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May 17, 2010

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May 17, 2010

People had been telling me for years that, because I was not underweight or overweight, I didn't have a problem with food, but *I* knew there was something wrong with my private relationship with food & binging & over-exercising, and as a Certified Personal Trainer, the guilt overwhelmed me. In Spring 2005, I read Constance Rhodes' book, "Life Inside The Thin Cage", and soon after, I contacted her by email about how the book spoke to me. I wanted more information about EDNOS and Constance was creating a workbook for small groups (which would become "Finding Balance with Food"), so I waited for it to be completed. In Spring 2006, our church had an epidemic of deaths due to unhealthy lifestyle choices, one was a young woman, 29 years old and mom of 2 small children. The church pastor was aware that this was a problem and he knew I was interested in helping. He encouraged a friend and I to start a "body image/food issues" support group. We used several different books in our Bible study group, as well as the "Finding Balance" website and e-newsletter to assist us and guide us as leaders while we waited for the "Finding Balance with Food" curriculum to be completed in Franklin TN. In Fall 2008, when Constance was looking for pilot groups outside of Tennessee to test the curriculum, our church group volunteered, and I must say good things come to those who wait! Our San Jose CA FBwF pilot group had 10 women, ranging in age from 43 to 71 years old. This group dynamic brought challenging discussions about food attitudes and life-long poor eating habits, as well as revelations about body image & aging. The curriculum was well-organized with videos, discussion sheets, leaders' guide, and easy art projects. I confess that when we started, we were not excited about doing these art projects, many of the women said they personally weren't creative and resisted doing them. However, the time we spent on these projects became the highlight of our meetings; they were relaxed, easy, and took us back to "little kid" days when a piece of paper and glue and glitter were fun, back to a time when we were not judgmental about ourselves and our bodies. As a result, "Life Inside The Thin Cage" & the FBwF curriculum is the benchmark for our group and we are planning to begin a weekly Fb Gathering in June 2010.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my healthier more balanced living, my closer walk with the Lord, and my deeper more meaningful friendships because I am able to share my experiences with others who are also going through battles with finding balance in their life.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting the fantastic, helpful, and approachable people associated with Constance, both online & off!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 15, 2010

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May 15, 2010

I heartily support the vision of FindingBalance as I've come to readily understand my ongoing need for healthy balance in every area of my life. As I've been privileged to benefit from the mission of FB, I've observed that its primary objective is to invite those battling disordered living and eating to a haven of rest, where they can heal and find lasting balance and hope through the exposure of the lies and poisonous roots of the dysfunctional behavior in their lives. FB does this so well through the authentic, transparent, courageous volunteers leading the charity and through its equally stout-hearted clientele as they all persevere in finding and maintaining balance in their own lives. This example alone has tremendously inspired me to live life in similar fashion--letting my heart breathe as I persevere in knowing and practicing what is true about all things, especially what is true about me and my purpose and place in this world. FindingBalance is a charity that heralds a message of hope and life to those who are weary of navigating the storm-tossed seas of "living" disorders. We need to champion this call and this cause by giving it the loudest voice we possibly can so that as many who need to hear can hear the truth that balance and health and order in living are a reality to be found.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my recovery from bulimia and a broken marriage.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 15, 2010

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May 15, 2010

I've had the privilege of seeing Finding Balance begin as one person's passion and dream and then grow to where it is now. It is a very thoughtful, professional organization that seeks to help people live their lives well and fully. Constance and the Finding Balance team help people recognize and talk about issues that society often wants us to hide. In doing so, Fb has given so many of us new hope!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Understanding new language and needs for self-image healing.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 15, 2010

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May 15, 2010

Finding Balance is an amazing support tool here in Franklin, TN as well as in other locations. I began attending FB about 2 years ago when I was really struggling with my ED and I found it to be a great place to go each week for support. I was trying to get into treatment and was having a hard time due to insurance and finances, but having FB to attend each week while working in my treatments options was a lifesaver. I would not have made it thru without the support and the assurance that FB would be there for me every week. I also attended the class offered by Constance and it was very indepth and helped me to begin to uncover the reasons for my ED. I have since been to treatment and attribute my ONE YEAR of recovery greatly to the FB program. I feel that this program is helping many people locally as well as in other areas to find the support they need to begin and succeed in recovery. I highly recommend this curriculum for a support/recovery group.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my recovery from an eating disorder.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 14, 2010

