Hello! My name is Maris, and a documentary about my recovery from anorexia nervosa using yoga and other means was released on Netflix today (still doesn’t feel real). I’m proud that my story is being used to spread awareness about the importance mental health, and to provide hope for those struggling with eating disorders or other forms of mental illness.

We’re particularly excited about this film because we believe it’s different from so many other eating disorder films out there. We focused on making it minimally triggering (no pictures of me at my lowest weight, for example) and entirely focused on what’s possible in life through recovery.

In honor of our Netflix release, I’m here to answer any questions you may have! :)

Here's the film: https://www.netflix.com/title/80210602?s=i&trkid=13747225&fbclid=IwAR3lgIDi8yT1jIT8x6VblJGEng3JxNofTcpoQrFm4I_uC7jh8rRNfD4-yNk

I post a lot on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yogamaris/

Proof: https://imgur.com/a/ZprAMwp

Edit: thank you everyone for asking such thoughtful and interesting questions! I’ve had a great time, and I tried to answer as many as I could! Gonna take a break for now but I’ll try to pop in and answer some more later. Thanks again!!

Comments: 376 • Responses: 76  • Date: 

ryjkyj617 karma

If I decide to become your fan, can I call myself a Degenerate?

yogamaris353 karma

nothing would make me happier

AirplaneSnacks167 karma

Thanks so much for doing this ama! It’s good to raise awareness of this sort of thing, and I’m looking forward to watching your doc tonight.

Do you still have to fight to keep your ED at bay? For me, it seems like it creeps back up every time I have some kind of difficult life event. What does recovered look like to you?

And lastly, were you ever a part of the reddit ED communities (either those that were banned or those that were recovery-focused enough to be left alone)? Any thoughts on internet support groups and their potential to be toxic spaces?

yogamaris144 karma

Thank you so much for watching!

I actually talk about this a lot towards the end of the film. Navigating disordered thoughts gets much, much easier with time, and full recovery is definitely possible. What that recovery looks like, though, is different for everyone.

Where I'm at right now in my journey is that sometimes, disordered thoughts creep up (around stressful times, like you mentioned). But I now know how to identify them as disordered, and what actions to take to prevent them from spiraling.

I only found reddit like two years ago, after my boyfriend showed me /r/yoga. I wrote an article about online eating disorder communities that you might be interested in here though!

hmandoos136 karma

What would you say is the most important thing for people in recovery from anorexia or similar disorders to focus on throughout recovery?

yogamaris492 karma

It's hard to pick a "most important" thing, but one of the biggest I'd say is to focus on curiosity.

When I was really sick, I'd get a lot of people saying things like, "Just be happy!" or "You just gotta keep smiling!" But at the time, I was really depressed...and, well, that makes "just being happy" really difficult.

Instead, what really helped me was being curious about the future. I wasn't even necessarily feeling hopeful that someday my life would be incredible (whatever that means), but it was more like, "If I stay alive, who knows who I'll be one day?" Being curious about who I could one day be, and who I would one day meet, made me want to do the work necessary to stick around for another sunrise.

KySkoSyko119 karma

What was it like being married to Niles?

evenios48 karma

and as a follow up. do we actually see you in the documentary or is it just a bunch of people talking about you out of sight? im glad you finally got the help you needed from all the descriptions of how thin you were i was worried! :-p

yogamaris89 karma

I'm in the film! We just don't show pictures of me at my lowest weight to avoid being triggering. Thank you for asking.

Edit: I am just now realizing this is a Frasier joke, my b

yogamaris45 karma

Wait, now I'm curious, who's Niles??

KySkoSyko157 karma

The show Frasier had a running gag where the character Niles had a wife that was never seen on screen, and the characters always described her as very thin with jokes like “I must have missed her behind that piece of spaghetti”. Her name was Maris too. Your post is the only time I ever heard that name other than the show.

I hope you have a good sense of humor as I mean no offense. Congrats on your recovery! :)

yogamaris73 karma

Oooh, hahah! I've heard Frasier jokes before, but never knew about the ED references. No offense taken at all. :)

Angelbabysdaddy22 karma

I honest to God thought this post was gonna be a frasier April fools joke. Of all the days for her to post about anorexia. I wonder if her parents were Frasier fans because outside of that I've never heard the name Maris, either.

yogamaris16 karma

Hahaha, I didn’t get to pick when the release date was!

I’m named after Roger Maris. They’re baseball fans. :)

paulrich_nb96 karma

How much were you paid by netflix ?

yogamaris95 karma

I'm not a producer/editor/anything like that on the film, just a subject! I'm just a college kid making money teaching yoga (I do speaking engagements and the like, though, as side gigs).

Nullveer53 karma

Free fitty!

Icarus64911 karma

These kind of posts are always about shameless advertising rather than the actual message and that’s okay; I’d rather OP be honest about wanting their project to gain more success and therefore more dollars rather than trying to act like they aren’t being paid.

yogamaris74 karma

I'd be lying if I said I didn't want people to go watch the film! But my investment in the film is wanting to help folks. :)

A_Feathered_Raptor59 karma

How could I tell the difference between understanding legit personal body shape issues and body dysmorphia?

yogamaris45 karma

Hello! Can you clarify what you mean by "body shape issues?"

