Fat Shaming - Bill Maher Got It Wrong

Fat Shaming - Bill Maher Got It Wrong

I recently watched a couple of videos by American Late Late Night Talk Show hosts Bill Maher and James Corden and not only did I feel attacked, I was shocked and worried.

In this video I explain what these men were talking about in their videos and why my experience with eating disorder recovery caused me to react the way that I did.

It's The Little Victories (as published on RecoveryWarriors.com)

It's The Little Victories (as published on RecoveryWarriors.com)

I was so ashamed of my body in that time of my life.

I was absolutely certain that others were constantly judging me based on what my body looked like and was terrified that if they knew that I shopped at the plus sized stores, that would somehow justify this imaginary judgement.

So, standing at the cash register in the clothes store, I would whip out a wrinkly, beat up plastic Safeway shopping bag (or two) from my purse and insist that the woman serving me put my new clothes into that rather than a bag from under her counter.

Facebook is Listening!

Facebook is Listening!

n this video, I talk about the changes that Facebook has made recently to its algorithm as a result of people on the platform telling them that they just don't want to see all the diet-y crap any longer.

And just like that *snaps fingers* I feel like we might actually be getting somewhere with our enormous efforts to spare people from developing eating disorders.

How To Draw Books - A Simple Art Workshop

📖 There are all sorts of great uses for books! 📖

In this video, I'll show you four ways that I draw books in my creative journal and chat about some of the things I use them for in my journaling practice.

There really are a BUTT LOAD of ways you can use a book doodle from tracking your book reading progress to decorating the shelves in a sketch of your favourite quite spot.

We doodle all kinds of things in my CREATIVE JOURNALING FOR RECOVERY group. In fact, we get together live every morning for spend time reflecting in our journals. We use our group as a safe place to support and encourage one another along our paths to recovery.

Why don't you join us!

Extended Letters - A Beginner's Font Workshop

I love, love, love FONTS! 😍😍😍😍

Learning hand lettering has helped me to mix that love with my passion for drawing.

In this video, I'll show you a playful font I've used quite a lot since I was a beginner. So, grab some paper, a straight edge, and a pen or pencil and let's get started!

And if you find yourself wanting more, you can always join my free CREATIVE JOURNALING FOR RECOVERY group! We spend time together journaling and supporting one another every day in here https://www.facebook.com/groups/14daycreativejournalingchallenge/

A Middle Aged Eating Disorder Story

I'm a middle aged woman in recovery from an eating disorder. This is the nuts and bolts of my story.

Click the image to watch the video

Click the image to watch the video

There is a unique layer of shame for people with eating disorders as they age beyond what we typically see portrayed in the media as the "eating disorder type". Because society has trained us all to believe that wisdom comes with age, it is quite difficult for someone over the age of 35 or 40 years old to acknowledge an eating disorder exists, let alone seek treatment.

Eating disorders also have the second highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses.

That's a dangerous combination.

In this video, I talk about what I know so far about how I developed binge eating disorder. If you are struggling with your relationship with food, exercise, or body image, I hope that hearing my story will help you find the courage to get really curious about yourself and find a way to heal.

If you struggle with an eating disorder and would like some help getting started with Creative Journaling to work through some of your challenges, consider joining me in my Creative Journaling for Recovery group on Facebook. We meet every day to journal, get creative and support one another.

Sign Up Here

More resources for anyone looking for more guidance or help with an eating disorder or disordered eating behaviors:

National Eating Disorder Association (USA)

National Eating Disorder Information Centre (CANADA)

Recovery Warriors

Project Heal (USA)

What Is Kurbo?

TW: there is all kinds of talk about eating disorders and related behaviours in this video. Please do not watch if you find this topic triggering.

Click the image to watch the video

Click the image to watch the video

Everyone is asking what is Kurbo? If you have children in your life, you really will benefit from learning all about it.

Kurbo is a new app by Weight Watchers that is being marketing to children aged 8-17. It is getting a LOT of pushback from everyone who understands the damage it can do to the mental health of the children that use it.

