National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

NEDAeatingdisorderNational Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Useful Resources for All Year

Here's a list of what I consider useful and substantial resources related to eating disorder information and treatment opportunities.

Positive Activities During National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (or Anytime!)

  1. Sign the National Eating Disorders Association’s Declaration of Independence from a Weight- Obsessed World to free yourself from the three D’s: Dieting, Drive for Thinness, and Body Dissatisfaction.
  2. Celebrate Fearless Friday - A Day Without Dieting - and feel how empowering a diet-free day of self-acceptance can be! 
  3. Attend a workshop, presentation, lecture, or meeting in your community that will help you feel better about yourself. See the National Eating Disorders Association’s website, your local newspaper or campus calendar for events. 
  4. Use your voice to effect change: join the National Eating Disorders Association’s national media advocacy campaign to write letters of protest and praise to media, corporations and advertisers who promote negative or positive messages concerning body size, weight, dieting and eating disorders. Sign up via the web at
  5. Consciously choose to avoid making comments about other people or yourself on the basis of body size or shape. 
  6. Compliment someone else for a skill, talent, or characteristic they have that you appreciate. Remind yourself that a person’s value is not determined by their shape or size. 
  7. Enjoy your favorite meal without feelings of guilt or anxiety over calories and fat grams. 
  8. Donate your jeans and other old clothes that no longer fit your body comfortably to charity. Someone else will appreciate them, and you won’t have to worry about the way they fit anymore. 
  9. Start each morning by looking in the mirror and saying something nice about yourself out loud. 
  10. Put away or throw away your bathroom scale. 
  11.  Look through magazines and newspapers, ripping out advertisements, photos and articles that promote negative feelings about weight, body image and food. Talk back to the TV when you see or hear an ad that makes you feel dissatisfied with your body. 
  12. Read a book that lifts your self-esteem, promotes positive body image, encourages healthy living or helps you overcome stereotypes about social standards of beauty. 
  13. If you know someone who is struggling with an eating disorder, take the time to reassure them of your friendship and support for their recovery process. 
  14. Throw out all of the diet products in your house. 
  15. Remind yourself and others that It’s What’s Inside That Counts! 
  16. Become a member of the National Eating Disorders Association and join the effort to create a world where self-esteem is not weighed in pounds on a scale. Visit or call (206) 382-3587 for more information. 
  17. Challenge yourself to pick at least one of these easy-to-do tasks during each day of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week! © 2004 National Eating Disorders Association. Permission is granted to copy and reprint materials for educational purposes only. National Eating Disorders Association must be cited and web address listed. ???? Information and Referral Helpline: 800.931.2237 
Personal Note The bold face type in the NEDA list is my contribution. My original intention, in making what I considered key words stand out, was for ease in reading (or scanning as blog visitors often do). But as I look at the words in bold as a group I realize they make a kind of affirmation statement that goes beyond the specific tasks. They address the kind of inner and outer energy rallying and action steps that contribute so greatly to eating disorder revocery. I invite you to take another look at the NEDA list and catch those words. You might even make a list of them and see how they fit with what might be helpful in your personal recovery program. A word or two might fill in a blank spot you didn't know was there. By all means, share with us on this blog your experience when you do any of these activities. For me, and all of us in the eating disorder recovery professional community, every day is eating disorder awareness day. I've been a member and supporter of NEDA since its inception. I support the recovery of others. I don't diet. I wear clothes that fit, and I have no diet products in the house.

Last night I co-hosted a wonderful dinner party in my home for the UCLA program, Dinner with 12 Strangers. Undergraduates, graduate students and alumni (that's my category) met in my home for a terrific evening. Somebody brought tall bottles of soda including a diet soda. A left over half bottle full is in my kitchen but is on its way out. These diet products do slip in, don't they? (I think "whoops" belongs on the list. We need to catch our errors of oblivion and carelessness and correct them as soon as possible. That's essential for keeping on track in eating disorder recovery.)

Eating Disorders and Body Appreciation

Mindfulness Unifying Exercise for Eating Disorder Recovery

Andrey Belloly 2

*pix Natural, at ease and whole

To mend the split eating disorders create between  your mind, heart, spirit and body, try this mindfulness practice.

First, for a moment, step away from appreciating your body only in terms of aesthetics relating to weight, size and shape. Give yourself an opportunity to consider your body from a new and different perspective. This exercise can open valuable communication between all aspects of yourself. The value to you is in what might be a surprising lead to your recovery.

Plan on giving yourself a half an hour or less.

