Eating Disorder Treatment: Shan Larter

Hi, I’m Shan Larter. You are probably wondering who the heck am
I and why did I make this video? Well, for most of my life I… struggled…
in my own private hell of an eating disorder. From about seventeen I started punishing myself
for not feeling good enough, being perfect enough, or skinny enough or feeling loved
enough. I used food as the way to punish myself, a
way to gain control over myself and my life, and a way to try and make myself into a person
worthy of other people’s time, love and affection. I would starve myself for long periods of
time using diet sodas, lots of coffee, excessive amounts of water to try and curb my hunger,
and of course a minute amount of low calorie foods to stay alive. My skin was always full of breakouts, my hair
was brittle and dry, my nails were always weak and broken. Because of the level of starvation
I inflicted on myself, my body was just literally starving for nutrients. So I would ultimately give into periodic binges. My favorites were high fat, high sugar, high
salt foods. I ate and ate and ate them in such large quantities that my stomach would
literally hurt… my heart would physically pain. As my nightly binges continued I would even
further restrict my daytime eating trying to make up for these calorie I was eating
at night. I eventually turned my healthy exercise plan into an intense punishing of myself with
two or three grueling exercise workouts every day to account for all those imperfect calories
i was gorging on every night. I felt so much shame. Eventually I could not sustain this pace and
so I resorted to more convenient methods of purging. I started by throwing up after binges,
eventually just after any meal period. Turns out that I wasn’t really that great at throwing
up… another failure in my mind at the time… something to add to my list of life failures
and imperfection. So I started to use laxatives at pretty much
every meal to purge my food. I felt I had to purge to make sure that no
matter what I would never get more fat than I already thought I was. Because if that happened
then I would really be worthless and alone. Strangely enough this was one of the first
times in my life where I actually started to feel in control and proud of myself. I
was someone who would ‘gut it out’ and no matter what achieve my goal and be successful.
Successful at starving myself, or at least being skinny. You know its funny… people in my life now
say that they had no idea what was going on. I guess we are all pretty good at hiding it. So I’ve run the gam-met. Starvation, minimal
food… all the way to the other. Binging, eating unbelievably huge amounts of food,
and of course purging… everyday. An eating disorder doesn’t only effect your
physical being, it effects every facet of your life. I was paralyzed by fear of failure.
And the fear of losing this new found feeling of control and success I was getting from
starving myself. My dedication to the gym and my resolve to do what it took, purging
or whatever, to look and be this version of me that I was sure was the best I could be. And then one day everything changed. I watched
a documentary about an eating disorder inpatient treatment program that followed several girls
on their journey through the program. The daily rituals, the monitored eating, the group
therapy, the shrink appointments… And what I saw completely shocked me. I watched these girls continue to suffer.
Secretly purging, swapping prescription drugs, having completely triggering relationships
with each other and getting worse and worse as the show went on. As I watched this documentary train wreck
happen right before my eyes, I was having a kind of ‘real time clarity’ about why
this treatment was not working. I mean the group therapy sessions ended up
acting like a support space for relapses. The ‘blind’ weigh-ins every morning were
a constant reminder of the scale as a measurement tool for success. The forced feeding of desserts and sweets
and other junk food to try and ‘normalize’ the eating of all foods. Please, this food
is crap! The total removal of autonomy and decision
making from these women, which was intended to help, only caused more lying, sneaking,
binging, purging and a total disengagement from the process of recovery. Now I am not saying that every single one
of these facilities is exactly the same as what I saw in the documentary. But I will
tell you that the more I looked into it, the more I found that these programs are all fundamentally
flawed in the same ways over and over again. Asking the wrong questions and focused on
the wrong things. The outpatient programs are no different,
they are just less intense versions of the same old crap that keeps us going back, session
after session, like powerless victims with no real world lasting results that create
freedom in our lives. I was finally forced to make a decision. I
could either stay sick, disordered and powerless… and waste the rest of my life caught up in
this pointless day-to-day struggle in binging and purging, binging and purging and the guilt
and shame that went with it. Or I could decide to uncover the real secrets and the true power
behind eating disorder recovery. I mean the statistics range but come on! Between
20 – 50% of the women that enter these programs never recover! What does that say about these
programs? What does that say for these women? Are they just doomed? Their lives useless?
