The Body Recovery Group Begins!
Updated: Jan 30, 2020
Every Wednesday from 2 October 2019 on!
5:30-6:30pm Ferndale House 830 New North Road
Mt Albert, Auckland, 1025, Aotearoa New Zealand Wheelchair accessible. Lots of parking. Comfy chairs.
Tea and coffee. Kids welcome (some toys and books provided!)
I'm tired of not having a space committed to working WITH our bodies, not ON them. And WITH ourselves, as the complicated, traumatized, spiritual beings we are, not ON ourselves, like we are the broken, disease- and defect-riddled machines that we have been mislead to believe we are. ESPECIALLY within the recovery community. So I made one!
What is this group?
👍🏻 Peer based support for sharing, relating, encouragement, and community.
👍🏻 A sanctuary from all the outside BS telling us how our bodies should be.
What is this group NOT?
👎🏻 A replacement for professional help or medical treatment.
👎🏻 Where you will find the right way to eat, exercise, or look. (Spoiler alert there is no right way.)
In the words of the Body Recovery Group intro:
"The Body Recovery Group is a facilitated peer support group for anyone healing their relationship with food, body, and/or exercise. This is meant as a supplemental tool for anyone recovering from any of the following: eating disorders; disordered eating; compulsive eating, exercising, or dieting; weight stigma; body prejudice; lack of access; or simply not feeling very connected to food, body, or exercise. In this group, we reclaim our bodies and recover the trust that they know how to take care of themselves.
This group is not a replacement for a treatment program; the facilitator is not a clinician; and we cannot give any medical direction for health conditions such as active eating disorders, food allergies, auto-immune diseases, etc. If the facilitator feels someone needs more support than this group can provide, or may require medical intervention, they reserve the right to speak to them about this outside of group and will do their best to help connect them to other services. We are not affiliated with or endorsed by any organization or treatment program; however, other organizations, individuals, and research will be referenced.
The Body Recovery Group is dedicated to reclaiming and recovering our bodies from internal and external trauma, ranging from negative self-talk and fatphobia all the way to patriarchy and colonialism. It is essential to address and challenge all these layers as we heal our relationships with food, body, and exercise. This is a space that is anti-diet culture and anti-fatphobia. We can provide resources to connect you to the research behind these statements, but in this space, these topics are not up for debate. Any feelings or fears they may bring up for you are very welcome.
This groups is all about asking the following questions: How would you feel about food, body, and exercise if there were zero outside influences telling you which ones were the best? What if there weren’t any industries profiting off these beliefs? What if the medical system had no outside influences—such as lobbying, research funding, or bonuses? What if you were born into eras or cultures that celebrated different body shapes? What if there were no beauty or fitness magazines? What if larger and darker and more differently-abled people were put in advertisements, movies, and music videos? What if we had been taught that we can trust our bodies just as they are?"
So...what is it exactly?
It's one hour of people sitting in a circle, taking turns sharing their personal experience. After the facilitator reads the introduction and the boundaries (rules) designed to keep the space and participants safe, the weekly topic is introduced and each person gets a chance to share. There are 12 topics that we will rotate through. If there is time at the end of sharing, the facilitator shares excerpts from body positive literature.
This group is the product of me sitting in various support groups, meetings, and group therapies for the past seven years and none of them quite fitting. I still attend lots of them for the many different areas of recovery, healing, and community that I need. However, none of them have ever been free of our culture's intense fear of fat and obsession with eating perfectly, and none of them have addressed how eating disorders, disordered eating, diets and the like are influenced by capitalism, colonialism, white supremacy, the oppression of women, queer and trans folk, disabled people, and others...and the like.
The body positive movement fights to challenge those systems, and I believe the eating disorder recovery world cannot advance past its current mediocrity without incorporating the social justice issues that body positivity addresses. Furthermore, there cannot be (and there shouldn't be) individual healing without collective healing. And collective healing isn't possible without challenging and dismantling the oppressive and destructive systems in place.
So...that is what this group is trying to do. At least a little tiny bit. And I'm not saying we are the first or only attempt, no! But I'm unaware as yet of an in-person group quite like this where I live in Auckland, soooo I made one.
Who am I to make this group?
Well I am NOT an expert. The only things I am an expert on is myself and my recovery. I am not trying to be an expert on anything or anybody else.
I have being attempting eating disorder recovery for seven years and have been “successful” for five. I’m pretty new to body positivity and qualify because I am fat, and I am only a small fat. I can really only speak about that. I’m trying to put the privilege I do have to good use and make time and space for others.
Which is why this group will never be anything but free.
Anyway. I’m creating this group because I need it, and maybe someone else wants it. I’m doing it to share what I know and keep learning. I’m doing it because healing slash being a human at all does not happen in isolation. I’m also doing it to maybe make some self-loving body-liberating friends! So come hang out!