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Recovering And Healing From My Eating Disorder –Using My Past To Support Others

Written by: Erin Reiland, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Becoming a Certified Disordered Eating/Anxiety, Breathwork Practitioner and NLP Trauma Coach have been one of the most amazing journeys I have embarked on. I support women struggling within this realm, and also using breathwork to release past experiences, stagnant energy and anything that stops one from being the most authentic and best version of themselves. But this was not always the case. Far from it.

Ten years ago, I was in (another) residential treatment center for my eating disorder. (It would be another four years until I recovered fully).


My eating disorder began at the age of 15 and continued for the next 20 years of my life. It was all encompassing and I truly never believed I would have a life outside of the small walls of my illness. There were points where I was so sick that medically I was on the verge of my body shutting down and emotionally in such despair I felt hopeless.


Eating disorders are complicated. There are different types (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and subtypes of the disorder are endless). Many times, along with an eating disorder there are co-occurring mental illnesses and/or addictions. Since there is no “one type” it can make it difficult to treat and help someone in the most effective way for that person to achieve lasting recovery. (Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate for mental illnesses; 1 person will die from an eating disorder or complications every 60 minutes).


My eating disorder stemmed from early childhood trauma that manifested itself in my teenage years as an eating disorder. It took many more years to fully understand and come to a full awareness of my trauma and how the trauma shaped the lens I lived through my entire life. I used my eating disorder to protect myself, to numb, and punish myself for all of the things I felt I “did wrong”. It then became who I was or who I identified as being. I was that woman with an eating disorder. I continued to hide behind it out of fear of living.


I had periods of being “ok” and I was able to hold down a job for 12 years in academia at a University. But on the inside, I just was miserable. After having my son and wanting to get better for him and “failing” I kept myself in the guilt pattern I was so used to. At my last residential program in 2015, I was halfway across the country from my son and at that point was very sick. I remember staring at him on Facetime with a NG feeding tube in my nose and looking at his little face. At that point, I knew that I would either die or live. There were no other options, or in between possibilities for me anymore. I decided to not fight the treatment and give up the power struggle I had inside of me and finally trust the professionals that they could help me. Four months later I left with hope. It was not easy. I spent another year in a day program and then outpatient support after that.


I decided to resign at my job at the University and go into becoming certified in supporting other women struggling with disordered eating, anxiety and past trauma. I knew I could use my experiences and my own recovery journey to make a difference. I enrolled and finished a 10-month program to become certified. The more I healed myself the more I knew I could help others and make a difference in bringing awareness to this disorder. I continued with my education and became certified in modalities like Breathwork and NLP Practitioner and other specific certificates to help with eating disorders and trauma. It took almost 2 years, but it was such an amazing 2 years of following through to my passion and purpose now here in life.


During this time, I kept working with my own eating disorder coach and she showed me just how much of an impact I would be making to go into this field. She changed my life and in turn that is what I hope I am doing for others.


The clients that I have and currently work with since starting, have been some of the most courageous women and people who inspire me! I feel grateful that they trust me to guide and support them in their healing. Some of the hardest times in your life can turn into the most unexpected outcomes. My hope is that those struggling with anything know that there is a different way to live; the hard times will not always be hard; you are worthy of love and happiness and help is out there.


There is a lot of stigmas surrounding mental health and at times can make it harder for those who feel like reaching out or getting support means something is “wrong” with them. When in fact, it is one of the most courageous choices to seek out support. The more open and honest dialogue we can have with one another about mental health, the less it will be seen in a negative light.


What happened TO me in my past was not my fault. But I CHOSE to work on the pain to be able to live again. Staying sick reinforced my beliefs that I was not worthy of love, joy and happiness. I now know that is 100% not the case. Finding purpose in my struggles and now recovered to bring forward my support to other women has been what I am most proud of. To finally be able to say honestly that I am healthy in both my mind, body and soul.


Are there days where life is hard, or things do not go as I had planned? 100%. But the difference is-that I do not go to my eating disorder to cope. I allow myself to feel whatever it is that comes up and use healthy coping tools, instead of destructive ones.


For anyone who is or knows someone struggling with disordered eating, I was recently interviewed about my recovery journey from one of Arianna Huffington’s Magazines. Read it, pass it on…it may give someone extra hope, and knowing that recovery is possible.



Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

Erin Reiland, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Erin Reiland is a Certified Disordered Eating/Anxiety, Breathwork and NLP Trauma Coach. She helps women overcome their struggles with food, its underlying causes and begin to live a purposeful life with lasting recovery.


She is the creator of InBody_Love Coaching, where she supports and guides women to heal their past trauma, anxiety and disordered eating. Erin had a battle for over 20 years with a severe eating disorder and experiencing early childhood trauma. Since recovering, she has made it her mission to help others with their mental health.


She is a Certified Breathwork Practitioner, using breath to heal past trauma, negative emotions and pain stuck within the body.


In the last 3 years, she has been featured in major media outlets such as CBS, ABC, NBC and FOX. She was a contributing consultant for a TEDx talk about eating disorders in 2019, with over 100k views. She has been a guest on multiple podcasts, interviews and speaking engagements on topics surrounding mental health and eating disorders.


She is also certified in DBT, CBT and Mindfulness Coaching. She is an Ambassador for "Project Heal", the Nations largest nonprofit providing grants to those who cannot afford eating disorder treatment. She has over 12k Instagram (@erin_reiland_love) and Twitter (@food_Body_Coach) Followers.


Her mission is "HOPE".....Help One Person Everyday.

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