A_Feathered_Raptor40 karma

Just like having a healthy understanding of how much bodyfat should be lost, what shape your body should be in terms of muscles or size, etc.

yogamaris229 karma

Thanks for clarifying. :)

Something I'm really passionate about is not defining health by appearance-based body metrics. I think we already live in a very image-based society, and by focusing too much on what we look like, we can lose sight of more effective markers of well-being (your doctor or general health practitioner would be a good resource for what those are).

For example: for awhile when I was really sick, I was constantly told how healthy I looked, because I was slim. In actuality, my heart rate was dangerously low, I'd lost my period, and my organs didn't have enough energy to function properly. Those things are hard to see in the mirror, but are signs that medical intervention/lifestyle changes are necessary.

If we focus on markers of health unrelated to how we look (in the sense of, how well we compare to society's beauty standards), I think body dysmorphia would play a much smaller role in what you described. However, body dysmorphia itself generates stress/anxiety that is incongruous with well-being, and should be addressed with a therapist or other professional as well, in my unprofessional opinion.

Hope that helps!

YoungDirectionless46 karma

How did you get involved in the documentary and decide to share your story? Also, are there things you wish your friends and family had known to look for when you first started having your disorder?

yogamaris65 karma

Something I think they understand now that might not have been clear back then was that who my eating disorder "was" and who I really am are different. Sometimes I'd say mean, hurtful, angry things that were really fear coming from my eating disorder being threatened. Healing from a mental illness like this one means letting go of something that has taken over your personality and entire way of life.

yogamaris62 karma

When I was in middle school, I babysat Laura's kids while she went to film school. Years later she saw my mom post one of my paintings on Facebook and she decided she wanted to know the story behind it (I didn't talk much about my disorder publically before).

YoungDirectionless18 karma

That's so neat! Thanks for answering. Also, I hope you're still painting!

yogamaris18 karma

Thank you! I am!

babylegsdetective45 karma

How you faced the body shamming?

yogamaris146 karma

I'm on the internet a lot (social media/blogging) and honestly get more offensive objectification (creepy DMs) than criticism about how my body looks. The internet can be so anonymous and brash, and I grew up in a world where that was a known reality: I think I've been able to use that information to not let hurtful comments online get to me.

In person, I've faced rude comments about how my body looks or how I looked better when I was underweight and literally dying. Those are harder to shove aside, but the longer I put effort into recovery, the easier that gets.

SouthernWaltz43 karma

Hi Maris, thanks so much for the AMA. What would your advice be on how a friend can support someone suffering from anorexia?

As weird as this might sound, I'm looking forward to watching the documentary. I had an eating disorder for just over a year and I wish it had more coverage in the media... You're an inspiration for putting your story out there.

yogamaris57 karma

Hello there! Thank you for asking, and for your excitement about the film!

Just asking this question shows that you're a great friend. :) I think what's most important to focus on is that you're not their healthcare provider/recovery team, so there's no pressure on you to "solve" any of their problems. A lot of times I'd come to folks looking to just vent about what I was going through, and they'd respond with, "Have you tried (insert random diet/MLM product/etc. here)?"

They were coming from a place of wanting to help me, but it just made me feel like I wasn't being heard or I was something so broken I needed to just be "fixed." I'd read up on methods of holding space (I actually wrote an article about it here), as a compassionate listening ear can be the best gift you can give to someone going through a hard time.


SouthernWaltz15 karma

What you are saying makes complete sense, and I hadn't really thought of it in those terms before. I quickly skimmed through the article - I'm going to go back now and read it in full. Thank you again. I'm definitely bookmarking your website ❤️

yogamaris4 karma

Thank you so much!

LemonInYourEyes12 karma

Thank you for this, my girlfriend struggles a lot with similar issues and I've found myself struggling to help her. You put it nicely when you said it's important to serve instead of help. It's a new perspective for me and I think it will be helpful.

yogamaris6 karma

I'm so grateful it resonated with you! Best of luck to you and your girlfriend.

CableTrash36 karma

I have a friend who battled anorexia and used yoga during her recovery, and now has a career as a yogi! I've also spoken to a few people who encouraged me to try yoga to deal with GAD. So my question is how crucial was yoga's role in your recovery? Why do you think it's beneficial to those dealing with mental illness, anorexia specifically?

yogamaris48 karma

Thank you for sharing that, and congrats to your friend!

Yoga was absolutely instrumental to me. My teacher gave me the book the Yamas and Niyamas by Deborah Adele, and that helped me find really tangible ways to untangle all the unhealthy patterns in my life. Going to my yoga mat and witnessing these lessons every day, in a safe and supportive space, ended up being what worked for me, but everyone is different.

