"Beginning to Free Yourself" Chapter 2 Excerpt

“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.”
--Franklin D. Roosevelt

Before you picked up this book, you probably looked for ways to recovery many times.  Maybe some of your methods were questionable: You tried diets to lose weight; you chewed sugarless gum until your jaw ached; you may have tried drugs to squelch your appetite or control your feelings.  Maybe you surrendered to your eating disorder and isolated yourself with TV and binge food as your main companions.  In public, you may have hidden your too-thin or too-fat or just plain unacceptable body in layers of clothing, smiled a smile you didn’t mean, and kept yourself so busy you didn’t have time to know what you were feeling.  You may have distracted eyes from your rotund or skeletal body by wearing expensive or flamboyant jewelry.

When these tricks succeeded, you felt safe as eyes bounced off you and moved on, or if you beguiled those eyes with accessories.  At the same time, you were not happy being treated as if you were invisible or when someone focused on your embellishments.  You created a barrier between yourself and other people so that having a genuine relationship was an unlikely possibility.  This “success” caused you much loneliness.

Now, book in hand, you are ready to explore a path that might be new for you – and it might work.  You want to be free.  You share this desire with all men and women who are dependent on an eating disorder.

Most of the people I work with are women, so I use the feminine pronoun in this book. I’m reporting the details of the successful treatment of women in my practice over the years, plus my own recovery story.  When you, man or woman, focus on the personal details of your life and understand how you act out your eating disorder, you have the potential to move toward your recovery and heal.  Are you ready to begin?

Research about eating disorders continues at all levels of psychology and medicine, dispelling myths and gathering new information. (See Appendix C for findings and summaries.) Yet many of the ideas and information about eating disorders, even when based on credible, ongoing research, are still controversial.

Excerpt from Healing Your Hungry Heart: recovering from your eating disorder, by Joanna Poppink, MFT, Conari Press, 2011. Copyright protected August, 2011. Joanna is a Los Angeles psychotherapist specializing in eating disorder recovery for adults and counseling for their loved ones. For an appointment call:  (310) 474-4165.
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Comments (5)
Hi Joanna - my book arrived and was just
1Saturday, 26 November 2011 03:38
Anonymous Commenter
Hi Joanna - my book arrived and was just reading this chapter! The first words which struck me were you have probably looked for many ways of recovery etc. then i stopped and felt defeated again already..just that thought lets my mind jumps in and say yeah right so what makes you think you can do it this time!! Am in a phase of huge resistance right now- like I can't do it - i can't see or connect to myself as trying some technique with my therapist at the moment to reprogramme my sub conscious mind to accept being in a healthy body- I'm feeling frustrated and defeated cos I cant connect to what that looks like! - ok just sharing will try and continue with the book- feels like I need some extra strength to get through this next phase and trust it will work....."this time" !
I'm glad you wrote in, Jan. You may
2Saturday, 26 November 2011 06:35
Joanna Poppink
I'm glad you wrote in, Jan. You may be thinking and feeling that one thing "will work." Frustration and feelings of defeat that you describe often come up when a person thinks that they have everything they need to get well except the right attitude or the strength or the will power. That kind of thinking can put you in the defeated mode you describe. What's required is development. The kind of recovery effort that works is the kind that helps and supports you to grow in psychological, emotional and spiritual ways. As you develop these internal areas you find that you have more inner resources to cope with your challenges. Healing Your Hungry Heart will help you develop internally so that what is absent in your psyche will become present. If you keep trying to do a task that requires a tool you don't have, you will feel frustrated and defeated. You need to acquire the tool. Doing the exercises in Healing Your Hungry Heart stimulates the kind of growth you need that helps you move into real freedom. Please write again and let us know how you are doing.
Thanks Joanna you are so comforting and
3Saturday, 26 November 2011 09:23
Anonymous Commenter
Thanks Joanna you are so comforting and can really resonate with what you say- yes it always feels like am really getting there and doing well then something messes me up and I go right back down again- THAT makes me feel defeated and why try again, As I have grown - I have discovered that my setbacks seem to be that I get "overwhelmed" mainly with trying to handle too many emotions at once. As soon as I start to feel stronger and am doing well I feel good and want to do so many things, but my body and emotional self can't keep up with all the different and maybe new emotions am experiencing - Yes it feels like something is "missing" I don't have the tool...looking forward to finding it!....thanks for your support
You are on your way, Jan. Just remember
4Sunday, 27 November 2011 23:14
Joanna Poppink
You are on your way, Jan. Just remember to pace yourself. When you start to get near overwhelm, do your breathing exercises. It's not about will power. It's about being present for what is.

please google "Body of Work" by Erin Hen
5Saturday, 07 January 2012 04:57
please google "Body of Work" by Erin Henry for a great, inspirational read!

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