Your judgement is hurtful.

**Disclaimer: This post includes information on physical exercise. I recommend you skip this post and return tomorrow if you’re struggling with overexercising and/or use it as a means to purge. As always, please consult your physician and treatment team before starting any physical activity.**

Good Morning my friends! How was your weekend? I hope you took some time to do something enjoyable. I mentioned on Saturday, I was taking the afternoon to sit down and sort out my thoughts on a topic that has been weighing heavily on my heart for months.  I feel strongly about all of us learning to use our voices and expressing our true selves. So here goes…

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“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”.

Almost two years ago, I had the pleasure of working with an eating disorder clinician and being coworkers for over a year. I enjoyed my work at the center greatly and learned a lot! There were some kinks to be sorted out and I’m no longer there, which is unfortunate. While working together, I got to know her pretty well and she got to know me…well…actually, only parts of me that she wanted to see…not my true identity.

While getting to know one another, she noticed my strong passion for running and she judged me for it. She also knew that I struggled with an eating disorder in the past. However, she couldn’t look past my prior struggle and failed to see me for me. Rather, she judged me and concluded that I was relapsing, because I loved running so much. This hurt me.

If she had taken the time to learn about me instead of filing me under “woman relapsed due to overexercising” she would have been able to know the truth…

My passion for running is one passion of mine.  I am an eating disorder survivor, a speaker, a writer, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a board member for an eating disorders nonprofit organization called MentorCONNECT and so much more! If she had taken the time to listen and hear my story, she may have learned this.

Today, I am healthy, fully nourished, and a strong athlete. My ability to train properly and to achieve my race goals is a reality only because of my recovery. 

**Side note: Remember that getting to the starting line is very difficult, and even impossible,  to do if you are still actively engaging in an eating disorder, dieting or overexercising. Again, I reinforce to you that I can be at the starting line now because I am recovered.**

Before the eating disorder came into my life, I was purely being me. I raced and won and even broke school records. I had lots of energy and speed. I had a passion and a talent. I was being recruited for the Junior Olympics and loved every minute, mile, and step that I have logged on my feet since birth. And there is nothing wrong with having this passion. Overexercising or using exercise, as a means to purge were never an issue in my ED days. Running was my joy,  and living a life with ED, was dark and joyless life…so naturally running was not happening.

Personally, I chose to take  a long break from running after ED stole it from me. I was well into recovery before purchasing a new pair of sneakers and stepping back onto the track. I also had the assistance of a coach and nutritionist to guide me and be on my team to war against ED, if he decided to creep back into the picture.

I like to say I was being responsible in my recovery. The above mentioned clinician, saw it as though I still struggled.

I wonder…

Can an eating disorder survivor not reach out to experts in their fields to help them be the athlete they are meant to be?!

This clinician doubted my recovery, my passions and me.

Again, She heard two things, “a woman with a prior eating disorder” and an “avid runner”. She chose to ignore any further explanation and in her mind I remained  “a woman who had relapsed”. This is sad, very sad. My true identity was invisible to her.  I was not being seen for the beautiful woman I am. Not to mention the rock star runner : )

don't be afraid

Remember my friends, recovery is about being YOU. You can be who you have been created to Be.When you are living a life free from an eating disorder. You have opportunities, choices and freedom. Please don’t let anyone’s judgement hurt you or have you doubting yourself.

I think it is beautiful to have a woman whom is an eating disorder survivor, whom is  being herself and no longer influenced by anxiety, depression or an eating disorder. A woman who is enjoying her life passions and living fully is a beautiful blessing in my book. To be able to return to activities that were part of her identity before the eating disorder is another blessing and even a miracle, because it means she healed from complications associated with the disorder and continues to run responsibly.

Again, I wonder…

Should we avoid certain activities if we are an Eating Disorder Survivor?

Should we not speak about our passions if they involve a sport?

Should we dim that part of ourselves to make others judge us less and accept us more?

NO.

Be who you have been created to be. I have been a “runner” since I could walk. I will not allow another person’s judgmental mind, shame me for being one. I’ll see you at the starting line!

start

Always Be YOU,

Jenn B.

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Watch Me : )

Good Morning my friends! I hope you had a great week and have some fun and relaxation planned for the weekend.

I just wanted to drop in real quick and leave you with this

watch me

I cannot tell you how many people in my life have told me there were things that I can’t do, shouldn’t do and  wouldn’t do. Ha! Man, did I put on a show for them to watch. I went and did all those things because I deeply and honesty wanted to. None of them were hurtful to myself or others.

Remember, that others may express concern for various reasons. If the concern is coming from someone you trust, listen to what they are saying and rethink your idea. If it’s truly something that will benefit you in a healthy way (non ED way) then do it.

Today, I’m taking some time to write up a post that I have been meaning to write for months now. I was afraid to write it and some have told me not to. But after much time, I know this message weighs on my heart and by writing it, I am being Me. My intentions in doing so are not to hurt another or myself. Will you do the same this weekend? Will you choose one thing that fills your heart with joy and feels “right”?

Alright, I’m off to enjoy this beautiful weather. I hope the weather is nice where you are. I’ll be back on Monday with that post. Have a great weekend!

Always Be YOU,

Jenn B.

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Equine Therapy

Good Morning my friends. I hope you had an amazing weekend and are ready for the week ahead.

