Taking It One Small Step At A Time

When you think about recovery, it can be very daunting and impossible to imagine.  What even is recovery?  Recovery seems scary because we tend to associate it with being healthy and let’s face it, being bigger.  It seems like such a long, long road and what do we get at the end, being fat.  Why would we want that?

But that’s Ana talking.  She makes your world black and white, all or nothing.  Everything is to do with weight and size and nothing else matters.  She’s probably been a voice in your head for a while now and you trust what she says.  She promised you that everything would be OK if you just restricted what you ate, if you just lost more weight.  But how’s that working out for you?  Is everything OK? Are you happy?

Now I need to be clear here because Ana certainly doesn’t mix her words when she talks to you.  Ana is not your friend, she is your enemy, she doesn’t want you to be happy, she wants to destroy you.  She is like an abusive partner, a bully.  She feeds off your insecurity and low self esteem and she manipulates you to get what she wants.  She isolates you from others, so that you are easier to control.  And it’s working isn’t it?

What I and others have found, since letting go of Ana, is that recovery means being free of that voice in your head, free of the battle!  It means feeling:

  • relaxed around food.
  • relaxed around people.
  • relaxed about your weight.
  • confident and good about yourself.
  • happy and content.
  • positive.
  • able to cope with life.
  • special as you are.
  • like you belong.
  • that you have purpose.

It also means being able to live your life to the full and creating exciting opportunities for yourself.

But don’t think of recovery as a long road which may feel overwhelming.  Break it down into achievable parts.  Like a project you need to complete at work.  And give it 100%, just as if you were at work.  Take one small step at a time, just focusing on the task in front of you.

Some days will feel easier than others, and you may have a set back.  But just pick yourself up, dust yourself down and keep walking, again taking those small steps.  And if you’re tempted to give up, just because of the set back, realise that you haven’t gone back to square one.  You’ve just gone back a few squares, you’re still progressing, keep going!!

If you want to talk through what recovery could look like for you, book a discovery call with me today.

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You Need To Have A Goal! Do You Have A Goal?

I remember watching the movie Pretty Woman as a teenager, wishing I could be swept off my feet and treated like a princess, by my own Edward Lewis (Richard Gere).  But while we often remember Vivienne (Julia Roberts) struggling with life before Edward shows up, do you remember Kit De Luca, her friend saying “You Need To Have A Goal!  Do You Have A Goal?”

Whilst I never took any notice at the time, I was far too busy caught up with the whole romance aspect, I realise now what wise words she spoke.  Vivienne didn’t like her current life, and Kit was encouraging her to think about where she wanted to be, so that she could start aiming towards this.

This is exactly what you need to do in your life.  We know that living with an eating disorder can be torture, because our mind is conflicted between, what feels like an angel on one side and a devil on the other, it’s like an endless battle, and we have no idea which to believe.  We also know that we create endless rules and rituals to keep us feeling safe.

Letting go of an eating disorder is hard, yet not impossible.  But the best way to start is to think about a future you, do not focus on how you look, but how you feel.  Picture a more confident, more positive you.  Someone who holds their head up high, gives more eye contact, can meet and exchange conversation with strangers, gets excited about new opportunities to work, travel or experience life.  What have you always wanted to do/achieve?  Picture yourself doing this. How does that feel?

Often this can be difficult to imagine and there are all sorts of barriers and what if’s that crop up.  But rather than concern yourself with how you’re going to get there, just imagine yourself there.  This is really important because often we feel stuck where we are and can’t see a way out at all.  We also feel so very low about ourselves and possibly that we deserve to be in this situation.  We can also feel a burden to others and it can be hard to find any motivation in order to try to make things better.  It can feel safer not to try.

I’ve heard clients say that they want to get better for their family, and this is a good place to start if they have nothing else.  But this won’t be enough.  When you’re facing each meal, it’s you that has to find the motivation to get through it, and it will be much easier if you can picture that person that you want to become.  Use that confident person to fight Ana’s voice when you don’t have the strength to.

