Tag Archives: eating disorder recovery

But what if they judge me?

Sometimes when I pour my heart out to someone I am left with a gaping hole.

How will it be received?

How will they respond?

Will what I said even make sense?

 

And if it’s on a Sunday (or a day when I don’t have a whole lot to do) I’ll pace around the house.

Making myself an extra cup of coffee.

Reading a few pages of a book.

Check my phone.

Then picking up my book only to read the same paragraph 3 times over.

Because my mind is just focusing on one thing:

 

What if they judge me?

What if they leave me?

What if they abandon me?

 

Because I shared something in my heart that felt like truth, that felt like there was no other option but to share this particular something…

 

And then I read and hear what I’ve just shared with you above:

 

What if they judge / leave / abandon me?

 

And I come to realize that the real crux of the matter here, is this:

 

What if I judge / leave / abandon me?

 

I know, when I feel this uneasy and worried about receiving validation from another human being, in a very specific form, it is a deep call to stand by my own side. It is a reminder to relinquish judgment and embrace the ways in which I express love and emotions. It is a call to do the things that make me feel cared for.

 

I show up for myself in the way that I show up for my dear friends when they are feeling uneasy.

 

I show up and trust that no matter how the world and its inhabitants may waver around me (and waver they will), I’ve always got a safe place deep within the chambers of my heart and the vessel of my physical form.

 

Show up for yourself today, the way you would for your best friend.

 

Contact me for Intuitive and Recovery Coaching specials running through November by clicking here.

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On Self-Love

How do you practice self-love and empowerment?

Self-love.

It used to just mean doing nice things for myself or saying nice things to myself. And then just waiting for the good feelings and the shifts of finally feeling self-love to come..

But it wasn’t until recently when a coach (Amy Fiedler – look her up, she’s amazing) highlighted this one aspect of self-love that I was missing:

Acknowledge when you are kind to yourself.
Acknowledge when you do something loving.

Even the little things like getting out of bed in the morning. And this is especially if you are having trouble finding acts of love.

But be amazed at how compassionate you are with yourself. How patient. How kind.

Acknowledge all of it and THIS is going to shift your mindset and your entire way of being.

These thoughts will soon replace the self-loathing, negative, unkind thoughts.

So instead of trying to stop those thoughts you simply (and slowly) replace them with the self-loving thoughts.

Bottom line: I practice self-love all the time. Some examples:
-taking my time to make and eat my breakfast in the morning
-making sure i have a full glass of water first thing when i wake up
-prioritizing time to write
-going for a hike with Daisy
-meditating

And I ACKNOWLEDGE the fact that I am so loving to myself. I allow myself to receive this love.

That is so key to this process. You have to acknowledge the love you are giving yourself, otherwise you’re not going to receive it.

Got it?

How do YOU practice self-love? I’d love to hear in the comments!

XO Maggie

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How I healed myself from my eating disorder

I healed myself from my eating disorder.

How?

Yoga

Meditation

Journaling and writing

Nature

Mindfulness

Breath awareness

But what this all ultimately amounted to was that I was (at times unknowingly) cultivating a spiritual practice.

I think I’ve always been spiritual but wasn’t fully aware of it until this past decade of spiritual growth.

And I read a sign the other day when I took a trip to my local dispensary that read:

Faith is not believing God can, it’s knowing that he will.

And insert any word you prefer for God: source, the Universe, vortex, nature, etc.

In my path to healing I always had the knowingness that I was not on this journey alone. I didn’t have a word for what (or who) was supporting and guiding me, but I always had faith that I was never alone.

Because for the human body and mind alone to recover from ANYTHING is a gargantuan task. In any recovery and healing process, we are always supported.

Whether that support comes in the way of discovering a meditation practice or stumbling upon teachers, coaches, and therapists that are able to guide you in just the right direction … or a book that truly illuminates what you have been wondering all along …

Universal support and guidance is ALWAYS available to you. You simply have to open up your body, mind, and soul to receive that guidance.

It does not mean that you don’t do any of the work. But that most of the work is in turning inward, getting quiet, and leaving space for that guidance to appear.

And so it was the tools of yoga, meditation, and writing that enabled me to open up this space for my spiritual intuition and connection to strengthen.

