Why do eating disorders disrupt your relationships? What made you realize that something needed to change? What do you think and see when you look at yourself in the mirror? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about the journey to recovery with Hannah Linnea.


Hannah Linnea is a health coach who helps people overcome sabotaging food habits and master body image so that they can gain confidence and have joy in life. ​Her mission is to provide clients with passionate, personalized support and the most up-to-date information so they can achieve their long-term goals.  She holds a Master's degree specialized in food behaviors and food access.

​Hannah has been health-focused her entire life. She has over a decade of experience weight-training with teams, coaches, personal trainers and her own solo training. In order to build on her strong foundation of well-being and weightlifting, she went through a personal training course with the International Sports Science Association (ISSA) in 2019, and she has also done supplementary fitness and health training courses through the Clean Health Institute based in Australia.

Visit Hannah's website and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube.


  • Coming to grips with the reality of having an Eating Disorder
  • How an Eating Disorder can damage relationships
  • Body image as a mirror to your mental health
  • Find the right team

Coming to grips with the reality of having an Eating Disorder

People may often excuse or deal with their dangerous or unhealthy habits by pretending that they are good, helpful, or beneficial in some way.
My life revolved around what I now know is my eating disorder, but at the time I had no idea. (Hannah Linnea)
There will come a moment when you realize that the way you are currently living is not sustainable, and something needs to change if you are to go on living a truly healthy, fulfilled, and prosperous life.

How an Eating Disorder can damage relationships

Eating disorders coerce you into feeling ashamed and encourage you to pull away from your loved ones and people who would want to help you because it wants to keep you isolated.
I couldn’t bring myself to confess to her what I was living with, so I cut everybody off. I was like, “You don’t get it, you don’t care. I know what’s right for me, you guys are the ones with the problem” and sure enough, then I was all by myself. (Hannah Linnea)
An eating disorder will warp your mind so that all you can think about and care about is weight, appearance, and the size of clothes. Seek treatment to stop that voice from talking, so that it can’t convince you to abandon yourself completely and shut down every relationship you have that cares for your wellbeing.

Body image as a mirror to your mental health

Body image was the access point for me to realize that I do live with mental illness … addressing my body image issues was my key to getting a grasp on life again. (Hannah Linnea)
Notice the thoughts that come up when you see yourself when you look in the mirror. The way that you speak to yourself and how you see yourself can give you clues about your mental health. If you are in recovery, practice body neutrality if jumping straight to body positivity is too much. Give yourself gratitude for this vessel that allows you to interact with life, and be grateful for all the things it lets you do.

Find the right team

When you are in recovery, keep searching for the doctors and practitioners that see you and not just the eating disorder. Look for the good doctors and build a strong team of professionals, loved ones, and your determination to help you overcome the eating disorder and recover for good.