Should we be teaching our kids to believe that they can control their weight with dieting? Should we even be suggesting that it's something they should be THINKING about? The people at Weight Watchers (aka: WW) certainly think so.

As someone who struggles with binge eating disorder, I have to say that it's a HARD NO, or should I say #kurbNO, for me.

In this video, I talk a bit about how diet culture is teaching us all that it's not okay to live in the body that you were born with, but should be trying to change it so that you fit their idea of what is acceptable. I talk about how dieting turns into weight cycling, and how that can turn into an eating disorder.

I also talk about what Kurbo is and how it can easily cause kids to develop disordered eating habits, or even suffer from physical and mental illness due to the restrictive eating that the app encourages. And I think it's important to point out that while parents (care givers) are responsible for these kids who are using the app, they aren't necessarily to blame, here.

It has taken me quite a few attempts at filming this opinion piece because it seems as each day passes, there comes another article, statement, video, or podcast worth consuming on the topic. In the end, all we really should be focussing on when it comes to our kids is their WHOLE health, and that includes their mental health. A "Health At Every Size" (HAES) approach to wellness is the way to raise healthy kids, and that can never include discussions about someone's weight.

For more reading on this topic, and to access the studies that I mention in the video, use the links below:

• NEDA Official Statement on Kurbo: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/neda-statement-kurbo-ww-app

• Experts Weigh in on Dangers of Kurbo: https://www.dazeddigital.com/beauty/body/article/45710/1/experts-weigh-in-on-dangers-of-kurbo-the-weight-watchers-app-aimed-at-kids

• What to do instead of using Kurbo (Center for Discovery)

: https://centerfordiscovery.com/blog/kurbo-app-weight-loss-for-children/

• I Help People Recover From Disordered Eating. Don't Give Your Child This App. (Chisty Harrison, Rdn): https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/18/opinion/weight-watchers-kids.html

If you struggle with an eating disorder and would like some help getting started with Creative Journaling to work through some of your challenges, consider joining me in my Creative Journaling for Recovery group on Facebook. We meet every day to journal, get creative and support one another.

Sign Up Free Here

***** The information contained in this video is for information purposes only. It is not intended nor should be taken as therapeutic, medical, or otherwise professional advice. Errin Witherspoon (and her guests) assumes no liability for the information in this video or for any harm that may result from using, referencing, relying on, or decisions executed from its use. *****

How To Draw Butterflies - A Simple Art Workshop

In this quick workshop, I'm showing you how I draw simple butterflies that look all fancy schmancy.

Drawing these butterflies is one of the ways that I learned to be less rigid with my strokes. 😍

This the another workshop in a series I'm hosting for members of my CREATIVE JOURNALING FOR RECOVERY group. In the series, I'll be showing you how I first learned different techniques that I now use all the time in my creative journaling practice.

Creativity and journaling has kept me grounded in recovery from an eating disorder for over a year now. And it can help YOU too!

How To Draw Shadows - A Simple Doodling Workshop

Yet another simple way to have some fun with your creative journaling practice as you work towards recovery from an eating disorder.

This simple shadow technique is something that I've been doodling around with since elementary school.

Some things really do stand the test of time - HA!

Grab some paper and your favourite doodling tool and dive it!

Show me how you use shadows in your creative journals. Post a pic in the comments below!

And if you want to take your journaling practice one step further, why not join my CREATIVE JOURNALING FOR RECOVERY group? We journal together and support each other every day in here.

It's beautiful.

It's National Wellness Month - why am I so furious??

Click my face to get the whole story!

Click my face to get the whole story!

What does wellness mean?

My idea of wellness has changed too many times to count in my lifetime. I'm no longer a spring chicken, so there have been loads of opportunities for me to adopt new ideas of wellness.

I remember when skinny = wellness 🌱

I remember when lean + muscular = wellness 🌱

And then there's now and healthy body + healthy mind = wellness 🌱

My journey from then to now has been long, winding and painful. It has culminated in my failing mental health and the discovery that I have an eating disorder.

But I can be grateful for having so many experiences to learn from so that NOW I can work towards wellness in a whole new way and understand where happiness fits into the equation.