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May 14, 2010

Finding Balance's (Fb) primary goal is to let people who are controlled and defined by their unhealthy relationship with food and body image that there is hope out there. There is this amazing and marvelous God who wants to restore the broken and the captive. When I started the Fb small group I thought my only chance at the perfect body was an all out eating disorder. I learned that I was wrong. The perfect body wasn't going to bring the perfect life that I was hoping for. I was crushed and broken. And what Fb did was walk along side me and tell me that I don't have to fight this battle alone. They told me that all this pain I was overwhelmed with was something that God wouldn't waste but in fact use for His glory. God would give my pain purpose. So instead of dropping out of graduate school then, I am now a full-time healthcare provider that gets to speak truth in the lives of the patients that I see day to day. You know, often it's said that you can't keep your recovery unless you give it away. Fb has come to hold such a valuable and special place in my heart that I financially contribute to their cause (altough it doesn't seem like much) and I get to bring encouragement to others who struggle through the FB blog. Fb helped launch my recovery, and the joy that I have today is because of them.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

how I relate to food, how I view myself, and how I view God. I had to move away from Fb headquarters for various reasons, and because of the work they started, I continued to pursue recovery and still do to this day.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

increase their exposure. So few really know all that Fb has to offer either those who struggle directly with food or body image or know someone who does. These Fb Gatherings and small groups, definitely need more of them!

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the fun art projects and times of getting together with the girls and just laughing and doing life.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

kind. They understood the issues I was facing. They didn't sugar coat things and they challenged me when I needed it.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

holy smokes! A LOT! It would provide treatment regardless of insurance or ability to pay. It would have a place for people to learn how to cook, to practice their creative skills, and learn how to be in community. And these centers could be everywhere!!

Ways to make it better...

I could have been more honest with where I was truly at. I had a hard time opening up.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

resources such as money, volunteers, even employees to help these visions become a reality. It's also faith-based, which can deter some people. But that doesn't keep them from accepting you with open arms.

One thing I'd also say is that...

they are persistent, dedicated, and relentless. This is a burden, a real need of our culture for someone to stand up and speak truth. Fb is willing, ready, and has begun to do just that.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 14, 2010

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May 14, 2010

I first discovered fb when I was asked to design the curriculum. My philosophy of design is you must know your material before you can find the most successful method of presenting it. As I met with Constance and read the material, I was struck by my need of this type of resource in my life. I've struggled with my weight for the last several years after being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 35. I developed body image issues and depression after surgery and treatments. I've always been a very driven and disciplined person but have found myself not being able to control this aspect of my life. The beauty of fb is that it isn't a diet program, it goes after the reason(s) behind the eating issue. People don't want to be unhealthy but there is something in their life that brings them to an ED. Understanding the root of the problem, not just addressing the symptoms, allows you to be able to find the right tools to fight the battle that will end the war on your body. Fb goes there in a loving and supportive way and then points you in the direction to find the tools and community to help. What I have experiences so far has make me hopeful for the first time in many years that I will survive this . . . actually, not just survive but thrive.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I'm looking to join a group.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The only change I would make is to make it available in more areas.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Getting to know Constance, first, then becoming familiar with the curriculum. The web site is an incredible resource.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Crazy smart, organized and highly motivated to help people.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Change the world.

Ways to make it better...

Can't think of any way it could have been better.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Needing more groups!

One thing I'd also say is that...

