www.stopfightingfood.com

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation, so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Yes, yes, yes! Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

Posted in Allgemein, Podcast | Comments Off on LU 029: Isabel Foxen Duke – Learning from the mastermind behind “Stop Fighting Food”.

LU 028: Fiona Sutherland – Goodbye, scale! Time for positivity with food, weight and body image.



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Lovely radicals! Let me bring some sunshine into your lives:
In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I talk to Fiona Sutherland from Melbourne, Australia. Fiona is the Director of “Body Positive Australia” which offers therapy, yoga and retreats to the community and also of “The Mindful Dietitian” which offers mindfulness and client-centered practice, training opportunities and information, specifically to dietitians worldwide.

Fiona is a specialist in Eating Disorders (mostly Binge Eating Disorder), eating behavior and body image. Fiona has recently been appointed to the Australia & New Zealand Academy of Eating Disorders Board, where she aims to strengthen the voice for ED recovery and Health at Every Size. She is a professional kid-wrangler (of two boys, aged 5 & 7) and she is currently half-way through her yoga teacher training. She is passionate about how we can help everyone – in every body! – live in peace within this very brainwashed diet-culture.
You will hear Fiona share:
– Why she thinks it’s never worth to sacrifice birthday cake to a thinness-dream
– What makes scales the worst device to have around
– What she loves to do to scales and what she promises to do if I smash my elliptical
– Why compulsive exercise can cost us the experience of actually truly fulfilled needs
– How she proves why you, me and everyone else is inherently worthy; without pursuing our ideas of perfection (i.e. the need to be busy, the need to pursue weight-loss, the need to be fit, etc.)
– What she learned about bodies when she was a kid
– Why she describes her experience as a child as “thin-xiety”
– How her mother’s dieting behavior bewildered her
– What traumatic memories she has of the time when she went to weight-loss group with her mother
– How her sister got treated for being in a larger body
– Why all of these experiences made her angry enough to DO something about the toxicity of diet-culture
– How we get tricked by society’s messages about weight and weight-loss that “there is a magic bullet” and how this sets us up for falling into the trap that everything “can be fixed almost instantly”
– Why food-restriction and any attempts at dieting are so harmful and have ZERO to do with health
– Why our internalized diet-mentality and weight-obsession can burn a whole into our self-worth
– Why any sort of diet-recovery, be it for lifelong dieters, disordered eaters or people with eating disorders, is a slow process with lots of tiny steps
– Why our belief that we master recovery success either instantly or just not try it at all is coming from the voice of the eating disorder
– What little steps could look like, in terms of eating or exercising
– Why our judgment of our behaviors (emotional eating, for example) is what creates the real problem and how we can start to become more observing and less judgmental about ourselves
– What the key element is to a smoother recovery process
– How she would raise ME if I had been her child (and what her goals are for her own children)
– What her top tips are to avoid passing our body image struggles on to our children
– What “The Body Positive Australia”’s mission is and what kind of services they offer
– How they help make dietitians and other health professionals aware of the long-term harm of dieting and of weight-discrimination
– Why her business partner’s “Fat Yoga” classes are taking off like crazy
– What they continuously do to change the harmful paradigm of weight-loss-idealization and diet-culture…

… And so much more!

Here’s the link to Fiona’s website:
http://www.themindfuldietitian.com.au

Check out “The Body Positive Australia” website:
http://www.bodypositiveaustralia.com.au

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation, so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

LU 027: Thom Rutledge – Confronting the “inner Gremlin voice” and learning how to disobey it.



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Lovely radicals!

In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I talk to Thom Rutledge from Nashville. Thom is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, psychotherapist, author and speaker, who has experienced both sides of the therapeutic relationship; as a clinician and as a client. He blends his personal recovery from depression, addiction and excessive self-criticism with 30 years of professional experience to guide his clients, readers, and audiences from self-judgment and perfectionism toward genuine self-compassion.

He’s the author of several books like “Embracing Fear”, “Earning Your Own Respect” and “The Greater Possibilities“, and he has co-written “Life Without ED” (ED meaning Eating Disorder) with Jenni Schaefer. Thom’s trademark sense of humor, a down-to-earth practicality, and his own compassion are the common threads than run through his unique brand of psychology. Thom will tell us:
– How contributing to a bestseller about eating disorders led to him specializing in eating disorder treatment
– How he as a recovering alcoholic (who’s been sober for 30 years) can relate to people with eating disorders and disordered eating
– Where he sees the familiarity between eating disorders and alcoholism
– Why eating disorders are often more difficult to recover from than alcohol addiction
– Why he asks his clients about their relationship to fear
– Why there often are existential fears underneath eating issues
– What his intra-personal therapy model consists of
– Why trust is such a crucial part of eating disorder therapy
– How we can separate our fear voice (inner Gremlin/inner bully) from our healthy voice (recovery voice)
– Why it is normal to often have different feelings or even opinions about things in life
– How clever our inner Gremlins are and how they trick us
– How this inner Gremlin actually manages to scare us into paralysis
– Why the inner Gremlin is a synonym for catastrophic thinking
– Why we should never expect to be able to fully rid ourselves of those inner bullies
– Why we can only learn to deal with them when we first start to listen to what it actually says
– Why it helps to ask ourselves how much of what this inner Gremlin predicts has ever really happened
– What we are really afraid of when we say “we are afraid of weight-gain”
– How he specifically works with my example
– Why rejecting and disobeying the inner Gremlin is the way to recovery
– Why in healing from bad body image and disordered eating it often gets worse before it gets better
– Why, when we have believed our inner Gremlin for decades, it often feels like shedding our old identity when we are on the way to becoming our true selves
– Why the inner Gremlin doesn’t get to use the “I” pronoun
– How to strengthen our inner, true recovery voice
– How we can become the real decision-makers in our own life
– How community and support play a pivotal role for our mental health
– Why he thinks the universe purposely designed us to be “forgetting machines”…

… And so much more!

Check out the Thom’s website to find out about his work and his books:
http://www.thomrutledge.com/
Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=

 

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!
We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

 

 

 

 

LU 026: Melissa Toler – Bring sanity back to the way you eat, train and look at yourself.



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Lovely radicals… it’s podcast time!

In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I talk to Melissa Toler, from Maryland, close to Washington DC.

She is a certified health and wellness coach, speaker and writer, with a background as a pharmacist who offers a non-diet, weight-neutral health approach, and her goal is to help women connect the dots between our culture’s ridiculous beauty standards and our personal struggle with self-acceptance. She helps women unlearn the toxic messages and behaviors from lifelong dieting so they can learn a new set of skills and live a life free from obsession and self-loathing. Having a 25-year history with dieting herself, she knows personally what it means to be stuck in the diet-binge-cycle. She came to sanity a few years ago, and she says it was one of the best decisions she has ever made. I believe her. Melissa also teaches workshops and courses to help people on the path to improving their body image. We will all get some of here awesomeness in this episode!
Listen to Melissa talk about:
– Where she got the message that her body was “not good enough”
– What the moment was where she internalized the belief that she needed to change her body
– Why she got stuck in this well-known hell of weight-suppression, dieting and overexercising for so long
– What it was that made her wake up and learn to listen to her own body again
– What helped her to question her own thinking and see behind the mechanism of diet-culture and how much money is being made by making women feel “less than”
– Why it literally pays off to be hypercritical of media’s, TV’s and magazines’ messages
– Why by buying beauty/women’s magazines and diet books/products, we vote “yes” to our oppression with our own money
– Why we all need other people to help wake us up to what we have gotten so used to that we never stop to question it
– Why it is always a good idea to be suspicious of the words “body positive” or “empowered woman”, especially as it is being viciously co-opted by diet-culture these days
– What TRUE empowerment means
– What proved to be most helpful on her way out of constant dieting
– How she helps women re-connect to their true selves – How we can learn and implement the skill of self-compassion even when it sounds weird at first
– How we can start questioning our thoughts with curiosity instead of judgment
– How to decode what’s behind it when the “urge” to go on a diet comes up
– How we can stop the diet-thoughts from influencing our decisions
– How she helps her clients see where they have been mislead into “false” thinking about themselves being “not good enough”, and who profits off of that
– How much precious time in a person’s life can literally be wasted by getting stuck in diet-land, being preoccupied by weight-loss, body-negativity and obsession
– Why a person’s size never tells us anything about their health and the dangers of equating “thin” to “healthy”
– Why it is important to understand the sinister mechanism of diet-culture and how this can help us stepping out of old beliefs
– Why stepping out of diet culture is a truly radical move…

… And so much more!

Check out Melissa’s work:
http://www.melissatoler.com

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it.
Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=

 

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!
We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

 

Posted in Allgemein, Podcast | Comments Off on LU 026: Melissa Toler – Bring sanity back to the way you eat, train and look at yourself.

LU 025: Harriet Brown – “The Body of Truth” reveals what’s wrong in today’s thin-obsessed world.



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Lovely radicals, how wonderful to have you back!

In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I talk to Harriet Brown from Syracuse, New York. She is an award-winning author, a poet, magazine editor and professor at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, and she writes, researches and teaches about eating disorders and body image.

harriet

She has written for the New York Times Magazine, Psychology Today and many others. Her experience with having a daughter who suffered from anorexia inspired her to begin working as an advocate for better eating-disorders treatment. She is the author of several books, two of which I’d like to mention: The first is called “Brave Girl Eating” in which she writes about how they, as a family, fought against her daughter Kitty’s anorexia. And second, of course, the groundbreaking book called “The Body of Truth – How Science, History, and Culture Drive our Obsession with Weight and What We Can Do about it”. The two of us forgot that this was a recorded conversation pretty quickly and I bet you can hear the passion in both our voices in this one. Listen in as Harriet tells us:
– Why she felt unattractive and “too big” as a child already
– What it was the set the stage for her quest for thinness
– What it was that made her say “enough” and “I can’t do this anymore”
– What happened in her first therapy session
– Why she went back and worked with her therapist for 10 years after that, in spite of her initial resistance
– What made see the logic behind a weight-neutral approach to health
– Why she decided to write books on the subject of a weight-obsessed diet-world
– What made her question some interpretations of studies
– How she found out how hurtful our society’s fear of fat really is
– How she found out how exaggerated the connection between weight and health really is
– Why it can be very helpful to feel healthy anger when we find out how we have been deceived
– Why it is that people are so resistant to this, and why they seem to want to stay stuck in their dieting efforts
– Why those evasive three percent of people for whom dieting “supposedly works” are those who are sacrificing everything just to keep that weight off, and why even those people come to sanity (and their natural weight) eventually
– How weight-suppression keeps us from living our lives fully and freely
– How her daughter Kelly’s anorexia opened her eyes to the brutal truths of a diet-fixated culture
– What her findings revealed about the tragedy of the BMI, the danger of weight-bias in the medical field, the effects of weight-stigma and the reason why everyone seems to have terrible body image these days
– Why it is important to see the toxic mechanisms behind diet-culture and the diet industry and how this can help us stepping out of old beliefs
– How to heal negative body image, let go of disordered eating, overcome food fears and end weight-obsession
– Why it can be very exhausting and overwhelming to swim upstream in a diet- and thinness obsessed culture
– How her life and her relationships and her marriage improved ever since she stopped dieting
– What she teaches her students in her body image and weight-stigma lectures
– What she wants every woman in the world to know…

… And so much more!

Check out Harriet’s website and her books:
http://www.harrietbrown.com


Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it.
Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

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LU 024: Rebecca Scritchfield – With “Body Kindness” to lasting health and peace of mind.



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Happy happy 2017, dear radicals!!

Let’s DO January differently, shall we?
Let’s come up with better ideas than those presented in the tired old weight-loss-resolutions. Let’s step into a kinder way of relating to ourselves!

This week on the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, you are going to hear another great woman who is changing the game and inspiring the world with her wonderful work on body kindness and Health at Every Size (HAES). It is Rebecca Scritchfield from Washington DC.

Rebecca is an expert on the connection between health and happiness and believes the foundation for a long, happy life lies in enjoyable habits. As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, a well-being coach as well as a health and fitness specialist, Rebecca helps people create a better life with workable, interesting self-care goals through her weight-neutral “Body Kindness” practice. Rebecca is the founder of Capitol Nutrition Group, co-founder of Dietitians for Body Confidence, and her very first book has just come out, it’s called “Body Kindness”, and I am honored to be holding an advance copy of it in my hands… it is a wonderful, colorful and powerful read; highly recommendable. Rebecca has also been a spokesperson and consultant to some big food brand, and through over 100 media outlets, she has reached millions of people. And today, it will be you she reaches, dear listener.
Listen to Rebecca as she tells us:
– What her happy childhood memories of “being in a body” look like
– What kind of comments and role-modeling made her become self-conscious about her body
– How her mother related to food, body and weight
– How her good intentions to take care of her body got twisted as her body image got worse
– What it was that pushed her over the edge and into some of her darkest times
– How her bad body image manifested in her ways of eating and exercising
– Why no one recognized her struggle with her body, food and weight
– How many women live in pretend-mode and hide their pain behind a mask of “I’m totally fine!”
– How we can overcome shame and start sharing what we are struggling with
– How we can make the best of our worst experiences
– How raising our voice against discrimination and injustice makes all the difference
– How it takes all of us to take down diet-culture
– Why our internal diet-mentality is so persistent
– Why everyone is entitled to their own pace when it comes to healing our false beliefs
– What the most important sentence is that you can tell yourself when things get rough and diet-thoughts are taking over our mental space
– How not to fall from one coping-mechanism into the next
– What she means by “body kindness”
– What the PACT-strategy is and how we can apply it
– Why we need to learn to sit with uncomfortable feelings instead of believing our Gremlin-voice
– Why being learning to be kind to yourself and your body (any sort of personal growth)) is likely to fire up your inner Gremlin and why that’s normal and even to be expected
– How not to get triggered by every diet-culture message you come across
– How her book “Body Kindness” came to be, and who she was really writing it for
– What she wants us to remember at this delicate time when so many people “go on diets”…

… And so much more!

Check out Rebecca’s website and have a look at her brand-new book:
http://www.bodykindnessbook.com

 

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it.
Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

 Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=

********* Don’t forget!*********

 Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!
We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

 

Posted in Allgemein, Podcast | Comments Off on LU 024: Rebecca Scritchfield – With “Body Kindness” to lasting health and peace of mind.

Hasta la vista, sad old New Year’s resolutions! Voilà: Better ideas to start a new year/week/day with.

Hey, lovely radicals!

Thank you all for your wonderful feedback for my last podcast episode on marketing literacy and better ideas for New Year’s resolutions. The responses have made my eyes swim.

A lot of you have asked for a written version as a handy reminder. Great idea!
(I’ll make it two posts, though, for length-reasons. Let’s tackle the resolutions first.)

Tadaaaa! January—the international month of mass-dieting—is ahead.
So here it comes thundering in again, the usual tsunami of the same old, diet-y New Year’s resolutions. What a biiiig surprise (yawn): Only 243’039’472 differently packaged versions of
“Just do THIS and happiness is yours!” Did you notice? All they are is a serving of “copy-paste” from last year, the year before, and the many years before that!—Some new products, some new gadgets… but the same crap all over: The message that we need to fix ourselves to be acceptable and—conveniently attached to it—any number of ideas how to go about that.

Enough already!

Sadly, they still get clicks. In fact, the more weight-loss-promising they are, the more clicks they get. That only shows how successfully the idea that “thin is better” has been marketed to us over the past decades.
After all the different ways this idea has been presented to us—anything from “Heroin-chic” to “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” to “Fitspo”, including the viciously spreading trend “Healthy is the new skinny”—millions of people have now come to believe that “healthy” has a LOOK! That “healthy” has a number on the scale.
(—How convenient for disordered eaters to hide their weight-loss-obsession behind: “Oh, I just want to be healthy!”)
People are now subscribing to ideas of clean eating, believing that this is the magic bullet to health, even if it often leads them into very dark rabbit holes of orthorexia and—funny, huh?—very unhealthy states. Sadly, this trend is rampant and turns women and girls into obsessed, rule-based, fearful, compulsive eaters that are anything BUT healthy or happy.
(Needless to say that if all of these trends didn’t promise some sort of weight-loss, we wouldn’t be as obsessed and clinging to all the ways “health” is now being marketed to us:
Cleanses, Paleo, Raw, Clean Eating, Multi-Level-Marketing schemes like “Beach Body” and all its nasty cousins, any number of weight-loss-challenges, and the gazillion of differently wrapped ideas that keep creeping into our feeds and burn themselves on to our already compromised hard drives.)

When all that matters is how we look and how others perceive us, we end up giving up our power and we end up ready and willing to try everything, no matter the cost.
Now matter how UN-healthy and miserable it makes us.

So. New Year’s resolutions.
Really?

Let me gently open the lid of my internal garbage grinder and enjoy the lovely sound of all of those little bastards being torn to shreds.

Aaaaaaah. Relief.
And now that the table is clear, let’s rewrite that script, shall we?
So, for the fun of it, as an emergency backup or just for inspiration, let’s create some NEW, sustainable, kind, game-changing New Year’s resolutions.
Well.
Since everything in our life has been about “have to“s and “gotta get to“s, “should“s and “no more“s—and we’ve all been running ourselves into the ground with these—THIS time, we’re going to abandon that sinking self-flagellation ship and make our list about PERMISSION. (Yep. The thing we think about least.)

Here are some of my ideas for now and forever after; take as many as you wish!

Some last words before I go:
You have permission to just be you, and to try to be as kind to yourself as you can.
We all deserve more freedom and joy, and this is a good time to allow some of that in, instead of opening the door to mood-darkening messages and self-defeating thoughts.

You deserve it.

You matter.

—And to prevent any sort of diet-mentality from creeping back into our minds after New Years Eve, you can count on me; I’ll be back January 2, with a new podcast episode with a wonderful guest who knows everything about kindness, especially when it comes to how we live with our bodies.
Good stuff is coming your way, radicals.
See you on the other side!

Love,
Meret.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LU 023: Me, solo – How to become a critical consumer, make better resolutions & 1000 thank-yous.



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“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”—Anaïs Nin.

Lovely radicals!
My knees are a little wobbly, as I bring to you my end-of-the-year solo-episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast.
That’s because what I put together, isn’t just the usual fluffy-jingly Christmas talk.

See, all around me, people are in a buying frenzy, we are all being bombarded by “special offers” and “limited editions” and “gift ideas”.
And I can’t help thinking of this excellent quote—credited to 15 different people, so I wonder if I should make it mine…? Just kidding!—that says:

“We are persuaded to buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t care about.”

And as if THAT wasn’t enough to give me a million ideas for this podcast, we are ALSO being bombarded by the same old, sucked dry, tried-and-failed weight-loss New Year’s resolutions. I can’t even with this nonsense anymore!
It makes me want to poke my eyeballs with a pencil and make monkey noises.

This has got to change.

So I’m going to talk about it.
Yes, I feel vulnerable to let the world know where I stand on some of the matters I will be talking about, but that’s a perfect indicator: This is exactly what I have to do.

Get ready, dear ones.
This episode is packed full of what I know about present-day marketing and how this ties into our world’s collective, terrible state of body image.
In my opinion, this knowledge is crucial to become more critical as a consumer and better equipped to see behind façades.

This episode also contains a truckload of NEW New Year’s resolutions to keep you strong on this path towards liberating your wonderful self, and not to fall for the tired old bunch of weight-lossy ones.

And lastly, this episode is full of love. Full of gratitude for you showing up, full of respect for your continuous growth, full of awe for our collective support, our community, our sister- and brotherhood, for lack of a less wooo-wooo word. All of what I say today, is based on my interest to see us blossom.

One promise: After listening to this, you will be perfectly equipped to step into the New Year with an awake mind, a well-oiled internal bullshit-detector, and a protective shield against the onslaught of body negative messages around you.
One warning: Listening to this may cause you to question some beliefs you might have subconsciously been holding on to, and that might feel uncomfortable.
One secret: That’s a sign of growth! Growth happens out of your comfort zone.

See why my knees are shaky?
This one is important.
If I had one Christmas gift wish, I would love for all the (wo)men in the world to have a chance to listen to this. For they deserve to live life true to themselves.

Thank you a million times for being on this journey with me….
You are incredible people, radicals.

I love you.
Meret.

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you!
Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

 

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LU 022: Lauren Anton – Reconnect with your body’s innate wisdom and let go of societal rules.



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Hey, lovely radicals. Podcast time!

In this episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, you’re going to hear Lauren Anton from Culver City, California.

Lauren is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer specializing in eating disorders and sports nutrition. She is the owner of “Arrive: Nutrition, Movement, Life”. She has years of experience working at Eating Disorders Treatment facilities, in most levels of care, from Residential Treatment to Intensive Outpatient Treatment. She helps people who struggle with weight, food and exercise. Her goal is to assist her clients in moving away from a punitive experience with food and movement to one of self-compassion and self-care. Her non-diet, Health At Every Size approach allows people to break free from the chains of rules they have set for themselves that don’t serve them anymore, and she helps to guide them to an understanding of how their relationship to food, exercise and emotions are influencing each-other and their bodies. Lauren has spoken at numerous national conferences and events on eating disorders and sports nutrition.
Today, Lauren will tell us:
– What her earliest memory is of relating to bodies
– How her mother’s restriction of snacks led to her binging on them secretly
– Why she forced herself to become an athlete “against” her true inner will
– What she sees when she looks at pictures of herself as a teenager, back when she was convinced she was fat
– Why many women with anorexia don’t “look anorexic” and won’t get the help they need as long as doctors rely on something bogus like the BMI
– What her advice is for all the parents out there who are dealing with doctors commenting on their child’s weight
– What kind of experiences and comments made her develop a bad body image
– Why her obsession with body and body image was centered around athleticism
– How she learned to ignore her body’s signals just to be accepted as an athlete
– Why focusing on the shapes and sizes of bodies isn’t helpful in sports, and what we should be focusing on instead
– Why it is important to know and expect that giving up coping mechanisms like dieting or overexercising is going to bring up anxiety
– Why people who exercise compulsively or engage in other disordered eating behaviors won’t heal if they “wait until they feel ready”
– Why she thinks many people have to rock bottom until they allow themselves to change their lifestyle and finally heal
– What her own rock bottom was
– What kind of questions we can ask ourselves when we are tempted to fall back into old habits of weight-obsessing…
… And so much more!

 

Check out Lauren’s (brand new!) website and find out about her coaching business at:
http://www.arrivenutrition.com

 

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!
We’re right over here at:

We’re all a click away…

 

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

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LU 021: Christy Harrison – Codependency, trauma, and healing our eating issues.



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Hey, sweet radicals, here we go again: Podcast!

This week, on the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, it’s my pleasure to bring to you a fellow podcaster and size-acceptance fighter… It is the wonderful Christy Harrison from New York.

christy-harrison

Christy is an intuitive eating coach and anti-diet registered dietitian who helps people make peace with food. She offers online intuitive eating courses and individual nutrition therapy for people who want to heal their difficult relationship to food. Her work is based on Health At Every size and is coming from a body positive perspective, which is wonderful. Being a journalist as well, she has written for numerous magazines and websites, including Refinery29, Gourmet, The Food Network and others. She is also hosting a podcast that has had a great influence on me and my courage to recover from restriction, binging and overexercising. Christy and I chatted on a Sunday, evening for me, morning for her, so both of us in chill mode.
Listen to Christy as she tells us:
– How her relationship to food and body was when she grew up
– What kind of experiences planted a seed in her mind that her body wasn’t good-looking enough
– How her mother related to food, body and weight
– Why her more serious eating difficulties didn’t start early in life, but only when she was in college
– What experience it was that made her decide to change her body, go on diets and restrict her food
– Why her mother didn’t recognize her eating behaviors and her struggle with bulimia
– How she justified her behaviors around food and why it took her a long time to step out of denial
– How not having the right therapist and physician negatively influenced her behavior
– Why her codependency, of all things, turned out to be a saving grace in regards to taking the necessary steps toward recovery
– How she subsequently healed her relationship to food and how self-compassion was critical
– How early attachment issues often manifest in eating disorders and codependency
– How therapy helped her heal her relationship to food, eating, and her sense of self-worth
– How she helps her clients who want to give up lifelong dieting, disordered eating or eating disorders
– How she helps people find to a weight-neutral approach to health
– Why taking charge of our social media feed is so important and can be so healing
– Why she thinks Health At Every Size (HAES) is the only way to truly heal our relationship with food and our weight
– Why self-compassion and patience are pivotal in healing our body image and how we relate to food and weight…
… And so much more!

 

Check out Christy’s website:
http://www.christyharrison.com

Here’s the link to her podcast called “Food Psych”:
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/food-psych-podcast-about-intuitive/id700512884?mt=2

 

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!

We’re right over here at:

We’re all a click away…

 

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it.
Thank you!
Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

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LU 020: Dr. Anita Johnston – “In the Light of the Moon” we transform our relationship with food.



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Lovely radical! Welcome to another beautiful ear-journey.

In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I’m talking to Dr. Anita Johnston from Colorado/Hawaii. She is a clinical psychologist, certified eating disorder specialist and storyteller who has been working with women struggling with eating and weight for over 30 years.

anita

She is the Clinical Director of the ’Ai Pono Eating Disorder Programs in Honolulu and the recently opened ’Ai Pono Maui residential facility on the Island of Maui, Hawaii. She is Senior Advisor & Clinical Consultant to Focus Treatment Centers in Chattanooga, Memphis, and Knoxville, Tennessee as well as Consultant to EATFED in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. She is the author of “Eating in the Light of the Moon”, which has been published in six languages. As an international speaker, Dr. Anita Johnston talks about the effects of the preoccupation with dieting and weight that keep millions of women around the world obsessed and all too often unsuccessfully attempting to control their struggles. Her most recent project is an interactive online e-course and women’s support circle called the “Light of the Moon Café”. Listen to Anita tell us:
– Why she is still baffled that she herself didn’t develop an eating disorder when she was young
– Why she thinks having a sensitive, intuitive nature is making women prone to having eating issues and a negative body image
– How she became interested in women’s issues
– How she became aware of the prevalent obsession with weight-loss, diet and body that women are caught up in
– Why she is so passionate about her work treating eating disorders
– Why she chose metaphors for her bestseller “Eating in the Light of the Moon”
– What made her come up with the beautiful metaphors for her book
– Why women’s eating issues have everything to do with patriarchy
– How women can learn to appreciate and cherish their emotional intensity and intuitive skills
– Why assertive communication is one of the most important skills to learn
– How we can reframe what we have come to believe about women, bodies and food for decades
– Why diet-culture hurts women’s souls so much, and how we can grow a certain amount of resiliency against it
– Why having a supporting community of women is the antidote against the oppressive tendencies of diet-culture and patriarchy
– How she deals with it when diet-culture (magazines, media, commercials) start affecting her inner contentment and how she re-appreciates her body
– Why it is so important to learn to recognize and identify our internalized diet-mentality voice
– How we can strengthen our inner voice of compassion to grow strong enough disobey the oppressive and punishing rules of the internalized diet-mentality and the external diet-culture messages
–Why women’s bodies and women’s sexuality have continuously been objectified, judged and shamed
– What the purpose of her online platform called “Light of the Moon Café” is and what it offers
– Why her treatment center and programs on Hawaii are called ’Ai Pono…

… And so much more!

If you are interested in Dr. Anita Johnston’s work, check out her website:
http://www.dranitajohnston.com

Also, check out the “Light of the Moon Café”:
http://www.lightofthemooncafe.com/

Here’s the link to the ’Ai Pono healing center (Hawaii):
http://www.aipono.com/
********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!
We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join
Podcasting is expensive, more so than I thought. So if you enjoy and love my podcast, please consider supporting it by becoming a “Patreon”! It would greatly help me to keep those episodes coming to you. Thanks!
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

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LU 019: Aaron Flores – Are you sick of dieting and ready to break the vicious cycle?



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In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I talk to Aaron Flores from Calabasas, California. Aaron is a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in Intuitive Eating and Health At Every Size (HAES).

aaron-flores

As he describes on his website, he promotes a non-diet, weight neutral approach to changing behaviors that lead to improved health. He says “If you feel like you’ve tried every diet, your weight has yo-yo’ed for years and you are ready to stop fighting your body and learn to love food again, then I am the dietitian for you.” I’ve had Aaron in my ears for a while now, because he is the man that hosts one of my favorite podcasts, namely Dietitians Unplugged, with the fabulous Glenys Oyston, whom I introduced you to in episode 12 of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast. So it is high time you meet the other half of that wonderful podcast. And you will! Listen to Aaron talk about:
– How he came up with his Star Wars analogy for Intuitive Eating and Health At Every Size versus diet-culture
– How he experienced his body as a boy
– How he and his family related to food
– Why he’ll never forget his first trip to the dietitian with his mother
– What the dietitian told him to do and why that set him up for the diet-binge-cycle
– How he judged his body as an adolescent
– How he ended up dieting for years and why he stopped
– How diets fail all people, and why people still think “they failed” at the diet
– What made him decide to become a registered dietitian
– What he thought of Intuitive Eating and Health At Every Size when we first heard it
– Why he clung to the idea of weight-loss for as long as he did
– How his transition into Intuitive Eating went for him
– How he is working on accepting his own body
– Why his transition into Intuitive Eating made him eventually leave his job and open his own practice
– What he has learned from his whole transformation
– What made see the logic behind a weight-neutral approach to health
– Why learning about Intuitive Eating and Health At Every Size is a lot like the movie “The Matrix”
– How he handles his own judgmental side towards people, diets and bodies
– Why he calls himself a feminist man and how he recognizes his privilege as a white male
– How he wants to raise his boys
– Why he is so grateful for his wife…

… And so much more!

Check out Aaron’s work, as well as the link to his podcast with Glenys Oyston here: http://www.bvmrd.com

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!
We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

Podcasting is expensive, more so than I thought. So if you enjoy and love my podcast, please consider supporting it by becoming a “Patreon”!
It would greatly help me to keep those episodes coming to you.
Thanks!
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

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LU 018: Evelyn Tribole – How not to fall for the “street version” of Intuitive Eating.



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Hello, lovely tribe!

In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I talk to Evelyn Tribole.
Yes, THE Evelyn Tribole, the co-author of the groundbreaking bestseller “Intuitive Eating”, and author of several other books.

evelyn-tribole

 

Evelyn Tribole is an award-winning registered dietitian with a nutrition counseling practice in Newport Beach, California, specializing in Eating Disorders, Intuitive Eating and celiac disease. Evelyn has a passion for helping people discover a healthy relationship with food, mind and body; whether that be through one-on-one counseling, writing, workshops or media appearances. And, as we know, she is the very pioneer who co-created the process that we now call “Intuitive Eating“” In the 90s, she was the nutrition expert for “Good Morning America”, she was the national spokesperson for the “American Dietetic Association” for years and she has been rated as one of the “Best Nutritionists in the Country” by many US magazines. As you can imagine, she has had countless media appearances, and she has achieved the highest honors one could possibly dream of as an expert dietitian.
Listen in and hear Evelyn Tribole tell us:
– How her relationship to her body was as she grew up
– How her mother came expressed her regret about her lifelong dieting efforts
– How dieting and eating issues are detrimental to our relationships
– Why she realized that “prescribing diets” was the very thing that made people end up worse
– How it is that people who keep dieting keep gaining weight
– Why we share the belief that diets should not be legal
– Why thinking that “dieting is a healthy thing” is dangerous thinking
– How it is that we can really improve our health
– What she knows to be the source of Binge Eating Disorder (BED)
– Why she gets so fired up about toxic messages about “Sugar Addiction” and “Food Addiction” and the absurdity of the comparison of sugar to cocaine
– Why she stresses the fact that many “street versions” of Intuitive Eating are plain misunderstood and wrong
– What Intuitive Eating really is and what the 10 principles are
– Why they stopped mentioning weight and numbers altogether by the third edition of the book “Intuitive Eating”
– How she helps her clients to let go of the diet-mentality
– Why it is crucial to let go of the internalized “Thin-Dream” in order to gain real freedom
– What principles are the hardest for clients to tackle
– How Intuitive Eating brings with it self-compassion and self-care
– How she applies Intuitive Eating when it comes to eating disorders
– Why so many athletes have eating disorders that go unnoticed
– How she recognizes problematic behavior around food and exercise
– How she helps patients and clients find a healthy relationship to exercise
– Why a person’s size never tells us anything about their health and the dangers of equating “thin” to “healthy”
– What kind of world she is dreaming of…

… And so much more!