I think was made yoga so special for me in particular is that it became something I could be passionate about. When I started teaching yoga, it made me happier than anything else in the whole world. I felt like I had a voice, and something to share with others, and that's what boosted my recovery (I had a reason "why" now). So ultimately, I think it's about finding that unique passion for YOU. Whether that's yoga or not. :)

eternalwhat12 karma

I’m not the original commenter, but I appreciate your answer here. Your story really speaks to me and inspires me. I’ve spent most of my life struggling with unprocessed trauma, and I’ve identified that yoga may be a good process for me to heal. I’m passionate about it and would say it’s definitely a dream of mine. But I’m apprehensive about taking a leap to pursue yoga teacher training... something in me suggests that I have no real reason to need to put it off. But I’m scared, too.

It’s great to see a story like yours that shows how truly effective it could be to just leap in and embrace everything the path has to offer. And it’s also cool to me that I already sought out the particular book you mentioned and that I already have it on my shelf.

yogamaris5 karma

Thank you so much! You seem to have said it all yourself: sometimes it's just about taking the leap. I wish you all the best.

anxiousandexhausted33 karma

Hi! I’ve suffered from disordered eating most of my life. How long does the documentary follow your journey for? I’ve found, over the years, that the easiest part of recovery has always been the very beginning. And within a few weeks, I start losing steam.

Thanks so much! Can’t wait to watch it!

yogamaris31 karma

Hello there. :)

Thank you for sharing that with me. The documentary covers my story from my diagnosis through my first year of college at UCSC.

The early stages of recovery tend to be bolstered by a boost of adrenaline, lots of immediate support (if you're in a treatment program/hospital, for example), and a little bit of fear about what will happen if you don't recover, in my experience. I think working with a treatment team/therapist/loved one to make a long-term plan for your recovery can help maintain steam once that initial boost wears off.

Thank you for watching, and I hope you like it!

redditslim29 karma

Is/Are there any part(s) of the film you find emotionally wrenching to watch?

yogamaris65 karma

There's a part where my mom describes seeing me in the hospital and compares it to the last time she saw me in one: the day she gave birth to me.

hellohannaahh23 karma

I might be too late to the party but I’m super appreciative that you’re doing this AMA so I’m shooting this out anyways..

I was in recovery from anorexia for almost 4 years. Until about 2 months ago when my (29F) wife told me that she wanted a divorce. I’m in an extremely steady relapse and I feel extremely apathetic about going back to recovery right now. When you’re in a tough spot or were at your lowest in your disorder where did you find the motivation to go forward in recovery?

Also, is the documentary triggering for people struggling with an eating disorder or would it be safe for me to watch? I’m extremely interested!

Thanks again for doing this!

yogamaris31 karma

Thank you for sharing this with me. I can’t imagine what it’s like to go through that, and I won’t pretend to.

My teacher says in the film, “We’re only as sick as the secrets we keep.” In times of struggle, it’s important to reach out for help from those we trust. Even just telling one person can help you get help/maintain hope.

We did our best to limit obvious/common triggers as much as possible, but everyone is different. You might find it helpful to watch with a friend and not in isolation. 💗

lemememeringue23 karma

was the documentary process hard on your mental health?

yogamaris47 karma

I'm really lucky that the filmmaker Laura was someone I felt very comfortable with and was receptive to my needs. We went in on this project very clear on what my desires were for the film (minimally triggering, focus on hope, nothing that felt exploitative, etc) and she respected those boundaries very well.

It did take some getting used to, it's hard to not be embarrassed when a camera is following you around at high school/graduation/while you're moving into college for the first time. But eventually you just get so used to it that you can ignore it.

Traveling for our festival circuit and for some events related to the film led to some airport stress (try getting to Canada in the middle of a snowstorm without any flight delays, haha!), but nothing major. :)

sithmauls19 karma

One of my main issues in trying to overcome an eating disorder is that I frequently find myself comparing my body to other women’s. Not only do I feel guilty for judging others, but it definitely is a factor in my own relapses. Do you have any advice for ways to stop or overcome this?

Super proud of you! Definitely will watch the documentary soon. Thank you for any advice <3

yogamaris24 karma

That’s something I dealt with, too. So often in society women are pitted against each other, and it kind of becomes habit. What helps me is just to draw awareness to it in the moment (when i have this thought, thinking to myself, “It’s not healthy for me to be comparing myself to her”). It’s a slow retraining over time, in my experience.

lewytunes6 karma

I'm not sure how much this will help, but I find myself doing this a lot and the the thing that has most helped me is to follow up/respond to initial thoughts with a better version of them. So with envious thoughts like "I wish I looked like her," I come back (in my head to my own thought) with, "wow she is beautiful in her own way; I don't have to be beautiful in the same way she is." In the same manner, if I'm having a meaner thought thinking about someone negatively and associating myself with that, I try to respond to my initial thought with "she doesn't need to be [insert "positive" trait here] to be important and worthy and neither do I."

It's natural to look at other people and make comparisons both positive and negative; for me, it's just about responding with constructive thoughts that don't send me in a negative direction.

yogamaris2 karma

I love this!

philthymcnasty2816 karma

Hey Maris! Thanks for the AMA!

My wife has previously suffered from ED and made what I would call a full recovery and does an excellent job handling any situations that could be difficult for her now.

