More Than a Body by Lexie and Lindsay Kite
Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resche
The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor
Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Anti Diet by Christy Harrison
What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat by Aubrey gordon
Feeding humans by Katherine Zavodni Maintenance phase by Aubrey Gordon and Michael Hobbs
Nutrition matters by Paige Smathers
Therapy thoughts by Tiffany Roe
Good psych by Christy Harrison
@thenutritionistea @guidedeating @beauty_redefined @foodsciencebabe @nutritionforhope @thebirdspapaya @jessicawilson.msrd @willowshorecounseling @heytiffanyroe @doctorhannan
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[00:00:00] Welcome back to the, just be your bad self podcast, where you are worthy of love, just the way you are. I'm your host, Kimber Dutton. And today we'll be talking to clinical social worker, Hannah Hammond.
[00:00:19] Hannah is a licensed clinical social worker who practices in American fork, Utah. She specializes in treatment of eating disorders, substance abuse, and trauma. Hannah likes to cook bake, hike, run, be with her dogs and family travel seeing, or play music and listen to podcasts. Today, we'll be talking about her own battle with an eating disorder and how her perfectionism nearly killed her.
[00:00:57] Kimber: Hannah, thank you so much for being on the podcast. Can you go ahead and tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do before we dive in?
[00:01:06] Hannah: Yeah.
[00:01:06] my name is Hannah Hammond. I live in Lehi, Utah with my two dogs, my two kids, my husband. About two years ago, I opened up my own mental health, private practice. And I I've spent tennish years working in drug and alcohol trauma and eating disorder treatment. So that's really where my niche is.
[00:01:23] That's where I spend my time. It's the population I meet with men and women. A lot of people think it's mostly women. But the beautiful thing about mental health is it does not discriminate. So I get to meet with both men and women.
[00:01:35] Kimber: So tell us your background and your story and how you got into this and yeah, let's get into it.
[00:01:43] Hannah: I grew up in a, I don't know if it.
[00:01:46] was large, per se, but for growing up in Arizona, everyone would always like, when we get on the airports, they're like, gosh, this is your whole family. So six kids. I'm number three in that line. All of us, very musical. My parents met at BYU in in the choir and they both loved music and they raised us with music and music is a tricky thing, cause it can be so creative and yet there's still this like, Hey, you gotta do it a certain way.
[00:02:10] And it was also kind of a Rite of passage that was like the way that we found connection in our family a major way. Anyway, we had lots of other things like sport, my dad when he wasn't working. Cause he's a physician when he wasn't working, we would go to the local park and, and play ball. So like if you.
[00:02:27] Didn't play sport, or if you didn't sing, at least from my perspective, it was like, oh, well then what, what are you doing in this family? But we did have some really good memories, some really fond memories of the park fond memories, camping up in this. It was called sheep's crossing and just outdoor memories.
[00:02:42] My dad tried to get us into hiking. It was not my thing. And we watched lots of movies. We did not get raised with television. My mom, I remember like I was three when she turned it off, I don't actually know why, but she claims it was, she was tired of like a stoning out, which I can totally relate to Right.
[00:02:59] now in pandemic life.
[00:03:00] I rely on my television sometimes to help raise my children so I can see and it does make my kids more upset. So lots of good times with music. Lots of good times at the park. And. Lots of conversations, not lots but enough conversations about bodies. My mom would often make comments about wanting to lose weight, or she would often eat dinner.
[00:03:24] Like just hurt her. Her main course, like just her chicken breast or she'd just eat her bowl of rice. And many times not eat anything and say that she'd had a big lunch. And I also did notice that when she cooked, she'd always like quality control test all the food. So I was like, oh, she probably just ate and got full off of that.
[00:03:39] And then when I was about 15 years old, well I should rewind a friend of mine. I was about 12, a friend of mine. Just got really curious and became very forward. And she and I had some experiences together that were really traumatic for me, but also exciting. And that was really confusing for me because I couldn't understand, like, why was this so exciting, but yet I felt so like dirty and and, and looking back, I'm like, gosh, we just did not.
[00:04:05] There was this purity culture in the, in how I was raised. So feeling like a quote chewed piece of gum and those were things that were like reinforced in my religion. And then fast forward time, around 15, when I started being interested in boys, Them being back interested in me, which was a really weird phenomenon.
[00:04:23] Because I always was, you know, I was raised around 15 that's when the romcoms became this huge thing. Like there was this just plethora of romcom videos and there was always the girl that caught your eye. Well, I, I'm not one of those girls, which at this point I'm okay with, but back then, I just couldn't figure out how do I get the guy to like me back?
[00:04:41] And around 15 it magically happened. But I also watched my sister in the diet industry because my mom was telling her, like, you're not as active in your sport and your body's starting to change. So let's do some tweaks and some things so that you don't get fat. And so she started exercising, like going on runs and I wanted to be like my sister.
[00:05:04] So I went on runs too, and we happened to be interested in cousins and they lived on the same street. So we'd go running through that street. There was just a lot of like focus on how do other people see me? How do other people experience me? And not a lot of conversation growing up about, well, how do you experience you and how do you see you?
[00:05:24] And what's that about? You know, I don't think a lot of kids, my age were raised that way. But that's the way I want to raise my children. So at one point I distinctly remember turning sideways in the mirror and telling my mom that I wanted to lose a specific amount of weight and she was trying to be supportive and was like, I think that's a great idea.
[00:05:42] So it just led to some really unhealthy behaviors with my body, unhealthy behaviors, with exercise, really unhealthy behaviors with food. And at the time it was all just kind of fun and games of me trying to be healthy. I think that's how the majority of my clients eating disorders do start as well.
[00:05:57] Hey, I'd like to be healthy head like to fit in. Hey, I'd like to look a certain way. And unfortunately that's really praised, you know, people were very positive about my desires to be healthy and being control of my body and be in charge. So true to form as a super common with people with eating disorders when there's a major stressor that comes from. I graduated high school and it was not glorious. Like I remember my senior night, we just graduated and I had this expectation that since I was the party house, like all my friends used to come over for parties and almost every Friday night we'd have some kind of gathering at my house. So I had said, let's all come over to my house for party.
[00:06:35] No one came. And I was having a hard time with the whole graduation in the first place because my parents were going through some really hard times. it was like, I wanted to lean on my friends and I didn't want to leave what I knew, but high school was over. So oh, and right before graduation, I had decided to break up with this guy, the cousin cause it was not a healthy relationship at all.
[00:06:57] So all of that changed just was this lovely Petri dish between like the messages I'd gotten from my mom. My eighth grade health teacher for Pete's sake was telling us all sorts of garbage about food and bodies. And then all of those stressors. So I started college and I wanted to be very independent.
[00:07:16] I didn't want to add stress to my parents. Didn't want to disappoint God. I wanted to do it. Right. So I moved out because I also had shame that I was going to college. That was 10 minutes down the street from where I grew up. I had always been told the message, like you're so independent, you're such a self starter.
[00:07:36] So for me to go to college it's like, oh, tuck town. I was just like, so I'm a nobody. Well, I decided to use my scholarship money to pay for housing and it didn't have a washer and dryer. So I would walk home with my laundry and do my laundry. My college town was cold. Like it, well, he remember it was cold, windy, cold.
[00:08:01] Yeah. We went to the same place and it was cold. So so I would walk home and I was in a couple of language courses and language because of my music background, language came pretty easily and I just immersed myself in being a good student. I wanted to be liked by the teachers. I wanted to get the good grade.