As some of you may have already known, there are some treatment centers that I truly believe in, one being The Recovery Village. Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of getting some of my questions answered with an interview that you can read here. And I am excited to share with you that they are now offering Equine Therapy! Read below to learn more.

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“In keeping with our focus on highly individualized, evidenced-based care, The Recovery Village is proud to offer Equine Therapy through S.A.D.L.E.S. (Self, Acceptance, Discovery, Learning, Empowerment and Success). Working closely with the patient’s primary treatment team, S.A.D.L.E.S. integrates the unique aspects of equine therapy into the patient’s customized care plan. S.A.D.L.E.S. is staffed by equine therapists who are certified in mental health and learning, PATH certified therapeutic riding instructors and a licensed clinical social worker with advanced psychotherapy experience. 

Equine assisted therapy is a holistic treatment approach that utilizes a combination of psychotherapy, relaxation and breath training, through equine care, rhythmic riding and groundwork, to help eating disorder and substance abuse patients achieve emotional healing, spiritual balance and physical wellness. Equine assisted psychotherapy is a measurable and effective way to treat the underlying issues that often accompany eating disorders and substance abuse. Studies show that patients who struggle with wide variety of underlying mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anger and conflict issues, fear, sadness and feelings of confusion benefit from the therapeutic time spent interacting with horses. Equine assisted therapy is a measurable and successful complement to our more traditional therapies.

Equine therapy involves teaching patients to recognize and appreciate their developing physical strength and abilities. Overall physical and emotional wellness is an important end result of developing a relationship during riding and caring for horses. In addition, equine therapy involves group experiential interactions, shared in a peaceful and natural environment. 

Equine psychotherapy and learning is practiced using the same professional ethics and best practice standards that more traditional approaches utilize. S.A.D.L.E.S. has partnered with the University of Central Florida, College of Medicine, in a cooperative research relationship to study the long-term effects of equine therapy in combat injured veterans.”

Questions about the program? You can contact Kristin by calling 813-494-5143 or by sending an email to kreagan@therecoveryvillage.com.

Always Be YOU,

Jenn B.

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Seriously?!

Good Morning my friends. I’d like to address the seriousness of an eating disorder. Recently on Facebook, there have been several beautiful women whom have passed away. Their lives were taken by this awful disease. My prayers are with their families and friends.

**For anyone needing support, please know Be Me is here to help in any way that we can, our “door” is always open.**

Every year that passes in my own recovery, I feel grateful for being a survivor. I feel sad for those who aren’t here to join me on the side of Recovery, living a healthy and happy life. Perhaps, this is one reason why I give my heart to helping others survive and live life to the fullest. I fight hard and continue to advocate for change. What these women had to experience (suffering from an eating disorder)  was hell. And  I will do all that I can to help others from having to experience hell.

On several occasions, when I meet someone new and tell them about my non -profit organization, Be Me,  or mention my own past, the person will say something like, “I wish I had that problem.  I’d like to lose 20 (or 40 or whatever) pounds.” Seriously?!  People have died from this!  Do others really think an eating disorder is just an extreme diet?! A choice?!

These comments are not funny nor are they helpful for those struggling with this deadly disease, and for the friends and families of those suffering.

Last year at EDC Lobby Day, I had the chance to speak with Members of Congress and push for policy making related to eating disorders. As we were preparing to start the day, a curious stranger passing by stopped me and said, “I guess you can tell by looking at my stomach, that I’m definitely not anorexic. I love food too much”. Hmmm…Again, Seriously?! Does this man really think a person struggling with anorexia doesn’t actually enjoy food and the disease is controlling them. They just don’t refuse to eat, it’s deeper and more complex than that!

Personally, I have encountered many breast cancer survivors and I wonder if this stranger would have used this humor to discuss cancer. Again, people die from this disease and this guy wants to make jokes?!

I used to go to  Cafe Press to order coffee mugs and t shirts for this site. That was before I found out that CafePress has a line of clothes with words that mock anorexia and bulimia. When Be Me complained to them, they became defensive and did not respond well. How come they don’t have shirts mocking cancer? Good thing they don’t!

But still…I had to wonder why this was the case…

Again, people died and are dying from this disease, and this company wants to make money by ridiculing the eating disorders that are killing people?!

I’ve had enough of this!

For those of you who know me, I am definitely not one to “stick my head in the sand” when it comes to something I am passionate about.

You won’t find me doing this…

head in sand

Instead, I’m doing this

create change

Please join me on Capitol Hill, September 30th.

We can create change by addressing eating disorders at the Federal level!

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Always Be YOU,

Jenn B.

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Be uncomfortable!

Good morning my friends! How many of you are ready for an adventure? Even if you don’t feel ready, I encourage you to join me.

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Here’s how:

We are going to be stepping outside of our comfort zone. You may have heard it many times before…we can grow by doing so. You may feel uncomfortable at first when you are no longer doing what you always do, but instead trying something new. It’s okay.

Let me explain, think about the last time you did something you considered amazing. Something where you found yourself feeling excited and fulfilled. I will bet you that you were stepping out of your comfort zone and started off feeling a bit uncomfortable. Let’s do it again. Let’s get stepping and make more amazing memories.

Today, I am going to call a friend I haven’t spoken to in way too long. This is uncomfortable for me because I am pretty shy about reuniting with others. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Your turn:

Today, take a step out and share it with the rest of us (in the comments section below and on Facebook).

Always Be YOU,

Jenn B.

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