Check out Evelyn Tribole at:
http://www.evelyntribole.com
or
http://www.intuitiveeating.com
And here’s the link to the book “Intuitive Eating”:
https://www.amazon.com/Intuitive-Eating-Revolutionary-Program-Works/dp/0312321236

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

Podcasting is expensive, more so than I thought. So if you enjoy and love my podcast, please consider supporting it by becoming a “Patreon”!
It would greatly help me to keep those episodes coming to you.
Thanks!
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

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LU 017: Sonya Renee Taylor – The brilliant mind behind “The Body Is Not An Apology”.



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Hi, sweet radicals!

This week, the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast brings to you the wonderful Sonya Renee Taylor from California. Sonya Renee is the Founder and – as she calls it – Radical Executive Officer of “The Body Is Not An Apology”, an international movement and organization committed to radical self-love and body empowerment as the foundational tool for social justice and global transformation.

sonya-renee-taylor

Sonya holds a BA in Sociology and a Masters degree in Organizational Management. Her work as an award-winning Performance Poet, Activist and transformational leader continues to have global reach. Sonya is a former National and International poetry slam champion, author, educator and activist who has mesmerized audiences across the world. Believing in the power of art as a vehicle for social change, Sonya has been widely recognized for her work as a change agent and has won heaps of awards and honors, and Bustle Magazine has named her one of the 12 “Women who paved the way for body positivity“. Sonya’s work has been seen and heard on practically EVERY news outlet in America. Sonya is a fierce advocate and activist for intersectional global justice. Listen in as Sonya Renee tells us:
– What sort of messages she heard about women’s bodies when she grew up
– What the most important messages are that made her believe in her abilities and power
– How she experienced privilege and oppression
– Why she believes body-shame and tendencies of self-hate are learned and can be unlearned
– What body-empowerment entails and why it really is about all areas of social justice, be it ableism, racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, weight-discrimination or any other form
– Why weight-stigma is adding a toxic layer that affects those most that are already being discriminated against
– How her great movement called “The Body Is Not An Apology” came about
– Why she feels so grateful for all the contributors for showing her their perspective
– Why “The Body Is Not An Apology” is for everybody
– How her idea of self-love is different than the fuzzy ideas we often hear; why she calls it “radical self-love”
– How her 30-day self-love challenge called RUHCUS helped her overcome her biggest shame
– Why it is that some form of body shame is likely to seep back in and how we can deal with it to maintain body-peace
– Why it is critical to learn about the mechanism of the diet- and beauty-industry to see just how much power we are giving away by buying into the lies we are being told every day
– What would happen when women over night stopped believing those lies and stopped buying all those products
– What radical self-love realistically looks like and why it has a massive impact on the world around us
– Why we can never create a peaceful world unless we make peace within ourselves
– What she does on those days that she finds it hard to love herself
– Why it is important to see that we would only set ourselves up for failure if we want to do this journey towards body love perfectly
– Why she encourages all of us to do “what WE want” and not “what we think others want us to do”
– What she would change immediately were she to rule the world…

… And so much more!

Check out Sonya Renee Taylor here:
http://www.sonya-renee.com
and her platform “The Body Is Not An Apology” here:
http://www.thebodyisnotanapology.com

 

********* Don’t forget!*********

Podcasting is expensive, more so than I thought. So if you enjoy and love my podcast, please consider supporting it by becoming a “Patreon”!
It would greatly help me to keep those episodes coming to you.
Thanks!
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

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LU 016: Dr. Maria Paredes – Reframing and healing your relationship with your body.



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Hello, dear body acceptance radicals!

In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I’m talking to Dr. Maria Paredes from Greensboro, North Carolina. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Eating Disorders Specialist who describes herself as a five-star listener, heart healer, courage instiller, lover of ALL bodies, self-compassion coach, voice amplifier, companion to those in pain and a believer in hope.

maria-paredes

She holds a Bachelor degree in psychology, a Masters degree in school counseling, as well a a doctoral degree in counseling and counselor education. She helps people who are stuck in the diet-binge-cycle as well as those who want to feel more comfortable in their own skin, make peace with food and with their bodies. She offers individual and group counseling, clinical supervision, workshops, and talks at schools, workplaces and different communities. Listen to Maria tell us:
– How she grew up without constant diet-talk, weight-obsessing or body-shaming
– What made her get into her field of work
– How she helps her clients with different therapy methods like Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Relational-Cultural Therapy (RCT)
– Why she doesn’t demonize any behaviors around food and how she finds out what the behavior represents
– How she lets people re-relate to behaviors like binge-eating
– Why she is against “forcing” people to let go of their coping mechanism and what she does instead
– How she helps parents not to pass on the difficult relationship they have to food and body to their children
– What she says about her “butt” when she looks in the mirror (hint: it’s gooooood!)
– How we can utilized Social Media to our benefit when it comes to un-learn toxic ideas about weight, body, food and shape
– Why she fully supports the Health At Every Size (HAES) principles and Intuitive Eating
– How she introduces these concepts to her clients
– How she helps overcome their internalized shame and fat-phobic beliefs
– What helped her become aware of the weight- and fat-stigma in our world
– How she helps her clients educate themselves about diet-culture and the capitalistic machinery behind it, and how this helps us stepping out of old beliefs
– Why she thinks the path to real body and food liberation are MUCH harder to do than going along with the mainstream dogma and constant dieting
– How she started to appreciate her own body
– Why we will always be stuck in a weight-obsessed mentality (and spend precious amounts of energy and time trying to “fix” our bodies) unless we address internalized fat-phobia
– Why it is so important to surround ourselves with people and images of people of all shapes and sizes to end our inner fat-phobic beliefs
– What makes the HAES movement so incredibly beautiful, warm and welcoming…

… And so much more!
If you are interested in working with Dr. Maria Paredes or finding out more about what she does, check out her website:
http://www.threebirdscounseling.com
Also, check out her Facebook site called “Body Politics with Dr. Paredes”:
https://m.facebook.com/BodyPoliticsWithDrParedes/?__mref=message_bubble

 

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join

Podcasting is expensive, more so than I thought. So if you enjoy and love my podcast, please consider supporting it by becoming a “Patreon”!
It would greatly help me to keep those episodes coming to you. Thanks!
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

We’re all a click away…

 

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LU *Bonus Episode 1*: Guided meditation – Quiet the monkey mind in a body positive way (25 min.).



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Hello there, lovely radicals…

Time to unwind!
Here’s my first bonus episode of “Life. Unrestricted.” for you: A guided meditation of 25 minutes.
Take this time for yourself and allow yourself to find some peace in the midst of the craziness of daily life. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
Enjoy this guided meditation to tame our monkey mind, and to drop into a state of awake presence and full awareness of THIS moment—all we ever have.

If you experience your mind wandering off into thoughts and worries, expectations or judgments, just remember that this is normal and it happens to everybody.
Just notice that “thinking” is happening, acknowledge the thoughts, and let them go. Over and over again.
As if they were clouds passing by.
Don’t attach any meaning to them, don’t hold on to them, just return to the present moment, and focus on the sensation of your breath as it enters your nose and fills your chest, your lungs and your belly.
It’s all about noticing and returning back to the present moment, without judging yourself. That is what mindfulness and meditation basically is.

Now Let us slow down for 25 minutes, as we experience … the NOW.
The aliveness of your body, the state of non-doing… and the wonderfulness of just “being”.

This is my first guided meditation, so I hope I manage to bring some stillness into your life as we travel through the body together.

More is to come; as soon as I can make the time, I will play with it and try different lengths and different styles.

With love, M.
****** Don’t forget! ******

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at:

We’re all a click away…

Podcasting is expensive, more so than I thought. So if you enjoy and love my podcast, please consider supporting it by becoming a “Patreon”! It would greatly help me to keep those episodes coming to you.
Thank you so much! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

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LU 015: Zoe Nicholson – Teaching us how to do “moderation” in moderation.



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Lovely having you here, my fellow traveller!
It’s Podcast time, which means: It’s a great moment to just open our ears and listen to a wonderful woman who has so much to say about what “moderation” really means.

In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” Podcast, I have the pleasure to talk to Zoe Nicholson from Melbourne, Australia. Zoe is an accredited practicing dietitian and the owner and director of the highly successful Melbourne based private practice called “figureate”- spelled out like figure and ate, as in “I ate cheesecake”.

zoenicholson

Zoe conducts nutrition seminars and workshops for workplaces and corporations and she has, together with multi-award winning fitness professional Jodie Arnot, established the now well known “Moderation Movement” in Australia. Here’s Zoe! She will tell us:
– How she grew up without constant diet-talk, weight-obsessing or body-shaming
– Why it is so important what kind of role-models we are for our children
– When she found out that, basically, the rest of the world had gone slightly mad around so called health, weight and fitness
– How most people ended up feeling so much shame and guilt around food and their own bodies
– How the constant barrage of images of so-called “goal-bodies” and the millions of weight-loss messages we see every week has twisted our idea of health
– How to be real: We are not MEANT to – nor can we be  successful at (without losing our minds!) – reaching an unattainable beauty ideal
– How much precious time in a person’s life can literally be wasted on this toxic idea
– What she means when she speaks of the “Non-Diet”-approach to nutrition and health
– Why she still can’t believe that in todays day and age, we need to stand up for something that ought to be normal: a sustainable, balanced approach to health that doesn’t shrink our life
– What “The Moderation Movement” is and what its goals are – What “moderation” means to her
– How she helps people get comfortable with the idea of “moderation”
– How we can manage our health without ever dieting or fixating on our weight, and why, ironically the sheer act of “not fixating on weight” might be the first step to real health
– Why a person’s size never tells us anything about their health and the dangers of equating “thin” to “healthy”…

… And so much more!

If you are interested in working with Zoe or finding out more about what she does, check out her website:
http://www.figureate.com.au
Check out “The Moderation Movement” on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moderationmovement/?fref=ts

********* Don’t forget!*********

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Also,  make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

The top five regrets of the dieting.

regret

Let’s talk about regrets, dieting and… dying.
Great way to start a post, isn’t it? Totally uplifting.

So here we go.
There’s a wonderful woman called Bronnie Ware who worked as a palliative nurse for many years. As she was tending to the needs of people who were dying, she started recording the regrets that these people expressed to her. She collected them. Thousands of them. And she subsequently wrote about them. Her book is called “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing”.
Most of us have heard of them, and most of us even gave the list some thought, but then… life happened. The daily grind.
Let us refresh our memories, shall we?

Here are the Top Five Regrets the dying expressed:
# 1 … They wish they’d had the courage to live life true to themselves
# 2 … They wish they hadn’t worked so hard
# 3 … They wish they’d had more courage to express their feelings
# 4 … They wish they had stayed in touch with their friends
# 5 … They wish they had let themselves be happier

„Yes. But what do these have to do with dieting?“ you ask.
„Only everything“, I say.

I’m assuming, of course, but let’s say, you’re one of those people who – like me – spent decades trying to lose weight, suppress weight or maintain weight, engaging in excessive exercise even when injured, feeling guilty for eating “too much”, feeling shame for “losing control” and binging, not ever feeling comfortable in your skin, obsessing about calories, the scale and the size of our pants, declining invitations to social gatherings for fear of “eating too much of the bad foods”, not having birthday cake because you’re trying to “be good”, pinching your stomach, hating your thighs and following every piece of diet-advice that is being thrown around in the media. Let’s assume, you’re one of those people who – like me – risked illness in the name of health, wrecking your hormones and metabolism, in other words doing everything in order to avoid weight gain.
And, for the sake of the argument, let’s assume for a minute that we’re all lying on our deathbeds. Can you picture yourself?
Good.
Now, let’s have a look at those regrets through the dieting-lens.

# 1 … They wish they’d had the courage to live life true to themselves.
(—Sadly, a perfect match.)
Because no, we didn’t have the courage to live life true to ourselves. We were very much concerned about what other people expected us to do, and what they expected us to look like. In fact, we internalized society’s arbitrary beauty standards and tried our damnest to conform to them. Exit “live life true to yourself”…

# 2 … They wish they hadn’t worked so hard.
(—Well, it looks like CARPE DIEM flew right out of the window when we started our quest for thinness, right?)
Maybe the first diet was comparably easy, and we were high from all the compliments we got. So when the weight started to creep back up, we doubled down on our efforts, and we loved being showered with praise for our “discipline” and “willpower”. But then, our bodies started to fight back against our attempts at starving it, and flooded us with crazy cravings, which eventually made us binge. And from there, it progressively got worse, didn’t it? Now desperate for control, we cranked up our efforts to keep our weight “in check”. Over time, weight-suppressing turned into a full time job, and we spent half of our mental bandwidth obsessing about food, weight, and how “broken” our body was. Adding the hours, days, weeks, months or years we spent dieting or rigidly weight-suppressing, we end up with a heart-wrenching amount of time (decades?) spent hating our body for not meeting the current beauty ideal. When we truly think about how much time we spent obsessing over our appearance – time that is forever lost – … it makes us want to cry. Possibly forever.

# 3 … They wish they’d had the courage to express their feelings.
(—Oh funny, another match.)
Dieting is an addiction. Dieters are afraid. By dieting, people numb out by obsessing over calories, scales, their pant size, “good” and “bad” foods, meal plans, “health” blogs, diet advice, excessive exercise and therefore not having to really participate in the mess that is LIFE. Afraid of loneliness, rejection and sadness, we often end up manifesting just that. What do dieters really mean when they say “I feel fat”? What kind of truth are we masking by putting all the blame on our body for something that hasn’t got anything to do with its size? What if we did, instead, express how we truly feel? How about saying “Hey, I feel really vulnerable, insecure, sad, angry or confused right now”. What if we stopped pointing the finger at our weight and stopped hiding behind this admittedly cheap and cowardly deflection.

# 4 … They wish they had stayed in touch with their friends.
(—Damn. Yes. That one, too.)
This one, I find particularly painful… I’d be lying if I said that this doesn’t apply to all the years when I was trying to maintain my lower weight. I am still recovering, as you know, but already now, I can see just how many social invitations I declined, how many friends I stopped going out for dinner with because I was worried about the food, and about losing control. Just how much my constant worrying was keeping me imprisoned in my own mind, how it seemed so much “safer” to stay alone, to eat my “safe” foods, to binge alone, to exercise alone, to prioritize all my weight-obsessing above everything else. When I didn’t exercise, going out and doing something else was out of the question, and I would squeeze it in, no matter what.

# 5 … They wish they had let themselves be happier.
(—The most punch-me-in-the-gut-match of them all.)
Oh boy. All those years. All those decades… I was doing what I was doing because I still believed that “once I reached a certain weight”, then I could be happy, I could date, I could RELAX, I could enjoy life. And it took me forever to see that all I did was maneuver myself further away from happiness. Further and further away from the idea of “real intimacy”, carefree laughter, midnight cake or lazy Sundays. I didn’t let myself be happy. I thought happy was around the corner.

Ha, funny how these regrets of the dying all apply so perfectly to us dieters, isn’t it?
Only, it’s not funny at all.

There is no “around the corner”. All we have is NOW.
Let us let ourselves be happy.
Let us reach out. Let us laugh.
Let us eat cake.
Let us jump for joy.
Let us cry.
Let us do your own thing.
Let us acknowledge our innate awesomeness.
Let us throw out the diet-books and that motherfucking scale.
Let us live.

We only have this one ride.
Love,
Meret.

LU 014: Tracy Brown – Stepping towards a joyful relationship with food and body size.

Lovely radicals!

In this episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, you’re going to hear Tracy Brown from Naples, Florida. She is a nutrition therapist, registered licensed dietitian and somatic attuned eating coach who has offered counseling in private practice since 2006.

tracy20brown11

She specializes in treatment of eating disorders and eating problems for both adults and children and she also routinely teaches intuitive eating workshops and disordered eating related talks in the North Central Florida area, including Santa Fe College and Flager College, St. Augustine, Florida. Today, and only on the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, she’s will tell us all of this:
– How being highly sensitive as a kid led her to numb her feelings with an obsession to be the perfect kid
– How her obsession quickly turned into meal-skipping, dieting, and taking advice from fitness-magazines at face value
– Why it took years of purging, binging, restricting and suffering before she realized that happiness wasn’t to be found by chasing after the skinny ideal
– When it was that she decided to learn to accept her body and look into attuned (intuitive) eating
– What it took for her to heal her relationship to food, body and exercise
– Why therapy and body image work helped her not to worry about food and her body anymore
– How she provides practical guidance and interventions for people suffering from eating disorders, food fears and underlying emotions
– How society has a false image of how eating disorders look like and how the reality of eating disorders look like
– How we can learn to eat based on permission
– Why, when she works nutritionally with her clients, she only does so to make sure that they eat enough and have all they need
– Why the concept of “good” and “bad” foods is obsolete to maintain a body’s natural weight – Why she believes that dieting, binging, purging and all eating disorders are symbolic communicators delivering a message from our soul
– What she does when she does “symbolic decoding”
– Why, when we are tempted to say “I feel fat”, it never – ever – is about the size of our body, and what we can ask ourselves instead
– What her three most favorite words are
– Why she thinks that everyone who is willing to heal the relationship to their body/food and weight is a badass…

… And so much more!

Check out Tracy Brown’s website and find out about her coaching business at: http://www.tracybrownrd.com

 

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

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LU 013: Chris Cole – A man makes peace with his body, mind, spirit and food.



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In this episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I get to talk to Chris Cole from Boulder, Colorado. Chris is a life coach and works with clients in recovery from any number of addictions, mood or behavioral issues. He has been through quite a journey himself. In fact, it was such a rollercoaster ride that he wrote a book about it: It’s called “The Body Of Chris – a Memoir of Obsession, Addiction and Madness”.

chriscole

Chris is a highly compassionate, positive force that helps people find their truth and their unique healing by offering an experienced perspective, a radical wellness orientation and an encouraging relationship that is crucial to sustainable growth. Listen in and hear Chris’ amazing story:
– What factors contributed to him feeling ashamed of his body in childhood
– Why early restriction only exacerbated his difficult relationship to food
– How being bullied and fat-shamed as a boy made him obsessed with losing weight
– How he learned to binge eat and the real danger of the concept of “cheat meals”
– How a personal trainer introduced him to diet-pills
– Why he didn’t realize the harm of them and quickly got hooked
– Why these “speedy” diet-pills turned out to be a gateway drug for him
– How his obsession with becoming thinner escalated into a whole range of problems
– When and how it became obvious for him and those around him that he was really sick
– What kind of harmful behaviors and habits contributed to his manic episode in college
– How manic episodes of psychosis typically present themselves and what it felt like for him
– How his deep body shame manifested in this peak moment of crisis
– Why his book is called “The Body of Chris”
– Why he is very passionate when talking about “The tragedy of the BMI”
– How he now sees that his alcohol/drug addictions are connected to his history of body shame and disordered eating as well as to his bipolar disorder
– Why he felt he had to numb out his sensitive nature
– What made him have liposuction at 17 and why that didn’t help him feel better about himself
– Why his body shame was the last and biggest hurdle on his road to full recovery
– Why he thinks recovery from any sort of destructive behavior is only the first step to dealing with the deeper problem that we tried to numb out from
– How vulnerability with his then-future-wife helped him take the necessary steps
– Why intuitive eating was so hard for him to learn
– How he deals with the messages that our weight-obsessed culture, TV and movies throw at us
– How meditation taught him to deal with his thoughts
– Why his current profile picture on Facebook represents what recovery looks like to him
– What having a body means to him these days and how he appreciates it, flaws and all…

… And so much more!

Check out Chris Cole and his coaching over at:
http://www.colecoaching.com
Here’s the link to Chris’ wonderful book “The Body Of Chris”:
https://www.amazon.com/Body-Chris-Obsession-Addiction-Madness/dp/1941758142/

 

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!

We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

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LU 012: Glenys Oyston – Dare to not diet – losing the obsession with food



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Hello, lovely radicals! Time for another podcast ride; hold on tight!

In this episode of the “Life Unrestricted” podcast, we are getting to know Glenys Oyston. Glenys is a Registered Dietitian who does NOT believe in dieting; she has seen behind the diet-culture BS and has become a Health At Every Size dietitian. Like many of her fellow RD’s that follow the Health At Every Size (HAES, for short) principles, she knows that it’s much more helpful to improve our relationship to our bodies and food than focusing on weight-loss. She has been a diet-victim for decades, just like many of us, and she has experienced just how much attention and congratulations we get when weight is lost. Therefore she knows exactly why so many people dread to gain weight. But instead of keeping on living in the pre-hell of either lusting after food or restricting it, she got taught a better way. She got educated about HAES, Health At Every Size, and as she says, it has transformed her life and the way she thinks about weight, diet and body image.

glenysoyston

Needless to say, she never dieted again and she is doing fabulous. She has helped countless humans ditch diet-mentality and find true self-acceptance and a healthy body image. She also writes the amazing blog called “Dare To Not Diet” and she is a fellow podcast lady. Together with Aaron Flores, she hosts the highly recommendable podcast “Dietitians Unplugged”. Glenys tells us how she came to be a Health At Every Size (HAES) dietitian, and how the process of stepping out of the dogmatic diet-culture chains has helped her—finally, in her forties—to develop a relaxed and uncomplicated, peaceful relationship with food and her body. She shares her story with us and you’ll hear:
– Why she never learned to eat balanced meals as a kid
– How her mother’s diet-mentality kept her from eating with her daughter
– How she ended up comforting herself with cookies and cake
– Why she ended up repeating what her mother did: go on strict, restrictive diets
– How dieting kept her mental and physical bandwidth trapped and made her obsess about food
– How an incredibly lucky coincidence saved her from another 20+ years of yoyo-dieting
– How studying the Health At Every Size (HAES) principles helped her free herself from eternal dieting
– How she gave up on the “thin person-game” and learned to accept her body in its natural, happy shape
– Why she thinks it’s no coincidence that diet-culture started skyrocketing after women got the right to
– What is lost on the world when the majority of the female population is dieting/focusing so much energy on weight-loss
– How diets are just as addictive as any other coping mechanism
– Why it’s never really about the weight or our body, even when we think it is
– What we have to work on before we can successfully ditch diets and embody ourselves
– How she and her HAES-colleagues help their clients to un-diet and re-allow their previously restricted foods into their diet
– Why the whole process of un-dieting requires a lot of trust, courage and strength
– What her deepest wish is
– What she would like to be remembered for…

…And so much more!

Check out her awesome blog at:
http://www.daretonotdiet.wordpress.com
Glenys on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/public/Glenys-Oyston
https://www.facebook.com/DareToNotDiet
********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/
Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

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The trouble with intimacy…

When I’m feeling lonely—which is a common enough occurrence with me—I long for closeness, a sense of belonging, being connected; in essence, to experience human intimacy. I want to be seen, I want to be heard. As we humans do.

In those moments, that longing feels like a hungry hole that sucks all lightness and joy out of me and empties out my soul. It is as if gravity has decided to slowly leave me and there is now nothing left to keep me from disappearing into outer space, nothingness. Like a balloon that a toddler accidentally let go of at the amusement park, a ballon being caught up in the branches of a tree, barely holding on to a twig as the wind is picking up.

In those moments, I mostly forget that I have friends. I forget that I have a phone with which I could call them. I forget that there isn’t just shallowness and pretence out there in the world. I forget that I’m not the only one feeling this way.

In those moments, all that’s left is that balloon-in-the-tree-feeling, which of course implies that said toddler had let go of me totally on purpose, simply to be given a new balloon, one with a brighter color or a different shape, one that is better suited to be tied to the toddler’s bedpost.

My inner Gremlin loooooves these moments and has a variety of stealth attacks in his repertoire with which he then comes at me. For example: “Oh maaaan, how pathetic can you even GET?? Know what this is? This is neediness! Ugly, disgusting neediness. Who needs a needy woman?? No one, that’s who.”

It’s hard for me to remember, right then, that there’s such a thing as self-compassion, because it seems downright logical to go into beat-yourself-up-mode. It IS pathetic after all, isn’t it?

So I stay alone and isolate myself (cue food!) since I’ve never learned to be a “burden” to someone else, to ask for consolation or company. (Or, in those rare cases when I did call out for help as a kid, I got rejected—which was the worst pain of all, one that I got acquainted with way too early in life. Now, even I can see that it must have been right around then that I started to believe that food was a much more reliable source of comfort and safety than any adult could ever be.)

Now, that lonely side, sadly, is only one part of the story.

The crux is that there is, at the same time, a flipside to all this, which is the thing that drives me nuts:
I don’t know how to “do” closeness and intimacy, either!
As much as I long for togetherness, I often do a terrible job with it.
It’s like this: When I meet someone new, I am very approachable and might even seem fearlessly open. I love connecting, I love sharing, I love listening. I love people.

But once I get to know them better and really like them (not necessarily in a romantic way), and they are now a friend—and, thus, the risk of being hurt increases—I can get quite weird at times, and I have a very hard time accepting that part of me. Because, most of the time when I am with people that I am more or less close to, it suddenly starts to take some time before I can open up and let them come close—even with my best friends, some of whom I’ve known for years!

When I am not superconnected to myself—which, again, is a common enough occurrence with me—and someone approaches me too quickly or seems overeager to connect, I feel like I can’t trust the situation, that something is strangely unsafe. I don’t actually feel a sense of danger, but I feel a strong urge to turn and run away. (Which, of course, I don’t do, I’m not that strange.) Mostly, what I do, is wall up and act cold and distant. And here’s the thing: I can’t seem to counteract that by force of will! It is as if “it” (something) starts walling me, “it” makes me act cold and distant—it’s by no means a choice!

Now, my friends, they know that I need some breathing room before I can become my „true“ self, the empathetic and emotionally available one. So they usually just let me do my walled-up stunt for a few minutes and as soon as this sense of danger subsides, my unwillingness to show myself dissolves and I open up automatically. That’s when I can start to be present and really connect to the other person.

People who don’t know me well enough, however, understandably feel taken aback or downright offended by my rejecting demeanor, and they get confused why, all of a sudden, I turn into a distant, walled-up person when all they did was come a bit too close a bit too soon upon meeting me. I truly feel for them, because I know that all they are trying to do is be nice: They might ask how I am, they might try to hug me, anything to connect to me, mostly with the best intentions.

What happens on my side, though is this: I feel absurdly powerless to this feeling of unsafety, one that manifests in an utter unwillingness to connect, as this sense of being in a chokehold washes over me. What I perceive in moments like this is that I’m now forced “to be nice”, forced “to be close” or forced “to be fully available on demand”, which totally overwhelms me. (Like the cat that always takes its sweet time until it jumps on your lap to be stroked. Whenever you approach her to quickly, you force yourself onto her, or you try to lift her up against her will, she’ll either scratch you, bite you, or run off.)

“But you wanted to be connected and close to people, didn’t you, psycho?” howls my inner Gremlin. “What is it with you??”

Yet, in this moment of feeling unsafe, there’s no room for rationality. In that very instant, I don’t see the situation for what it is. What I perceive is not reality, but an overpowering feeling of “I must protect myself”.

By now I know that this feeling passes; and it passes fairly quickly when the other person gives me some moments before launching into: “Tell me, how aaaare you!?” and “Come here, give me a huuug!!”. If they just stay present with me and mind their own thing, I can open up in two minutes, easily.

If the tension rises, though, and the other person stands there with that bewildered, hurt look on their face, I can’t help but wall up even more. Because, deep inside, I am riddled with guilt. It’s not that I don’t see what’s happening. I know exactly what’s happening. It is as if I’m standing beside myself, watching myself “hurting” someone who’s utterly innocent, and I feel so terribly guilty for acting so mean, and for defending myself against… nothing. So I tend to hole up even more. (Cue guilt, cue binging, cue excessively exercising, cue obsessing about my weight .)
—My inner Gremlin is having a field day in those moments. It’s hard NOT to feel unworthy of anyone’s display of interest, affection or care when I act like a malfunctioning nuclear reactor, after all.

How to explain inexplicable behavior?

With my friends, I’ve been lucky.
They love me enough to see behind this outwardly weird behavior.
They know what it is that comes over me in these situations, again and again some days, even after such a long time.
They know that I never want to cause any harm when I come across closed-off or distant.
They know, that when I turn cold or rejecting, I am not really cold or rejecting.
They know that, even after all those years, I still reflexively hide every now and then, when something inside me tells me that I’d better protect myself and be careful not to trust too easily.
They know that I’m afraid of being hurt.
They know that I’m afraid that they’ll see inside my heart and then leave me for good.
They know that, deep down, something inside of me feels hopelessly unsafe.
They know that I often feel like I’m expected to give something that I can’t give, even though there usually are no real expectations.
They know that all I truly long for is secure attachment, a thing I never had.
They know where all of this strangeness is coming from.
They know that I’ve been working very hard, with years of therapy, to get better control of the difficult feelings that stem from a very unsafe childhood.
They know that I grew up in a household where nothing was ever reliable.
They know that I was either being half-starved, abandoned, beaten, ignored, or—the crass opposite—that I was being put under enormous pressure to be perfect at school, to look prettier, to be nicer, to be devoid of needs, but to always be available to take the coals out of the fire, sometimes quite literally, when my intoxicated mother passed out with burning cigarettes.
They know that I never really knew if the hand that reached out to me was going to pat me on the head, slap me across the face or punch me in the gut.
They know that I know that my mother never meant to cause so much damage.
They know that I know how bad she was hurting herself and how lost SHE was in the world.
They know that I only recently started to really miss her, almost 30 years after her tragic death.
They know that I so much wish to have known who she truly was, beneath her alcohol and drug addiction, beneath all the hopelessness that suffocated her and made her act the way she did.
They know the real me, the cuddly, soft-hearted one, the vulnerable one, the one that only shows when she truly trusts.
They know how terribly guilty I feel for not always being approachable and open when I see them, and that I always fall back into thinking that I „have to be nice now“, which makes it impossible for me to just feel at ease.
They also know that all it takes is a few minutes of breathing room before I can come out of hiding and let down my guard.
They know what I’m guarding:

A very vulnerable, very delicate, and somewhat hungry, marshmallow-heart.

Wait for part 2… I’ll try and come up with some “solutions” for this problem.
(Which—come to think of it—will solve the world’s problems.)

LU 011: Virgie Tovar – “Lose hate not weight”; a critical examination of diet culture



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Hey, lovely radicals… Ear-treat ahead!
In this episode of the “Life Unrestricted” podcast, Virgie Tovar and I chat about how she became the unapologetic badass she is today. As you might guess, she wasn’t always as confident as she is nowadays, and she had to learn a lot about life, herself, sexuality, feminism and diet-culture to finally be able to liberate herself from the oppressive, fat-phobic cultural paradigm that keeps women desperately trying to fit in, often in the form of dieting and obsessing over their weight.

virgie

She experienced first hand, what it means to be fat-shamed, stigmatized and devalued and she is now fiercely on a mission to educate people about the ugly truths behind the merciless profit-seeking mechanisms of the diet-industry, media-literacy, the effects of weight-stigma on mental and physical health and the ways of changing the current narrative. Virgie shares her story with us and you’ll hear:
– How early it got into her head that women should “lose weight”
– What measures she was willing to take in order to change her body
– How fat-phobia and weight-stigma can cause women to engage in risky sexual behavior
– How fat-stigma intersects with other cultural injustices like racism, homophobia, sexism, classism or ableism
– How she ended up with an extraordinary lifestyle and sexual adventures when she was only a teenager
– What it was that made her feel desired and more comfortable in her body
– How feminism helped her to reclaim her own power
– What the exact moment was that she finally broke up with diet-culture for good
– Why feminism is seen as something “OH, NO, THANKS!” for many people, especially women
– What her journey towards self-acceptance looked (and looks) like
– What causes her to experience bad body days
– Why fat-phobia causes ongoing trauma for people
– How bigger-bodied people can protect themselves and take care of their own mental health first
– How we can help changing the current diet-culture-poisoned paradigm one woman at a time
– How we can engage in political activism so that it can be a form of self-care
– What her nationwide lectures are all about, and what her main messages are
– What her online course “Babecamp” offers to women who are ready to ditch their diet-culture-brainwashed mentality
– What her deepest wish is
– What she would like to be remembered for…

…And so much more!
Check out her website with all of her work (including her latest book project and details about “Babecamp”) at:
http://www.virgietovar.com
and on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/virgietovar
Here’s the link to her groundbreaking anthology “Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion”:
http://www.amazon.com/Hot-Heavy-Fierce-Girls-Fashion/dp/1580054382
********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

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LU 010: Summer Innanen – Smash the scale and start living your life unapologetically



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In this episode of the “Life Unrestricted” podcast, you are going to meet one of my favorite ladies in the world of body positivity and body image: It’s Summer Innanen from Vancouver, whose podcast has literally changed my life.