[00:08:18] And I had no clue what I wanted to be when I grew up, but my, I was interested in medicine and since my dad was a doctor and I was trying to figure out how to find a space in my family unit, I latched on to that. I'd also gone through some musical.
[00:08:33] Kimber: specify this. Did you feel, you kind of talked about if you weren't musical or really good at sports that there wasn't like really a place? Did you feel like you didn't fit into either of those?
[00:08:43] Hannah: That's what I was just going to go. I'm like, I forgot this major thing. So my senior year of high school, I developed vocal nodules. And just as a background for the listeners, there are scar tissues on your vocal chords. I never did take voice lessons, so I didn't know how to properly like create sound.
[00:08:57] And I was in the theater. did get the quote unquote lead role. And so that was a shame trigger for me as a Hopkin. Like, why don't you have the lead role? But then when I got this sword, like a supporting role, I mean, it was super fun, but also I felt this pressure to like support the cast.
[00:09:14] So I just created a lot of improper sound and gut vocal nodules. So I was in speech therapy of all things, my senior year. Huge source of shame. And then college, I couldn't even phone eight. Like couldn't make any sound. I went from a singing person to nothing. I quit piano because my teacher in her best interests put me in all these performances, but that created so much anxiety to be the best and to win.
[00:09:39] And I didn't because it was too much pressure. So it took the fun out of music, frankly, for me. So that's where I started. I forgot about that. That's a pretty important stressor. I, I started college with no music and I'd quit sport because I wasn't the best. I wasn't the pitcher on the softball team and I wasn't super fast, so I just quit sport.
[00:09:56] And so here I was this like totally immersed in being perfect and every other. I wanted to be in leadership in my ward and my congregation. And I, I figured if I just like basically brown nose, my way that I would get it. And I didn't. So again, another source of shame. And so again, it just made this like perfect Petri dish.
[00:10:15] So I became best friends with like food only, not I became really obsessive about following rules and the library said no food, and I wanted to be the perfect student. So I brought no food with me to study and I was there all day and on Saturdays, I would stay early, early in the morning and stay all day.
[00:10:33] And then I wanted to take quote, unquote, take care of my body. So then I'd go and go for a run. But you can't eat before you run. Cause you'll get side cramps. And so then I'd come home and I'd eat really late at night. And all my roommates were like, how do you do it? Like, how do you do it? How do you take care of yourself?
[00:10:47] And then I wanted to be on the BYU folk dance team. Cause I also grew up. I didn't make it. So it was this real identity crisis for me. And my eating disorder just took off. I got really good at it. I didn't at the time the internet was still pretty new. We still have that dial up thing, or, I mean, everyone who grew up with dial up remembers how the connection sound
[00:11:11] Kimber: Yeah.
[00:11:11] Hannah: So I can still hear that we did not like Google search. How do you do your eating disorder? I'm not going to mention specific sites, but those who have ever had an eating disorder and Googled it, they know what kinds of things you would Google. They didn't really have that back then, or I didn't really know it.
[00:11:26] But my dad was a doctor. So we grew up with certain information about like how to be quote unquote healthy. And I took that and ran with it. I wanted to be very responsible with my grocery money, so I would like cut quarters and buy things for cheap and make everything fresh. Cause I was just trying to.
[00:11:44] Be perfect. It was
[00:11:46] Kimber: I'm going to have an anxiety attack. Just
[00:11:48] Hannah: It was very stressful.
[00:11:50] Kimber: Oh my
[00:11:51] Hannah: And then I did my audition for folk dance team for the winter term, because in my college, like there was the fall term that started in September and there, there was winter term that started in January and I did get on the team only I got on the B team.
[00:12:07] Now, reality of teams. You can't say like, there's this team in that team. Like there are two teams. We have to give them a name. You could call them team one and team two, you. could call them this or that. I'd still, would've created the same interpretation that I was on the second best team, not the best team. So I spent all of my time, like when everybody else was hanging out in the seats, because it wasn't their turn to learn their dance. I was perfecting my sound and my sound got really good, but I also made no friends. I had no social connection. I had no spiritual connection. I didn't even have like teacher connection because they just would like high five, my performance, but they didn't really know who I was, you know?
[00:12:48] Kimber: And, and I want to point out to the listeners who didn't grow up either in the LDS community or in a small Idaho town or at a church school that like the perfect, the level of perfectionism. That's just gotta be coming at you from every direction. Like this is a school where you like pray at the beginning of class who I remember, I was a super, I relate with a lot of what you're saying, Hannah, because I grew up a super perfectionistic.
[00:13:14] I do things the right way. And I remember my first semester at BYU, Idaho calling my mom just like angry because I was like, I'm a good person. And you can't even wear, you're not allowed to wear overalls. Like they had, they have crazy strict dress code. You know, like at the time I was there, I think there was some debate about whether there could be nude art in the books there or something like that.
[00:13:39] And I remember just being like, I'm, I'm a super perfectionist, like a good kid, and then you go to BYU, Idaho, and the level is even crazier. Plus you come from, I happen to know your family and they're pretty perfectionistic, very intellectual, like, so I can imagine the pressure on you. Oh, it's like hurting my heart.
[00:14:02] Hannah: I know. Well, and I was involved in student government. I'd always want it to be in high school, but I just never did get the opportunity. I ran, but I never won. So again, like shame. But I got involved in the student activities. So they do things a little different at BYU, Idaho. There's not really a student body it's run by the activities council.
[00:14:20] So all the students can be at quote unquote, any level of participation. Well, I happened to get into a leadership role there. I don't even know how I got it, but I loved it and I was going to run with it. And so. This particular organization was in charge of the seating at the devotionals. So every Tuesday we'd have some kind of spiritual message from some leader or, you know, some leadership in the church or some professor on campus, or some, somebody you'd bring your scriptures and you'd come and have a prayer and a song.
[00:14:50] And I mean, we did the seating. So we always were our red jackets and we always dressed our Sunday best. And I did all of that. I was really good at it. So my body really changed a lot that winter term a lot, because I was so focused on my sound in the folk dance team. And I wanted to walk all over campus and it became very obsessive. A typical 10 minute walk would take me much longer. And I remember there was a guy there who was also running for student body and I happened to be like his campaign manager. He liked me or he was interested in me. So we. It suddenly was like, I'm living this fairytale thing. And I attributed that to my health journey.
[00:15:32] I thought it was all very connected, like, because my body looks a certain way. And because I'm getting the good grades and because I'm finally on the folk dance team, that is why these things are happening.
[00:15:41] Kimber: And that's a natural, that's a totally natural conclusion with the way we're culturalized yeah.
[00:15:46] Hannah: course, totally part of our culture. I can't tell you how many of my friends have started, what they call their health journey and they post before and after pictures.
[00:15:55] And everybody's like, you look so good way to take control of your life. We give all of these congratulatory comments and we're not even looking at the microaggression to fat people or just people in general, you know, just people that like we can't exist as we are. And be okay. There has to be some kind of, I'm taking control of my life and it's going to look like.
[00:16:16] Health fitness, improving our vegetable intake. Somehow climbing up the ladder, the social ladder. So that semester ended and we went on folk dance tour and I continued my like crusade of perfectionism to the nth degree. I started therapy, but that was a big source of shame because I grew up watching.
[00:16:36] What about Bob? Where like people in therapy. The irony is like so big because that's what I do now is like make mental health really normal. But I went to therapy and my therapist, Jim Brennan is his name and he just quit practicing, but he is, he was the best thing that could have ever had. He walked in that first session and I was super mad because my dad had caught me in the middle of the night, one night, pouring over recipes at like three in the morning.
