Lighting Silent Vigil- RIP Angels of The World

For some moments in life there are no words.

Dear Readers,

 Terrorists slaughtered 141 people, 132 of them children, in a brazen terror attack on an army-run school in Pakistan’s Peshawar city.


“There is no foot so small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world”

 Yesterday brought back the painful memories from the year 2007, when I was in Islamabad for my Masters Thesis and the whole city came under siege. Hundreds of children were kept hostage inside Lal Masjid and the country of Pakistan came to s stand still. I still can’t forget the look of pain and anguish on the faces of parents as they waited for days outside the mosque compound in 42 degrees for their children.

When I had my Eating Disorders, for years I stayed detached from the world of mass murder and politics. Since entering recovery, I was forced to snap out of my own little world of numbers and scales and accept the world for what it had become, a less peaceful place to live in. Someone once said to me, ‘by closing your eyes reality doesn’t change’, and that’s true every time I opened my eyes and looked outside the tinted world of ED, the harsh reality of life remained the same. Now with numb mind, I look at horrific acts of genocide take place across the world.

“Life is not the way it’s supposed to be… It’s the way it is…The way we cope with it, is what makes the difference.”

So I marched against Gaza Siege and Today with Heavy Heart, I walk down to my Town Square to light a vigil in the Memory of Angels who’ve gone to Heaven.

Today World has lost its Light and Heaven has Gained beautiful Angels.


There is only Darkness in the Hearts of Grieving Families as we People of the World Pray For Light. I along with People of the World Stand Against this Act of Injustice and I Light this Vigil with Million others in Memory of Beautiful Angels . Peace on Peshawar and Peace on our World.


We Cry For you Angels of Heaven

You are in Heaven Dear Children. RIP

Tears If tears could build a stairwell and memories were a lane, I would walk right up to Heaven and bring you home again. No farewell words were spoken no time to say good-bye . You were gone before I knew it, and only God knows why. My heart still aches in sadness, and secret tears still flow. What it means to lose you, no one will ever know. Anonymous~

Silent Vigil Woking Town Centre

Silent Vigil Woking Town Centre



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Life After Eating Disorder Treatment Part 3: Complimentary Therapies Part 1

Dear Readers,

Please find part 111 of life after Eating Disorder Treatment. People often speak of feeling that they have lost control of their life when they have ED. It may be bewildering to spend time in ED units, which can seem frightening and impersonal, and to meet so many different health professionals. At the same time, it can be difficult to cope with the implications of the illness itself.

Many people use complimentary therapies to help support themselves through ED and its treatment, but I think it’s equally important that we continue with these therapies after we’ve been given clear by the treatment team. They really help you to develop in prowess, strength and in mind. Please do bear in mind that after the recovery comes a hard challenge of getting on with life again.  We will experience stress, anxiety and other emotions. Our nervous system has two operating systems — the “fight-or-flight”. Your body is beautifully equipped with natural self-repair mechanisms that are under the influence of thoughts, feelings and beliefs that originate in your mind. Only when your nervous system is in a relaxation response do your body’s self-repair mechanisms function and you get on with life and can overcome challenge and illnesses.

Complimentary therapists usually work with the person as a whole, not just one aspect of the ED itself. This is called a holistic approach and is something good medical practitioners also do. A complimentary therapist who listens and cares may help you cope with some of those difficult feelings, which can be an effective way of getting back some control.

Some ED inpatient and outpatient units and organizations provide complimentary therapies as part of treatment program.

Complimentary therapies can:

Help you feel better and improve your quality of life.

Improve your general health

Give you a sense of control over what is happening to you.

Reduce, stress, tension, sleeplessness, anxiety, depression and make you feel more relaxed.

Help to reduce the symptoms of ED behaviors, such as binging purging, compulsive exercising, feeling sick, breathlessness, constipation, diarrhea, tiredness and poor appetite.


Choosing a Therapy and Therapist

It is important to choose a therapy that feels right for you. It is also important that you trust and feel comfortable with the therapist. Some people find it helpful to use a combination of therapies. After leaving the treatment centre, I tried many different therapies, till I found what was right for me.


There are some organizations that offer free complimentary therapies. Please check your local listing or your local community centre listing or ask your doctor. It is a good idea to ask how much a therapy session will cost you before you book, and to get some idea of how often you may need to have the therapy. Some complimentary therapies can be very expensive if used over a long period of time.


If you are suffering from an Eating Disorder, Please do bear in mind that complimentary therapies can only work in conjunction with overall ED program. Complimentary Therapy on its own cannot cure you from your illness. Please talk to your Doctor for advice and support.


Types of Complimentary Therapies

Mind Therapies

Relaxation Therapy

 Reduces anxiety, stress and helps aid digestion.

Simple breathing and relaxation exercises are very useful in reducing anxiety and stress and reducing the harmful effects of stress on the body. Almost everyone can learn the techniques. They can quickly reduce anxiety and muscle tension and also affect he part of the nervous system that controls blood pressure and the digestive system.

You can use Relaxation with Meditation and Visualisation Exercise. The combination is brilliant and something I used quiet often.

I know it can be difficult to do self-help exercises by yourself at home, these exercises need motivation and constant practice to see the benefits, it may be easier to stay motivated by joining a group online or a local group.

Here is a simple Relaxation Exercises that I really enjoy and I combined it with Turkish Sufi Instrumental Music.

Exercise 1 – Duration 10-15 minutes

Find a quiet room where you will be undisturbed for about 10-15 minutes.

Undo any tight clothing, and take off your shoes, then lie down on the bed or floor. Spend a few moments settling yourself down. Close your eyes, spread your feet 12-18 inches apart and check that your head, neck and spine are in a straight line.

Now focus your attention on your breathing. Do not try to change your breathing for the moment. Become aware of how quickly or slowly you are breathing. Notice whether there are any gaps or pauses between your breathing in and breathing out.


