The Hungry Soul | Health | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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The Hungry Soul 

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Reynolds's work taps deeply into the subject of body image; in her therapy sessions with clients, she'll attempt to challenge what she calls "the frightening new normal of body hatred" that prevails among women. Eating disorders take this skewed perspective to its ultimate expression. "What's really interesting is that the closer a person gets to their normal weight [after anorexia], the less they obsess about body image," says Reynolds. "When you're starving yourself, your thoughts get more and more distorted. Ironically, the more weight you gain, the less you obsess about your body, because you're getting the right nutrients and you're beginning to think straight." At that point, the therapy work that Reynolds does with her clients can get very deep and effective. Because even though an eating disorder is about food, it's not really about food. Emotional pain lies underneath, and exploring this terrain, says Reynolds, can be a spiritual journey.

Today Jansen is on her recovery path. She's in a healthy weight range, though she doesn't know what that weight is, exactly—she no longer owns a scale. At her lowest point she binged and purged five times a day; now it happens once a week, or once every two or three weeks. "I'm still in my dark night of the soul," she says, "but it's not pitch black. I might be able to go for a walk with my dog in the woods and be really present and happy in the moment. That, for me, is a big success."

RESOURCES

Eating Disorders Anonymous Eatingdisordersanonymous.org

Sil Reynolds, NP Stoneridgehealingarts.com

Ilyse Simon, RD, CDN Ilysesimonrd.com

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