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Tag Archive for wellness

Exercise for Fun

By Katie Glerum

I am a competitive dancer on a high school dance team who between the months of October and February spends 13 hours or more a week practicing. Dancing is my passion and it brings me great joy. It is the only sport I participate in and it provides me with a great workout every day. It allows me to be in top shape during the season and during the summer when we have pre-season practice as well. Overall, it is a great way to get into shape, but I didn’t always see it that way.

I struggled with the idea that the only way to actually be in shape meant I needed to go to the gym and run on the treadmill or do countless ab workouts that I looked up on Pinterest. My idea of having perfect workouts was intensified by family youtubers with thin figures. I saw them post videos of themselves running or lifting weights on their Instagram and Snapchat accounts. When my friends and I saw these, we would feel “inspired” to work out like them. Even when I had an hour of personal training, I would often stay after my sessions to workout with friends because they were feeling that motivation. I fell into the trap of the “perfect workout”. Don’t get me wrong, working out at the gym is a great way to exercise, but it’s not the only way to be healthy and in shape.

Thankfully, I finally understood that I don’t need to go to the gym all the time in order to be healthy. 4926301130_bda430a8e0_z[1]Dance is a great way for me to workout and it keeps me in shape for the who year. It is also an activity that I love to do, which makes the intensity of the workout almost unnoticeable. I realized that since it is easier for me to get through three our long dance practice as opposed to running for 30 minutes on the treadmill, that the longer dance workout is actually a better use of my time. I truly enjoy it!

Throughout all of this I realized, do workouts that you enjoy, and only do them because you want to do them. The more fun you have during your exercise, the more bearable it is, and the better you will feel afterwards. Exercise isn’t just about going to the gym, there are plenty of options out there. For example, go to a yoga class, take your dog on a long walk on a nice day, or dance a playlist out with your besties to get that cardio going! Don’t forget that it’s your workout routine, and your body, so have fun with it!

Calling All Artists!

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ATTENTION ARTISTS!

Art and Eating Disorders- Building Community Awareness 2017

The Emily Program Foundation is calling to you for your artwork inspired by body image, eating disorders or related experiences. We are excited to host this upcoming exhibition at the Southern Theatre in partnership with Altered Esthetics to build awareness and education around eating disorders in our community. The exhibition will be on display February 3rd-26th, 2017.

If you have ever created artwork inspired by eating disorder recovery, please submit your work to this show! Themes include, but are not limited to, eating disorders, body image, and recovery.

Don’t wait to take part in this show; space is limited. Submissions are accepted on a first-come first-serve basis. Art pieces must be framed and equipped with a wire hanger upon submission. Artwork will be displayed anonymously (unless otherwise requested).

Please include a photo of your piece and submit your artwork with the submission form to

Emily Monson no later than January 2nd, 2017.

Submit works to Emily Monson, Outreach and Program Manager

1295 Bandana Blvd. W., Ste. 210, St. Paul, MN 55108

Contact Emily at emily.monson@emilyprogramfoundation.org or 651-379-6122 with questions and to obtain a submission form.

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A Call for Artwork!

Art and Eating Disorders – Building Community Awareness 2017

The Emily Program Foundation is calling to you for your artwork inspired by body image, eating disorders or related experiences. We are excited to host this upcoming exhibition at The Southern Theater in partnership with Altered Esthetics to build awareness and education around eating disorders in our community. The exhibition will be on display February 3rd – 26th, 2017. 

Dance of Freedom - Art Exhibition 2014

Dance of Freedom – Art Exhibition 2014

If you have ever created artwork inspired by eating disorder recovery, please submit your work to this show! Themes include, but are not limited to, eating disorders, body image, and recovery.

Don’t wait to take part in this show; space is limited. Submissions are accepted on a first-come first-serve basis. Art pieces must be framed and equipped with a wire hanger upon submission. Artwork will be displayed anonymously (unless otherwise requested).

 

 

 

For more information on this exhibit, please see our events page.

Please include a photo of your piece and submit your artwork with the submission form to Emily Monson no later than January 2nd, 2017.

Contact Emily or call 651-379-6122 with questions and to obtain a submission form.