Now put one hand on your upper chest and one hand on your abdomen (tummy) just below your rib-cage. Relax your shoulders and hands. As you breathe in, feel your abdomen expand. As you breathe out, allow your abdomen to flatten. There should be little or no movement in your chest. Allow yourself a little time to get into a regular rhythm.


It may help to imagine that you are breathing in, you draw half a circle with your breath and as you breathe out, you complete the second half of the circle.


Allow your breath to become smooth, easy and regular.


Now consciously slow down your breathing out and allow your breathing in to follow smoothly and easily.


Smooth out any gaps or pauses in your breathing.


If any distractions, thoughts or worries come into your mind, allow them to come, then allow them to go and bring your attention back to your breathing.


When you are ready to end this exercise, take a fewer deep breaths in. Move your fingers and toes gently. I always listen to this music. It’s Turkish Instrumental and it really sets the  mood for relaxation.



This is excellent, brilliant and simple to practice.  Do give it a try. Download your copy free here.

Relaxation Techniques to Relieve Stress

Relaxation Booklet by NHS from First Steps. This book is a complete guide to self-relaxation with worksheets and tips.

Relaxation Booklet


Relaxation Exercise 2- A Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercise. Try this when you feel under pressure and can’t seem to relax. It really works magic on your muscles and releases tension from overall body.


Visualisation (Mental Imagery)

Just finding a courage to Imagine what Recovery Might Feel Like, Beautiful, Strong, Healthy, Powerful with a Sharp Mind…….

This is a technique that involves creating images in your mind while you are in a state of relaxation or meditation. For example:

You might imagine that you are lying in a field full of beautiful flowers.

That you are healthy and strong.

That your healthy self is Knight fighting the bad ED self.

Or that the sun rays are shining on you, warming you and giving you strength.


The theory is that by imagining a peaceful scene you will encourage yourself to feel more relaxed, and by imagining yourself healthy free from the shackles of the demon of ED you can influence the health of your body, mind, heart and spirit.

A simple exercise to show how imagination can produce physical changes is to picture a lemon being cut in front of you. Most people who do this will notice that they start to produce more saliva.

Your therapist will do some guided visualizations (a type of mediation) with you and this has proven to be very effective in helping people to recover from binge eating and bulimia.

Visualization or guided imagery can can reduce the negative thoughts of ED and the side effect of going through treatment/weight gain program. Many people report that visualizing themselves as healthy helps them to feel better, and they regard it as a form of extended relaxation. Gentle mental imagery can produce significant improvements in the mood of people suffering from ED.

My Experience with Visualization Therapy

After leaving the treatment centre, I used to get very depressed about the state of affairs. My boss Dottie taught me this exercise. Every time, I wanted to retreat into ED land, I would imagine my upcoming trip to Jerusalem, and I knew that I had to be in good health to travel to Jordan and then cross over to Israel. I would picture myself walking towards Al Aqsa in Good Health and Good Spirit. It worked and finally in the summer of 2013, I was in Jerusalem.

Dreams do Come True

Dreams do Come True

I love this video on I Am Health – Positive Affirmation. Watch this Video and this reaffirms your belief in Healthy You.

Guided Imagery- Ocean Waves



Hypnosis is another method which some people find helpful in dealing with he symptoms of ED. It can be very useful in putting a stop to some of the ED behaviors, such as binging purging, over exercising and addiction to laxatives and diet pills. There’s a famous case of Mellissa Laycy, 24, who battled with anorexia and bulimia her whole life until hypnotherapy cured her. To read her story, click here: Hypnosis Cured my Eating Disorder.

Ive not tried this therapy, though I wanted to. Hypnotism can be used to help with many problems, such as aiding recovery from anorexia nervosa, controlling binge eating and bulimia, and building self esteem and confidence.

For more Information on Hypnotherapy and to Download Information, worksheets and for a list of Hypnotherapists, Please visit this link.

Hypnotherapy Index


Art Therapy


I tried this therapy in Summer Holidays and I am a bad Artist, but it was amazing and so much fun. This therapy is used to help people to express themselves through working with art materials. The art therapist is usually a psychotherapist and encourages the person to communicate feelings such as fear or anger through painting, drawing or sculpting. The aim is to express feelings rather than produce a work of art. The therapy can be given one-to-one with therapist or in groups. Through creativity we can sometimes become aware of and release pent up feelings. These feelings or emotions can then be discussed if appropriate, in counseling or group sessions.

You do not need to be able to paint well and you will be encouraged to be spontaneous and doodle. Sometimes the therapist may be more directive and ask you to ‘paint your ED’ or try to capture your relationship with your family. These exercises can help you understand yourself more fully. Art therapy can also be fun and a creative approach to dealing with unhappy and distressing experiences.

Watch this short Documentary on Eating Disorders and Art Therapy. This video busts many myths and really gives you a hope  and tells you recovery is possible. Amazing Documentary…..


You can get more Information about art therapy and finding a trained therapist from the British Art Association of Art Therapists,  Click Here.


In part two of Mind Therapies, I will talk about some more Mind Therapies for ED.  Thank you for Reading!


Posted in Bulimia, Eating Disorder and Islam, Eating Disorder and Me, Eating Disorder Recovery Tips, Eating Disorders, Life After Eating Disorder (ED) | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

40 Year Old Divorcee

Eating Disorder has a profound impact on all family members. Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters are caught in the maelstrom that eating disorder almost inevitably creates. Families are thrown into shocked disarray by the discovery that their loved one has an Eating Disorder. For some it becomes an event of such deep significance that it completely and forever changes the family and its sense of itself.

Dear Readers,

I spoke to a lady whose sister in law is suffering from Anorexia Nervosa. We decided to share this story on the blog to create awareness of how Eating Disorders place a heavy strain on the families and extended family members. If you have a family member or friend that has an eating disorder, you know first hand the stress and toll this takes on the entire family as well as close friends that care about them.

Please find below a brief version of her story

We are all controlled by a 40 year old anorexic. Anorexia destroys families as much as it destroys individuals. It simply tears everyone apart.