Would you say having a full recovery from something like you went through is possible or is it always something you have that from time to one may cause more stress or difficulty and you have to be aware of?

yogamaris16 karma

It makes me so happy to hear that your wife is doing well!

Recovery is possible, just hard to define! It's different for everyone. I've met folks who never ever have a disordered thought again, and some who have it pop up from time to time in the form of a nasty thought that they now have the tools to overcome.

I think it's important to be aware of it in the sense that it's something you have a history of and something that could arise during times of immense stress or change. My therapist talks about this in the film.


Shurlick15 karma

Why did you not show pictures of you at your lowest weight (can you please explain the triggering argument)? Were there any internal arguments in the team for showing those?

yogamaris59 karma

Thanks for asking!

There's LOTS of eating disorder media out there. During my illness, I watched every single movie, read every memoir, and even watched the weird documentaries you could only find in the recesses of the internet. Most of them focused on the drama of anorexia: super skinny bodies, specific habits (how many calories they ate, etc.), and usually ended with a completely depressing ending about how recovery is too hard and long of a process.

I'd leave these films feeling depressed and hopeless: why even try? And it also became a competition for me..."They only eat XYZ calories and work out XYZ hours a day, and they look THAT skinny? Guess I should try that!"

I wanted people to leave this film focused on the less exploitative elements of this specific illness. If you want to see skinny bodies/watch exactly how people with eating disorders eat, that's already out there. But if you want a film focused on hope, healing, and the things often not talked about when it comes to anorexia, then this is your movie. :)


yogamaris18 karma

I also wrote about this more in-depth here: https://www.yogamaris.net/blog/imbetter

Aaxxo12 karma

Can you list some things that were instrumental in your recovery? Also how are you different mentally compared to beforehand?

Thanks in advance.

yogamaris18 karma

Thank you for asking!

Yoga was a big one for me: it gave me a way to connect to my body and appreciate it for what it could do more than what it looked like.

It also helped me to study the ethical practices and philosophy of yoga with the guidance of my teachers. My connection to my teachers (in particular, Jenni, who you meet in the film) helped me believe in myself as I saw how much they believed in me. I now believe mentorship is really key to healing.

I like to think that I now have a toolbox of ways to deal with life that I didn't have before. I know how to navigate the ups and downs of life in a healthier way, including communication skills, self-care strategies, and compassion.

archiewouldchooseme13 karma

Hi - sorry for hijacking this comment but I can't seem to figure out how to post a new question! When I read about eating disorder recovery the stories usually go from 'I have a serious eating disorder' to 'I'm in recovery', with not much information in between. What were some of the practical steps/habits/actions that you used to get through it all to a healthy place? Is it just a question of muscling through the urges or bad habits? Forcing yourself to not participate in disordered eating? There seems to be a real lack of practical information about how to combat the issue, it seems to me. It's all well and good to go get therapy but there must still be 'boots on the ground' techniques to go along with the therapy.

yogamaris20 karma

This is a great question, and one we try to address in the film! Here's some of the in-between stuff:

  • Hospitalization (which included therapy, group therapy, art therapy, physical treatment)
  • One-on-one therapy, with a therapist I still see today.
  • Yoga (physical practice, meditation, studying philosophy).
  • Writing, journaling, and making art.
  • Reading lots and lots of books.
  • Looking for patterns (i.e., when I do this, it triggers this behavior) and patiently learning from them.
  • Peeling myself away from negative influences/triggers.

Hope that helps provide some perspective on the path to recovery. I find that most practical info for recovery needs to come from someone like a therapist or trained professional who can look at your unique context and help you find the toolbox that's best serves you.

archiewouldchooseme8 karma

Thank you, Maris! And thank you for courageously putting yourself out there like this.

yogamaris7 karma

Thank you for reading. :)

dissenter_the_dragon10 karma

Who are your top 3 rappers, dead or alive?

yogamaris43 karma

This is a good question.

  1. Chance the Rapper (my dog is named Chance the Pupper)
  2. J. Cole
  3. Childish Gambino

Just my personal preference!!

Chance the Pupper: https://imgur.com/a/581dwr1

jynnjynn10 karma

That's a fine looking pupper!

yogamaris21 karma

He knows his angles.

dissenter_the_dragon6 karma

There is no 'right' answer when it comes to what you like. I like your list, so I will watch the doc. Also because of Chance the Pupper

yogamaris9 karma

Thank you so much! Hope you like it.

BorisMalden9 karma

What advice would you offer to somebody whose family member has been struggling with eating disorders for several years, with little sign of any progress? Other than the usual platitudes, I'm all out of ideas and it can feel pretty hopeless.

yogamaris19 karma

Hmm. That is a tough one. And you're right, it's tempting to fall into the toxic positivity trap of, "Just don't give up, keep going!!"

My advice is this:

You have to take care of yourself before you try to save anyone else. Something I become more aware of as I get older is that mental illness doesn't just affect the person who's diagnosed, it affects everyone around them. My parents went through incredible stress, many sleepless nights, spent lots of money on treatment, and they aren't the folks with the movie named after them.