To the Ones Who Didn’t Give Up on Me

By Angela Haugen

I spent many years in the middle of my eating disorder. It literally ate me alive – the drive to continue as well as the drive to stop.  Those competing forces were so strong. They sent my mind into overdrive. letting-go-being-free-aiden-galvin

It never rested. There wasn’t a moment of peace.  More than 5 years on high alert trying to make change.  Keeping the same path.  Changing course.  Maybe this way would be better.  Or perhaps that way might provide more success.

What was success? How do I get there? The thoughts pulsed and pushed.  It was as if I opened the door to a flood that couldn’t stop coming no matter which door I shut or which one I opened.

I would still consider myself “recovering”, even more than a decade without any sign of disordered eating or disordered mindset of my body. I remain alert to what is being said around me and what I’m saying to myself.  This is as much for me as it is for my daughter – I pay attention to how I interact with others, how I interact with food, how I talk about and engage in exercise, how I encourage and compliment, and what I look for in compliments and encouragement from others.

I walked a long hard road to recovery, as anyone with an eating disorder does. Many addiction recovery stories include avoiding the triggering substance – ED’s are forced to face their biggest hurdle multiple times each day.

I find it easy to still think I’m in it all alone. So much of it is in my head – it must just be me that feels the weight of it all.  But in truth there are and always have been many along my path that helped me.

Sure, some got frustrated and left. It’s understandable, even though it was hurtful.  Recovery is a hard road and the square-root of the burden lays on the person engaging it.  The burden so greatly impacting the behavior; the burden so symbolically needing to be lifted to find recovery.  But it weighs on those around us as well.  Many could not handle not being able to control my poor choices.  They didn’t understand it.  They had no idea the dizzy speed of my mind or how desperately I was trying to find a way out.  They only saw the wrong in what I was doing and the need I had for change.

At the time I didn’t get it – but now I have more grace. I see their hurt and pain in the loss of control.  In watching me hurt.  It’s too much for some people.  I look back in love, understanding that they too were unable to hold that pain and had to release it to be lighter themselves.  Some people feel the need to hold on too tight.  Their letting go is for them and, truly, ends up being better for you.

Instead though, it’s the people that have stuck with me. Those that have held me loosely.  The ones that have known my pain in the midst of this low point – they are the ones that I know I can turn to with anything.  They continue to make my road lighter.  They accept my expectations, my boundaries – or they set their own with me.  They see me as I am: imperfect and trying.  I return the grace-filled favor.  I truly believe that those that held me in that time of internal chaos would hold me now even if I was still there.

We rarely talked food or weight or exercise. We talked life, and hurt, and happy, and annoyance.  They invited me out, they invited me over.  They invited me to talk.  They invited me to sit and be.  We had fun.  We went out.  We stayed in. We talked.  We ate… or not. With them, I wasn’t only a girl with an eating disorder – I was just a girl in the world that they shared life with.

They set an example and eventually, I followed. With them, through these relationships, my mind was set free. I eventually couldn’t focus on another goal or what was going on in my head.  I was re-calibrating.  I was feeling loved for who I was right there.

Despite needing to make changes on my own, I could not have overcome this on my own.

So, to the ones that stood beside me in the depth of my hurt, the ones who never let my setbacks define me, the ones who let me be where I was and loved me anyway – I have nothing but the biggest debt of gratitude. You allowed me to freely be me. To move at my pace.  You never took on my burden – you just made it lighter by walking beside me, helping me to focus on what was good about the moment, helping me to find a new identity. You sacrificed time and conversation – opening ears and schedules and space.

Thank you!

Sifting Through the Weeds

By Angela Haugen

We moved into a new house this last year. It hadn’t been well-cared for, so the number of projects to do were endless at best.  Since the weather was changing to spring, we decided to tackle the outside first so the kids could be out with us. digging-up-weeds-in-garden-e1463765253590

I looked at the landscape and almost waved my white flag of surrender before even starting. Even though I knew it needed change, I scanned the yard and didn’t know where to start.

I think recovery can look a lot like this. We know something needs to change and we even know there is something more waiting for us in the end, but getting started – getting dirty – that’s the hardest part.

So as I took on this goal of trying to find beauty within the weeds, here’s what I learned in the process:

Start somewhere – anywhere.

