Have hope, chase joy, embrace life – recovery is possible.

Posts tagged ‘friends’

“Taking Care Of Myself” Is Not A Euphemism.

I’ve just finished reading a great post from this ain’t livin’, ‘On ‘Taking Care of Your Body’ and Value Judgments’, & it got me to thinking – what does “taking care of myself” mean to me? Because while others may use those words as a euphemism for how “healthy” (aka thin & toned), or appealing i may appear to them, the truth is, that how i take care of myself , & the level to which i do so are very personal, & have very little to do with how other people define “taking care of themselves”.

So what does “taking care of myself” mean to me?
It means:

  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Spending time with friends
  • Speaking to myself with kind & loving words
  • Taking time out to relax (jigsaw puzzles, DVDs, colouring books, board games, or reading work great for me :))
  • Connecting with nature
  • Eating lots of fresh fruits & vegetables (oh how i love a big fruit salad or a fresh vegie juice!)
  • Moving my body in fun & gentle ways – like going to the beach, dancing, or even climbing trees! 🙂

It means making time for, & allowing myself, to nourish not only my body, but also my soul. It means being gentle with myself, & seeking out balance. And it has nothing at all to do with what i weigh or how toned my arms are.

What do you do to take care of yourself?
What do those words mean to you?

(Images via: We ♥ it.)

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Day 6: A Continuing Exploration Of Health At Every Size

First of all, an apology to those of you who have been hanging out for this final post in lifeinfullcolour’s 6-Day Exploration of Health At Every Size (HAES) – i have been away for the past few days, & unfortunately didn’t have time to write up this post before i left.

Thankyou for being so patient! 🙂

If you are just joining us now, you might also like to go back & try the challenges from my previous posts in this series:

These posts were intended to give you a small taste of what life might be like if you ditched the deprivation & guilt that comes from a dieting approach to health & beauty. It was my hope to give you a taste of the alternative – a non-dieting, health at every size approach, which honours your body’s internal wisdom, & nourishes not only your body, but also your heart & soul. I wanted to remind you that you are worth looking after – you are deserving of your own kindness, love, & respect.

There is so much more out there to discover & learn about ‘Health At Every Size‘, & today’s post is about encouraging you & sharing a few simple ways that you might like to continue exploring the idea of HAES 🙂

A really great place to start learning more about a Health At Every Size approach & exploring what that could look like for you, is following blogs that encourage a non-dieting, self-nourishing approach to health. Sites that help you to dissect the messages you receive in the media & elsewhere about what it means to be healthy or beautiful, & give you an alternative perspective or course of action. Sites that remind you that you CAN be happy, & you CAN be healthy, no matter what your jeans size, & give you the encouragement & support you need to believe it.

Two of my favourite blogs, & two that you simply must explore, are Beautiful You, & Dances With Fat. Each of these blogs have really helped me to dissect the messages i had been recieving about my beauty & worth & helped me to unhinge these from my size & shape, realising that they are in fact two separate things & that my beauty & worth is not dependant of my size or shape.

Beautiful You taught me that i am worthy of love, respect, & self-care, right now. Exactly as i am. No exceptions – & certainly not an exception based on my body size! Dances With Fat taught me that it IS possible to be fat AND healthy, but more importantly, that being fat is not a reason to give up your life to dieting – you can live a beautiful & rich lifeinfullcolour WHATEVER size you are! 🙂

There are SO many other wonderful blogs out there though, & i encourage you to seek them out. A great starting point is to check out Medicinal Marzipan‘s list of Body Image Warriors, & Nourishing The Soul‘s list of Nourishing Blogs. Also, keep an eye out on lifeinfullcolour’s Facebook page for shout-outs & links to other great pages 🙂

If you are interested in learning more about intuitive eating, & perhaps starting your own journey towards normal eating, it’s really important to have support, & there is no better place to find that it than from a qualified dietitian. If you are in Australia, try the Dietitians Association Of Australia, or if you are in America, The American Dietetics Association.

Experiment with different foods. Rediscover old favourites. Make time to cook. Share a meal with friends. Go out for dinner at your favourite restaurant. Try a new restaurant. Notice the different textures of foods. Notice the different flavours. Eat by candlelight. Eat in the sunshine. Eat what makes you happy. Listen to your body. Eat what makes IT happy. Stop being so angry with pizza. Stop being so angry with yourself. Forgive. Enjoy 🙂

If you want to find joy in movement, forget what you’ve been told about “exercise”, & think outside the box. Think back to when you were a kid – play. Explore different ways of moving your body. Try rock climbing, soccer, hula-hooping – run off & join the circus! Dance, swim, bounce on a trampoline. Try yoga. Do somersaults. Cartwheel. Walk, skip, jump, & twirl. Swing, slide, or climb trees. Move because it is fun. Move because it makes you feel strong. Give up the torturcise. Explore & discover what makes YOU happy! 🙂

