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What Works To Recover From An Eating Disorder? Print

Here is a beautiful, inspiring letter written by one of our clients that is a strong young woman that had the courage to take the essential steps needed to regain her life and break free of an eating disorder.  Way to go Sydney!  We hope her letter inspires you too.

RecoveryEating disorders look different for everyone and therefore recovery would look different for everyone too but regardless of that fact, we all feel the same pain of letting go of certain things, the confusion of changing the way we think and the despair that sneaks up on you at any given moment.

One of the most heart breaking things I had to learn while going through recovery is that you cannot always trust the people you love the most. That is not to say that you will not be able to trust them ever again but I have learned that you may not be able to trust their opinion in regards to certain topics, for example the amount and types of food that you need to eat in order to be healthy. In the long run recovery is about you, and ultimately you call all the shots so if you think that someone’s opinion is unhealthy or doesn’t fit with what you want your values and beliefs to be don’t take that opinion into account when you are trying to rationalize something.  I wish someone had told me that earlier on in recovery because even though it was an extremely hard lesson to learn I know it made me a stronger person in the end.

The first day I went to my counselor, she gave me a book about finding and bringing out that wisecracker that was lurking deep down in me. I have learned that standing up for what you believe in and not letting people push you around is actually healthy! Before starting down the recovery path I did not even realize that people were taking advantage of me, they do not do that anymore!

One of the most significant things that I realized throughout this whole process is that when you are in your eating disorder world everything is foggy and hazy and I mean that quite literally. Comparing the thinking and thought processes that I have now compared to the ones back then my thoughts were disconnected and blurry.  It is as if my brain took off a pair of thick glasses and now is able to see 20-20.

I know that depending on where you are in recovery you may think that what I am about to say is a load of lies but I am going to say it anyway because it is one of those things that really helped me. So here it goes; the first time you try something new it may be the hardest thing you have ever done.  I know with me there were certain foods or food groups that caused me a lot of anxiety and the first time I tried to eat them I could only manage a small bite. My nutritionist would tell me “Don’t think just eat” and sometimes I found that even though feeling the emotion behind eating certain foods was important, simply eating the food got me farther along the road of recovery.  Not a word of a lie though, every time after eating that certain food for the first time the anxiety around that eating it decreased significantly. Eventually I got to a point where there ended up being no anxiety around that food and that is such an amazing place to be.

Your eating disorder should not define you. When I first started recovery, I was afraid of letting go of my eating disorder I felt like I would not know who I was without it. Gradually though I learned that there are so many amazing qualities about myself that I would rather have people love me for than my eating disorder. I would rather have people adore the qualities about me that bring me up and make me glow than the ones that cause me pain and grief, wouldn’t you?

One of my biggest fears was that I would not recover and that I would be stuck in my eating disorder world for the rest of my life. Towards the end of recovery I didn’t want to believe, or admit, that I had finally dumped my eating disorder. It’s still a strange thought to me but one of the happiest ones I could have ever asked for.  I’m not afraid to confess that I cried the day my nutritionist told me she didn’t think that I need to book anymore appointments with her, it really was one of the happiest days of my life. The day you are told that you have fully recovered is one of those days that only you can give yourself, which makes it infinitely more special. Pretty much what I’m trying to say is please keep going, throw tantrums, feel the big emotions, go through it because wouldn’t it be wonderful to be done with all of the luggage that comes along with first of an eating disorder and then recovery? I guarantee you life is a thousand times better being done with all of it.

Everything you are dealing with right now, all the stress recovery comes with is so worth it. Even though you may not see light at the end of the tunnel it’s there. I remember feeling like recovery was never going to end but  as long as you can take the advice from professionals, people you can trust and people who truly care about you then there is no way you won’t eventually get there and I speak from experience.

~Sydney Rice

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Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. Andrea and her team really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Andrea is an excellent teacher and motivator. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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