Body Image & Recovery

Managing Needs Versus Demands in Mentoring

I read an interesting article the other day that supposedly had nothing to do with mentoring.

Only to me, it did.

This particular post was about marketing to customers, and how important it is in the making of happy customers to be able to tell the difference between what we think the customer needs versus what the customer is demanding.

Upon first read, I found myself scratching my head and thinking, "huh?"

But then, as I read through it again and tried to apply it to what I have learned as first a mentee, and later a mentor as well, it began to click.

As I share in my book, Beating Ana, over the years mentees have often written to me, begging to know the "secret" for achieving recovery.

Body Image & Recovery

Mentoring One Moment at a Time

Mentoring, like life, happens one moment at a time.

Sounds like a cliche, right?

That, as I am finding out, is exactly the problem. I live in a world surrounded by technology I barely understand, that moves much faster than I do, and never sleeps (which basically amounts to the ultimate "hmmm," considering I now serve as Executive Director for a web-based mentoring community!)

The fact is that technology, unlike human beings, doesn't take one step at a time, it takes many steps. Technology doesn't happen one moment at a time, it lumps many moments into one.

Which I think is why, with more ways to stay connected than ever before, there are many days that the opportunity for connection can start to feel almost intrusive rather than nurturing.

Body Image & Recovery

Mentoring Lessons from the Human Abdomen

About six weeks ago I had abdominal surgery. I have always been fairly healthy up until this point (if we aren't counting the fifteen long years I battled against anorexia and bulimia) and so having to undergo major surgery was both a brand-new experience and understandably a source of anxiety for me.

My mother, on the other hand, being a veteran of  five abdominal surgeries, and my experienced and enthusiastic Patch Adams-esque surgeon who was a veteran of several thousand more, wasted no time speeding through the pre-operative prep and the "virgin stomach" jokes ... until I felt like I was a paying extra on an episode of Grey's Anatomy.

It probably is worth mentioning that I haven't been much of a Grey's fan thus far this season.

However, I have yet to experience a more healing, transformative lesson in mentoring than the one my own abdomen has taught me in the last several weeks.

Celebrity Mentors

Mentoring Wisdom from MSW Candidate Leslie Benson

Leslie Benson is a 2011 MSW Candidate at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. She is also a tireless volunteer for eating disorders conferences such as NEDA and Renfrew, and for MentorCONNECT as a volunteer mentor, support group leader, and research assistant.

Leslie's experiences with mentoring, combined with her clinical training and education, has produced a voice of wisdom, compassion, and expertise far beyond her years. We are honored to host her here on "Mentoring & Recovery" to share her mentoring experiences!

Tell us about your own experiences being mentored and how it helped you in your recovery.

My mentor came to me very unexpectedly, but in retrospect, it was exactly what I needed to get over a big hump in my recovery. At the time I was struggling with discovering who I was without ED. My mentor's confidence in me helped me build confidence in myself, which until then I didn't have. Slowly, with constant encouragement and positive reinforcement from my mentor, I was able to rebuild my sense of self, rediscover my strengths and interests, and use them to build a life without ED.

Strengthening the Voice of the Inner Mentor

Recently I read a great article on a site called The site and its programs are run by two inspiring women, Jane Shure, PhD. and Beth Weinstock, PhD.

These two thought leaders believe that we can learn how to "turn down" the voice of what they call our "inner critic," and learn to "turn up" the voice of what they call our "inner coach."

I absolutely LOVE this concept...for obvious reasons.

So I thought I would share their list of ideas for strengthening the voice of the inner coach, or mentor, with you here:

Body Image & Recovery

Fat Talk Free Week: A Chance to Mentor Each Other

My friend and colleague Dr. Carolyn Becker is one of the most inspiring women I know.

She is the co-author of Reflections: Body Image, an evidence-based curriculum which scientifically proves that when women come together to support one another in attaining and maintaining healthy body image, we can break through the culture bias against curves and learn to embrace, talk, and walk a body-love counter culture.

Given my own work with MentorCONNECT, it is easy to see why Dr. Becker is one of my personal heroes!

