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Joanna Poppink's interview with Marc David of Eating Psychology

Joanna's video interview with Marc David of Eating Psychology. Marc interviewed me as part of the first Psychology of Eating Conference. It's a candid and rich conversation about healing. I'm happy to share it with you.

Marc founded The Institute for the Psychology of Eating, the world's only teaching organization dedicated to a forward thinking, positive, holistic approach to nutritional psychology. 


0 # About this interviewpinkjoanna 2013-10-31 15:22

This is my interview for the Psychology of Eating Conference created by Marc David, founder of the Psychology of Eating Institute.  You'll see the links when you click on the video.  You'll also get a glimpse at my consulting room.   :-)

Marc was a terrific interviewer.  He drew me out and allowed me the freedom to say on camera what I feel is important for people to know and hear first hand about eating disorders, personal development, what treatment feels like and what recovery can look like.

I felt good about this interview and hope you gain value from it. At times it's very personal, but eating disorders and the journey to recovery is personal. The exchange with your clinician has to be personal and caring so you can tolerate the hard times together.

Please ask any questions and share any thoughts you may have about what comes up for you as you watch and listen. 

warm regards,

0 # Wonderful!KymL 2013-11-01 21:46
This is really wonderful Joanna!  I've read your recovery story before, but it was great to hear it in your own voice!!!

I was really struck by the "stuck" and "growth" topics.  I don't think I've been stuck for awhile, I finished my formal recovery treatment in April and I think I have been taking some time to relax and to simply enjoy my new life. 

These past few months I have found myself stepping up at work and doing some very amazing things that I think I shocked myself, my boss and my staff.  The most amazing part was dealing with the pressure and actually believing that I can do it without falling apart. My old pattern would have been to talk myself our of even trying but my new voices kept telling me that I was capable and that falling apart isn't  given for me anymore.  Not going to say I didn't have my moments or doubts or moments of tears, but my self talk was pretty amazing and it really did boost my self-esteem to have been so successful! 

But recently I find that I need to do more work on relationships.  At the same time I'm finding myself over eating (It's been awhile since that behaviors showed up!). 

When I heard you talk about EDs saving our life by being there when life/feelings are too hard,  it hit me that yes, it really is time to grow in the relationship department before I find myself in full ED relapse.  Just knowing why this ED behaviors has shown up is actually comforting to me.  It's easier and healthier for me accept that it's just trying to help me deal with fear of relationship work than to think that my recovery is weak. 

Anyway, thanks for sharing this with us! 
0 # Eating Disorder Feelings that Stimulate More Healing and Growthpinkjoanna 2013-11-01 22:06
Hi Kym,

Thank you for your kind words.  I'm glad to hear you are doing so well.

Also gladmtom  that you understand that doing well in one area prepares you and gives you strength and resources to move into the area that's waiting for you to give it attention.  Relationships now it seems.

Yes, once you have some solid recovery, eating disorder symptoms become your guide.  Instead of succombing and acting act you understand that something needs to be dealt with, grown through, worked out, etc.

Isn't wonderful to know you have a choice and that you can choose to grow?


Thank you for writing, Kym.  It's good to hear from you.
0 # Your back, I'm backmylifex2 2013-11-03 21:28
I missed you so much while you were "gone" from the blog.  I am glad to have you back in our presence. 

I have been reading the recent blogs, just kind of hanging in the background. Not really feeling the motivation to write.  I am glad to see that you are in a place of serenity, and that you have been able to turn a rather heart wrenching and physically painful year into wonderful growth and insight.  It's heartwarming to know that we all have room to grow. 

  I stumbled upon this most recent blog entry this morning.  

I was able to only make it about a fifth of the way through before stopping the first time.  I began to travel to the room with my own therapist and I felt disconnected.  I know this is because I am struggling in therapy right now.  I am checking out before I even walk into the room.

 It's not so much my eating disorder as it is the sexual abuse history stuff we are working on.  I have to give myself some credit. I have come a long way since taking a leave of absence from work in April to meet more frequently with my therapist and to start EMDR therapy.  I have had "interruptions" in my train of thought as several physical issues have been present with me and have been a great distraction for my emotional pain. 

I can talk about my abuse in much greater detail than I have ever been able to do in all the years of therapy. 

Lately, however, I have been very stuck like I said.  When I got toward the end of your interview and the topic of childhood sexual abuse came up, I had a very hard time.  I forced myself to continue to leave the interview on, but my mind and body flashed back to those horrible years of abuse by my grandfather.  Yes, being abused by a family member is different than being sexually abused by a stranger. 

It was very powerful to hear you talk about splitting.  I had to do that.  I think because I didn't want to hurt my mother.  I didn't want her to know what her father was doing to me.  I cried very quietly while listening to you talk.  I then realized how hard I was breathing and realized that I was experiencing the exact same behavior as when I was with my grandfather. I had to be quiet then....I had to sob quietly as not to wake my grandmother.  (they slept in different rooms).

Tonight I sobbed quietly so I wouldn't wake up my children....Keeping quiet in different ways.  I have still never disclosed this abuse to my mother.  I imagine she knows.  I am sure she experienced the same. 

