Presenting to NHS Professionals

I am presenting to an audience of 30+ NHS professionals from the Maudsley Clinic and Bletham Royal Hospital today, alongside one of tmaudsley-hospitalhe countries leading experts on eating disorders – Janet Treasure.

I will be speaking about my personal experiences of this terrible affliction and how it empowered and inspired me to create my own eating disorder support service and develop my recipe and self-help books to try to help others with this mental health issue.   bethlem_main_flowers

 

 

 

Managing Challenge

imagesWe are all managing a range of responsibilities and challenges in our lives. I like to view each of these as a book that I carry, metaphorically speaking.

I hold some books all of the time, because I want to keep them close to me, whereas others I can choose to pick up or put down whenever I need to. Some of the books don’t belong to me – I may hold on to them for someone else for a little while, but always with the intention of giving them back if they feel too heavy. Others are added by another person, out of my control. And then there are the books that I choose to challenge myself with…the ones that go on top of everything else.

When I feel strong, I can carry more books, but it’s important that I remember I should never carry so many that I can’t see where I’m going. When I am tired, emotionally or physically, I have learned the importance of minimizing how many books I carry, in order to prevent dropping them all. Sometimes I ask a friend or family member to help me carry some, assuming they’re willing and able, just until I feel strong enough to take them back again.

This mental picture helps me be compassionate to myself, but still challenge my comfort zone when sensible. We should not expect ourselves to carry our maximum load day in, day out. Allowing for times that we only carry a few books enables us to recover and build the strength to take on more, for a little while at least.

So, be thoughtful about how many books you are holding, whether they belong to you and whether you should put some down or add some more. Appreciate that life is variable, so the number of books you hold is likely to change regularly. Don’t overload yourself – be compassionate, realistic and responsible about how much you can manage at any one time.

Could Vs Should

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Living a balanced life means making choices that are good for your long term health and happiness. In order to do this, you must first appreciate the importance of getting to know yourself…what are your priorities in life, now and in your future? What is meaningful to you?

Now-a-days, we’re tempted to be everything to everyone, but this unrealistic goal can lead to us feeling overwhelmed and overlooked.

Just because you could, doesn’t mean you should! Remember this message and implement it’s meaning into your life. Learning when to challenge yourself and when to say ‘no’ will help you focus positive energy in the direction of positive change.

Eat Variety for Good Nutrition

variety-in-foods-saves-the-long-life2It makes sense that if you eat a variety of different foods, then you’ll be absorbing a variety of nutrients.

Most people benefit from eating 3 moderate size meals, plus one to two snacks, spread evenly throughout the day. This helps to stabilise blood sugar levels and prevent cravings.

Try to eat at least one portion of vegetables with each meal, alongside some healthy protein, natural fats and carbohydrate, as and when appropriate for your needs.

Bear in mind that fruit is naturally high in sugar, so best to have just one or two portions a day, favoring choices with a lower sugar content, such as apples (with the skin on) and berries.

And remember…it’s fun to experiment with foods you’ve not tried before. Explore the grocery shelves for interesting choices to expand your food experience.

 

 

Exercise According to your Personality

physical2For good physical (and mental) health, it’s important to exercise according to your personality.

For example, if you know that you have a tendency to become obsessive about high impact running or counting the number of calories you burn on the treadmill, perhaps you should consider joining a group sport that will encourage you get fit whilst also enjoying social time with potential new friends.

If you rush around from task to task, without taking any time to think about how you’re really feeling, you’d probably benefit from participating in a yoga class to help you connect with your body whilst calming your thoughts.

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Do you believe in destiny?

emma boxWhen I was a child I day dreamed a lot! What would I like to do with my life? Where would I like to live? Should I travel? Do I want to marry and have children? I had no idea that I would develop an eating disorder that would go on to change the direction of my life forever. But I’m glad it did. Recovering from anorexia has taught me that life is a continual adventure, filled with exciting opportunities to evolve as a person. I’ve learnt that it’s best to live one day at a time, enjoying the moments. Yes, it’s important to plan for the future, but you can’t live in the future! Enjoy the now!