Links to Recordings of Past Community Conversations
Friday, April 1, 2022 | How Has Food Helped? Why Does It Also Hurt?
If you’ve spent time fighting with food or fighting with yourself about food or fighting with your body or your appetite or your jeans or the beauty industry or your inner critic, it might seem weird to ask the question “How has food helped?” But, seriously, it is a key question. If we’ve been struggling with food, cravings, binges, downward spirals, food fears or food frenzies, there is an underlying function or purpose that the behaviors are trying to help us with. We’re trying to meet a need somewhere. “How has food helped?” isn’t our only question. Of course, we also want to ask, “What can we do about this? How can we feel less helpless to it all? Less powerless?”
You’ve probably also noticed how food “hurts”, but if we haven’t truly asked the question “How is this hurting me?” it can be a sign that we have not had enough support to ask questions that might come with either painful reflections or insights that might prompt us to risk change. Change can feel scary. It’s one reason we need to know that others are risking it too. And that others have found their way out of pain. In Hunger, Hope & Healing, being a part of a community is one of the key aspects to the healing.
Join us for this conversation and learn how your food behaviors have been helping you (possibly surprising), what you can do to initiate change, and how to ask your challenging questions and welcome the answers. Link to April 1 recording here.
Friday, April 15, 2022 | Is The Treadmill At The Gym Or In Your Mind?
It’s really common to have a busy mind. In fact, it’s unusual not to.
It’s also common to feel pressure to “get it all done,” to “stay on top of things,” to “get to the gym,” and so on. Life can feel like a treadmill of constant To Dos. Responsibilities. Obligations. Demands.
Sometimes we manage this mayhem with food. Sometimes we manage it with compulsive exercise. Sometimes it all feels totally unmanageable. Then we might blame ourselves for not being good enough or not keeping up.
For some of us, the food gets worse. For others, we pressure ourselves even more to complete our workouts. There are also those of us who just collapse. It becomes too much.
What if you could slow down the treadmill in your mind AND
have healthier relationships with movement, exercise, and even food, too?
What if the world stopped spinning and you could step into
your empowered sense of center.
A place from where you begin to heal.
Join Sarahjoy and our Hunger, Hope & Healing participants in our upcoming Community Conversation where you’ll learn about:
* how this whole treadmill got started,
* why it’s really hard to stop it all on your own, and
* where you can begin to make the shifts that become transformation.
For real this time!
Link to April 15 recording here.
Friday, May 6, 2022 | Parenting Up & Down Stream (The Sandwich Generation)
It’s Mother’s Day Weekend. This can be both a beautiful, celebratory weekend and a poignant or challenging weekend.
Many of us are parenting our parents in their later years while simultaneously parenting our grown children and, sometimes, even their children (our grandchildren). We call this the Sandwich Generation – not because we’re eating sandwiches! (Though we might be struggling with that, too!)
It’s built into us to care for each other. The design of our species comes with this hard-wiring. However, it is also obvious that having this hard-wired doesn’t mean it happens well. We may not have received wonderful mothering. We may not know how to be the most skillful mother we want to be. We might be parenting a parent who wasn’t particularly nurturing to us when we were growing up. Yet, their vulnerability in the later stage of life falls to us.
Or perhaps we had a really nurturing experience of being parented, yet we’re struggling to meet the needs of our children, our grandchildren, and our own parents all at once. What’s more, where do we fit our needs in?
Chances are, if you’re here with us in Hunger, Hope & Healing, you’ve struggled with food and your body, in some way. And, chances are that this has root causes in your earliest life, a time when you needed certain kinds of parenting. If you find the food lurking about, taunting you, or taking over your otherwise intelligent operational self, there are good reasons why this is happening.
Join us for this Community Conversation where we openly talk about the way things are. Sarahjoy will open the conversation with reflections on some of the root causes of our painful relationship to food and our body from those earliest years when we were developing our sense of self in the world. She’ll also talk about the Pain Points of whose needs get met and when – especially when you’re in the Sandwich Generation. Then we’ll open up the conversation for anyone who is present and wants to ask a question or get support. Link to May 6 recording here.
Friday, May 20, 2022 | The Challenges of Family (or Social) Gatherings
Soon it is going to be Memorial Day Weekend. Likely for some of you, the plans are already being made. I know for many of our Hunger, Hope & Healing participants, social gatherings and food-centered family events can be really challenging. The dynamics don’t start with the planning. They started a LOOOOONG time ago. The anxiety might feel like it’s creeping up on you as the planning or the event gets closer on your calendar. But, even that started a long ways back.