My eating disorder is in a strange place right now.  I don't weigh daily. I don't experience guilt when I eat. I am doing a lot of comfort eating - sweets mostly.  My weight is stable because I go some days with a very poor appetite which I connect to my pain issues.  My doctor believes that I am experiencing "extraneous" physical pain because I am using the part of my brain that would ordinarily help with pain gating by dissociating from my emotional pain.  If that makes sense.  (I'm trying to understand this myself). 

We are agreeing to disagree about the fact that I am on pain medication, something that she is strongly opposed to for treating long term chronic pain.   Perhaps I wandered from the blog topic, but it really does connect because of the thoughts and feelings it invoked within me. 

I am not upset.  I could have turned it off a second time.  But I am trying to force myself to get through my tough feelings without turning my brain off.  My brain only half turned off while listening to you, so that is a win.  

sorry I didn't separate my paragraphs better..I am struggling with a testy computer that has caused me to re-write this twice already. :-)   

again, I am so glad to be reading your blogs again.  I can see the change within you. It's a peaceful, soul cleansing type of read I get on you.  Thanks so much for sharing your story like you did.  It is comforting and gives hope that I can recover as well.
0 # Yes, I'm glad to be back, tracypinkjoanna 2013-11-07 18:14
Thank you for your rich sharing, tracy.  I'm glad you feel safe enough to come back and share your healing experiences.

Going through this stage of recovery from sexual abuse feels all encompassing.  Your mind, heart, emotions and body are all involved in the experience.  Yet you are in the present.  You survived it all. And now you are healing.

Brava to you.  Every hurt you feel is a hurt you can now bear.  You are getting stronger and healthier as you proceed.  Brava again.   :-)


As you see, I gave your post paragraphs.  I hope I did this in a way that you are okay with.
0 # Thanks!Jackie 2013-11-10 17:33
I just watched this video start to finish. So much to take in and think about.

I don't know when my split happened. I don't know when my eating disorder started. However, I know when it got out of control. I have tried to go backwards in mind time and see if I can recall any episodes of sexual abuse. I can't. I do recall feeling unimportant and unfairly judged. I do recall having my boundaries violated.

My oldest daughter has been doing a great deal of regression work and she suspects that my birth mother was raped as a child and that much of what I feel is the result of that. It's quite possible, but my adopted sister was sexually abused by our uncle. I also have a physical disconnect sexually. I can't feel much. 

I'm rarely present physically in any situation--unless I am completely alone. I just don't see myself as the overweight woman I am. If I happen to notice, I immediately disconnect from that image. I have to keep going because the reality of the harm I am doing to myself is unbearable. How dare I. I don't understand the punishment because I detest being judged by others.

This is a core issue for me, being judged unfairly or punished unfairly. This keeps coming up for me. At the doctor's office, at work, in my marriage. I spent a good deal of my day last Saturday crying because I had internalized so much negativity at the ER and at work. I felt like I was crying for every unfair moment of my recent past. I wasn't eating, I was crying.

I'm still noticing these small details. I let them hurt me. Over the last week, even when I felt awful, the idea of having a milkshake kept coming up. I didn't have a milkshake. I knew it was my e.d. voice. I just kept going, but then the crying started. I feel alone, but I am not alone. I asked my husband to comfort me. He doesn't really know how. He makes me feel safe, but he doesn't make me feel heard.

After years of being shocked that I was dating men who had major issues themselves, I chose the best man I could find. Many people would say my husband is a saint. He's a kind, decent man, a wonderful father. Yet, he occasionally feels justified judging me and punishing me emotionally. I chose the boy version of me. I can articulate this to him and it's something we go around and around about, but we don't get anywhere, because this e.d. is selfish, it takes up mind time and checking out keeps me from doing the things that need to be done. He resents my e.d., but he only sees it as me.
0 # re ThanksDpinkjoanna 2013-11-25 13:31
Dear Jackie,

Please forgive me for taking so long to respond to your rich, beautiful and oh so valuable post.

Yes, one way of describing e.d. is selfish.  It wants what it wants. The challenge is to find out what benefits you get from it. When you get even an inkling of what that might be you have information about where you work needs to be placed.

I hope you are doing to exercises in Healing Your Hungry Heart - daily and repetetively - at least a month per chapter.

Articulating to your husband send your words and thoughts to him.  Because you are a kind and decent person you will phrase your communications in as gentle a way as you can.  Even if you are hurt and angry you are still probably not venting your full emotional experience.

It's rare for any healthy and civilized person to do so.  Holding something in check is how we restrain ourselve from violence and maintain civilization.

But in your journal you can let loose.  You don't have to restrain a thing. And once you've written what you had in you to say you can write questions to yourself and answer them.

You might consider writing about that milkshake - the one you wanted and didn't have.  Describe it in detail.  Write down how you feel as you describe it. Give the milkshake a voice and find out what it has to say.  Write down memories and associations you have to the milkshake.

And above all, allow yourself to be surprised.  Even if what you are writing seems strange, nonsensical, off the topic, keep going. Later you may find some new insight and some clues to help you on your recovery path.

Mm. I think I'll put this last part in a blog post.  Many people need to learn how to do this in their journals.

Thank you for sharing your experience here, Jackie.  I'll do my best to respond sooner!


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