Summer

In my opinion, every woman can use a good dose of Summer in her life! She works as a Body Image Coach who has her own past with diets, restriction, body insecurity and exercise addiction, and she now helps women to stop living behind the number on their scales, to ditch the diet demons for good and to develop real inner confidence. Today, and only on the “Life Unrestricted” podcast, she’s letting us know some things about herself that she hasn’t shared anywhere else before. So listen in and learn:
– How being  body-shamed, bullied and being surrounded by diet-talk and an ever-dieting mother contributed to her slipping into a very obsessive mindset
– What she was trying to achieve by “becoming thinner” and why so many of us fall into this trap
– Why she never realized she had a problem until very late in the “game”
– What terrible advice she was given by various doctors before she found someone who was educated enough to know about the harmful effects of overexercising and restriction on the female body
– How she stopped lying to herself
– How she managed to break her exercise addiction and gave her body time to heal
– How long it took her to get the “thin-obsession” out of her head
– Why discovering Intuitive Eating and Health At Every Size (HAES) played such an important role in her recovery
– What she learned about the underlying issues that keep women in the diet- and weight-obsession trap
– Why anger and resentment are blocks to becoming an authentically kind and compassionate person
– What women are REALLY trying to fix when they are trying to fix their bodies
– What body positivity means to her
– Why body image is much more than how we think about our thighs and stomachs
– How learning about the mechanisms of diet-culture and the huge fitness- and weight-loss-industries can help us snap awake
– Why developing an inner rebel helps on our journey towards accepting our bodies
– How to find a tribe of likeminded rebels is key to the healing process
– How she works with her clients and how she challenges them to step out of their comfort zones
– Where she expects the most resistance in her coaching work
– Why emotional eating is part of the process when healing body image, diet-obsession and exercise addiction
– How having a healthy body image doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and rainbows
– Where her inner Gremlin shows up for her these days
– Why she would never go back to that small life she previously had as a career dieter
– How all of us can discover that freedom and solid self-worth beyond the scales and our jeans size…

… And so much more!
Check out Summer’s website and find out about her coaching business at:
http://www.summerinnanen.com
http://www.rockyourbodynow.com
Details for the 2017 retreat are here:
http://www.reclaimretreat.com
********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

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LU 009: Linda Bacon – What Health At Every Size (HAES) really means and the effects of weight-stigma



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In this episode of the “Life Unrestricted” podcast, I get to talk to Dr. Linda Bacon from Berkeley, California, USA. It’s a lucky day for all of us, because we get to listen to her highly insightful knowledge and opinion about our relationship to food, bodies and health.

7-BaconLinda

Dr. Linda Bacon is a health professor and researcher on the inside track of weight-regulation science, she holds graduate degrees in physiology, psychology and exercise metabolism with a specialty in nutrition. She has conducted federally funded studies on diet and health and is well-published in top scientific journals, and has written two books, first, her highly acclaimed bestseller “Health At Every Size – The Surprising Truth About Your Weight” and recently “Body Respect – What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out Or Just Fail To Understand About Weight”. She is currently a health professor at City College of San Francisco and an Associate Nutritionist at the University of California Davis. She is sharing her story with us and will tell us:
– Why she invested decades diving into science
– How it is possible, that the clear understanding about health (and how little weight really plays into it) has for decades been kept from the public
– Why the truth about diets not working and weight not being an important determinator of health is being held back
– Who is really behind the decision to make “obesity” classify as a disease
– Why there is such tremendous resistance to the idea of size-acceptance
– Who and what is behind the “obesity”-crisis, fat-fear and weight-stigma
– Why our capitalist society needs us to believe there is something “wrong” with us
– Why putting the sole focus on weight-loss will not improve health markers, and what does
– Why so many women and men aren’t even recognizing the damaging effects of the myths they believe in
– Why diet and exercise are only small contributors to a person’s actual health
– How social status, agency, genes, mental and psychological stress and unfair treatment are so much more important in determining someone’s health
– How, during her Phd, she was confronted with the fact that the actual (!) truth wasn’t appreciated by decision-makers
– Why so many doctors are innocently prescribing weight-loss despite the fact that this most often doesn’t address the issue at hand
– What the pillars of Health At Every Size (HAES) really are and what the most common myths about it are
– Why Health At Every Size (HAES) is for people of all sizes, and why it gets so much push-back
– Why we need a lot of critical thinking to see behind the lies that keep so many people trapped, unhealthy, and frustrated
– Why weight- and fat-discrimination are highly detrimental to a person’s health and will never lead to long-lasting, healthy weight-management
– Why it is wise to look at so-called “scientific proof” with a critical eye
– Why people who accept and appreciate their bodies will take better care of it
– Why much of the problems we blame on fat have, in fact, nothing to do with fat
– Why both thin people as well as people in larger bodies risk medical misdiagnosis due to the BMI index
– Why she is optimistic that the medical profession will, ever so slowly, change their views
– What her mission in life is…

… And so much more!
Check out Dr. Linda Bacon, her work around Health At Every Size (HAES) and her coaching over at:
http://www.lindabacon.org
All the relevant infos and the Health At Every Size (HAES) community are here:
http://www.haescommunity.com
http://www.healthateverysizeblog.org
http://www.sizediversityandhealth.org

Here’s the links to her books:
– “Health At Every Size – The Surprising Truth About Your Weight”
https://www.amazon.com/Health-At-Every-Size-Surprising/dp/1935618253

– “Body Respect – What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out Or Just Fail To Understand About Weight”
https://www.amazon.com/Body-Respect-Conventional-Health-Understand/dp/1940363195/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1471714036&sr=1-1&keywords=body+respect+linda+bacon

 

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!

We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

LU 008: Vania Phitidis – Feeling peaceful around food and your body (+ some instant therapy)



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My friend, how nice to see you are tuning back in!

In this episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I get to talk to Vania Phitidis from Sussex, Great Britain. Vania is an Intuitive Eating Counsellor, an MB-EAT teacher, MB-EAT being the acronym for Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training) as well as a Self Esteem Mentor. She has a master in Education for Sustainability from London South Bank and a Bachelor degree in Psychology and Art history from VITS.

vania-phitidis

In order to resolve her own body image issues and eating disorders she found that she had to let go of 5 things. 1 – unrealistic expectations of herself, 2 dieting, 3 restricting particular foods, 4 trying to get and stay skinny and 5 attempting to be perfect. Sounds easy, but was a lifelong process that she will tell us about. What she is focused on nowadays is being her most powerful self and helping others to enhance the quality of their own life and make better use of it than eternally dieting. For me, it’s vulnerability time today… In this episode, Vania Phitidis doesn’t just show us how we can let go of our food and weight fears and approach health from a sane and loving perspective. But she uses me as an example… and questions my inner gremlin voice. Find out how that turns out! So, listen in and hear Vania tell us her story:
– How early it got into her head that women should „lose weight“
– How quick children are to copy what they see their mothers do
– What made her develop bulimia and how bad that got for her
– Why giving up bulimia didn’t change anything on a mental level
– Why she subsequently got stuck in dieting and being constantly worried about her weight
– Why it is that diets (or “lifestyle changes” where weight-loss is the goal!) DO NOT work
– Why we often do the worst thing for our body when we train too often and too hard.
– What it takes to overcome the eternally distracting quest for thinness
– How she overcame her internalized fear of weight gain
– How we can choose what we expose ourselves to
– How she learned that everyone, including herself, is inherently worthy
– Why women who stay obsessed by weight-loss and dieting are severely limiting their potential
– How she learned to calm her mind and catch the thoughts that kept her stuck
– How we can learn to question our beliefs and our thinking
– Why it is important to question what we believe is „true“, simply because we “always believed it”
– Why mindfulness is key on the path to self-acceptance and body-acceptance
– How mindfulness can help us become aware of our feelings and our spontaneous reactions
– Why she doesn’t advise anyone to shout back at the inner critic, and what to do instead
– Why she believes that Intuitive Eating is the only way to leave the days of “feeling crazy around food” behind
– Why the switch from dieting to Intuitive Eating takes a leap of faith and can be very challenging
– Why real progress in the direction of healing is not possible unless we work on our body image and our deep-rooted fat-phobia
– How she deals with people who engage in diet-talk, body-shaming and eternal weight-loss-talk bonding.
– What her mission in life is…

…And so much more!
Check out Vania Phitidis and her coaching over at:
http://www.peacefuleating.co.uk
Also find her group on Facebook “It’s not about the weight”

The book that opened her eyes on the oppressive nature of diet-culture:
Naomi Wolf: “The Beauty Myth”
********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!

We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

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LU 007: Kathleen A. Bishop – There’s a life beyond internalized fat-phobia.



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My friend, lovely seeing you here again!
In today’s episode of the Life Unrestricted podcast, I talk to Kathleen A. Bishop from San José, California. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and Relapse Prevention Specialist. In private practice, she specializes in Eating and Substance Use Disorders and she works at a non-profit providing Intensive Outpatient Treatment to clients with Substance Use Disorder and cooccurring mental health conditions like anxiety, depression or Eating Disorders. Kathleen, who is also a body positive size diversity activist who promotes Health At Every Size (HAES) principles to end stigma and mistreatment that is associated with weight, has overcome her own body image obsessions and she shares her great insights with us!

kathleen

In this episode of the Life Unrestricted podcast, she talks about … all of it. You’ll even hear about the craziest diet you have ever heard. Wait for it. Horse urine is involved…. But more importantly, you’ll learn:
– How she finally found freedom from yoyo-dieting, body insecurity and disordered eating
– Why a person’s size never tells us anything about their health and the dangers of equating “thin” to “healthy”
– How she started to appreciate her own body
– Why we will always be stuck in a weight-obsessed mentality (and spend precious amounts of energy and time trying to “fix” our bodies) unless we address internalized fat-phobia
– Why it is so important to surround ourselves with people and images of people of all shapes and sizes to end our inner fat-phobic beliefs
– How we can learn to trust ourselves and our bodies again
– How to heal negative body image, let go of disordered eating, overcome food fears and end weight-obsession
– Why it is important to see the toxic mechanisms behind diet-culture and the diet industry and how this can help us stepping out of old beliefs
– How harmful weight-stigma really is and that it is a lose-lose situation for everybody
– How thin people can use the word “fat” appropriately when talking about bigger bodied humans…

… And so much more!
Check out Kathleen’s body positive page on Facebook, where she promotes self-acceptance through Intuitive Eating and with the Health At Every Size principles. The page is called “Body Peace & Liberation”.
If you are interested in her work or working with her, you’ll find all the infos here:
http://www.bodypeaceliberation.com

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!
We’re right over here at:

We’re all a click away…

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

LU 006: Kaila Prins – How to stand up against society’s restrictive standards and live life fully.

 

 

Lovelies!
Are you ready to meet the first drag queen who is actually trapped in a woman’s body? In today’s episode of the Life Unrestricted Podcast, I am chatting with Kaila Prins, the woman with the most awesome drag make up I’ve ever seen. She is a body positive burlesque and pole dancer and by that she is a performing woman… performing “woman”!

kaila prins

Kaila is also a body positive wellness and recovery coach, feminist writer and speaker and a fellow podcastine… She talks about her 13-year battle with eating disorders, calorie counting, yo-yo dieting and compulsive exercise and has the most amazing guests. Kaila is one of the precious few voices who bring the taboo topics of eating disorders, exercise addiction, and body image obsession into the open and is an inspiration for thousands – myself included.

This show will leave you feeling ready to change the world, one step towards self-acceptance at a time. You will hear us talk about:
– How “healthy” and “skinny” have nothing to do with each other
– How we are potentially harming ourselves by doing what society calls “healthy”
– How most eating disorders go undiagnosed in a culture that promotes harmful behaviors
– How to tell if you are exercise dependent and how to break free of exercise addiction
– How too much exercise can be severely damaging to our bodies, our fertility and our emotional health
– How our obsession to be skinny can keep us trapped in recovered-enough and how this can hold us trapped and certainly keeps us from enjoying life as fully as we could
– How we can actually LET ourselves enjoy life, step out of our obsession to control our bodies and the need to be thinner
– How to get over our internalized fat-phobia and diet-culture mindset
– Why burlesque dancing is a great way to help you reconnect to and feel good in your body as it is returning to its happy weight
– How discovery is an important to leave the disordered mindset behind and step into your real self
– How discovering who you really are is worth so much more than living your life trying to match an unrealistic, distorted ideal
– How important it is to see behind media’s messages, to understand the psychology of marketing, to educate ourselves how we are being marketed to and why advertisement is intended to make us feel “less than” and “not good enough”, so that we, as customers, keep coming back
– How we can change the conversation, one brave woman at a time…

… And so much more!

 

Kaila is currently working on a program to work with clients who want to leave their exercise addiction and disordered eating behaviors behind and start living a fulfilling, satisfying life according to their own rules. You’ll find out more about her, her blog, her dancing gigs and (soon) her program on her website:
http://www.performingwoman.com
You can follow her on all the different social media platforms (@performingwoman) and her awesome podcast is here:
http://www.findingourhunger.com

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!

We’re right over here at:

We’re all a click away…

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

 

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Stop “stop glorifying obesity“!

 

I’m sick and tired of hearing it.
Whenever something involves people with bigger bodies, some jerk yells it from way in the back: “Stop glorifying obesity!“

concern trolls

Examples?
– I like and comment on a person’s picture of her/his big body looking hot in a crop top?
“Stop glorifying obesity!“

– I speak up against weight-discrimination and its hurtful impact?
“Stop glorifying obesity!“

– I support someone who has stepped out of a lifetime of food-restriction and overexercise and who has gotten their life and laughter back by allowing a few rolls?
“Stop glorifying obesity!“

– I speak highly of a new size-inclusive fashion-label?
“Stop glorifying obesity!“

– I applaud someone with a big body who tells the world that they have amazing sex?
“Stop glorifying obesity!“

– I speak up for fair medical treatment and access to appropriate health care for bigger bodied people?
“Stop glorifying obesity!“

– I promote the Health At Every Size principles?
“Stop glorifying obesity!“

– I think that equal job opportunities for people with big bodies should be a given?
“Stop glorifying obesity!“

– I cheer loudly when someone celebrates their big bikini body with a picture on Instagram?
Stop glorifying obesity!“

– I love it when someone with a big body is looking ridiculously happy on Facebook?
“Stop glorifying obesity!“

– I point out the detriment of weight stigma to physical, mental and psychological health, especially at the intersection with other forms of social injustice like racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism or classism?
“Stop glorifying obesity!“

STOP THAT NOISE.

It’s hurting my brain and makes my heart riot.
All of these examples don’t glorify anything.
They simply point out basic human rights.

That stupid, worn-out, generic comment, however, does glorify some things:

It glorifies discrimination.
It glorifies ignorance.
And it glorifies separation.

So, for fuck’s sake, don’t be jerks, people.
And let’s agree to just drop that phrase, shall we now?

Thank you.

 

 

LU 005: Sarah Vance – When having the “goal body” means misery and obsession.



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Lovely ones… Yay! Welcome to episode 5 of the “Life Unrestricted Podcast”…
… You are going to love what you hear.
In this episode of the “Life Unrestricted Podcast”, you are going to meet Sarah Vance from Cincinnati, a truly fabulous chick who knows exactly what it means when we let the mission to “get our goal body” take over our lives. Sarah experienced first hand how – back when “her body was a project” – life can feel increasingly horrible, and that the more obsessed we become with weight and appearance, the more our health is at the risk of declining. As a former bikini model and exercise addict who was severely obsessed with food, weight, fitness and her appearance, she knows the battle of so many people in today’s society. She has managed to step out of restriction misery and has healed her compulsive relationship to exercise. It has become her mission to help others reclaim their freedom with their bodies and their relationship to food. She is a body image coach who specializes in banishing body hate and in getting a handle on emotional eating.

sarahvance

This week, on the “Life Unrestricted Podcast”, she shares with us:
– How she slipped into the increasingly obsessive mindset where “good” was never “good enough”
– How we often don’t realize how sneakily a body- and weight-obsessed mentality can turn our life into a trap
– Why she ignored her declining health (loss of period, injuries, hair falling out…) for so long
– What the turning point for her was when she said “enough”
– What the first crucial steps are when we want to heal our negative body image and self-loathing
– How helpful it was to her to learn about the mechanisms of diet-culture and the way media portrays women
– Why the majority of eating disorders aren’t being detected and how our culture promotes disordered behavior as “healthy”
– How body positivity helped her on her path towards body acceptance
– What the most important steps are when we want to break free from obsessive behaviors
– Why we need to detach “food” from “exercise” in our minds
– How she got through the most difficult periods of recovery
– Why she now celebrates every menstrual cycle she gets
– How we can tackle the issue of “body image in the bedroom”
– How she worked through her issues to now be able to enjoy a truly fulfilling sex life that was non-existent before
– How she intends to help change the harmful existing paradigm that keeps so many people trapped in the idea that they have to “look good”…

… And so much more!

Check out Sarah’s awesome website and find out about her coaching business at: http://www.sarahvance.com
Here’s the link to the 2017 retreat in San Diego with Summer Innanen:
http://www.reclaimretreat.com

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

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LU 004: Keri-Anne Livingstone – Daring to suck can make all the difference in life…



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Boom! Welcome to episode number 4 of the Life. Unrestricted. Podcast!

In this episode, Keri-Anne Livingstone and I are getting real about… getting real.
As a Certified Empowerment Coach, impassioned speaker and “Edu-Tainer”, Keri-Anne helps others towards radical self-acceptance, overcoming fear and how to be the truest version of themselves. She shares with us how, up until just a few years ago, she was an overwhelmed mother and disconnected woman living an unfulfilled corporate lifestyle, and only after many unexpected challenges in her life, she transformed her mindset by exploring the one concept that she is now teaching us… “Daring To Suck”. Listen in and learn:
– What she means when she says “dare to suck”
– What the most important steps are in this process
– How you can learn to tune in and get courageous enough to speak up
– How we can implement her concept “Daring To Suck” into our lives
– How a simple mindset-shift can propel us out of victim-mentality
– Why it’s not helping to make life all about “just be positive”
– How we can learn to recognize the great gifts in our most difficult struggles
– How we can make our own hot mess someone else’s miracle
– How three simple words can set you on the right track to more self-confidence
– What it takes to overcome self-doubt and to step into a feeling of self-worth
– Why there’s no need to be afraid of fear when we know what it wants to tell us…

… And so much more!

keri-anne-livingstone

Find out more about Keri-Anne and her Daring To Suck program here:
http://www.keriannelivingstone.com
and:
http://www.daringtosuck.ca
You can follow her on all the different social media platforms, and you are invited to join her Facebook group called „Empathetic Badasses unite“!

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!

We’re right over here at:

We’re all a click away…

Lotsa love,
Meret

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

Posted in Allgemein, Podcast | Comments Off on LU 004: Keri-Anne Livingstone – Daring to suck can make all the difference in life…

LU 003: Nicola Rinaldi – No period. Now what? Health issues from overexercise and too little food.



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Friends!
Welcome to the third episode of the Life. Unrestricted. Podcast!

In this episode, I talk to Nicola Rinaldi from Boston (USA) about her journey from losing her period – due to too much exercise and not enough food – to recovery, and in her case a beautiful family with three boys. The talks about how her love of exercise became unhealthy and how things really turned nasty when she also started dieting in order to lose “those ten pounds”. She came to regret that: She stopped menstruating and subsequently almost slipped into a full blown eating disorder. Fortunately, she was able to allow herself to get better: Her dreams of having a family of her own meant that she had to take care of herself. She exercised less, ate more and finally got her period back and started a family. She is passionate about helping women to see why their cycle is so important for their mood, their sleep, their bones and their overall health whether or not they want children of their own. She helped hundreds of women recover their periods and has only recently published her book “No period. Now What?”, a comprehensive guide to recovery for women who have lost their period. Nicola shares her insights on:
– What “Hypothalamic Amenorrhoea” (HA) is, what causes it and what the ramifications of it are
– How, when she lost her period more than 10 years ago, she had to do her own research to find out what was really happening
– How the Minnesota Starvation Experiment Study helped her regain her senses and start to recover
– How women are often misinformed when it comes to weight and pregnancy
– How it happens that we often think that we are doing the “healthy thing” when, in reality, we are damaging our health
– What “healthy exercise” is
– How we are often totally misguided when it comes to exercise and food
– How to recover a healthy menstrual cycle and keep up a non-diet lifestyle after birth
– How we can change our mindset from “fear of weight gain” to “becoming healthy and happy” again
– How we can snap out of our negative self-talk
– How we can start to change the conversation about the current, unnatural beauty ideal that we see
– How partners and husbands are often suffering when their girlfriends or wives get stuck in such a state of weight-obsession and exercise compulsion
– How they react to a woman regaining her full health and radiance, and how much they appreciate their natural bodies and relaxedness
– How she raises her three boys to become non-judgmental towards size and shape…

… And so much more!

 nicolarinaldi

Check out Nicola Rinaldi and her new book “No period. Now what?” over at:
http://www.noperiodnowwhat.com
Or you can also visit her old blog right here:
http://www.noperiodbaby.com

********* Don’t forget!*********

 Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders!

We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

Big love,
Meret.

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

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LU 002: Nicole Spencer – A brave journey from addictions and disorders back to life with yoga.



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Lovelies and loveliettes,
Welcome to episode TWO of the Life. Unrestricted. Podcast!

In this episode of the Life Unrestricted Podcast, I am talking to Nicole Spencer, a 49 year old life coach and Yoga Recovery teacher from Zurich, Switzerland. She shares with us her incredible journey from growing up as an anxious kid who developed OCD, later an eating disorder, exercise addiction, and, finally, severe alcoholism from which it took her a long time to fully recover. She reveals what really helped her on this often difficult healing process and how she maintains healthy boundaries and true stability. Initially a successful banker, she has now found her true passion in helping other people on their way to recovery from addictions and disorders, and to find their inner peace, more grounding as well as access to their true inner compass. She shares her best advice on:
– How, unless we treat the root cause of them, it’s highly likely that stopping an addiction will only cause another to appear and hurt us
– How we can cultivate more self-compassion
– How to de-stress in today’s constant sensory overload
– How to ground ourselves when things aren’t going as planned
– How to calm our monkey mind
– What it means to truly take care of ourselves…
… And so much more!

nicolespencer

Find Nicole and her boyfriend Michel are the creators of Yogaherz (Switzerland); you can find everything on:
http://www.yogaherz.ch/about-us-en.html
Nicole teaches great Yoga classes at Sanapurna in Zurich (Switzerland), all the infos are on:
http://www.sanapurna.ch

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at:
http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

Posted in Allgemein, Podcast | Comments Off on LU 002: Nicole Spencer – A brave journey from addictions and disorders back to life with yoga.

LU 001: Me, solo – How Brené Brown helped me kickstart this show.



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That’s it! Here it is: The Life. Unrestricted. Podcast!

The show that might just make you feel better about yourself, your body and your worth beyond your jeans size. So before you start the next diet to „finally lose that weight“, stop right there and listen in.
Let me ask you: When is enough enough?
Aren’t you tired of hating your body, tired of counting calories, tired of making your scale decide whether you get to feel good today or (more likely) not?
Aren’t you tired of feeling guilty for eating what you like, tired of exercising obsessively to get rid of that guilt?
Aren’t yo tired of the negative self-talk-chatter in your head?
Aren’t we all?

So.
Welcome home.
Welcome to the Life. Unrestricted. Podcast.
Let me take you on a different journey.

Meret Boxler Life Unrestriced iTUnes

 

As I recover from excess dieting, disordered eating, from exercise addiction, and – generally – an awful body image, I want to share what I learn, share my struggles and, most of all, I want to bring you the very best experts and the most inspiring guests who share their insights on Health At Every Size (HAES), read: How to approach real health and get to that place where we can live a life free of food fears, body shame and obsessive dieting.
We will learn how to break that vicious diet-binge cycle, how to make piece with our body and how to stop diet-mentality rule us. In this very first episode, I will share with you:

– Why I am so passionate to educate people about the harm the diet-industry does to us
– How, for all my life, I was believing in very harmful messages of a weight-obsessed world
– Why I let my life become smaller than a prison cell – Why podcasts basically saved my life
– Why I am crazy enough to create a podcast in a language that is not my own
– How studying with Brené Brown made me believe in myself enough to DO THIS
– Why I believe we can combat our shame if we share our stories
– What I think it is that we need to get rid of if we want to succeed in living truly healthy and at peace with our body, no matter what its current size is
– Why I am a big proponent about Health At Every Size (HAES)
– Why Health At Every Size (HAES) is about anything BUT „promoting obesity“
– What I believe it takes to truly appreciate and celebrate the body-diversity out there
– Why I believe we all need some loving support on this difficult journey toward a life that is not ruled by dieting, food fears and exercise compulsions
– Why and when I find myself still falling back into my own diet-mentality-possessed brain and how I need just as much support as anyone…
… And so much more!

Let’s start this journey toward body positivity, acceptance of diversity and a more balanced approach to health; goodbye to body negativity, fat-phobia, disordered eating and a compulsive relationship to exercise. Confidence is an inside job and it’s high time we bust the myth that weight should dictate our worth. Let’s start this journey to loving our bodies from a Health At Every Size perspective and let’s nourish our body, mind and soul without going crazy.

(And if you like the show, please make sure you subscribe to it on iTunes, as soon as it’s up! Thank you so much!)

********* Don’t forget!*********

Make sure to join my tribe and meet some of the most supportive, loving and kind people of all shapes and sizes, including great coaches and leaders! We’re right over here at:

We’re all a click away…

Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation by becoming a “Patreon”; so that I can keep producing it. Thank you! Here’s the link:
https://www.patreon.com/lifeunrestricted

Please: Do subscribe on iTunes (Apple):
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2
or on Stitcher (Android):
http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=93987&refid=stpr

Father… I come unarmed.

After my post about why Mother’s Day had never meant anything to me up until 2016, I was floored by the sheer amount of responses I received from you. (Day = made!)
What struck me, though, was just how many times this one question was asked:

“How were you able to forgive your mother??“

Weeeeell… that work is still under construction; there are so many layers to the story that I could fill a book with them. Clearly, you don’t want to spend 14 days reading through the murky depths of this complex story.
But since I want to give you an honest answer, I’ll take my father instead, okay?
Due to his great absence, there is a certain lack of material, so it’ll be a lot easier to explain. (And take a moment to acknowledge the neatness of this: it’s actually Father’s Day today!)

Be aware that this is a rather lengthy read, because you simply need a bit of the backstory so that you get the big picture. Also, I guess you brought that upon yourself. 🙂

So. My father.
The man who left when I was not even born yet.
I hated him for leaving me with an unpredictable, alcoholic mother who was living a highly destructive double life; every day, until the early afternoon, she was the highly intelligent, beautiful and well-dressed personal assistant…and after that, at home, she turned into the other one.
I hated him for turning a blind eye on everything that was going on, and for not even listening when I asked him to please, PLEASE, let me live with him.
Interestingly enough though, I never realized how much resentment I held in me until after my mother’s death. Those feelings had all been locked away under layers and layers of desperately glorifying him as if he were a rockstar. In fact, the more my mother—usually with a tongue heavy from alcohol—insisted that he was ‘the most despicable specimen of humanity’, the more I put my father on a pedestal.

The reality that he ‘didn’t want me’ was too painful.

So, instead, I idealized him.
I didn’t know much about him to start with, but I was certain that he was the coolest man ever.
The beautiful hands he had. The awesome massive silver-turquoise ring he wore. The way he dressed in that lax-but-totally-fly style. His elegant handwriting. The smell of his aftershave (Chanel Antaeus). His trendy red round glasses…  Glory.
Add all that to the fact that he even took me to McDonalds once (a total no-go with my weight-obsessed mother)… I mean, wasn’t it evident that this was Superman??

petersunnyboy

Sometimes, I got very lucky. Ever so rarely, when it suited him, he let me sleep over at his place on a Saturday. Dream-come-true moments!
I remember sitting in his living room, in front of this antique, wooden sideboard with his huge headphones on, listening through his awesome records collection. I must have spent days with John Lee Hooker, Eric Clapton and the Dire Straits in my kiddo-ears, playing with the curly cord of the headphones, smelling his vanilla-scented tobacco and dreaming of living like this. I marveled at his wicked records (since there was never music on in my house, these tunes were fucking groundbreaking for me), his disturbingly interesting collection of slightly offensive and PG-rated comics, his stunning—and certainly more than slightly erotic—pictures and posters on the walls, his incredibly gorgeous girlfriends, and his sheer knowledge of seemingly all things… I imagined it would be heaven on earth to be allowed to live with this ubermensch in this retro-yet-modern-yet-cozy apartment that always smelled so nice (and was equipped with a fridge full of the most aaaaawesome foods I’d ever seen… OMG! Ketchup, peanut butter, Coke, Nutella!!)

I couldn’t admit to myself that he never had the intention of any sort of commitment to me. All he was committed to was his own pleasure-seeking, the pursuit of beautiful skinny women, going out, traveling, and generally having as few responsibilities as possible…
Clearly, it was too much of an inconvenience to get his daughter out of hell.
And as any kid would have, I made it about me. I made it about me not being pretty enough, not being worthy of such a cool man’s love.

Well, he stopped being so cool to me when I lived with him for 2 years after my mother died.
I was a teenager and still too young to live on my own, so he ‘had’ to take me, and that’s exactly how it felt. I was an inconvenience.
It didn’t take long for me to get to know and fear his mean side, his sudden outbursts of anger, his icy sarcastic remarks about anything I did or said, his ridicule for my body, my clothes, my hair, my eating. I got to know the king of one-upping other people, the king of shaming people who had a different opinion, a lesser education, other values.
What I especially hated was the way he drove his girlfriends to tears with his disrespect and unpredictability.

Enter resentment.

He was out of the country a lot, so I was on my own for long stretches of time. In retrospect, I’m pretty amazed that I survived puberty without heading for the gutter, because—just as before—I had to make all the big decisions of my life without any sort of parental guidance. You know, career choice, first boyfriend, what to wear to work, dealing with emotions…
Of course, I moved out the first chance I got.

And for the next 20 years, I oscillated between hateful dreams of revenge and a humiliating hustle for his approval.
What I knew for sure was that what had to be avoided at all cost was to appear needy in any way. Asking for advice, support or—heaven forbid!—comfort, had him running for the hills. So I played the independent, low-maintenance daughter.

Seeing the gorgeous skinny women he courted, I of course soon realized that I wasn’t like them at all. At one point, I convinced myself that my mother must have been right when she used to call me ugly and fat. I mean, he seemed to be ashamed of his daughter’s looks too! So in order to live up his standard, I did what I already knew how to do. Fixing my body, getting leaner, trying to ‘improve’ my looks.
When I lost a bunch of weight and started to become known as a national radio host, he suddenly showed interest, and started boasting to his friends about me… He made me his big success story and only called to gather the latest info and to promise to keep in touch or support me.—A cheap betrayal, really, because after being updated, he usually just went AWOL again and forgot all the promises he’d made.
No matter how much I dieted, exercised, hustled or denied myself, he kept being unavailable.

Something in me went very cold and very hard over the years and I started applying cold-war-mode whenever he was nasty. I threatened to cut all contact, thinking: Screw you and your friends! I got myself to where I am today, so fuck you for making it all about your great fathering!“ I usually even followed through with it for a year or two. But sooner or later he would suddenly reappear and want to go and have coffee with me, and—boom—the longing for fatherly love washed over me again. (“Now! Now! He’s finally come to his senses!“ said my hungry heart and of course I lost all my resolve every time, of course my soul melted every time, of course I left my dignity rotting in the corner… Only every damn time.)
I would’ve given everything to finally be able to steal my way into his heart.
Only… that never seemed to happen and, soon enough, he would turn mean, snappy or hostile again, and back I went into cold-war-mode… Rinse and repeat.