  1. Pay attention to your breath and let your mind go quiet.
  2. If thoughts or judgments come in, just breathe and let them pass by.
  3. Bring your attention to your heart, and give yourself permission to love.
  4. Bring your attention to the top of your head. You now will thank your body as if you are talking a person. 

You say:
Thank you, skull, for protecting my brain so I can function in this world.
Thank you, brain, for allowing me to think and intuit and for keeping my body working.
Thank you, eyes, for letting me see as much as I can of this world.

Move through your entire body, covering your neck, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, chest, back, spine, ribs, abdomen, stomach, genitals, legs, ankles, feet, toes, Thank each part of your body for the work it does, and be specific about recognizing that work.

For example:
Thank you, muscles, for allowing me to move.
Thank you muscles, for allowing me to lift my child or cuddle with my cat or embrace my friend or brush my teeth.

If you do this exercise on a regular basis you will develop the ability to go deeper. You  will be able to mindfully thank specific organs, veins and systems. For example, you could  thank your immune system for protecting you. You could thank your body for its  mysterious and wonderful ability to heal. You could  thank your skin, the largest organ of all, for protecting you and providing you with sensations that warn you, bring you pleasure and connect you to other people.

When you are ready, you could thank specific areas of your body for tolerating and forgiving the assaults of your eating disorder. You could thank your body for always doing its best to recover, heal and provide you with the best home possible in this world.

Pay attention to how your body feels as you express your appreciation.

If you continue to do this exercise, over time you might feel that you want to do more than say thank you. You might want to help your body with love and kindness to carry on all the tasks that allow you to live in this world. This exercise has little or nothing to do with weight or physical beauty. It has everything to do with appreciation, health and love. It can help you evolve to freedom.

You may experience powerful feelings when you start this mindfulness exercise.

  1. You can journal your responses.
  2. You can share them in the comments.
  3. You can share them in your support group.
  4. You can share them with your psychotherapist so you can work together to support your integration.

Which options are best for you?

Joanna Poppink, MFT, Los Angeles eating disorder recovery psychotherapist

*pix by Andrey Belloly, Russian, 19th century painting of sitting woman. This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less. 

Expect Some Dreamy Posts!

“Dreams” is the title of the seminar I’ll be taking this week end in Santa Barbara with Marion Woodman (a talk) and Steve Aizenstat.

Integrating a person’s inner life with her outer life in harmony and health has long been crucial, in my experience, for achieving eating disorder recovery. Regardless of the specific diagnosis: bulimia, anorexia, binge eating, compulsive overeating – and all the possible associated behaviors, like cutting, shoplifting, over exercising, over scheduling, under achieving, abusive and exploiting relationships greatly benefit from developing a healthy integration between mind, feelings and body.

Marion Woodman
Marion Woodman is one of the early writers in the field of eating disorders. She is a gifted Jungian analyst with a way of understanding and bringing healing opportunities to men and women and, from my perception of her, particularly to women with eating disorders. I listened to her audio tape, "Dreams" many times and often recommend it to patients. Marion Woodman understands women and the language of dreams!

Dreams and Intuition as Integrating Forces
I plan to walk among the trees on the Pacifica campus, participated in the dream workshops throughout the days, speak and share with wonderful people, write down my own dreams, muse about the dreams of my patients and those collective dreams that speak for our culture. The nourishment from the people, place and theme I know will benefit my in mind, heart and soul. From this will come new and surprising integrative thoughts and feelings that are bound to appear somehow in my blog posts as well as the rest of my personal and professional life. If you care to join me in this experience, take note of your dreams this weekend. Write them down. We can share them next week on this blog and see where our dreams lead us.

More about Marion Woodman
Here’s a bit about the wonderful Marion Woodman (excerpt from the Marion Woodman Foundation website Marion Woodman, LLD, DHL, PhD, is a Jungian Analyst, teacher and author of The Owl Was a Baker's Daughter; Addiction to Perfection; The Pregnant Virgin; The Ravaged Bridegroom; Leaving My Father's House; Conscious Femininity; Dancing in the Flames (with Elinor Dickson); Coming Home to Myself (with Jill Mellick); The Forsaken Garden: Four Conversations on the Deep Meaning of Environmental Illness, Marion Woodman, Ross Woodman, Sir Laurens van der Post, and Thomas Berry, edited by Nancy Ryley; The Maiden King (with Robert Bly); and Bone-Dying Into Life. A visionary in her own right, Marion Woodman has worked with the analytical psychology of C.G. Jung in an original and creative way. She is the Chair of the Marion Woodman Foundation. Joanna Poppink, MFT, psychotherapist eating disorder specialist, Los Angeles, CA bulimia, anorexia, compulsive overeating recovery,

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