I'll tell you some things that I know for certain in this video, like that fact that there is no real way to measure wellness. I'll also share with you some very aggrivated thoughts about the reboot of a once popular weight loss tv show.

... that part will be a wonderful opportunity for us all to practice our deep cleansing breaths.

📲

When you're through watching this video, why not have a look at my book The Reflections Journal? It's full of activities to help you stay consistent in your journaling practice as you work through recovery. It helped me more than I could have imagined, and it might just be the thing you need too!

How To Draw Banners - A Simple Art Workshop

Click the image to watch the video!

Click the image to watch the video!

Doodling has been such a wonderful discovery for me in recovery from an eating disorder. It helped me practice self compassion and kept me coming back to my journal time and time again even when I found it too painful to write.

By sharing this little doodling tutorial with you, it is my hope that you will get the same type of benefits from doodling in your journal too.

If you're in recovery from an eating disorder and you sometimes struggle to journal, try drawing - and start here!!

Now, grab some paper and your favourite doodling tool and dive it!

Join my CREATIVE JOURNALING FOR RECOVERY group where we journal together and support each other in our eating disorder recovery every day.

Learning to Hand Letter the Alphabet

Are you a beginner at this Hand Lettering thing?

Do you learn by watching and then DOING? Me too.

I’ve made a tutorial video series that shows how I hand letter the alphabet (lower case letters) and will be sharing with you on my YouTube Channel.

Each video shows four or five letters and they’ll be posted three times a week over a two week period, giving you time to practice what you're learning before moving on to the next set of letters.

It would be marvellous if you find that you enjoy hand lettering like I do so that you can start to use this technique in your journaling practice. I find that when I start my journaling session by hand lettering either a thought, a quote, or a word that represents my feelings on that particular day, it helps me to slow down my thoughts. It makes the actual journaling.

Well, sometimes. It’s not a bullet-proof approach, but getting in touch with your feelings and reflecting on your experiences isn’t easy. There’s no one specific thing that you can ever do to heal yourself in an instant. It all takes time, practice, and most of all it takes self-compassion.

Click the image above to start the first tutorial, and as you practice this new skill, please remember to give yourself the same compassion you would give to your best friend.


MATERIALS USED IN THE VIDEO:

  • Hand Lettering Practice Sheet (click the link below to download your copy FREE)

  • STAEDTLER double ended fiber-tip marker

📙 FREE Hand Lettering Practice Sheet Download - https://www.errinwitherspoon.com/downloadables

📝 Need support with your Creative Journaling habit? Grab my Field Guide to Creative Journaling here

https://www.errinwitherspoon.com/downloadables

Your 5 Simple Steps to Habitual Journaling

Click play for the 5 Simple Steps!

Click play for the 5 Simple Steps!

A super quick "How To" for you. I'm breaking down how to journal and make it a habit in 5 easy steps. If you've been stumped on how to get started, or needing a push to give it a try, you've found just the thing.

Not only do I outline how simple it is to get going, I'm giving you a free printable that you can use to START TODAY so you don't have to wait until you hunt down the perfect journal for you. There are loads of journal options out there.

Let me take the guess work out of it for you!


📝 Grab my Field Guide to Creative Journaling here

https://www.errinwitherspoon.com/downloadables


🖌 Want to shake up your practice a bit?

Learn Fauxligraphy (aka Hand Lettering) with nothing more than a pen! Check this out!

https://www.errinwitherspoon.com/blog/how-to-hand-letter-numbers

Why do you think the things you do?

Click the image above to hear my thoughts on Limiting Beliefs.

Click the image above to hear my thoughts on Limiting Beliefs.

Have you ever wondered why you believe the things you believe?

If you're curious like me, you might have thought about it from time to time. Historically speaking, I think that I spent more time thinking about what other people could possibly be thinking and what experiences they might have had to cause them to behave the way they do.

It wasn't until fairly recently that I learned about and started exploring my limiting beliefs. In this video, I talk about how that happened and tell you a bit about what I've learned so far. Through the process of practicing creating journaling, I've come a long way. And if this old dog can learn new tricks, so can you!

