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If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.



Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.


It's two days after Christmas. How do you feel? This is a great time to check in on yourself and expand your frame of mind. Compare what you are thinking about now to what you genuinely care about and see if your eating disorder feelings are leading you astray. This could be the time to find your true course.

Ah, Christmas... a time of expectation, hope, fear and despair. A festival of lights couldn't be possible without the dark. We need both for Christmas. We can get emotionally caught in too much bright light and eat, drink, spend, give and take too much, do too much. We can get caught in the darkness and self-criticize, feel ashamed, let ourselves be attacked, smothered, ignored, isolate and despair.

If you have lost your balance, are eating too much or not enough, struggling to keep family and friends from overwhelming you with their expectations and demands (benign or not), feeling deficient or ashamed or guilty in any way, or feeling high and entitled  to more attention and more "stuff" finding your equilibrium again can be a challenge.

You might believe that your feelings while in this disequilibrium state are permanent. You might believe you are condemned to feel your painful feelings forever. Or you might believe you must live a life of struggle as you strive to live up to the vast and all-encompassing new tasks you've designed for yourself.

Finding or creating healthy balance in your life or restoring healthy balance after you've lost it requires that you use both your intellect and your feelings as your guide. Many ways exist to help you do this. Maybe we can talk about them in future articles and comment sections. Today, I want to talk about one.

The guide comes in the form of a question. Ask yourself, "What do I want to do before I die?"

How you answer this question can clarify your goals, set your priorities, rearrange your thinking, clarify your feelings and organize your behavior. Your answer to this question can lift you up and overeating disorder thoughts and feelings. It can move you beyond irrelevant wishes about weight, eating, other people's behavior, self-criticism and overindulgence.

What do you want to do before you die, really? What follows after you answer that question is your beginning awareness of the steps you need to take now to make your goal happen. How you direct your energy, how you spend money, how you care for yourself and others, and so much more are affected when you bring your answer into your consciousness.


Before I die, I want to:

  • Dance at my granddaughter's wedding
  • Stand on top of a mountain
  • Write a book
  • Take a cruise through the Mediterranean
  • Ride the Orient Express
  • Pilot a helicopter
  • Get a college degree
  • Spend a month on a Greek island
  • See my photography in Vogue, the Atlantic Monthly, or New York Times
  • Be in a movie with Brad Pitt
  • Run my own business
  • Be free of hate and anger toward...
  • Share as much laughter and joy with my children as possible
  • Ride a horse well
  • Be invited to the White House
  • Climb the pyramids
  • Help save my neighborhood
  • Teach in schools
  • Hold a political office
  • Sail to Hawaii

Please add yours to the list. How do you change your life if you honor your heart's desire? It's not negative to think about your death. It's clarifying. You don't have endless time. Make the time you have count.

  1. How do you use the time you have to get the most value?
  2. How can your goal become your guide to action?
  3. What and who do you need to place in your life now to honor your goal?
  4. What and who do you need to eliminate to honor your goal?
  5. What steps can you take right now to get started?

See this inspiring Ted Talk with Candy Change

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Written by Joanna Poppink, MFT. Joanna is a psychotherapist in private practice specializing in eating disorder recovery, stress, PTSD, and adult development.

She is licensed in CA, AZ, OR, FL, and UT. Author of the Book: Healing Your Hungry Heart: Recovering from Your Eating Disorder

Appointments are virtual.

For a free telephone consultation, e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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