I married my husband and moved into my in-laws house in late 1990s. My sister in law only lived short distance away from us. She started dieting soon after the birth of her first son.

I think she was engaged in a battle with an unseen force, where she had to competitively outwit herself to lose more and more weight.  She would come back from her job exhausted and would curl up in a corner and go to sleep. Due to lack of energy, she had no time for her son or other activities.  She left her son in the care of my mother in law. We were very happy to have him in our house, as he was the first grandchild of our family.

My sister in law has one great love: her eating disorder. Dieting became an obsession in that her life became focused on losing more and more weight.

The more we ignored her diets, the worst it got. The impulse to contain the problem within the family and resolve it without recourse to external help was very strong. My mother in law did consult our family GP but my sister in law refused to see anyone for her problems. I think sometimes we families make it possible for the sufferer to keep functioning in destructive behavior by not confronting the problem outright and in direct manner . At the age of 26, she was hospitalised for malnutrition. At that time Eating Disorder was completely unheard of, especially in our family. It was all put down to stress and over-work. She took a long break from work to get better, but it just made everything worst as she embarked on another rigid diet. Her quarrels with her husband increased. He was asked to monitor her eating, which was a very difficult thing to do. Soon it wasn’t just the diets that she was switching between, it was also  severe moods  and outbursts of anger. No one was spared from her anger.  The ongoing push and pull between how to help, to what extent and in what ways created a great deal of stress among family members.

The more she got into losing weight, the more time and effort she put into feeding her eating disorder addiction. Her life became a cycle: losing weight and trying new diet pills. Love of family–and time for family activities–took a distant second place to love of Eating Disorder.

Eating Disorders and families don’t mix well.

She was once again hospitalised for low weight and this time she was put on feeding tube.  This time we shifted her to Priory for treatment. Eating Disorder Private costs to family are too great. There was a brief period of relief, as she started responding to therapy and started to look really well. She got down to a healthy weight and her relationship with her husband and family members also improved.

She gave birth to a beautiful blue eye boy in 2000. We all were very happy. In 2001, me and my husband moved out of my in-laws house to a different city.

We thought life was good and that everything was fine. Little did we know what was to come. She relapsed in 2002, but this time her Eating Disorder was more severe. She wasn’t just dieting but also using dangerous combination of pills to control her weight.

She also changed as a person, soon her headscarf came off. She started to dress like a teenager. Her waist size had shrunk to the size of a 11 year old girl . If she wasn’t dieting, reading celebrity magazines, then she was busy shopping and she took great pride in shopping at kids shops.

Her elder son became very distanced from both his parents while her youngest son clung to his father for love and comfort.

I remember thinking we don’t have time for her behaviors and her moods. We nearly lost her to her anorexia In 2010. I felt sorry for the treatment team, who simply failed at breaking her out of her destructive cycle. Despite the ordeal of going through life support machine, she would not give up her obsession with dieting.

In 2012, she left her husband and moved in with my mother in law. Now her new obsession is something that I am very ashamed of disclosing. She is still anorexic and I feel sick to my stomach when I look at her. What kind of world is she living in? And God helps anyone, if they say something that is offensive to her. We have to watch our words around her. My mother in law is subservient to her. She has no choice, she is completely helpless when it comes to reasoning with her. I’ve seen deterioration in her physical health, all due to stresses of living with her daughter’s eating problem.

As a result of her eating disorder, we all have suffered enormously.  Her elder son dropped out of college and is such an angry young man. I don’t know what more we could have done to help her. We are a highly academic and a high achieving family. We have tried all methods of recovery. What I don’t understand is how can losing weight take priority over your husband and your children?

I really feel for families who are afflicted with this form of illness. The impact of Eating Disorder on Muslim families has not been a area of key focus. Yet the diagnosis of Eating Disorder of a close family member creates enduring stress, anxiety and conflict that greatly affect the health and well-being of the family unit and its individual members.



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A New Approach to Treating Eating Disorders: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)


Dear Readers,

“Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a unique empirically based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with commitment and behavior change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility. Psychological flexibility means contacting the present moment fully as a conscious human being, and based on what the situation affords, changing or persisting in behavior in the service of chosen values.” - Steven C. Hayes, Ph.D.

I was asked a question on Eating Disorders and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).  I’ve never tried this therapy, so I am unable to comment on its effectiveness, but it sounds very right to me and I really think it can really help one in their journey to recovery and self-discovery.

At the end of the day, you are the one who suffers when you don’t decide to accept and approve yourself or acknowledge the power ED has over your life.  As you begin to make the choice to accept and approve yourself, acknowledge your ED thoughts and work through them, you will discover the strength, courage, and motivation that you need to move forward in life. All I know is that in recovery, as you accept and approve yourself, you can begin to recognize that you have your own set of strengths, weaknesses, abilities and areas of potential. If you don’t begin to love, accept and approve yourself unconditionally, you will end up letting ED determine your worth, value and significance and let me tell you this clearly, that’s a dangerous position in which to be. ACT is helpful in identifying negative ED thoughts, its a powerful tool when it comes to giving your mind a power to turn anxiety into calmness and building confidence.

I found this wonderful article by Katerina O’Connor, B.Ed, M.A. Psychoanalysis, Dip Couns, ACT, MBACP that I would like to share with you. 



A New Approach to Treating Eating Disorders: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)


As most clinicians would know, working with a person suffering with an eating disorder can be frustrating and challenging. Often, despite the fact that they are suffering both physically and mentally, they are extremely ambivalent and resistant to change. The physical consequences of an eating disorder can be life-threatening, but it is the ceaseless torment by their internal private events and urges to follow rules that cause most of the suffering. The individual’s life shrinks as her* thoughts, feelings and attention become increasingly focused on food and body and her behaviour becomes increasingly organised around avoidance of food and body image. Changing her appearance, dieting, exercising, restricting her social interactions, become far more important than education, relationships, hobbies or other valued areas of living.