[00:17:02] It was just like, you need help. Now, mind you, again, he's a doctor. Like he should have caught on to this before, but he didn't because we were going through a lot of chaos. My parents were not in a good place. And I was home for the summer being a nanny to six kids. It was just a mess. So he said you're going to therapy and I was pissed.
[00:17:20] But I w I went, sat on the couch and he walked in late. So that made me mad. He had this Santa Claus beer straight down or straight across, I should say. Big and was wearing some like yellow stone tourist t-shirt with a sports jacket, with the patches on the elbows, seventies shorts and cowboy boots.
[00:17:39] And he walks and he's like, Hey kid, how are ya? And I was like, oh my hell, I can not, I can not. But then he started to say things like, I think, let me guess this is your thought process. Let me guess this is how your family works. Let me guess. And it was actually kind of scary cause I'm like, how do you know me?
[00:17:57] Like I had the same experience reading the Screwtape letters by CS Lewis where I'm like, how the heck do you know what goes on in my brain? And so it was this curiosity of like, how does he know that. But I'm also scary that he knows that. But it lured me into session two and session three and session four.
[00:18:15] So I attribute me getting through tour. It was a three week tour where we were performing every day and just high energy tour. And I was hardly eating cause I was so stressed out. I attribute getting through that to him because a couple of times I even called him internationally just in tears. Like, how am I going to do this?
[00:18:32] The coaches actually called my parents a couple of times cause they were worried. There were times that I was not seeing straight on stage. It was scary. Looking back, you know, again like the research that we've learned about eating disorders since then, like I would never, if I was my own therapist, I would never have approved me going.
[00:18:49] I lived through it. I started school again, and I decided to join us one class because Hey, you know, folk dancing was not a good thing. I should take a break, but I still want to be active. I still want to take care of my body. So I joined the swim class. It was so cold. And there was a teacher there, Marie Parkinson.
[00:19:07] She was a health teacher. One of the people working at the place where I was changing, my swimming suit ended up calling Marie, being like, you have got to come. We don't know what to do with this girl. And I. Cause I would change my clothes. They were just like, she does not look well, we don't know how to address this.
[00:19:24] So Marie like had her Raider on me for a couple of years, but then she didn't see me. Because the middle of that term, I withdrew from school. My therapist had contacted the center for change in Orem, Utah and said you know, do you have a bed space? Let my parents know, like, look, I told her that she could have autonomy and she's not compromised.
[00:19:42] Like mentally not doing well. We are perseverating all over the place. She's ruminating. She's not following through with any kind of nutritional intake. She's she's not doing well. It's time to go to the next step. So my PR happened to be like Columbus day weekend or something. And we had school off. It was a three-day weekend, but it was right before concert season for women's choir.
[00:20:05] I was the accompanist like high pressure again, be shocked. And we were just going to, my parents said, we're just going to go check it out. That's all. So me the people pleaser, like I don't want to disappoint my parents. Sure. I'll go. So we went down, but they had already arranged for my older sister to come up from provost. She was at school at Provo, come up and tend the kids for the weekend, pack up. Hannah. She doesn't know, but she's admitting to treatment. And took me down to quote unquote, just look.
[00:20:33] I had my assessment and thought that I'd rocked it. and went to Sizzler afterwards and just basically ate bunnies. But thinking I can do this. And my parents said, we think you need to go in. And I was like, not a flying chance in space. I'll go in at the end of the term, if I'm not doing well. And my parents were just beside themselves, like, we don't know what to do.
[00:20:53] She has to go in or she's going to die. I didn't know that when my mom had called to make this appointment for an assessment, the admission specialist who still works there, I love Pam kid. She had said, well, bring Hannah's hospital records. Cause This is her height and weight. So my mom just assumed like baby hospital records.
[00:21:10] Cause I'd never been admitted to the hospital. So Pam was just like your daughter should have been admitted. She's not doing well. So my mom was panicked and called my therapist on our drive home from Sizzler and I, my mom claims that the conversation was long. I only remember it being him saying, you got to go.
[00:21:30] You got to go. I told you that at some point you stopped making choices or you weren't able to make choices that you would have to go. So I flipped a switch and decided I was ready for treatment. It was total garbage, total garbage. I was not ready, but I'm a people pleaser. So I'm going to tell him I'm ready.
[00:21:48] And I'm a good student. So they had admitted me to a 90 day program. And I just was sure I would get through it in 60 days. Cause I knew how to get done and told everyone I was ready. And a lot of people were just like, oh, that's so great. That's so awesome. They believed my garbage. I got to know everyone.
[00:22:07] I had this great attitude. I ate my food. Cause I was trying to avoid having a tube placed. Well, that didn't happen. they placed.
[00:22:15] the tube and then all the anger came late. I was, I was pissed cause I'm like I follow the rules and you're
[00:22:22] Kimber: a feeding tube that they
[00:22:23] Hannah: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, they had 90 days to restore a significant amount of weight and not just restore it, but helped me to figure out how to maintain it.
[00:22:32] Kimber: Did you realize that you could have died? Like where you, where was your Headspace?
[00:22:37] Hannah: no. I thought they were full of it. I was just like, I've got this. But reality was, I was having some serious medical complications, you know, walking upstairs was hard. I often blacked out, like I was, my heart was in not good places. So I just kept thinking I could beat it, but that's really common for people with eating disorders.
[00:22:53] Is they, the denials really, really thick. And I had a friend of mine who was in treatment with me. She said it felt like someone had taken me up to go skydiving and told me to jump out of the plane without a parachute. Like, that's kind of how it felt when people said recover, let go of your eating disorder.
[00:23:07] And man, I can relate. It's really terrifying. Like, how am I supposed to do human. If I don't have this to protect me, how am I supposed to live life? If I can't use this to protect me. So it was a program that you had to complete assignments and then to get more privileges, you had to advance phases.
[00:23:29] And the way they did that was not just the therapists approving, like saying, yep. We think you're ready, but also the community. So your peers had to give you a thumbs up and you had to like apply to phase up. Well, I applied and everybody in the 16 bed community, except for one said, yep, we think you're ready, but it had to be unanimous.
[00:23:51] And Christina did not approve. She said, I love you. I think you're awesome. I love your conviction. And you're playing games and I was so mad at her, but honestly, people like Christina, again, are the reason like I recovered. So I didn't advance. Then I spent lots of sessions bashing on Christina and calling her names and not taking accountability.
[00:24:13] My therapist was so patient and ironically, like I she's in your neck of the woods at this point, that's where she practices, but I had some serious judgments against her. Cause she was different. You know, she wore this therapist sweater and she had a pixie haircuts and she talked different than people from Idaho and I just had tons of judgements, but she.
[00:24:34] Was so good for me. And listened just tons of empathy listened. There was a family therapy session where I was, you know, I thought my job in the family was to kind of be the glue to the puzzle piece. And she kept trying to convince me like, your family will soldier on without you. And I'm like, no, they're falling apart.
[00:24:53] You don't get it. So she called my mom and my dad and called my oldest sibling to see how are things going at home? And it sucks because they were doing fine. So then I just thought like, oh, so I don't need to exist. Like I don't
[00:25:07] Kimber: I don't matter.
[00:25:08] Hannah: If this role is taken from me and it doesn't actually matter, then why the hell am I in this family?
[00:25:13] You know, cause keep in mind, I still wasn't singing well wasn't into sport cause they wouldn't let me do anything. I couldn't even do yoga in treatment. Cause they were like, your heart's not ready. So really, you know, and now I'm in the shamed place of like, I followed all the commandments. I followed all the rules and now I'm in this hell hole and the hole because of my leadership in the church the whole word, my whole community knew about it.