I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


Podcast Transcription

[DR. CRISTINA CASTAGNINI] Behind The Bite podcast is part of a network of podcasts that are good for the world. Check out podcasts like the Full of Shift podcast, After the First Marriage podcast and Eating Recovery Academy over at practiceofthepractice.com/network. Welcome to Behind The Bite podcast. This podcast is about the real-life struggles women face with food, body image and weight. We're here to help you inspire and create better healthier lives. Welcome. Well, hello everyone. Welcome to the show. Whether you are returning or new I always love when you're here so thank you. Tonight, we have somebody who is here and willing to share her own personal story. I always just want to say, when people do share their stories they might say some things that, for anyone who does have struggles with food or body image, they may share some things that might be triggering. So I just want to keep that in mind for anybody listening because eating disorders, when you have one, there's some things that people think about or go through on a daily basis that are really hard. That can be difficult to hear sometimes, but it's the reality of these horrible illnesses. I do think they need to be shared and discussed because the more we do talk about them and the more people are willing to open up about them, I think the less stigma that they're going to be about eating disorders. I've always said, I wish that when I was going through my own, there had been more discussion about eating disorders and I wish that I'd heard more people be more open about what they were struggling with or what they were going through on a day-to-day basis, because then maybe I would've thought, oh I can get help or I can recover. Or I would've even thought I had an eating disorder at the time, instead of just thinking I was failing at dieting or I was doing something wrong. So I really appreciate it when somebody like our guest today is here. I don't want to get too far into the introduction here. I just want to get into introducing our guest and having her share her story. Hannah is a body image and mental health advocate, and she obtained her Masters of Arts specializing in food behaviors back in 2019 and what she's doing now, she actively works online to change the narrative around body image and she advocates that body image as an extension of mental health. Well, Hannah, welcome to the show. [HANNAH LINNEA] Thank you so much for having me on Cristina. I'm really excited. [DR. CRISTINA] So I love when I have people on that are willing to open up and share about their own personal stories and so really appreciate that you're willing to do that. So if you would mind, would you just start with your own story? You can start from wherever you want to, but typically people just start from where they noticed they started to have a relationship with maybe their food or body that started to become a struggle. So what was that like for you? [HANNAH] Yes, definitely. You and I, well, how did it even start for me? I mean, I didn't know I had a food problem in hindsight. I started dieting when I was 11 years old and I started body checking when I was like eight years old but as far as like being aware of having a problem, it wasn't until in my early twenties when I was like, oh. So I went through a very long time in my life where I didn't realize that not skipping meals for a day was a problem, or just working out excessive amounts regularly and then going for walks. I didn't realize that it was a problem. I thought it was just me being diligent. I thought it was me being like, well, I need to work on my health and my exercise and I need to make sure that I look good. So I was always, I was completely unaware of my relationship with myself and it wasn't a very, it was really thoughtless. in high summer how did I even make it this far? This is bonkers but when I, it definitely got to climax when I was 24, 25 when I was so I'm in Canada and I was living in a city called Toronto, which is on the other side of the country from where I live. I live like, that's like New York for Canada and I live in Vancouver, which is like Seattle so it's like that geographic difference. I was all alone and I was doing my master's, which is so wonderful and I was definitely a very typical, or I was, I fell into the stereotype of high performing. I like to have, make sure I was well put together, but it was all, I didn't know it was a part of my mental illness. I ended up during my master's. I got really involved with gym and dieting and calories and initially I realized I had a problem when I developed bulimia at that time. So I knew there was a trigger warning, of course. So I ended up developing bulimia during my masters and that's when I realized there was something wrong and, it's funny I didn't realize it before, but that's when I realized something was wrong. So I was dealing with a lot of depression at that time, which I had also been a pretty new experience for me in the sense of like paralyzing in bed, unable to get out of bed. It really revolved around hating getting dressed every day, hating looking up at the mirror., I had a very strict routine