Meet Shira Rose: A Conversation About Eating Disorder Recovery

February 24, 2020 4 min read 1 Comment

Meet Shira Rose:  A Conversation About Eating Disorder Recovery

It is National Eating Disorders Awareness week.  According to statistics, up to 30 million people in the USA suffer from disordered eating.  Eating disorders can vary widely in signs and symptoms and the dangers are often overlooked.  We teamed up with body positive blogger and eating disorder therapist, Shira Rose, to start the conversation about Eating Disorders.  K-Deer donates 5% of e-commerce sales of our Emmie Stripe print to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).

Who is Shira Rose and what led you to decide to become a vocal advocate for body positivity?

I am an eating disorder therapist and body positive blogger in New York, passionate about doing what I can to make this world a safer and more inclusive place for people in larger bodies. My passion for advocating for body positivity definitely comes from my own struggles with a severe eating disorder that took over my life for more than two decades. 

I grew up with the message that to be loved in my family, I needed to be thin. Of course that message was confirmed further by our thin-obsessed culture and I spent the majority of my life fighting against my naturally larger body. During my periods of anorexia, I saw how much better I was treated in my smaller body and it made me even more determined to fight for my life and stand up to the fatphobia I saw happening to people in larger bodies. 

In my smaller body, I was praised for my weight loss even though I was dying. No one made assumptions or judgements about my health, I was able to find clothes at any store I walked into, and living in my smaller body felt so much safer.

But that safety and relief came at the cost of everything else in my life. As my body shrunk, so did my entire life. I couldn’t participate at holidays because I was afraid of being around food, I turned down travel opportunities because I was worried about not having access to the few foods I’d allow myself to eat, I completely isolated myself from all social events because starving and exercising came before anything else. My eating disorder took years away from me that I can never get back. 

Throughout all of my struggles, I knew that I wanted to do whatever was in my power to ensure that no one else had to experience the same kind of pain. While I obviously can’t magically fix our thin-obsessed culture, I have the privilege of being able to use my platform to bring awareness to these topics I’m so passionate about and of course, on the lighter side of things, make sure that my fashion posts are as size inclusive as possible. 

Shira Rose in Emmie Stripe leggings

 

Who or what did you utilize as a resource to take the steps in the right direction to recovery?

It took me a long time to even acknowledge how bad things were. Partly because it’s pretty common with eating disorders to struggle with an inability to recognize how sick you are (it’s called anosognosia) and partly because our culture is so disordered and my weight loss was being praised by the world around me. Fortunately, I am so lucky to work in the field and I have amazing colleagues who helped me find my fight again. 

The most important thing to me when looking for treatment was finding providers who utilize a Health At Every Size approach. I ended up finding an amazing therapist and dietitian who together with my colleagues helped support me through my recovery. Creating community is essential for everyone, but particularly when you’re trying to recover in such a disordered world. I’ve worked hard to build that safe community and it continues to be so important in my recovery.

Shira Rose in Emmie Stripe leggins

What habits or lifestyle changes did you adopt that have helped you continue along your recovery journey?

The most important change for me has been learning to use my voice and communicate my needs instead of ignoring all of it. Along with that, I’ve been working hard to build community and connect to people instead of isolating. And of course, I continue to see my therapist and dietitian regularly and utilize my support system.

What would today's Shira tell yesterday's Shira?

Oh boy. I wish 5 year old Shira had someone to tell her that she was NOT broken and there was nothing wrong with her. That she was worthy of love exactly as she was. That it wasn’t her fault that the people who were supposed to keep her safe and protect her, couldn’t. That she didn’t have to spend her life trying to shrink a body that didn’t need shrinking in the first place. That it was society that was the problem, not her.

So the best I can do today is is care for myself and give myself the love, connection and support that I need, and that we all need. And to do what I can to continue building a fuller life worth living.

Shira Rosenbluth, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker in New York City. She has a passion for helping people feel their best in their body at any size and specializes in the treatment of disordered eating, eating disorders, and body-image dissatisfaction using a weight-neutral approach. She’s also the author of TheShiraRose.com, a popular body positive style blog that’s been featured in InStyle, Verily Magazine, The Everygirl, Glam, and laurenconrad.com. You can find her on Instagram, @theshirarose. Find more about her therapy practice at ShiraRosenbluthLCSW.com.

1 Response

Valerie Brown
Valerie Brown

February 27, 2020

Thank you so very much for sharing this beautiful story! It breaks my heart but also gives me hope for the future .

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