Model, and actress turned author Nikki DuBose urges passage of the Child Victims Act outside the Senate Parlor as the 2017 session of the NYS Legislature begins Wednesday Jan. 4, 2017 in Albany, NY. Read more at Times Union.
“On April 6, 2016, I met with Assemblymember Marc Levine at the California Capitol Office in Sacramento with a group of powerful, passionate women who aim to establish workplace protections and health standards for models. Sara Ziff, Executive Director of the Model Alliance, Madeline Hill, a former model and Model Alliance member, Dr. Bryn Austin, Director of the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders at Harvard University, attorney Cassandra Soltis and I all came together to voice our support for Assembly Bill 2539, which addresses the critical need for workplace protections and health standards within California’s modeling industry. The bill also received a great deal of support from other individuals and organizations who submitted letters explaining why they also felt the bill was needed.”
Read more on The Model Alliance.
Ever feel like you are stuck in an unhealthy relationship with someone or something but you just can’t seem to get out of it for some reason or another? On today’s episode I talk to returning guest, Adrianna Robles, about this very topic. Adrianna is a graduate from Purdue University and currently works for an HR Software company in downtown Chicago. Her passions are writing, volunteering for organizations like the National Eating Disorders Association and speaking about eating disorders at places like Mental Health America in Lafayette, Indiana.
Connect with Adrianna on Facebook:
Visit here to find out how you can get involved with NEDAwareness Week.
I love these books on mindfulness:
- Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food by Jan Chozen Bays, MD
- Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
“The physical, sexual and verbal abuse in my childhood had a direct effect on my self-esteem and self-image. As a result of the abuse and other factors, I developed an eating disorder at the age of eight which lasted for over seventeen years. Later, my mental health issues expanded into substance and alcohol abuse, sex addictions, body dysmorphic disorder, suicide attempts, compulsive spending and depression. I thought that my so-called “glamorous” career as a fashion model would fix my sadness and bury my pain, but nothing could. If anything, it only made it worse because I was not dealing with the mess, merely painting over it and positioned in an industry that oftentimes mirrored the psychologically damaging situations of my past.”
Read more on Recovery Warriors.
“This is part of a series featuring individuals who share their life experiences with mental health issues. Recently, I asked writer and mental health advocate Nikki DuBose about her history of mental health issues and her current advocacy work.”
Read Nikki’s interview on davidsusman.com
Hi everyone! So I’ve decided to convert the Speak2Heal episodes to a podcast format. I just feel that it’s easier and more effective that way! I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I do.
In this Episode I talk to health coach Birdie McNeal about her recovery from anorexia nervosa and how she uses self-love to help others eat intuitively and love themselves mind, body and spirit. You can find out more about Birdie on her website, on Facebook & her Facebook Coaching Page, and on Twitter @TheEatingCoach.
On another note, look for my new book, Washed Away, coming out next year! I recently wrote a blog about it on the National Eating Disorders Association.
“8 Ways Your Struggle Brings Gifts
- They make us stronger. That’s right — after recovering from a lifetime of abuse, eating disorders, drug addiction and alcoholism, one thing is for certain, I am a stronger person. I don’t see my former addictions and mental health issues as a downside, rather as things that have made me more powerful, able to tackle anything life brings my way.
- They help shape our character. Of course we are all born with character, but I believe that my struggles have sharpened mine. With every challenge we face, our character is being built, so we can choose to see troubles as a blessing.”
Read more on Recovery Warriors.
You know, we were kids. He was older, and hiding my Barbies was his thing. Just like most cousins, he liked to tease; it was his way of showing affection. Of course I cried a lot – I loved my dolls more than anything. But as I grew, I wanted to spend more time with him and his brothers, and less time with my dolls.
Then came the times he spent showing me how he could play the guitar, and I was impressed. This kid was good. Like radio good. I spent hours at his feet, cuddling my knees and bobbing my head, as he ripped away tunes, sweating over sheets of music. Of course the teasing always came back. At Halloween he locked me in a dark room and blasted loud tapes of spooky noises. I cried. He laughed.
I didn’t see Ryan for years, but I always thought about him. As life took us in different directions, he and his brothers were constantly in my heart. I struggled with my own issues – depression, eating disorders, addiction, the after-effects of abuse. I was trying to keep my head afloat in a dark ocean of confusion; I wanted to visit my family, but I felt detached from the world. I could no longer identify with the little girl who once played freely and enjoyed life for what it had to offer. I was simply someone else…an identity I had created to cope with life. Often, I contemplated destroying that identity altogether. I wanted to die.
Then came the day – it started out like every other day. Except on this day, I learned that Ryan was gone. He had taken his own life. The memories we shared, were all I had to hold onto. We could never create new ones.