I mention my Free Creative Journaling Field Guide in the video. Here's the link to download that so that you can get started with learning how to reflect on your thoughts and feelings. That's the first step in uncovering your limiting beliefs and stepping through them to become the person you truly are meant to be.

I also mention the School of Recovery Program, which is offered by True Warriors. You can find more on that here.

Until next time, may you be well, and remember to show yourself the compassion that you give to a good friend.


📝 Need support with your Creative Journaling habit? Grab my Field Guide to Creative Journaling here

Guest Blog Post!

Click image to read the full article on their website and support them if you can!

Click image to read the full article on their website and support them if you can!

I was recently honoured to have an article about my experiences with journaling as a part of my treatment plan for Binge Eating Disorder. It was published on the Southern Smash website April 4, 2019.

Click their logo to go to their website and see all of the amazing events that they host to raise awareness about eating disorders and find out how you can help!


My Journaling Journey

As published on SouthernSmash.com

April 4, 2019

by Errin Witherspoon

Those who know me and have valiantly supported me as I undergo treatment for binge eating disorder might tell you that learning to journal has had a very big impact on my journey.

When I decided to pursue recovery, almost a year ago, I expected that my therapist would give me a list of tasks that I would need to complete. I thought once I’d checked off all the things on this imaginary list, I’d be “cured” and I would be able to move forward through my life without all of the negative thoughts that came with my disorder.

Witherspoon.journal photo.SSmash.animals.jpg

That’s not how it went. At. All.

Recovery from an eating disorder is hard work. It’s painful work. And as I meandered through the first few weeks of treatment, I remember thinking that it just wasn’t working. I had no “proof” that I had achieved anything at all that would lead me to better mental health and free me from the clutches of my disordered mind. The thoughts weren’t going away.

Somehow, as I began to understand what was happening in my mind, and how my eating disorder manipulated my thoughts, the frequency and severity of the disordered thoughts seemed to heighten. The fact that I now knew what was happening made it more frustrating that I couldn’t stop it. There were many, many days that I wished I could go back in time and un-learn what I had come to understand about my illness. In those moments, going back to my life the way it had been when the eating disorder was in complete control seemed safe and familiar. It was as if by choosing recovery, I was being made to live in a strange, unknown place because my home had been condemned or erased.

Everyone’s recovery from an eating disorder is unique. Some of us find ourselves face to face with some very frightening ideas in the darkest times. And somehow, I was able to convince myself that so long as those thoughts were kept in my mind – never spoken or expressed in the real world – they didn’t count, or weren’t “real”.

Among my struggles, though, there emerged a new realization. The act of reflecting on events in my life shed a light on how my life plays out in every moment. In the midst of my panic over the uncertainty of recovery and therapy I began to see things more clearly, little by little. And even though I mostly felt like my life was completely out of my control, when I was able to get the scariest of my thoughts out of my mind and allow them to be “real”, I could take small steps to change them.

Witherspoon.journal photo.SSmash.fantasy.jpg

Naturally, when I was unable to verbalize some of my most troubling thoughts, my therapist suggested I try journaling to help me get these stubborn ideas out in the open. I didn’t actually think it would help at all. I had tried journaling many times over the years and it was something that I had never been able to keep up with on a regular basis.

But the stars seemed to align for me, and at that same point in my recovery journey, I was introduced to a group of women in recovery just like me. We had all enrolled in the same recovery focussed program through True Warriors. One component of the program was getting in touch with creativity, and this proved to be huge for me.

As I worked through the exercises in the program, I began to recognize a passion for drawing. When I felt sad but couldn’t face the thoughts that were making me sad, I could draw. When I felt angry but didn’t feel I could express that anger to anyone, I could draw. When I felt frightened but it didn’t feel safe to verbalize my fears, I could draw.

Before long, I had started drawing in my journal and was able to sit down with it nearly every day. It felt freeing to approach my journaling habit with a more open mind. Once I opened up my mind and realized that a journal isn’t something that I had to write in, I began to look forward to spending time with it.

