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12 Step recovery

Empower Your Self by Addressing Your Eating Issues

For some of us Self care around food and eating creates a conundrum. Competent and successful in most  areas of life, if you cannot stop eating when you are full… or despite knowing a lot about nutrition, you are unable to apply that information, you may have an eating disorder and you are not alone. According to the ANA Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation website, there are 3.6 million nurses, and we “are less healthy than the average American. Research shows that nurses are more likely to be overweight, have higher levels of stress, and get less sleep.”  Self care supports your ability to respond rather than react to the circumstances of your life. It enhances your sense of integrity with yourself, nourishes your sense of well being and may be reflected in positive self-esteem, having energy, and feeling connected to others. Is self care around the topic of nutrition a huge challenge for you?  If you experience discouragement, shame, confusion and depression related to your weight, if you cannot eat like “normal people” and your weight is unhealthy for you, you may have an eating disorder, and you are not alone.

Eating disorders are now recognized to be both medical and psychiatric and serious health issues. Eating disorders affect men and women, can occur at any time in the life span and the symptoms can be quite varied. It is beyond the scope of this blog to go into the details of the various manifestations eating disorders other than to say Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS), has been revised and refined in the DSMV to Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorder (OSFED). It is applied when an individual’s symptoms cause significant distress but do not fit neatly within the strict criteria for anorexia, bulimia, ARFID , Binge Eating Disorders (BED) or Compulsive Overeating. For most people, admitting to having an eating disorder is difficult and emotionally painful. For some, their eating disorders may be or will become addictions. However, knowing that it is not just a matter of willpower, self control or a moral issue can remove some of the stigma. You have a treatable disease and you are not alone. With support in living with the disease of an eating disorder, you can get help in applying all of the accumulated information you have about healthy eating. You can recover. Your recovery is Self care.

I remember sneaking back to the break room to get more of whatever was in there. I remember staff gatherings where I was paying more attention to the food on the table than to my interesting and caring colleagues who brought in their favorite specialties.  I sensed something was wrong with me because I could not stop eating once I started. I tried many diets and eating behaviors to try to gain control of my intake. Puzzled by this, I eventually began to experience shame as I could no longer manage not only my eating but the weight. Years later, I came to understand that I had an eating disorder.

Here are some of the symptoms of Compulsive Over Eating, BED and OSFED:

  • Regularly eating large amounts of food and unable to stop when you feel full- experiencing a lack of control.
  • A constant concern about food and weight, restricting food and obsessing about caloric intake.
  • Do you meet the diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa, but your weight is in the normal range?
  • Meet the diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa, but still having your period.
  • Chewing food and then spitting it out, or vomiting to maintain a normal body weight.
  • Eating normally with others and then eat more when you are alone.
  • Sneak eating.
  • Eating quickly so that you can eat more before feeling full.
  • Experiencing embarrassment, guilt, disgust, depression and/or shame over your inability to control your eating after an episode of over eating.
  • Obese and at risk for the consequent health issues of heart disease, diabetes type II, joint and muscle pain, cancer, osteoarthritis etc. and unable to get a handle on getting to a normal weight.
  • Feeling like you are alone with your eating issue.


If you think you might have an eating disorder, you have a number of options. You can discuss this with your primary care provider.  You can check out Over Eaters Anonymous which despite the name, welcomes all who have issues with food by working a 12 Step Program which is “a spiritual solution to a physical problem”, you can do nothing about the issue and of course you will continue to explore the issue until you find a solution that works for you.

 Vitality in Progress: Healing and Preventing Burnout for Nurses is a 9 week program that supports nurses in developing their personalized Self care plan. Some participants have chosen to address their eating patterns in the program. With successful completion of the program, you also receive 39 CNE’s! Check us out, as the next series starts in January 2018 and there is an early bird discount.


In the meantime, Join our  Free Virtual Connecting Weekly Call-in for Nurses

Self Care for Vitality

Phone 712-432-3066                Pin 177444
There is a guided relaxation, followed by a short time for silence in community and optional sharing. We present tips and strategies for Self care on a variety of topics such as:
Setting boundaries, balance, healing, self love, vulnerability, and other topics as they arise.
You can join in with a share or just listen in.           Wednesdays 6:30-7:00 pm EST

Please share with us your experiences of your challenges with healthy eating and the solutions you have found.


Have a beautiful week taking good care of your precious Self by eating healthy foods in moderation.