So that I was able to recognize (and to this day STILL recognize) when I was potentially harming myself – emotionally, physically, physiologically, etc.

And if I felt I could not do it alone, I asked for guidance.

I ask for guidance every single day. In every situation imaginable.

Again – this does NOT mean that I just sit there and wait for shit to happen. But when I take action, I do so with deep awareness. And I listen and I look for the guidance.

And guess what?

The guidance ALWAYS appears.

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The Diet Stops … HERE.

I’m re-launching my holistic health coaching program. I became a health coach many years ago because people kept asking me health-related questions and I wanted to be more informed and also because my sister was doing the program and it sounded interesting to me. Haha. Truth!

Becoming a health coach was an interesting process and initially once I became certified and got clients MOST of those clients just wanted to lose weight.

What I really wanted, at my core, was to teach people how to have a healthier relationship to food and exercise. And to do this from a spiritual place.

But I didn’t know how to say that. And actually I felt a little afraid people would judge or not want to work with me if I said the “S” word – spirituality.

Now, spirituality is a non-negotiable for me. All that really means is, I can’t not have it come up with the people I spend most of my time with. It doesn’t mean I force anything on anyone, but that the way I explain and understand most things in life comes from a spiritual place.

And so as I’m rebuilding my holistic health coaching program I am finally offering something that feels like a huge YES.

It feels like me because i’m not asking anyone to weigh themselves. EVER.
I’m not asking people to never eat certain foods.
I’m not asking people to watch as their waste band shrinks.

I mean, I never really asked people to do these things in the first place. But I feel more firm in my convictions now than ever.

I’m teaching people to love what they’ve already got.

OK, at the very least to accept what they’ve already got.

The body that God gave them.
The mind God gave them.
The soul God gave them.

You have to accept yourself and your circumstances, at all times. Or growth just will not happen. It might happen for a split second, but then you’ll go back to old habits and patterns.

So I ask this of my clients – accept yourself and your circumstances AT ALL TIMES. Then watch as you grow.

So growth starts from the place of true acceptance.

Once you get THAT ^^^ everything begins to fall into place.

That is a promise.

XO,
Maggie

PS. Stay tuned for the official announcement of my holistic health coaching program! If you want even more teachings like this and real-time video teachings from me, join my Spiritual Coaching for Living Beyond Recovery Facebook Group.

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How Spiritual Practice Guided Me Into Eating Disorder Recovery

This was originally posted 9/28/17 on Nonpoliticalnews.com as “How Yoga Saved Me From Myself.”

I grew up going to Catholic Church every Sunday and CCD until I asked my mother in 8th grade if I could quit. I told her there were aspects of it that didn’t feel aligned with my beliefs and she agreed under the condition that my sister and I accompany her to the hippie church in the barn in the woods every Sunday. We complied.

I hold nothing against the church, or any organized religion. I am aware that many people derive deep healing and goodness from religion. My religion, however, wasn’t serving me. Little did I know I was already on a spiritual path in 8th grade and I recognized that the Catholic Church didn’t support that path.

I have had issues with my body since I was a child. My earliest memory was that my little puffy tummy was a problem. I prayed it would go away by the time I was a grown-up.

Fast forward to high school. I was tall and had body dysmorphia. I believed my body was unsightly.

By my first semester of college I developed bulimia nervosa. It felt like a completely normal thing to do as a means to having a sense of control. On the surface, I saw nothing wrong with the behaviors I was committing to.

My best friend and boyfriend at the time were the only ones who knew and they did everything they could to help but overall I isolated myself.

I lived in my mind: constantly calculating calories. I sought control over food and my body. But mostly I wanted control over every aspect of my life. Food and my body were the most attainable way to feel any semblance of control.

There is a lot from this dark period that I don’t remember. I’ve blocked it out for self-preservation. I was also so distracted by my obsessive mindset and behavior that I detached and disassociated from my body and college experience.

In college I found a yoga studio. I had been practicing yoga since age 16 but there was something about going to this no-frills studio that resembled the rituals of going to church but this time it felt right; it felt like a spiritual match.

No one said: a spiritual practice will heal you! But this is exactly what happened. As I practiced yoga regularly, I also grew my spirituality. I integrated yoga teachings into daily life.