of getting on the scale and then making sure that I drank my water and got in my steps. My life revolved around what I now know is my eating disorder but at the time I had no idea and I was just really depressed. I graduated, I went home to the other side of the country and my mom was like, "I think something's wrong." Nobody knew that I was experiencing bulimia and living with the binge, purge cycle. [DR. CRISTINA] Sounds like you didn't even know at the time. [HANNAH] I didn't. When I went to the doctor actually, my mom was like, you should go to the doctor. She's like, maybe you're depressed. I was like, okay, whatever mom, fine. I went and I was in complete denial, which is so funny because now it's so clear my life like makes so much sense now about how I always struggled with fitting in and feeling like I had sense of belonging and purpose. It makes so much sense now, now that I have a label for it, which is why I so openly like to talk about it. But yes, I went to the doctor and the doctor actually referred me for inpatient care. She had referred, where are you based? [DR. CRISTINA] I'm in California. [HANNAH] California. So here we get referred quite frequently to just a specialist for anything and everything in Canada, just because like our general practitioners are access for everything. I got referred to an inpatient clinic and when I got called for the inpatient initial interview before going into the actual clinic, I was actually on a hike with my mom and my stepdad. It was really uncomfortable because nobody but the doctor knew in the clinic knew what was going on and they were asking me very personal, triggering, upsetting questions and I was being really secretive and cryptic and my stepdad and my mom were like, when I got off the call, what's going on? That was a really weird call like are you okay? Do we need to be worried? I just got really defensive and I was really at that time, very impulsive and I ended up leaving home. I got rid of all my stuff. I packed a backpack and I moved to Mexico. This is back --- [DR. CRISTINA] Okay, so let's stop there for a second. So you go to the doctors and, this is interesting to me, so curious, what was your doctor asking? What did you tell your doctor to get referred to inpatient? Was it inpatient for eating disorders, inpatient for depression or what? What disorder did you have? [HANNAH] Yes, I told her, sorry, I guess I needed more information to make that clear, but I went and I was like, I was, because I was house sitting for one of my aunts and I was like, I'm going to house sit. I'm just so afraid of being by myself because all I do when I'm by myself is I just binge and then at night I purge and I'm so afraid of gaining weight. now saying all these things, it's so clear that that's what an eating disorder is but at the time I was just so overwhelmed and I'm paralyzed in fear. Then she asked me about my routines and what my days looked like. I elaborated about my eating disorder, my life was all revolved from my eating disorder. I had a job and I quit it and I was fortunate enough to be able to be taken care of financially, but it was obviously a double-edged sword because I just left room for my life to revolve around fitness and dieting. [DR. CRISTINA] So when you say, and probably people listening are going, yes, I can probably relate but for you, when you say it revolved around your eating disorder, can you give us more of an idea of back then, what that actually looked like? [HANNAH] Yes, for sure. Thank you for asking. I never know how much detail to give because I never know what's the appropriate amount of transparency. But my days every day I'd wake up and I was depressed so I didn't get out bed and didn't know what the point of life was. I'd get up and check in the mirror. I'd body check, take my photos, I don't know, I could spend an hour or two taking photos just to see and compare it to the night before or the day before. My phone for months was just filled with body photos. Then I would go into the bathroom and weigh myself and then I'd normally go for a walk to a café and get a cappuccino and then come home. I'd be at home for as little time as possible. I'd usually eat some tofu or broccoli or something. Then I would go to the gym and at the gym, I would be on the treadmill for, it depended on how afraid I was feeling. So if I was feeling really afraid, I would just stay on the treadmill for an hour or two hours before and then after the actual weight training and then I would train for a few hours and go home and I would order takeout, a ridiculous amount of takeout and this cycle would repeat. So is that the detail that paints the picture? [DR. CRISTINA] Well, yes. I think people listening, if they're also struggling yes, they can relate because I think when people think, oh gosh, what does it look like when your world revolves around needing disorder? It's hard for people maybe who don't have one to understand, like what does that actually look like or how does one's life revolve around it? And it is different a little bit for everybody, like everybody has different rituals, routines, or different things that they do. But it sounds like for you, it was really like, this was my whole