Acceptance and Commitment therapy is a comparatively recent therapy that proposes that most psychological suffering is linked to ‘experiential avoidance’, i.e. trying to avoid situations that are painful or trying to get rid of unwanted internal experiences, such as disturbing or painful thoughts and feelings. The behavioural rigidity seen in all eating disorders, with the main focus on food and weight , may be seen as a functional avoidance of life experiences, in other words, a form of avoidant coping.

Anorexia Nervosa, for example, often emerges in adolescence when the threat of social rejection by peers is a major concern. The individual may constantly ruminate how to reduce the risk of rejection and given the lack of control one has over the opinion of others, the anorexia sufferer may use a number of strategies to reduce this threat and the accompanying anxiety. The individual is able to gain some relief imagining how they will skip a meal, throw away a snack, exercise an extra hour, i.e. a retreat to the world of the body and anorexia promises to bring acceptance and at least provide a direct target for change.

In the case of someone with Bulimia Nervosa when a painful situation is encountered, binge eating may be a way to avoid the emotions associated with the experience. In the short term this may help to numb them to the events that were difficult, however, in the long term the stressful situation is likely to still be there to be dealt with in the future.

Eating disorders are also driven by a powerful urge to get rid of or control disturbing thoughts and bodily sensations. For example, eating disorders sufferers commonly deal with thoughts such as “I’m too fat.” When the body is evaluated negatively, these evaluations may become extended as meaningful about motivation, will-power and self-worth. In other words, some individuals come to see their bodies and their eating as a proxy for their worth.

The very next thought is what can be done to change this and thinking is soon dominated by plans for avoidance of the psychological experiences of the body and the self. What most people that suffer from an eating disorder don’t recognise is that the avoidance or turning away from internal distress can in fact be problematic. Constantly running away from difficult emotions, whether by restricting, purging, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, or any other such avoidance strategies, creates a dependency on avoidance behaviours and doesn’t teach the individual anything about how to cope with the inevitable difficulties that life presents.

An increasingly larger body of research suggests that it may be problematic to focus on changing thoughts and feelings in an attempt to change people’s eating behaviour. Instead, it may be more helpful to focus on changing the relationships between the thoughts and feelings they experience and the way they eat. ACT does not attempt to change the content of irrational or negative thoughts and unpleasant or painful emotions, instead the goal is to help people face these thoughts, see them from a different perspective and learn to respond in such a way that may be more helpful. ACT is about shifting life toward the things the individual cares about.

There are six main components of ACT which taken together aim to establish psychological flexibility. Psychological flexibility aims to help individuals to actively and openly contact their ongoing experiences in the present moment and at the same time foster committed action in valued areas of life.

Helping individuals become willing to face their difficult thoughts and feelings is the acceptance part of ACT. If a client expresses the thought, “I’m fat and disgusting”, we do not argue with or challenge this thought. Instead ACT uses mindfulness and cognitive defusion to help people get some distance from the thought and see it for what it is: just a thought. The pre-cursor to what is known as acceptance is to help people recognise how trying to avoid their emotions can in fact cause further emotional suffering. Bingeing , restricting or over exercising can be seen as behaviours to avoid emotional experiences that then results in the inability to participate in activities that are valued by the individual, for example, attending social events which may involve food, thus leading to further suffering in the form of isolation.

Facing eating disorder thoughts can feel counter-intuitive, as it may seem impossible to face them without giving in to them. However, once eating disorder thoughts and urges exist it is not so simple as to stop them from arising by strength of will, just as you can’t stop thinking about a chocolate cake when asked not to think about it. What may be possible is to learn to look at the thoughts instead of viewing the world from them.

Mindfulness helps to create a distance and objectivity to thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. Mindfulness can also lead to an experiential understanding that at any present moment there is the ‘me’ that is doing the thinking and the ‘me’ that is ‘watching myself think’. Using mindfulness enables clients to learn to observe their thoughts instead of being caught up in them. In other words, to be able to say, “I’m having the thought that I’m fat and disgusting”, as opposed to the thought, “I am fat and disgusting”.

People with eating disorders are often afraid of their emotions or don’t understand them. With both Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa, a lot of time is spent thinking about the past or worrying about the future; ruminating over events that have occurred, such as what they’ve eaten, or worrying about what to eat or how to get through a social situation where food is likely to be concerned. Whilst this is happening, people are generally not in contact with the present moment and consequently, missing out on large portions of their own life.

Defusion techniques can also result in a decrease in a thought’s believability. Individuals suffering with eating disorders hold on to many beliefs about their eating behaviours and about themselves, as if they were real. In Anorexia Nervosa, for example, the belief, “I am fat” is very common and even though most would strongly disagree that the person is fat, the belief is usually tightly held onto and not changeable when challenged. From an ACT perspective, the aim would be to see the thought as a thought without attempting to restructure the content.

Seeing oneself as the container for our private mental experience but not limited by what we think and feel is another component of ACT. A useful metaphor to describe this is that thoughts and feelings are like clouds in the sky and we are the sky itself, able to contain whatever comes and goes. For individuals with Anorexia Nervosa, the intensity of emotions when they are eating can seem unendurable. Developing a sense of permanence of ourselves and that thoughts and feelings are transient, can help people to make contact with a space that feels safer.

Another major component of ACT, and what dignifies the work of facing the difficult thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations, is helping individuals to connect with their deepest values and essential purpose in life. By connecting with values, individuals become aware of what they would want their life to be about if their eating disorder thoughts and impulses were not controlling their behaviour. Often the struggle with disordered eating has taken the focus off areas of life the individual truly values. Time, energy and other resources are spent maintaining disordered eating, whilst life moves on with little or no chosen direction. Hopes, dreams and ambitions get put to one side whilst the individual convinces themselves that they will return to these things that matter to them most just as soon as they get their weight under control. Hence, this part of therapy encourages people to make choices based on what they value instead of an avoidance of their feelings or a pursuit of thinness. It can be useful in terms of ambivalence, since many individuals suffering with eating disorders are ambivalent to change and working with values side steps the power struggle around weight and food intake and allows patients to stay in control in making choices according to their lives. ACT focuses on building values in the present without the world or the individual having to change.