[00:25:33] And they were sending me get Well, packages. and I just was like, who the hell told them I'm in treatment. So tons of shame just could not get through it.
[00:25:43] Kimber: And you were getting all the print, like it's such a twisted thing because in your head, you like, we're being perfect. Right? You'd like mastered your eating. And then it was like, why am I getting shamed for being awesome at controlling my life?
[00:25:59] Hannah: Well, and people had been asking, what are you doing? Gosh, you look so good. So T then, I mean, it gets to a point where it stops looking good, but we are in a culture where thinner is better. So what's your secret And what we know about diets. Well, I don't know how much it's public knowledge, but it should be public knowledge.
[00:26:19] 95% of diets actually fail. Not only do people not maintain their weight loss, but they gain back the weight. And then some, because this is how the body protects. This is how the body protects. So I was one of the people who somehow managed to be in the 5% and maintained the weight loss, but at what cost, I mean, I had like really old bones and I was 19 years old and like,
[00:26:42] a dancer, like I should have had great bones, but not menstruating, not taking care of myself.
[00:26:48] So at some point the body says, well, we'll take the nutrition. We need to continue. And it's not coming from our food. So I guess it's going to come from the body. It was, it's terrible. It's just a terrible disorder.
[00:26:59] Kimber: Were you diagnosed with anorexia?
[00:27:01] Hannah: Yeah,
[00:27:02] but I think that's something I want to point out for a couple of minutes, just because it's really common.
[00:27:07] When I worked in drug treatment and all the time that people say, oh, so eating disorders mean thin people and that's not true. Eating disorders are an unhealthy relationship with food that starts to impair your life. like I won't go socialize with my friends because they're eating and I don't eat that kind of food.
[00:27:24] I don't do my religious services because I've, it gets in the way or I don't go and hang out with my religious people, my spiritual group, because of the food that they're eating. I have to go and hit the gym. So that's needing disorder. It can look any shape. It can look any shape, people in larger bodies, people in thin bodies, people in average sized bodies.
[00:27:43] And so I want to point that out because a lot of people just assume it's thin people And, and some of that's perpetuated by the place I went, you know, they did a promotional video because I was so committed to recovery in the words that I said, they were like, well, we need some sponsors and we're going to show what the treatment we do, which they do good treatment.
[00:28:03] Okay. I need to point that out. They do do a good treatment. It's just very clear how good the treatment is when you've got somebody who's very, very thin who then like restores weight. So they did a before and after video. I look very sick. I've got my tube in my nose. I am very thin. And then we've got this after video and there's like light in my eyes and I can maintain eye contact and I can emotionally regulate.
[00:28:24] And I do smile and my hair looks glowing and my face, my skin is glowing and there, it doesn't look old and like, it, it doesn't, I mean, I'm 19, it shouldn't look old, but it looked old. There were pictures of me on folk dance tour next to Maria Von Trapp. And we look the same.
[00:28:46] Kimber: like the real Maria
[00:28:47] Hannah: The real lady.
[00:28:48] Yeah. The real lady was on tour. Like she happened to be in the audience of the tour. We were sitting next to each other and one of my people in treatment was like, so I can tell that to you cause you're in costume, but you guys look the same age. Like, you know, so that's, it is clear that if you go on YouTube and research it, you can see, but it's like glorifying, the eating disorders are thin people.
[00:29:12] So I need to put that in there because it's important for the world to know like eating disorders, don't come in one package. I did advanced phases cause I figured like, Oh you can't just like BS your way through it. I stayed on phase two for a while. And then I somehow got, I don't even know how I got to phase three, but the, the group, the cohort got health.
[00:29:34] In their mindset, people that it was, it had to have been a God thing that like with 16 beds and with how pervasive eating disorders are, all 16 of us wanted recovery like to the death. And so we were very supportive of each other, call each other out redirected conversations. Like we just were a really good cohort.
[00:29:53] But there were some significant events that happened in treatment. And one of them was that I had an actual disagreement with somebody and because I didn't know how to disagree. It became a pretty intense, heated argument and almost like high school because neither one of us knew how to actually communicate.
[00:30:10] Cause we'd been emotionally kind of halted. It was intense. One girl was like on the floor in fetal position, rocking back and forth stemming. We ha I mean, it was, it was pretty intense and we had to have two or three days of like processing what happened because me and Natalie got into. There was another group that was really healing for me.
[00:30:29] I, because I'm a people pleaser and I don't run toward conflict. You know, I would sing like finally try to sing and I had this voice problem. Right. And so I kind of sound like a 12 year old and I loved to sing Disney songs and the group would like tease thinking. It was just fun teasing. And I never said anything, but it actually hurt my feelings deeply.
[00:30:50] I was like, this is really vulnerable for me. Well, I went along with it and I would spend session after session being like, and the group hates me. They make fun of me and they know it. And they're so mean. So my therapist was like, well, maybe you should talk to them. And I didn't want to bring it up. Like that's too awkward.
[00:31:06] Again, like a God thing. I decided to bring it to the group and share that my honest feelings with them. Here's what I'm thinking. It was such a healing group because they said we had no idea. Cause you always went along with. Like, we would love for you to be more clear in what you need. We would want that we welcome that.
[00:31:25] We want to support you. We don't want to hurt your feelings. So super healing to one, speak my truth and to have it so well received.
[00:31:33] Kimber: Yeah.
[00:31:34] Hannah: and there was another, gosh.
[00:31:37] I, I still struggle with comparison and there was a girl on the unit who presented a lot, the same as me, very perfectionistic pretty thin tube, you know, and I spent so many hours of therapy getting upset that she could get away with stuff.
[00:31:55] And I couldn't, and we went through skills for how to deal with that. And I, I would journal instead of complaining about it to my therapist, desperate, I would just write about it in my journal. And it was this moment on the unit where. Sobbed because I was like, I want to just write about her mainly, but I also know if I keep doing that, I'll never get over this.
[00:32:22] And so it was a very, it felt like pulling teeth to get my own brain, to decide, to write about something else. And I'd write a couple of sentences and then want to go back and be like, Yeah.
[00:32:33] but let's talk about her. And then I'd have to pull myself back and be like, not your thing, sister. Like it's just to the level of rage direction, the level of intentionality.
[00:32:47] I, I mean, I'm currently living that because of some life circumstances now, but like I've, I haven't experienced that. So to that degree, it's so hard. It's so enticing to just complain. It's so enticing to compare it. So in casing, it that's all very enticing and it doesn't work. It just doesn't work. So I had to make the choice to stop comparing.
[00:33:08] I left to go home for five days. It was against the treatment team's advice, but I somehow convinced them that I should get to go home for Christmas. And I relapsed on every behavior. Came back to the unit and, you know, at this point I was like, I'd been there the longest. So people wanted to know, like, they were kind of looking to me like, Well,
[00:33:25] so if you did it, then we can do it.
[00:33:27] Like how did it go and lying to them to say it went great, felt awful. I hated it. And, and I was supposed to discharge. That would've been my 90 days. Well, there was no conversation and I stayed, I just stayed for another month and I read intuitive eating. It changed my life. I share that book more than well, at this point I share Bernay brown, intuitive eating and Glennon Doyle's untamed.
[00:33:51] Those are my, like go-to, these are church. You need to read these. These are the new standard works. Like they're so good. So I read intuitive eating and I took it seriously. You know, I'm really going to, there were things that I was scared of, that I was like, I can't have those things in excess. And I'm like, but if I really lean on the principles of intuitive eating to honor what sounds good or to try something it's going to work out.