To be clear, what I am referring to as anxiety might not look like anxiety. It might show up as thoughts and questions that you don’t associate with anxiety. Such as as wondering:
“Who is bringing what?” “How much food will be there?” “When will we actually eat?” “Will we be grazing the whole time?” “Who is going to be talking to who about what?” “What if you need a time out?” “What if everyone is drinking too much?” “What clothes will you wear?” “Do you need to increase your exercise or starve yourself before the date arrives?” And so on!
Join Sarahjoy and the Hunger, Hope & Healing Community to get relief and understanding. And to put a plan in place for yourself that lets you be sane and stable at a social gathering! You’ll learn more about the origin of this carousel of questions and anxieties AND how to respond with wisdom and compassion to this seemingly incessant train of thoughts and worries. You’ll also learn why compulsively exercising or starving yourself before the event won’t work and could lead to greater pain and disappointment too. Link to May 20 recording here.
Friday, June 3, 2022 | What Is Your Scale Measuring?
What happens when you weigh yourself? What is your motivation for stepping on the scale? Has it become compulsive, anxiety-producing, or a source of angst? When did you start your relationship with the scale? How did it begin?
Based on our cultural obsessions with thinness, beauty, and size-bias, and with all of the decades of time I have spent with women in Hunger, Hope + Healing, I am intrigued by the power the scale has come to have!
It can make or break our day (it was like this for me, at one time, too!) We take it as a measure of our worth. Or our success. Or failure. When we get anxious or feel out of control, we might step on the scale for reassurance. (Have I ballooned up in the last hour? Am I still okay?) We might think this scale is going to motivate us to be “better” about our relationships with food and exercise. Yet, we can feel demoralized by it more often than not.
It’s highly likely that you’ve been using your scale for things other than a basic biofeedback tool that gives us input about our general well-being. (Note that this is only for general well-being! And, it has to be tailored to us. We may have a genuine health concern if we’ve gained or lost a certain amount of weight in a certain amount of time. It could indicate changes in our endocrine or digestive system.)
In Hunger, Hope & Healing, we don’t recommend torturing ourselves with the scale. When we’re getting into recovery, we need supportive internal messages, not damaging external demands. We practice 4 Essential Life Skills that help us to overcome our obsession with the scale. One of those skills is called Moving From Love, Not Shame.
Join us for this Community Conversation with Sarahjoy and the Hunger, Hope + Healing community to dive more deeply into this confusion about the relationship with the scale. And to learn about alternative ways to gain inner leadership, reassurance, or direction from within your body (not from the scale). We’ll also talk about how to have a healthy relationship with your scale (as your recovery gets to certain stages of stability). Link to June 3 recording here.
Friday, June 17, 2022 | The Hidden Messages of Diet Mentality
Diet-mentality is so insidious and sneaky!! We often don’t even realize all the ways that this mentality has infiltrated our culture and our personal perspectives too.
It can be very empowering to realize the power of this mentality AND to take back your power!! In fact, it’s so freeing that women feel liberated after decades of being held down by diet-mentality. Some of these hidden messages even have their sub-messages. For example, Diet-Mentality tells us there are good foods and bad foods. The sub-message to this is that we are good people or bad people if we eat or don’t eat said foods.
Another diet-mentality message is being either “ON” or “OFF” of the diet. When we’re ON our diet, we might feel “in control” or “structured and safe”. We likely get kudos from the diet-plan or diet-leaders. We can even feel uplifted. Maybe we even feel like we’re really “ON” with our life. For a few days or weeks. Then the “OFF” part shows up. We “fall off” our diet. (Ouch! Falling can be painful!) Or we’re “breaking” our diet. (That is also painful!)
Some of the sub-messages here include being a failure (“you failed again”, “you are a failure”), being pathetic (“you can’t even stick to a simple diet”), or being incompetent, incapable, or stupid.
Please note that NONE of these are true, they’re reflex hand-me-downs from the diet culture stimulating internalized shame and worthiness issues.