So I secretly fostered this smoldering resentment inside of me.
I was addicted to the conviction that I was the one who was in the right, addicted to the fantasy that I would bring him to his knees (wailing with remorse), and I was addicted to the idea that I would, one day, dance on his grave.
It’s a little embarrassing to admit how totally self-righteous I was, how quick to make accusations and how easy it was for me to speak disparagingly about him to my friends:
“He can go to hell. He never once helped me when I was down, he’s never there, he forgets my birthday. He’s just a coldhearted, ignorant, narcissistic bastard!“ —You bet, everyone who knew the story agreed with me: “He’s your my goddamn father, so he should at least start to effing act like something similar to that. He is the one who needs to apologize for his grandiose, ongoing failure.” Yes! Surely, I wouldn’t let him get off the hook that easily.

And aaall the while…. he just kept being who he was.

And even more embarrassing: I was still afraid of his rejection and I was never able to be authentic around him. Deep down, I was still a sucker for his approval, and since I lacked self-respect and a sense of worthiness, I was kinda stuck in victim-mentality.
I stubbornly held on to my belief that he was the one who had to make the first move towards real change.

Fast forward.
Today, I love this cantankerous guy. And he is still exactly the same.
What has changed, is my attitude.

And today I know why it took me so damn long to forgive him:
I tried to think my way to forgiveness. I tried ‘talk-therapying’ my way to forgiveness. I read about forgiveness. I tried to affirm forgiveness and I tried the spiritual detour to forgiveness (you know… ‘meditating a few times, assuming to thereby jump from status quo directly into divine love for all living creatures… bliiiiing!’). Nope. Not happening.
I couldn’t get rid of my accusations against him! All I saw was MY lack of love, MY neglected needs, MY poor daughter heart. It was a very heady matter, and it was a lot of black and white thinking and very little real feeling. I had zero real compassion for him, and really very little real compassion for myself.

Look, you might hate it, but it is what it is:

There is no shortcut to forgiveness.

As life has it, I had to be down in the shitters really bad to become humble enough to explore beyond what I was used to. It was November 2014 when all my walls crumbled and I was at the end of my wits. I was way too skinny and my body was shutting down from exercising obsessively. My life was devoid of any meaning, and I was feeling crippling anxiety almost 24/7. All I wanted was… to leave this shit-show.

I started searching through Youtube for videos about resilience, self-worth, authenticity and vulnerability and after consuming all of what I found from Dr. Brené Brown, I ended up watching stuff about mindfulness meditation.

WTF… meditation?!

I had only massive resistance to that. Who wants to sit in silence, trying not to think about anything, while that monkey mind inside goes fucking batshit?? But, Io and behold, I was humble enough to open some doors in my mind and, well, just tried. And kept trying. As if a part of me knew that I had found the key to the door of healing. I listened to a ton of teachings and learned something that sounded so ‘out there’ that I didn’t believe it at first:

That me and my thoughts aren’t ONE.
That I could put some space between my (usually racing) thoughts.
That my emotions aren’t who I am. That they might flow through me, but that they couldn’t, well, kill me.
So I discovered, over the next few months, that I could, in fact, hold space for myself, somewhere deep inside. I discovered that in that space, I could make room for some of those intense waves of emotions I was so terrified of, and let them flow through me without drowning in them.

What I also learned (which made immediate sense) was the fact that a lifetime of angry resentment in my heart only made me suffer.

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. (Mark Twain)

It meant that I lived like a victim and kept being dependent on his changing, his approval, and needing his love.
With all this started my journey into self-inquiry and I learned something that was previously inconceivable for me:

Happiness really is an inside job.

I needed to love myself. And I knew that in order to ever make this miracle happen, I couldn’t avoid those difficult feelings any longer, and that I had to stop running away from the pain. I stopped delusioning myself that anger was the easier way out and started to learn about different ways to work through some of that.
(—gulp.)

I certainly didn’t start this because I had forgiveness in mind. In fact, it was probably the least important thing I had in mind. I simply wanted to start to get better. And I knew I had a lot of work to do. Work that is still in progress, quite obviously.
I had to start somewhere, right? So, of course my dad came up. But it was quite a surprise to stumble upon forgiveness like this.
Here’s how it went: I had no idea what the outcome of all of it would be, but I started writing down why I was so resentful towards him… Well, that certainly took some time. When I was done, I put all the pieces of paper on the floor around me, sat cross-legged and closed my eyes, thinking about what all of these memories really meant for my life. And finally I was courageous enough to let the gunk come up.
And boy, it did come up.
I felt my arms get warmer and warmer until the seemed explode with heat and I felt like I had turned into some human laser-beam ready to burn the sun. Anger, my friend, pure as it gets.
Instead of running from it, like I used to do, I faced it.
I imagined him sitting across from me (my poor pillow was the stand-in) and let the whole burning red mess come out. My throat produced quite impressive furious growls and I hissed how badly I wanted to hurt him. Let me tell you; in my imaginary carnage, not one gory detail was left out. In fact, I felt it was appropriate to mutilate ‘pillow-him’ with my claws and teeth (which I totally did), to scream at him and to curse him for his emotional bankruptcy.
—As gruesome as this sounds, it really wasn’t. It was like a life-force storming through me in one gigantic wave and I swear it didn’t take more than a few minutes for the anger to subside. And then another feeling came up.
My throat started to constrict and I felt incredibly guilty for what I had done to ‘him’, and for a minute there, I couldn’t help but whisper I am sorry! I am so sorry!“
Right after that, I felt a surge of unspeakable sadness rising up, a feeling of lonely longing.

The raw, undisguised longing of a daughter for her daddy.

While I was crouching on the floor, whimpering, I kept thinking how ridiculous this whole scene would have to look if someone were to look in, but of course, there was no one. I was my own judge. And this wasn’t the time to judge.
This was the time to just ride with the wave and let go, so I just let myself cry for my father. The wave finally passed, and suddenly, I felt an inexplicable compassion well up inside me. Where before there was anger, toxic resentment, coldness and thoughts of revenge, there was, I don’t know… clarity.

In all of this broken-openness, I saw him differently and—talk about unexpected outcomes—felt love for him.

I understood that my father had his own story with his mother and he was carrying so much unprocessed shit with him that he was a victim himself.
In the months to follow, my view of my dad started to shift. I began to see his own undigested story in his outbursts, absences, sarcastic remarks and his need to be right. I started to look for the boy he once was in his eyes.

1950-004

A sweet boy with a lot of hurt in his heart.

And I saw that his way of being a father to me was the best he could do. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that all of what he did or didn’t do, it had nothing to do with me. It had never been about me being the wrong way or not good enough. He might never be able to express his love for me in a way the little girl inside me would want him to, but I know he loves me.—In his very own way, as good as he can.
What also happened after my anger-cleanse is that I ceased having any expectations towards him. I just let him be. Today, I am not afraid of him anymore, because I have established healthy boundaries for myself. I can say ‘no’.
Love or not, no one said I have to put up with all of his moods, or that I have to like him all the time.
When he’s nasty, I remind myself that it’s never about me personally, and I take the liberty to tell him three things: That this is not the way I’m willing to communicate with him, that I will call him back another time and that I love him anyway. It works just fine.

Sometimes, it’s challenging. It’s in those moments that I remember the boy he once was. And that makes it incredibly easy and even fucking wonderful to tell him:
Dad, I love you. You’re a good guy.

Know what? I bet no one ever told him that.

Vater… Ich komme unbewaffnet.

Nach meinem Text darüber, warum mir Muttertag dieses Jahr zum ersten Mal etwas bedeutet hat, erhielt ich unglaubliche viele bewegende Rückmeldungen. Danke! Hat mir glatt die Sonne an den episch verregneten Sommerhimmel gehängt.
Was mich aber masslos erstaunte, war die schiere Häufigkeit einer einzigen Frage, die in so vielen Nachrichten auftauchte:

“Wie hast du deiner Mutter verzeihen können?“

Steilpass.
Nun… Diese Baustelle ist noch nicht ganz aufgeräumt; sie ist verdammt vielschichtig und zudem hast du kaum 14 Tage Zeit, um dich durch alle Verschlängelungen dieser komplexen Geschichte zu lesen. Da ich aber eine ehrliche Antwort geben will, nehme ich meinen Vater als Beispiel. Durch seine grossartige Abwesenheit gibt’s da einen gewissen Mangel an Material, also ist das Ganze einiges einfacher zu erklären.
(Und nehmen wir uns einen Moment, um die Hübschheit des Faktes zu schätzen, dass ausgerechnet heute… tadaaaa, Vatertag ist. Irrsinnig schön eingefädelt, nicht?)
Ahem.
Das könnte eine längere Sache werden, schliesslich braucht ihr ein bisschen Hintergrundgeschichte, um das grosse Bild zu sehen. Überhaupt! Ihr habt es ja gewollt. 🙂

Nun. Mein Vater.
Der Mann, der schon vor meiner Geburt einen Abgang gemacht hatte.
Ich verachtete ihn, dass er mich mit einer Mutter alleine liess, die unberechenbar und alkoholsüchtig war und obendrein ein gefährliches Doppelleben führte; bis am frühen Nachmittag war sie jeweils die blitzgescheite, schöne und gepflegte Privatsekretärin… und danach, daheim, die Andere.
Ich hasste ihn dafür, dass er tat, als wisse er nichts davon und es jedesmal überhörte wenn ich ihn anbettelte, mich bittebitte bei sich leben zu lassen.
Zu jener Zeit war ich mir jedoch überhaupt nicht bewusst, wieviel Verachtung in mir begraben lag, denn bis meine Mutter starb, verehrte ich meinen Vater wie einen unerreichbaren Popstar. Ja, je mehr sie jeweils mit alkoholgelähmter Zunge beteuerte, er sei ‘das mieseste Exemplar menschlicher Existenz’, desto mehr stellte ich ihn auf ein Podest.

Die Tatsache, dass er ‘mich nicht wollte’, war zu schmerzhaft.

Also glorifizierte ich ihn.
Viel wusste ich ja nicht über ihn, aber ich war mir sicher: dieser Mann musste der coolste Mann der Welt sein.
Seine schönen Hände. Der massive Silberring, den er trug. Wie er sich so nachlässig-aber-voll-mondän kleidete. Seine elegante Handschrift. Der Geruch seines Aftershaves (Chanel Antaeus). Seine trendy rote Rundbrille… Seufz. Und obendrauf die Tatsache, dass er mich sogar zu McDonalds ausführte (ein völliger No-go mit meiner diätbesessenen Mutter)… Ich meine, war doch klar, dass das Superman sein musste?

petersunnyboy

Es kam nicht oft vor, aber wenn ich Glück hatte und es ihm in den Kram passte, nahm er sich die Zeit und ich durfte an einem Samstag bei ihm übernachten gehen. Ich war im Himmel.
Ich erinnere mich, wie ich in seinem Wohnzimmer vor diesem antiken Holzsideboard sass, seine riesigen Kopfhörer über den Kinderohren, und seine tollen Platten hörte. Ich glaube, ich muss Tage mit John Lee Hooker, Eric Clapton und den Dire Straits verbracht haben. Ich weiss noch, wie ich mit der Kordel der Kopfhörer spielte, den Geruch seines Vanilletabaks in der Nase, und davon träumte, so ein Leben zu haben. Bei einen Vater mit so abgefahrenen Platten (daheim gab’s nur Klassik, für mich war das krass moderne Musik!), mit so viel (verstörend interessanten) offensiv-sexualisierten Comics, mit all den aufregenden—mehr als leicht erotischen—Bildern an den Wänden, mit seinen bildhübschen Freundinnen, mit seinem immensen Wissen über scheinbar alle Dinge…
Ich stellte mir das himmlisch vor, mit ihm hier, in dieser schicken, retro-aber-doch-modern-und-obendrein-gemütlichen Wohnung, die immer so fein roch, leben zu dürfen.
Und erwähnte ich seinen Kühlschrank? Ich fiel fast in Ohnmacht, als ich zum ersten Mal da rein blickte: Ketchup! Nutella! Erdnussbutter! Cola! Ohhhhgottohgott, all meine Freunde an einem Ort!

Ich konnte mir nicht eingestehen, dass es ihm nicht hätte ferner liegen können, sich richtig auf mich einzulassen. Denn natürlich kam ihm meine Bedürftigkeit äusserst ungelegen; er wollte seine Dinge mit niemandem teilen und seine Freiheit opfern wollte er schon gar nicht. Was ihm gefiel waren schöne (selbstverständlich schlanke) Frauen, möglichst zahlreiche Reisen und möglichst wenig Verpflichtung. Meine Seele tat, was jede Kinderseele tut; sie speichert sowas ab unter: Das muss an mir liegen. Ich nahm an, einfach nicht hübsch genug  und wertvoll genug für die Liebe eines so coolen Vaters zu sein.

Naja, ich fand ihn schnell nicht mehr so cool, als ich für zwei Jahre übergangsmässig bei ihm lebte, nachdem meine Mutter gestorben war. Ich war ein Teenager und noch zu jung, um alleine wohnen zu dürfen, also ‘musste’ er mich aufnehmen, und genau so fühlte es sich auch an. Ich war ein unwillkommener Gast.

Es ging nicht lange bis ich seine verletzende Seite kennen und fürchten lernte: seine urplötzlichen aggressiven Reaktionen, seine herablassende Kälte, seine sarkastischen Sprüche über Dinge, die ich tat oder sagte, seine Art, meinen Körper, mein Aussehen, mein Essen, meine Kleidung spöttisch vernichtend zu kommentieren.
Ich bekam ihn zu sehen, den König bösartiger Kommentare anderer Leute Meinungen oder Wertvorstellungen, den König des Belächelns aller mit weniger dekorativen Bildungshintergründen, den König des Geizes, den König der Unberechenbarkeit und den König des Frauen-auf-Distanz-haltens. Es war nicht leicht zuzuschauen, wie er seine Freundinnen zu Tränen bringen konnte mit seinen herablassenden, respektlosen Bemerkungen.

Vorhang auf für meine Verachtung für ihn.

Er war viel auf Reisen, darum war ich immer wieder für längere Zeit alleine in seiner Wohnung. Rückblickend finde ich, es ist ein Wunder, dass ich in der Pubertät nicht leise abstürzte und es stattdessen irgendwie fertig brachte, alle grossen Entscheidungen meines Lebens ohne elterliche Unterstützung zu fällen; du weisst schon, Karrierewahl, erster Freund, was für Kleidung wählen für den ersten Tag in der Banklehre, mit Gefühlen umgehen…
Und natürlich zog ich dort so schnell ich konnte wieder aus.

Während den nächsten 20 Jahren oszillierte ich zwischen hasserfüllten Racheträumen und einer entwürdigenden Suche nach seiner Anerkennung.
Da er nie damit umgehen konnte, dass man etwas von ihm will oder braucht, musste ich um jeden Preis vermeiden, ihn je um Unterstützung, Ratschlag oder—umhimmelswillen!!—Geborgenheit zu beten. Ich machte also ganz automatisch einen auf unabhängige Low-Maintenance-Tochter.

Seine hübschen schlanken Partnerinnen zu sehen, war für mich in all den Jahren ein klares Zeichen dafür, dass ich optisch schlicht ungenügend war.
“Meine Mutter muss recht gehabt haben, als sie mich dick und hässlich nannte“, dachte ich je länger je häufiger, denn ja… ich meine, mein Vater schien sich ja auch zu schämen für mich. Um seinem Standard entsprechen zu können, tat ich, was ich ja schon von früher gut kannte: Meinen Körper zurechtstutzen, Essregeln aufstellen, immer mehr trainieren—mein Aussehen ‘verbessern’.

Als ich es schaffte, ziemlich viel abzunehmen und meine Karriere als Radiomoderatorin zu blühen begann, zeigte er plötzlich Interesse—oder sagen wir es so: er begann, bei seinen Kollegen aufzuschneiden, was er für eine tolle Tochter hat. Ich war quasi seine Erfolgsgeschichte. Er rief mich alle zwei, drei Monate an, um das Neueste zu erfahren und mir väterliche Unterstützung zu versprechen.—Ein recht billiger Verrat, denn kaum hatte er jeweils die Informationen, die er seinen Leuten weitererzählen konnte, vergass er seine Versprechungen wieder. Egal, wie viel Kilos ich verlor, wie sportlich ich war, wie ich mich für ihn verbog oder mich selber verleugnete, er blieb emotional unverfügbar.

Über die Jahre wurde etwas in mir drin sehr kalt und sehr hart und ich begann, auf Eisernen Vorhang zu machen, wenn er unausstehlich war. Ich schwor mir jeweils, ihn nie mehr an mich heran zu lassen und begann, die Brücken abzubrechen. Scheiss auf den und seine Freunde“, dachte ich mir dann. Ich habe es aus eigener Kraft bis hierhin geschafft, so etwas wie ihn brauche ich in meinem Leben nicht!Ich zog das dann natürlich auch durch—in der Regel für ein Jahr oder zwei—, bis die Hoffnung auf väterliche Liebe mich wieder übermannte. Früher oder tauchte er nämlich immer wieder auf, lächelte bezaubernd und sagte mir, er habe mich vermisst. (“Jetzt! Jetzt! Jetzt!“, frohlockte dann mein hungriges Herz, er hat es eingesehen!“ Und natürlich schmolz ich jedesmal, natürlich liess ich jedesmal meine Würde in einer Ecke liegen, natürlich vergass ich jedesmal meine Vorsätze… Jedes verdammte Mal.) Ich hätte alles gegeben, mich in sein Herz stehlen zu können.
Nur… schien das leider nie zu klappen, denn spätestens beim zweiten Kaffee war er wieder herablassend, gelangweilt oder schroff. Wieder Zeit für Kalten Krieg… Auf repeat.

Ich war voll von glühender, versteckter Verachtung.
Ich war süchtig danach, endlich zu meinem Recht zu kommen. Süchtig danach, ihn reuevoll in die Knie zu zwingen. Ich schwor, eines Tages auf seinem Grab zu tanzen.
Es ist mir ein bisschen peinlich einzugestehen, wie selbstgerecht ich argumentierte, wie schnell ich Anschuldigungen parat hatte und wie gerne ich schlecht über ihn redete. Er hat es alles kolossal vergeigt. Egal, wie dringend ich ihn brauchte, er hat nie auch nur einen Finger gerührt. Er vergisst sogar meinen Geburtstag. Ein kaltherziges, ignorantes, narzisstisches Arschloch.“ Und jede Wette; alle, die ihn und die Geschichte kannten, stimmten zu: “Er ist dein verdammter Vater. Wieso kann er sich nicht einfach benehmen? Wenigstens müsste er sich endlich entschuldigen für sein grandioses Versagen.” Ja! Logisch, oder? So einfach kam der mir nicht davon.

Und derweil… tja, blieb er so, wie er immer gewesen war.

Und was fast noch peinlicher ist: So wütend ich auch war, ich hatte immer noch Angst vor seiner Ablehnung, und ich schaffte es trotzdem nicht, ihm gegenüber mich selber zu sein und zu mir zu stehen.

Ganz tief in mir wollte ich nur eins. Seine Anerkennung. Tief unten, dort wo auch der fundamentale Mangel an Selbstvertrauen, Selbstachtung und Selbstwertgefühl sass. Darum steckte ich in dieser grimmigen Opferhaltung fest und hielt stur an der Überzeugung fest, dass er derjenige war, der den ersten Schritt zu machen hatte.

Spulen wir vorwärts.
Heute liebe ich diesen knorrigen Menschen. Und er ist immer noch der Gleiche.
Was sich verändert hat, ist meine Einstellung.

Und heute weiss ich auch, warum es so furchtbar lange gedauert hat, bis ich ihm wirklich vergeben konnte:
Ich hatte versucht, ihm gedanklich zu vergeben. Ich hatte versucht, ihm mit Gesprächstherapie zu vergeben. Ich hatte versucht, mehr über Vergebung zu lesen. Ich hatte versucht, ihm mit Affirmationen zu vergeben. Ich hatte die spirituelle Umfahrung versucht (‘so n’bisschen meditieren und vom Status Quo direkt in göttliche Liebe für alle Wesen rüberschweben… bliiiing!’). Nützte alles nix. Ich brachte meine Anschuldigungen ihm gegenüber einfach nicht aus meinem Kopf. Alles, was ich sah, war mein Mangel an Liebe, meine vernachlässigten Bedürfnisse, mein armes Tochterherz. Es war eine sehr kopfige Angelegenheit und es war haufenweise Schwarz-Weiss-Denken und seeeehr wenig Emotion mit im Spiel. Ich hatte nämlich null Mitgefühl mit ihm, und auch nur sehr wenig wirkliches Mitgefühl mit mir selber.

Ich sags ungern, aber echt jetzt:

Es gibt keine Abkürzung zu echtem Verzeihen.

Wie das Leben halt so tut, musste auch ich zuerst grässlich tief im Schlamm stecken um bescheiden genug zu werden, dass ich mit meinen herkömmlichen Mitteln offenbar nicht wirklich erfolgreich operierte und über meinen inneren Gartenzaun hinweg blicken musste. Das war im November 2014. Alle meine Mauern waren eingestürzt und ich war mit meiner—haha!— ‘Weisheit’ am Ende. Mein Gewicht war gefährlich tief und mein Körper begann immer lauter zu leiden von all dem Ess-Irrsinn un dem exzessiven Sport, den ich ihm jahrelang zumutete. Mein Leben hatte für mich weder einen Sinn noch wusste ich weiter. Ich war fast rund um die Uhr innerlich gelähmt vor Angst und sehnte mich nur noch danach, dass diese miese Show endlich zu Ende sein könnte.

Ich fing an, mir Youtube-Videos zu Themen wie Selbstwertgefühl, Authentizität, Resilienz und Emotionen zu schauen, und nachdem ich alles, was ich von Dr. Brené Brown wie Löschpapier aufgesogen hatte, stiess ich plötzlich auf gigantisch viel Material zum Thema Achtsamkeitsmeditation (‘mindfulness meditation’) und was dies alles bewirken konnte.

Was zum Teufel… Meditation?

Da hatte ich ja nur massiiiive Widerstände dagegen… Wer will schon reglos rumsitzen und sich mit Nichtdenken herumzuschlagen währenddem der eigene Kopf tollwütig vor sich hin tobt?? Doch—man glaubt es kaum—ich war bescheiden genug ein paar Türen in meinem Kopf zu öffnen und es wenigstens zu versuchen. Und weiterzuversuchen.
Als ob ein Teil von mir haargenau wusste, dass ich da den Schlüssel zu meiner eigenen Heilung in den Händen hielt. Ich zog mir die Videos von zig verschiedenen Meditationslehrern rein, die alle—in leicht anderen Worten—von einer Tatsache redeten, die mir so jenseits vorkam, dass ich es zuerst nicht recht glauben konnte:

Wie bitte? Meine Gedanken und ich sind nicht eins?
Wie bitte
? Man kann zwischen zwei (bei mir ständig rasenden) Gedanken eine Pause einschalten?
Wie bitte? Emotionen wollen nur “wie Wellen” (!?) durch einen durchfliessen, und erst das ganze Aufstauen macht sie problematisch?
Das machte mir eigenartig Mut.
Also entdeckte ich im Verlauf der nächsten Monate irgendwo in mir drin—wenn ich es schaffte, meinen Kopf still werden zu lassen—dass ich auch höchsten emotionalen Wellengang, vor dem ich ja ständig auf der Flucht war, Schritt für Schritt durch mich hindurch spülen lassen kann, ohne darin zu ertrinken.

In der gleichen Zeit begann es mir auch einzuleuchten, dass es nur mir selber zusetzte, einen Groll so lange mit mir herumzutragen—ich trug ihn ja mit mir herum!

Groll mit uns herumtragen ist wie das Greifen nach einem glühenden Stück Kohle, in der Absicht, es nach jemandem zu werfen; man verbrennt sich dabei nur selbst. (Siddhartha Gautama)

Und das hiess auch, dass ich wie ein Opfertier davon abhängig blieb, dass er sich endlich veränderte, dass er mir endlich die nötige Liebe gibt.
Mit all dem startete meinen Weg, mich selbst zu hinterfragen. Dabei lernte ich etwas, was mir vorher nicht erschlossen war:

Glücklichsein kommt von innen, nicht von aussen.

Ich musste anfangen, mich selber lieben zu lernen.
Ich musste einsehen, dass ich meine schwierigen Gefühle nicht mehr umfahren konnte, wenn ich dieses Wunder je verwirklichen wollte. Ich musste aufhören, vor dem Schmerz davonzurennen. Also machte ich mich schlau, wie so ein Verarbeitungsprozess ungefähr aussehen würde. (—schluck!)

“Vergeben” war damals gar nicht mein Fokus. Das war mir sogar das Unwichtigste überhaupt, denn eigentlich wollte ich nur, dass es mir endlich wieder besser geht. Und ich wusste, dass ich verdammt viel Arbeit vor mir hatte. Arbeit, die offensichtlich bis heute andauert. Aber ich musste ja irgendwo anfangen, nicht? Also kam irgendwann auch das Thema Vater auf den Tisch, und in jenem Prozess stolperte ich eigentlich recht überraschend auf das Gefühl des “Vergebens”. Es war plötzlich einfach da, und das Ganze ging so:

Ich hatte erstmal null Ahnung, was alles dabei rauskommen würde, aber ich begann aufzuschreiben, wieso ich meinen Vater so verachtete. Was er getan hatte, gesagt hatte, nicht getan hatte und nicht gesagt hatte. Alles auf Papier. Das brauchte so seine Zeit, und erst, als mir nichts mehr in den Sinn kam, legte ich den Stift nieder und legte die Blätter auf den Boden. Dann setzte ich mich hin und schloss meine Augen und dachte darüber nach was diese Erinnerungen für mein Leben bedeuteten. Und dann war ich endlich mutig genug, den ganzen stinkenden Emotionshaufen hochkommen zu lassen.
Und Mannomann, kam der hoch.
Ich spürte, wie meine Arme immer wärmer und wärmer wurden, bis sie vor Hitze zu platzen schienen und ich mich wie eine menschliche Laserkanone fühlte, konstruiert, um die Sonne zu versengen. Wut, meine Freunde, blanke Wut. Und zum ersten Mal rannte ich nicht mehr davon sondern stellte mich ihr: Ich stellte mir vor, er sässe mir gegenüber (mein Kissen musste als Platzhalter herhalten) und ich liess mich wüten.
Mein Hals produzierte recht imposantes, hasserfülltes Knurren und ich brüllte alles Vernichtende aus mir raus. Von ganz tief unten stieg das Gift auf, das nur eines wollte: ihm alles doppelt und dreifach heimzuzahlen. Ich fand es auch durchaus angebracht, meinen Kissenvater zu mit Fäusten und Zähnen zu malträtieren, so übel verfluchte ich ihn für seinen emotionalen Bankrott.
—So schlimm das klingt, es war nicht wirklich schlimm; es war mehr, als würde eine ungestüme Lebenskraft durch mich hindurch gewittern. Es ging kaum länger als ein paar Minuten und meine Wut war verpufft, weg, im Nichts verschwunden.
Dann zeigte sich jedoch ein anderes Gefühl.
Mein Hals begann sich zuzuschnüren. Plötzlich fühlte ich mich entsetzlich schuldig dafür, was ich ‘ihm’ soeben angetan hatte und konnte mir anders, als leise vor mich hin zu flüstern: Es tut mir leid. Es tut mir so leid!“
Und genau danach spürte ich, was unter all der Wut versteckt gewesen war.
Da stieg eine unsagbare Traurigkeit in mir hoch, ein Gefühl von erdrückender Sehnsucht.

Das rohe, unüberspielte Sehnen einer Tochter nach ihrem Papa.

Als ich da auf dem Boden sass und nach meinem Vater heulte, kam mir parallel immer wieder in den Sinn, wie lächerlich das Ganze wohl aussehen musste, falls mich jetzt jemand sehen würde. Aber da war niemand. Ich war mein eigener Richter, und jetzt war nicht die Zeit für Peinlichkeit. Jetzt war die Zeit, mit der Welle echter Traurigkeit mitzuschwimmen, und sie ziehen zu lassen. Also liess ich mich weinen und nach meinem Vater rufen.
Als sich das alles langsam legte, spürte ich urplötzlich ein völlig unerklärliches Mitgefühl. Wo vorher Wut, Verachtung und Kälte gewesen waren, war plötzlich, ich weiss nicht… Klarheit.

In all der Aufgebrochenheit meines Herzens sah ich ihn zum ersten Mal anders und—hat da einer von unerwarteten Resultaten geredet?—fühlte Liebe für ihn.

Ich verstand, dass mein Vater seine eigene schwierige Geschichte mit seiner Mutter hat und selbst so viel unverarbeiteten Dreck mit sich herum trägt, dass er selber mit einer verhärmten Opferhaltung durchs Leben geht.

In den Folgemonaten fing sich meine Sicht auf meinen Vater an zu verändern. Ich begann in seinen Ausbrüchen, seinen Absenzen, seinen sarkastischen Bemerkungen und seinem Drang, Recht zu haben, seine eigenen, unverdauten Geschichten zu erkennen. Ich begann den Jungen in seinen Augen zu sehen.

1950-004

Einen süssen Jungen mit einer Menge Verletzungen in seinem Herzen.

Und ich sah, dass seine Art, ein Vater für mich zu sein, das Beste war, was er geben konnte. Es war mir plötzlich klar, und zwar ohne jeden Zweifel, dass alles, was er je tat oder nicht tat, nie etwas mit mir oder meinem Wert als Tochter zu tun gehabt hatte. Mag sein, dass er mir seine Zuneigung nie so wird zeigen können, wie das kleine Mädchen in mir es sich wünscht, aber ich zweifle nicht mehr daran, dass er mich trotz alledem liebt.—Auf seine Art und so gut er kann.
Was ebenfalls passierte, als ich meinen Hass auf ihn aus mir rausgewaschen hatte, war, dass ich plötzlich keine Erwartungen an ihn mehr hatte. Ich liess ihn einfach sein.
Meine Angst vor ihm verschwand in dem Moment, als ich gesunde Grenzen für mich zog. Heute kann ich ‘nein’ sagen.
Bei aller Liebe; es hat keiner gesagt, dass ich seine Launen einfach über mich ergehen lassen oder ihn zu jeder Zeit toll finden muss. Wenn er unausstehlich ist, erinnere ich mich daran, dass es nicht um mich persönlich geht, und ich dann sage ich ihm jeweils drei Dinge: Dass ich so keine Lust habe, mit ihm zu kommunizieren, dass ich mich ein anderes Mal wieder bei ihm melde, und dass ich ihn trotzdem lieb habe.
Funktioniert bestens.

Wenn es schwierig wird, denke ich wieder an den Jungen, den er einmal war. Und dann ist es plötzlich wieder ganz einfach und sogar verdammt wunderbar, ihm zu sagen:
He du, ich liebe dich. Du bist ein guter Kerl.

Weisst du was? Ich wette, dass er das vorher nie zu hören bekommen hat. Höchste Zeit.

Silent dialogues # 1…

When you’re one ‘but’ short of winning.

 

Me: “Hmhmm, s’morning ‘gain?”

Gremlin: “Fuck! It’s 9.30 already, and you haven’t gotten anything done yet.”

Me: “But I’m sooo tired this morning.”

Gremlin: “Ha! From what?? You should’ve just gotten up earlier, then you’d be fresh by now. Also, your exercises for your back and core could long be done and there’d still be enough time for a serious bicycle-trip. You seem to forget just how many calories you ate yesterday evening! Now’s really not the right time to try the avoidance-number.”

Me: “But you keep saying that every day…”

Gremlin: “Goddamn it, get your lazy ass moving already. Other people have been up for hours, —and guess who has already finished their cardio session by now? Correct, it’s not you.”

Me: “But I’ve exercised every day this week!”

Gremlin: “So fucking what?? You’ve been eating like a pig, too!”

Me: “But other people don’t have to work out every day.”

Gremlin. “No they don’t, in fact. Because they eat like normal people.”

Me: “But even my doctor says that it’s actually important to rest, and that it’s totally ok to spend a day reading…”

Gremlin: “Look, dumbhead. I’ve told you before, I’m gonna tell you again: It’s you that eats as much as you do. Seriously, if I didn’t push you like this every day, you’d actually turn into a fat sloth within a week. Clearly, you need to be controlled.”

Me: “But don’t I deserve some down time too?”