Are they destined for failure, misery and pre-mature death? So there began my quest. I wish I could tell
you it was one thing. One person who opened my eyes, or one piece of knowledge that gave
me insight, or one book that made the difference. But it was really a combination of many people,
many books, many seminars, courses that I took, live events that I attended. All in the quest to discover the true secrets
to a life of full freedom from my eating disorder. The things that those ‘professionals’
and $30,000/month treatment facilities, simply did not know. I began a purposeful, mental, emotional and
physical deprogramming of my disorder. I reasearched things like… Human Motivation… the ‘why’ behind what
we do. How we become motivated into action. What prevents us and holds us back from something
even when we know its in our best interest. I studied from the experts in the field of
Neuro-Linguistic Programming. The relationship between thoughts, emotions and actions. And
how our past, our programming, runs our lives. Kind of like a program that runs a computer.
And how awareness of this programming can alter our mental and emotional behavior patterns
in a powerful way. How the brain functions on a scientific, biological
level, surrounding aspects like decision making, and the physical processes that take place
in your brain that make it very difficult to change the way you think about things. I mean you hear it all the time: “Why can’t
you just eat like a normal person?”. There is a reason why this happens. The power of techniques such as purposeful
repetition in the form of positive rituals incorporated into your everyday life. I answered questions like:
Do visualizations and verbal declarations really work?
Does what you resist really persist? …said another way:
Does what you focus on really expand? Is there a personality pro-to-type for women
with eating disorders that would offer us a source of strength in recovery?
Is there a biological reason that sets the stage for an eating disorder?
… and if there is, is there power in this knowledge?
Or is it just more justification to stay sick and disordered?
Is a recovered mentor an effective part of the success strategy for freedom from an eating
disorder? Is there really a way to quiet that inner
voice, that ‘eating disorder voice’ in our head, long enough to remember who we are
without it? … and see our way clear from it. I also took a head first plunge deep into
the world of holistic nutrition. Live, unprocessed, unrefined, natural, clean, power-packed foods…
that actually make you feel good to eat them. I learned about enzymes, pH balance, proper
food preparation, food combining methods, how to detoxify safely, when to use a cleanse. How to start eating normal again after prolonged
laxative use without having all the nasty side effects of being bloated and constipated. And of course I studied which supplements
were a powerhouse of support and physical healing… and which supplements were advertising
gimmicks and a complete waste of money. My proof of the power of this information…
is that I am standing here today, nothing like the person who began this journey to
uncover these secrets. It all started the day I let hope creep in. I let the possibility that maybe, just maybe
there really was a way… to eat food, be less than totally perfect,
not have control over everything, and be happy. Well who I am today is grateful, happy and
free. I have a healthy body, I fuel it with natural,
raw, clean, whole foods that give me amazing energy. I am self-aware. I know my talents and my
strengths. I am proud of myself, of what I have accomplished
and the ways that I give to others. I am discovering my passions and I experience
joy as I live them out. My inner thoughts, my inner voice is accepting.
I am forgiving towards myself when i am less than perfect. I respect myself. I know that I am precious and deserve to be
loved and treated with kindness. I am authentic and radically honest about
things that most people would find embarrassing to admit… because I feel the freedom to
be me. I see myself as beautiful, powerful, unique
and ‘perfectly imperfect’. Today I am me, and I am free. In keeping with my commitment to radical honesty
I want to tell you that I tried to ignore the calling of helping other women claim their
own recovery. I realize that this might sound pretty disgusting
to you but I tried to turn my back on you because I said to myself “Who made me the
one who is supposed to help you?”. I mean, I am finally fully recovered so why would
I want to surround myself with all this disordered behaviour? All the lies and the heartache
of a life I have now totally shed and can walk away from! But something in me just could not leave you.
I tried to ignore it, I tried to rationalize it away, but I truly believe in my heart that
if I know all the ways that traditional eating disorder treatment is ineffective, poorly
structured, and based on a faulty understanding of what true freedom is… then I have to
be part of the solution. So here I am, stepping into my calling. What I truly believe to be my purpose in life
is to help you who are ready to reclaim your life. To equip you with the skills, the tools
and the knowledge you need… to be free. I am here to love you. To serve you.
You are my sister. You are my soulmate. You can choose freedom.
I did.