day. [HANNAH] Yes. Thank you for substantiating on that because like, to further illustrate what my life looked like, I had been an outgoing social individual. I went through phases throughout my life, because it's always been like a crutch that I had and it was always impacted on whether I felt good in a body. So it's like if my genes were the size that I deemed was good enough, then I'd be okay for a little while. But as soon as anything got too tight, it'd be like, I'm not okay anymore. Then I would usually, it went in a cycle climax at 25 when my life revolved around my problem, but it would always cycle in a sense of pulling away socially. When I would pull away, it'd be a very destructive pull away. It would be very, you don't care about me. Why am I trying? It doesn't matter what I do. I'm not good enough. You don't care like you cared. And I don't know, in my mind I would always like, they don't care about me. I just need to go work out to get my stuff together because then people will love me. Then I'll be good enough. Obviously, the dialogue that I'm using now is different. I've been in treatment now for like three years so I'm probably not speaking as accurately as how I felt at that time, but I'm trying. So yes, because of that, when my life results revolved around eating disorder, I would only make plans if I was able to like go out, get dressed and if it was at a time that fit my workout and eating schedule and I'd always before I'd go out, I was really open about how "healthy" I was. I needed to count my calories, I need to, I have to make sure that I eat right. I was super open about it and so whenever I was asked to go out, I was like, yes, I'll hang out with you but only for this amount of time, because I need to work out and I can't eat. So it was like that, which saying it out loud is like, I haven't never given so much detail in a podcast interview about my actual routine during that time. [DR. CRISTINA] Well, I appreciate that. I'm actually curious. I mean, it was very similar with mine, but I just thought at the time like, oh, I'm such a "healthy" person, such a, whatever that was in my mind. But I'm wondering for you, did your friends or people around you pick up on that or did they just deem you as like, wow, you're so healthy. Did they buy into it or what was the feedback you got? [HANNAH] The people closest to me knew. So my two really good friends in Toronto, I actually lost touch with one of them because of this, because she was in an eating disorder recovery herself. She's like, I don't think you should be doing this. This is really triggering. I don't think you should be counting calories. I don't think this is healthy. I was like, no, it's fine. I know exactly what I'm doing. Unfortunately, I lost touch with her and I still, I miss her every day because we could have related so much, but she was at a vulnerable place. I was at a very vulnerable, vicious place. You know how sometimes when someone's really vulnerable and it comes across as like, just leave me alone, let me do what I want. You don't care. I know what's best for me. It was that possibility that that person got, which was something that I'm not, I feel bad about and I miss my friend. The other friend, she knew what was going on. She didn't know, no, she didn't know, but she knew I was not myself. She actually bought me sessions with her psychiatrist and she's like, I think that this would be really beneficial for you. And we're really good friends still. We're still in touch. Then obviously my mom knew, but nobody really in Toronto knew what was going on because I was very much in the gym circle. So the job that I ended up putting was at a gym anyways and so, of course there, everyone was like, oh. I remember when people would say I was skinny it made it worse because it reinforced, I don't know, it was really complex. People commenting on my body at that time in particular was really overwhelming. I found that eating disorder periods would intensify after comments like that. [DR. CRISTINA] I think yes, I hear that all the time from people I work with too. It's like any comments about the body can be very triggering no matter what it's said. And I'm sure people listening who get comments about their body, whatever, it looks like that exactly the eating disorder just gets very triggered. I just want to give you some compassion, there, you looked so sad. I know people listening can't see your face, but when you're talking about what happened with you and your friend, obviously the defensiveness you got in that, getting very defensive. That was obviously your illness just wanting to not let go and just had such a hold on you. It's just so sad that it ended up that way. But obviously, not your fault and you didn't know what was going on, but that's really the reality. Sometimes when you talk about the cost of eating disorders, a lot of times the cost is relationships, unfortunately. That's the sad part for me. Just looking at your face, you look so sad. [HANNAH] Yes. Thank you for having such a vulnerable space. These questions I've never answered before. I've never been asked these, I've done a couple podcast interviews and they're very emotional reactive. I was like, oh, this