Committed action involves noticing when action is not consistent with values and gently turning back to valued living. On the whole the therapeutic goal of ACT is to help individuals ride out the waves of uncomfortable thoughts and impulses while committing to action that corresponds to what really matters most in their lives. ACT encourages carrying out specific goals linked to chosen values starting with small steps and increasing to larger patterns of action. The values component guides the action that is needed whilst defusion, acceptance, contact with the present moment and self as context help break down the barriers to taking committed action.

ACT is gaining increasing empirical support across a variety of psychological issues. Research has shown that these methods can help alleviate a broad range of psychological problems, including depression, anxiety, stress, substance abuse, and psychotic symptoms. Whilst studies using ACT for treating eating disorders have not been established, ACT’s unique focus on undermining ineffective control strategies and experiential avoidance makes it a theoretically ideal treatment for anorexia.


If you would like to know more about ACT, please visit Katherine’s website:

If you want to contact Katherine:

Therapy @ Gandy St
25 Gandy Street

07742 081177


A Powerful Exercise on ACT



Some Books on ACT

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Eating Disorders: A Process-Focused Guide to Treating Anorexia and Bulimia (Professional) Hardcover – 1 Apr 2011


Posted in Anorexia, Binge Eating Disorder BED, Bulimia, Eating Disorders, Recovery | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

From Oscars to Prison- Please Eat Sanaa Seif



Sanaa Seif in Rome: A mural spotlights 20-year-old activist Sanaa Seif, jailed for three years for holding a peaceful march calling for an end to Egypt’s controversial Protest Law and the release of political prisoners. Sanaa’s mural overlays graffiti at Metropoliz, a former factory that now shelters families in Rome from different countries, and whose complex is covered with graffiti and murals by street artists from around the world. The bird recalls the “spirit of prophecy” and the colorful pattern comes from one of the nobles’ tombs in Luxor’s West Bank. (Photos (c) Ammar Abo Bakr)

السلام عليكم


Sanaa Seif ,

You don’t know me, but I know you so well through my friend Dina. In October, Egyptian Court sentenced you to three years in prison, a further three years’ of police monitoring and a fine of more than 10,000 Egyptian Pounds for participating in a demonstration against the 2013 Protest Law on June 21, 2014.


We all know how this is a violation of Article 12 of the 1998 United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders which states that: “… everyone is entitled, individually and in association with others, to be protected effectively under national law in reacting against or opposing, through peaceful means, activities and acts, including those by omission, attributable to States that result in violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”


Sanaa sentenced to Three Years in prison


Only last year you were at the Sundance Film Festival, promoting Egypt’s First Oscar nominated documentary film ‘The Square’. I know all about the tears, fears, trauma, heartache, sweat, blood, death of minds, hearts and bodies that went into producing this short documentary on Egypt’s famed Square, Al-Midan.  You worked as an Editor and Shooter for that movie, and In your interview you said, you believed in Director Jehane Noujaim‘s vision of getting the message of the Square out to world masses. All of you behind the Square have been accused of being employed by foreign antigovernment forces, but we know the reality. What went into Square was a dream of believers, who believed in revival of democracy, who wanted to become the backbone of the future Egypt, where future generations didn’t have to fight for survival.


Sanaa Seif with Director Jahaan


Last night, I was at the Monthly local Amnesty Meeting. We wrote cards to people who’ve been unjustly incarcerated and are subject to abuse and torture. I wrote a card to a brother in Morocco,
and to women in South Africa. The list was very long. I did not see your name on the list.

Write for Rights

Write for Rights


I thought, I’ll write you a letter and I’ll share the letter on my Blog. So some who accidentally lands on this blog may take a look at this post and will pray for your release.

Words Fail Me….

When it comes to offering you words of comfort, I fail. I’m an amateur blogger who blogs on Eating Disorders in Muslim World. Many years back, in late 2010, I said Goodbye to Politics and spent my nights and days counting calories and trying to burn off excess fat on my body. I gave up hope of changed world and the only thing I strived to control was myself and number on the scale.

But before I gave up hope of better Pakistan, better world, how can I forget the year 2010 in Beirut, when alongside other young people from MENA (Middle East North Africa)  we all shouted to cameras ‘We are the Change Makers’.


We are The Future

We are The Future

GCM Egypt be the cahnge GCM Kuwait 2 GCM participants

Tunisian Youth was the proudest Group there, followed by bemused and brilliant Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain, Morocco and other  Countries.  Little did we know that one by one, we all will see doom of our countries.

I was in Islamabad interning for a Human Rights organization with a dead mind, when the news of Jasmine revolution reached me.  For a second, just a brief second I felt something and then it was all calm, as I busied myself in planning an extraneous work out  for next 7 days. Within a year the world around me collapsed, and changed and I was untouched, unfazed by all the upheaval.

Eating Disorder Meets Rape Victim

But then something happened, that shook my soul. I was sent to Islamabad High Court to report back on a Rape Case of Mukhtarran Mai. No devices were allowed in the court. It was my fourth day on  starvation diet and my mind was simply dead. As the case unfolded before my eyes, I safely retreated into my Eating Disorder world. The world in that court was in a sharp contrast to the world where I lived in, where only  number on the scale mattered.  It was then a lady wrapped in white Chador (shawl) came and took a seat next to me. All I could see was her fingers moving over the prayer beads . My disordered mind didn’t recognise her, she was the rape victim. As  the lawyers flung mud at each other across the room and simply stripped her of her dignity, the fingers on the prayer beads moved even more swiftly.  It was only after the court was adjourned for the day that I was pulled out of my deep slumberness of disordered world by my boss. I had missed the whole thing. I was seated next to the Mukhtaran Mai and my job was to interact with her, to pick up on her emotions and to get her views on the case. Then on cold limbs I stuttered over to the lady in white to offer her my useless words. I mumbled ‘Aslam ili Kum’, and ‘I’m sorry for the ordeal you’ve been through’ she simply held both my hands and just looked at me and said Allah does not burden a soul more than it can bare.”