There are more messages for us to dive into! Join us for this Community Conversation and learn about:
- Winning or Losing,
- Failing or Succeeding,
- All or Nothing,
- Deprivation and Reward,
- Indulgence and Restriction,
- And, how Black or White, Right or Wrong thinking can then pervade your life mentality (unhelpfully!).
Friday, June 24, 2022 | Getting Free From Shame
If you’ve been struggling with food or your body image or self-worth or anxiety or depression or health problems, you’ve probably visited with shame. Maybe shame isn’t just a visitor. Maybe shame moved into your house, took over your rooms, and the cupboards, and even the storage spaces.
Shame might be there when you wake up in the morning. Maybe shame is crouching in the closet where getting dressed can make or break your day, depending on how your jeans fit. Or taking over the couch tempting you to give in.
On some days you might leave the house and go about your life in your competent, operational life self, feeling okay enough. You might even imagine that the shame monster went elsewhere. You’re driving with the windows down and the sun shining. Your favorite music is playing. Surely, shame won’t harass you when you get home.
And yet, when you get there… something happens and you’re standing in front of the fridge wondering why you’ve got the door open. Maybe not even remembering how you got there. The autopilot, robot mode got turned on. You can sense shame over your shoulder. Sitting on that same couch. Tempting you to do it again. To just eat and relax. Have some “down time.”
Yet, hours go by. It wasn’t just a little downtime. It wasn’t just a snack or a healthy meal. It was one of those takeovers that leaves you wondering, will this ever end?
Shame is insidious, overpowering, often crippling and baffling. And yet, it is possible to come into a relationship with shame where you learn to see it for what it is. Where you get to take back your life, your mind, your choices, your instincts. Getting free from shame is possible. It takes some stealth and skill (and some stamina, too), but it is entirely possible. I’ll walk you through exactly how to do it. I’ve done it myself. And I’ve helped hundreds of women do it too. Link to June 24 recording here.
Friday, July 8, 2022 | Getting Free From Self-Neglect
There are numerous hidden strategies that we have used to avoid pain. Perhaps you didn’t realize that even some of the obvious behaviors in your life were actually designed to help you avoid pain? Like eating to the point of numbness. Or starving to the point of passing out. Or exercising until your feet are falling off. Or always working overtime but never getting ahead.
Ironically, it’s highly possible that all of these strategies are now causing pain. These painful patterns started as an effort to manage pain. Sometimes it was a pain we could not even identify. The pain of not being seen or acknowledged. The pain of having our thoughts or emotions dismissed, distorted or re-directed by others (to suit their preferences or limitations). The pain of having a “happy childhood” yet feeling you had to perform, achieve, adhere, or present in certain ways. A part of you may have known that your relationships were contingent upon YOU behaving in a certain way or having (or not having) certain emotions or needs. Another part of you would not have been able to register this.
If any of this sounds familiar, it’s possible that you developed patterns of self-neglect. You would not have known you were doing this. You were being shaped by your environment. And then reinforced by other environments like school, athletics, church, or workplaces. Patterns of self-neglect can show up as always putting others needs first, negating or dismissing your emotions, getting a lot done but not having time for what is essential for your own health (mental or physical), always blaming yourself for what is “wrong” (whether in your life or in your relationships), or even being very accomplished and yet feeling inwardly empty.
This is painful. Even though it all started as an effort to manage pain.
It is also possible to get free from this. To overcome the habits, even the hidden habits, of self-neglect. There are concrete actions you can take (and they won’t feel like torture nor up-end your relationships!). Join me for a deep dive discussion on this. You don’t need to be in pain. And you don’t need to sort this out on your own either. Link to July 8 recording here.
MA, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500, certified yoga therapist, yoga teacher, and author.
Yoga teacher, therapist, author, and visionary, Sarahjoy Marsh is a vibrant, compassionate catalyst for transformation to those that suffer from addictions – in particular disordered eating patterns/emotional eating.
The combination of her knowledge of powerful yoga and mindfulness tools, her ability to identify when a conditioned mind crowds out clear thinking and to inspire the courage to bring insight into action, her perspective on the terrain of the stages of recovery and the tools to use along the way to recovery make her methodology (outlined in her book Hunger, Hope & Healing: A Yoga Approach to Reclaiming Your Relationship with Your Body and Food) a comprehensive and effective healing modality.
Her 25+ year training and facilitation background includes transpersonal counseling, art therapy, and community mental health, the psychology of yoga, Ayurveda, and rehabilitative yoga.