is, haven't been down here for a while. So yes, thank you so much for your kind words, Cristine and yes, anyways, I hope I hear from that friend one day. I wrote her a letter a couple years ago, apologizing. She was obviously in a really hard place too. She was just in recovery as well. So I haven't heard from her, but relationships have definitely, that was the biggest wake up call for me because we went to Mexico when I was by myself. I ended up getting into a very controlling relationship that ended up being physically abusive. He was with a, it was a fellow Canadian and I didn't even realize by that time it had transformed into anorexia because I hated the experience of bulimia. That ritual at night was just, it was so hard. So I was like, it's easier if I just don't eat. Then at that time I got into that relationship and then when I finally was able, the pandemic hit and when I was finally able to gather myself and come back to Canada by myself, and at that time in Canada, we were getting quarantined by the government at this quarantine facility, so I was like sanctioned by the government in this quarantined room in a facility where, anyways, so that was when I realized, in that time I was like, wow, I don't have any friends. I didn't talk to my mom after they asked me what was wrong on that hike and I left from Mexico. I wasn't able to, I couldn't bring myself to confess to her what I was living with. So I cut everybody off. I was like, you don't get it. You don't care. I know what's right for me. You guys are the ones with the problem and sure enough, then I was all by myself and I was sick mentally. I was in a bad relationship and I realized I'm like, oh, all I care about right now is my weight and the size of my clothes. That was the wake-up call for me where I was like, okay, I don't know what's wrong, but I need help. That was in spring of 2020. [DR. CRISTINA] So this was not all that long ago. [HANNAH] No. I called my mom and I said, "I don't know what to do. I don't know where to go. I feel like my life has blown up in my face as it always does." That did on a, like a habitual cycle. Usually, every six months it would blow up and I would do extreme things, like move to the other side of the country, move to Mexico, move to Germany, travel to India. I would do all these absurd things always wanting to feel comfortable. I loved going away because I didn't have to eat and I could just do my own thing and I didn't have to tell anybody about myself. My mom was like, yes, you can come back, but you have to go into therapy and I was like, whoa. I was mad, of course and then I hung up the phone and I'm like, ah, she's right. So I reached out to a few different, I did my research and I picked out two different counselors that I felt I could trust because I wanted somebody very problem solving. I wanted somebody to be like, hey, I don't know, I just needed something direct because I tend to, in case you haven't, can't tell I'm very, I speak a lot. I'm quite like, oh well and I'm very diplomatic. I needed a therapist who was straight to the point. So I found her, see her to this day, every week or two and she saved my life in conjunction with my doctor and my psychiatrist and getting into an outpatient program. But yes, it's definitely an ongoing journey. Even a year into treatment I didn't realize how disordered my life still was, making choices about life based off of my comfort and clothes, my comfort around food and my comfort to be exposed to people. So I was very sensitive in the sense of the type of places I would go and who I would let around me or who I would engage with, because my walls would go up really quickly. I'd either like get a paralysis, almost like an emotional paralysis or I would be snappy and rude. So it was --- [DR. CRISTINA] I think you were running. Sounds like it would get close and you'd bolt and run and it was almost like you were protecting your eating disorder or something, it sounds like. [HANNAH] Yes, no, it's very accurate. Does that make sense? I feel like I went all over the map and just put my entire life right here. [DR. CRISTINA] I think that's probably what it is like. When you're you hold onto it so tightly and you're so secretive and you live in such isolation, then you divulge it, it can feel like that. You feel like, whoa, what just happened? I think that's the biggest thing for people of like, there's that fear of sharing it. I always say you're only as sick as your secret. So that's one of the biggest reasons why I so appreciate you and anyone else who's been on this podcast who's willing to share because the more people are willing to open up and talk about it, I think the less hold it has on you. The more maybe, if you had somebody else out there talking to you about it and sharing that they were doing similar things to you, maybe you would've realized before it or your twenties. [HANNAH] Yes. [DR. CRISTINA] You were doing something that was disordered instead of just thinking you were being "healthy" or realized what was going on. [HANNAH] Yes, most definitely. Yes, I often, it's interesting, I'm not the only one in my family who's lived with an eating disorder as well. It's definitely, my siblings have as well. Both of