I am so excited to share this podcast with you.
I was recently interviewed by Women In-Depth host, Lourdes Viado, about disordered eating.
You can subscribe to Women In-Depth: Conversations About the Inner Lives of Women on iTunes.
I hope you enjoy hearing about disordered eating from a soul-centred perspective.
What you’ll hear in this episode:
Resources mentioned in the podcast:
If you feel like this content is valuable and you wish to share it with others, please hit one of the share buttons below. I appreciate any re-tweets or re-posts of this content.
Sydney Soul-Centred Psychotherapist + Eating Psychology Specialist, Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.
“I wish we could treat our bodies as the place we live from, rather than regard it as a place to be worked on, as though it were a disagreeable old kitchen in need of renovation and update.” Susie Orbach
“Compulsive eating is basically a refusal to be fully alive. No matter what we weigh, those of us who are compulsive eaters have anorexia of the soul. We refuse to take in what sustains us. We live lives of deprivation. And when we can’t stand it any longer, we binge. The way we are able to accomplish all of this is by the simple act of bolting — of leaving ourselves — hundreds of times a day.” Geneen Roth
“When you feel like you would rather die than live another day with an eating disorder, know that I used to feel that way too. Search deep inside yourself for the part that wants to live.” Jenni Schaefer
“To eat slowly, then, also means to eat deliberately, in the original sense of that word: “from freedom” instead of compulsion. Many food cultures, particularly those at less of a remove from the land than ours, have rituals to encourage this sort of eating, such as offering a blessing over the food or saying grace before the meal. The point, it seems to me, is to make sure that we don’t eat thoughtlessly or hurriedly, and that knowledge and gratitude will inflect our pleasure at the table.” Michael Pollan
“What you need is some balance in your life: to know when to say no and when to say yes, how to ask for help as easily as you give it, when to let other people live with the consequences of their choices, how to be honest with yourself (always) and forthright and direct with other people (most of the time), and why it’s important to give up striving to be perfect and accept your perfectly imperfect self.” Karen R. Koenig
“The greatest gift you can give your daughter is do everything you can to heal your own relationship with food.” Marc David
“The longing for sweets is really a yearning for love or sweetness.” Marion Woodman
“If you don’t love it, don’t eat it, and if you love it, savor it.” Evelyn Tribole
“Once you consider the extent of the magical thinking that tends to be tied in to the fantasy of thinness, you can understand how threatening it is to consider the idea that you may never get the thin body you crave. It means that you never get to become the person you want to be. Wow! No wonder it’s so painful to let go of the drive to lose weight! Accepting your body is not just about physicality, it’s about accepting who you are, not continuing to wait until you become the person you imagine being.” Linda Bacon
“At the end of the day, it’s not about the food. Yes, it’s true that many people who have chronically engaged in anorexic, bulimic, and bingeing behaviors need nutritional guidance and a re-education about the importance of portion size, the food pyramid, and responding to body cues for hunger and fullness. But treatment that focuses almost obsessively on calories, goal weight, and recordings of food eaten and purged, winds up exacerbating the clients’ existing obsessions about body image, weight gain, weight loss, and food groups.” Lisa Ferentz
“Emotional eating is an attempt to deal with a tough problem, feeling, or situation we don’t otherwise know how to deal with, and often don’t even know that we have without some kind of symptom to remind us. …..When we strip away the judgement of our emotional eating, and stop calling it a disease, a defect, a problem in and of itself; we can finally see it for what it is: An alert that something in our life needs our attention. Something completely unrelated to food or our weight. Be grateful for the reminder. It might be saving your ass.” Isabel Foxen Duke
“From a soul-centred perspective, an eating disorder is not a disease, mental illness or mental disorder – it is a sickness of the SOUL. Our food, weight and body symptoms carry important messages regarding our biological, cultural, emotional, psychological and spiritual hungers and suffering, and can potentially bring us value, meaning and purpose in life. Eating disorder recovery treatment which neglects to address spirituality fails to address the whole woman.” Jodie Gale