Reflections birthed a movement called "Fat Talk Free Week" that urges all women everywhere to just say "no" to "fat talk" and "yes" to their slogan in action "Helping Women Achieve Healthy Body, Mind, & Spirit." Sounds great to me!

Body Image & Recovery

Words of Mentoring Wisdom: An Interview and Book Giveaway with Andrea Roe

Survivor, author, and mentor Andrea Roe was kind enough to stop by "Mentoring and Recovery" to share her insights about the power of mentoring from both the mentee's and the mentor's point of view.
Andrea is the author of the great two-volume series "You Are Not Alone: the book of companionship for women with eating disorders" and the editor of the monthly Support Letter e-newsletter, which has the largest subscriber base of any similar publication in Canada. ( on below for how you can WIN a FREE COPY of You Are Not Alone Vol 2)*
Andrea is also a long-time valued board member with MentorCONNECT, a pending 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting no-fee access to mentoring for any individual who is personally affected by an eating disorder.
Andrea's own recovery journey has been a rich adventure in seeking and finding nurturing, empowering, encouraging pro-recovery mentoring relationships. Thank you so much Andrea for sharing your experiences with us!
1. You have mentioned that online recovery communities and mentoring were important in your own recovery from anorexia and bulimia because of all the support you found there. Tell us about your own experiences.
Being in touch with others who were also in recovery or already recovered was an essential part of my own recovery. It made me feel understood, less alone and gave me hope that all this hard work was really worth it. I really got that if they could overcome their struggles, I COULD TOO!

Body Image & Recovery

Adding Mentoring to the Recovery Toolkit: An interview with Jen Nardozzi, PsyD

Jen, you are a true inspiration to me, and have been a voice of wisdom and a mentor to me in many ways ever since we first met. Today you are the National Training Manager for the Renfrew Center, and have the awesome challenge and opportunity to mentor women all over the country coordinating Renfrew’s Alumni program. You also do a lot of work teaching other women to step into mentoring shoes as they transition through treatment. We are also grateful at MentorCONNECT to have you as an expert resource on our Advisory Board. Can you tell us about a few of your own mentors who have helped you along the way, and share some of the wisdom they have passed along to you that you now enjoy passing on to others?

I do two things.  My actual title is the National Training Manager for The Renfrew Center. This means, I go around the country and I speak to professionals about treating eating disorders.  I am also the coordinator of our alumni programs and services at Renfrew (this is not an official title but I am the head person for this).

Body Image & Recovery

When the Structure Changes: How Mentoring Evolves as We Evolve

Well, the strange structure that I wrote about in Mentoring as a Structure and Theme for Recovery is not gone - but it certainly is changing right before our eyes! Here is what it looked like two weeks ago when I first asked you what the heck you thought it was. Guesses included "shower," "closet," "outhouse" (that was my unhappy guess), and "greenhouse," among others.

I returned home just a day or so ago after having been gone for a couple of weeks. I casually wandered out onto my deck (having

totally forgotten that the strange structure was even there!) to behold this: I am now realizing that even our most creative guesses couldn't visualize on our own what its creator always envisioned - what appears to be a "hunting blind".

No way would I have seen that in the August version of our small wooden mystery. Would you?

This is a perfect example of how powerful mentoring can be.

Body Image & Recovery

Establishing Trust in Mentoring

When I go to get my bird, Pearl, out of her cage, she always comes willingly. No matter where we are – at the vet, at the boarder’s, in the car, or at home, she hops right on my finger and allows me to lift her out of the safety of her cage.

Why does she do this?

Because she trusts me.

A mentoring relationship is a relationship like any other, and relationships at their essence are all about trust. Whether it is a relationship with our pet, our parents, our spouse, our friend, our sibling, our teacher, our boss, our colleague, or any other, if we don’t have trust, we don’t have much.

But once we have trust, establishing the relationship from that point on is all about purpose and content – as in, “what is the purpose for spending time together”, and “what is the outcome we both are aiming for”?

So how do we establish trust?