[00:34:14] And I had to choose to believe that there wasn't, I'd read the book, but I hadn't ever seen it done. I'm choosing to believe it will work. And there were days when I was like, I want cookie to all day and I'm like, well, then try it. And at some point you'll get sick of. And I'm like, oh, I don't know. Is that really going to happen?
[00:34:33] So it tried it and it did happen. And there were like, you know, cheesecake, same thing. Like, but if you eat it all day, bad, things will happen. Well, I'm gonna try it. And I, you know, afternoon snack would come around. I'm like, Lord, help me. If I have to eat another piece of cheesecake, I don't want it. So I really started to just firmly believe in intuitive eating.
[00:34:54] Kimber: That's amazing that you could make that shift to that because it does come with weight fluctuations. Like how did you make that shift from going to this eating disorder where you have all this hyper control to really leaning into trusting that it would all work out?
[00:35:09] Like how did you do that?
[00:35:12] Hannah: You know, one thing was my family really latched onto therapy. So not everybody's blessed with that, but my whole family was like, if she's going to get better, we have to get better. In particular, I had a sibling who was struggling with some addictive behaviors and had said to me, at one point said, I have a pornography.
[00:35:34] Like I have a pornography disorder is the way that it was said I have a pornography disorder. And because of that phrasing, like I was so relieved because most mental health concerns are not like eating it's eating disorder or there's a depression, like in the DSM it's depression disorder or a mood disorder.
[00:35:54] But when people talk about it, they just say, I have depression, or I have anxiety, I have post-traumatic stress. They don't include the word disorder. So I just assumed it was the only disorder. And like, again, shame, like I'm dysfunctional, I'm broken, I'm damaged. So for him to say, I have a pornography disorder was like, oh my gosh, like I'm not the only quote unquote broken person out there.
[00:36:18] So that?
[00:36:19] was super healing and gave me a lot of hope. Also. I really one thing I, I don't do any more but used to do as a professional because people with anorexia and Eating disorders often are don't make me eat that or don't make me do that thing because I'll get fat. All my providers had reassured me, we're not going to let you get fat.
[00:36:39] Well, I don't do that anymore. Cause I'm like, there's nothing actually wrong with fat. Fat is just a state. It's just a shape and there should be diversity in her shape. But I leaned on that at the time. Like while they won't make me get fat, so I'm just going to lean into it. And the other thing was, I just could not handle lying anymore. Like I'd gotten to this place where like, I hate how that feels. And so to jump in and say, I want to recover when I don't really want to recover. I hated that hypocrisy. I hated how incongruent that was. And I spent a lot of my therapy talking about the power of congruence. So those three things. And then honestly, I think it was just a.
[00:37:17] Kimber: Yeah.
[00:37:17] Hannah: Where some, there was, there were some things that I don't know how I came up with the ideas, but I've got clients that'll do the same. Like I had this idea and I'm like mother effort. That was a great idea. Wish I'd have thought of that. You know? So there are some miracle stuff that happens in therapy. Ways that I would reward myself and push myself.
[00:37:36] Like I got this chart because I was so black and white in my thinking, it's either a good day or a bad day. I created a calendar and I asked the CareTech the, I asked somebody to go and get me stickers. And even on the worst days, I still gave myself a sticker. Like you got through the day. Good for you.
[00:37:52] Days that I did really hard things and felt good about it. I got more stickers days that I did hard things and didn't feel good about it. I still gave myself a sticker cause I just was like, I have to quit thinking in black and white terms,
[00:38:04] Kimber: That's
[00:38:04] Hannah: it's not pass fail. It was this like. Look at you still trying I adopted miracle journals.
[00:38:12] I think Oprah was the one who made those popular, but I would do that every night. Look for miracles in my day. And sometimes it's just like, well, I kept breathing because honestly how hard treatment was, I was like, it's kind of a miracle that I could still breathe. And knowing what I know now about how trauma impacts the body, I'm like, it truly is a miracle because some people's fight response or their trauma responses to freeze and not breathe so that I could keep breathing is pretty miraculous.
[00:38:38] Kimber: Yeah,
[00:38:38] Hannah: So discharged. And at the time there was no like step-down program. So I discharged to an outpatient back to Jimbo. And he would see me like four times a week. I had no dietician. So I would go to my dad's office to do what's called a blind. Wait. At this point I refuse to be wait, I just let them know, like I don't, I'm refusing.
[00:38:57] And I have I'm straight sized. So I have the privilege where if I say that, they're like, oh, well, we don't really need to really worry about you because you look normal. So this is not verbalized by the way, this is just reality of like people in larger bodies. If they want to refuse to be weighed, they'll probably get some pushback.
[00:39:14] Kimber: I have not heard this term straight size to before.
[00:39:17] Hannah: It's people it's sometimes it's used thin privilege and I got some feedback from a client that, that really feels like an us versus them where you're thin. So you have what I want and I'm fat. So straight size is a little more neutral term where I'm, I'm what people would call size appropriate.
[00:39:35] My body just happens to. That's where it wants to be. Some people in there in their healing process, they don't have that privilege and their bodies become a shape that is not socially acceptable or that still gets stigmatized. So there are quite a few people that are on Instagram, who will say like, look, recovery is awesome.
[00:39:53] If you end up in straight size or thin privilege, well, let's talk about recovery. If you're in a fat body. And those are the true warriors, to be honest, because their body decides that's where it wants to be. That's its homeostatic state and people will look at that and say, also, now you're a binge eater or, oh, so now you're still unhealthy and that's just not true.
[00:40:12] So I happen to have what's called straight size. I can refuse to be weighed back then. We did blind weights where I just wouldn't look. And then my dad's nurse would call my dietician and we would have a session, little things like learning to walk dogs, to deal with my anxiety. You know, I was no longer.
[00:40:30] Steve, wasn't there to make my food. And my mom, I assumed she would just do it, but she had gone to therapy and learned, like, stop treating your daughter like a child she's 19. So she didn't make food. She was like, you're old enough. You make yourself your own food. When you're hungry, I've purchased all sorts of foods.
[00:40:46] You make it for yourself. But we never spoke about that. We never had that conversation until I went into therapy, accusing her of just wanting me to be sick. So my therapist called her in and put her on the rack and she was like, hold on a second, Jim, I'm not enabling my daughter anymore. Like she can take care of herself.
[00:41:04] She can use her voice to say what she needs. And if she's hungry, she can make her own food. I'm not doing that anymore. She's an adult. So it was just a lot of healing. I had, I learned about some abuse that had happened to me when I was younger, which was super healing because the person that shared that with me, I remember some details, but just assumed I had made it up because there was no conversation. And so for that person to come and say, here's what happened to you? I, I, it w I can only imagine how hard it was for the person to say that. I remember spending weeks just being livid, because people that knew about it were supposed to protect me and they didn't so getting mad at them, getting mad at the person who abused me, like not owning, like not taking it on myself.
[00:41:51] So just lots of healing. And then I took this class because I decided to go back to perfect little BYU, Idaho to finish my undergraduate. But on my terms this time, like, I'll go to the devotional sometimes in jeans and sometimes I won't go and sometimes I won't bring my scriptures to do what the whole it was.
[00:42:09] This, it almost seems like some people would probably consider it. Cult-like what we would do with our scriptures. But I do understand the purpose at this point. I decided to go back and I took sociology and was just, the teachers were so real. And I was just like, this is my thing. I think I'm going to be a sociologist.
[00:42:28] And I took family stress and coping and the last assignment was really intense. It ended up being 51 pages of writing. And that's where I made the connection. Like my parents and my sister were in cahoots to get me to treatment and no one talked to me about it. And so then there was this phone call that I just yelled at my mom.