“Because the sad, wretched, poopy truth here is that you cannot be actively investing in the diet industry and actively investing in the improvement of women’s lives. The diet industry profits from women’s low self-esteem, the perpetuation of body dysmorphia, and an increasingly impossible beauty standard. We know these things have long hindered women personally, emotionally and financially. And we know that dieting leads to all the shitty things in the world – decreased mental and physical health, lost dollars, chronic illness, fatigue, light-headedness, malnourishment, disordered eating and body dysmorphia (and in my case SCURVY) – and yet somehow not weight loss. So, an investment in the diet industry is an investment against women. Period.” Virgie Tovar
“We need reminders, rituals to feed our sacred hunger, ways to devote ourselves to the divine spirit within us. Whatever our chosen practice, we need to do it simply for the sake of doing it, not for any outside reward. The point is to find a way into the purity of mind that is our Buddha nature.” Gabrielle Roth
“This is your body, your greatest gift, pregnant with wisdom you do not hear, grief you thought was forgotten, and joy you have never known.” Marion Woodman
“When you are mindful of your body, you get to know how your body reacts to stress and emotions…You can use your body as a tool for healing by doing self-massage, exercise, relaxation techniques, and yoga.” Susan Albers
“Move your body in ways that you love.” Marc David & Emily Rosen
“At the heart of every eating disorder, whether it is compulsive eating, bulimia or anorexia, there is a cry from the deepest part of our souls that must be heard. It is a cry to awaken, to embrace our whole selves… It is a cry to deepen our understanding of who we really are. It is a longing to know ourselves in mind, body and spirit.” Normandi & Roark
“Learning to connect more deeply, to move more consciously, to nurture, and to have more mercy and affection for your own body will naturally help you bring these qualities forward in other places and relationships in your life.” Brantley & Millstine
“We may ignore or deride the messages of the body but its rebellion demands to be heeded because its language is the authentic expression of our true selves and of the strength of our vitality.” Alice Miller
“Since childhood, food has been the most evident symbol available for expressing her struggles and failures and triumphs with an emerging sense of self.” Kim Chernin
“Our bodies and their symptoms are our biggest allies in this endeavor, because nothing gets our attention as quickly. Our bodies are a wonderful barometer of how well we’re living in the present and taking care of ourselves.” Dr Christiane Northrup
“When you eat from the farmers market, you automatically eat food that is in season, which is usually at its most nutritious. Eating in season also tends to diversitfy your diet…” Michael Pollan
“How we do food is how we do life. Every meal is a metaphor for how you show up in the world. Are you present? Are you complaining? Are you multitasking? Add love, celebration, time, communion, and gratitude to every meal and make every meal the best meal ever.” Marc David & Emily Rosen
“People always ask me, ‘You have so much confidence. Where did that come from?’ It came from me. One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl … It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see. Your body is your temple, it’s your home, and you must decorate it.” Gabourey Sidibe
“If you want to give birth to your true self, you are going to have to dig deep down into that body of yours and let your soul howl.” Gabrielle Roth
“I have a body, and I am not my body”. Roberto Assagioli
“Mindful eating isn’t linear. It’s more like a spiral taking you deeper into knowing how to care for yourself.” Michelle May MD
“Some people are confused why I am so ‘anti-celebrity-food-fads’. In a time where everyone is now a nutrition expert, let me explain why. It’s because anyone giving nutrition advice has an ethical responsibility that the information they provide is 100% accurate and will not cause any harm, but they don’t follow this ethic…because of the large amount of eating disorders and illness that I am witnessing, as a direct result of information given by unqualified nutrition ‘experts’ I am absolutely horrified by a lot of the nutrition information given by people unqualified in nutrition.” The Nutrition Guru & The Chef