What you're feeling is real, and you deserve just as much compassion and care as your loved one. Ultimately, as much as we'd like to, we can't force anyone other than ourselves to choose recovery (because it does take conscious and deliberate choices).

Be there are a willing presence whenever they need you. Remind them that you're there for them. Show up for them. Listen to them. But you can't control them, and their recovery isn't your choice to make, and hopefully that can lift some of the burden from your shoulders.

I recommend that everyone who is supporting someone with mental health struggles take steps to preserve their own well-being (therapy, exercise, nourishing food, time spent playing and having fun). It's not selfish to take care of yourself.



CrazyDuck1239 karma

Hello Maris, what's your favorite food?

yogamaris25 karma

Hello! Anyone who knows me knows that I have a weird thing for sweet potatoes. My roommates tell me that they know I'm home when they walk in the door and it smells like sweet potatoes.

FlyingPig8909 karma

Where there any moments during filming where you felt difficulty continuing the documentary? From less privacy, emotional distress, to even friends and family not believing that the documentary could work? How did you deal with it?

yogamaris7 karma

Thank you for asking this!

I honestly thought this film was going to be very small and no one would see it, which made it much less stressful! I thought maybe it'd end up on YouTube or something haha. I never imagined it would be on Netflix or touring around in festivals.

My yoga teachers/friends seemed to believe in it more than me sometimes, honestly! I remember one of my teachers saying, "You know this is going to be a big deal, right?" and I just kind of shrugged it off. I had a hard time believing I was "interesting enough" to have a film made about me. But what I've learned is that it's really NOT about me: it's about telling a larger story of mental illness, hope, family, and recovery that so many others can see themselves in.

On a lighter note, at my high school graduation the filmmaker Laura asked me if she could sneak under my gown to adjust my microphone in front of EVERYONE in my graduating class. I put a hard no on that one!

1NS4N3_person8 karma

Is this one of those "follow my path for success" stories or more of a ".... worked for me because .... You just need to find the same connection in an activity" stories? Because I am happy for you to have defeated your illness but not everyone's battle is the same

yogamaris9 karma

I agree! I talk a lot about how everyone’s journey is unique and this is just one story of healing. :)

Powasam50008 karma

What would you say the most important thing a Significant other can do to help someone with an ED on top of loving them and being supportive?

yogamaris12 karma

I asked my boyfriend this question and he said this:

“You have to understand that it takes patience. Breakthroughs come at different times and can be months apart or hours apart. And remember that you gotta call em on their shit sometimes.”

I agree.

DeadWeightZEUS8 karma

Do you smoke glorious herbs?

yogamaris22 karma

Haha, is this a Santa Cruz joke? Either way, there's some interesting theories about marijuana being used to treat eating disorders, but it wasn't a part of my treatment plan.

DeadWeightZEUS2 karma

Thanks! Just curious.

yogamaris2 karma

Thanks for asking!

abc6d198 karma

During this process where did you have any serious doubts that this wouldn't work or you might be like this forever? Thank you so for answering my question! (Watching the documentry right now!) Really looking forward to hearing your response!

yogamaris20 karma

Thank you so much for watching!

I definitely struggled during recovery. There are times where you hit walls like, "Why am I even doing this?"

What helped me is to focus on small "wins" in recovery. I remember overhearing my mom excitedly telling a friend on the phone that she'd seen me eat an apple after dinner (a "non-scheduled" snack that wasn't enforced by my treatment plan), and it struck me that these little changes were a big deal.

Koala_Sloth_Llama7 karma

Hi Maris - I'm excited to see the documentary about your journey! When looking back at how far you've come, were there moments that you felt it wasn't worth it anymore? A personal rock bottom that really made you rethink everything?

Also - did you ever feel like you were hiding your ED well and were 'getting away' with it?

yogamaris14 karma

thank you for asking!

Hmm..when I was a junior in high school, I went through a period of relapse where I lost most of the weight I'd regained and went into some very controlling/restrictive eating patterns. My mom called me out on it one night when I was having a panic attack, and it was like waking up from a dream. It was a powerful learning experience for me that if you don't seek out help in the early stages of negatives behaviors creeping back up, it's very easy for it to slide downhill very quickly without you even noticing.

I look at this positively now, because if something starts to feel funky, I feel confident in talking to my partner/therapist/etc. about what I'm noticing instead of keeping it hidden until it generates a lot more damage.

I hid behind the label of "veganism" when I was really sick and thought I was getting away with it. I'm not a vegan today, but it was disrespectful to those who do it for environmental/ethical reasons to try and hide behind that term.

3001bees7 karma

Are you in college right now? What's your major? (PS I read all your replies and i love them, you have such a positive attitude and you seem so nice!! Currently going to see if you're on Twitter)

yogamaris11 karma

Yup! I'm a banana slug at /r/UCSC. I'm majoring in Psychology.