[00:42:46] Like, why did you lie to me? Why did you manipulate me again? Very healing, because she was very, just tearful saying, I didn't know what else to do. You were in such denial. And I was scared. I would lose you. So I took this class and they was, my mom just was so scared. Like, are we gonna keep her around? There's a, it's hard when you are the person with the eating disorder or the person with the mental health concern to hold space, to hear how your mental illness has impacted other people without then shaming yourself. So I'm glad that we had this two year break between when I went to treatment and when I took this class, because I would not have been able to hear her say any of that
[00:43:29] without being like, so now.
[00:43:30] you're blaming me and it's all about you. reality is, and I learned this again when I became a drug and alcohol treatment.
[00:43:42] What we do in our addictive behaviors, impacts people a lot. They get very scared. They get really worried. It, it makes them lose sleep. And so time had allowed us to have that conversation where she could say, I was just so scared and I just wanted to keep you around and I could hold space and be like, I never thought about what it's like on your end. She had beautifully given me all this space to point fingers in her direction and say, you supported my disorder. You want to be to lose weight. You didn't approve me. You know, again, she'd gotten her own therapy to where she could let me do all of that and realize this is not necessarily personal for her to be able to say, yep, I did do all those things, but not because I don't love you.
[00:44:28] I was in my own stress and I'm sorry, it's not okay. So really a lot of healing there. In that class and I fell in love with the Spanish language. At one point I was planning on going down to Mexico to tell, to sell timeshares and my very senile demented grandpa went on a two minute loop where he kept being like, I don't think this is a good idea. you know, and, and it was like, again, it was a God thing cause I would have gone to Mexico and that would not have been good for me. I needed to be pretty close. I really needed to wrestle with some of my perfectionism and my religion, the purity of culture. And if I'd gone to Mexico, I wouldn't have, so it was really, really important for me.
[00:45:08] Ironically my, so I, my voice didn't quite come back yet, but it was thinking about it, but I went back and took piano lessons and I joined the choir all very, very so good. Fall semester, 2005. There were just a lot of not only like spiritual experiences that I had, again, that wrestle of like perfectionism, but also just some really musical things where it helped me to heal my relationship with music and performance and producing sound.
[00:45:38] So really, really good for me. I should also mention this, my first semester back in school, my therapist said you can't take more than 12 credits and keep in mind I was a 20 credit per semester gal. So this was a big deal to go down to 12 and you can't participate in the activities program. So I was sitting there like, so I'll twiddle my thumbs, Jim.
[00:45:56] That's a great idea what good therapeutic advice. Thanks. But that semester I learned how to have fun. Like I've had some really beautiful people in my circle who were on the folk dance team with me before. And who would come over once a week, we'd have these group dinners and they would hang out, we'd have a group dinner.
[00:46:16] So I could like be around people who had a really normal intuitive relationship with food. And we would sit and take like two hours to between eating and chatting and playing games. And that was so good. And that's the semester I adopted rubber chickens because I still didn't know how to say I'm struggling.
[00:46:33] So there were six chickens for everyone in the apartment. And if we had struggles with each other, we would give each other the bird like colder, rubber chickens. Sometimes we'd hit the chicken against the fridge. Cause we were so mad and we would say swear words and feel really good. It was cathartic. That was the semester that I got a boyfriend for a week, a whole week.
[00:46:55] And at the end of the week, it was like snowing. It was just this like Hollywood, I shouldn't say Hollywood hallmark moment, crunchy snow. We're holding hands. He's like, do you want to know why I'm dating you? And I'm over here imagining something beautiful. And he's like, because you don't have FP and I'm like, what's FP.
[00:47:15] I don't, I don't understand. So I just asked him, I was like, well, what is that? And he's like, you don't have fat potential, like wow. Moment breaker like that. So I came home and hit my chicken on the fridge, a ton and my roommate. that's really common, super common. I can't tell you how many stories.
[00:47:34] I can't tell you how many people I've talked to who are not clients and then clients who will say the reason the relationship didn't work out is because I started to gain weight.
[00:47:44] Kimber: Oh my gosh.
[00:47:45] Hannah: So I'd love to say, oh, men are just shallow, but I also want to acknowledge they're conditioned for that. They're conditioned for that in what they see in magazines and what they see on TV, in the encouragements, from their parents, you know oh, look at this person who just takes care of themselves. What if they have an unhealthy, healthy relationship? And, and the guy knew that I was in treatment too. He knew why I went to treatment. Oh I'm so glad I'm dating you. There was no conversation about my personality. My fun side, my adventurous side, my courageous side. None. It was just, you don't have FP.
[00:48:20] Thanks man.
[00:48:22] Kimber: Oh, that's shattering
[00:48:24] Hannah: It was really
[00:48:25] Kimber: anybody, but especially for you.
[00:48:28] Hannah: it was sucky. And then that particular, the next semester I had some roommates, my, my medications I would go really deep into sleep and so often wet the bed. And if I wasn't in bed, when I fell asleep, then I bought the couch and my shame didn't allow me to talk to my roommates about it.
[00:48:43] So I would try to clean it up with towels. I didn't ever go get a carpet cleaner. That's hard to live with, so we never talked about it instead. They all got together and gossiped about it and like went to dinner about it. And I was kind of exiled. So it's really hard. I mean, I would never say go off your medications because they Were life-saving for me, but some of the side effects are brutal and to be able to talk about them, I, I can't give you tips there.
[00:49:11] I didn't do it. I was too ashamed, too embarrassed. So I ended up leaving, you know, my dad came and picked me up. I called my therapist in a crisis because I was like too anxious and a panic attack. Like the, my worst nightmare is happening. And again, it was miraculous that my dad could show up because he's it was, it was a miracle moment.
[00:49:30] Let's just say that. And then that my therapist answered the phone, you know, that's not everybody's situation. I didn't know that I could have gone to the emergency room and nowadays that's something I tell my clients, if your people are not answering the phone, then go to the ER call the crisis hotline.
[00:49:44] You know, we didn't have that back in 2004. So just a lot of stuff that happened. I went home and because my family had been in therapy, it was a safe place.
[00:49:52] Kimber: Were you having suicidal ideation?
[00:49:55] Hannah: Yeah.
[00:49:56] I mean, I wouldn't, I didn't have a plan. I just want it to disappear. I want it to go away. I want it to not be there. I was like, please somehow just let me die.
[00:50:03] Like, this is just so awful. So You know, again, I went home, it was healing. And I called because I also didn't participate in the end of term, clean check. My roommates also didn't do my clean check for me. And so then they charged me. So I called the apartment complex as like, Hey, I haven't been there for a month.
[00:50:21] Here's what happened. And somehow they understood, I, I don't get it. You know, there was also some healing in my going back and making amends. I, I used to steal things. And so then going back to the stores and saying, I stole from you and here's your money. I think this is how much I took. So my best guess.
[00:50:39] So that was super healing as part of, kind of my 12 steps process of like making amends and trying to make things right. So again, had I gone to Mexico wouldn't have happened. Like, I'm so glad that my demented grandpa was like, this is a bad idea on a two minute loop. You know, I went to therapy a lot and then. Went down to Chile. Well, I went to El Salvador too, which was also super healing because people just did not care. They don't have the bandwidth to care cause they're just in crisis mode. And, and the people, the kids I worked with just were so like, we're just so grateful you're here. I leaned into Spanish there and learned a lot.
[00:51:16] And then I went to Chile and it was the same thing. Just people just seeing me instead of being like, oh, you don't have FP. Like, it was just so nice to be myself in these places. And in about 2008, I was working as an accompanist at the vocal department. I think that's where we re you. And I met the first time was around there.