“There was a phantom woman in my mind that I was comparing myself to, and I had to force her from the dressing room. When she was gone, I looked at my body, the body that had kept me alive for nearly thirty years, without any serious health problems, the body that had taken me where I needed to go and protected me. I had never appreciated or loved the body that had done so much for me. I had thought of it as my enemy, as nothing more than a shell that enclosed my real self, but it wasn’t a shell. The body was me. This is your real life. You’re already living it. I removed the clothes and stood naked before the mirrors, turning this way and that. I was round and cute in a way I’d never seen before.” Sarai Walker
“I was fierce as I prayed, protecting her innocent right to self-love, and I saw that she would be the first in a long line of women to fully and truly love her own body, her femininity, her fleshly beauty, her sexuality, with unapologetic self-celebration.” Jesua
“A concern for social suffering and social justice argues for ending the society-wide war on fat, while continuing the search for scientific understanding of obesity’s causes and consequences. As part of that larger project, we need to both reframe the way we talk about obesity or fatness, and change how we approach it as a public-health issue. Among other things, we should tell the public the truth about the “biomyths” — partial truths about weight and health that everyone believes but have little scientific credence. Each of us should listen to our own fat-talk and work with others to create fat-talk-free zones where human value is not attached to body weight. Finally, we should launch a nationwide campaign against fat bullying that makes blatant weightism or sizeism just as intolerable as racism, sexism, and homophobia.” Sarah Sweeney
“I really hope that this media presence of larger bodies continues and at some point the angry haters get lost in the joy of celebrating all bodies. I hope we can glorify not just fat bodies, but all bodies. Short, tall, wide, narrow..all of them! Bodies are amazing and we should never feel shame for the shape ours is.” Sarah Harry
“I am here to tell you that your emotions won’t kill you. You are fully capable of feeling them and moving on. With emotions, resistance is persistence. The more you push food down with food, the stronger your emotions become. Often they end up spilling out in ways you don’t expect. The reality is that just allowing yourself to acknowledge emotions decreases the intensity, but we often cut it off by eating before we allow that to happen. Here is the truth….emotional eating doesn’t take away your problems. In fact, emotional eating only serves to take away the emotion for about as long as it takes to finish the food and then you usually feel worse. So, stop lying to yourself. Stop telling yourself that food will solve your problems. Stop telling yourself that you aren’t capable of dealing with your emotions. Stop telling yourself that your emotions will kill you. They won’t! If hunger isn’t the problem, food isn’t the solution! The great thing is that you can widen your window of tolerance. By addressing the emotional issues that created the emotional eating patterns and gaining healthy coping skills, your window will get bigger.” Michelle Lewis
“Fat isn’t the problem. Dieting is the problem. A society that rejects anyone whose body shape or size doesn’t match an impossible ideal is the problem. A medical establishment that equates ‘thin’ with ‘healthy’ is the problem.” Linda Bacon
“If you feel inclined to move you body because it feels good and energises you, or if you decide not to have a slice of chocolate cake because your body feels feel and satisfied already, then I believe you are in a healthy relationship, and I wish you and your body a long and happy life together. However, if something strapped to your wrist is saying you’re not good enough, fit enough, or thin enough, then perhaps you need to say “sorry, it’s over. It’s not me….it’s you!” Kyla Holley
“Think of your body like a magical garden – always growing and changing, full of color and life.” Dr Christiane Northrup
Sydney soul-centred psychotherapist, therapeutic counsellor, eating psychology and transformational life-coach, Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and wellbeing. She has a wealth of personal and professional experience and knowledge in the field of addiction and eating disorders. Jodie is the Disordered Eating Consultant for Nungkari Treatment Centre, former Assistant Clinical Director at a Sydney Eating Disorder Outpatient Treatment Centre, an approved service provider for South Pacific Private Addiction and Mood Disorder Treatment Centre and works in private practice, treating eating disorders as well as other women’s issues in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia.
Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy and helping women to find value, meaning and purpose out of their suffering.
