Joanna Poppink is an eating disorder therapist down in Southern California whose blog I’ve been following for awhile. Her book Healing Your Hungry Heart was released in late 2011 and I truly think that everyone who suffers from any kind of food issue should read it.
What I love so much about this book is how relatable it is. Joanna writes as if she’s sitting there in the room with you, holding your hand and saying, “yes, I’ve been there, I know what it’s like, but look at me, I’ve really found peace with food, it’s so hard, but I know that you can do it too, and I’m here to help you.” She shares her own personal experiences with a crippling case of bulimia that followed her all the way to her early 40’s. She goes deeply in depth to discuss the issues that are underneath the eating disorder such as not understanding how to adhere to boundaries and why that might be so. She discusses shame, anxiety, depression, sadness, angst, fear, distress, abuse, secrets and how you might be using food to heal yourself. She helps you with gentle exercises (meditation, breath work, affirmations) to cope with the intensity of life without food. This book is so gentle and very calming and soothing, it’s like having someone right there with you, compassionately guiding you.
There is so much wisdom in this book, you’ll have to read it several times, and each time you read it, you will discover something that you hadn’t or weren’t ready to grasp the first time, for example, In chapter 8, Joanna writes: Openness, so different from secretiveness allows you to see what you couldn’t see, understand what you couldn’t understand, forgive what you couldn’t acknowledge. Your openness and willingness to explore your true nature allows you to give yourself compassion and the desire to care for your authentic self. You learn to appreciate the consequences of your actions and attitudes over a lifetime
This contemplation allows you to open your heart and mind to the people around you, to those who were around you in the past, and those who are yet to come into your life. You have the opportunity to become free as imperfect beings in an imperfect world where you are surrounded by imperfect others and can recognize, give, and receive love and respect.
This way of being in the world is very different than the life you lead with your eating disorder. Please remember, this is a glimpse of what can come for you in recovery. Contemplation and mindfulness practices, jibing and journaling, and mindful breathing and doing your affirmations gradually but inexorably will heal you and bring you health and freedom.
I love that passage. Just imagine that, a life where you were free not just of judgement of yourself, but of criticism toward other people. Imagine freeing up all that mindspace, all that incessant chatter that drives you to stay in your eating disorder. imagine freedom. It’s not about being skinnier, it’s about being lighter. It’s about extricating yourself from the tyranny of your inner critic who so ruthlessly destroys you and everyone around you. This book is just full of amazing gems like that and ways to achieve this lightness. I wholeheartedly recommend it!