Gremlin: “Down time, right? May I remind you, you are currently not working and other people would lick their fingers to have your problems! I mean, really. The trauma-therapy? —Bit of tears, so what. The back-surgery-recovery? —Bit of nerve pain, no biggie. You’re pathetic. Other people have JOBS and KIDS!

Me: “But I have worked out without a day off for several years …”

Gremlin: “… Hu-uh!! You DID take days off. In fact, after your back surgery last December you hardly moved for a few days, right there.”

Me: “ARGH! But my hormones are still completely out of whack… Which is a direct result of too much exercise.”

Gremlin: “With you, that doesn’t necessarily have to do with the exercise component. It might just as well be because of your messed-up way of eating you seem to be unable to change.”

Me: “But YOU were the one that told me I could only eat once a day if I want to eat as much as I want. It was YOU who told me that I couldn’t eat like other people if I want to be skinny. And I’ve done just as you said for more than 20 years!”

Gremlin: “You DID lose weight, did you not?”

Me: “But… Yes.”

Gremlin: “So don’t go all whiney on me now! Weight gain just really isn’t an option for you. We were there before, weren’t we? Do you want to be laughed at again? —See. So since you can’t seem to eat normal portions, it looks like you have a price to pay. Lots of exercise and—if only once a day—a gloriously big meal. What’s there to complain?”

Me: “But I’m tired of living like a prisoner!”

Gremlin: “I know you. If I give you one day off, you’ll never put on those damn sneakers again and you’ll never stop eating. It just doesn’t work with you. You’d be the disgrace of the century. And as a friendly reminder: I’ve already let you reduce the amount of exercise since that thing with your back. I mean, before the surgery, 2 hours of daily cardio were your minimum. These days, you’re not even able to do that anymore. And you’ve gained weight. Honestly, you should be glad to have me around for damage control!”

Me: “But I have friends who are really curvy and that doesn’t make them any less lovable. Sigh. They’re probably out for brunch with their boyfriends right now.”

Gremlin: “Fact is, you don’t have a boyfriend. So, go figure. Maybe you just aren’t as lovable. And that’s why you have to make up for it by staying skinny. Can’t have it all. Also, you’re 42.”

Me: “But one day, I want to feel worthy to just sit in the sun, read a book, eat what I want and not having to make up for anything by doing anything. One day, I’d like to feel worthy for just existing.”

Gremlin: “One day, sure. Now, get that workout done already.”

Me: “But… OK.”

 

The end.

Stille Gespräche # 1…

Wenn ein ‘Aber’ fehlt, um zu gewinnen.

 

Ich: “Mmmmhm, s’es schon wieder Morgn?”

Gremlin: “Faaackkk, schon 9.30h! Und du hast natürlich wieder noch rein gar nichts fertig gebracht.”

Ich: “Aber ich fühle heute echt erledigt.”

Gremlin: “Ha! Wovon?? Du hättest nur früher aufstehen sollen, dann wärst du auch frisch. Zudem könnten deine Rücken- und Bauchübungen längst erledigt sein und du hättest obendrein noch locker Zeit für eine anständige Radtour. Du scheinst zu vergessen, wie viele Kalorien du gestern Abend wieder verschlungen hast! Jetzt ist echt nicht die Zeit für deine Vermeidungsnummer. ”

Ich: “Aber das sagst du jeden Tag…”

Gremlin: “Verdammtnochmal, jetzt setz deinen müden Hintern endlich in Bewegung. Andere Leute sind schon seit Stunden auf den Beinen… —und rate mal, wer sein Ausdauertraining schon hinter sich gebracht hat? Richtig. Nicht du.”

Ich: “Aber ich habe doch jeden Tag Sport gemacht diese Woche!”

Gremlin: “Ja, und? Du hast auch wie ein Mähdrescher gegessen.”

Ich: “Aber andere Leute müssen nicht jeden Tag Sport treiben…”

Gremlin: “Nein, müssen sie nicht. Weil sie wie normale Menschen essen können.”

Ich: “Aber meine Ärztin sagt, es sei nichts gegen einen faulen Tag einzuwenden. Im Gegenteil… —angemessene Erholung sei wichtig.”

Gremlin: “Schau, Dumpfbacke. Ich hab’s dir schon zigmal gesagt, und ich sag’s dir gern noch einmal: Du bist die, die soviel isst. Ernsthaft, wenn ich dich nicht jeden Tag so drängen würde, wärst du innerhalb Wochenfrist ein dickes Faultier ohne jeeeg-lich-en Antrieb. Ganz offensichtlich geht ohne meine Kontrolle gar nichts hier.”

Ich: “Aber ich verdiene doch auch meine Auszeiten?”

Gremlin: “Ach, Auszeiten, hm? Darf ich dich daran erinnern, dass du aktuell nicht arbeitest und sich andere Leute die Finger abschlecken würden für deine Probleme? Ich meine, echt. Die Traumatherapie? —Bisschen Tränen, nichts weiter. Der postoperative Rücken-Aufbau? —Bisschen Nervenschmerzen, nix Wildes. Ist doch lächerlich. Andere haben JOBS und KINDER!”

Ich: “Aber ich trainiere nun schon seit mehreren Jahren ohne irgendeinen Unterbruch…”

Gremlin: “…Halthalthalt. MIT Unterbruch. Nach deiner Rücken-OP letzten Dezember hast du dich mehrere Tage kaum bewegt.”

Ich: “ARGH! Aber mein Hormonhaushalt ist immer noch total aus der Bahn. Das passiert, wenn man zu viel Sport treibt.”

Gremlin: “Bei dir muss das nicht unbedingt mit dem vielen Sport zu tun haben. Das könnte auch an deinem jenseitigen Essverhalten liegen, an dem du ja offenbar nichts ändern kannst.”

Ich: “Aber DU hast mir doch gesagt, dass ich nur einmal am Tag essen darf wenn ich essen möchte wie ich will. DU hast mir doch gesagt, ich könne nicht wie andere Leute essen, wenn ich schlank sein will.”

Gremlin: “Und du HAST Gewicht verloren, oder etwa nicht?”

Ich: “Aber… Ja.”

Gremlin: “Also, werde mir jetzt bloss nicht weinerlich. Zunehmen ist für dich einfach keine Option. Da waren wir schon mal, oder? Willst du wieder ausgelacht werden?
—Also. Und da du ja keine kleinen Portionen essen kannst, musst du halt den Preis bezahlen. Viel Sport und—halt nur einmal am Tag—schlemmen. Es gibt nichts zu jammern.”

Ich: “Aber ich mag nicht wie eine Gefangene leben!”

Gremlin: “Ich kenne dich. Gibt man dir frei, kippst du gleich ins andere Extrem. Dann isst du nur noch und verschenkst deine Trainingsschuhe. Geht nicht. Und ich bin dir seit der Rücken-OP doch schon extrem entgegen gekommen. Darf ich dich daran erinnern, dass du zuvor noch minimum 2 Stunden Ausdauersport pro Tag durchgezogen hast? Mindestens! Das magst du ja heutzutage nicht mal mehr. Und zugenommen hast du auch. Kannst froh sein, dass ich mich hier um Schadenbegrenzung kümmere.”

Ich: “Aber ich habe Freundinnen, die viel mehr Kurven haben als ich und deshalb nicht weniger liebenswert sind! Abgesehen davon sind die wahrscheinlich gerade beim gemütlichen Brunch mit dem Liebsten.”

Gremlin: “Fakt ist, du hast keinen Liebsten. Also. Vielleicht bist du halt einfach nicht so liebenswert. Darum musst du das halt optisch wettmachen. Du kannst nicht alles haben. Ach, und 42 bist du auch.”

Ich: “Aber eines Tages möchte ich es wert sein, auch einfach nur in der Sonne zu sitzen, ein Buch zu lesen und zu essen, was ich möchte, ohne dass ich ständig etwas wettmachen muss. Ich möchte mich wertvoll fühlen, einfach nur dafür, dass ich existiere.

Gremlin: “Eines Tages, klar, machen wir. Und jetzt stell dich in deine Turnschuhe und tu was.”

Ich: “Aber… Also gut.”

 

 

Ende.

 

 

Am I the only one?

  • Am I the only one who feels locked in an emotional rollercoaster?
  • Am I the only one who gets overwhelmed at the drop of a hat?
  • Am I the only one who has days when she—for seemingly ridiculous reasons—loses her temper?
  • Am I the only one beating herself up for being so sensitive?
  • Am I the only one who thinks she ‘should have life figured out’ by now?
  • Am I the only one who often feels utterly lonely in this world?
  • Am I the only one who sometimes doesn’t know what she’s getting up for in the morning?
  • Am I the only one who tries my best to apply self-compassion instead of self-criticism—and mostly failing?
  • Am I the only one who feels anxious about almost every one of the big topics—you know… relationships, sex, purpose, risk-taking, loss, vulnerability, rejection, letting-go, decision-making, money, existence—in life?
  • Am I the only one who instantly gets what another person is feeling, but often getting rejected as soon as they realize that she can see what’s behind their mask?
  • Am I the only one totally sucking at smalltalk?
  • Am I the only one who only really feels comfortable when she is able to really connect to the person she’s talking to—when an honest and real conversation is possible (i.e. not nearly often enough)?
  • Am I the only one who is still searching for her tribe?
  • Am I the only one who struggles with self-love?
  • Am I the only one who finds it hard to talk back to her inner mean voice?
  • Am I the only one who constantly finds herself falling back into ‘worry-mode’?
  • Am I the only one who feels self-conscious most of the time (and tries not to let on)?
  • Am I the only one who immediately thinks that something must be ‘not quite good enough’ with her body when someone’s looking at her?
  • Am I the only one who fears she’s not desirable?
  • Am I the only one who feels like a coward for still not breaking her own rigid rules—despite knowing exactly that this means she’s letting fear rule her life?
  • Am I the only one who realizes that her missing out on so many things in life is totally her own fault and she must be a failure for not being able to just fucking chill already?
  • Am I the only one who thinks that she ‘should do better’—(at preferably everything)?

Am I?
I don’t think so.
Yet.
Jesus—it feels this way.

 

Hugs, Meret.

 

Bin ich die Einzige?

  • Bin ich die Einzige, die sich in einem emotionalen Achterbahnwägelchenn gefangen fühlt?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die wegen jeder Kleinigkeit komplett überfordert sein kann?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die Tage erlebt, an denen sie—scheinbar aus dem Nichts—an die Decke gehen könnte?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die sich beschuldigt, viel zu sensibel zu sein?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die denkt, sie müsse das Leben ‘besser im Griff’ haben?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die sich in dieser Welt oft völlig einsam fühlt?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die manchmal nicht weiss, wofür sie aufsteht?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die versucht, statt Selbstkritik mehr Mitgefühl mit sich selber zu haben—es aber meistens überhaupt nicht schafft?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die fast allen grossen Lebensthemen—du weisst schon… Beziehungen, Sex, Lebenszweck, Risiko, Verletzlichkeit, Ablehnung, Verlust, Kontrolle abgeben, Entscheidungen, Geld, Existenz—ängstlich gegenüber steht?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die sofort wahrnimmt, wie sich ihre Mitmenschen fühlen, aber die meistens abgelehnt wird, sobald das Gegenüber merkt, dass sie seht, was hinter der Maske steckt?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die mit Smalltalk nicht klarkommt?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die sich erst wirklich wohl fühlt wenn sie mit einem anderen Menschen aufrichtig und ehrlich reden und sich emotional verbunden fühlen kann?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die immer noch nach echter Zugehörigkeit sucht?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die mit Selbstliebe hadert?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die der fiesen inneren Stimme manchmal nichts Positiveres zu entgegnen hat?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die ständig wieder in den Sorgenmodus kippt?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die sich oft unsicher fühlt und versucht, es sich nicht allzu sehr anmerken zu lassen?
    Bin ich die Einzige, die denkt, ihr Körper sei nicht ‘schön’ genug, sobald sie jemand mustert?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die Angst hat, nicht begehrenswert zu sein?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die sich wie eine Versagerin fühlt, weil sie sich nicht traut, ihre eigenen starren Regeln zu durchbrechen—obschon sie genau weiss, dass sie sich damit von Angst regieren lässt?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die realisiert, dass sie vor lauter Ängsten ‘das halbe Leben verpasst’ und sich wie eine Versagerin fühlt, dass sie es nicht einfach endlich locker nehmen und auf anderer Leute Meinung pfeifen kann?
  • Bin ich die Einzige, die denkt, sie müsste ‘es’ doch—am besten alles!—schon lange besser können?

Bin ich die Einzige?
Ich glaube nicht.
Aber.
Verdammtnochmal—es fühlt sich total so an.

 

Umarmung, Meret.

Mama, ich habe dich nie vermisst am Muttertag.

Dieses Jahr war das anders. Ich vermisse dich. 

Ich verbrachte mehr Zeit auf dieser Welt OHNE dich als MIT dir. Als du vor fast 30 Jahren gestorben bist, war ich erst ein Teenager.
Zum Zeitpunkt deines Todes war ich in diesem schrecklichen Mädcheninternat in der welschen Schweiz in welches du und mein bald-dritter-Stiefvater mich gesteckt hattet um “anständig Französisch zu lernen.“ Dein damaliger Verlobter schien zu glauben, ich sei der Ursprung deiner Depression und deines Alkoholproblems, also war er erpicht darauf, mich wegzuschicken.
Und obwohl ich den streng konservativen—ach, nennen wir es doch beim Namen: rückständigen!—Internatsbetrieb verachtete, war ich glücklich, endlich von zu Hause weg zu sein. Weg von dir zu sein. Ich fühlte mich zum ersten Mal sicher.

I erinnere mich genau an jenen Morgen, als ich aus der Grammatikstunde ins Büro des „Monsieur le directeur“ gerufen wurde. Mein Herz fing an zu rasen und ich dachte: “Was habe ich falsch gemacht? Hoffentlich ist es nichts Schlimmes.“
Ich hatte Angst.

Alles was ich wollte waren ganz viele gute Noten um dich—einmal in meinem Leben— stolz zu machen.
Alles was ich wollte war—einmal in meinem Leben—zu hören, dass ich gut genug war für dich.

Da sass er, dein Typ, direkt gegenüber vom Herrn Direktor. Und ich wusste, dass etwas furchtbar schief gelaufen sein musste. Alles, was dein Typ sagte war: “Deine Mutter ist tot.
Seine Augen sagten noch etwas ganz anderes. “Das ist alles dein Fehler, du verdammte Göre.“

In dieser Sekunde passierten eine Million verschiedene Gefühle aufs Mal.
Das allererste war unermessliche Erleichterung. Es fühlte sich an, als ob ein gigantischer Felsbrocken von meiner Schulter gehoben würde. Der Erleichterung direkt auf den Fersen war ein lähmendes Gefühl von Schuld.
“Ich darf das nicht fühlen! Was bin ich bloss für eine schreckliche Tochter!?”
Und auf den Fersen davon, Schock.
Aber ich war nicht geschockt weil du gestorben warst. Ich war geschockt, weil ich so Angst hatte, dass dein Typ mich mit sich nach Hause nehmen würde, dass ich das Internat verlassen müsste. Vor lauter Angst und Schock fing ich an zu weinen. Und ich bettelte Monsieur le directeur an, bitte bleiben zu dürfen. Kurz darauf ging dein Typ—mit einem hasserfüllten Ausdruck in den Augen.

Und ich erinnere mich an den Gedanken: “Sie sind noch nicht verheiratet, sie sind noch nicht verheiratet… Er kann nicht einfach machen, was er will.“

Das war das letzte Mal, als ich über deinen Tod geweint hatte. Vor fast 30 Jahren, Mama.

In all dieser Zeit war mein Herz geschlossen und mein Kopf erinnerte mich immer wieder an die schlimmen Dinge, die vorgefallen waren…
Deine Unberechenbarkeit. Dein Alkoholproblem. Dein Schauspiel der Aussenwelt gegenüber, alles sei in Ordnung bei uns. Dein unablässiges Wiederholen, ich sei Schuld an deinem unglücklichen Leben. Deine Art, mein Aussehen zu verspotten, mich dick und hässlich zu finden. Deine Weigerung, mir genügend zu Essen zu geben. Deine erbarmungslose Routine, mich jeden Morgen auf die Waage zu stellen. Dein Um-dich-schmeissen von Esswaren. Dein Blossstellen aller meiner Fehler vor anderen Leuten. Dein Einschlafen mit glühenden Zigaretten. Dein Strafen dafür, dass ich dein Leben immer wieder rettete. Deine Drohungen, dir das Leben zu nehmen. Dein völliges Missachten meiner Gefühle. Deine jenseitigen Erwartungen an mich. Deine Unfähigkeit, mich mich sein zu lassen, geschweige denn ein Kind.

Bis zu deinem Tod plante ich ständig meinen eigenen Tod. Ich wusste, dass ich nicht weiterleben konnte so. Es war zu viel für mich. So viel zu viel.

Mit dir zu leben brachte mich langsam um.

Nach deinem Tod fühlte ich mich frei, endlich mein Leben leben zu können. Ich war fest entschlossen, nie wieder so abhängig von jemandem zu sein. Wie meine Lehrerin Brené Brown zu sagen pflegt, zog ich meine “Rüstung” an, um das Leben alleine zu meistern.
Das fühlte sich besser—sicherer—an, als irgendjemandem zu vertrauen.

Bis vor ein paar Jahren, war mir nicht klar, dass da irgendwo in mir so viele unverarbeitete Gefühle begraben liegen.

Alles was ich wollte, war nicht DICH zu werden!

Also fing ich nie mit Trinken an, hatte nie gewalttätige Beziehungen, hatte (haha) “Kontrolle“ darüber, wie die Dinge in meinem Leben liefen, und ich war mir nicht bewusst, dass mein praktisch inexistentes Selbstvertrauen, mein mieses Körperbild, meine Scham und mein Gefühl von Wertlosigkeit ein Problem sein könnten. Das alles war schlicht und einfach Normalität für mich. Ich war mir ja deine Stimme gewohnt. Ich war mir ja gewohnt, ständig auf Diäten gezwungen zu werden. Also machte ich das, was ich kannte: Ich schimpfte mit mir wegen jedem kleinen Fehler und ich versuchte um jeden Preis dünner zu werden. Ich tat das alles, weil ich dachte—immer noch dachte—, dass ich anders sein musste um geliebt zu sein.

Erst, als all das komplett die Toilette runter ging und meine säuberlich aufgebauten Wände anfingen, in sich zusammen zu brechen, wurde klar, dass ich in meinem Kern schon seit jeher auf Sand gebaut war.
Es war erst nach meinem Zusammenbruch, als ich endlich anfing zu fühlen und endlich anfangen konnte—gaaaaanz langsam—ein solides Fundament unter meinen Füssen zu erschaffen.
Da bin ich dran. Ich beginne, mich selber kennenzulernen. Ich fange an, mich in meiner Haut einzuleben, mich wohler zu fühlen. Das alles geht mir natürlich viel zu langsam, aber ich tue mein Bestes…—so, wie ich es immer tat, du weisst es ja.

Und heute—am Muttertag 2016—realisierte ich plötzlich wie fest ich dich vermisse.

Wie sehr ich dich, wirklich DICH, hätte kennenlernen wollen. Diejenige Person, die unter all den Problemen erdrückt wurde, die sich im Verlauf deines Lebens auf deine verwundete Seele gehäuft hatten.

Und als ich weinte, öffnete sich mein Herz. In einem Augenblick war plötzlich klar, wirklich klar, dass du mich—obwohl du es mir nie hast zeigen können—trotzdem geliebt hast.

Mama, wenn du irgendwo da draussen bist, wisse eines: Ich liebe dich auch.
Du hattest ein unvergesslich schönes Lachen.
Ich bin dankbar, deine Tochter zu sein.

Mama. I never missed you on Mother’s Day.

Today, for the first time, I did. It was beautiful.

I spent more time on this earth without you than with you. When you died, almost 30 years ago, I was just a teenager.
I was staying in an awful boarding home in the french-speaking part of Switzerland where you and my third stepfather-in-spe had put me “so that she learns French“. Your then-fiancé thought that I was the cause of your drinking and your unhappiness, so he was eager to send me away.
And I while I hated the place I was at, I was eager to finally be away from home. Be away from you. I felt safe for the first time.

I clearly remember that morning when I was called out of French grammar class to go see the headmaster in his office. I thought: “What did I do wrong? Hopefully it’s nothing bad.“ I was scared.

All I wanted was to get good grades in order to—for once in my life—make you proud.
All I wanted was—for once in my life—to hear you say that I was enough for you.

Across from the headmaster, there sat sat your guy. And I knew something was awfully wrong. All your guy said was: “Your mother is dead.
The look in his eyes betrayed his thoughts. “It is ALL your fault, you fucking brat.“

In this second, a million feelings happened all at once.
The initial one was a sense of tremendous relief. It felt as if a ton of bricks had been lifted off my shoulders. Right on the heel of that relief came a paralyzing sense of guilt.
“I must not feel this way! What kind of a terrible daughter am I?”
And on the heel of that, shock.
But I wasn’t shocked because you had passed away. I was shocked because I feared that he would take me with him, that I would be made to leave the boarding home.
Out of fear and shock, I started crying. And I begged the headmaster to stay.
Soon after, your guy left – with a hateful look in his eyes.

And I remember hoping: “They are not married yet, they are not married yet, let this mean that he has no real power over me.“

That was the last time I cried about your death for almost 30 years.

During all this time, my heart was closed and my mind was quick to remind me of all the terrible things that happened…
Your unpredictability. Your drinking. Your belying everything to the outside world. Your blaming me for your unhappiness. Your shaming me for the way I looked. Your not feeding me properly. Your weighing me every morning. Your throwing food at me. Your exposing me for all of my mistakes in front of other people. Your way of falling asleep with your cigarette on and causing fires. Your punishing me for saving your life. Your threats to take your own life. Your utter disregard for my feelings. Your merciless expectations. Your not letting me be myself, let alone a kid.

Up until your death, I was sure that I wanted to leave this world. It was too much. It was much too much for me, Mama.

Living with you was killing me.

After your death, I felt relieved, finally free to live my life. I was determined not to ever be dependent of anyone ever again, and as my teacher Brené Brown says, I “armored up” to face life by myself.
That felt better—safer—than to trust anyone.

Up until a few years ago, I never knew that there were so many unprocessed feelings hidden in my subconscious.

All I wanted was NOT to become you!

So I made sure I never started drinking, I never had any violent relationships, I was (haha) “in control“ over the things in my life, and I surely didn’t think my low self-esteem, my terrible body image, my shame and my feelings of unworthiness were a problem. It was just normalcy for me. I was used to your voice, your diets. So I kept on doing that: Yelling at myself for mistakes, and trying to become thinner at all costs. I did that, thinking—still thinking—that I had to change in order to get a pass.

Only after all of that took a very dark turn and the walls I had put up around me started to crumble, it became clear that, at my core, I had been standing on sand all along.
It was only after my breakdown that I could finally start to feel and that I could start—ever so slowly—building a more solid foundation to stand on.
I am in the process of doing that. I’m starting to get to know me. I’m starting to feel more comfortable in my own skin. Progress is painfully slow, but I’m doing my best…—you know I always did.

And today, on Mother’s Day, I suddenly realized how much I miss you.

How much I would’ve wanted to get to know the REAL you, the you that was buried underneath all the issues you kept piling up on top of your wounded soul.

And as I cried, my heart started opening. In an instant, I just knew that even if you could never show me, you must have loved me.

Mama, if you’re out there somewhere, know that I love you, too.
You had the most amazing smile, and I’m grateful to be your daughter.

“Bikini-Body”?—Ich kann das Wort nicht mehr hören.

Kaum steht der Sommer an, kaum könnte Vorfreude aufkommen, geht’s prompt wieder los mit der ewig gleichen, öden Propaganda:
“Superschlank in 30 Tagen!“
“Superfit dank Bootcamp-Training!“
“Supergesund durch Fasten“
“Superharte Bauchmuskeln in drei Tagen!“

Argh. Schon macht die Badesaison keinen richtigen Spass mehr.
All die leeren Versprechen, dass wir über Nacht sciencefictionartige Göttinnen werden können, wenn—und nur WENN—wir dafür unser Geld, unsere geistige Kapazität, unsere wertvolle Zeit und—alles in allem—unsere Würde hergeben. Da wird uns immer wieder die gleiche Karotte vor die Nase gehängt. Und wie die sprichwörtlichen Esel laufen wir selbiger hinterher. Unseren Selbstwert opfern wir der Überzeugung, dass wir, so wie wir genau jetzt sind, nicht hübsch/schlank/fit genug sind, um einen Bikini anzuziehen und den Sommer schamlos und mit allen Sinnen auszukosten.

So wie das Wort “Bikini-Body“ herumgereicht wird, könnte man meinen, es sei eine Art Ehrenabzeichen für die, die mehr Wert sind als alle andern. Wie bitte? DAS LUPFT MIR SOWAS VON DEN DECKEL. Echt. Hat die Menschheit den Verstand verloren? Argh. Wenn es nicht so tragisch wäre, könnte man mal eine Sekunde innehalten und sehen, wie lächerlich das Ganze ist.
Da aber die meisten von uns diese Botschaften ungefragt übernehmen, laufen wir ständig dieser Karotte vor unserer Nase nach. Zwangsläufig kennen auch die meisten von uns das folgende Trauerspiel erlebt… Hunger, miese Laune, sonderbare Besessenheit mit allem, was essbar ist, Verlust der gelassenen Lebensfreude, verschwendetes Geld, verpasste schöne Momente und dann, früher oder später, das “Versagen“, für das wir auch noch die Verantwortung übernehmen.

IMG_0831_1
Meine Trainings machen immer SOLCHEN SPASS! Nicht.

 

Warum, kann man sich fragen, rennen Frauen von einem restriktiven “Lifestyle“ (das Wort “Diäten“ wurde marketingwirksam ausgetauscht) zum andern, von einer “Entgiftungskur“ zur nächsten, von einer “Fastenwoche“ zur nächsten, und erschöpfen sich mit immer härteren Ausdauertrainings und ursprungsentfremdetem Poweryoga, nur um Kalorien zu verbrennen? Warum sind Frauen bereit, sich selber wie Sklaven zu behandeln, nur damit die “hartnäckigen letzten 5 Kilos“ noch verschwinden?
Wahrscheinlich nicht, weil es so UNGLAUBLICH VIEL SPASS macht, oder?
Wahrscheinlich auch nicht, weil es langfristig eh NICHT funktioniert, oder?
Und HOFFENTLICH auch nicht, weil sie im Leben keine grösseren Träume haben.
Also, wieso? WIE–SO?

Logisch. Zum einen ist das weil in den Medien nur ein einziger Körpertyp repräsentiert wird. Wir werden alle konstant mit der Botschaft bombardiert, dass wir alle so aussehen können, und dass wir uns am Riemen reissen müssen um dazuzugehören. Und schon schämen wir uns und fühlen uns schuldig, wenn wir nicht aussehen wie die Frauen und Männer auf den Hochglanzfotos. Und Werbung? Hör mir bloss auf. Von Autos über Frühstücksflocken, Ferienreisen, Katzenfutter, Kopfwehtabletten bis hin zu Kontaktlinsen; die Menschen, die wir zu sehen bekommen, entsprechen dem allerkleinsten Anteil der tatsächlichen Bevölkerung.
UND dann sind sie noch gephotoshoppt. Meine, bitteschön. Logisch. Wer bleibt da schon immun dagegen.

Die Zahlen lügen nicht, es sind nicht viele, die immun sind. Alleine in den USA verdient die Diätindustrie 60 Milliarden Dollar an unserer Scham. 60 MILLIARDEN DOLLAR!
Das ist eine verdammte Menge Geld. Heisst: Das ist eine verdammte Menge Leute, die eine verdammte Menge Geld ausgeben, um das Versprechen vom Glück am Ende des Diätregenbogens zu erreichen. (Und solltest du tatsächlich immun dagegen sein, bitte sag mir, wie du das schaffst!)

Ich gehörte auch zu denen. Jahr für Jahr für Jahr versuchte ich, meinen Körper zu “verbessern“.
Den ganzen Tag nichts essen, nur abends. Keine Ausnahmen. (8 ganze Jahre lang!!)
Schwindel vor Hunger.
Unausweichlich die Essattacken.
Gestört anstrengendes Sport-Regime (täglich, 8 Jahre lang), das meinen Körper letzten Endes völlig auszehrte. (Wofür ich notabene ständig Komplimente bekam. “Wow!“ sagten sie. “Du bist so diszipliniert, ich wünschte, ich wäre wie du!“ Ähm, nein. Das willst du nicht.)
So wie wir es ihnen vormachen, hetzen heute immer jüngere Mädchen dieser Fantasie hinterher. Es wird gehungert, von freudlos bis zwanghaft eingeschränkt gegessen, obsessiv Sport betrieben, nicht selten gekotzt (was mir zum Glück nie gelang), von Schönheitsoperationen geträumt und alles aufs Spiel gesetzt, um den “Traumkörper“ zu erreichen. Ich glaube, die einzigen die all dies wirklich “traumhaft“ finden sind die grossen Fische der Diät-Industrie.

In Wahrheit sind wir nicht gemacht, um alle gleich auszusehen. Genau so, wie kein Apfelbaum dem anderen gleicht, und jeder Apfelbaum ein kleines Wunder ist, ist es auch bei uns. Hören wir auf, unsere Äste, Blätter, Früchte und Baumstämme miteinander zu vergleichen und uns mies zu fühlen. Bäuche sind nicht da, um flach zu sein, kein Po muss so aussehen wie der retouchierte von J-Lo. Keiner von uns muss einem Ideal entsprechen, jeder Mensch ist gleich liebenswert, und alle dürfen sich so annehmen und zeigen, wie sie sind.

Ich will eine Generation Mädchen heranwachsen sehen, die mit gesundem Stolz in ihren einzigartigen Körpern wohnen und die ihre Lebenszeit damit verbringen, Grosses zu bewegen. Die den Märchen über den “Bikini-Body“ nicht mehr auf den Leim gehen.

Jeder hat einen “Bikini-Body“.
Immer.
Der Sommer gehört dir!
In jeder Körperform.

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“Bikini-Body”? Why I can’t even with this word.

Summer peeks around the corner and – bam! – here they are, the same lame claims as every year:
“Super-skinny in 30 days!“
“Super-toned thanks to bootcamp-workouts.“
“Super-healthy with this detox-fast.“
“Super-steely six-pack-abs in three days.“

They take all the fun out of the bathing season, right?
With the empty promise to turn into some avatar-style goddess within a few weeks (if, and only IF, we’re willing to free ourselves of our money, our mental capacity, our precious time, and—overall—our dignity) a carrot gets hung in front of our noses. And as the proverbial donkey, we start going after it. Our self-worth is hijacked, and we become convinced that we’re not cute/skinny/toned enough to wear a bikini the way we are right now, and that we therefore can’t shamelessly enjoy the heck out of summer.

The way the word “bikini-body“ is being tossed around, we’ve come to believe that it’s a badge of honor indicating our worth—WHICH IS FLIPPING ENRAGING! I mean, seriously. Has humanity lost its mind? Argh. If it weren’t so tragic, we could stop for a second and see how ridiculous it all is.
But because most of us bought into this crap, we have obediently started to go after that carrot dangling in front of our noses. Inevitably, just as many of us have experienced the ensuing misery: Hunger, shitty mood, peculiar obsession with anything food- and/or fitness-related, loss of carefree joy of life, loss of self-worth, missed out opportunities for sweet memories with friends and loved ones, and—sooner or later—THE FAILURE. For which we took the blame, every time.

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My crazy workouts were SO MUCH fun. Not.

Why, one might ask, do women run from one restrictive “lifestyle“ (they can’t be called diets anymore, these days, that would be too obvious) to the next, be it by detoxing, fasting, clean-eating, low-carbing (read: zero-fun-eating) and—at the same time—exhaust themselves with increasingly insane workout-habits? Why are women willing to treat themselves like slaves just to lose those “last 10 pounds“?

Probably not because it’s SO MUCH FUN, right?
Probably not because it’s NOT working for them long-term, right?
And HOPEFULLY not because they don’t have bigger dreams in life, right?
So, why? WHY?