Thank you so much for reading! I have the saddest/most inactive twitter in the world haha but it's @yogamaris. I use it to follow people who inspire me like @AOC and @PeteButtigieg mostly!

brydenc7 karma

I was a year below you at CV and it really makes me happy to see how much success has come your way! I watched the documentary and loved recognizing people I know. It was great and I would love to see more from you in the future! Since it seems you’ve accomplished a lot so far, what are some of your next goals?

yogamaris6 karma

Hello fellow ugly eagle! Thank you for watching and for asking. My next goal is to get a book published. xoxoxo

bubz996 karma

A friend of mine is struggling with obesity(food intake). While the appearance is the opposite of anorexia, do you believe they are related or rooted similarly?

yogamaris17 karma

Food is heavily emotional in so many ways. I think any form of eating can become mentally unhealthy in the right context.

tara_tara_tara17 karma

Butting in: I am in recovery from binge eating disorder and there is a difference between overeating and an eating disorder. People frequently use the word binge when they mean overeat. A true binge feels like an alcoholic trying to put the bottle down after a couple of shots.

People overeat for a variety of reasons, only some of which are emotional or psychological.

If your friend wants to seek help, she can try to start with her doctor who will most likely brush her off and tell her she needs to diet. She can look for therapists who work with EDs, contact the National Eating Disorder Association or start with a local recovery group such as a 12-step program or Refuge Recovery.

yogamaris4 karma

I think you put this very well. :)

wyllhyw5 karma

After my recovery journey, I developed PTSD-like symptoms in response to talking about or thinking about treatment. It's now been four years since I got out of the residential facility I was in and though I have made enough progress to talk broadly about my experiences, I still have anxiety attacks when I try to think about the details. Did you experience anything like this after your recovery journey? P.S. I am incredibly grateful that you were able to overcome your ED and evolve into the person you are today. Your journey and experiences have likely already helped and inspired so many people and I admire you greatly!

yogamaris7 karma

My therapist described me as "traumatized" in my first session back from treatment when I described to her how I was feeling. It can be a very traumatic experience, and I think the healing that comes after inpatient is just as important, if not moreso.

Placido-Domingo5 karma

Given how many people suffer from EDs, what is it that makes your story worthy of a Netflix documentary?

yogamaris28 karma

I touched on this in another comment, but this is something I struggled to understand, too.

I think what made my story right for a film is that I produced a lot of artwork and writings during my recovery that made it easy to translate onto the screen. But outside of that, I think there's power in choosing a not-so-extraordinary story that a lot of people can relate to. It spreads the message that you don't have to be some crazy story in order to recover: healing and happiness is possible for anyone.

Thanks for asking!

nitamago5 karma

What’s your ethnic makeup?

yogamaris12 karma

I get this question a lot haha. My mom is Mexican and my dad is German/French/Norwegian.

tokidokibunny5 karma

i dont have an ED but i have extremely poor appetite from depression/anxiety. its hard to force myself to eat sometimes. what kind of foods did you eat when you didnt want to?

yogamaris6 karma

Honestly, I had meal plans made for me when I was in the hospital. I had no choice!

sofiacarolina5 karma

Maris, thank you so much for being a part of this. I'm a bit over halfway through the documentary and your story is so much like mine with the hypochondria (worse at night..I'd have panic attacks every night afraid I was going to die), not relating to my peers, feeling out of control and developing anorexia because I felt at least I could control my body/food intake. i was also hospitalized for ten days which only helped my body, but not my brain..Eventually went back to my old ways at home...I was sent to an inpatient treatment center where I saw so many other girls suffering even more than me, with NG tubes up their noses and we were dehumanized so much, being weighed naked single file every morning and having our personal items taken from us because they wanted to control every aspect of our lives to make sure there were no triggers or anything ... I was there only three days thank god because my aunt and mom who had dropped me off there (it was out of state and I was only 13 at the time) didnt like what they saw...but my experience there shocked me into wanting to recover, and that made all the difference, wanting that recovery...I continue to suffer from body dysmorphic disorder and panic disorder (I go through phases with the panic attacks, right now I'm in a 'relapse' but I've gone through years without them before), but I am no longer anorexic. The thoughts are always there, though, due to the BDD. It's like an addiction imo, you can be sober but you're never not an addict. I feel like I'm no longer acting out the anorexic behaviors, but I'm still an anorexic, I still have that propensity. I understand if others that are in recovery do not want to label themselves as such or see it in this way, but it's how I see it and how I feel it is for me. I've done yoga and I love it, it is so good for my anxiety, I always say it feels like I had a xanax after LOL (that's what I'm prescribed for my anxiety), but I'm so bad at committing to something and practicing it everyday (unless it's self-destructive, that is, clearly).
So here's my question: Did you/do you ever struggle with practicing yoga? Like just wanting to stay in bed and do nothing, brood, and sulk? Not having the mental strength to get up and do it? How do you push yourself to remain committed?

yogamaris4 karma

I definitely have days where I don't want to get on my mat. Here's a quote from Thich Nhat Hahn that helps me:

When we speak of listening with compassion, we usually think of listening to someone else. But we must also listen to the wounded child inside us. Sometimes the wounded child in us needs all our attention. That little child might emerge from the depths of your consciousness and ask for your attention. If you are mindful, you will hear his or her voice calling for help. At that moment, instead of paying attention to whatever is in front of you, go back and tenderly embrace the wounded child.