us. So I think that that's really interesting, but yes, it's crazy in hindsight now how my life makes such sense now, now that I'm like, I'm open about my body image and body image on Instagram, because that was the access point for me. When I saw the photos of like posed, unposed or what looks like before and after, when I saw that it was like, that was after four months of starting my therapy and treatment or it was, no, it was just therapy. That's when a light bulb went off and I was like, oh. I already knew it was about my body but seeing that photo changed my life. It was by this one influencer, Georgie Clark. Do you know her? [DR. CRISTINA] No, I don't. [HANNAH] She's the first girl that I've seen do the pose. She has like, she's in the UK and she opened my eyes to the illusions of social media and now I know how dramatically that was impacting my perceptions of food and exercise and what life was because I grew up with a phone. I got my first phone when I was 11 years old so I grew up on that platform so I didn't realize what I was seeing was curated. [DR. CRISTINA] Interesting because I found you on social media and I thought, gosh, this is so fascinating because I did not grow up, I went through all of my years of school through college without any social media at all. It didn't even exist. So very different experiences growing up. So for you, you had that and I found your social media and said, gosh, this is fascinating with what she's doing. She's posting these things of posed versus unposed and I'm like that's amazing. So is that where you got the inspiration to start posting that yourself? [HANNAH] Yes. So I got really inspired to do it because I've always been entrepreneurial. At first I wanted to be a fitness influencer and I just wanted to work out all the time, which obviously, and I got certified as a personal trainer, which obviously was all part of my disorder, which my friend who I lost contact with told me that. She's like, you're doing this for the control. I was like, what? I did, every time she tried to help, I'm like no girl, which she was right but then after going through the living with bulimia, living with anorexia, and I didn't even know it was anorexia and it wasn't even labeled that for months afterwards when I talked to my doctor because I had just thought it was fasting and I thought I was just being healthy. After living through the disorders and realizing I had an eating disorder, I was very reluctant. It took my therapist almost a year of her telling me I had an eating disorder for me to believe her. I just did not believe her at all but I didn't believe her, but I knew I had a problem and I thought that instead of, I was like, I want to still be online. I still want to work and have that freedom and figure it out. I want to give it a shot. But I can't do fitness and I was just really stuck in this. I don't know what to do. Then I don't know how my algorithm brought me this pose verse unposed, but it did and very grateful it did. That's how I started posting. I was like, well, I relate a lot to this. My life was the line because of my extreme body fixations and extreme unrealistic body standards. So I was like, okay, I may as well talk about it. Then it's really, I feel so passionate about the content that I create now on Instagram and just things that I talk about with eating disorder recovery and body image in general, because body image was the access point for me to realize that I do have, I do live with mental illness. I do suffer with depression, anxiety. I have a predisposition to living with an eating disorder and it was profound, like addressing my body image issues was my key to getting a grasp on life again. Even today, my doctor she's retiring, like my last appointment, because I see, still see her on a monthly basis. My last appointment with her she was like, I'm so proud of you, keep going and you've come so far. I was like, oh my gosh, she really, she saved my, obviously I've said that, my team were so amazing. I love them so much. It's very sad to say goodbye to the doctor and get a new one. But yes thanks for making, thank you so much for listening. I feel like I'm just excited to even talk about it. [DR. CRISTINA] Well, no, it's still great. You had that moment there where you were, what was I talking about? I think that's so normal. I think that's so telling because I think when you're talking about it, you get very lost in, I find this for myself, even when I talk about my stories, sometimes you just get stuck in a, wow, this is a heavy stuff. It's a lot. So I appreciate that you're willing to share. Again, I know people listening can't see your facial expressions, but you're talking about your team and how far you've come, you just light up like a light bulb. It's so nice to see. I think that's the beauty of when people do take that big leap to going into treatment because that's a scary thing to do. A lot of people hesitate or are in denial or whatever, but just take that first step and to be vulnerable enough to say, "Hey, I need help,” and then to keep going, because that's the other thing is when it's not just taking the first step, but to continue on with it and trust the team and get to the point where you