It’s logical. For one, there’s only one single type of body that is being represented in the media. We are literally being bombarded by the message that, we can ALL look like that, and that we better get our damned asses moving if we want to be accepted in society.
So we start to feel guilty and ashamed for not looking like the people we see on TV and in the magazines. And don’t get me get started on the ads! From cars to breakfast cereal, from travel companies to cat food, from headache medicine to contact lenses; the men and women we see make up the very smallest percentage of the general population.
AND they’re photoshopped. Please. How could anyone be immune to that?

In the US alone, the diet-industry is making 60 billion Dollars off of our body-shame. 60 BILLION Dollars! That, my friends, is a fucking lot of money. Read: That’s a fucking lot of people spending a fucking lot of, just to find that happiness that’s being promised at the end of the diet-rainbow. (So if you belong to those few who went unfazed by all that toxicity, tell me how you do it!)

I was one of believers. Year after year after year I did my very best to “better“ my body.
Restricting food all day, only eating dinner. No exceptions (for 8 years straight).
Brainfog from hunger.
Inevitable binge-eating attacks.
Punishing exercise routines (daily, for 8 years straight) that drove me into the ground. (Mind you, people applauded me for it. “Woooow!” they said.“You’ve got so much discipline, I wish I could be like you“… Uhm. No. You don’t).

And since we are leading examples, girls start to go after that dream-body at ever younger ages. There is hungering, joyless-to-compulsively restrictive eating, obsessive exercising, in many cases vomiting (at which I—thank GOD—never had any success), dreaming of cosmetic surgery. Everything; just to be skinny. Yet the only ones who get to be as happy as everyone is dreaming to be, are the giants of the diet-industry.

In truth, we all aren’t meant to look the same. Just as no apple tree looks exactly like any other, and just as every apple tree is a small miracle, so are we. Let’s stop comparing our branches and leaves, our fruits and trunks with the trees surrounding us and feeling miserable. Bellies aren’t supposed to be flat, and no ass is supposed to look like the photoshopped version of J-Lo’s. None of us is meant to “fit an ideal“. Each and every one of us are exactly as lovable as everyone else, we are all more than allowed to fully accept ourselves and show up at the beach.

I want to see a generation of girls growing up to be proud in their unique bodies. To live in them with confidence and ease, and to spend their time, creating great stuff in this world.

Screw those who want to go after some sort of “bikini-body“.
You already have it.
Summer is yours!
At any size.

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I swear I wanted to swear. But I can’t.

Talking about diet-culture makes me want to use reeeeaally harsh words. In fact, you have no idea what kind of hellraising words pop into my head when I think about all the lies that we’re being fed on a daily (hourly? secondly??) basis.

– When I think about how my mother never lived to see, let alone believe another truth, how she tried and tried to manipulate her weight into a thinner shape, even though she never had much jiggle to get rid of.

– When I think that I never even once saw her happy or relaxed in her own body. And never will.

My mother. She never made it out alive.

– When I think that she, in turn, put ME on my first diet when I was only in kindergarten and had a body that was really just slightly softer compared to the bodies of most of my peers.

1980-Meret M?
Already used to not being fed at home.

– When I think of all those decades of believing that her denying me food was because she hated me, didn’t want to feed me, or because she wanted to hurt me.

– When I think about the implications this had on my own sense of worthiness, on my sense of safety in the world, on my sense of purpose—or lack thereof.

– When I think that only NOW I’m able to see that, she too, had bought into all that crap about our bodies being something that had to be “fixed”, that the restrictions she put on me were only her way of protecting me from being rejected in a diet-crazy world.

– When I think that only NOW I see what terrible feelings of insufficiency she must have suffered to end up dieting her sense of joy to the bone and drinking her sharp mind into oblivion.

– When I think that, for all those years—even long after her death—I was convinced it was HER that rejected me, and that this must have been the direct effect of me having come out wrong, somehow a mistake, or simply not the daughter that she wanted.

– When I think of the decades I spent hating on my body, spending insane hours on treadmills/ellipticals/stairmasters, on diets, on shameful binges, suffering in silence, trying to meet society’s beauty standards…

When I think of all this, I first want to swear like a mad Italian coal-worker on Meth, I want to yell and scream and raise hell.
But—for as much as I love using foul language—I won’t.

Because my anger is only a very thin shield to cover up a sadness that’s almost unspeakable.
In my heart, there simply aren’t any swearwords to be found for the pain and the grief that hides behind all the misconceptions that my life, her life—so many lives!—are built upon.

The unlaughed laughter, the uncaressed skin, the unexpressed joy, the unbaked cakes, the uncelebrated lives, the unlived dreams.—I’ve lost too much.

The world has grown none the wiser. Diet-culture is ever-present, it’s all around us, it’s sneaked into most of our conversations, the ads, onto all the magazine covers, into the subtext of every rich meal, every unpretentious picture taken and every judgment of a person by their looks.

Diet-culture seems out to get everybody.
Those it gets, it leaves feeling unworthy, sometimes desperate, certainly “at fault“.
That’s bad enough.
Those, however, who had had hurting souls to start with, risk not only to waste a lot of time, energy, money, and self-worth, but also their… yes, their lives.

My mother was one of them. Growing up in a messed up home, she never knew a feeling of inner stability. Looking back, I can only guess how overwhelmed she must have been by life itself. So after endlessly trying to slim-fast her way into feeling loved and—of course—never succeeding, she handed over the reigns to her second “ally“, alcohol, and drowned her feelings of unworthiness in so many glasses of wine that the Gods lost count.
Eventually, I lost her.

She died without ever having seen that she was, in fact, utterly lovable, that there would have been support, had she not believed that she wasn’t worth it. This lack of self-love was quadrupled by every one of the diet-lies she bought into. That set of lies didn’t come cheap. Nor for me, nor for her. It cost me my childhood—an unsafe and utterly unpredictable, often violent chapter of my life. It cost her all of her relationships, most of all the one to herself and to her daughter. And it cost her her life.

The irony?

Shortly after she died, I started to gain some weight (well, I finally had the freedom to eat!) and was so freaked out that I went on my first diet.
“Mom must have been right,” I thought. “I can’t be fed normally.“

Yes, I’ve survived some terrible things and saw scenes that I wish I could delete. But I made it out of there alive. Only, instead of feeling proud, I found fault in myself. I never drank, I was never in debt, I never did drugs (apart from some exploratory detours there in puberty), all of which I consider myself lucky for—it could’ve happened to me just as easily as to the next person.
What I got hung up on in a very bad way was the message of diet culture. I felt awful in my skin all my life. There was a time when I wanted to cut off the flesh on my tummy, my thighs and my butt, because I felt too ugly for the world. I would have given everything for a different body. Until very recently, in fact. Up until I was 40 and hit rock bottom.

I literally spent DECADES running, restricting, binging and shaming myself into the ground, in a desperate attempt to change myself into a more“beautiful“ version that would be worthy of love.
See, all those years, I never even questioned whether what I read and heard and believed was really TRUE! I let my own self-respect slowly, over years and years, rot away in diet-culture-hell.

Two years ago, I started to wake up to another truth. And I am only now building up the courage to really—not just intellectually—get out of that narrow prison cell I made my life to be, and STICK it to all of those toxic messages.

And since I’m a surviver, I want and WILL make it out of this mess.
I want to be able to say “I love myself, no matter what society tries to tell me” before I take my last breath.

Not just for myself.
But for my mother.
And every one of those countless women who never had the privilege to see that it was never THEM who were at fault.

Maybe now you see why, today, I’m too sad to even be angry.

Eigentlich wollte ich fluchen. Aber es geht heute nicht.

Wenn ich über den Körperkult und den Schlankheitswahn in unserer Gesellschaft nachdenke, kriege ich einen heissen Bauch und will laut werden, argumentieren, wettern.
Wenn ich mir vor Augen führe, wie uns da draussen täglich (stündlich? minütlich?) ein praktisch unerreichbares “Idealbild” aufs Auge gedrückt wird, und dass die Mädchen von heute mit durchschnittlich 7 (SIEBEN!) Jahren mit der ersten Diät anfangen, dann drängen sich Ausdrücke in meinen Hals, die ich sonst in den derbsten Fluchsümpfen meines Vokabulars versteckt halte.

Wenn ich daran denke, dass meine eigene Mutter nie eine andere Wahrheit entdecken durfte als die vom Schlanksein-Müssen-um-jeden-Preis, der sie ein Leben lang mit Hungern, Kalorien zählen, Schuldgefühlen und Diäten zu entsprechen versuchte. Dies – notabene – ohne dass sie je übermässig viel Weiches zum Weghungern auf den Rippen gehabt hätte.

Wenn ich daran denke, dass ich sie nie glücklich oder zufrieden erlebte, dass sie nie gelassen in ihrem Körper zu wohnen schien.

Mama. Sie fand sich immer zu dick, zu hässlich, zu weich.

Wenn ich denke, dass sie wiederum MICH auf die erste Diät setzte, als ich in den Kindergarten kam—obschon mein Körper in Wahrheit kaum wahrnehmbar weicher war als jener meiner Mitkindergartenkinder.

Moi. Schon damals Diäten gewohnt.

Wenn ich an all die Jahrzehnte denke, in denen ich glaubte, das morgendliche Wiegen (mit Gewichtsprotokoll an der Küchentür) und die karge Ernährung (halbe Grapefruits zum Frühstück, ein Pumpernickel und eine Karotte im Lunchsäcklein und Tiefkühlspinat mit einem Spiegelei zum Abendessen) habe damit zu tun, dass sie mich so nicht lieb haben konnte, ich offenbar kontrolliert werden musste und mir etwas “Normales“ halt nicht zustand. Dass mit mir irgendetwas nicht stimmte.

Wenn ich an all die Schuljahre denke, in denen ich der komplette Outsider war, weil ich weder je von Lila Pause, Kinderüberraschungen, Nutella oder Hamburger gehört hatte, kein lässiges Lunchpaket hatte und am Ende kleinlaut bei den anderen betteln ging.

Wenn ich daran denke, was das so mit meinem Selbstwert machte, meinem Gefühl, auf dieser Welt sicher und willkommen zu sein, meiner Wahrnehmung von meinem Spiegelbild und meiner Zugehörigkeit—oder eben dem Mangel an alledem.

Wenn ich daran denke, dass ich erst JETZT sehen kann, dass sie selber immer geglaubt hat, ihr Körper sei nicht in Ordnung so wie er war, dass die ganzen Zwänge, die sie sich und mir aufbürdete, nur Versuche waren, mich vor Ablehnung zu schützen. Ablehnung in einer Welt, die damals—und heute erst recht—besessen scheint mit Dünnsein.

Wenn ich daran denke, dass ich erst JETZT sehen kann, wie furchtbar unzulänglich sie selber sich gefühlt haben muss, dass sie sich mit allen möglichen Diäten jede Freude von den Knochen hungerte und ihren wachen Geist letzten Endes stumpf trank.

Wenn ich daran denke, dass ich in all den Jahren—auch lange nach ihrem Tod—überzeugt war, dass sie mich nie gewollt hatte, dass ich falsch herausgekommen war, oder schlicht und einfach nicht die Tochter war, die sie sich gewünscht hatte.

Wenn ich an all das denke, dann will ich zuallererst fluchen wie ein Italienischer Zementmischer mit einem Meth-Problem. (Ja, manchmal finde ich es herrlich, mich wüst auszudrücken. Einfach so.)

Aber ich tue es nicht.
Denn meine Wut ist nur ein sehr dünner Schutzschild über einem Abgrund fast unsäglicher Traurigkeit. In meinem Herzen sind schlicht keine Fluchwörter zu finden, wenn die Trauer sich zeigt. Traurigkeit darüber, auf wie vielen falschen Glaubenssätzen und Fehlwahrnehmungen ihr Leben, genauso wie mein eigenes Leben, gebaut waren.
Und—vor allem!—wie viele Leben da draussen es nach wie vor sind!

Die ungeliebte Einzigartigkeit, das ungelachte Lachen, die ungestreichelte Haut, die unausgedrückte Freude, die ungebackenen Kuchen, die ungefeierten Leben, die ungelebten Träume.—Ich habe viel verloren.

Die diversen Formen des Schlankheits-Diktats sind heute präsenter denn je. Die Diätmentalität ist überall um uns, sie hat sich in fast alle Konversationen unter Frauen geschlichen, ist in fast jeder Werbung, auf den meisten Titelseiten von Zeitschriften, im Subtext jeder üppigen Tafelrunde, in so manchem Kommentar auf einen Schnappschuss von sich selber, und in jedem unserer Urteile über den Körper anderer Leute.

Das nagt an uns allen und zeigt sich daran, dass in der westlichen Welt überwältigende 98 Prozent der Frauen nicht zufrieden sind mit ihrem Körper.  Wo man hinhört, finden sich Frauen—und zunehmend Männer…—zu dick, nicht schön genug, nicht straff genug.
Und beschuldigen sich selbst dafür!
Alle möchten verzweifelt schöner, schlanker, fitter werden, machen wie vergiftet Sport und essen nur noch mit tausend Einschränkungen. Wir sind mittlerweile fast alle vollkommen auf unsere Körper fixiert.

Das ist schlimm genug für jene, die ein gesundes Mass an Selbstwert mitbringen. Jene jedoch, die ohnehin schon mit einer verletzten Seele im Leben stehen, können sich mit dem allgegenwärtigen Schlankheitsdruck in unserer Gesellschaft ziemlich schnell in Selbstzweifeln verlieren und ein ganzes Leben damit verschwenden, alles zu tun, um “dazuzugehören“.

Meine Mutter war eine von denen. Sie wuchs in einem sehr instabilen Haushalt auf, hatte nie einen inneren Boden. Wenn ich zurückschaue kann ich mir nur vorstellen, wie überfordert sie gewesen muss mit ihrem Leben. Also hat sie endlos versucht sich in Form zu slim-fasten, sich liebenswert zu hungern, sich zur “akzeptablen” Frau zu formen. Das konnte nicht klappen. Es klappt nie. Also übergab sie die Zügel letztendlich ihrem zweiten teuflischen Gehilfen, dem Alkohol. Sie ertrank ihre Gefühle von Wertlosigkeit in so vielen Gläsern Wein, dass die Götter aufhörten zu zählen.

Am Ende ist sie gestorben, ohne dass sie je erkannt hätte, dass sie in Tat und Wahrheit ein vollkommen liebenswertes Wesen war, gleichwertig mit allen andern. Dass sie mit Sicherheit Unterstützung bekommen hätte, wäre sie es sich nur Wert gewesen. Die Rechnung ging für niemanden auf. Nicht für mich, nicht für sie. Es kostete mich meine Kindheit—ein unberechenbares, unsicheres, häufig gewaltgeprägtes Kapitel in meinem Leben. Es kostete sie alle ihre Beziehungen, allen voran jene zu sich selber und jene zu ihrer eigenen Tochter. Und es kostete sie ihr Leben.

Die Ironie?

Kurz nach ihrem Tod begann ich zuzunehmen. Logisch. Endlich durfte ich essen! Also ass ich mit Gusto. Und als mein Spiegelbild plötzlich “DU BIST ZU DICK“ zu schreien schien, ging ich auf meine erste Diät. Und dachte dabei: “Mama musste recht gehabt haben. Mich kann man einfach nicht normal essen lassen.“

Ja, ich habe einige schreckliche Dinge erlebt und Szenen sehen müssen, die ich lieber aus meinem Gedächtnis löschen würde. Aber ich habe es überlebt, ich bin noch da!
Nur… Statt stolz zu sein auf mein zähes Wesen, fand ich mich selber ungenügend, fehlerhaft, hässlich. Ich bin dankbar, dass ich nie in Süchte wie Alkohol oder Drogen abgerutscht bin—das hätte mir ganz leicht passieren können. Mich zwang etwas anderes in die Knie.
Ich stolperte mit meinem ganzen Restselbstwert über die Botschaft des Schönheitsideals und fühlte mich furchtbar in meiner Haut. Da waren Jahre, in denen ich am liebsten alles Weiche an mir hätte wegschneiden lassen, so gross war der Hass darauf.
Bis ich 40 Jahre alt war, und manchmal noch heute, hätte ich lieber einen anderen Körper. Übersetzt: Ich verbrachte Jahrzehnte (!) damit, mich mit “Das darf ich nicht essen“, “Ich muss noch mehr Sport machen“, “Ich hätte gestern nicht wieder so zuschlagen sollen“, “Wieso bin ich so eine Versagerin“ und “Ich muss mich kontrollieren, sonst werde ich zu dick“ in ein Leben zu zwängen, das letzten Endes kein wirkliches mehr war. Alles ein verzweifelter Versuch, dazuzugehören, “gut genug“ zu sein und nicht als Versagerin wahrgenommen zu werden.

Ich dachte, dass ich schöner sein müsste, um liebenswert zu sein.

Weisst du, in all den Jahren habe ich kein einziges Mal hinterfragt, ob der “Fehler“ wirklich bei mir liegt. Die innere kritische Stimme war so laut, dass ich dachte, sie sei “ich“ selber. War doch klar, dass ich der Fehler sein musste, alle andern sahen ja super aus! Das klang so wahr, dass es einfach zur Normalität wurde für mich. Und das war sie auch, bis ich vor zwei Jahren wirklich keine Kraft mehr hatte vor lauter pausenlosem Sport und völlig abstrusen Essgewohnheiten.

Erst jetzt—und das erst ziemlich zaghaft—fange ich an, den Mut zu entwickeln, mich selber zu werden, meine Geschichte anzunehmen, mit der Scham aufzuhören, die Zwänge abzulegen. Erst jetzt sehe ich klar, was für Irrsinn wir in dieser Gesellschaft ständig unbewusst mitbekommen, wenn wir Zeitschriften lesen, Werbungen sehen, uns mit Berühmtheiten vergleichen, ständig selbstverachtende Dinge von uns geben (“Ich bin viel zu dick“, “Ich hätte gestern kein Stück Kuchen essen sollen“, “Das muss ich mir abverdienen“, “Ich muss die Sommerfigur noch antrainieren“).
Das trennt uns nicht nur von unserem eigentlichen Wesen, das trennt uns auch voneinander.
Das will ich nicht mehr.
Darum bin ich daran zu lernen, mich so anzunehmen, wie ich bin. Das ist viel schwerer, als ich meinte, aber es fühlt sich jetzt schon unendlich viel besser an. Der Weg ist noch weit, bis ich wieder ohne Schuldgefühle esse und nur dann Sport mache, wenn mein Körper sich danach fühlt. Aber ich will bei meinem letzten Atemzug sagen können, dass ich mich selber lieben lernte, auch ohne irgendeinem Schönheitsideal Sklavin zu sein.

Das mache ich nicht nur für mich. Ich tue es für Mama. Und für all die unzähligen tollen Frauen da draussen, die noch nicht daran glauben, dass sie gut genug sind, so, wie sie sind.

Vielleicht siehst du jetzt, warum ich heute einfach zu traurig bin, um über unsere Gesellschaftszwänge zu fluchen.

Wenn du hungerst, hungert auch dein Herz…

… und wenn dein Herz langsam verhungert, dann wird selbst das Paradies zur Hölle. Glaub mir, ich bin Schweizerin.
Kopfnicken rundum, die Schweiz ist das Land der Fülle, ein sicherer Hafen in der sicheren Umarmung der unerklärlich majestätischen Schönheit der Alpen, die sich in dünne Lüfte türmen, als ob sie den Himmel streicheln wollten. Ein Land auch, in dem Menschen mit nicht ganz mundgerechten Dialekten ihre Gabeln in Käsesuppen drehen. Nun gut, da bin ich also, im einem kleinen Himmel im Herz von Europa.

Wie konnte es nur passieren, dass ich aus dem heiligen Garten geschmissen wurde? Wie konnte es passieren, dass ich das Glücksgefühl eines schmelzenden Stücks Schokolade auf der Zunge nie ohne Schuldgefühle geniessen konnte? Wie konnte es passieren, dass ich nie unbeschwert Skifahren ging, segelte, mein kleines Paradies erkundete? Wie konnte es passieren, dass ich nie in den glitzerblauen Bergseen—die einem vor Kälte den Atem verschlagen—nackt baden ging? Wie konnte es passieren, dass ich mich einsam fühlte obwohl ich von lächelnden Menschen umgeben war? Wie konnte es passieren, dass ich mich, je erfolgreicher ich in meinem Beruf als Moderatorin bei Schweizer Radio SRF wurde, innerlich immer leerer und kälter fühlte? Wie konnte es passieren, dass ich mich nie wie eine “richtige“ Frau fühlte, und mich lieber versteckt hätte, wenn ich Blicken ausgesetzt war? Wie konnte es passieren, dass ich mich nie unbeschwert nackt zeigen konnte?
Wie konnte es passieren, dass ich mich unbewohnt fühlte, eigentlich eher nur als Kopf, der an ein ungeliebtes Vehikel angeschraubt schien?

Ich fühlte mich nicht genug.

Und ich war damit beschäftigt, all meine “Mängel“ entweder zu verstecken oder zu versuchen, sie “wieder gut“ zu machen. Irgendwie logisch, denn die Botschaft, die ich vermittelt bekam als ich aufwuchs, war so messerscharf klar, dass ich sie nie in frage stellte: “So wie du bist, genügst du nicht“.
Meine innere Stimme erinnert mich tagein, tagaus daran und brüllt mir zu, ich solle endlich meinen Arsch bewegen, weil—döööh!—wer will schon eine Versagerin sehen!

IMG_1237_1
Auf dem Gipfel meines Trips ins Dünnland.

Ich war so gewohnt, keine Bedürfnisse zu haben, mich durchzuboxen, keine Schwäche zu zeigen, dass ich die Verbindung zu mir selber verlor.
Scheint mir eine ziemlich wasserdichte Methode, um sich aus einem heiligen Garten zu schmeissen.

IMG_1238_1
Ich fühlte mich grässlich. Aber von rundum bekam ich Komplimente für meinen Körper.

Der Rausschmiss fand langsam statt.
Ich wuchs in schmerzhaft zerrütteten Verhältnissen auf. Vernachlässigung war ebenso ein Thema wie Gewalt und Alkohol. Was sich allerdings als erstaunlich folgenschwer herausstellte, war die erste Diät, auf die meine Mutter mich mit fünf Jahren setzte. Das lächerliche bisschen Babyspeck um meinen Kinderbauch war genug für das Jahre andauernde Bootcamp, das dann folgte.

In der Pubertät, kurz nach dem Tod meiner Mutter, als ich endlich wieder frei essen durfte, tat ich genau das. Ich ass. Mit Gusto! Und natürlich begann ich zuzunehmen. Das ging eine Weile gut. Nicht lange. Mit 20 packte mich das Grauen, dass ich so nie geliebt werden würde und ich griff zum einzigen Mittel das ich kannte: Diät.
Am Anfang war das natürlich harmlos und funktionierte auch prächtig.
Siehe da, ich wurde beachtet, mir wurden Komplimente gemacht.
Aber wie es so ist mit Diäten: es wurde irgendwann immer härter, das Gewicht unten zu halten. Also, dachte ich, noch mehr Sport, noch mehr Einschränkungen beim Essen.
Noch mehr Regeln. Noch mehr Angst.

Es war nie “gut genug“. Über die Jahre wurde das zu einer höllischen Lawine, die mich unter sich begrub. Ich wurde ein Profi darin, mich selber zu geisseln und der Glaube, ich sei nicht gut genug, konnte sich ungebremst in meine Seele brennen. Nur, je dünner ich wurde, desto zwanghafter und ängstlicher wurde ich.
Wo war denn jetzt das versprochene Glück, von dem alle säuselten?
Wo das Zugehörigkeitsgefühl, das doch jetzt hätte aufkommen sollen?
Wieso klappte das bei mir nicht?
Alles was bei mir klappte, war, dass mir irgendwann der ganze Körper weh tat vom exzessiven Sporttreiben und entweder Nichts- oder Alles-Verschlingen?

Natürlich verschwanden die Probleme mit Dünnsein nicht.
Im Gegenteil. Ich bekam noch eine ganze Menge neuer dazu.
Keine Menstruation mehr, keine Libido (war da nicht mal was??), bleierne Erschöpfung, Stressfrakturen, Schlaflosigkeit, Isolation…
Absurderweise war ich aber immer noch überzeugt, das sei alles wegen meinem Körper. Klar doch, wenn DER schön aussehen würde, dann hätte ich doch ein glückliches Leben, könnte endlich alles geniessen! Logisch musste ich den zuerst “flicken“! War es nicht seine Schuld, dass ich nirgends hinkam mit meinem Leben?
Was tat Madame also? Das, was sie immer tat: sie zog die Daumenschraube noch etwas an.

Du kannst dir in etwa vorstellen, wie sich mein Leben anfühlte. Wie eine winzige Gefängniszelle. Meine Kreativität warf sich resigniert aus dem Fenster, Spontaneität war kein Thema mehr, und ich fühlte mich vollkommen verzweifelt und verloren. Eingeklemmt in Zwängen, Ängsten und dem Gefühl, im Treibsand der Scham zu versinken. Ich hatte vor allem Angst, vertraute mir selber nicht mehr—geschweige denn meinem Körper.

Auf gut Deutsch: als ich mein lang ersehntes Traumgewicht erreicht hatte, war ich innerlich tot.

Nun gut. Und jetzt?
*alle warten auf das Grande Finale…*

Ich wünschte, ich könnte dir sagen, dass dies alles nun Jahre her ist, und dass ich es heil und sicher auf die andere Seite all meiner Ängste und Zwänge geschafft habe.
Aber nein. Sorry.
Ich stehe immer noch in Crazydorf. Aber ich habe schon ein paar Dinge gelernt.
Ich habe gelernt, dass meine Dämonen nur mit Selbstliebe und Selbst-Mitgefühl zur Ruhe gebracht werden können. (—Ahem, das sind zwei Wörter, die bis vor kurzem in meinem Vokabular schlicht inexistent waren.)

Was ich dieser Tage tue, wenn mein innerer Kritiker die Lautstärke aufdreht (“Schau dich an!“—“Du lässt dich gehen, grauenhaft!““Logo, deine Mutter hatte RECHT. Du hast dich nicht im Griff. Schau bloss mal deinen Bauch an! Kein Wunder wird das nie was mit dir.“—“Ach ja, und vergiss Kuchen und beweg deinen Hintern ins Training.“—Du weisst wie ich meine, das teuflische Lirum-Larum) und ich mich selber bekämpfen will, dann versuche ich mich bewusst daran zu erinnern, wie ich mich am tiefsten Punkt fühlte. Und ich versuche mich noch bewusster daran zu erinnern, dass kein noch so dünner Körper je etwas das Problem löst.

Nur Selbstliebe kann das.
Und Selbstliebe tönt nicht nach Hungerkuren.

Starving yourself means starving your heart.

And if your heart is starving, even paradise turns into hell. Believe me, I’m Swiss.

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At the height of disordered eating and exercising obsessively…
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… I was praised for my “discipline” and “great body”. Listen: I felt MISERABLE.

Now, nods all around, Switzerland is the land of plenty in the snug embrace of the inexplicable beauty called “The Alps”, massive foundations of rock standing together, kissing the sky. Where slightly weird-talking creatures stir their forks in cheese-soup.
So, great, here I am, in the heavenly haven somewhere in the middle of Europe.

How come I got kicked out of this holy garden?
How come I never got to enjoy that sweet bliss of a melting piece of chocolate on my tongue without feeling guilty?
How come I didn’t ski, didn’t sail, didn’t explore that paradise of mine?
How come I never skinny-dipped in those pure indigo mountain lakes that manage to be cold enough to take your breath away and still make you feel like you just exploded into pure sensuality?
How come I was lonely, when I was surrounded by smiling people?
How come that the more successful I was as a national radio host the emptier I felt inside? How come I never quite felt like a real woman and never felt at ease when naked or feeling watched?
How come I felt uninhabited, like a head was stuck to a vehicle it didn’t like?
How come my smile, my whole life, became nothing more but a waxy facade?

I felt I wasn’t enough.

And oh boy, was I busy trying to make up for all that I thought I was lacking!
Mind you, the message I got when I grew up was clear, so clear that I never questioned it: “You’re a burden and need to be fixed.”
My inner voice reminds me of this all day, yelling: “Get your sorry ass moving already! No one wants to see a failure!” I was so used to not having needs, and to whiteknuckle it through, that I eventually lost the connection to my real self.
That’s a pretty surefire way to kick your own butt out of any holy garden.

The kicking out itself, of course, began very early.
I grew up in painfully dysfunctional circumstances where alcohol, violence and rejection were daily business. What turned out, quite interestingly, to be the thing that eventually, much later, brought me to my knees was the diet my mother put me on when I was five (and slightly chubby at best.)
In puberty, shortly after my mom passed away, and I could finally eat without being shamed, I started to gain weight. At 20, the demons were back, body shame kicked in full on. I freaked out and did the one thing I knew to do: I went on a diet.
That, of course, started out pretty harmless and worked amazingly well in the beginning. Wow! Suddenly, I got noticed, I got compliments, I finally felt like I belonged.
But as diets go, they never work long-term.
To keep the weight down, I had to steadily increase the amount of exercise, and steadily decrease the calories I ate. Seems like I have too much discipline for my own good, because, I took this way too far. No matter how much (or how little) I actually weighed, I never once felt “good enough”. To be clear: we’re talking DECADES spent with various combinations of calorie counting, excluding food-groups, fasting, inevitably ending up stuffing my face and, of course, punishing myself with daily exercise to the point of sheer exhaustion.
In the meantime, a whole shitload of issues started showing up (—surpriiiiise!):
Loss of period, loss of libido, anxiety, insomnia, depression, injuries…
As I saw it, those were the body’s fault, too! Wasn’t IT to blame that I never got anywhere?Because, goddamnit, if only this stupid thing were perfect, I’d finally have a LIFE!
I figured that I had to go at it even harder.
Well, suffice it to say that my life started to resemble an existence in a tiny prison cell. My creativity was out the window, spontaneity was not a thing anymore, and I felt completely lost and desperate. Compulsions and obsessions bloomed, the body went numb, my anxieties skyrocketed, my whole existence was soaked in shame. I was afraid of everything and everyone, didn’t trust myself, let alone my body.

It was then, when I was at my long-dreamed-of lowest weight in my life, that I felt literally dead inside. Sure you’re still dreaming of being thinner?

So now what?
*everybody waiting for the final happy sentence*

I wish I could tell you that all of this was years ago and that I made it safely to the other side of all these fears and compulsions. But no. Bummer. Sorry.
I’m still in Messville. But I’ve learned a few things already.
I’ve learned that demons of that kind can only be battled with self-love and self-compassion (read: words that sure as hell didn’t exist in my previous vocabulary).
So, these days, when my inner critic turns up the volume (“Look at yourself!!”—You’re letting yourself go.”—”Clearly, your mother was right. You’ve got NO control whatsoever.”—”That belly! Yuck!!! Forget cookies and get your ass down to the gym.”—You know, the old yaddayadda…) and I want to go with war with myself, I try to consciously remind myself of my skinniest days and the fact that no skinny body will ever fix anything.

Did you hear, dear?

No skinny body will ever fix anything.

Only self-love will do that.
And self-love doesn’t sound like starvation.

Körperakzeptanz in einer Welt, die Rundungen diskriminiert….

… ist eine verdammt schwierige Sache.

So wie in unserer Kultur “Schlanksein“ als Heiligen Gral hochbeschwört wird, ist es zur himmeltraurigen “Logik“ geworden, dass wir ganz automatisch davon ausgehen, unsere Liebenswertigkeit hänge davon ab, wie gut wir dem vorgegaukelten Ideal entsprechen.

So wie uns aus jeder Zeitschrift und aus jeder zweiten Werbung ABNEHMEN entgegen gebrüllt wird, uns Diätpillen, Shakes, Saftkuren und Lifestyle-Diäten verkauft und uns Bootcamp-Trainings und Poweryoga verschrieben werden, ist es zur ebenso himmeltraurigen “Logik“ geworden, dass wir uns so gut wie verpflichtet fühlen, alles zu versuchen, um im Schlankclub dazuzugehören.

Und so wie in den Massenmedien praktisch ausschliesslich dünne, meist junge weisse Frauen repräsentiert werden, wir also tatsächlich nur den allerkleinsten Anteil der realen Bevölkerung zu sehen bekommen—natürlich NACH Photoshop!—, ist es zur noch himmeltraurigeren “Logik“ geworden, dass mit unserem Körper, so wie er ist, etwas nicht stimmen kann.
Überrascht es da, dass über 90 Prozent der Frauen unglücklich sind mit ihrem Körper?