With both willingness and the right environment every human being is capable of change
There is a common misunderstanding that eating disorders and other eating issues are about food, body weight, moderation or just learning to eat well –at Nungkari Treatment Centre they understand that the issue runs much deeper than simply food or weight. Nungkari recognize disordered eating is a complex and serious issue, often the symptom of a deeper psychological struggle or trauma and serves as a coping mechanism for painful thoughts and feelings. At Nungkari they work to help you to find out what it is that you are really hungry for!
The holistic program offered at Nungkari Treatment Centre provides an avenue for you to explore and create a meaningful way of life, beyond current destructive patterns of thoughts and behaviours. You will be supported through their program by an expert team of multidisciplinary practitioners from both the medical and alternative models of health care to achieve your treatment goals. Nungkari provides clients with a safe and nurturing environment far removed from the clinical atmosphere of a private hospital setting.
Butterfly’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is newly developed and based upon the highly successful Monte Nido eating disorder treatment centres from the USA.
The IOP consists of a small and dedicated team of professionals and trainees who have a background in working with disordered eating behaviours and have been trained personally by Carolyn Costin in the Monte Nido approach. In upholding this approach, the key aims of the IOP is to empower each persons’ “healthy self” and to instill the belief that recovery is possible.
The Butterfly Foundation’s vision and mission is to live in a world that celebrates health, well-being and diversity. They are dedicated to bringing about change to the culture, policy and practice in the prevention, treatment and support of those affected by eating disorders and negative body image. Butterfly provides support for Australians who suffer from eating disorders and negative body image issues and their carers.
via Geneen Roth
Geneen Roth has recorded two audio courses, The Principles and The Eating Guidelines, based on her #1 New York Times bestseller Women Food and God. Each course offers eight 90-minute sessions. This online course can transform your relationship with food and your body in ways you never thought possible.
Your relationship to food, no matter how conflicted, is the doorway to freedom. The 8-part program, outlines the basic principles and many practices that are the foundation of Geneen’s program for change and transformation.
At the heart of Geneen’s work are her seven Eating Guidelines. When you learn to incorporate them into your life, you will experience moving from “possibility” into real-world results. With this Online Course, you can easily learn how to understand and use Geneen’s Eating Guidelines, taking yourself down the path to wholeness and joy.
In The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Jonathan Shedler, Ph.D. reviews over 160 studies of psychodynamic psychotherapy. He provides a considerable amount evidence to show that not only does therapy provide symptom improvement but through developing inner resources, self-knowledge and awareness, you can continue to improve long after your therapy ends – in fact – the tools and awareness you develop will last you a lifetime (Read more here).
When looking for an individual psychotherapist, choose one who does not pathologise the eating disorder because your eating disorder is a symptom of something much deeper that needs thorough exploration. It is crucial that the practitioner works in a truly holistic manner – body, feelings, mind, sexuality and soul/spirituality.
Psychotherapy takes time and you may need 1-2 sessions a week. Good therapy is worth its weight in gold…and you’re worth it!
Please contact me for a list of clinicians who I am currently referring to.
Sydney soul-centred psychotherapist, therapeutic counsellor and life-coach, Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and wellbeing. She has a wealth of personal and professional experience and knowledge in the field of addiction and eating disorders. Jodie is the Disordered Eating Consultant for Nungkari Treatment Centre, former Assistant Clinical Director at a Sydney Eating Disorder Outpatient Treatment Centre, an approved service provider for South Pacific Private Addiction and Mood Disorder Treatment Centre and works in private practice, treating eating disorders as well as other women’s issues in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia. Her experience includes a dissertation on eating disorders titled Call off the Search: Eating Disorders a Symptom of Psychospiritual Crisis, a journal article, Eating Disorders: A Search for Wholeness; post graduate training in addiction and Indigenous sacred women’s business; work experience in the Eating Disorder Unit at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London; the Eating Disorders Foundation (now part of The Butterfly Foundation); Riverglen Mental Health Unit and Women’s Health NSW. Jodie has been supervised by Dr Anita Johnston, Dr Sue Austin and other leading specialists in the Eating Disorders field.
Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy and helping women to find value, meaning and purpose out of their suffering.
This meditation was devised by Roberto Assagioli and is in his book, Psychosynthesis (1969). It is now widely used in mindfulness based therapies including ACT: Acceptance Committment Therapy. It should take about 20 minutes. This meditation is useful for fostering and observing, authentic self and helps to move away from being overly identified with body, feelings or mind and thoughts.
Put your body in a comfortable and relaxed position, and slowly take a few deep breaths. Then make the following affirmation, slowly and thoughtfully:
I have a body and l am not my body. My body may find itself in different conditions of health or sickness, it may be rested or tired, but that has nothing to do with my self, my real I. I value my body as my precious instrument of experience and of action in the outer world, but it is only an instrument. I treat it well, I seek to keep it in good health, but it is not myself. I have a body and I am not my body.
I have feelings and I am not my feelings. My feelings are diverse, changing, sometimes contradictory. They may swing from love to hatred, from calm to anger, from joy to sorrow, and yet my essence—my true nature—does not change. ‘I’ remain. Though a wave of feeling may temporarily submerge me, I know that it will pass in time; therefore I am not this feeling. Since I can observe and understand my feelings, and then gradually learn to direct, utilize, and integrate them harmoniously, it is clear that they are not my self. I have feelings and I am not my feelings.
I have a mind and thoughts and I am not my mind and my thoughts. My mind is a valuable tool of discovery and expression, but it is not the essence of my being. Its contents are constantly changing as it embraces new ideas, knowledge, and experience. Sometimes my mind refuses to obey me. Therefore, it cannot be me, my self. I have a mind and thoughts and I am not my mind and my thoughts.
Who am I then if I am not my body, feelings or mind I am a centre of pure awareness, love and will. This is the permanent factor in the ever-varying flow of my personal life. It is that which gives me a sense of being, of permanence, of inner balance. I affirm my identity with this centre and realize its permanency and its energy. I realize that from this centre of true identity I can learn to observe, direct, and harmonize all of my psychological processes including my body, feelings and mind. I choose to achieve a constant awareness of this fact in the midst of my everyday life, and to use it to help me and give increasing meaning and direction to my life.
I have a body and I am not my body
I have feelings and I am not my feelings
I have a mind and I am not my mind
I am a centre of pure awareness, love and will.
NB: Some psychosynthesis practitioners prefer to use ‘more than’ instead of ‘not’. I use both. If you are a Psychosynthesis practitioner, feel free to comment below regarding ‘more than’ or ‘not’.
Which aspect were you most identified with?
Is there one part that you barely know?
How could you build a better relationship with these 3 aspects?
What was it like to realize that you are a centre of pure awareness, love and will…and not in fact your body, your feelings or your mind/thoughts?
This is a powerful exercise. You may want to find a psychotherapist experienced in this kind of meditation to help you work through an over identification with the various parts of who you are.
You can change this to suit any area of your life that you wish to separate and disidentify from.
I have a mother and I am not my mother
I have work and I am not my work
I have an eating disorder and I am not my eating disorder
I have things and I am not my things
I have a victim subpersonality and I am not my victim subpersonality
Jodie Gale MA Psychosynthesis Psychotherapy, Dip Therapeutic Counselling, CMPanzA, CMCAPA has a wealth of personal and professional knowledge in the field of addiction and eating disorders. Her experience includes a Master’s thesis on eating disorders titled ‘Call off the Search: Eating Disorders a Symptom of Psychospiritual Crisis’ (you can read an excerpt here), post graduate training in addiction and ‘women’s business’, work experience in the ‘Eating Disorder Unit’ at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, the Eating Disorders Foundation (now part of The Butterfly Foundation) and Women’s Health NSW. She is an ‘approved service provider’ for South Pacific Private Addiction and Mood Disorder Treatment Centre and works in private practice, treating eating disorders as well as other women’s issues in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia.