counselling psychotherapy

Jodie’s recovery

How Oprah and Rudine helped me overcome my eating disorder

OprahSydneyTour

OK, so I am totally obsessed with Oprah…

…and I have been since I used to bunk off high-school to watch The Oprah Show in my lunch break. That was all the way back in 1986/1987! In 2010, and in preparation for the final season of twenty five years of The Oprah Show, I was interviewed by a Harpo producer as an ultimate viewer.

It really comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am counting down the days until December 12 when I will finally meet my 30 year-long role model. LOL, I can feel a Mary Tyler Moore/Jackie Jackson Oprah ‘ugly cry’ coming on 😉 (You can buy Meet & Greet Oprah tickets here!).

With Oprah heading down under, my eating disorder recovery story recently featured on Mel’s Blog at PowerFMRadio as part of an Oprah special. I love hearing from my clients how one inspirational person or moment was instrumental in their decision to choose recovery – read below how watching The Oprah Show was the catalyst for my eating disorder recovery and my journey towards health and wellbeing.

NB: This post and the videos may be triggering – please take care if you are still suffering with an eating disorder.

How Oprah and Rudine helped me overcome my eating disorder

“If I can leave you with one thing, it is to live your life on purpose – live your life on purpose.’– Oprah at the Opera House, Sydney

For most of my childhood, teenage years and then young adult life, I had chronic low-self-worth and a deep sense of shame which manifested in self-loathing and self-destructive behaviours around food, weight and exercise.

I started fat talking to myself at around 5 years old. At 8, my body shame was so bad, I wouldn’t even swim in my own backyard pool without a t-shirt to hide my ‘fat’ and by 13 until I was 27, I suffered with chronic yoyo/fad dieting, binge eating and eventually bulimia nervosa – sometimes binging and purging up to 30 times a day.

The cycle would always start with dieting – I jumped from diet to diet losing 6 or 7 kilos only to end up bingeing and putting on 10; each time feeling more and more shame and more and more like a failure. This is probably not surprising to anyone who chronically diets – it’s a well-known fact that our set-point often returns or raises higher through dieting. For the majority of people, dieting leads to weight gain, unhealthy behaviours and obsessions around food and in many cases disordered eating – as was the case for me.

There were many guests on Oprah over the years who I identified with and who called me to awaken to a new way of being but watching Rudine’s story and her suffering with anorexia was definitely a major wake-up call into my recovery journey. I wept as I watched the show where it was announced that Rudine had died and I thought, ‘I need help or I am going to die’. Shortly after, I made an appointment with a psychotherapist who specialised in eating disorders and started my journey through weekly depth-psychotherapy.

In a world where thin is increasingly a measurement of success, it was thought-changing for me to see a woman as successful as Oprah, show authenticity and vulnerability as she shared her own battle with food, weight and dieting (watch her story here and most recently, being interviewed by Brené Brown here)  . This is why so many women identify with her. In many ways, she did the work for us by allowing herself to be vulnerable in front of the world.

Many years later, Oprah talks in this video about the difference between self and ego in relation to weight. The solution is not dieting (this is the ego talking); it is to focus on physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being (this is the self talking).

Along with guests such as Marianne Williamson, Geneen Roth, and more recently Brené Brown, she has raised awareness and highlighted how so many women feel about their relationship with food, body & self:

  • How we get stuck in fat shaming ourselves
  • How we misleadingly believe our thin self is more worthy of love than our fat self
  • How we use food to comfort, soothe and ease stress
  • How we can learn to focus on health, not thinness
  • How we can embrace the body we have right now and practice gratitude towards our body
  • How when our food and weight is out of control, it’s really balance we are craving
  • How our relationship with food, weight and the body carry important messages and opportunities for us to discover more about our true self
  • How we can move from identification with the ego and move towards identification with our authentic self
  • How we need to prioritise ourselves and make time for replenishing energy
  • How we need to stay focused on being fully alive, awake, present, engaged and connected in every area of our lives
  • How we are ‘more than’ our body, our status and our position in life
  • How we can rediscover our loveliness
  • How deep down, we are spiritually bankrupt and hungry for something other than food – for spiritual qualities such as connection, love and self-compassion

When I saw Oprah at the Sydney show in 2010, she ended the show with, “If I can leave you with one thing, it is to live your life on purpose – live your life on purpose.” She also talked about each of us speaking to the world as she has, through our work.

Having recovered from chronic dieting, bingeing and bulimia, I went on to train as a psychotherapist and now specialise in eating disorders, eating psychology and women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual concerns. Over the last 15+ years, I have helped 100s of women transform their relationship with food, body and self. I regularly pay it forward with the lessons I learnt from Oprah, her guests and more recently, my personal favourite – Super Soul Sunday.

This is what I know for sure….

In order to recover from food, weight and body image concerns, we need to redirect the focus from weight to Health at Every Size and in Oprah’s words, to develop and listen to our internal GPS for the Soul.

So many models for working with these issues pathologise our symptoms – we are so much more than this! The essence for me when it comes to recovery is to find the value, meaning and purpose contained within our food, weight and body image symptoms and concerns – they are continuously calling us to awaken and pay attention to the Divine inherent within.

Rudine, without knowing it, was way ahead of the times – she told Oprah her anorexia felt like a spiritual battle inside herself and that she needed to accept herself. I couldn’t agree more!