My therapist gave me a few exercises to do daily in my journal, and over time those activities revealed great value to me. They helped me to understand the importance of being mindful and of cultivating self-compassion.

The habit had begun to form and I started to searching for a journal geared specifically towards people like me who practice gratitude, intention setting and accomplishment recognition every day. I wanted one that also had some journaling lines in it and some blank space to draw too.

It didn’t exist. Anywhere.

Witherspoon.journal photo.SSmash.night.jpg

So now I’m proud to say that my recovery journey has led me not only to a new love for creativity, but also to a new passion for helping other people use creative journaling to help them heal. I believe there is a reason that the journal I searched for didn’t exist. I believe that I was always supposed to be the one to create it.

And now I want to share what I’ve created with you. The Reflections Journal is in the process of being published right now! But I want you to be able to benefit from it the way that I have, so I’ve put together a free one month creative journaling support program that is available right now.  The Field Guide to Creative Journaling can be downloaded here

The downloadable contains a workbook with some of the original illustrations from my book The Reflections Journal, along with one month of journaling support to your inbox. You’ll get daily journaling and creativity prompts, and weekly encouragement and tips from me to help you develop your journaling practice into a habit.

I’d love for you to give it a try and let me know what you think of it. 

I’m living proof that if you are willing to try, you can open up doors where there was never even a window before.

Start the Field Guide to Creative Journaling Program for free here: http://www.errinwitherspoon.com/downloadables

I Hate to Burst Your Bubble - Art FAIL

Bubbles are for kids right?

If you believe that's true, you're going to feel like a kid genius after I show you how to use bubbles to make a background for your next creative journaling page.

That's right, you'll learn how to make bubble art, and all you need is some ink, dish soap, a shallow bowl and a straw. And your journal of course!

**NOTE** I used the barrel of a disposable pen instead of a single use plastic straw.

📝 Need support with your Creative Journaling habit? Grab my Field Guide to Creative Journaling here

🖌 Want to learn Fauxligraphy (aka Hand Lettering) with nothing more than a pen? Check this out!

Drip Art Technique To Use In Your Journal

Bob Ross always said "We don't make mistakes, just happy little accidents". In this video, you'll learn not one, but TWO ways to make what some might call a mistake look oh, so pretty.

I'll show you how to use both markers and watercolours to create drip art in your creative journal. I've used this technique in all sorts of ways, from abstract images, to floral designs, to showing motion.

It'd be a not so happy little accident it you don't watch the tutorial!


📝 Need support with your Creative Journaling habit? Grab my Field Guide to Creative Journaling here

🖌 Want to learn Fauxligraphy (aka Hand Lettering) with nothing more than a pen? Check this out!

Best Art Hack ever - You Can Make Watercolor Background With Markers!

I felt like some sort of artistic super hero when I learned this background technique. Everyone I showed it to thought I had taken up watercolour painting! That, naturally, made me actually try watercolours, but that's another story for another day.

In this video, you're about to learn how to get a watercolour effect using ONLY MARKERS, WATER AND A PIECE OF PLASTIC. Yup, you'll see me painting with a sandwich baggie. It's the best blended background hack I've ever seen!

If that sounds ludicrous to you, just click play and watch the magic unfold, my friend!

Coping With Your Partner's Isolation Behaviors

Coping With Your Partner's  Isolation Behaviors

Now that I've been in treatment for several months, and have learned to practice more effective self-awareness, I can see the things that I commonly do to isolate myself. I've learned to understand that these behaviors are a part of what my eating disorder encourages me to do.

That little voice inside my head (the voice of my disorder - I call her Edie) knows when I'm feeling vulnerable and will seize that opportunity to try to get me to pull away from the people that I love. Edie knows that this behavior will make me feel worse and will deepen her relationship with me. She needs me to focus on her, and to hear her voice more often and with more volume than anyone else. If I turn down her volume, she is at risk of being eliminated. She needs me to believe the lies that she tells me so that I stay sick, and she can't convince me of her lies if I can't hear her telling them to me.