Mukhtaran Mai


Do you know what struck me  most about her? Here a woman was raped by a group of men, paraded around the whole village and while tradition dictates she should commit suicide after such an act, she defied everything and fought the case, despite constant threats to her life. Now she’s an iconic advocate of women’s rights. She has opened a girls’ school and women’s crisis centre.

Ahmed Hulusi said:

The beauty and the perfection of all Creation is directly linked with the fact that it serves the purpose for which it was created.

Always think about the reason why the world was created. Say to yourself: “The reason why I have been created is so that I can be of some purpose some day.”

Today Mukhtaran Mai has given a hope to many hopeless women and has given a message to predators, you can never escape the justice.

In June, 2014, you were arrested, your brother Alaa Abd El-Fattah, Prominent Egyptian blogger was also arrested.  Soon after your arrest, your father, Ahmed Seif El-Islam, a prominent human rights advocate and lawyer passed away. I think the grief of failing Egypt simply killed him. Egyptian authorities allowed you and your brother to visit your comatose father in hospital the week before he died. Very generously the authorities then granted you and your brother a permission to attend your father’s funeral on Aug. 28, 2014. You came out of the prison with your brother, dressed in a prison garb, surrounded by police and there was a look of sheer determination in your eyes.

You come out of Prison to attend the Funeral and you addressed the crowd.


In September Dina, the producer of The Square, your friend, your older sister took a flight out of New York to Stockholm’s to appeal for your release to the media. Soon after, we hear a very sad news of your sentence, your brother was also sentenced to 15 years in prison. It made us lose hope in Justice System.

Waiting to go into Court for Hearing


You went on a hunger strike in August. Your brother also began a hunger strike on 18 August to protest his detainment. Your hunger strike hurts many deeply. Deep down, we look at you for courage, we care for you and we believe that you’ll be out soon. There are good people in this world who are working on your case. People are not going to give up on you Sanaa and your brother.


Your mother and sister Leila escalated their hunger strike on 27th october 2014, to protest your jail sentence.


Everything in our world has reached a critical juncture. The conflict in Gaza disheartened even the most fervent peace advocates .We all watch in disdain as our leaders descend into political squabbling and recriminations, but we all know that dream of better world is not dead at all. We have to keep hope alive, if we want to survive. So in Summer, I plucked up my courage and participated in protest against conflict in Gaza and then I went back to my local Amnesty Group. Someone said to me, by closing your eyes and by retreating into Eating Disorder world, the reality of life doesn’t change.

Protest in London and in my Home Town

Protest in London and in my Home Town

Local Protest

Don’t lose hope.

“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in the darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.” Hafiz


Hunger Strike

In pre Christian Ireland, If a man felt wronged by you and starved himself to death on your doorstep, you had to bear the burden of his debts. Sadly our authorities are bit detached from such responsibilities, such emotions.

From the time you entered prison, you have been struggling and facing a lot of challenges in order to survive. Everyday is a battle of survival. Do not give into unjust by compromising on your health and well-being. In hunger strike the protestor suffers, not the person protested against. I know a lot when it comes to effects of hunger on human body. It paralyses and destroys us. I saw many girls end up in hospital, It all started off with cutting out solids from the diet and then liquids.

These people want you to suffer, they want you to have ill-health, so you can no-longer do the work you do. Your hunger strike and your ill health affects those who love you . It hurts your father’s soul. We want your body, your mind, your heart and soul to function and we want you well, even in that horrible prison, we want to see you well. Always bear in mind the food your given in prison comes from Allah and not from these oppressors.

There are a lot of people who love and care for you, I know your a warrior and you will for sure always keep on fighting and one day the winds will turn on your side and will guide you towards achieving all your goals in life Inshallah. Your mother, sister, freinds family, and Dina will keep on fighting till one day you and others who are unjustly detained are released from that prison.

Inspiring People in Recovery

I see you as one of the many inspiring people in recovery. I listen to your words carefuly and they give me hope. When I watch this short documentary on you, it fills me with so much emotions and gives me strength to carry on with my work despite all the obstacles. We know the elusive dream of living in an independent and democratic country is in mortal danger, but together nothing is impossible. We have to keep hope alive. The promise of better Egypt is not dead at all. Never give up and never lose hope for even just a very small amount of it can make a very huge change to your life.

Short Documentary on Sanaa with English Subtitles


To break each of a poor man’s ten fin­gers
just because you have the strength offends God.
Show com­pas­sion to those who fall before you,
and oth­ers will extend their hands when you are down.

The man who plants bad seed hal­lu­ci­nates
if he expects sweet fruit at har­vest time.
Take the cot­ton from your ears! Give
your peo­ple jus­tice before jus­tice finds you.

All men and women are to each other
the limbs of a sin­gle body, each of us drawn
from life’s shim­mer­ing essence, God’s per­fect pearl;
and when this life we share wounds one of us,
all share the hurt as if it were our own.
You, who will not feel another’s pain,
you for­feit the right to be called human.



Free Sanaa

Free Sanaa



Posted in Eating Disorder Stories, Inspiring People in Recovery, Webinars | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Life After Eating Disorder Treatment- Back to Work Part 11

Dear Readers,

This is Part 11 of Life After Eating Disorder Treatment. After the treatment, you need to work on coping skills and managing your day-to-day stressors as well as building a life that will keep you sane and healthy and away from the Demon of ED. Recovery is not easy and it may seem like your life is turned upside down as your illness may have forced you to take a lengthy absence from work or has contributed you to being less productive at work.  Work often plays one of the largest roles in shaping our perceptions of ourselves and if we have been absent for some time due to ED the fact that we are not working often adds to our feelings of a lack of self-worth. However, once we are on the right road to recovery, going back to work is often one of the most important factors in speeding up our return to full health. It provides us with a support network and is an opportunity to regain our sense of self-esteem and puts some routine and stability back into our lives.