I'm looking forward to spending more time working in a volunteer capacity with this group. I truly believe in their message and want to help them grow.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

May 14, 2010

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May 14, 2010

Constance and the FindingBalance team are a driving force for change in an arena that is too often overlooked. They are dealing with core identity issues that are devastating the true beauty of women and men in our culture. Fb is not only crying out for us to notice the issue, but is bringing a bright light into these dark places; a message of hope that goes beyond body wellness and touches the soul. Fb gets people in touch with the inherent beauty that God puts in His children; and gives them a new mirror with which to see their real reflection.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have personally been profoundly encouraged by this ministry. The self obsessed eating/body image and behaviors span the gap of over skinny, exercised, over-eating and over weight. Fb gets to the shame that drives it all and offers hope and encouragment.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 14, 2010

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May 14, 2010

I first heard about Finding Balance approximately seven years ago. My coworker picked up *Life Inside the "Thin" Cage* for me at a conference, but I didn't think it applied to me since I'd struggled with a clinical eating disorder and thought I had left that behind me. However, as the years went by, I got older and started gaining weight, and I realized that the negative tapes from the eating disorder were still playing in the background. I mostly attributed this to a distorted body image, but as I've been leading a Finding Balance with Food study, I've realized that the negative tapes come from a variety of sources--including culture and other women. What's so revolutionary about Finding Balance is that it's about building balanced, healthy relationships--with food AND with other people. It's about surrounding yourself with fellow travelers who are real and honest and trying to live into the truth about who they are as whole people (not just bodies on parade). And, then, the other super important part that Finding Balance has been involved with is the True Campaign, and their line about the True-Shift is so crucial: to take the time we spend obsessing about our bodies and how we look, and to instead pour that energy and effort into empowering ourselves to accomplish our dreams and to help other people.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the curriculum Finding Balance with Food, the on-demand videos on a range of topics on the FB site (including about cutting) and the podcasts as part of the True Campaign.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

focus on empowering women, NOT ONLY to live free of body obsessions in order to have happy, healthy lives, but also to heal emotionally in ALL our areas of woundedness so that we can go on to make a difference in the lives of other women in pain.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting the founder and catching her vision to help free women from body obsessions and then to make a shift to empower others.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

passionate and professional.

Ways to make it better...

I had better insight that this group is not just about subclinical eating disorders or life trapped with being too thin, but it's also about full-blown eating disorders, including emotional eating and binge eating and obesity-related issues.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funding. If they had more funding they could gain more visibility and traffic to their website, helping hook people on the truth of where healing begins--and the purpose of healing (to empower ourselves and others).

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 14, 2010

more

May 14, 2010

In my work as a professional Interventionist I am continually looking for tools to assist individuals suffering from eating disorders. FINDINGbalance serves as a powerful resource for answers to the complex issues involved in these diseases. Family members as well and those who are struggling with these diseases will find answers to their questions about ED on the expansive FINDINGbalance website through its impressive library of video clips and articles. The ease of use of the FINDINGbalance website makes it one of the most effective tools in the battle against ED available to the general public. Many of the foremost authorities in the country on ED treatment have volunteered their time and expertise to the FINDINGbalance site and cutting edge information is readily available at the click of a button. Constance Rhodes and the entire Fb team are committed to eliminating the stigma and shame often associated with ED and bringing compassion and care to hurting individuals and families. Their work matters and makes a difference

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I use the Fb website personally for up to date information on ED treatment and related issues. I also have opportunity to refer clients regularly to the Fb site. It is a great tool!

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 14, 2010

more

May 14, 2010

As a former anorexic, I understand extremes. For Type-A personalities, it's so easy to be extreme, to swerve from starving to over-eating, and I understand the fear which drives both. FINDINGbalance is all about removing that unhealthy fear, and establishing peace. Founded by someone who understands the swinging pendulum of an eating disorder, Fb strives to help former disordered eaters believe in love--perfect love--so that fear might be driven away, and balance restored, through food, exercise, and relationships. I can testify to the power of this organization, and to the need for its message to reach America's seven million women and one million men battling an eating disorder.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my own life, as a former disordered eater. It's helped me realize the importance of establishing balance so I might lead my own children into a lifestyle of freedom and love.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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5 tips for getting reviews...

  1. Sending an email to clients, volunteers, donors, board members, and other partners with a link to your profile page.
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3 hours of volunteer time for this nonprofit will...

Contact colleges, churches and counselors and let them know about our tools.Have coffee with influential people and a) educate them on the vast numbers of people struggling with eating issues and b) let them know what we're doing.Edit, encode and upload our weekly FINDINGbalance Gathering videos.Record and produce a weekly podcast.Do a web search and compile resources for us to refer recovery-seekers to.