38 thoughts on “Eating Disorder Treatment: Shan Larter

  1. I LOVE your assessment of treatment facilities. You've described exactly what I think is wrong with the facility I went to. Weight gain as a measurement of success, force-feeding of junk foods to get in enough calories (quantity over quality) and an environment where girls act as co-conspirators in relapse, not recovery.

    Are you going to be posting more videos on how you achieved freedom from your eating disorder. I am very interested to learn more.

  2. You are incredible!! I'm so glad i came across this video. well done. Im struggling from bulimia. My channel is also directed towards pro recovery, using art and creativity mainly but also vlogs. This video has been genuinely really helpful to me. Your beautiful, eloquent and creative.

    thank you
    Jaycee xxx

  3. @shanlarter seriously though your so inspirational im really glad i subscribed and shall be looking forward to your videos, im still a little stuck but nearly really to commit fully to recovery. It is me singing and im so touched that you like my voice!! really *blushes*

    keep in touch and keep up with this amazing work!
    Jaycee xx

  4. It's true with any addiction that you are the one who has to want to change. I think I know what documentary you're talking about. Negativity was breeding like mosquitoes in a swimming pool. I saw another documentary in which the therapist treated her patients with love. Who would have thought something so simple would actually work? It's just sad for the women who need others to intervene because their life is in danger and need to be hospitalized & don't yet have their own will to change.

  5. @arielleleebair I am honoured to receive a compliment from such a strong and influential woman. I am humbled 🙂 Shan ox

  6. @flyaway3860 It is MY honour to be with you Amanda… yep recover is 'overused' … and INCOMPLETE if you ask me. For the most part in the 'clinical world' … Recovered = symptom free… and that is just NOT GOOD ENOUGH! We NEED FREEDOM!!!!! Happy New Year hun 🙂 Shan ox

  7. I can relate to so much of this…I'm not at an unhealthy weight, but I feel proud, and in control since I'm 50 pounds less than I was a couple years ago… 🙁 I still feel like I'm not sick enough because I have moments where I eat "normally"…

  8. Thanks for the video… hugs that you had to go through this but glad you are recovered that gives me hope. I feel like I will never get better and never recover.

  9. @Eshrimpski Hi! I am glad you have found my channel… a place where YOU are understood.
    You aren't alone feeling "not sick enough"… MANY of us get stuck there and stay there, slowly killing our bodies and spirits… waiting to feel 'BAD ENOUGH' to start getting the 'eating disorder coaching' we need, and start DOING our journey to freedom.
    I wish someone who REALLY 'got it' and 'lived it' had shown me the way at an early place in my sickness…
    I hope I can do that for you. Shan ox

  10. Ednos is bs….i set goals and feel proud when i accomplish them…i watch anorexia recover stories on yt to figure out how to become anorexic… i dont know who i am anymore…i felt like shit when i ate a cupcake …i have always had a negative body images but it got really bad this year im 14 btw… i lie to my parents and feel so weird….im a runner and cheerleader…i know what it can do to me but i dont care and that scares me….

  11. I always think like ok i can stop and i really can…for about 2 days and then i fel bad and revert back to what i was doing

  12. Wow!! You are such a smart women! I admire what you have done. It's so hard, but I am now working towards freedom. I have been dealing with anorexia for about four years. I am so happy that you are over it and maybe one day I will be too. Thank you for your video.

  13. Was the documentary you saw THIN? I had a similar on that, but I was 19 and dedicated to starving. Didn't care to wonder more. I'm 23 now and and have looked into the raw diet with organic foods, and trying to free myself of my ED through demystifying my desires to be thin and expanding my hobbies/knowledge. I've got a jumbled loose idea of what you probably know wholly. Unfortunately, I cannot let go of wanting to be thin and beautiful. I've got more maturing and accepting to do. =( Great video

  14. pleeeeeeeaaaaaase turn the water off while your brushing your teeth 🙂 … that hurt my ears thinkin bout how much waters wasted there every day…. THANX shan!! 😉

  15. Thank you for your video. I suffered from an eating disorder, anorexia, and can relate to many of your points. I became obsessed with food, and realized that I needed foods that were healing and not harmful. Food that did not require me to punish myself over. I found my cure and freedom in whole foods and veganism. I never thought how much of a difference good nutrition can be. Now that I am studying biochemistry, I hope to be able to make advances in research that may help others.

  16. I have so much to say with only a short character space to say it. I am so blessed to have found and reached you through these video's. I only wish I had the knowledge you have. Please write a book. It would save so many lives, including my own. x

  17. Hi Shan!
    I just found your videos today. You describe the exact way that I lived, ate (or didn't), and thought. But because it wasn't true anorexia or bulimia like I'd heard of, I didn't think I had a disorder. I've blown my thyroid after almost 20 years of it, I'm tired all the time, and while I don't starve or punish myself anymore, I still binge to escape.

    I love your message. I finally want to be healthy. I'm sticking around. =)

    xoxo Delena

  18. You are AMAZING! It is such a pity, that I did not discover your videos earlier. In this video you told my story, even the part of interest in NLP! 🙂 Only difference is that right now I am not quite satisfy with my body – even being vegan [not for weight loss, but because of understanding that food gives my body energy which is necessary in order to achieve my goals in order to be happy] did not protect me from binge eating. After watching this, I felt power! This is the right time to take

  19. action and control. I can do this! I can be healthy, beautiful, powerful young woman, who will love her life and do whatever she wants in order to provide her happiness! I cannot even explain in words how motivated and thankful I feel after watching this. Thank you!

    ps. Sorry for mistakes – English is not my mother tongue. 🙂

  20. Are you serious???? Have you not heard of the incredibly high number of young girls in hospital being treated for eating disorders? Have you not the affects of fashion, trends, marketing etc on our youth? Have you not heard of bullying, lacking self-esteem? Have you stopped to understand the REAL pain behind the disorder?? You may not like what Shan is talking about, but you can at least let her help those who suffer! Keep your ignorance and denial about these real issues to another page please.

  21. Can we get a around of applause for @musicmanlincher who very well demonstrated exactly what is WRONG with the present day view of eating disorders. Thanks for showing us how LITTLE society knows and ENCOURAGING us to Scream our FREEDOM. Please don't judge what you don't know.

  22. I'm sorry your in such a bad place in your life.
    Geez I thought I had problems, but seriously taking the time to write a comment this long on a page you don't even believe in points to wanting people to feel worse than you do.
    Taking a look at your youtube page I can see why you desperately need that.
    FYI people go to jail for your illness.
    Mines not looking so bad now. Thanks for making my day 🙂

  23. Bill Smith and Musicmanlyncher, if you are going to try to present an argument against eating disorders and those who have them at least try to make it intelligent. You really should look at the facts and do your research. Don't just pretend to know about something you have no clue on. You really show your ignorance and lack of common sense, and are doing yourself a big disservice in doing that.

  24. Good point @RUTalkin2! I do find it funny that someone would have the time or the inclination to post such a negative comment on something that they 'don't even know about or care about'… unless of course they are struggling, suffering and feeling bad about themselves. So I guess the lesson here is when someone is projecting (ie. really feel SELF hatred as they dish hatred OUT to others) to remember "it is not about me" and move on. Thanks for having my back <3

  25. SO well said AngelicaAcoustic! This really just reinforces everything that I am dedicated to in helping those still suffering with ED… and helps this beautiful community we are creating of FREEDOM SEEKERS to bond together and stand strong. Funny that we have such a negative, hate-slinging action to thank for such a beautiful thing! Thanks for your hands and feet support… it means a lot <3

  26. Sometimes when I focus too much on being 100% perfectly healthy, I get TOO obsessed with all of THOSE rules and end up getting sicker. But I do think that focusing on eating mostly fruits and veggies and having a mostly plant-based diet is the best thing and has helped a lot 🙂 (I say "mostly" because we should not beat ourselves up, and it's ok, if we have a cookie or steamed veggies every once in a while or whatever.)

  27. I can see my spirit so very much in her spirit. I think exactly like she does. I'm intelligent,too. But there's 1 single difference we both have: She has managed to recover while I haven't. I just can't because my surrounding is so unhealthy. Like my parents for example.

  28. I spent nearly 3 years inpatient which made me only worst .. I wish people knew it's not about getting ed patients to a healthy's not about forcing food … there is me again 36 and still struggling with ED discharged from services as a helpless case x

  29. Beautiful sights in the video, where is it? I have a serious food addiction, I’m slowly killing my self. Thanks for making this.

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