When I learned the yogic practice of non-violence I saw my eating disorder as being brutally violent toward myself. I had to stop.

My primary concern for years was controlling my body/appearance since I couldn’t control the world around me. I was operating on a very small-minded level.

As soon as I decided I was going to heal from my eating disorder, I felt at ease. I surrendered and loosened my grip on control. My world-view expanded. I valued my intelligence, my passions, and my relationships. I felt like I was part of something greater than myself and my appearance.

This was over 12 years ago. Today yoga is still part of my spiritual practice. Today I walk in nature and connect to something greater than myself. I meditate and remember we transcend our bodies. I spend time with my dog and cats, friends and family, and revel in the relationships I cultivated. My spirituality is all around me and is in my daily life.

I’m not saying you need a spiritual practice to live a good life. I’m saying it worked for me. And it keeps me in recovery from my eating disorder, every day.

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Running to celebrate; not punish.

It’s been two years since I’ve done any races. It’s been two years since Chicago Marathon.

Until today.

Initially I wanted to give myself one year. One year without any big races. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but something just wasn’t sitting right with me.

Like I was starting to use the races as an excuse to exercise, excessively. Yes – each race taught me something invaluable about myself and how to approach life, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

But it was after Chicago that I felt something twinge. I felt like something needed shifting. I wasn’t totally sure what it was. But I knew I needed to take a step back.

I knew that – while I was nearly 10 years in recovery from my eating disorder – some old habits were coming back to haunt me.

My old habits were (not so) thinly disguised in my love affair with endurance races: anything from a 10K to an Ironman and everything in between.

Shortly after letting go of my desire to click “Register” on anything and everything my wallet could endure, it dawned on me what I wanted:

I wanted to run/bike/swim/move again with a different approach.

I wanted to be able to run a race not so I could eat an extra piece of pizza (or pizza all week).

I wanted to run a race to celebrate my body and celebrate life.

Last night just before bed I was walking Daisy and on the phone with my friend Emily who decided to join us and go up to New Haven to run the Half Marathon. I decided then that I’d run the 5k the next morning. Simple, short, and sweet.

I had no expectations. I had a pretty good feeling I’d finish. And – bonus – I got to spend the morning with some pretty swell people I love.

In my imagination I saw my “coming out” {of race retirement} race as a big to do. At the very least a half marathon or an Olympic distance triathlon that I’d spend months training for (and probably blogging about in anticipation).

I joked to Emily when I agreed to doing the 5k that it would be my coming out of retirement race.

But what I felt this morning, running the 3.1 miles, far exceeded my wildest dreams.

I realized that over these last two years I have finely curated or crafted (can I even say that?) a fresh, lovely, deep-hearted, spirited, compassionate relationship to movement. In this instance to movement of the more intense variety like running.

The 5k hurt at times. I listened to Daft Punk the entire time because a) I love them and b) I wanted to and c) figured I could use all the help I could get being that I haven’t been running much. At all.

It also felt wonderful. I let myself run at a challenging (but not too challenging!!) pace. I knew right there that I had done it.

It was in the time that had passed since Chicago Marathon 2015 that my relationship with exercise has gone through a massive overhaul. And I can say the same about my relationship to my body.

I didn’t want to return to a race until I felt really ready. Until I knew that it was for pure fun. Until I knew it was to remind myself of my strengths and all that I am capable of. Until I knew that it was to celebrate my body and the life I get to live.

Whether the choice was conscious or not, something in me knew it. Today was the day.

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I used to want to be anything other than myself.

I love listening to talk radio in the mornings. Like the early early mornings 7am and earlier – on my way to see clients.

It’s one of those “guilty pleasures” although I feel no guilt about it. So, it’s one of my pleasures.

Z100, 95.5 are two of my favorites. Though Z100 has a soft spot in my heart because I have been listening since I was a teenager. Wow!

And I do listen to news on occasion but when it’s this early (we are talking in the car by 5:45am some mornings) I need to keep it light. I want to hear my horoscope and how the Shaun Mendes concert was last night.

Something I notice is that when they take breaks on the radio they often segue into a segment about “I’m using this fabulous product for body contouring. This body contouring product gives me confidence and makes me happy!”