X Jodie

P.S. Since my story was published, Oprah announced her investment in Weight Watchers – both personally, through participating in the diet and professionally, through financial investment. This is something eating disorder specialists (me included), Health at Every Size advocates and many women recovering from food weight and body image issues feel deeply disappointed about. Fingers crossed Oprah can inject some much needed soul and spirit into Weight Watchers and redirect the focus from weight-loss to size diversity and health and well-being at every size.

Who or what has been the inspiration for your recovery?  Add your comments below!

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, search for a psychotherapist in your area who can work in a holistic and soulful way with these issues. It takes time and a commitment to 1-2 times a week therapy but it’s worth it – recovery is possible!

About Jodie

asseeninmaster2 (600x124)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.

Sign up for some SOUL in your inbox (aka. latest news, blogs and workshops).

Let me help you Transform Your Relationship With Food, Body & Soul™. Book your sessions here!

 

Want to stop feeling crazy around food?

want to stop feeling crazy around foodWant to stop feeling crazy around food?

For over half of my life, I felt crazy around food!

As a 5 year old child, I used to stand next to the ‘fat’ kid at school so I wouldn’t look so fat (I wasn’t!). At 8, I started wearing a t-shirt in the backyard swimming pool so no-one would see how fat I was (I wasn’t!). By 13, I was suffering with bulimia. I was at war with my body and stuck in my eating disorder until I was 26. After passing out on a London tube platform from lack of eating, I knew it was time to get help – I found myself an amazing soul-centred psychotherapist and started my adventurous journey to recovery and beyond.

The dominant disease and illness model touts eating disorders as a disease/mental disorder/mental illness. I have never suffered with a disease, mental disorder or a mental illness and I have never worked with anyone suffering with these medically orientated labels. If I am completely honest, I don’t like the term ‘eating disorder’; it’s pathologising to our soul’s suffering and the symptoms that carry important messages which can potentially bring us value, meaning and purpose in life. I do however, work with the most courageous and creative women, who have had to, for whatever reason, develop extreme measures with food and body as a way of managing biographical, existential and/or spiritual trauma and crisis (Gale 2008, 2010). I’d love to hear your thoughts about this, please comment in the comments section below!

It is possible to fully recover and truly blossom in life, even after many years of suffering. Women looking for recovery from body image problems, yoyo dieting, chronic dieting and eating disorders are drawn to my non-pathologising approach – often after many failed attempts to heal – because it provides a holistic, forward thinking and soulful perspective for transformation and growth.

Earlier this year, I qualified as one of the first psychotherapists in Australia to be certified in Eating Psychology, a truly soul-centred approach! I am so excited to bring this work to Australia. In the next few months, I will be spending much of my free time preparing my first online course and a weekend workshop.  In conjunction with this, I will be running a 12 week coaching program to help women stop feeling crazy around food. This is based on my 40+ years of personal experience/recovery as well as my training in soul-centred psychotherapy, Dynamic Eating Psychology™ and Mind Body Nutrition™ .

Dynamic Eating Psychology™ and Mind Body Nutrition™  are for anyone who struggles with food, body, health and well-being concerns including:

  • Yoyo, fad or chronic dieting
  • Obsession with counting points, calories, fats or proteins
  • Body image and body shame
  • Fat shaming and fat talking to self and others
  • Using food
    • to sooth, numb or squash intolerable feelings
    • in search of transpersonal qualities such as love
    • to punish oneself for not being good enough, thin enough, successful enough…
  • Eating disorders including anorexia, binge eating, bulimia, obesity, orthorexia and EDNOS
  • Splitting and black and white thinking around notions of good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, clean or unclean, lazy or fit and fat or thin
  • A myriad of health and well-being concerns related to the body and diet such as digestion, cancer, fatigue, illnesses and immunity etc

Let me help you Transform Your Relationship With Food, Body & Soul™. Book your sessions here!

********************************************************************************************************

Love your body week

September 7- 11 is the Butterfly Foundation’s Love Your Body Week .

“Eating disorders and body image concerns present a huge problem for both males and females across Australia, however there continues to be an enormous lack of knowledge in Australia surrounding these issues. The reality is that they are extremely common, affecting an increasing number of people each year. Research indicates that poor body image can play a significant role in the development of eating disorders, as it can often lead to risky dieting and exercise behaviours. As one of the most modifiable socio-cultural risk factors for eating disorders it is important that every Australian works toward developing their body confidence. Building positive body image is a good way of promoting protective factors, making a person more resilient.”

For more information on how to join and celebrate your body, click here!

********************************************************************************************************

How do you feel about your body?

Most people believe they can change the way they feel about their body by losing weight or changing the way their body looks. We think by hating ourselves enough, it will motivate us to change.

“Body hate

It crushes the soul.

It robs us of our power.

I t drains our energy.

It has us wasting our time in over-exercising.

It has us wasting our time in foolish diet strategies.

It stops us from being more intimate with others.

It inhibits the flow of love. It weakens us.

It slows our personal development.

It attracts to us the kind of relationships that often wound us.

And it’s a damaging legacy to pass on to our children.”

(Marc David, Institute for the Psychology of Eating)

Find out in this short video what it is that really needs to change.

********************************************************************************************************

PHOTO CREDIT: CANSTOCK

About Jodie

asseeninmaster2 (600x124)

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.

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 is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy and helping women to find value, meaning and purpose out of their suffering.

Sign up for some SOUL in your inbox (aka. latest news, blogs and workshops).

Let your light shine and live the life you have always dreamed of! Contact me now to book your first appointment.