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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…

be-yourself-dr-seuss-girl-light-originality-quote-Favim.com-41424

“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.

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.

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.

equine

“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.

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!

CapitolHorizontal

Always Be YOU,

Jenn B.

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.

comfortzone

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.

You’re still amazing even if…

Good Afternoon my friends! I hope your day is going well.I want to remind you of the fact that We are all amazing and unique.

One of the things that I love most about the ‘Be Me’ support groups is that it unites people from so many different walks of life! Each one of us that joins the groups online or in the community group come in all different shapes and sizes, strengths and weaknesses and backgrounds.

Be Me recently launched a new support group (via Facebook).This one is specifically for supporting those struggling with Body Image and disordered eating.Over the summer we have been supporting those who are struggling enjoying their summer because of the pressure to feel “bikini ready” and having to change the way they look after reading magazine articles and such. This group is here to inform you that you can have a fun summer just the way you are and make wonderful memories.

It doesn’t matter if you have significant eating issues or your relationship with food feels off in any way…there is someone else in the community that can relate to you.

It doesn’t matter if you avoid the mirror, feel you have to cover your face with make up before leaving the house to feel Okay or if you are trying your best to fit into a certain clothing size to feel you are enough…there is someone else in the community that can relate to you.

NOW is the time to take action and join a supportive, loving and accepting community at Be YOU at Be Me, Inc. (hit the Facebook tab to your right and send a message with the request to join the group, A place where I can Be Me).

you are not alone

You are still amazing even if you are not quite living the life you may not be wanting to live. You deserve wellness and healing too. Please think about reaching out for support, it’s here if you want it : )

Always Be YOU,

Jenn B.

Needing Treatment? There is an answer.

Good Morning my friends! How is your weekend going? I hope you are finding the time to do some reflection and relaxation. I am, and it always helps me feel refreshed and rejuvenated heading into the week.

Be Me works hard to link YOU or someone you know who is struggling, with services. Whenever, I have the opportunity to learn about an amazing program, I love sharing it with you guys.  Considering treatment can be a scary and overwhelming process, whatever we can do at Be Me to help make it easier for you or a loved one in need, we will do.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to Kristin Reagan, Referral Relations Manager, at The Recovery Village and wanted to share our conversation with you. She is the sweetest lady and took the time to thoroughly explain what the program offers and how to get the help one is needing. I’ve included her contact info at the end of this post, so feel free to contact her with any additional questions you may have : )

recovery village

Now, let’s get started…

What does The Recovery Village treat?

1)    Eating Disorders (Anorexia and Bulimia)

2)    Mental Health Disorders

-        Mood Disorders (Anxiety, Depression, and Bipolar Disorder)

-        Personality Disorders (Borderline, Histrionic, Narcissistic, and Dependent)

-        Process Addictions (Sex and Love, Shopping, Gambling, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

What levels of care are offered?

1)    Detox

2)    Residential (RTC)

3)    Partial Hospitalization (PHP)

4)    Intensive Outpatient (IOP)

What does the program consist of?

- Individual therapy sessions up to 5 times weekly with client’s therapist

-Group therapy sessions

Our program is based on two strong therapeutic interventions delivered in a client centered, humanistic, motivational, strength based approach.

1)    Back to Basics – 12 step theories worked through rapidly.  Clients get the overview of all 12 steps while in treatment, as opposed to only the first 3, which is typical in other treatment centers.

2)    Intensive therapy between therapist and client.  We offer multiple sessions per week, rather than having the client wait a full week before they see their clinician again.  We believe this establishes a strong connection between client and therapist, where real work gets done.

-Psycho-educational groups on the disease of addiction, relapse prevention, anger and stress management, self-esteem, co-dependency, grief and loss, spirituality, mindfulness, meditation, family dynamics, nutrition, life skills, employment preparedness, budgeting, introspective therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

-Psychiatric evaluations upon admission by our Addiction Psychiatrist, who is also an Eating Disorder Specialist.  These are also completed by our Psychiatric ARNP.

What is the admission process like?

The Recovery Village admits clients 24 hours a day.  Prior to a client admitting to the facility, an assessment process is done to determine eligibility, appropriateness, and the proper level of care to be treated at.

What forms of payment and insurance is accepted?

The Recovery Village accepts most private insurance policies.  The Recovery Village is contracted with both Aetna and United Health Care, allowing clients to utilize their in-network benefits for services of treatment.   Medicare and Medicaid cannot be utilized at TRV.

For additional information, please contact Kristin at 813-494-5143.

***Thank you Kristin for your time and for answering all my questions!***

Your turn: 

Have you ever considered treatment for YOU or someone you love struggling?

 

Slowing down

Good morning my friends! Thank you for supporting the “Returning to the basics” decision of Be Me. I’m overly grateful for your support.

Today, I want to focus on slowing down in my life, enough to journal about where I currently am and where I envision my life going. By doing so, I have found more peace and fulfillment. (I write a little bit about how my life has changed when I decided to step back form daily distractions and instead practice living in the moment here).  I find waking up before the others in the early morning hours, allows me to have time to reflect and set my day with a sense of peace and purpose.

***This post will not be preachy and will not be focused on any one religious or spiritual belief. Please practice BE-ing YOU and replace my source of love and faith (God) with what it is that you believe in***

Some mornings I follow a daily devotion and further my reading.

lifepoint

Other mornings, I stare at the blank page of my journal or blank computer screen and write whatever comes to mind.

dailyjournal

Whichever route I take, I feel at ease and ready to face my day when I am done.

It wasn’t too long ago where my morning routine wasn’t always like this. Instead, it was filled with waking up before the others to tackle my “to do” list without “interruptions”. When I shifted my mind set and reasons for waking in the early morning hours,  I found peace that has been there all along, just left unseen and overtaken by daily distractions.

I encourage you to try doing the same : )

Please take a minute to grab a cup of coffee or tea, your journal or a blank computer screen and answer these questions for yourself:

  • Do you have a BIG dream for your day?
  • If so, describe it in detail on paper.
  • What is it?
  • Why do you want this?
  • What will you have to do now, to get it started?

Remember that your BIG Dream is different than anybody else’s because each of our hearts are sized individually and uniquely. My dreams may seem too big or too small to you. And that is okay, they have been created to fit the size of my heart, not yours.

god-sized-dreams-bracelet

Today, my BIG Dream is practicing patience; practicing stepping back and slowing down. I will practice trusting that life is happening, as it needs to be. I will practice spending time with my loved ones at the end of the day and truly being with them, not distracted by my mental “to do” list or the telephone (both are two examples of my “daily distractions”).

The other day, my little family and I took a walk around the block, and it was so simple and so nice. If weather permits, I hope to repeat this tonight : )

Your turn:

What is one way you can slow down for a moment today?

What is your favorite thing to do “distraction free”? 

Always Be YOU,

Jenn  

Being Me

Hello my friends! Pull up a chair and pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea (whichever you prefer) because this morning I am going to share with you some thoughts and feelings as to the new direction of this site.

coffeebeme

Over the past year, Be Me has taken a turn and I have felt lost about its direction.

Recently, I have taken some time to step back and realign with Be Me’s mission and I am excited to announce that I am  going back to the basics, my friends. I am  returning to the original vision of Be ME. In short, I am going back to

“Being the Me, I was created to Be”…

The original mission of Be ME, is to promote being ourselves freely and living fully.

I originally began Be ME by taking a step back from my busy life and rediscovering whom I am.

Over the past year, in the business of life, juggling various roles, I have forgotten who I was created to be. Instead, I was living in chaos trying to be someone I am not and that is where Be Me got lost.

My personal goal is to help others rediscover who they are and be themselves. Maybe some people visit this site and just smile, but I hope some people are truly touched by it and can freely be themselves.

I know what it is like to Be Me. I am back to doing what works (before falling prey to recent pressures and expectations) I practice in some way, every single day, to let go of “daily distraction” and place my focus on someone or something meaningful. The results have been profound.

In fact, for the first time in my life, I am more patient, more spontaneous, and more connected with my family than I have ever been. I am witnessing and experiencing the simple, joyful things around me that I was too distracted to notice before. I am now free to be me and focus on what really matters. It feels so good to be back at this place where both peace and passion coincide.

And because this experience has been too good not to share, I am sharing my journey as Being Me, with you.  Notice I say journey. After all, a  compulsive Type A, “to- do” list, planner, does not change overnight. I still have some “rediscovering” to do. But I am trying, and that counts for something…

Be Me’s mission is for anyone who wants to re-think how he or she is living (or not living) life. It’s for anyone who wants to let go of living a life of distractions and chaos and embrace their true selves.

If this little site only does one productive thing, I hope it helps readers realize how truly toxic it is, to not accept who you are  — it hurts you emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

I am taking Be Me back in the direction that I am most excited about and hope that you join me as I am Being Me.

Your turn:

When do you feel like you are being you the most?

Have you ever fell to the trap of distractions of life and felt lost?