I don’t blame the DJs. They are simply doing their job. And usually I turn down the volume or flip to another channel because: listening to this does not serve me.

Also, in my head I am saying:

People: body contouring alone is not the quick fix that’s gonna make you happy people

What I want to do sometimes (in my little dream world in my head) is this:

Call into the station and start talking about how body contouring or going on a diet and losing weight might give you confidence … but it’s temporary.

The only way the confidence and joy and happiness will stick is if you do the inner work.

These qualities we want in life, they’re an inside job. They do not come from our external circumstances or conditions.

While we might feel extremely excited and happy when we get a dog – the excitement wears off if we aren’t truly committed to accepting and loving the whole dog experience unconditionally. We can’t sign up for a dog just to snuggle with us when we are feeling blue. We have to commit to it all: the daily walks, picking up poop, training the dog, taking it to the vet.

We have to commit to accepting and loving the whole human experience unconditionally. The highs and lows. The fuck-ups and the accomplishments. The stability and instability. The joy and the pain. The growth and the loss.

The way I see it, I have three ways I can respond to these radio ads:

  1. Be convinced that yes, I do need to change the way my body looks in order to feel good. Period.
  2. Get angry. Get angry that these ads perpetuate the judgment and hate that permeates so much of our society.
  3. See it as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to see the contrast: they are telling me one thing and I’m just like “Nope. Actually I like that my left thigh has that little dimple in it. I don’t even care about my thighs looking smooth and seamless anymore. Or the rest of my body. I want all the shapes and dents and dimples… all of them. I actually feel really good in my body.” And so forth. This is the new story. And i can go on with it. For a long, long time.

In total honesty, I sometimes do get angry. But if I stay angry, that’s choosing my old story and I’m already living the new one. So I don’t want to linger in the old anger story for too long.

In fact, I stay there less and less and it gets easier to move from #2 to #3. Or jump right to #3.

It took me years to get over not being perfect. And I’m not just talking about my body. I’m talking my clothes, my writing, my vocabulary, my education, anything you can think of – I was severely judgmental toward myself. I was convinced that if I wasn’t happy all the time, I was failing. I believed that if I was angry or jealous or sad or did anything imperfectly, I was failing.

I used to feel so sad that I wasn’t something else. I used to feel disappointed that I wasn’t anything other than myself.

And now … now I wouldn’t want to be anything other than myself. Even on the dark days. Even where there is struggle.

I take myself. I love myself no matter what.

For anyone out there who hears these radio ads (or any other messages from media or society telling you that your body needs to be a different way in order to be accepted/happy/confident) and jumps to #1 … I encourage you to explore the inner work first.

There’s no rush. Just check in and see what happens.

If you’d like some guidance on getting to the inner work, please fill out my contact form and we can set up a call. 

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Taking Time To Pause

One of my students did crow pose last night for the first time.

I tend to go back and forth in giving praise for getting into yoga postures. Because… I often wonder… what does it really mean anyway? I so often find myself IN AWE of the incredible things people can do with their bodies. And it sometimes brings me nearly to tears when I witness a student do a pose they’ve been practicing for years.

But then I’m like… Sometimes the most physically demanding postures can actually feel like the easiest. And vice versa: where the less physically demanding postures can challenge us the most. Sometimes it feels like yoga today is so closely associated with “What can you do?” OR “What can you show me?” OR “Look at me!”

Ta-da!

As a teacher, I can’t show you anything. I mean I can show you the poses I am physically capable of and maybe that gives you an idea of healthy alignment or I can explain with my body better than my words… but what does that have to do with taking my yoga off the mat? I can’t tell you how to feel. Or what to think. Or WHAT to feel in your body. Or what to think about yourself.

But what I can do is ask questions that might reveal something about yourself.

The young woman who got into crow did so quietly and with such ease that I asked her:

“What did you find helpful in getting into crow?”

She looked at me with a puzzled expression on her face, then said:

“I dunno … I just did it. I felt confident.”

She then explained to me that for years she’s been going to yoga. Larger classes where she pushed herself too far, too soon. In our small little group, she felt confident as she took slow steps and effortlessly floated her feet off the ground.