Keep that person you want to be, with you all the time.  You can be her!  I never thought I’d become her, but I am.  You can too.

If you need help imagining that confident person, or how you can be her, book a discovery call with me today and I can help with your goal.

The Relief When You Stop Comparing Yourself

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I went to a Christmas party on Saturday night and I was really looking forward to it.  Now I’m recovered, I wasn’t dreading the food or even having to make conversation with people that I didn’t know.  I got dressed, feeling confident in myself.  Not because I weighed less or because my dress was a size smaller than when I had anorexia (I am a healthy size 8 now compared to wearing age 8 clothes) but because of how I feel about myself now.  I no longer have negative beliefs and this has been the key to transforming how I feel about me, on the inside as well as my body.

During the evening, I saw this young, beautiful woman.  She was stunning and was wearing a lace and sequin long flowing dress, looking like Cinderella at the ball.  The dress was practically see through so she wore white hotpants underneath.

Now years ago, I would’ve looked at her and felt jealous, wishing I looked like that and I would punish myself as a result.  I would’ve judged her for wearing that dress and for making me feel so bad.  But do you know what I thought on Saturday after seeing her.  “Wow!! Look at you! Good on you for having the confidence to wear that!” You see, she was slim yet not skeletal.  She was healthy and confident.  I wasn’t jealous or thinking hateful things about her.  I felt happy for her.

There are so many people that seem to be struggling in today’s society and it was nice to think that she wasn’t one of them.  Now that’s not to say that she hadn’t got her own issues, but I don’t know her so I will never know.  But that’s the thing about comparing yourself to others.  We don’t usually know the people we compare ourselves against, and we will never know their troubles.  But if we see someone that on the face of it, seems happy and confident, that’s all we’ll see and we put ourselves down because we feel inferior.  But if we feel happy and content in ourselves, we have no reason to let other people’s perceived confidence affect us.

Another lady I spoke to at the party was wearing a nice top with a pair of jeans and boots.  She explained to me, “I just wore this as I wanted to feel comfortable.  I’m really not a dress person.  I’ve been to these type of occasions before and I’ve ended up going back to my room around 4 times to change my outfit”.  I thought she’d done the right thing wearing what she felt comfortable in and if anyone wanted to judge her, let them go ahead.  Again, they had no idea of the strength that it took to put those jeans on.

Don’t judge anyone, in a good or a bad way as we have no idea of their situation.  And in the same way, don’t judge yourself based on what you think others are thinking about you.  Because the chances are, they’re too busy worrying about themselves and wondering what you’re thinking about them.  It’s all just a waste of energy.

If you’d like to feel more confident about yourself, book a call with me now and I can talk you through how I can help you feel more confident on the inside and out.

It’s Scary To Trust When You Don’t Feel Safe

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This week I received a message from one of my clients and my heart just wanted to burst.

I always send out a questionnaire to my new clients, to get some background and history on what they’re struggling with, so that I am prepared for our sessions together.  One of the questions is “If there was an event in your life that you wish didn’t happen, what would it be?”  This gives a pretty good indicator of a root issue that needs to be addressed in order for things to change.  It may not be the biggest issue, but it’s hugely important and a good place to start.

So on our 2nd session, I suggested we look at this traumatic memory.  She was quite emotional just discussing it, which again was a good indication that it needed to be dealt with, and I mentioned this to her.  I explained that I was not going to push her into going anywhere she didn’t feel comfortable with, but that she would definitely benefit from doing this work .  If she wanted to stop at any point, then we would.  She agreed to try.

So I explained how it would work and I would guide her, holding her hand every step of the way, as it were.  There was nothing to fear, she didn’t have to share any details, she did not need to relive the event herself.  So step by step, we worked through this traumatic memory.  It took only half an hour to completely transform her feelings about this event, and she felt such relief and positivity afterwards.  I was really happy with the work we’d done and was proud of my client for fighting her fears.

