** Trigger Warning- Eating Disorders **
Your Weight Does Not Dictate Your Worth:
According to the National Eating Disorder Association “Eating disorders are serious but treatable mental and physical illnesses that can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights. In the United States, 28.8 million Americans will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives.”
Shoshana Gordan, a Portland based trainer who is all about inclusive fitness and body liberation, is one of the millions that have been affected by an eating disorder. Using her own personal struggles and her experience as a NASM personal trainer, she’s spent the past 23 years, working with people who are ready to live life on their own terms – physically and emotionally and helping them to reclaim their health and confidence to live full, happy lives. In addition to being a personal trainer, Shoshana is also a ACE Fitness Instructor, Master of Social Work, ( MSW) Health Coach, volunteer NEDA coordinator, and is a Still I Run’s 2023 Champion Ambassador! Oh, and she helps out with our ambassador program as a coordinator.
In the past, Shoshana struggled with EDNOS - Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified. According to DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), this was a classification of disordered eating that falls outside of the criteria of anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. “I met all the criteria of this disorder, just not the weight percentage aspect. I had an unhealthy relationship around food, fitness, and body image,” remarked Shoshana.
Loving Our Bodies is Not Impossible:
Shoshana’s approach to wellness with her clients is perhaps considered “atypical” from the traditional methodologies of personal training. Her approach is body acceptance. “I try to promote body positivity, but sometimes that is too far-reaching for many of my clients. I know for me; I find it much easier to do body acceptance. With body acceptance, eventually, over time it can turn into body positivity,” she shared.
Shoshana is determined more than ever to help her clients refocus their attention and obsession with weight loss. It is possible for an individual to improve their relationship with their bodies over time. With a healthy support system and community healing, recovery is possible. “It is so difficult to ask people to love their bodies as they are, but I noticed it is a little easier to accept one’s body as it is,” said Shoshana.
Make Peace with the Mirror and Watch Your Reflection Change:
While no one knows for sure what causes eating disorders, a growing consensus suggests that it is a range of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors. And like a lot of mental illnesses, eating disorders do not discriminate and affect people of all ages, genders, and demographics.
With this in mind, Shoshana has a very mindful approach towards her clients. “I ask my clients ‘how do you feel?’. I try to find out the root cause of the feelings they are experiencing. I also ask about their why for wanting to change their bodies,” she states. There are so many different variables for why an individual is a certain weight. This can be due to muscle mass, water retention and genetic makeup of a person. “I try to find what movement my clients enjoy doing. For instance, if one of my clients loves the outdoors, I encourage them to go outside and walk. Working out does not have to fit into a box or stereotype of how it should be; there are so many forms of movement and exercise,” mentions Shoshana.
Shoshana advocates for her clients to take time to do what makes their souls happy, encouraging them to eat food that will nourish their bodies and help them thrive. "I do not believe in a ‘new me’ approach. I want my clients to be the best version of themselves; it does not matter what size that comes in," Shoshana remarks. The body, mind and heart all interconnected, each day is one step closer to being a healthier and happier version of yourself.
If you're struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Helpline toll-free at (800)-931-2237, chat with someone at myneda.org/helpline-chat, or text NEDA to 741-741 for 24/7 crisis support.