Today, I’m so honored to share my interview with Julie Parker, a counselor who authors the positive and inspiring blog “Beautiful You.” Below, Julie talks about her recently released book My Recovery: Inspiring Stories, Recovery Tips and Messages of Hope from Eating Disorder Survivors.
As the title suggests, this book features powerful stories from people who’ve struggled with and recovered from various eating disorders. These individuals also share the recovery tips that have helped them start leading fulfilling, satisfying lives.
Recovery is hard, often with many twists and turns. What I love about My Recovery is that it’s realistic yet hopeful. And it’s filled with inspiration and valuable insights from the people who’ve been there. Also, all proceeds from My Recovery will be donated to The Butterfly Foundation for eating disorders.
Specifically, in part one of our interview, Julie reveals what inspired her to write the book, three recovery tips from survivors and the keys to a positive self-esteem.
By the way, Julie is generously giving away TWO copies of her beautiful book. Read below on how to enter.
Q: What inspired you to write My Recovery?
A: I specialize in working with people who have a negative body image and eating disorders in my counselling and coaching practice. After working with so many courageous people in recovery over many years, I wanted to create something lasting and hopeful that others could turn to for inspiration, support and guidance.
But I wanted to do it in the way that my clients were asking me for, which was through things like –
‘Is it really possible to recover?’
‘Do you know someone I can talk to who has been through this?’
‘I just want to know it’s possible from someone who has been where I am.’
They were crying out to hear not from my voice or another professionals’ but the voices of other eating disorder survivors who they saw as a trusted source of recovery.
In the end, their requests made the voice within my head grow loud enough to the point where I knew I had to find the right people to share their recovery journey and write My Recovery. It’s been the most amazing experience of my professional career thus far. I’m so proud of it and everyone who has been involved.
Q: You feature many valuable recovery tips in the book. Can you share several of these tools with Weightless readers?
A: I think the great power of the tips in My Recovery comes from the fact that all of them are given by the survivors who share their stories. This to me makes them – at the very least for that person — tried and true, a genuine tip, suggestion or pathway that worked for them in their recovery and therefore could have amazing potential for someone else in recovery too.
Three tips I really love in include:
- Don’t be ashamed. More than one of the survivors mentioned that it wasn’t until they realised (usually with professional help), that their eating disorder was nothing to be ashamed of, rather just something to deal with, that they then felt released to get better. No person ever deserves to experience or brings on an eating disorder themselves. It’s not something to be ashamed of, rather something to acknowledge and face with support.
- Express your creativity. This is one of the very significant themes that came out of My Recovery for so many of the survivors. Many of them stated that they found a great deal of solace, comfort and healing in things such as blogging, journaling, painting, and simply finding ways to express what they may have been struggling to put into words.
- Back yourself. I can’t be sure why because all the tips the survivors gave are amazing, but this is the one that resonated most powerfully with me. I believe [it’s] because I see the result of it when counselling clients all the time. The resistance and fear that exists with truly wanting to recover can be incredibly strong. People can reach out for support and receive it very well, but it’s not actually until the person fully gets behind themselves and believes in the possibility of their recovery and health and happiness that things truly begin to really happen for the better. It’s about understanding that it’s not just good enough for others to believe in them and their recovery – but that they must truly believe in that themselves too.
Q: You also stress the importance of building a positive self-esteem for recovery. What do you think are the keys to a positive self-esteem?
A: I think firstly the building block to positive self-esteem is having the courage to say to ‘I deserve to be here.’ ‘I deserve to take up space in the world.’ ‘I am here to be me and learn and grow and develop as a person along the way – and make mistakes too.’ Without believing you have the right to be whoever you want to be, the foundations of building things such as confidence and belief in yourself are very hard.
Once someone truly believes they are worthy of growth, development and learning, then I think the first key to building self-esteem is about doing things that make you feel alive and special and capitalising on those feelings on a daily, step by step, basis.
Again, Julie is generously giving away TWO copies of My Recovery. Winners will be chosen randomly (through random.org). You have until next Thursday, 9/13, at 11:59 EST to enter. (One comment per reader please.)
Just answer one of these questions in the comments: What’s helping you the most in your recovery right now? Or why do you think this book might be helpful to you?
More about Julie Parker:
Julie Parker is a certified coach and clinical counsellor for women who want to shine with passion, confidence and unshakable self-respect – and take magnificent strides towards beautiful bodies, beautiful businesses and beautiful lives. Through 1:1 sessions, both in person in Melbourne and virtually around the world, Julie’s clients sift through their dreams, set crystalline goals, dissolve limiting beliefs and celebrate their successes as they begin to live their song. At Beautiful You, Julie shares inspiring images and empowering words to help women cherish their bodies and claim their brilliance. Her first book My Recovery: Inspiring Stories, Recovery Tips and Messages of Hope from Eating Disorder Survivors is available worldwide in print and e-formats at Momentum Books. All proceeds from My Recovery are being donated to The Butterfly Foundation.