The yard was literally so full of weeds and overgrown brush that I didn’t even know how to formulate a plan.  I had no good strategy.  One day, our friends brought over a leaf blower and just started gathering up pieces of the mess.  It was just the beginning, but so valuable.  After that, I just decided to start pulling weeds.  Recovery is similar – you don’t need to know how you are going to make the changes that need to be made.  Start somewhere.  Get a counselor, talk to a friend, be honest with someone about what you are struggling with.  Any step in the right direction is a beginning.

It’s not a one day project. 

I finished the first day and felt alive with all that we had accomplished.  I was no doubt going to be done and have a whole new yard in weeks.  I may not have had a vision, but I had a goal.  I thought I could will my way through, but the reality was weeks of on and off rain and tons of setbacks in other projects that took my focus off my goal. Weeds kept coming, I needed new tools, as well as extra hands.  It was definitely not going to be a fast project.  Once you take that first step in recovery, it’s easy to think that it’s going to be a quick and easy fix, but the reality is often quite different.  You can make great strides in adjusting your perspective, only to have old hurts and painful relationships sidetrack your efforts.  You may need to try new tools for self-talk or join a therapy group for a while to be reminded that you aren’t alone.  Recovery is a journey, not a project.

Weeds are complex and come up… all the time.

I pulled, raked, yanked, hoed, tilled the soil – but weeds still came. Weeds come in dense patches. They come widespread.  They are just below the surface. And they are deep in the soil.  They can look just like a plant while totally choking out something that is trying to thrive. Weeds are funny things because the ground can appear completely clear, but a little rain or inattention, and pop up they come again.  Landscaping, like life, requires constant attention – diligent effort to make sure that you are on top of all that is going on around you.  Negative and unhealthy thoughts, just like the weeds, are are trying to choke out the beauty in the surroundings.  They can easily be hiding just below the surface.  Recovery will be an ongoing maintenance of catching thoughts before they bloom too full, so they don’t get a chance to ruin what is lovely. You may not be able to catch them all at once, but you can keep an eye out for them so they don’t grow too fast.

It’s ok to work on one section at a time.

I saw the big picture of the lawn and knew my end goal I wanted to be done, but realistically I need to take on one chunk at a time. Each time I’d weed and water and plant, I’d celebrate my accomplishment for that part, it looked good and I’d worked hard. Working hard on one area of recovery is a valuable part of the journey. There is a lot to celebrate in each part of the process that you work hard on; celebrate it. It’s ok to only have the energy to take it one part at a time – legalize one food, capture one thought, release one part of your hurt. Celebrate all you’ve done and where you’ve come from. Pick your next area to do, but then remind yourself that this area will still need to be weeded and maintained occasionally as well.

You’ll learn… and change your mind.

We initially picked a spot for our kids to plant some flower seeds. It was a cute nook and seemed a great place for them to be able to participate a bit. The seasons were moving quickly and I had my green thumb cruising so I rushed it a bit and quickly yanked out weeds, did a few swipes with the rake, and after seeing a mostly dirt-ed area, I had the kids plant their seeds.  It didn’t go well. I hadn’t realize how little sun that area got and these seeds required a lot.  I also didn’t know that they were better planted at another point in the year.  None of these things led to good results.  Additionally, with our heads out of the proverbial weeds, we had more time to make a better plan for the yard.  It was time for a restart in this space.  I had to dig the area up again – more thoroughly – and ended up relocating the plants that would do better in a new area.  Recovery was a lot like this for me.  I rushed some things and had to come back to them.  There were things that seemed like a great idea to try, but they didn’t work well for me.  I needed to find what worked for who I was and what season of life I was in.  I know certain areas of my life are well-cared for and getting just the right light.  I can also tell when other areas aren’t getting enough light or water.

The more you pay attention to your landscape: what looks and feels beautiful to you, what thoughts help you grow and change and which ones don’t, seeing where you need extra help and where you can get victory on your own – the more you do these things, the more you realize that you won’t always get it right and you may need to make a new plan, but your hard work will pay off.

I hope that your garden grows – that you flourish and bloom in the space that is just right for you. Remember, making your own landscape is a journey and not just a project.