Remember –

And most importantly?
Remember that you CAN be happy, AND healthy, at any size! 🙂

Thankyou all for joining me this past week – it really has been wonderful to have you here 🙂 I hope you have found some enjoyment & value in my challenges this week, & i hope you they have been helpful in giving you a small taste of what it would be like to ditch the deprivation & guilt, & begin to nourish your body & mind. If you would like to share your thoughts with me on any of these challenges (or on anything else!) feel feel to drop by & leave a comment on lifeinfullcolour’s Facebook page, or shoot me an email 🙂

Have a beautiful, glorious day 🙂

Day 5: Connection

Welcome to Day 5 of lifeinfullcolour’s 6-Day Exploration of Health At Every Size (HAES) – today’s theme is Connection 🙂

If you are just joining us now, you might also like to go back & try my Self-Care Challenge from Day 1,  Joyful Movement Challenge from Day 2, Intuitive Eating Challenge from Day 3, or Self-Acceptance Challenge from Day 4 🙂

Eating disorders flourish in an environment of disconnection & loneliness, but they can also help to create this environment.

Eating disorders are scary – my violent mood swings from frustrated screaming, to terrified & hysterical crying, to an impulsive mania, & back again, left friends & family asking “Where is the lovely girl i once knew? Will i ever see that sweet girl again?”. My grey-toned flesh & weakness, coupled with frequent trips to the emergency room left people terrified & wondering “Will this be the last time i see her alive?” It was a terrifying prospect, & one few people wanted to expose themselves to – out of fear many people removed themselves from my life.

Leaving the house had also become overwhelming, & the thought of having to eat something unplanned & unmeasured terrified me – after being turned down time after time, friends stopped inviting me out. neg used this as “proof” that everyone hated me, that i was a horrible person, & that i would never have any true & lasting relationships with people. I withdrew even further into my disorder.

(Image via: My camera! :))

The first few years surrounding my ED diagnosis, were the loneliest of my life. The lack of connection in my life left me feeling more hollow & empty than a lack of food ever could. But as i progressed through treatment, i began to reach out to people again – it was incredibly difficult, but i began to reconnect.

My treatment team & i now realise how important connection is to my continuing recovery – so much so, that my entire relapse prevention plan centres around it. While “me time” is also listed, things like talking to friends, maintaining contact with other positive body image activists, &  volunteering are all listed as important connections for supporting my recovery.

I try to maintain a sense of connection however i can, & today i want to encourage you to do the same!

Studies have shown that maintaining positive connections can not only provide a sense of companionship, or a shoulder to cry on, but can also assist us in maintaining our physical health, & even extending our life!

A study by the Centre for Ageing Studies at Flinders University in Australia, followed nearly 1,500 older people for 10 years, & found that those who had a large network of friends outlived those with the fewest friends by 22%. As well as helping ward off illnesses such as depression, a sense of connection has also been found to improve the health of people suffering cancer & cardiovascular problems.

Day 5 – Connection:

My challenge for you today, it to reflect & connect 🙂

  1. Reflect
    • Who?
      Who do you feel most connected to?
      Can you list 3 people in your life that you feel close to?
    • What?
      What activities make you feel connected?
  2. Connect
    • Who?
      How can you reconnect with the people you listed above?
      How might you connect with someone new?
    • What?
      How can you make more time in your life for the activities you listed above?
      If you are not yet engaged in them, how can you begin to incorporate these activities into your life?
  3. Make time for connection today 🙂
    • Call or visit a friend or family member
    • Say hello or smile as you pass someone in the street
    • Hug someone

How will you connect with someone today? 🙂

Be sure to pop on over to lifeinfullcolour’s Facebook page today, where our theme of Connection will be permeating my posts. And please feel free to share with me there, or here on the blog how you have found today’s Connection Challenge – i’d love to hear about your experiences! :)

(Unless specified, images via: We ♥ it.)

Things To Be Thankful For

As severe flooding ravages the state of Queensland here in Australia, i find myself with mixed emotions. While it is a devastating situation & my heart aches for those who have lost their homes, their belongings, their pets, & in some especially sad cases, their families, i find myself with an even deeper sense of gratitude for my own blessings at this time.


(Images 1-3 via: Boston.com)


(Images 4-6 via: 9News, where a slideshow is constantly being updated with new images.)

Today i am thankful:

  • For those who are showing their compassion & kindness to those affected by the Queensland floods.
    Those who have opened their hearts, their homes, & their wallets. Those who have filled sandbags, shared food, given hugs, & not forgotten the non-human victims of this disaster.
  • For my home.
    Not only do i have a roof overhead, but i am also granted the luxury of having my familiar belongings with me, providing a sense of comfort that so many in Queensland are without tonight.
  • That myself & my immediate family are safe.
  • For afternoon cat-naps.
  • For amazing green smoothies.
  • For my aloe-vera plant, for providing some much needed relief from my very painful sunburn.

What are you thankful for today?

P.S. For further information on the Queensland floods including where to get help, & how to you can assist those affected, see the Queensland government’s page here, which also includes links to other helpful sites & emergency service contacts.

Things To Be Thankful For

  • Sleeping in
  • Finding out that my amazing friend A. is planning to come visit me from America later in the year!!!! 😀
    (I literally ran around my room & jumped up & down all crazy-like when i heard this!)
  • Freshly made carrot & ginger juice
  • Staying in my PJs ALL day
  • Air conditioning (it was SOOOOOOO hot here today!)
  • This dreamy cover:
  • My beautiful kitty-cat
  • All of you beautiful people out there who have taken the time to drop by & read this.
    For everyone who has left a comment, & for everyone who has shared one of my posts.
    For all of you who have “liked” lifeinfullcolour on Facebook, & for all of you who have shared your thoughts with me there, or taken the time to email me – you are all so lovely 🙂

What are you thankful for today?

Things To Be Thankful For – Kick-starting The Year With Gratitude

  • Carpet picnics, with amazing salads & beautiful friends
  • Raw vegan cheesecakes

    (And yes, i did eat all of these! 🙂 Not all at once though!)
  • Lazing on the grass by the beach, with a book & an ocean breeze
  • Oh-so-juicy nectarines
  • Cuddles from my sister
  • Kitty cats in party hats
  • Sunshine
  • Fresh vegie juices
  • Being called “darling” by the lady at the fruit shop
  • This amazing drawing from my little sister C.! 🙂
  • Kitty cat cuddles
  • Bright Summer dresses
  • An amazing new pillow – firm & fluffy all at once!
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • Lovely big bunches of local organic basil
  • The delicious almond & basil pesto i made from it 🙂
  • My ‘recovery’ playlist
  • Some beautiful new cushions for my bed 🙂
  • Big balls of string
  • Hot glue guns (i got crafty ;))
  • Laughing out loud 🙂

What are you thankful for this week?

Don’t Put Off Your Happy Life

“We give up the things we love, in order to chase what society tells us we need to be happy. But we will never find happiness through the giving up of what we love – in fact, it is only through a loving participation in those things, & through loving ourselves that we will ever find true happiness.” ~ lifeinfullcolour

I recorded this insight in an email to my psychologist during my trip to America, back in August – a trip which was filled with insights & growth, & one of the most recovery-strengthening experiences of my life.

I had been reflecting on my recovery, & all that i had gained thus far during my journey (both my broader recovery journey, as well as my physical journey to the US), & i realised, that the things that i was now able to find so much joy in, had always brought me joy, but more importantly, had always been available to me.

When i became entrenched in my eating disorder, i began to give up a lot of the things that made me happy, in order to chase society’s thin ideal. I gave up going out with my friends, i gave up going to parties. I gave up inviting people over for dinner, i gave up eating dinner. I gave up going to the beach, i gave up going to uni, i gave up going anywhere at all. I gave up all of these things & more, because they “got in the way” of my eating disorder. Now when i look back, i realise that i had actually let my eating disorder get in the way of my life.

I realised while i was in America, cooking & enjoying meals with friends, swimming, going out, meeting new people (experiences i had reclaimed during my recovery) that i don’t need to be thin in order to do these things. I don’t need to be thin to be happy – i can be happy right now. And knowing that it is possible for me to be happy right here & now at this weight, makes it easier for me to resist those voices that say “lose weight & you will be happy”. I have the experience now to say that being thin in no way guarantees happiness, nor does being a higher weight guarantee misery. When i keep this is mind, it makes it easier for me to “yes!” to life, rather than no, to get out there & do the things i love – the things that bring me joy – & not let my appearance hold me back.

So my challenge to you today, is to think about what it is that you would really love to do – & go out & do it! Don’t let your weight, shape, or appearance become an excuse for not living your own happy life.
Life may be a rollercoaster, but it has no height (or weight, or any other) restriction that you must meet before you can hop on – in fact, you are on that rollercoaster already, so you might as well enjoy it!

Your mantra for the day?

I will not use my appearance as an excuse to put off my happy life. I live my life fully & with joy, right now – i will not wait to be thinner/more toned/more anything in order to be happy.

What will you do today to live a happy life?