When you have an eating disorder, it’s scary to reach out for help as you fear losing control, which seems to be the only thing keeping you safe.  It’s hard to trust as you think other people are just going to make you eat more and make you fat.  It’s a difficult place to be, stuck between being desperate for help but also being terrified of receiving that help.  I know, I’ve been there.  But staying where you are is never going to change anything.  And I offer a helping hand, every step of the way, working in a gentle yet effective way, making sure you feel safe at all times.  I know how important this is.

If you’re looking for help but not sure if you can trust, you fear losing control, and just want to stay safe, book a call with me and we can just have a chat, and get to know each other a bit.  If you feel that I could help you, great.  If not, that’s fine.  I’m very much into respecting people’s choices and would never pressure you into working with me.  That’s just not who I am.

But I may be just the person you’ve been looking for.  You’ll never know unless you try.  Book a call with me now.

 

What Could Life Be Like ….?

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So you know how I’m always asking people to book a discovery call with me?

You might think to yourself:

  • No way, she’s going to push me into working with her.
  • I’m not very assertive so once I’m on a call with her, I’ll find it hard to say no.
  • I won’t want to hurt her feelings if she’s not the right person for me, so I just won’t call.
  • There’s no way she can help me.
  • I’m not sure I want to get help, although there’s a part of me that does.
  • I won’t know what to say to her.
  • I just feel really uncomfortable.

And probably lots of other negative thoughts besides these.  I know how you feel.  I totally understand.

So how about I tell you what we would talk about on a discovery call?  I will ask you to describe:

  1. Your current situation in terms of your eating disorder?  What are you struggling with most right now?
  2. How you ideally would like your life to be like?  I know sometimes this is hard to imagine but just try to imagine how your life could be if you could feel confident, relaxed and positive about yourself?
  3. What’s stopping you from getting there?  Is it anxiety and fear?  Anything else?
  4. What will happen if you can’t find a way to overcome these blocks you described in Q3?
  5. What would it be like if you could find a way to overcome the blocks (Q3) and get to where you would like?  (Q2) How would that feel?
  6. How much are you motivated to get better even if you do have the blocks you described in (Q3)?

I can help you achieve the life you always dreamed of, and can support you every step of the way, getting rid of any anxieties and fears.  And I’d love to work with you but only if we’re the right fit, otherwise the process won’t work as well.  I also want to work with people who are motivated and who commit to change, even if you are anxious.

So I’m not going to push you or give you the hard sell.  It really is just a chat, over the phone or Skype, we can each drink a cuppa at the same time if you like.

Sound good?  Book a discovery call with me now.

 

I Was ‘Live’ on Local Radio This Week!

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On Tuesday morning, I went ‘live’ on BBC Hereford and Worcestershire radio talking to Malcolm Boyden, the lovely host of the morning show.

I’d emailed the radio station to ask if they’d plug my new Eating Disorders Support group that I’m launching in Worcester next week, so was surprised when they called to actually invite me onto their show.  They told me I would be on for between 5 and 10 minutes and would be asked about my ‘anorexia’ story and my group.  I felt excited if not a little nervous.  I was told that I’d be on air at just after 11am and that I should turn up just before 11am.

I thought he’d made a mistake in timings.  I’d need time to be prepped and settle in etc.  So on the morning of the show, I arrived at 10.45am.  I’m one of those people who would rather arrive half hour early than 5 minutes late.  I was asked to wait in reception and at that point, I could hear Malcolm Boyden broadcasting so started to get nervous.  I automatically started tapping to calm myself down and as I was doing so, chatted away to the receptionist who talked about her friend who had struggled to eat.

Well, 11am came and went and I could hear Malcolm telling his audience that Kim Marshall would soon be talking about how to Kiss Goodbye To Ana, who’s Ana, what’s Ana, they’d find out very soon, he said.

Just after 11am, a guy called Stuart came for me, shook my hand and thanked me for coming in.  He told me that I’d be guided during the interview, and not to worry, just imagine I was having a chat.  I was whisked through into the studio, said hi to Malcolm and then sat down at the desk opposite him.  Within a minute the record (I’m old school, I still say records) had finished and we were on the air!