Sometimes, that desire to stay in bed is my inner child asking for more rest, and I give it that. But sometimes, that inner child is really asking for care and compassion that I can find in my practice. Over time, I've learned to listen better.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Wishing you all the best. xo

sofiacarolina2 karma

Thank you so much for this quote. The wounded inner child is a concept I relate a lot to and I think is at the core of most of my issues, as with many people. The other day I did this thing where I hugged her and told her there was nothing wrong with her. I cried so much, which I never do. I will try to practice compassion - and yoga - more often! <3

yogamaris2 karma

This made me smile. :)

boredpsychnurse5 karma

Hi! Will definitely watch at one point. I’m a psych nurse on an adolescent inpatient unit- do you think this would be appropriate to show? I love that you put consideration in keeping it not triggering.

yogamaris5 karma

Hmmm. I think that's a call that you'd have to make knowing your patients. But we've done screenings at inpatient facilities before! Email [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) and we can get you a screening link to check out the film before you show it to your patients. :)

Empigee5 karma

Two questions:

First, were you at all circumspect about going public with such a personal issue?

Second, do you think changing depictions of women in popular culture would help prevent eating disorders?

yogamaris11 karma

I was a little nervous, but people have been incredible supportive about the film and my story! Any fears I had were calmed by the folks telling me that my story gave them courage to seek out help or share their own story in a way that felt empowering to them.

I think changing how we portray women will create powerful shifts in society overall (and I see some of those changes happening already). I think the reason I developed my eating disorder was that I was craving control in my life, and by controlling my food I was controlling a big way that we value women: physical appearance.

I think the more we disentangle women's worth from how well they size up to arbitrary beauty standards, the more liberated they'll be overall. But eating disorders are very complex and not only about appearance.

made-of-bees4 karma

I’ve been in recovery for three or so years but lately I’ve had to limit what I eat and write everything down for health reasons, and it’s triggering a relapse. Do you have any advice?

yogamaris5 karma

Gosh, that’s tricky. Have you worked with a therapist or your doctor to discuss that this is triggering for you?

Off the top of my head, maybe there’s ways to set boundaries to make this more accessible to you? Like, no using an app on your phone as that’s too constant/easy to obsess over?

Best of luck to you.

Juliablizzz4 karma

As a mother of two very young girls with possible depression/anxiety genes, what advice would you give to parents who are eager to get ahead of the potential for body image issues?

tycoon2484 karma

What inspired you to do this on April fools, or did it not occur to you?

Oh, and what's your favorite yoga position?

yogamaris2 karma

I didn’t get to decide when it went live, haha.

Handstands right now!

SeattleCoffeeRoast4 karma

I went through an eating disorder growing up, and have been doing yoga as well : https://imgur.com/4mHpwhp! I'm glad your story is being shared worldwide!

I feel a large part of mine was being first generation Japanese-American. My parents would openly call me fat fairly often... and visiting Japan would reinforce that feeling.

Question: Do you struggle with any food related issues to this day (i.e. IBS or gagging feeling)?

yogamaris5 karma

Thank you for sharing your experience. Eating disorders are so complex and our cultural environment can play a big role. I’m glad to hear you’re doing well.

There are some foods I hate eating because they were ones I used to see as “safe” and would be the only thing I ate for long stretches of time. Or there’s foods I associate with being in the hospital (not a lot of variety in there).

eva15883 karma

Hi Maris,

I will probably find this out when I watch your documentary, but I will ask you since you are on reddit today.

When you first started doing yoga, did you have any expectations? (i.e. that yoga was going to cure you, that you were going to find a support system) If so, were you let down by your expectations? How were you able to continue practicing even if things were not what you expected?

yogamaris8 karma

I heard a yoga teacher friend of mine once say, "No one just goes to yoga because they think handstands look cool."

What they meant by that is, for most of us, we turn to yoga because we're craving some kind of change. I felt like I was broken, and I needed to be "fixed." What I found was much more healing: if you read the Yoga Sutras, it teaches that yoga's ultimate goal isn't to fix or change us, it's to show us the wholeness we've had all along. At least, that's how my teachers view it.

I thought I'd end up all enlightened and suddenly peaceful all the time, but what happened is I learned that yoga is a self-soothing tool, just one way to navigate life's messiness (and sometimes, we're messy). Yoga helped me connect to who I've been inside all along, it didn't just "fix" me, because I was never really broken.

coolingonmymoustache3 karma

Does your history with an ED manifest itself in your dating life and if so, how?

yogamaris14 karma

That's a really good question.

I met my boyfriend two years after I was hospitalized, and just as I was navigating a relapse. I don't want to make this sound like a "damsel in distress saved by cute boy" story because it's not, but he taught me a lot about life and made aspects of recovery seem actually exciting and interesting. He LOVES food and trying new restaurants and traveling just to eat new things. I loved spending time with him so much that doing these things with him seemed not as scary as they had in a sterile environment like a hospital. In that sense, dating actually helped my recovery in a lot of ways (but I wasn't swiping on Tinder trying to find a recovery buddy or anything like that, haha).