I hope Information below will help you to gain better understanding of Going back to work and coping with stresses at work.


After people have finished their treatment, they often expect to go back to work straight away. Their family and friends may share this feeling. However, everybody reacts differently and some people may not want to go back to their old job. Eating Disorders are a debilitating condition and can have a powerful emotional effect long after the treatment has ended. Many people find they need to take some time after their treatment is finished, to adjust to what has happened and rethink what they really want to do in life.

Because of this there is tremendous variation in how quickly people go back to their jobs. Some can’t wait, as to them it represents a major step on the road back to a normal life, and is a sign they have overcome their ED. Some people have no choice but to start earning money again as soon as possible. Other people find their priorities have changed and they need time to rethink their lives. Some people, of course, manage to continue working throughout their out-patient treatment, some from home, some part-time and some full-time (depending on severity of your ED and treatment you’re seeking).

However, for many people, going back to work is a major milestone in their recovery: it signals a return to how they lived before their illness, helps to distract them from any worries they may have about their health, and brings structure and security back to their life.

Before returning to work, it is worth considering how you would like to deal with your colleagues. Some people going back to work after ED can feel disappointed and isolated.

Occupational Health Services

Many companies have an occupational health service for their employees, which can offer support  in various ways to people returning to work. Some are able to rearrange work times to avoid stressful times such as rush hours. Sometimes, part-time work can be arranged to ease you back into your job, that’s what I did and still do.

Occupational health departments may also offer counseling, both before and after your return to work, which is completely confidential.

If You can no Longer do your Job

An employer who believes that a person’s absence from, or irregular attendance at, work is having a negative effect on the organisation, can dismiss that person if employee is not capable of doing the work for which they are employed.

Dismissal for this reason can be taken to an industrial tribunal if the employee has worked for the employer for one year continuously. However, under the Disability Discrimination Act 2010 employers may have to justify the dismissal of a person with ED. The Equality Act 2010 says you mustn’t be discriminated against because of your disability. There are some types of physical and mental conditions which might be treated as a disability under the Equality Act depending on the effect they have on your daily life. Eating Disorders is one of them.


Finding a New Job

Now this is the most tricky part and very complex as well. If you gave up your job and want to work again, you will need to think about what to tell future employers about your illness.

If a job application form, or the person who interviews you, asks for details about any condition which may affect your ability to do the job in question, YOU MUST ANSWER HONESTLY. If it was discovered you had not given information about the fact that you had ED, your employer could dismiss you for false answers. However, under the Disability Discrimination Act 2010, employers cannot refuse to offer a person a job solely because that person has had ED.

Honestly, God helps you, if your mind is still stuck in ED limbo. You will struggle to perform daily tasks. I’ve been through that, and it’s horrible.

You will need to prepare truthful answers that emphasis the success of your treatment, and your ability to do the job you have applied for.

It is helpful to take some time to think about your previous jobs, your achievements and your experience, so that you can present those in most positive way. I had a book of recipes to show them. You are still the same person, and there’s no reason, why you should  be any less efficient, unless your travelling to work with demon of ED as your sole companion.


Developing Positive Coping Strategies

Employment is about much more than making a living. The satisfaction and security of work contribute to positive self-esteem, and being part of a work team can help foster a sense of belonging.
Working out the right coping strategies to help you handle different situations can be tough, but it’s worth it.  Note that many of these strategies can be put into action before you ever set foot in your workplace or schedule your first job interview.  When you are playing an active role in your own well-being and maintaining the proper perspective on your situation, you will find it easier to bring out your very best in the work world.

On-the-Job Strategies- Taken from UM depression tool kit

Consider adopting the following strategies to improve your outlook and performance on the job:

Don’t let work take precedence over recovery.  Work is important, but it is only one aspect of your life.  Even on the busiest of days, remember that recovery is your top priority. Your treatment plan and the self-care strategies you employ each day should not take a back seat to the immediate concerns and demands of the workday.

Any time we feel those negative emotions come up, it’s a voice from deeper within ourselves asking to be heard. 

Remember what’s important about work.  It is rare to find a job that doesn’t involve challenging people, deadlines, difficult assignments and other stressors.  At times when work feels overwhelming, try to focus on the positive reasons why you work, including financial independence and security, personal satisfaction and the sense of community or belonging that comes from contributing to a team effort.

Don’t set yourself up by expecting perfection.  You will face disappointments, make mistakes, and encounter obstacles at work – everyone does.  Adjust your attitude and expectations about yourself and your work, knowing that problems are inevitable in any job.

Take Breaks and this is so so Important

I always always take breaks at work. Research indicates that taking breaks can decrease stress hormones, increase dopamine and other feel-good chemicals, and strengthen the neural connections that aids memory and executive functions.

This is How I Work:

Work for 50 Mins

Have a 10 Min Break

Work for 50 Mins

Have a 30 Mins Break

Repeat Throughout the Day till It’s time to Go Home

Don’t let the past define today or tomorrow.  Realize that problems caused by your symptoms in the past will not necessarily repeat themselves, especially if you have a working treatment plan in place. Just because ED once caused you to miss a crucial deadline doesn’t mean you are unreliable.  Give yourself credit for the progress you are making, and permission to start over.

Develop symptom-specific strategies.  To help you keep focused on the future instead of the past, make sure to learn all you can about your illness and your specific symptoms. Take a close look at the symptoms that have tripped you up in the past, and develop specific strategies for countering each of them.  For example, if unplanned meal, a social get together can lead to your anxiety/stress and can make it hard to concentrate on work project, it might be helpful toconfide in a boss or a trustee about your struggle, and ask for extra help/time to perform the essential functions of the job.

If New Project is putting you under stress, break work assignments into smaller, more manageable steps that can be completed in shorter timeframes.