[00:51:34] And so I was accompanying and got to be very good friends with a lot of the professors. And at 1.1 of the teachers. You know, way too much about music. And she happened to be my mom's voice teacher at the time. And she was like, you're going to sing this song terrifying, because I still had like a 12 year old boys voice that would just kind of do its own thing.
[00:51:54] And it did a couple of times, but the teacher just went with it. And again, very healing that she didn't like Bach or shame or point fingers at it, or make fun of it. She was just like, keep going, just keep using your poopoo PP muscles. And it was just this really beautiful experience where me and my voice started to get to know each other a little bit better, so really healing.
[00:52:17] And then when my parents finally decided to stop pretending and to actually do the divorce thing, I just happened to make plans to move to Orlando. So perfect timing because then I couldn't be there to rescue and save them.
[00:52:31] Kimber: Yeah.
[00:52:32] Hannah: just, I, I wasn't there for that. I took a. Before I graduated, I had taken a women's health class ,with Marie Parkinson.
[00:52:41] So Marie had an assignment where she wanted us to track our food and calorie content and whatnot. And I was in a class with a gal who also had an eating disorder history. She dropped out of the class. I decided to go up to Marie and say, listen, I got a background with an eating disorder, so that's just not going to work.
[00:52:57] But I got this idea. What if I keep track of my hunger and fullness? Like what if I chart when I'm hungry and when I'm full and how frequently that happens for me so that I'm still accountable, but doing it in a way that's not triggering for me. And she was like, I know who you are. And I'm like, that's weird.
[00:53:18] Well, she's in shared her story of like, I remember when you left. And like, I remember when you were there and I was so worried about you and then the next week you were not there. And I just really wasn't sure where you were. She was so happy. I survived. Um, And a similar thing happened with the president of the schools. So the time it was David, Bednar his wife, Susan. She would always see me on the front row. I just liked sitting by her. I wanted to see her face. She was so kind, and she also remembered that I was suddenly was gone and she said, I would pray for you.
[00:54:11] She didn't even know my name. She just would like, I would just pray for you. She could tell something wasn't right. But didn't know. So to have people who could have looked at me and made judgments, cause I didn't look well, you know, to have people who could have looked at me and made judgements and instead could see
[00:54:43] that I was just not well to see that I was like suffering. It's just this beautiful experience that I know not everybody has. I've had people who come back out of treatment who are treated with such. Judgment and not niceness. So my story is unusual in that I only went to treatment once, but I also had all sorts of protective factors.
[00:55:10] You know, I just was very blessed to have so many protective factors. It wasn't just like my grit and determination. It was also just the kindness. Cause here's Marie, this health teacher who says, I want you to teach the eating disorder unit, like all kind of give a slideshow, but I want you to spend a whole time talking about it.
[00:55:28] And she liked it so much. She asked me to come back for you. You know, please come back, please come back. We're still in touch. She was really meaningful for me. Just a really inspiring person. She was the one that gave me the verbiage, like be happy about your wrinkles on your face because they tell a story, you know, be happy about your crow's feet, because it talks about how much you smiled and be happy about the, the lines on the top of your forehead.
[00:55:51] Cause it taught, it shows your curiosity and your surprise and your expressive nature, and be happy about these little dowels, because it, again, it tells a story about how much you smiled. And I have this crease in between my, my eyes. But it's because of how much I'm outside without my sunglasses.
[00:56:06] I'm just there. So she was the one that kind of presented that idea to me for the first time and to embrace my aging instead of like Botox it away or try to defeat it with collagen or whatnot. So just a lot of people that kind of paved this path of like body acceptance and and then. I still wasn't sure what I was going to be when I grew up and moved to Florida.
[00:56:28] And it's just so happened that there was a social work program right down the street. And so I applied to cut in, it was a terrible program. It wasn't terrible, but I didn't know that at the time it really was a terrible program. But I was just really blessed with some great supervisors upon graduation.
[00:56:45] I wanted to study eating disorders more than I did, but they didn't have a track for that. So they had a drug and alcohol track and it couldn't have worked out better. Like the people who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction are salt of the earth. They tell the craziest stories, they laugh so big.
[00:57:00] They are, they love the thrill of life and I'm kind of the same way. Like they seek out the skydiving and they seek out the tall cliffs and I'm, I'm a lot like that. And to ha what was really interesting is they were so shocked that I could understand their addiction. Have it when, like, I know what it's like to just want to numb out.
[00:57:22] So they appreciated being understood by what they call normie someone who's never been addicted. And it was a really cool chance for me to try and teach them a little bit more about intuitive eating and about body acceptance. And so Yeah.
[00:57:34] that's how I got into that world of therapy and, and helped open up a women's program and got to go back and work at center for change and loved it there, you know, teaching 12 step and teaching shame, resilience work.
[00:57:46] And actually I went to a couple of group sessions top diaspora. Now she and I are good friends and colleagues. And so, Yeah.
[00:57:53] just a lot of cool little full-circle moments that have happened since then. So I wouldn't choose my disorder ever. Again, you know, but life sometimes isn't kind of had some pretty intense tragedies lately in my own personal life where I'm like, man, these feelings are big.
[00:58:10] Like I remember when I didn't have to feel this kind of stuff, but the cost, you know, I have kids now and they sponge up everything. I do everything I do. So, you know, my kids don't ever, I don't do this, but they also, they don't see it. I don't look in the mirror and turn sideways and make judgements about my body.
[00:58:29] They, if they want CA cause we just had Halloween so regularly, we want candy. Cool. What else are you going to have with your candy? You know, there's just a lot of ways that we can create really healing, healthy relationships with food, with her kids. And I would not have done that with my kids if I hadn't had my own life experiences.
[00:58:46] So I'm super, I am grateful, but I can tell you the gratitude didn't come right in the moment. Like, I felt really ashamed of my eating disorder back in 2002 and three. I'm not ashamed at all anymore. But that's. Of like time and again, because I've been surrounded by people who are genuinely interested in wanting to hear.
[00:59:05] Kimber: Yeah, I'm curious, when I reached out to you, I said something about body positivity and you said I'm more into body neutrality, which is something I have not heard before. you talk to us a little bit about that?
[00:59:19] Hannah: Yeah.
[00:59:20] So body positivity was a movement, started by people that are in larger bodies. They, they really adopt the word fat. They want to reclaim that word. Fat's got a negative connotation. They want to say like, look, let's just use it as an adjective. So that's where the body positivity hashtag came from is fat people.
[00:59:35] And then it's been co-opted by thin people, people who already are in straight size, who I want to learn to love my body. And so I'm going to be positive about it. Why do we in straight size even have to be positive about it? We, we don't have people in straight size. Don't walk through the store. With stares at them just because of their shape, you know, fat people do.
[01:00:02] There are all sorts of assumptions that we make about people in larger bodies. So the thin people and the straight sized people in this world have co-opted that word and stolen it from fat people. And so that's where I don't want to do body positivity because body positivity is this idea that I'm already kind of thin, and I'm just going to accept my body as it is where I really want to say like body neutrality is really removing the judgments completely of shape and size.
[01:00:27] Even removing the judgments about someone who can run a marathon versus somebody who chooses to stretch as their movement. So this neutrality is the idea that I'm really going to listen to what my body needs. If my body needs something really intense. I can give it that if my body wants something that's more gentle because of an injury, because I slept poorly because I don't have the bandwidth, I'm going to give it that if my body needs something that's cold and Slurpee, I'll give it that if my body needs something, that's like Chumpy, I'm going to give It that sometimes our, our bodies need rest and we don't give it that.