Eigentlich lebt es sich doch für alle miserabel in unserer Diätkultur. Nur die Diät- und Fitnessindustrie freuen sich diebisch über unsere Körperkrise. (Wenn du ganz leise bist, hörst du sie lachen, wenn sie die Milliarden zählen, die sie an unseren Selbstzweifeln verdienen.)

Ich fühle mich machtlos und traurig und wütend, wenn ich sehe, wie Frauen sich damit “verbinden“, ihren Körper öffentlich schlecht zu machen und gegenseitig ihre so genannten “Makel“ zu vergleichen. Da ist dieser grassierende, tragische Trend entstanden, dass Frauen alles, was mit “Abnehmen“ zu tun hat, automatisch zum Thema Nummer eins gemacht werden.

Bitte! Hört! Auf!

Frauen, lasst uns über das Leben reden, über Kreativität, über Liebe, Philosophie, über Politik meinetwegen! Alles, ausser die Anzahl eurer konsumierten Kalorien.
Das haben wir nicht nötig.

IMG_19
Uff… 11 Paar Jeans, deren Sitz bestimmte, wie ich mich fühlte.

Die Frage jedoch bleibt:
Wie zum Teufel sollen wir die verzerrte Wahrnehmung des eigenen Spiegelbildes und gestörtes Essverhalten heilen wenn uns noch überall vorgeflötet wird, wir sollen unseren Körper lieben—aber bitte erst, wenn wir fit und dünn sind.
Dieser ganze widersprüchliche Irrsinn hält uns gefangen in dem erschöpfenden Teufelskreis von Diät machen, kurzfristig “Erfolge“ verbuchen, irgendwann das logisch folgende Essgelage, Verzweiflung und Zwangssport. Für immer. Und immer. Auf Autopilot.

Wir erklären automatisch—und das recht beharrlich!—, dass wir mit mehr Gewicht nie unser Glück finden können. Klar. Weil wir nie glückliche Dicke zu sehen bekommen! So nehmen wir an, dass die alle todunglücklich und einsam sind.

Nur… Mooooooment mal.
Ich bin doch diejenige, die todunglücklich und einsam ist!
Und das in einem Körper, der von aussen gesund und schlank aussieht.
Der ganze “dünner = glücklicher“-Wahn stinkt zum Himmel.
Wenn du nur etwas mitnimmst von diesem Blogeintrag, bitte nimm das mit:

Die Unglücklichen erkennt man nicht an ihrem Gewicht.

Die, die unglücklich und einsam werden und ihren Körper verachten sind jene, die diese ganzen toxischen Botschaften glauben und die Verbindung zwischen Glücklichsein und tiefem Gewicht verinnerlicht haben.

Nur dumm, dass wir die Falle nicht erkennen, bis wir längst drin sind.
Nimm mich: Ich war “zu dick“, und ich legte los mit Diäten und Sport. Heute, 20 Jahre später, bin ich immer noch schlank, zeitweise war ich sogar spindeldürr, ich gehöre also zu den wenigen “erfolgreichen“ Diäthaltern (sprich: zu den sturen, verbissenen Perfektionisten, die ihre Lebensenergie dafür hergeben, ihr Gewicht tief zu halten, denn das bleibt ja nicht einfach so unten.) Ich entwickelte strickte Essregeln, fing an, mich für jeden Ausrutscher zu verurteilen, vernachlässigte meine Kreativität, meine Freunde und meine unkomplizierte Art, um meinen Körper im Fitness zu schinden. Kurz gesagt: Ich habe angefangen zu glauben, dass ich unter keinen Umständen die Kontrolle verlieren dürfe, wenn ich nicht im Handumdrehen wieder dick und erneut von allen verspottet werden wolle.

All diese Leiderei. Nur um dazuzugehören. Nur um akzeptiert zu werden. Um geliebt zu sein.

So eine Kultur wie unsere macht eine gesunde, unaufgeregte Beziehung zu Essen und Sport kompliziert und angstgesteuert.
Doch der Weg aus diesem essgestörten Schlamassel führt zwangsläufig durch die Angst. Weil uns eingetrichtert wird, “dick“ heisse unglücklich, heisse Spott, heisse Ausgegrenztsein, klingt das Natürlichste plötzlich wie nackter Wahnsinn:
Wieder nach Lust und Bedürfnis essen. Wieder alles essen. Nicht mehr hungern. Sport nur aus Freude—nicht, um Essen abzustrampeln oder Kalorien verbrennen zu “müssen”. Überhaupt: Keine Kalorienzählerei! Die Waage aus dem Fenster schmeissen! Den Körper sein natürliches, unangestrengtes Wohlfühlgewicht finden lassen. Kleider kaufen, die passen und bequem sitzen. Lernen, sich so zu lieben, wie man bist.

Das ist verdammt hart in einem Umfeld von Diätgeschwätz und Fettdiskriminierung!
Das ist verdammt hart mit der klaren Erinnerung daran, wie viele Menschen mir zum Gewichtsverlust und meiner disziplinierten Sportlichkeit gratulierten.
Das ist verdammt hart, wenn alles um uns herum durchtränkt scheint von Diätbotschaften, retouchierten Models, Fernsehshows wie „The Biggest Loser“ und “Germany’s Next Top Model”. (Mir wird schlecht.)
Gesunden heisst, das alles gehen zu lassen.

Gesund werden heisst, sich von der Anerkennung anderer Leute unabhängig zu machen.

Es ist hart.
Ich mag wie ein lächerlicher Feigling klingen, aber an manchen Tagen scheint es absurd riskant zu glauben, dass mein Körper auch dann liebenswert ist, wenn er nicht mehr als “perfekt“ oder “superfit“ wahrgenommen wird, wenn er weich und kurvig wird!
An manchen Tagen scheint es absurd riskant, mich erneut aus einem Gespräch zu verabschieden, in dem Abnehmen und Diäten im Zentrum stehen, denn obwohl es meiner Seele besser tut, werde ich als Outsider wahrgenommen und fühle mich alleine.

Wäre es nicht so viel einfacher, wenn wir einfach ALLE “stopp!” sagen und zusammen stark werden könnten? Und uns zusammen gegen diese irren Gesellschaftszwänge zu wehren?

Alleine ist es verdammt schwierig. Und es macht mir Angst.
Es braucht Mut, alte Glaubenssätze auflösen, wenn die Unwissenheit Glatteis bedeutet.
Ich weiss, dass mir niemand gratulieren wird, wenn ich wieder etwas runder werde—auch wenn ich dann ohne Zwänge leben kann und damit wohl das Grösste erreicht habe.
Ich weiss, dass mir niemand gratulieren wird, wenn ich meinem Körper statt Schikane mal Erholung schenke, nicht mehr “die Supersportliche” bin— auch wenn mein Körper endlich aufatmen und gesunden kann (und mir vielleicht sogar wieder eine Periode beschert, bevor das Thema im Schlund der Wechseljahre verschluckt wird.)

Keiner klatscht für die grössten Erfolge.

Wenn du dich angesprochen fühlst und weisst, wie ich mich fühle, lass uns Hände halten und nicht vergessen: Unsere Kultur ist vollkommen verdreht.
Wir sind völlig in Ordnung, so wie Mutter Natur uns gemacht hat.

Mann, ist das hart.

Posted in Allgemein, Posts in German | Comments Off on Körperakzeptanz in einer Welt, die Rundungen diskriminiert….

Body-acceptance in a fat-shaming world…

… is one of the trickiest things to accomplish.

The way our culture sees “being thin” as some sort of Holy Grail everyone is supposed to achieve, the tragic assumption that our worth is directly related to how close we get to the promoted “ideal body” has turned into unquestioned “logic”.

The way every magazine is yelling WEIGHT-LOSS at us by selling us diet-pills, lifestyle-clean-eating-meal-plans, detoxes, “bootcamp fitness” and “poweryoga”, the other tragic assumption, namely that we have to make this “skinny” thing happen no matter what the cost, has turned into equally unquestioned “logic”.

The way only thin, mostly young, white females—who really only represent the tiniest fraction of the population—are represented in mass media (photoshopped, of course, for good measure), yet another tragic assumption has turned into fatally unquestioned “logic”: that our bodies are wrong the way they are.
Surprised that more than 90% of women are unhappy with their bodies?
Diet culture has made no one happy. Literally.

It makes me feel powerless and sad and angry to see how women seem to BOND over publicly shaming their own (and other people’s) bodies and comparing perceived “flaws” in their physique by engaging in this rampant, highly obnoxious trend to have all things weight-loss as the number one topic.

Please! Make! It! Stop!

Girls, let’s talk life, creativity, romance, philosophy, politics… ANYthing but the amount of calories you consumed.

The question remains: how the HECK does one recover from body-dysmorphia, disordered eating and that tenacious guilt around food in a society that clearly is in a full-blown body-crisis? When we’re told all around that we’re supposed to “love our bodies”, but—please!—only after we’ve finally made it to “fit and skinny”?
This whole dichotomy is sickening.
It has kept us in the ever draining circle of dieting, bingeing, overexercising and despair. For ever and ever. And ever. On autopilot.
We assume that we can’t be happy with more weight—since we never got to see any happy fat people, we assume that they all must be miserable and lonely.

IMG_13
Diet-culture loves to keep us small.

 

But… wwwait a minute.
It’s ME who’s miserable and lonely!—In a body that looks healthy and skinny from the outside. Something’s clearly fishy here.
If you take away one line from this post, take this:

You CANNOT determine anyone’s level of “HAPPY” by their weight. 

Who ends up being miserable, lonely and self-loathing are those of us who believe those toxic messages about weight-related lovability and happiness!

Take me: I am not plus-sized anymore. I have been a very “successful” dieter (read: a stubborn white-knuckling type A person who’s busy with that devil called “maintenance”). But all my trying SO hard to fit society’s skinny ideal hasn’t brought happiness any closer, in fact, it has thrown whatever remnants of happiness out and brought in obsessions, anxieties and rigidity. How sweet.
It’s almost three decades that I’ve been fighting to keep my weight down. I’ve developed strict food rules, started beating myself up for every—inevitable—loss of “control” and I’ve sacrificed many social occasions, the most part of my creativity, as well as my laid-back nature in order to exercise like an insane person. In short: I’ve started to believe that if I let go of some of that rigid control, I’d be fat in an instant and everybody would point their finger at me, ridiculing me for “failing”.

All that suffering. Just to fit in. To be accepted. To be loved.

A society like ours makes a healthy approach to food and exercise complicated and very scary. Yet recovery advice, of course, says to make exactly that top priority, contrary to what diet culture tells us to do: To learn to allow all the foods again. To eat when hungry. Not to restrict again. Not to engage in exercise as a way of punishment for eating. To let go of calorie counting. To throw out the scale. To let the body find its natural weight. To buy bigger pants… To start LOVING YOURSELF.

That’s freaking hard in an environment of diet-talk and fat-shaming!
That’s freaking hard with the clear memory in mind of how many people congratulated me on my diet-success and on my strict exercise discipline.
That’s freaking hard when all I see are weight-loss ads, photoshopped models, skinny celebrities and shows like “The Biggest Loser”.
Recovering from all this means to let go.

It means to let go of other people’s approval.

It’s hard.
I might sound like a laughable coward, but some days it seems absurdly risky to believe that my body could be lovable when it doesn’t count as “perfect” or “superfit” anymore, when it’s chubby and soft.
But unless I believe that it is lovable in any form, I won’t be able to fully recover. I think that’s one of the reasons why so many people relapse in eating disorder recovery, and that’s why I see so much disordered eating in the women around me.

I see that the way out means being a badass and taking the harder way, and I admit, I’m scared! Because of this thin-crazed society we live in

NO ONE to congratulate me on my BRAVERY to rest instead of working out, when that’s what’s needed to get my period back.
NO ONE to congratulate me on my BRAVERY to gain weight instead of keeping on maintaining like a madwoman, when that’s what’s needed to become healthy, balanced and of sane mind, unafraid of eating and food.

If you can relate, let’s hold hands and remember: Society is messed up. We’re fine the way Mother Nature built us.

Ugh, it’s hard.

Der Körper IST NICHT das Problem.

Du kennst sie, die Tage. Nichts, NICHTS, am eigenen Körper fühlt sich gut an. Man ist sich seiner Hülle so unangenehm bewusst, dass man sich in der alten Leier verfängt. Der Bauch! Die Oberschenkel! Zu dick! Hässlich! – Und los geht’s. Nichts ist recht, nichts gefällt, und alle Jeans, die mal zu weit waren, spannen.
Walfischgefühle. Und die ganze Wahrnehmung zoomt auf jeden möglichen Makel, den wir natürlich sofort gnadenlos hervorstreichen. Da! Der Spiegel zuckt sogar zurück vor diesem faltigen Gesicht. Logisch, niemand kann uns so jemals akzeptieren! Unser Gedankenkarussel geht los, notabene in die kreuzfalsche Richtung.

Statt uns mit Mitgefühl um unser Nichtgutfühlen zu kümmern, attackieren wir uns auf die niederträchtigste Weise.

Und weil uns niemand je Selbstachtung und Selbstsorge beigebracht hat, tun wir, was wir denken, werde von uns verlangt. Wir plagen uns im Fitness, wir zupfen an uns herum, wir planen Diäten, wir schwören und zu züchtigen. Wir planen Bestrafung. Für uns selbst! Eine Tragödie, die sich täglich vor Millionen von Spiegeln abspielt. Mädchen, Frauen, und neuerdings immer mehr Männer. Wir werden monothematisch, es schickt sich richtig, über den eigenen Körper schlecht zu reden, sich über die eigenen Imperfektheiten lustig zu machen, sich völlig zu verlieren in etwas, das komplett keinen Sinn macht. Die Hülle, unser Vehikel, das Ding, mit dem wir mit Mitmenschen in Kontakt kommen, das Haus, mit dem wir die Welt entdecken. Arme, mit denen wir unsere Lieben umarmen, Bäuche, die Kinder gebären. Und statt ihnen zu danken für die treuen Dienste, die sie uns trotz unserem ständigen Gemotze erweisen, motzen wir ständig.

Die Diät- und Fitnessindustrie freut’s. Die Schönheitsindustrie ebenso. Die verdienen Milliarden, ohne gross einen Finger zu rühren. Alles, was die machen müssen, um uns zu willigen Diätern, Fitnessabokaufern, Pillenschluckern und Faltencremekäufern zu machen, ist ein geschöntes, unrealistisches Foto und irgendwo das Wort “jung”, “schön”, “fit”, “schlank” oder “leicht” mit ihrem Produkt zu verbinden. Päng, wir sehen das und fühlen uns prompt ungenügend. Der Vergleich mit geschönten Bildern passiert uns täglich aberhundertmal und meist tappen wir blind in die Falle: Wir sehen uns als Ding, das wir “in Ordnung bringen” sollten. Als Wesen, das so wie es ist, nicht gut genug ist.
Seit Jahrzehnten tun wir brav, was uns die Werbebotschaften, Magazine, Plakate und sogar unsere “Freunde” vorbeten. Wir kaufen, operieren, hungern, kasteien uns und schlucken Pillen. Davon können genannte Industrien bequemstens leben und wir selber vergessen, wer wir selber eigentlich sind und wofür wir auf dieser Welt sind. (Ich tippe, es ist nicht, um brav ein Leben lang Diät zu halten.)

Ist es nicht Zeit, dass wir aufwachen und langsam wieder zu uns selber finden? Wieder hinhören, was uns unsere Intuition, die gesunde innere Stimme denn eigentlich sagt? Statt dem überall vorgegaukelten Schönheitsideal nachzurennen und dabei aufzuhören, zu LEBEN?

Ich glaube, wir können das.

Ich glaube, Körper kommen in verschiedenen Grössen und Formen. Genau, wie keine zwei Bäume gleich sind. Und das ist im Grunde nichts als wunderbar und genau so, wie die Natur es will. Krank und dick und hoffnungslos werden wir nur, wenn wir all die Diäten MACHEN. Sie können nicht funktionieren. Wir verlieren zwar jedesmal anfänglich Kilos, aber hauptsächlich verlieren wir den Zugang zu unserem eigenen, ursprünglich ganz gesunden Körpergefühl. Mit jeder Diät, mit jeder Stunde Zwangssport verlieren wir es mehr. Und der Körper, der lässt sich nicht so einfach manipulieren. Es ist vorprogrammiert, jedesmal, dass wir nach der Diät wieder zuschlagen. Nur geben wir dann uns selbst die Schuld. Wir haben versagt. Wir haben die Diät versifft. Denken wir. Aber dem ist nie so gewesen. Wir haben nur verlernt, nach unserem kindlich intuitiven Gefühl zu leben, uns aus Freude zu bewegen, mit Freude zu essen. Kein Wunder. Ich selber wurde ja schon mit 5-jährig auf die erste Diät gesetzt. Von da an ging das Jojo-Leben los und das Gefühl, nicht zu genügen und hässlich zu sein, wuchs und wuchs. Das versuche ich nun zu heilen. Und ich merke, wie schwer es ist, sich von diesen alten Zwängen zu lösen. Denn da sind sie, die miesen Tage, die Tage, an denen ich mich einfach wäääh fühle, denke, ich müsse anders aussehen um glücklich zu sein. Aber ich weiss es besser.

Ich weiss, was ich zu tun habe. Nicht mehr wie ein Schaf der Masse folgen und artig mein Leben vergessen, um dem Ideal halbwegs zu entsprechen. Ich möchte wieder lernen, ohne Angst zu essen, ohne Zwang an Bewegung und Sport heranzugehen, und mir bewusst werden, was ein “schlechter Körpertag” mir sagen will: Dass da Gefühle sind, um die ich mich kümmern muss. Den Körper aber, den sollten wir in Ruhe lassen und ihm einfach mal DANKE sagen, wie still und tapfer er unsere Irrtümer über sich ergehen lässt.

Ich möchte eine Welt sehen, in der alle Formen und Farben, alle Grössen und Weiten wieder geehrt werden. Eine Welt, in der wir der emotionalen Gesundheit ebenso viel Zeit widmen wie der körperlichen. Eine solche Welt urteilt nicht. In einer solchen Welt wird niemand beschämt oder ausgelacht, weil er nicht in ein Schema passt. In einer solchen Welt freuen wir uns über die Vielfalt, entdecken mit offenen Augen und sind neugierig auf die anderen da draussen. Vergleichen war gestern. Wer vergleicht, hat verloren.

Lasst uns wieder Menschen werden.

Life is like baking cake.

Today, I somehow ended up messing around in my inner philosophical kitchen for a while and I got some wonderful-smelling life wisdom out of that:

We humans were all born with our own unique set of ingredients, and by living fully, we are creating our own perfect, delicious cake that is true to our nature. So for simplicity’s sake, let’s say that life is about creating a cake unique in style and taste.
Now, why the hell do we get so hung up about the egg?

Wait, wait, I can explain.

So there’s one cake only YOU can bake. The one only you have the heavenly installed starter kit for. The one cake whose recipe only you understand, and to which you have a beautiful set of ingredients unlike any other. One should think that you would go about that delicious business giddy as Mr. Bubble, curiously exploring the contents of the kit you were given by mother nature, eager to find out what kind of cake you would get to create. It should be with utter amazement that you scrutinize every single item, properly taken by all the smells, the feels and the difference in textures.
I’d assume you’d even show your kit to your baker friends and that they’d show you theirs, in fact that everyone would be inspired, engaging in conversations as to how to go about the business of baking. Plans would be exchanged and everyone would help everyone else along on the way to… CAKE. So far, not a single drop of jealousy would have clouded our sparkly eyes. One should think that this would be fun!

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The real reason we’re not happy bakers.

So now what? Something must have happened between then and CAKE, because instead of being a merry bunch of bakers feeding eachother spoonfuls of our dough, you (and almost everyone else I know) started fussing about the egg in our set of ingredients, and you thereby put the cakemaking matter on hold.

That’s where hell came in.

The whole thing went south when you picked up the message that something wasn’t quite right with your egg.
Was it someone looking at it in a weird way, was it someone trying to rub away a gooey bit that stuck to the shell? Was it someone pointing to a crack that wasn’t supposed to be there? Was it someone suggesting that your particular egg was too wide, the wrong color, sort of funny-smelling, maybe pass its sell-by date?

Whatever it was, suddenly you saw it too. Damn, it really was a bit wide, and – oh, no! – others had a white egg and not a brown one like you, why hadn’t you ever noticed that there actually was a weird smell to it, and Jesus, the crack!

Where there previously was none, there was – in fact, there IS – a problem. Exit giddiness, enter problemsolving mode. “Better fix this unless I want to risk ruining my cake!” All the glorious ingredients that you were so joyful over are now forgotten and you have become anxious and totally focused on that egg.
You compare its look to every other egg, especially those on the covers of popular cake-magazines. Holy hell! Every egg but yours seems in better shape.

And so you put all your grit to it, trying everything.
You polish. You bleach. You mask. You glue. You want to change your egg with a vengeance, and since you can’t seem to shape it the way that restores your happy, you end up hating it. Thinking that, since the egg is wrong, who’s to say that the rest of your ingrediences are any good?

And who the fuck said life was supposed to be fun anyway? Stupid egg, you think.

Your thinking is wrong.
Did you know that it is impossible to make a cake with a perfect-looking egg? It must have slipped your mind that, to be of any use for your cakebaking proceedings, you need to actually USE your egg. And to use it, what’s the point in focusing on keeping its outer shell perfect in the first place? To bring your egg to its divine use, you need to BREAK its shell.

So, to you, to all of us: Let’s stop polishing our eggs and bake our cakes already!

Let me know when you got the dough, I’d love a taste of it.

Rennen. Oder vom Mut, damit aufzuhören.

Der Tag erwacht,
schon beginnt’s im Kopf zu blinken.
Welch riesige Macht!Der Mut beginnt zu sinken;
so viel zu leisten, noch nichts vollbracht.

Rennen! Leisten! Nützen! Tun!
Die Kommandos lauter als ich selbst
Zuwenig Sport! Zu eng die Jeans!
Es lockt das Essen, was soll ich tun?
Also renn ich, leist ich, nütz ich – stresse durch die Welt
und weiss nicht, ob ich’s verdient hab, mal einfach nur zu ruhn.

In all den ach-so-gleichen Tagen,
verbracht mit Müssen, Sollen, Spuren
beginn ich mich zu fragen:
Was ticken in mir denn für Uhren?
Wofür IST das ganze Plagen?

Was bliebe ohne den konstanten Drill?
Wär ich wohl noch gut genug?
Was wär denn eigentlich mein Ziel?
So ohne Essensangst, Diätenlug?
Wenn ich mir einfach so gefiel?

Tönt doch eigentlich gesund:
ein ganz normales Menschenwesen;
da ganz heil, und dort ganz wund,
das es verdient hat, zu genesen –
ob es dünn ist oder rund.

Das Gesunde in mir weiss genau:
Essen muss man nicht verdienen.
Auch wenn die Menge noch nicht schlau – zur Strafe Sport; das kann nicht dienen,
wenn das Mädchen wimmert “auu”.

Denke ich an Bauernbrunch und Kuchen –
mal ganz ohne Hosengrösse –
ach wie gern ich’s tät versuchen!
Doch gäb ich mir die Blösse,
müsst ich Spott dann wohl verbuchen?

Falls sie spotten sollten oder lachen,
weil ich das Ideal verfehle,
weh würd mir das machen,
Scham mir brennen in der Seele.
Drum will ich die erst recht bewachen.

Sorgenvoll sind die Gedanken.
Wie soll das alles gehen?
Ich muss doch spörteln, komm ins Schwanken.
Lasse schon das Frühstück stehen.
Ganz klar, muss noch viel mehr Mut auftanken.

Mut zur Freiheit, Mut zu Liebe und Genuss.
Entdecken, wer ich bin und wie das ist,
wenn ich nicht nur ständig “muss”,
sich stattdessen freuen über was man isst –
ohne Strafe und Verdruss?

“Das ist unmöglich, strafbar gar!”
“Man muss was leisten für die Liebe!”
“Wirst schon sehen, es ist wahr!”
– solche Worte sind wie Hiebe,
weil JEDES Wesen doch ist wunderbar.

Ein Umdenken kommt in Gang.

Seit ungefähr einem halben Jahr – seit meinem Bandscheibenvorfall, der mich in die Knie zwang – habe ich viel mehr Zeit. Viel mehr Zeit, in der mein Kopf böse Dinge gegen mich ausspuckt, viel mehr Zeit, in der mich Sorgen plagen, viel mehr Zeit, in der mir schmerzlich bewusst wird, wieviel Zeit ich eigentlich meinen Ängsten und Zwängen schenke. Vor lauter Angst, man könnte mich verspotten oder ausschliessen, wollte ich schon als Kind unbedingt mehr so sein wie “alle anderen”. Und weil an mir so vieles so anders war als bei “allen anderen”, war ich jahrelang damit beschäftigt, mich ändern zu wollen. Nichts an mir war gut genug, so wie es von Haus aus geliefert kam. Ich fand mich zu dick, zu fad, zu ungeschickt, zu unförmig, zu fadenhaarig, zu x-beinig, zu zahnfleischlächlig, zu unathletisch. Also tat ich, was so manche Frau tut: Ich diätete. Anfangs – wie bei jeder Diät – auch ganz erfolgreich, doch eben… Das war der Anfang. Als ich mein Glück beim tieferen Gewicht nicht fand, dachte ich, es sei halt einfach noch weiter unten, ich hätte mich noch nicht genug kasteit. Irgendwo musste ich dieses “gut genug” doch finden? Nicht einmal bin ich auf die Idee gekommen, dieses Gefühl da zu suchen, wo es auch tatsächlich zu finden ist: In mir drin. Ich suchte es verbissen im Aussen. Ich diätete, als ob der Teufel hinter mir her wäre. Ich trainierte wie versessen und war nach Jahren intensiven Sports immer noch überzeugt, es sei noch nicht genug. Noch nicht genug gehungert, noch nicht genug geformt, noch nicht genug geschwitzt. Ich war überzeugt, dass ich “halt leiden muss”, um dazuzugehören. Ach, diese Geschichte, die hat so viele dunkle Kapitel, sie füllt ein ganzes Buch. Was ich sagen will: Ich tat es völlig unschuldig und blind! Ich hinterfragte weder die Botschaften, die mir seit Kindheit in die Seele gepfeffert wurden, noch das gängige – immer absurder dünne – Schönheitsideal. Ich sah nur, dass ich dem allen nicht entsprach, und so war es schnell passiert, dass mein ohnehin schon nur bedrohlich kleines Selbstvertrauen restlos an meiner eigenen Betonwand zerbröselte.

Bodieshear

Und als nun in den letzten Monaten mit den intensiven Nervenschmerzen vom Rückenleiden die Ängste auch deshalb immer intensiver wurden, weil ich begann, zuzunehmen, nahm ich beseelt einen längst überfälligen Schritt zurück und begann, mich von Grund auf zu informieren. Ich lernte, was einen Frauenkörper dazu bringt, den natürlichen Menstruationszyklus aufzuhören: Stress, Übertraining, zu wenig oder sehr einseitige Nahrung, innere Anspannung. Dass da auch Sport massgeblich beteiligt ist, denn – entgegen der gängigen Meinung, dass mehr automatisch besser heisst – jedes Ausdauertraining (das wir besessenen Kalorienverbrenner ja vornehmlich betreiben) dazu führt, dass im Körper das Stresshormon Cortisol ausgeschüttet wird: deshalb lässt der Abnehmeffekt auch plötzlich nach, und man denkt, immer noch mehr machen zu müssen, um das Gewicht tief zu halten. Der Körper ist aber nur noch gestresst und vor lauter Cortisol je länger je kränker. Und plötzlich nützt nichts mehr, man fühlt sich nur noch todmüde, erschlagen, seelisch und körperlich am Ende. So gesund kann Sport sein! Hm. Das wusste ich in all den Jahren der Überbelastung nicht, ich hatte keine Ahnung. Ich hatte genauso wenig das Bewusstsein darüber, wer eigentlich profitiert von unserem Gefühl, nicht zu genügen. Wer da eigentlich Milliarden verdient und kein bisschen daran interessiert ist, dass wir uns besser fühlen. Die Schönheitsindustrie zum Beispiel, die freut sich krumm, wenn wir unsere Nasen gerade-operieren lassen. Die Fitnessindustrie zum Beispiel, die lehnt sich in goldenen Sesseln zurück, während wir unser Abendessen abstrampeln in einem der tausend Studios. Die Diätindustrie zum Beispiel, die mit leichtem Herzen “light” und “leicht” und “ohne Sünde” oder “slimline” auf ihre Produkte klebt und uns damit das Leben schwermacht. Wir rennen, wir zahlen, wir machen alles, um den vermeintlichen Anforderungen –  denen man gar nie gerecht werden kann, ohne dabei todunglücklich zu werden – zu erfüllen.

Plötzlich wurde mir vieles klar. Und während ich diese Angst spürte, dass man mich nun nicht mehr mag, weil ich wieder beginne, zuzunehmen – jetzt wo ich nicht mehr täglich 2-3h Sport mache und auch dem Impuls widerstanden habe, im Gegenzug dafür auf den nächsten Diätzug zu springen – genau in diesem Moment fragte ich mich, ob ich wirklich – wirklich! – wieder so dünn sein wollte wie in den vergangenen 4 Jahren. So dünn, dass in einem ganzen Tag gar nicht mehr viel anderes möglich war als obsessive Gedanken ans Essen (wollen und nicht dürfen) und an Kalorienrechnereien, mit denen ich mein tägliches Sportzwangspensum festlegte. So dünn, dass es es mir weh tat, auf einen harten Stuhl zu sitzen; ein Gefühl, als würde mein Steissbein durch die Haut gebohrt. So dünn, dass mir ständig – an 365 Tagen im Jahr! – eiskalt war. Egal, ob Sommer oder Winter, mir war kalt, von innen heraus kalt… Noch bis vor sehr, sehr kurzem war mir jeder Gedanke an Intimität dermassen zuwider, weil ich mich selber nicht ausstehen konnte, und IMMER noch glaubte, ich müsse noch dünner werden, noch mehr leiden, bis man mich lieben könnte.
Nein. Dahin will ich nicht zurück. Ich lerne jetzt, mich selber zu lieben. So wie ich bin. Mit allen Makeln.
Und doch, da bleibt dieses diffuse Gefühl, es nun nicht mehr unter Kontrolle zu haben, immer wieder diese Gedanken im Kopf, die mir einreden wollen, ich müsse demnächst wieder ein paar Kilo abnehmen.Diese Leier kommt mir langsam bekannt vor, ich möchte ihr nicht mehr auf den Leim gehen. Denn das ist keine gesunde Leier. Es ist eine so glasklar irrationale Sache, dass mir jetzt klar ist: Das KANN mit dem Körper gar nichts zu tun haben kann. Denn grundsätzlich fühle ich mich wieder viel, viel vitaler und strahlender. Und ja, ich muss wieder neue, grössere Hosen besorgen, das ist bekackt, aber auch nicht so bekackt wie es beknackt war, sich über kleinere Hosen zu freuen.

Ich will die Industrien nicht füttern. Und ich will ab sofort nie mehr Fett-Sprache hören unter Frauen. Das tut uns nicht gut! In vielen Frauen ist dies so verankert, dass sie es wohl kaum merken. Ständig – ständig – reden sie abwertend über ihre Körper. Sie zwicken sich vor Freundinnen in die Bäuche, reden nur vom “abnehmen-sollen” oder “zugenommen-haben” und verstärken gegenseitig diese Schnapps-idee, dass wir – so wie wir sind, individuell in Form und Geist – nicht genug sind. So geben wir das schon unseren Mädchen weiter, die sofort spüren, wenn wir nicht wohl sind in unserer Haut, wenn wir glauben, hinter dem “Dünn”-Konzept stecke die Freiheit, das Glück.

Nein, dort ist es nicht. Wirklich nicht. Ich schwörs. Wir dürfen aufhören damit, dem irren Ideal nachzueifern und dabei zu vergessen, wie leben geht. Wir dürfen einfach wieder sein. Essen, Freude haben, Sportschuhe liegen lassen und uns über die Bäuche streichen lassen.