I felt nervous but tapped away throughout most of the first part and I soon settled in.  We started off with my story and I talked about how life was like for me, living with an eating disorder.  I also talked about EFT and how that has transformed my life and how I now use it to help others do the same.

At one point, Malcolm asked me what was my lowest weight.  I answered honestly but before he could move on, I stopped him and pointed out that my weight wasn’t significant and that it was my mindset that was the problem.  I was seriously mentally ill which people can’t always see.  It didn’t matter what my weight was, I was still ill, and the level of support I had should not be based on my BMI.

This is an annoyance of mine but I made sure I pointed this out to him, and everyone else listening.  But I guess it’s very hard to understand, if you haven’t been there.

I could see him waving at people, I’m not sure if they wanted me to shut up but I was there and I was going to be heard 🙂  He cut to another record and I paused for a quick break.  He told me how well I was doing and said we’d have just a few more minutes talking about my group and any final message I wanted to leave listeners with.

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I was actually given about 17 minutes air time which is far more than I expected and the feedback I got from family and friends was amazing.  They all said how well I’d come across, and what a powerful and moving message I delivered.  I was delighted.

After the interview, Malcolm asked if I’d be interested in being part of future relevant discussions so I could contribute my ‘expert’ opinion!!

And the final message I wanted to leave my listeners with … I know it’s hard and it’s scary, but I use a really gentle technique that allows you to stay in control and feel safe, every step of the way.

If you fancy listening to my interview, click here, I’m on at 1.08 minutes 🙂

Book a discovery call to discuss how I can help you with your journey to recovery.

 

The Dreaded C Word is Coming

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Yes it’s that time again.  Christmas is nearly upon us.  Although if you’ve been to the shops since September, you may be feeling like it’s been with us forever.  I think our local supermarket put up it’s Christmas tree in early November!

I allow myself to think about Christmas once 1st December is here.  So now I can listen to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” without groaning, and I can enjoy seeing the Christmas lights throughout my local high street.

But why 1st December?  Why did that rule come from?  I imagine it was to limit my suffering.  You see for someone with anorexia, Christmas time is pretty crappy.  Actually, crappy is too light a word, it’s overwhelmingly torturous.

Don’t get me wrong, I always loved buying and giving presents to everyone, I loved singing Christmas Carols (after 1st December!), I loved that my kids got so excited and they’d count down how many days till Santa was coming.

Now anytime of the year when there’s a social occasion, there’s food involved.  Whether it be coffee and cake, a picnic, a cinema trip with popcorn, a pub meal, a barbecue, a dinner party, a buffet.  I remember trying to think of a ‘safe’ way of meeting up with friends but there just didn’t seem to be one.

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What we have at Christmas is a constant series of social occasions, and sometimes more than one in a day.  And there seems to be this ethos that because it’s Christmas and a good excuse for people to overindulge in pretty much everything, the amount of food involved is immense …. and this is terrifying!

Even some people around you who know you have anorexia can think that it’s some sort of diet and you can just ease off at certain times.  They might even say, “Oh go on, eat a mince pie, it’s Christmas”.  The attitudes and insensitivity of some people is amazing, but I guess it’s because they just don’t get it.  And they genuinely don’t.  You never know what it’s like unless you’ve been there.  You can read all the books in the world on the subject, but you’ll never truly understand the huge terror involved in being in the same room as a table loaded with party food and full of people.

I just wanted to go away at Christmas.  I imagined sitting by myself in a hotel room alone but safe, away from any food.  But I never did.  Because I had my daughters to think about.  I wanted them to have a great Christmas.  They were my reason for trying, even when I didn’t want to try for myself.

If you can’t try for yourself, is there another reason for trying?  Someone or something in your life that wills you to keep going, to stay strong.