can look back and say, wow. [HANNAH] Yes, totally. I mean, I found like trusting, finding a good team is really hard. Even my doctor, I've had, she was my doctor my entire life, so obviously I trusted her. Then my therapist, her name is Lisa. She usually listens to the podcast that I do, so hi, Lisa. She was definitely my safe hate place, because it took a while for me to even, I met a few people at the eating disorder, outpatient program that I'm in now and I'm like, I don't like them. I would go to Lisa and I'm like, I don't trust them. Even my dietician who I had my appointment with most recently I told her I'm only just starting to trust you now. She's leaving too and I'm getting another dietician so I have to build trust with somebody else but obviously I made enough progress now to know that dieticians aren't bad. She knows how to get me. So finding the right team is a journey because not only, it's hard because I didn't even, I was really resistant to the idea that there was something going on with me. When people would say, oh, that's the eating disorder I'm like, no, it's just logic. I was super resistant. I'm like, now it's like, it's nice to know when a thought happens, I've always known if it was like good or bad, but now I have understanding and compassion for it in a way that's helped me embrace it rather than push it away. Instead of being like, oh, I hate this part of me I panic. It's like, yes, this is a part of me that's brought me here. Oh, and I forgot another thing about my team. I just got a job recently, my first ever office job because I've tried to have office jobs throughout the years and interfered with my exercise and eating and that schedule, unfortunately. So that was one reason why I was in university for so long. I did years abroad and stuff for that flexibility to let that part of me thrive but then once life had to start happening, I was resistant to that, but now my doctor and I were celebrating this morning how I now I'm able to have a job. [DR. CRISTINA] Congratulations. That's huge. Congratulations. That's fantastic. Thank you for sharing that. I think if people don't have an eating disorder, they don't really understand how debilitating it can be for things like fitting in a job around your eating disorder or fitting in, going out with friends or you sometimes go, I don't need to sleep. I can get up and go to the gym. It's like all these things that people don't really understand about the illness or maybe even if you have the illness you don't really think is the illness. [HANNAH] That's what makes it scary in the sense, like it's insidious in a way, the way that these patterns just are there. That's another reason why I like to talk openly about it and I like to talk about mental body image as a gateway to mental health, because I didn't realize all of these struggles that I had in my life were interconnected to a deeper rooted, like misunderstanding and then also genetics. So a lot of the girls that I know from the recovery community, I'm a big advocate for antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication and so that's another big thing that helped me. My psychiatrist was amazing. I remember one time we were at Costco and we, as in my partner and I, my boyfriend and I asked, I said, oh, those strawberries look good. He is like, yes and he kept walking. He's the one that grabbed lettuce and bananas. He just kept putting stuff in the cart. Meanwhile, I was like, oh my God, he didn't say get the strawberries because I'm fat. I can't be eating strawberries. I went down this huge spiral and I was telling my psychiatrist about this and he's like, yes, that's a lot of anxiety and life doesn't have to be that way. I was like, really? It was so profound. I was like, I had no idea. I didn't know life had to be this way. So like finding the right medication, finding a team that I trusted and then talking about body image, like body image was definitely the thing, is the thing that helped me realize all of this stuff. That helped me address these deeper things that controlled my life. [DR. CRISTINA] You're sharing things that like, these are the things that people don't talk about, those little moments that can just destroy a day or your mood or just like you said, spiral, you down this mountain and the people around you don't even know what personal hell you're in, off of something very tiny. [HANNAH] Yes, right. Totally. That's why it's so, it's crazy how intertwined it all is because that comment about my statement of those strawberries look good and him saying, yes, turned into, oh my gosh, I can't eat strawberries because I don't look good enough and he's going to leave me and I'm going to be alone forever and no one's ever, and I'm going to, and like, it was just spiral. I wasn't even aware of how dramatic those spirals were and how it would come into my life in every way. My life was always hectic in a, there was no connection and that's because I was always like, oh no, no, no. I don't know. It was, yes, thank you again so much for even asking and letting me speak so freely. That's really nice of you. Thank you. [DR. CRISTINA] Well, I appreciate it because I hope even for you, as you're talking, you can look back