With love, Padma

Other Resources:

Nurses and Addictions: https://www.drugrehab.com/addiction/nurses/

A Nurse’s Guide to Eating Disorders  http://onlinedegrees.bradley.edu/nursing/dnp/a-nurses-guide-to-eating-disorders/



The Potency of Self Care Retreats

When was the last time you refreshed yourself with a retreat? Recently I returned to work from a 4 day retreat with a sense of optimism, contentment and emotional fullness as a result of engaging with the nourishing processes that supported my inner wisdom. Retreats and vacations are similar in that you take time away from your normal responsibilities. Both can be uplifting and renewing.  However, whether you take a “staycation” (not going away) or a vacation, the focus is usually outward- new people, places and, new experiences or working on projects in your home environment. The vacation may or may not be structured, and upon return you resume the schedule you left. With a retreat on the other hand,  your focus is inward using contemplation, reflection, meditation, Self or other inquiry, and possibly prayer. Often there is a structure to help you experience parts of yourself that are often not given time to be seen, heard or felt. After connecting more deeply with your Self, you return to your normal work and other responsibilities with greater insight, contentment and a sense of peace. The processes you practice on retreat often continue to nurture and fuel you into the future.

The goal of a retreat is to experience a sense of calm, a sense of oneness with what is, and a deeper experience of love and your inner wisdom.

When are you going to nurture your Self with a retreat?

There are so many kinds to choose from:

healing retreats

mindfulness retreats

nature retreats

retreats with a spiritual teacher

yoga retreats

silent retreats

12 Step Recovery retreats

what will nurture you?

If you don’t feel you can go somewhere and there is nothing locally available,
you can design a beautiful retreat for yourself.

The following are 6 suggestions and examples:

  1. When I had a limited income and my children still lived with me, they went to friends’ houses for a weekend, and I designed a 2 day retreat that included meditation, silence, reading, gardening, walking, journaling and plenty of sleep. I prepared by cleaning and preparing food before the kids left to optimize my inward focus time.  I told friends  I was unplugging- that I’d be in silence and available only for emergencies. This was not a “staycation”. Telling others of my intention was a way of creating accountability. Choosing to detach from all your electronic devices for a day or more can be very challenging, AND a totally nourishing experience after you go through the feelings of withdrawal- the compulsive reaching for your phone, the obsessive chatter in your mind and random feelings of FOMO- “fear of missing out,” which refers to the blend of anxiety, inadequacy and irritation.  Sticking to the intention of being on retreat at the end, was refreshing, wholesome and empowering.
  2. Our local holistic nurses association chapter offers an annual Self care one day retreat in September. It is a day designed for nurses to focus in community on ourselves. Catered and held in a beautiful setting, we meditate, engage in activities such as journaling, coloring and walking a labyrinth with the goal of nurturing the caregiver in us. There are opportunities for us to give and receive healing modalities such as Reiki, Healing Touch, massage and Therapeutic Touch which encourage discovery of joy, beauty and healing inside and outside of ourselves.
  3.  A few years ago a friend and I decided we wanted to share a retreat and to deepen our friendship. We designed a schedule of meditation, walking, and listening to a series of talks by a healer we had heard of. We tent camped in a state park, in silence for a weekend. It rained the full weekend, and except for laughter, we maintained our noble silence and had a memorable, enriching and powerful shared experience of a deeper friendship.
  4. A daily commitment to unplugging from technology for a given amount of time can be a mini retreat with yourself . “A retreat allows the mind to flow freely, to appreciate information and beauty instead of trying to process it. A quiet 15 minutes among nature can act as a personal daily spiritual retreat for some.” Done on a regular basis you can support your inner wisdom, especially if you combine it with journaling.
  5. Join us on our weekly phone call.    Self Care for Vitality
    Free Virtual Connecting Weekly Call-in for Nurses   Phone 712-432-3066    Pin 177444
    Wednesdays 6:30-7:00 pm EST
    There is a short guided relaxation, followed by a short time for silence  in community and optional sharing. We present tips and strategies for Self care on a variety of topics such as: setting boundaries, balance, healing, self love, vulnerability, and other topics as they arise.
    If you have not had a retreat in a while, maybe you want to consider the following:

 6.  Vitality in Progress is a structured, 12 week creative and healing home retreat to focus on your inner being. With our support you create your own Self care plan that invites you to tap into your inner wisdom as you explore the topics of commitment, habits, vulnerability, setting boundaries,  Self love, compassion, kindness and more. The next start date is August 27th, and there is an early registration discount going on now.

How often do you give yourself the gift of a retreat? Do you have a daily practice that feels like a mini retreat for you? Please share with us other types of retreats  you have used and use to nurture yourself.

Please take good care of you. Not only do you need to do so for your own sanity and well being, but your family, friends  and the world we live in wants and needs you to share your gifts and light. You can do this with greater ease by caring for your beautiful Self.

With love, Padma







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