I’m genuinely excited about Christmas.  I actually throw two parties each Christmas now for family and friends.  I love getting together with people and having a good dance.  I’m quite the party animal now 🙂  And the table loaded with party food?  Not a problem.  I’ll have a plateful of savoury and a bit of dessert.  And I’ll enjoy it.  But then I won’t give it another thought, until the time comes when everyone goes home and I have to do the washing up 😦

If you’d like to start enjoying your Christmases again, I can help you.  Get in touch x

Dear Hope, I Want To Save You

This week, I took the opportunity to work with two business coaches.  Why?  Because I wanted to make sure I was doing my very best to get my message out to people, to make sure that they’d hear me, that they’d understand.

One of these coaches asked me to imagine my ideal client.  I told her I’d done that and I was looking to work with women with anorexia located anywhere in the world.  Brilliant she said but you might want to narrow this down a little.  Not because you don’t want to work with everybody but so that your message doesn’t get distorted.  What is this person’s life like?  What has she gone through?

So I thought about this and I’ve decided to call her ‘Hope’ and to write her a letter:

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Dear Hope,

I’m sorry that you’re struggling right now.  I know it’s been really hard for you over the years.  You’ve tried to be the best mum you can, whilst working and juggling everything and you’re doing a great job, but to you, it’s just not enough.  It’ll never feel good enough.  You’ll always need to do better.

You don’t feel special.  Or that you belong.  You’ve always struggled with relationships and whilst you long for someone to look after you, you like to remain in control and are fiercely independent.  You feel like you have to do everything yourself.  And although you always put yourself last, and place other people’s needs before your own, you still don’t feel worthy or that you have a purpose in life.  You have no idea how much others value you.  You just see yourself as a burden to others because of your anorexia.

I know you are exhausted, but you can’t stop for fearing of thinking about what’s gone wrong in your life and about food, of course.  The only way you’re able to cope is by using anorexic behaviours.  You feel safe when you’re restricting, you feel powerful, you feel invincible.  But you know that it doesn’t last and a binge is never far away, which brings with it the most fear and guilt imaginable.  You are caught in a cycle and you don’t know how to get out.  All attempts so far have ended in failure.  It’s safer not to try.

But you can do this.  And I know because I’ve been there … and I got out.  And the view from here is pretty stunning.

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I can see that:

  • I am a great a mum/daughter/friend.
  • I am valued and loved by lots of people in my life.
  • I am special and unique.
  • I am worthy and have huge purpose in my life.
  • I am not second best to anybody.
  • I am safe and able to cope with life’s ups and downs without Ana in my life.
  • that the world is a beautiful place.
  • that I have a lot to be grateful for.
  • that my world is a lot better without Ana in it.
  • that recovery is worth the effort.

Hope, I know that you’re not feeling it just now, but I want to let you know that the above is totally possible.  Not just for me, but for you too. And I  want to take your hand and save you from the torturous world that is slowly killing you.  I know a way out Hope, I can help you get to a better place, you just need to take my hand and trust in me.

Kim x

I’m serious about helping women with anorexia, hence wanting to work with a coach.  I looked at my options, who would be right for me and signed up.  If you’re serious about finding a way out, you need to do the same.  If you want to see if I’m a good option for you, then reach out, and get in touch.

 

Feeling The Fear

When I was addressing my own issues during recovery, I realised that I had a conflict of wanting attention but being scared of attention.  I wanted to be made to feel special but I also very much struggled with talking to people about myself.  I could listen to others all day, but talking about me?  My mind just went blank.  I just felt that I didn’t have anything of value to say.  I guess my confidence was pretty low and being asked the question “So what do you do?” by people that I’d just met at a social function, was my worst nightmare.  I didn’t feel enough, I felt judged, I felt that I was boring.  I found that a lot of people loved to talk about themselves and I took advantage of this by firing loads of questions at them, so the attention was off me.  But the thing was, it was my own negative thoughts about myself and my situation that were affecting me, affecting my ability to talk to people.

When I was a teenager, a girl from school said that she wished she had legs like mine.  That hers were too skinny.  I thought she meant that mine were fat.  But I had interpreted this event to mean that even when I’m not aware, people are constantly watching me and judging me in a negative way.  This affected me greatly and made me desperate to hide away and not be seen.

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These events in my life are certainly not isolated and I’ve had to work on quite a few.  But by continually working on my fear of being visible, putting myself out there, being judged, etc. not only in my personal life but in my work too, I am now confident about what I have to say.

I know that I can make a difference in people’s lives, that I can really help them.  But what if I kept that knowledge to myself?  What if I was too frightened to say anything to anybody in case someone said anything negative to me?  Nobody would know about me and my work and I wouldn’t be able to help anyone.  As a recovered anorexic and qualified professional, I know I am in a pretty good position to help others, particularly as I use a tried and tested method that I’ve used myself and with other clients.

I want to help as many people as I can, so I know I need to shout my message as far and as wide as possible, and this gives me courage.  So much so, that I fought my fear last week and did Facebook Lives over four consecutive evenings, working on issues such as ‘Thinking Food is Evil’, ‘Fixating on the Number on The Scales’, ‘Eating in Public/In Front Of Others’ and ‘Getting Rid of Food ie. Laxative Abuse, Purging, Overexercise’.  Comments from the group were positive and I really enjoyed doing them.  And I’m planning to do between 1-2 Facebook Lives each week from now on.

I know what it’s like to be fearful, but don’t let fear hold you back.  I feel I wasted so much time worrying about what other people thought of me.  But now I’m confident in me, there are so many opportunities for me to help others, and I want to make the most of this.

If you’d like to make positive changes in your life, but fear is standing in your way, please book a call with me today to see if I can help you.

Plus if you’re interested in seeing the Facebook Lives I’ve been doing with my group, and the future videos, sign up to my  Anorexia Support Group now.

Why I Work With People With Anorexia

I sometimes chuckle to myself about my ‘business’.  If I was presenting my business idea to a bank or Dragon’s Den or indeed Sir Alan Sugar on The Apprentice, they wouldn’t invest in me.  Not because I’m not good at what I do, or because I don’t get the results.  But because the risk is too high.

You see, I have probably chosen to work with people who are the most difficult to reach, the ones who do not want to work with anyone because of the fears involved, even though a part of them is desperate for things to change.  So why am I in business trying to help a market that in a lot of cases, doesn’t want help?

The answer is …. because that was me.  I was that person.  I was desperate for things to change but I had no idea how that was even possible.  I couldn’t even imagine how things could change that day let alone imagine myself in the land of Recovery and Happiness in the future.

I was the one with all the fears.  Fear of losing my safety, losing control, being made to restore weight, it just all seemed too much.  It was only when I hit rock bottom, that I eventually admitted that I was all out of options of trying to make things better myself.  My desperation had become greater than my fear, and I was finally able to reach out.

I ended up in residential treatment but when I was discharged four months later, at a more healthy weight, I was still scared and tormented because my mindset was still the same.  Physically, people saw me as recovered but I knew in my mind I was nowhere near.  Even though I knew I wasn’t happy when Ana was winning, she was still trying to control me and I still had to fight hard to resist.

The turning point for me came when I learned a tool called Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT aka Tapping).  It helped me let go of my negative emotions and to feel more relaxed and calm.  But the best bit was that it helped me change my mindset and my negative beliefs about myself.  This has been the key to my recovery.

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I feel now like my anorexia is like lava and I am a volcano.  I have lay dormant for a long time.  I am very aware that stressful times in my life can cause the lava to bubble.  However I now have this tool to help me deal with my stresses so that the lava settles down again.  I still feel in control of me.  I do not erupt.  That is one amazing feeling!!

So to answer the question, why I choose to work with people with anorexia, when most don’t want help?  Because there are people out there just like me.  Who are scared but are desperate.

Is this you?  I want to help you reach the same place as I am today using a tool that can start helping straight away.  Find out more now by joining my facebook group – Anorexia Support Group.  The link is https://www.facebook.com/groups/572012266320999/