and go, gosh, I'm so glad I'm not there anymore. Just see how far you've come, because I think that's the beauty of it too and sharing your stories saying I don't want to go back there and that. Maybe you can even be motivating to keep on your path and journey and pat yourself on the back too, and just say gosh, like you did all that work. That's a lot of work too. [HANNAH] Thank you. It's nice to wake up now. It's nice to wake up and go brush my teeth and put my hair out and get dressed and go to work. For so long, I was like, I never want that life, but now I'm just so happy to have stability. and I have a feeling of belonging and feeling like I contribute to something in life in general and then also with Instagram. Like this content that I share on Instagram is just so meaningful for me. So it's nice. I have plants now and I like take care of my plants and I love my plants, recovery has been such an interesting experience. I have accumulative like 10 plants throughout this process. And I built stronger relationships with my family and that was a big motivating factor to regain connection with everybody who I always cut out. My family was really understanding, like I went, for anybody listening and they're like, oh yes, I feel alone, I relate to, maybe what I'm saying. I went and told my family individually to the ones that in particular, they were always there for me. Therefore, they were hurt the most throughout our relationship as well. They had to deal with interpersonal conflict and then also me not knowing that I had mental illness or a mental illness. I just explained to them that it was really hard and I didn't tell many people at first over the years it's become second nature. It's like, oh yes, I'm Hannah. I'm in an eating and eating disorder recovery. it doesn't bother me anymore. Of course, I take with the grain of salt. Some people have a hard time. You got to be cognizant of the other humans and what's comfortable with them. But yes, I told my family that I was really sorry, and that I didn't know that I was struggling and I love them and I'm sorry that I wasn't able to before, and I want to make my life better and I hope that you'll be there with me. Obviously, my family was super understanding and they're really supportive. That was what's really kept me going, is just like, okay, I always wanted a sense of belonging and I thought losing weight and traveling and being admired if I had a good enough body would help me feel like I belong. But in reality, I just needed to create belonging in my life. I personally get that feeling through, I grew up very close with my family, so just being close with them. That's what really kept me focused. Through recovery it was just like being honest with the doctor, because obviously living with depression, it was like, well, they don't even care about me. What's the point? Then I would just like, okay, I got to tell the doctor this. I would just tell her and she's like, oh, we can fix this. I was like, really? Medication helped me. It definitely helped. It saved my life. I said that so many times, so like this whole thing has been like, I don't know what would happen if I didn't take this journey, if my mom didn't force me to go to therapy. [DR. CRISTINA] It's nice to hear you are such a strong advocate for seeking help. I'm glad the treatment has been helpful for you. And I think you're right finding the right treatment theme and taking providers that you feel comfortable with and that feel like they're a good fit for you too is important. [HANNAH] Yes. I definitely think it's important to be decisive. I definitely did my research and I would talk to people and I was like, hmm, I don't trust them, which is in part eating disorder and in part I knew I needed. I'm somebody who needs that, like you need to go to therapy or you need to just that bit of a backbone, because I tend to be very diplomatic as I had mentioned. [DR. CRISTINA] Well, I really appreciate, so much that you've been so vulnerable in sharing. And you've mentioned your Instagram, so if people do want to see your posts and follow you, how can they find you? [HANNAH] My Instagram handle is I'm Hannah Linnea, that's I-M H-A-N-N-A-H L-I-N-N-E-A. It's a bit of a weird, I should change that. It's hard. It's not very catchy, but yes, that's where I am. If you're in eating disorder recovery, say hi, or even if not, and if you are struggling with body image, I've connected with a lot of people on Instagram who also haven't been in eating disorder recovery, but relate to the struggle of body image. So yes, that's where you can find me. Thank you so much for having me and being so sweet. I really appreciate you and thank you for inviting me. [DR. CRISTINA] Awesome. Well, and don't worry if you didn't get that all down, I will have it all in the show notes too. So head to the website after and find all of Hannah's information there. Hannah, again, thank you so much. Really appreciate it. [HANNAH] Thank you. [DR. CRISTINA] This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher or the guests are rendering legal accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want professional, you should find one.
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