[01:01:04] We just drink more caffeine and stay standing and like watch some kind of motivational five minute thing. And so just learning to listen to our bodies is much more of a body neutrality approach. I'm trying to remove judgment about people in different shapes. We're such an interesting world where we want diversity in our food choices.
[01:01:23] We want diversity in our landscapes, and then we expect to have conformity and the way our bodies look. It's just kind of stupid. You know, I, I want to buy a pork shoulder or like, I want to buy this kind of meat. I want variety there, but then I need you to look like this. So, you know, so body neutrality is really trying to let go of the judgment and embrace the diversity all the
[01:01:48] Kimber: like a very very mindful approach to, to your body rather than being like, I'm going to be positive because there is, you know, whether you're fat or thin or whatever, there is so much self shame that we give ourselves. But it sounds to me, like you're saying, instead of being like, it's a very, like I said, it's a very mindful approach instead of trying to make yourself feel a certain way about your body or love it in a certain way.
[01:02:12] It's more about listening to your body and your body is not here. I heard, I can't remember where I heard this. I heard this somewhere else where it's like, my body is not here for you to enjoy my body is the way that I experienced the world. And it's here for me to experience things. And that sounds kind of like what you're saying with this body neutrality
[01:02:31] Hannah: yeah. I I first heard that idea.
[01:02:34] from beauty redefined it's on Instagram. It's these twin girls who talk so
[01:02:38] Kimber: That is, my mom was telling me about that. So I haven't watched that, but that is where I got that from.
[01:02:43] Hannah: Yeah. They just wrote a book called more than a body, just an excellent, excellent book. So Yeah.
[01:02:48] it's, it really is this idea of like, I'm going to come back into my own self and stop relying on the patriarchy.
[01:02:54] If you will, to tell me how I should experience my body and what it should look like. Cause most of us were raised that way. Don't wear that because it looks funny it's a much more I'm going to be in charge of how I experience it and how I view it. Most of us were raised. Don't wear that because people will judge. You don't say that cause people will judge you. And there is a place for that. I don't want my children walking around being rude. And so I do need to teach them like, well, how would you feel if you heard that?
[01:03:20] And so how do you think your friend would feel if they heard that from you? So there's a place for that, but then we never have the conversation as they mature to say, like, so now what do you think? You know, what do you, I have this client who believes one way and her partner believes another way. And partner says, no, you need to March into, we need to be a United front because it'll confuse our kids.
[01:03:43] And we had the whole session about, so let's talk about that. Your kids are getting old enough where it's okay to say. So like kids, here's mom and dad's approach, like what works for you. That is more of the spotty neutrality idea, taking back your own power and not letting the patriarchy tell you how to do things and what you should think.
[01:04:01] Kimber: I love how often the patriarchy comes up in my podcast episodes, because, and I, I think I've expressed this maybe in a previous episode, but as I've started this podcast, I didn't have it in my head that I'm like, this is like an anti patriarchy podcast. Now, as, as I get into this topic of authenticity and letting go of perfectionism, the more I get into that mode, the more I'm like, oh, this is the antithesis of what patriarchy is.
[01:04:27] It's not, it's not this, you know, patriarchy or straight white men, which is kind of what I've had in my mind in the past. It's like, no, patriarchy is a system that tells you, this is the way you have to be.
[01:04:38] Hannah: Yeah.
[01:04:38] Kimber: And, and so it keeps coming up.
[01:04:41] Hannah: Yeah.
[01:04:41] it's a system that tells you don't trust yourself, rely on other people rely on. And to your point, it used to be, and has for many years then rely on the straight white men of the world to tell you how to do things. So it does kind of lean back on that, but absolutely like even still as we are slowly ever so slowly moving into a broader idea you know, more inclusive idea.
[01:05:04] It's so slow. Ian's to go, but like, as, even as we're doing that is still don't rely on your own wisdom. Don't rely on your own experience, you know, don't trust yourself look at someone else.
[01:05:19] Kimber: So if you have like one big theme that you would like to tell the listeners of this podcast, kind of a takeaway for them, what, what do you think is the most important message? No pressure. That's a big question.
[01:05:33] Hannah: Yeah. I think I'm just going to keep it really simple. I'm going back to therapy in a couple of weeks because of some of the stuff that's been happening in my life and a neighbor across the street, she was like, so like, how does that work as a therapist? You know, how do you do that? And, and she said, I somehow we got into the idea is like, it's this interesting culture in therapists where we ha we do feel like, well, shoot, I teach this all the time, so I should just be able to live it.
[01:05:58] But doctors need doctors and voice teachers need voice teachers. You know, like athletes need coaches, Simone Biles, who is the best gymnast that we know needs a coach. So why would I not need a therapist? And a friend of mine told me at one point cause I used to always say it more loosely than I do now.
[01:06:20] I'm like, everybody needs a therapist and I would say that to him and he would kind of laugh. But it turned out, I didn't know that he took it really to heart. He said, he sent me a message once and said, you know, you always said that. And it bounced around in my head, like shoes and a washing machine.
[01:06:35] And I finally went and he's like, I just have to say like, thank you so much. I now have a relationship I'm proud of, and I want to marry this girl and we're getting married and I would never have let myself get close to her if I hadn't gone to therapy and would never have gone to therapy, if you weren't always throwing out that idea. So I think that's probably the takeaway message is like, look, everybody needs therapy. It doesn't always have to look the traditional, like you go see
[01:07:01] a mental health therapist, but every everybody needs therapy. So hiking reading, you know, we all, we all need that. We live in a very overstimulated world and the collective trauma we've lived through in the last two years is just off the chart.
[01:07:15] So for people to say, I'm doing fine. I'm like, I mean, yeah. but what's wrong with like opening up the doors to something even. You know, to just be introspective, to get to know yourself because the Buddhists say this pain is inevitable. It's going to happen. You, can't not smart. It, you can't out think it, you can't run faster than it it's going to happen, but suffering is optional.
[01:07:40] And so I think that's, you know, kind of the story that I just told is this idea that like, I kept trying to just do it on my own and I suffered. And, and it was very painful. I had a lot of pain that I just didn't know how to process. So that's probably the takeaway message I would say in all of it, I'm sitting there like, oh, I have book recommendations and Instagram people, you can follow.
[01:07:58] And, but in the end I'm like, no, get some therapy, you know and really understand systems of oppression. You know, there were a lot of them.
[01:08:06] Kimber: Yeah. And send me all those book recommendations and Instagram people. I'll put them in the show notes for
[01:08:11] Hannah: Oh, okay.
[01:08:13] Kimber: So they can have access to all of those. That'd be awesome.
[01:08:15] Thanks for joining me today. To get more nurturing around living an authentic life. You can follow me on Instagram at just be your bad self or register to attend. One of my events @justbeyourbadself.com. Your invitation this week. Get help. If there's something you are struggling with right now, please tell someone and ask for help.
[01:08:44] Find a therapist confide in the loved one, text, a friend. I promise that there are people who want to help you, but they can't. If you don't broadcast your needs. If you enjoyed this podcast and want to leave a review. Subscribe to the podcast or share it. You have my heart. Remember. You are enough.
[01:09:07] Right now. In this moment. That's it from me. Now. Just be your bad self.
Clinical Social Worker
Hannah is a licensed clinical social worker who practices in American fork, utah. She specializes in treatment of eating disorders, substance abuse, and trauma. Hannah likes to cook, bake, hike, run, be with her dogs and family, travel, and sing/play music and listen to podcasts.