If you’ve ever looked in the mirror at your body with disgust, or punished yourself for eating one too many cookies by spending hours on the treadmill, then you may recognize that your relationship with your body needs some tending to.
The National Eating Disorders Association estimates that in America, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from some form of disordered eating, which is most commonly recognized as a spectrum from bulimia to anorexia. While these are incredibly complex and layered issues, most of these individuals have a deep level of disconnect with their bodies. They struggle with recognizing feelings of hunger and satiety, and they often see their bodies as much larger than they actually are.
Chelsea Roff, who recovered from anorexia through yoga and the help of a supportive community, created Eat, Breathe, Thrive as way to give back to others who were going through similar issues. She partnered with Give Back Yoga to expand her offerings to a wider audience so she could reach more people. Her ultimate goal is to help participants “create a sense of home in one’s own skin.”
Eat, Breathe, Thrive strives to help people with negative body image and unhealthy eating patterns to heal. Often those suffering from anorexia or bulimia carry a deep level of shame about their disease, and don’t want to reach out for help. Eat, Breathe, Thrive recognizes the struggle this causes, and offers a clinical program along with community program that helps people transition back into their daily lives without relapsing.
The clinical program has, at its heart, yoga and mindfulness that helps participants learn to work with difficult emotions, to understand the signals their bodies are giving, and to have the tools to continue to heal even once they have left treatment.
Thrive tribes are available to those coming out of clinical treatment, as well as anyone who struggles on a non-clinical level with unhealthy eating patterns or a negative body image. These groups provide the crucial support of community and allow participants to feel connected rather than isolated in their experience.
The organization offers facilitator training to those interested in bringing this work into their lives and into their communities. It has its roots in yoga and takes participants from a yoga, food and body image intensive, and develops them into a facilitator for the Eat, Breathe, Thrive series. Trainings are offered around the country and can be found through their website.
Moving through life with an unhealthy relationship with food or our bodies colors every aspect of our experience. Through healing these relationships, we create a foundation that allows us to move the focus from hate to love, and from ourselves to our broader communities.