In another sense, I only came out as bisexual last year, but it was something I struggled with my entire life. I tried to come out when I was younger, and was shut down by the person I came out to. I repressed that part of myself and suffered a lot of shame because of it that contributed to my mental health struggles.

kevin_k3 karma

You know a homophone of your name means "lunch" in French?!

yogamaris6 karma

that's pretty funny, all things considered

Leeamalam3 karma

Hey, thank you for this! My question is, what is your opinion on whether what you did for treating your Anorexia nervosa is also applicable to dealing with bulimia nervosa to a certain degree? What do you think is different? Thank you

yogamaris5 karma

Hello, you're welcome!

All eating disorders are different and have unique roots/causes. No two cases of anorexia are exactly the same, even. I think, however, that anyone can benefit from the mindfulness work yoga has offered me.

indianorphan3 karma

MY daughter and I were very close and then she started fighting with me about everything. And hiding things from me. She starting wearing long pants and sweatshirts. I didn't realize anything was wrong because when we would sit to eat...she ate and ate. Then one day she passed out and now we are 6 months into her diagnosis of anorexia and bulima. she has been hospitalized twice, 2 partial hospitalation stays...and weekly counseling visits.

Here is the thing, my daughter is absolutely gorgeous. She gets stopped everywhere she goes...people telling me how beautiful she is . She turned 18 during this time, and is independent. But she won't talk to me and she says simple things like me asking her what she wants to eat...sends her into a screaming rage at me. She hates me now...but I still love her.

What can I do as a mom to help her? What should I say or not say? I am scared for her...please help. She is 5 6 and currently 100 pounds. Oh and she did say that whenever anyone comments on how pretty she is it makes her feel worse...why?

xNightwolfx3 karma

Don’t stop trying. Let her be mad, but don’t give up. Get her a therapist and doctors and keep loving her, hard, through it all. 18 is just a kid still! Stay strong, gather support, maybe watch this documentary and keep your communication open.

yogamaris2 karma

I agree. Everyone is on their own path, but when it’s your child, it’s okay to step in in a greater capacity. I didn’t want to go to the hospital or therapy: my parents made me. Eventually, because they continually offered me those resources, I chose recovery of my own volition.

You might like the film because my parents talk a lot about what it’s like to be a parent of an ED patient.

Best of luck. Xoxo

eros-and-thanatos2 karma

Hi Maris, Sorry I'm late to this but I just watched your documentary and wanted to say its amazing. Recently, I've been studying eating disorders in psychology at college and this documentary really helped in giving insight into what it's like for the individual. Well done for all you've managed to do and best of luck for the future.

My question is: what do you think could be done in society to help prevent more people from developing eating disorders and to help those with them to overcome them?

yogamaris2 karma

Thank you so much for watching!

Education is key to destigmatization. I did a research project for my psych methods class last year and in our tiny sample (but also the literature we reviewed), we found that the more you know about mental illness, the more stigma decreases.

BiscuitSlave2 karma

MY NAME IS MARIS TOO! You're the third Maris I've ever met hahaha! How do you pronounce our name?

yogamaris2 karma

Yay!! “Mare-iss”

FitzyII2 karma

Is it possible to completely recover? Will the nagging thoughts stay forever?

yogamaris2 karma

Full recovery is possible. My friend Chelsea have a TEDx Talk on the importance of discussing the possibilities of recovery: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qnIzl0kr_po

Xavotirlangan2 karma

Does the whole body acceptance movement speak to you or do you think it's just another reason for people to eat unhealthy? This coming from a guy that's over weight by 10 pounds

yogamaris11 karma

I think this is an interesting question and one that is hard to simplify or generalize. I wrote a long article about it here, but I'll try to be brief below.

Something that might be lost in translation a lot of the time is that body acceptance doesn't mean your body can never change or you can't make changes to better your health. It just means that you can love yourself every step of the way. There's a difference between trying to lose weight because you hate yourself and think you won't be worthy of love until you hit a certain number on the scale, and losing weight because your doctor suggested it out of necessity for your unique health situation.

Hope that makes sense!

Joarthus2 karma

Why did you and Niles get divorced?

yogamaris3 karma

i got tired of not having any screen time

i've never even seen frasier

NotMyHersheyBar2 karma

Were you contracted to promote the movie here?

yogamaris3 karma

Nope! It was my boyfriend's idea to do an AMA today. :)

gremalkinn2 karma

How much of your disorder did you think stems from past personal trauma vs. need for control?

I am so excited to watch the documentary! :) congrats!

yogamaris2 karma

Thank you! It’s hard to break it down like that. In my view, it’s a compounding over time (in my case).

[deleted]1 karma


ndog5182 karma

Does it feel surreal?

yogamaris2 karma

Super surreal!


Why chance over Cole? J Cole is a god!

yogamaris1 karma

Hahaha, maybe I'll name my next dog J Cole and we'll call it even. :)