Alles andere ist Irrsinn. – Ich glaubte ihn 41 Jahre lang.

Jenseits von Kleidergrössen.

Lasst uns den Moment löschen, in dem die erste Lifestyle-Diät unseren natürlichen Zugang zu Hunger und Sättigung aus der Bahn warf.
Lass uns alle unsere verzweifelten Diät-Versuche zerst zählen, darüber staunen, und dann rückgängig machen.
Lass uns das Zeitalter des wie-vergiftet-Kalorienzählens beenden.
Lass uns das Einzige, was sie uns je wirklich brachten, wieder verlernen – dass wir lernten, uns wie Versager zu fühlen.
Lass uns aufhören, uns schuldig zu fühlen für unseren Hunger.
Lass uns aufhören, Bewegung und Sport als Mittel zum Zweck des Kalorienverbrenns zu missbrauchen.
Lass uns aufhören, uns zu verurteilen für den Körper, in dem wir geboren sind.
Lass uns aufhören, andere Körper zu verurteilen, weil sie anders sind als unsere.
Lass uns aufhören, gegenseitig über unsere Körper zu tuscheln, sie auszulachen, zu beneiden oder zu entwürdigen.
Lass uns aufhören, uns zu verstecken, weil wir “die letzten 5 Kilo” noch nicht verloren haben.
Lass uns die Scham überwinden, die uns jahrelang die Lust an allen schamlosen Vergnügen vergiftete.

Lass uns das Schweigen durchbrechen!

Lass uns die Schönheit jedes einzelnen Menschen vorurteilsfrei feiern. Lass uns die Vielfalt schätzen.
Lass uns Körper als das bestaunen was sie sind: Unsere Vehikel, um in dieser Welt unsere Talente zu entdecken, zu spielen, zu reisen und zu lieben.
Lass uns vom Herz aus gesunden und uns an unseren urnatürlichen Imperfektheiten freuen.
Lass uns einander zeigen, aus welchem Material wir geschnitzt sind.
Lass uns lachen darüber, wie lange wir blindlings nach jedem Strohhalm griffen, der uns “Schönsein” und “Schlanksein” versprach – versprach, zu “genügen”; von Cellulitepackungen bis Antifaltencrèmes, von Schlankheispillen bis Schönheitsoperationen, von Diätprogrammen bis Fitnessabos.
Lass uns erkennen, wer schamlos profitierte, wenn wir uns unvollkommen, minderwertig und hässlich fühlten: Eine milliardenschwere Diät-/Fitness- und Schönheitsindustrie.
Und dann lass uns wieder mit Liebe all die Bäuche und Brüste, Pobacken und Lachfalten berühren.
Lass uns der Seele statt den Sixpacks frönen.
Lass uns wieder erkennen, wer wir wirklich sind und wofür unser Feuer brennt.
Lass uns Essen wieder geniessen.
Lass uns Bewegung wieder neu entdecken.
Lass uns schätzen, was unser Körper eigentlich alles KANN!
Lass uns aufatmen.
Lass uns mit einem Lächeln auf unsere eigene Blindheit zurückblicken und mit Stolz im Blick in die Zukunft schreiten. In eine Zukunft jenseits von Kleidergrössen.

An untied-emotional-shoelaces situation.

It was yesterday.
I was on the phone with a dear friend that I hadn’t heard in a while because he’s moved away and has had to deal with some of his very own personal demons. It was great to hear him! He genuinely wanted to know how I was doing and so I told him. He’s known me for a very long time and was aware of my ongoing struggle with overeating and overexercising and he is actually one of the few people I can eat with without being ashamed. He once told me: “You’re more than this problem, so I don’t focus on it, and I believe in you whether or not you have this eating issue under control or not.” Wow. He just never seemed to judge me, even if I always go on eating long after he’s finished. He knows that I’ve been trying to improve, and he has never put me down for not succeeding yet. He is one of the few people who do not focus on the problem but on spending time with me. He was also aware that my back went out 8 months ago and that I had experienced intense pain. He just wasn’t up to date with anything anymore. So we talked. And talked. Aaaaah.

After my phonecall with him, after telling him about my current struggles, after having heard myself speak the words, I just for a second stopped to change perspective. As if peeking in from the outside, I got a look at my current situation and saw a measure of adversity that seemed mindboggling. And what I perceived from the outside was mindblowingly different from what I was perceiving when I was in my usual state of not even questioning what my inner critic kept shouting at me for all my life. Currently, that critic was of the opinion that all I was was a whimp, a whining failure, someone who just NEVER has her shit together. Someone who’s generally nothing much but a loud dissapointment. That phonecall was like stepping on imaginary breaks, and with this unexpected change of perspective, I felt a surge of compassion. Newsflash: For myself.

In that very instant it seemed absurd how I had thought that it was not necessary, possibly not OK to reach out, to ask for help even, and it seemed even absurder how I had denied myself to see how dire my current situation had become.
Telling my friend what I was going through was helping in two different aspects. For one, I could hear another human being full of understanding and utter warmth for me. And second, it gave me a chance to interrupt the ceaseless stream of self-critisism and putting myself down for what I did or did not do. For a minute there, I was able to stop the sarcastic voice of not-ever-doing-it-right and took a look at my out-of-control eating and the way my way of exercising had this undeniably punishing quality about itself, especially considering the fact that I was in pain and still put myself through daily hours of walking or against-my-will-cardio training. And instead of putting myself down for not implementing any Eating Disorder recovery advice and continuing all the shitty habits, it struck me that not one single person in the world wouldn’t be able to recover in these particular circumstances. Or all by herself, for that matter. So let’s take a look at that stinky potpourri with a compassionate eye.
There was, after all, severe nerve pain in my leg due to the herniated disc in my back. And THAT alone had been going on for 8 months now. This was not just annoying, it had worsened unstoppably – somehow naively I had held up my hope of it getting better, even though the second MRI had revealed an entirely different truth, and even though I could not stand upright or sit (or basically doing anything else than laying on my yoga mat until way past noon). How come I had so insistently closed my eyes to the fact of how this thing with my back had digressed. How could I keep on holding on to the idea of some sort of miracle healing? How could I deny how it was getting worse every week, that there was nothing more to do for me than spending my afternoons walking and walking and walking, until my feet hurt?
Why? How? Because deep down, I never considered myself deserving better.
Seeing how I have lost touch to my inner being who wants to claimed her right to enjoy her days, who tackles the issue of long overdue surgery, who wants this mess to be dealt with, who asks for support. I had grown accustomed to living in the dark. I can be scarily adaptive in this way. Childhood waves a graveyard hand. Wow.
That phonecall had enlightened me enough to see how much a soul, my very own, in fact, must be hurting to be convinced that she must get a grip, not whine, and just buckle the fuck up already. How much hurt must be buried deep to simply endure everything pain- or suffering-related??
I had never questioned that I had to deal with this myself somehow. Endless pain, increasing (very painful) isolation, empty days, no sense of direction, disordered eating, shame and fear? I even felt GUILTY for not doing better! Really. It does seem absurd now.
I was asking myself: “So. You are beating yourself up for the fact that the eating/exercising is a bit more out of control? You tell yourself you’re a total failure? Look, honey. Had a friend of yours been in a situation like that, you’d have run to their side and offered nothing but compassionate support. You’d have had nothing but full-on understanding for her/his desperate attempts to cope with the overwhelm of the whole mess. You should be deserving of that, too. Let’s stop the beating-up for a minute, ok?”
And I saw that there was SO much going on that I am overwhelmed with. We’re not just talking about the nerve pain and the eating disorder here. There’s incredible fear, existential fear of how I was going to be provided for, knowing that in 5 months from now, my insurance payments would be ceased. If they didn’t approve my application for a temporary “allowance” (how are these social payments called?), I was, well… fucked. That’s a scary thought, me being 42 and no family or spouse in sight. Not complaining, just saying, it’s a very scary place to be. A whole lot of uncertainty. Allowance? Surgery? Post-surgery rehabilitation? Where? When? How? What with my eating-/exercise fears? Would I gain a ton of weight? How would I ever get out of this mess? Would I ever find anyone to share life with? All those thoughts and more. In an isolated state.

And I’m surprised I can’t get my emotional shoelaces tied? Really.

I’m learning. And right now, I’m learning the language of self-compassion.
And I’m incredibly grateful for that lovely phonecall that snapped me into that realization.

Die unheilige Frage im Treppenhaus.

Dachte mir nichts Böses, trug meine Einkäufe die Stufen hoch. War schon fast oben, ein Stockwerk noch, als mir die spindeldürre Nachbarin unterhalb eine Frage zubellte, die ich nie mehr vergessen werde. Nicht, dass die Frage allein nicht schon unangebracht genug gewesen wäre, nein, insbesondere darum, weil sie von einer Frau kam, die mich in den drei Jahren, in denen ich dort wohnhaft war, nie je eines Blickes gewürdigt hatte, oder wenn, dann höchstens eines abschätzigen. “Bist du schwanger?” – das waren die einzigen drei Worte, die die karge Frau im Treppenhaus je an mich richtete.

Das muss ungefähr 2008 gewesen sein. Seither ist ziemlich viel schief gelaufen. Natürlich ist daran ist nicht die hagere, meist gereizt blickende Frau schuld. Die Pistole an meiner eigenen Schläfe war längst geladen, ihre Frage hat bloss noch den Abzug gedrückt. Nach Jahrzehnten von Diäten und Sportplänen, heimlichen Ess-Fantasien und Spiegel-Aversionen war nicht annähernd fähig, mir diese saublöde Frage vom Revers zu wischen. Sie blieb an mir kleben, in mir stecken, brannte sich ein, höhnte wie ein teuflisches Echo in ewiger Rückkopplung in meinem Kopf. Sie hatte meinen wunden Punkt getroffen. Ja, ich hatte wieder etwas “nachgelassen”, ein paar Kilo zugenommen. Das Gespenst meiner Vergangenheit reckte sich wieder: “Jetzt wirst du wieder dick. Dann können alle auf dich zeigen und sagen, sieh her, sie hat versagt, sie hat es eben doch nicht geschafft, ihr Gewicht unten zu halten.” Die Gedanken verquirlten sich zu einem giftigen Cocktail. Nun, es wäre theoretisch möglich, dass die Frau im 5. ihren spöttischen Unterton bewusst einsetzte, aber ganz ehrlich, es ist genauso möglich, dass sie einfach so ist, und dass sie vielmehr selber so mit sich spricht. Sie wirkt nämlich weder entspannt noch zufrieden, und so angestrengt knöchern wie sie herumstakst, quälen sie ziemlich sicher ganz ähnliche Selbstzweifel. “Bin ich dünn genug, schön genug? Bin ich gut genug?” Allein die Tatsache, dass sie nur gerade dies, meinen Bauch, wahrnimmt, auf ihn achtet, ihn wertet, zeigt kein Bild einer in sich ruhenden Frau. Dass sie sich zudem veranlasst fühlt, mir ausgerechnet diese Frage zu stellen, noch ohne meinen Namen zu wissen, müsste mir verdächtig vorgekommen sein. Dass es genauso ihr Thema sein könnte wie meins. Dieses ständige Gefühl, nicht zu genügen, nicht angenommen zu werden, sich ändern zu müssen, um geliebt zu werden.
Die Frage war gestellt, und – päng! – schon war sie weg, ihre Wohnungstür zu.
Ich möchte nicht mit dem Finger auf sie zeigen. Ein Teil von mir möchte sie umarmen für ihr eigenes, offensichtliches Unglücklichsein, und ja, ein anderer Teil von mir möchte ihr laut und deutlich ins Gesicht sagen, wie sehr mir ihr Tonfall, mit der sie eine an sich unschuldige Frage stellte, mich verletzt und erschüttert hat. Wie es mir nicht gelingen will, selbst all die Jahre später, den Vorfall, den Ton, dieses Gefühl von brennender Scham, Ausgestelltsein und Nichtgenügen zu vergessen. Dass ich sie häuten könnte, manchmal, dass sie mich so fragte. Und dass ich sie trotzdem verstehe, weil ich sie ja sehe. Sie ist nicht glücklich.

Nur leider konnte ich beides nicht. Jedes rationale Wissen um diese unglückliche Situation half mir herzlich wenig. Der Abzug war gedrückt, die Kugel war auf Herzkurs. Und da wurde erst einmal alles kurz und klein gehackt. Von Selbstverachtung bis Spiegel-Übelkeit bis hin zu Hassgedanken über meine Existenz, das giftige Potpourri entfaltete schön langsam seine gewaltige Wirkung. Ja, ich begann wieder mit Diäten, mit “Brot-ist-verboten”, mit “Schokoladenkuchen-für-alle-aber-nicht-für-mich”, mit “ich-muss-halt-leiden-damit-man-mich-akzeptiert”, mit “dann-zwing-ich-mich-halt-wieder-für-mehr-verhasstes-Jogging-und-mehr-Stunden-im-Fitness”. Und wie ich so bin, tat ich dies alles mit einer unerschütterlichen, gnadenlosen Disziplin. Ich wollte es ihr zeigen. Ich wollte ihr ohne Worte genauso spöttisch zeigen, wie locker ich sie überholen kann, wie leicht ich sie in den Schatten stellen kann, ich wollte ihr ein für allemal den giftigen Mund vergällen. Ich wollte Neid statt Spott. Ich war in einem völlig unbewussten, unverbundenen Zustand mit mir selbst und der Welt. Statt mit Mitgefühl für mich selber zu agieren, nahm ich mich an die kürzestmögliche Leine, zwängte mich in den Schraubstock, der nur eines zum Ziel hatte: Mich endlich liebenswert machen zu wollen. Die Spotter, die Beschämer und die Fingerzeiger zum Schweigen zu bringen.

Mit Hass und Druck? Mit Verboten und Zwängen? Mit Strafen und Verurteilen?

Irgendwie scheint es im Nachhinein nur traurig.
Was das Gewicht angeht, funktionierte mein Konzept ein paar Jahre trügerisch gut. Jeder, der sich keinen Genuss mehr gönnt – weniger! weniger! – und sich contre-coeur tägliche Sportdrills aufzwängt – mehr! mehr! – verliert Gewicht. Verliert aber auch jegliche Sinnlichkeit, Weichheit, jegliche innere Entspannung, und vor allem: Jeden natürlich-liebevollen Zugang zu sich selber.
Das merkte ich aber gar nicht richtig. Hauptsache, ich konnte mein Gewicht einigermassen unten halten. Ich war nicht dünn, aber ein paar Kilo brachte ich mit dem Drill runter. Nur blöd, dass dies nun hiess, dass ich den Drill ein Leben lang aufrecht erhalten müsste, um diese paar Kilos unter grösstem Kraft- und Willensaufwand unten zu behalten. Irgendwie ein hoher Preis, um einer fremden Nachbarin, symbolisch ausgedrückt, zu gefallen. Irgendwie am Ziel vorbei.
Denn ganz egal, was mein Gewicht jeweils war, innerlich war meine Haltung zu mir selber, und mein generelles Glücksgefühl, immer genau gleich mies. Da änderte keine kleinere Hosengrösse etwas daran. Und doch dachte ich ständig, dass es “nur noch ein bisschen” weniger sein müsste, und dann, DANN wäre ich dann wohl glücklich. Irgendwo musste das Glück doch sein!
Ich hinterfragte gar nicht, ob es Sinn macht, sich Glück auf solche Art überhaupt verdienen zu müssen, und schon gar nicht, ob es nicht eher glückszerstörend ist, sich selber so grausam zu behandeln. Leiden, das musste der Weg zum Ziel sein, oder?

Ich brachte die Selbstquälerei auf eine ganz neue Ebene. Nur noch abends war essen erlaubt. Täglich mindestens 90 Minuten Ausdauersport. Anfänglich gab es noch Ruhetage. Anfänglich. Diese gibt es seit Jahren nicht mehr. Bei Fieber und mit Rückenschmerzen, egal. Leiden muss sein. Die Angst wurde immer grösser, und ich versklavte mich ihr unbewusst immer mehr. Mein Essen wurde immer zwanghafter. Natürlich war ich abends jeweils so hungrig, dass ich tägliche Essattacken erlitt, für die ich mich tags darauf wieder mit Nachdruck bestrafte und den Teufelskreis so stetig aufrecht erhielt. Ich war überzeugt, dass ICH der Fehler bin, dass ICH es nicht im Griff habe, dass ICH mich nicht kontrollieren kann beim Essen, dass in mir drin ein dickes Kind hockt, dass nur darauf wartet, dass ich die Kontrolle loslasse. Dass ich praktisch über Nacht zum Fass werden würde. Und statt einer Nachbarin dann die ganze Welt über mich lachen würde.

Diese Angst ist, ganz tief unten, immer noch da. Ich verstehe mich nun viel besser, sehe, wie ich der Angst Untertan geworden und meinen eigenen Stoffwechsel so völlig in die Wüste gefahren habe. Wie ich mein Leben lang in einem inneren Stress verbringe, mich noch mehr anstrengen will, um “es” zu schaffen, um endlich dazuzugehören. Und ich sehe nun, dass dies nur von einer ganz grundsätzlichen, urmenschlichen Angst zeugt: Dass wir abgelehnt werden können. Dass wir verletzt sind und unsicher, dass wir uns fürchten, wieder verlassen zu werden. Und dass wir – jeder auf seine Art – mitunter absurd viel dafür tun, um diesen schlimmen Gefühlen auszuweichen. Bei mir ist es am Thema Essen/Sport aufgehängt, bei anderen bei Shopping, Alkohol, Sex, Arbeit oder Drogen. Es ist letztlich immer dasselbe.

Wir möchten alle geliebt werden. Und der Weg dazu führt am schwierigsten Hindernis vorbei: Sich selber zu lieben. Und das heisst, aufräumen. Die alten Wunden ansehen, die toxischen Gefühle endlich frei zu lassen, sich ihnen zu stellen, und zu heilen.

Das ist schwieriger für mich als jede Diät.

Mittendrin.

Kennst du das?

Du bist weiter als auch schon, du schaust dir Webseiten an, informierst dich, wie der Weg aus verkorkstem Essverhalten und dem eigenen himmeltraurigen Körperbild denn aussehen könnte/müsste. Merkst schon beim Lesen, bzw. beim Youtube-Videos-Schauen, dass das nicht ganz einfach sein dürfte. Möchtest gern schon am andern Ende des Tunnels sein, bist es aber nicht nur NICHT, sondern bist noch nicht mal IM Tunnel des “Weges zurück”. Stehst davor, siehst wie dunkel es da aussieht und traust dich nicht rein.

Alles, was du willst, liegt auf der anderen Seite der Angst.
Alles, was du willst, liegt auf der anderen Seite der Angst.

 

Nicht, dass es SO, WIE ES JETZT IST nicht ebenso dunkel wäre…
Aber da weisst du wenigstens, wer der Boss ist. Oder glaubst es zumindest. Hast wenigstens das Gefühl, dass du die Kontrolle hast, weisst, wie du die grossen Ängste im Griff behalten kannst. Natürlich weisst du auch, dass die Essstörung die Kontrolle hat, aber du bildest dir ein, dass du lieber in DIESEM Dunkel bleibst, statt das Risiko einzugehen, die Kontrolle total zu verlieren.Du denkst dir, dass du wahrscheinlich leider eben doch das einzige Wesen bist, bei der dieser “Weg heraus” nicht funktioniert, dass du 100 Kilo zunehmen wirst, dass du NIEMALS aufhören wirst mit essen, dass du NIE mehr ein paar Joggingschuhe in deine Nähe lässt, dass es ALLES KATASTROPHAL ENDEN WIRD.
Irgendetwas glaubt, dass DU dir nicht erlauben kannst, normal essen zu lernen und nicht wie vergiftet Sport zu machen, um die Kalorien wieder loszuwerden und um das nächste Essen zu verdienen. Dass das irgendwie einfach nicht aufgehen KANN, wenn du da die Kontrolle lockerst.

Und etwas in dir reckt sich trotzdem. Will raus. Ausbrechen aus diesem irren Käfig. Nicht mehr Sport machen MÜSSEN, nicht mehr Angst haben vor dem Essen, nicht mehr nur ENTWEDER alles essen, was dir in die Finger kommt, ODER gar nichts essen, nicht mehr wie ferngesteuert zwischen MÜSSEN und DÜRFEN oszillieren.
Denn irgendwie war das ja nicht so gedacht. Gedacht war, dass man mit etwas “Vernunft” und “Sport” das Bäuchlein und die für zu dick befundenen Oberschenkel ansehlich machen könnte. Gedacht war, dass das Leben NACHHER losgehen kann. Und irgendwie merkst du langsam, dass es irgendwie nie losgeht, dass es irgendwie nie “genug gut” ist. Ist man mal dünn, ist es sau-anstrengend, dies zu halten. Das Hirn ist damit beschäftigt, wie man wo was essen soll/darf, und wie man wo wieviel Sport machen muss. Dann nimmt man unerklärlicherweise wieder zu, und schon platzt die Angst zur Tür herein und versperrt jeden Weg nach vorn. Das geht nun doch schon lange so, nicht wahr? Wie lange eigentlich? Sieht doch verdächtig danach aus, dass sich dies so schnell nicht in eine rosarote Glückswolke verwandelt und plötzlich die grosse Leichtigkeit und der zufällig so geschenkte Superkörper sich einstellen und dir das OK geben, nun mit dem eigentlichen Leben anzufangen.

Verdammt, wie lange schon? 22 Jahre sind es bei mir jetzt. Seit ich 20 bin.
Und davor? Eigentlich hat die Zwangsdiäterei doch schon mit 5 Jahren angefangen, unfreiwillig.
Und später, als die Diät-Mama nicht mehr da war, liess ich ein paar Jahre Genuss zu, zuviel, wollte endlich essen dürfen… Und wurde dick. Und schon war sie wieder da, die Diät-Mama, diesmal nicht mehr als lebendige Mutter, sondern intern, in meinem Kopf. Die gnadenlose Instanz. Und ich beugte mich ihr wieder, der Vorstellung, ich sei erst akzeptabel, wenn ich schlank, dünn, sportlich, stark bin.

Und jetzt? Jetzt sehe ich dies immer klarer, sehe, dass das Leben nicht einfach so anfängt, wenn ich mir nicht selber das grüne Licht dafür gebe. Und da steht mir die Angst im Gesicht. Denn da ist der Tunnel…

Das Leben ohne Essstörung leben heisst, mit dem Körper, der einem gegeben wurde, gut auszukommen und ihn nicht mehr in Formen, Kleidergrössen oder Sportzentren zu zwingen, sondern ihn als das zu sehen, was er ist: Unser Transportmittel auf dieser Erde. Einsehen, dass ein Auto mit kapputtem Motor noch so schön aussehen kann und trotzdem nirgends hinfahren wird. Sich mit dem Modell anfreunden, dass nicht “schön” sein muss, sondern einen gesunden Motor hat und uns viele schöne Dinge im Leben zeigt, uns an schöne Orte bringt, mit uns etwas erlebt. Mit uns lebt. Die Analogie mit dem Auto ist etwas lahm, ich weiss, aber trotzdem…

Ich habe Angst, die Kontrolle zu verlieren. Ich habe Angst vor Gewichtszunahme. Angst, dass mich dann alle als “fehlerhaft” sehen, dass ich ausgestellt bin, dass man mit dem Finger auf mich zeigt, nicht mit mir “spielen” will. Tief drin sitzt die, und sie ist mit keinerlei Rationalität zu besiegen.
Dies ist mir etwas peinlich, schliesslich bin ich eine 43-jährige Frau und sollte über dies in Perspektive sehen können. Kann ich aber noch nicht.

Doch langsam, ganz ehrlich, habe ich die Schnauze voll. Voll, immer im Stress zu sein mit mir selber, immer nur darauf hinzuarbeiten, zu “gefallen”, um dann mit dem Leben beginnen zu dürfen.
Langsam denkt es daran, wie es wohl wäre, wenn ich mich einfach so, jetzt, leben lassen würde. Die Kilos annehmen würde, die kommen wollen, wenn ich sie nicht mehr mit Sport wegächze oder mit rigid-absurdem Essverhalten in Schach zu behalten versuche.

Phu, mir wird jetzt schon schwindlig vor Angst. Für heute gehe ich wohl lieber nochmal auf den Stepper. Aber tapfer, nur noch die Hälfte jetzt. Find ich schon schwer genug.

Ich bin noch weit weg von normalem Essen. Weit weg von einem gesunden Körperbild, weit weg von einem Selbstwertgefühl, dass das Wort verdient: Dem Gefühl, etwas WERT zu sein, ohne dafür strampeln zu müssen oder in eine Kleidergrösse zu passen. Ohne es “verdienen” zu müssen. Weit weg von einer inneren Entspanntheit.

Aber immer neugieriger. Und immer trotziger. Immer achtsamer darauf, wie viel mich diese Essstörung kostet, wieviel ich ihr von mir gebe. Wie böse ihre Stimme ist, wie müde sie mich macht. Wie einsam, eigentlich. Und dass das nicht ICH bin – ICH war doch mal verspielt, lustig, mit Flügeln in der Seele, mit Herz und Weichheit, mit Trotzigsein und Andersdenken, mit Ideen, mit Kochkünsten, mit gedeckter Tafel, mit offener Tür, mit … grösseren Jeans.

Kennst du das?

Wollen wir es wagen? In und durch den Tunnel? Wieder zurück dahin, wo wir unser ICH wieder finden und es wieder fliegen lassen dürfen?

Sei geherzt, wer immer du bist. Ich verstehe dich.

I miss myself.

It’s been a lonely few weeks.
Dealing with a herniated disc is awful as it is (and it’s been going on for, oh, 6 months now), but it’s not just the physical pain that is crippling at times. It’s how *shit* piles up.
So, there’s the nerve pain in my left leg. Then – wait till I get started –, then there’s my eating disorder holding hands with the devil of compulsive exercising. Cool, that’s already quite the pile of shit.
But there’s one more thing, and that’s what’s making *shit* twice as hard to deal with:

Isolation.

I happen to be a very social being, and for decades, I was surrounded by people. As a radio DJ, I was working in a beehive-like environment, knew what felt like half the country, and even more people thought they “knew” me, since – as the voice babbling from their receivers, I was sort of keeping them company throughout the day, which was a privilege as well as a burden for me.

Always the entertainer.
Always the entertainer.

Privately, I was much more shy than one would think.
I was just brilliant at acting confident, thought that this was what was expected of me – being strong, having an attitude, not taking everyone’s crap, being the “independent” one. Just generally thinking that, well, I need to have my shit together. (Now, now, my use of the word shit is clearly getting out of hand here, gotta watch that.)
Where was I. Right. So, privately, I was much more authentic, kept a handful or two of close friends that I shared my joys and struggles with. I’m glad and ever thankful for each one of them, because without them, I don’t know if I could have made it this far. Not having a family or a partner, and coming from a past of trauma and abuse, it was only with my friends that I slowly experienced what “trust” means. And even though there were letdowns (nope, I didn’t always let the “right ones” in) and hurts, I share my most precious memories with people that I know or once knew.
Problem is, that for the past two years, significant changes are happening. My closest girlfriend got married and moved to another city. The relationship with another girlfriend grew from very close to distant to non-existent because our values diverged too much and her choices in life just weren’t congruent with mine anymore. My four close male friends; one has just had twins and moved away, the other married a woman with a child and is busy with his newfound family, another has had a breakdown and has checked himself into a clinic, and the fourth is caught in a divorce and is busy getting his life together, i.e. changing jobs, moving to another city.

See, it’s not so much that they’re not my friends anymore. They are. Very much so. And I know they’ll probably always be. It’s just that I hardly see them anymore. Gone are the days when we spent hours and hours together, talking, laughing, hiking, hanging out, going for dinner, getting carried away in heated conversations… Weren’t we always the ones who still sat there when the barman started rattling his keys, begging us to please, please, for chrisssake, let him go to sleep.
Ah, good times, those.

Life is constant change. Not a fact I appreciate much, since – as an anxious person – I like it, when things are dependent and reliable. Sameness has a strange appeal to me. That’s why I’m really struggling with my current circumstances, and I wonder where one gets another set of close friends. Rhetorically speaking, but not only so. I really wish there was a bit more connection, a bit more support, a bit more “human” contact, be it a hug, a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold or just someone who says “shhhh” when the demons are acting up again.

Thoughts about that brought up a feeling I didn’t expect: This morning, when I awoke with excrutiating pain in my leg (from that herniated disc that presses on a nerve in my back), I cried with overwhelm, and then suddenly, I thought back to when I was this boyish toddler (oh, isn’t HE cute? AAAARGH!!), then a chubby teenager, later a seemingly carefree young adult… and then? Shit (sorry) slowly but continuously hit the fan. There I was, in bed, thinking: I miss myself. That started the crying again, but somehow it was very moving. Because, yes, I do miss myself, the self before the hurt, before the conditioning, before the conviction that there must be something wrong with me, before the diets, before the depression, before the eating disorder, before the isolation.

I miss closeness, I miss connection, I miss authentic, loyal people, I miss a feeling of support. And I miss myself, too.

Feeling better already.

Hollow victory

You know what every “successful” dieter says, if they’re honest?

I’m hanging on by a thread here.

That’s what I say, for heaven’s sake! – Because yes, I DID lose 50 pounds 23 years ago. Yes, I did manage to hold on to that weight-loss, which—many of you might know that well!—works only by introducing ever harsher measures. I was either really, really restricting, or really, really overexercising. Just to keep the fricking weight in check as well as I could.

Low-fat yoghurt, lettuce and broccoli was, apart from the occasional chicken breast, my diet for a reaaaaaally long time. (Save the binge episodes, but I made sure that I exercised even harder the next day, in a desperate attempt at some sort of “damage control”). So, from the outside, people see “a diet that has worked”. Yet it hasn’t, really. Let’s be honest.
I don’t look the way I do just by eating happily and exercising without an obsessed mind.
I don’t KNOW how I’d look if I ate what I wanted and exercised in a feel-good way.

For the longest time, I thought well, I just don’t GET to live as freely as others if I want to look more or less skinny. I just HAVE to watch my weight. I just HAVE to exercise to keep those pounds off. I just CAN’T have the foods I loved most.

Only since last year have I started to learn that MAYBE my body wasn’t wrong. That MAYBE my binges weren’t my fault. That MAYBE I wasn’t just a failure. There’s relief in that.

If it hurts, let that shit go.

 

So. Have I been able to—bam!—snap out of this old mindset?
Sorry to disappoint. With the initial relief has come a lot of fear. Fear to really let go of my insane controlling. Seeing how few people are out there who seem to question diet-culture and all that comes with it—the ever increasing fitness-craze, exponential rise in cosmetic surgeries, diet-plans, the unquestioned NEED for seemingly EVERYONE to lose weight.

I too believed that with lower weight (and didn’t it always have to be lower still??) would come the love of my life, finally a career that I loved getting up for in the morning, respect from other people, being ridiculously body-confident, feeling free to show my body to the world, not ever having to feel ugly and ashamed again, not ever wanting to hide again, having a spectacular sex life, and—overall—a hugely successful outlook on LIFE.

Hasn’t happened. Ever. Not at any level of skinny. In fact, I think I was enjoying life more when I ate what the fuck I wanted and didn’t kill myself at the gym every day. No one is happy living obsessed with weight, food and exercise. No one.

IMG00008-20100710-1824_1
I had “skinny”. And everything else was LOST.

Before I was so “successful” at dieting, I might not have had the body I wanted, but, let’s face it: At least, I had TIME to cuddle with cats, fool around with my friends, go dancing, to eat popcorn at the cinema, to spend afternoons painting or taking acting classes, to go out for luxurious Sunday brunches without a care in the world, to spend Sunday curled up on the sofa with my favorite book with ZERO guilt, and to generally have a non-obsessed mind.

Now, my best qualities seem to suffer when I’m constantly obsessing about “not re-gaining the weight”. I’m not as freely funny. I’m not—by any measure—as spontaneous. I don’t take enough time to read, write, play, explore the world, rest… to find my purpose! Doesn’t sound like that kiss-my-ass-attitude I thought I’d magically get when I was thin. So. I’m totally not out of this mess called diet-mentality, BUT there’s one thing I certainly DON’T believe anymore, and that’s the lie that “Happy” is X pounds from now.

Because, I had skinny. And everything else was LOST.