Finding Self Nourishment

In my very early 20’s, at supposedly some of the best years of my life, I was hospitalized on three different occasions for chronic anorexia. The first time I was told my potassium levels were dreadfully low and that I could have died. I was never put on a drip, but I was skeletal and very sick. In those days there wasn’t a hospital or ward for patients with anorexia or eating disorders. I went to a very small private hospital for people who suffered a range of conditions.

I had had an extremely privileged upbringing and had been very sheltered as a child. Then suddenly I was thrust into an environment of mentally unstable people, of all ages, of all cultures. It was beyond frightening and my cocooned life was suddenly no longer. There was only one other anorexic girl there who I thought, and the nurses said, “was on the touch of death”. She was older, taller and skinnier that I, which was unusual as I was usually the skinniest and tallest girl in the room! Ironically she only ate a few “lifesaver” lollies a day, nothing more. I managed to eat a little every meal time.

I never thought I was anything like that girl. I felt she didn’t actually want to get better. I think she somehow enjoyed being sick. I, however, always knew I would fully recover. Somehow, some way, even though I couldn’t see any light at the end of my tunnel yet. Something that got me through this difficult time was writing poetry. It seemed to free part of my confusion. I wrote to try and express my wild crazy unexplainable pain and difficult feelings. Not with concrete words, but with imagery and symbolism.

I think people with eating disorders and people who share similar substance abuse issues have a difficult time communicating and speaking their truth. I grew up in an environment where I felt I need to be a part of a “perfect” family. I never felt anywhere near perfect, and I didn’t want to try and be. Poetry enabled me to express my darker side. My insecurities. My intense feelings. My reality. Recently I had an upset and somehow I ended up writing my feelings into a poem again. It had been years since I had done this. And it helped enormously.

I love to write and usually I detrimentally write long winded emails and letters. But I realized that using creativity and putting thought behind each and every word, intrinsically is a much more powerful way to express yourself than easily writing a ton of thoughtless, “bingeful,” tasteless words. I realized that a key ingredient to what nourishes me is poetry.

I believe we all need to work out our own special menu as to what nourishes our mind, body and soul.

I encourage you to find your own nourishment menu.
This is mine:
· – Spending quality time with my son
· – Creating unique meals
· – Eating leisurely with family and friends
· – Laughing
· – Long beach walks
· – Writing poetry
· – Dancing
· – Gardening
· – Travelling
· – Yoga
· – Reading
· – Working with clients
· – Breathwork and meditation

I think you should look at your nourishment menu each day and ask yourself what you need. Take the time to nourish yourself each and every day. You may find this will positively change your life and realize that any negative behaviour float away.

Chose self-nourishment every day!


Susannah McAlwey

Sensitive. Sanguine. Sincere.

I miraculously healed myself from a 25 year chronic combined anorexic/bulimic/binge eating disorder, despite numerous medical professionals telling me I would “never” recover! My 25 years of hell was beyond a nightmare with infinite hospitalizations, almost dying from a potassium deficiency, lying to everyone I loved, feeling constant shame and guilt, not being truly connected to anyone, feeling misunderstood by everyone, avoiding any social situation around food, being unable to keep a job or relationship, despising myself every minute of every day, and not living the life I was meant to live – in supposedly some of the best years of my life. I can tell you infinite stories of my addiction, as well as my road to recovery. I can tell you how I cured myself 100% with no lingering symptoms, and I can help you do the same! I call myself “The Nourishment Coach” because I believe eating disorders, disordered eating, body image concerns and obsessions with food and weight stem from issues well beyond food and eating. I believe they can be cured by true self nourishment.