Just so you know, I was expecting an answer like “I used my abs” or “I engaged my glutes.”

Nope … She. Just. Felt. Confident.

And I. Was. In. Awe. of her response.

It should be noted that the class took place in an eating disorder recovery in-patient center. These women spend hours daily in different forms of talk therapy, group therapy, art therapy, and sometimes equine therapy to dig deep and make progress like … build confidence.

I was amazed at this student’s self-awareness.

If there’s any takeaway from my sharing this little anecdote with you it’s this:

Take time to pause.

Whether it’s after a really tough pose. A long run. A challenging presentation at work. A good read. An argument with a loved one. Take time to pause. To thank your body. To acknowledge what you are capable of. To notice the world around you. To take in a breath-taking view. To notice what you are feeling. To make the connection with yourself that allows you to understand the essence of WHO YOU ARE just a little bit more.

 

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Your body: a vessel for life exploration.

Your body is a tool for exploring the world. Says the incredibly wonderful, intelligent, thoughtful Renee Engeln, author of “Beauty Sick.”

Your body is NOT an object to be scrutinized, judged, picked apart, altered, fixed, or shamed.

And yet somehow incredibly intelligent, bright, thoughtful women sometimes fall under the misguided belief that our bodies are not good enough. Like … ever.

We KNOW better. We know that so many of the images used in advertising are not realistic portrayals of what so many of the women in this country look like or dress like. We know that thigh-gap is something some people are born with and some are not and it has nothing to do with how good or bad a person is. We know that cellulite and fat are not diseases.

And yet… sometimes we still fall under the misguided beliefs that if we have a week of “eating like crap” we need to make up for it by going on a 30 day regimen of closely monitoring our caloric/food intake and upping our exercise game.

And why? Well, when I did that it was because I was afraid I’d lose control and get further away from reaching perfection.

We perpetuate the body-shaming cycle in our culture when we make these choices out of FEAR.

And then we talk about it. To our friends, our partners, the clerk at the bra store. And the heart-sinking thing is not only that we perpetuate this kind of dialogue amongst our peers, but that the young people in our lives are exposed to comments like:

I hate my thighs.
I really need to cut back on carbs.
I better hit the gym this week or I’m going to puff up like a balloon.

No one ever says these things with bad intent. Usually it’s just a lack of awareness of the body shaming culture we are participating in.

And what’s going to change that? Recognizing our bodies are not objects that are on display and subject to shame, judgment, ridicule or in need of fixing, toning, modifying.

Our bodies are incredible vessels that allow us to explore the world. 

The next time you climb a flight of stairs, thank your thighs. The next time you pick up your pet, child, or bag, thank your arms. The next time you take a deep sigh of relief, thank your belly.

With practice these things start to add up and the little shifts lead to massive transformation.

If you’d like to go deeper and learn more about how to integrate these practices into your daily life, do not wait another moment to sign up for High Vibe Body Image Coaching. It starts May 15 and you can check out all the details and register by clicking here or the link below.

Keep reaching out. Keep connecting to the essence of WHO YOU ARE.

XO

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If you find yourself on the precipice of punishment…

When we punish ourselves we stop the positive energy from flowing and squash our vibration.

When we punish ourselves, we are stopping a good thought, feeling, belief that wants to be set free and acknowledged and felt.

Do not beat yourself up for punishing yourself.
That’s like double damage.
Instead notice when and how you do it, with cat-like curiosity (because they are curious damnit!).

What does it look like? What does it feel like?
WHERE do you feel it in your body?

If you find yourself on the precipice of punishment, check in with us here.

If you find yourself on the verge of punishment, write shit down. Let it be messy and uncensored.

If you find you are on the verge of punishment, breathe.

I learned this week I’ve been punishing myself by telling myself I am undeserving of my dreams being fulfilled. Well, I manifested one today – BECAUSE I COULD – and I broke through a huge block and my mindset is starting to shift… FAST.

My loves – to remind you – if you feel you are punishing yourself FOR ANY REASON (too much cake, not enough exercise, not enough money, not enough work, etc. etc. etc.) pause and check in.

 

Join my High Vibe Body Image Tribe on Facebook or email me at maggie@maggieconverse.com

XOXO

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