Do Not Compromise on Your Meal Plan/Calorie Intake. Eating the right foods can improve your memory, lift your mood and help you concentrate for longer. Simply ensuring an adequate and steady calorie intake throughout the day is therefore the first step to keeping focused and alert. TOP TIP: Eating regularly – three meals and three snacks a day – helps you to concentrate. Snack on walnuts and seeds.

Keep in mind that politics and personalities are part of working.  When you work with other people (and most of us do!), differing agendas, conflicting priorities and interpersonal conflict can’t be avoided. They do not need to derail your efforts to recover or cause you to retreat back to ED behaviours.

Don’t go it alone“You have to lean into the wind.” It is difficult to juggle a full work schedule while also meeting everyone’s expectations at home.  When you also need to find time and energy to devote to managing your ED, it can be overwhelming.  Examine your daily or weekly schedule and look for activities, both at home and at work, that could be delegated to others.  Involving coworkers in shared responsibilities, asking family members to help with chores, or reaching out to a friend to provide a “sounding board” for your ideas and concerns are all good strategies for accomplishing your goals without sacrificing your emotional health and recovery.


There is no better day than today to start living the life you want. Don’t let your ED derail your plans.






Posted in Anorexia, Binge Eating Disorder BED, Bulimia, Downloads, Eating Disorders, Life After Eating Disorder (ED) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Inspirational Quotes In Recovery By Ahmed Hulusi

Dear Readers,

Please find below some quotes of Ahmed Hulusi from his Book, The Revelation. Last week, I shared these quotes with a person from Brooklyn, NY. She asked me what made me go through my treatment, and what made me stick through my treatment?

I still remember the day treatment team was making a decision about my future, it was the most difficult day of my life. I was so ill but I was determined not to go through weight gain program.  First week in hospital, I was given a choice, whether I wanted to continue with the treatment or not, and I desperately wanted to say NO, but I didn’t.

My mother had left her very ill mother bbehind in Islamabad to be with me. It was her 7th month in England, and I was simply deteriorating, showing no signs of improvement, the out-patient treatment was not working.  It’s during those times, you pick up Qur’an and read it and try to understand what Allah is saying to you through His book and you realise you’ve no choice but to go for treatment,  such self-destruction is not allowed in Islam. Same night I picked up Ahmed Hulusi’s book and came across these quotes. I wrote them down and just last week, I found them in my Recovery Box. SO I thought, I’ll share them with all of you.

Happy Reading

Recovery is never out of reach, no matter how hopeless your situation seems. Change is possible with the treatment and support, and by addressing the root cause of your illness. Don’t give up—even if you’ve tried and failed before. The road to recovery often involves bumps, pitfalls, and setbacks. But by examining the problem and thinking about change, you’re already on your way.

This quote by Ahmed Hulusi really made me look deeper into my limited self-beliefs.

We can classify the whole of mankind into two groups: one group would include those people who sincerely think about others in the same way as they think about themselves; the other group would include those people who place importance on their own status, and are always striving to serve their own selfish needs.

A human being could reach enlightenment simply by giving up all of his personal views and enlightenment.

“breakthroughs occur only when one is able to view things in a completely different, new way.”
Ahmed Hulusi, Universal Mysteries

I am not my Eating Disorder- I am not different from others.

You can see yourselves as being different from us as much as you want, but in actual fact we are all together as one.

Say: “Everyone acts according to his own creation program (natural disposition)” [17. Al-Isra:84]

Eating Disorders and lack of Understanding of Mental Health issues

Those who cannot comprehend the Truth will of course will never be able to understand you; they will simply deny what you say, or criticize you. However, those who grasp the Truth will criticise no other person, nor will they find fault with anyone.

You should be communicating with every person according to his level of  understanding.

Eating Disorder Desires

A person will ascend to the realm of Reality as soon as he gives up his desires, or whenever he shows equanimity in the face of changing fortunes. He will then ascend to the level of a servant of Allah, and will become totally content….

If you really want to say something worthwhile, get to know yourself first!

Eating Disorders, Low Self-Esteem, I am Worthless……

Consider the idea that those who have been created are either precious beings or they are worthless. This is an idea that is acceptable only to mere mortals. In the eyes of the Creator, however, there are neither precious beings nor any worthless beings. There are only those who He has created! “Good” and “Evil” are concepts that are perceived by different people in different ways. In the sight of the Creator, all beings are considered as one.

Beaware that no single creature has been created in an imperfect state. Those who assume that this is not the case merely demonstrate their limited understanding. all creation is perfect because of the following reason:

The beauty and the perfection of all Creation is directly linked with the fact that it serves the purpose for which it was created.

Always think about the reason why the world was created. Say to yourself: “The reason why I have been created is so that I can be of some purpose some day.”

Think,think, and think again. Even if you cannot reach the truth despite all your thoughts, you will atleast have been amongst those who can think.

Eating Disorders and Expectations

In every situation or circumstance, try at all times to be the one who offers!

But do your giving without expecting anything in return. Give no thought to what you will get in return. Especially try not to think what you will recieve from the Creator. For every single moment of your life, try to be the one mediates for the sake of doing good, without expecting anything in return.

Do Not Chose ED as your Companion

What being in all creation will never, ever, need someone else? only the Creator Himself. So choose him as your friend. Turn yourself towards Him, and tell Him of your needs, if He has not been informed of them already.

Neither feel proud nor trust anything that you may possess in this short lifetime.

Forgiveness Repentance Humility

Repentance is the state of being regretful

If your wrongful act has harmed any living creature, then compensate for the damage that you may have caused and try to make them happy, so that you could make up for your past mistakes.

Offering Relief to a Loved One

Providing an hour’s comfort to a sick person in the middle of the night is as good a deed as a thousand years of devout worship. Worshipping, however, is a far better activity than fretting away your time on pleasures, so allocate your spare time to somebody who is in need.

Posted in Affirmations, Anorexia, Bulimia, Eating Disorder and Islam, Eating Disorder and Me, Eating Disorders, EDNOS, Inspirational Quotes | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment