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Barbara Spanjers

Respect your body. Love your food. Adore your life.

Why should you listen to me? (You were thinking that, right?)

I’m not too proud to say that when I was a teenager I used to do crazy crash diets. (I’m talking about you, Banana-Hot Dog-Grapefruit Diet). I would wrap my hips and thighs in Saran Wrap to lose inches.

Never mind that I really didn’t have inches to lose.

This was going to be my ticket to a great life. And maybe it would give me the courage to ask my crush to the Sadie Hawkins dance.

Mostly, I just got bad headaches and stomach pain.

Color portrait copy - croppedIt sounds kind of pathetic.

Or resourceful – because wrapping you up in Saran Wrap is basically what a lot of expensive spa treatments do. This I know because I worked in the spa industry for over a decade as a massage therapist. I wrapped people up in plastic and got paid for it.

In the spa world, I was unnerved by how many adult women had the same idea that I had as a teenager – that losing inches would automatically make life better.

On one hand, my job as a massage therapist was to help people feel better in their own skin. To help them de-stress.

On the other hand, my corporate spa job also required that I sell cellulite cream, stretch mark-reducing oil, and maybe even some anti-wrinkle cream to the person I just helped de-stress.

In other words, I needed to stress them out a bit. Just enough so that they wanted to buy a promise in a bottle.

This can make a well-intentioned bodyworker crazy.

Mostly it made me angry that I was expected to prey on people’s body insecurities. And the “solutions” to their body “problems” had little to no evidence to support them.

It also made me sad that so many fabulous women had drunk the Kool-Aid (sugar-free, of course) making them be hypercritical of their bodies.

I wanted to help fix this craziness.

So I went to graduate school to be a psychotherapist, and completed extra training about eating disorders.

But I am most passionate about helping normal, everyday women stop freaking out about food and weight.

Women who don’t necessarily need therapy, but could sure use some help navigating through our 24/7 society that tells you that you have to be a certain weight or eat a certain way to be a worthwhile person.

And I am a bit of a data-geek, so the work I do with clients has research to support it.

Real, scientific studies. It’s not enough to just have testimonials.

Like when you see “success stories” from people who lost 20 pounds in three weeks on the Amazing-Super-Duper-Big-Pharma-Doesn’t-Want-You-to-Know-This supplement. But the part not publicized is that they gained back 24 pounds over the next five months – and their self-esteem plummeted.

And it wouldn’t be enough to base everything on just my own personal story, either. Although I did indeed stop dieting, learned to honor my body’s natural cues, and stopped calculating the calories of everything I cooked.

Getting off the hamster wheel of food and weight preoccupation is pretty cool, I have to admit. It frees up my mental energy to focus on more important things. Like family, friends, work, hobbies, and health. (Real health, not “health” as linked to the number on a scale.) My self-esteem does not waffle (mmmm, waffles) depending on whether or not I ate an ice cream cone or brussels sprouts.

I can’t wait to share all this with you!

— Barb

 

For fellow data geeks, here are my specific credentials:

 

*The service I offer here is influenced by my background as a therapist. However, it is not psychotherapy, nor is it intended as a substitute for psychotherapy.

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Join the Community

Join the Facebook Group, Break Up with Your Diet. It’s a safe place to ditch your diet mentality and negative body image.

Meet Barb Spanjers

Barbara Spanjers

Barb uses her experience as a therapist and wellness coach to help women feel peaceful about food and in their bodies - so they can focus on what’s really important. She fears no food (except maybe beets) and loves helping others do the same.

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