I wish he could have known that, whatever pain he was going through were only temporary. I wish he could have known that he could have reached out…to anyone. I wish that as kids, I could have told him anything, just one thing, that could have made a difference. But I can’t go back and change that. I can, however, help someone else, in honor of him.
I changed my life in honor of my mother, who died in 2012. More importantly, I did it for myself. We can all do it, in memory of someone we love, in honor of ourselves.
If you or someone you love needs to talk, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
As well, you can visit their website to find out more about suicide prevention and ways you can help in your area.
“All right now, hold my hand real tight, don’t let go until you know when.” Dad peered down from his dusty baseball cap marked 88 and gripped my hands in his big bear palm. From my tiny viewpoint, the world was blanketed by the nighttime sky and littered in stars. Dad’s smile lit my heart, and at once, I released my faith and threw back my head, revealing a deep, belly laugh.
“Anda- one, anda-two, anda-three!” Dad swung me higher and higher, until the third count, when he released me and I soared, just for a few seconds, like a superhero amongst the crowds of blurry faces who were scattered amongst the bleachers. It was race night, and like every other Saturday, it was our time; we didn’t get to see each other often, but when we did, time stopped and life became precious.
I hit the rocky ground on both legs safely with a resounding “thud,” and, although shocked, I quickly dusted myself off and turned to face the one person who I knew would be right behind me. “That’s my girl! Didn’t think I’d let you down, did ya?” Dad swept me up in his arms and carried me back to the bleachers, as all fear of the unknown faded away.
My dad has always been my hero, whether or not he truly knows it. In my eyes, I couldn’t tell him enough. And when it comes to my relationships I’ve learned a lot through my biggest one: the one with my father. He’s taught me so much about what it means to love people for who they are on the inside, to see beyond the exterior package. The obvious is not what we see, it is what we choose to get to know about someone that makes them beautiful. Growing up in a small, country, two-bedroom home that raised over twenty children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Dad learned early the value of staying close and loving through it all. As I went through my struggles, he not only taught those to me, he showed them, too.
I’ve learned what it means to let go and allow love in. What it means to heal. For most of my life I shut myself off to love and used relationships as a way to abuse myself and others, long after my abusers left. Dad has always been there, in the background, offering advice and encouragement in his own kind way. The faith that he instilled in me as a child has slowly grown over time, and without his care, I don’t know where I’d be. At thirty and through two marriages, I can’t deny the huge role that his stability has played.
I finally know what it means to love myself. Although this one, like every relationship, is one that is a constant work in progress, the love I have for myself is mirrored by the love Dad has for himself. As we’ve grown and constructed healthier lives, our self-images have been strengthened. My dad has a much better image of himself than he used to, especially when I was living in the depths of my eating disorders. A perfectionist at my core, Dad’s voice was always in the back of my mind whispering, “You don’t have to be perfect for someone to love you.” When I was at one of the lowest points in my life at eighteen and attempted suicide, I never imagined that I could flourish and get to the place of contentment that I am in now.
Because of our relationship, I’ve learned what I want in a partner, and what I don’t want, the latter through my own trials and errors. I learned that I want someone faithful, loving, and kind. A person who looks past the obvious; someone who sees my soul. And just like Dad, someone who is always there to catch me when I fall.
caress my skin
melting into the stars.
©2015 Nikki DuBose
“Perception of the body is something everyone shares, whether positive or negative. Body image can be shaped by a variety of complex factors including genetics, environment and the media.
Negative body image is nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone, at some point in their lifetime, experiences a poor picture of themselves, whether it be mental or physical. The important thing to remember is that you are never alone and reaching out for help is a critical step in building a healthy self image.
Here are seven ways to clear away the dust and reconstruct a better body image.”
Read more on Recovery Warriors.
From our breath
©2015 Nikki DuBose
Over the next week for NEDAwareness I will detail raw, personal accounts of my time in the modeling and entertainment industries. These stories serve to inform and educate the masses about eating disorders, mental health issues, drug and alcohol addictions, and what really lies behind the doors of the fashion world.
My remaining weeks in Los Angeles had been spent in sheer agony. In order to conform myself to the size that the esteemed modeling agency had asked, I had dropped to even more desperate measures than normal. Day after grueling day, I lived in hell. A blistering inferno that I couldn’t get out of.
Inside my mental blazes, I ran around in circles, unable to escape my insanities.
Every day I exercised for hours, binged, purged and locked myself in the bathroom to scrutinize my face and body. The only times I left my house were to get more supplies to fuel my obsessions. I took photograph after photograph of myself to see how much weight I had lost. In my mind, the more weight I lost, the more I achieved, and the more I achieved, the more valuable I was, to myself and to the modeling agency. My self worth was determined by people who only cared about my appearance and how much money I could rake in, but I didn’t care, I had no real love for myself.
Christmas was only a couple of months away but the Miami weather raged on as if the summer had no end. As soon as I stepped off the plane in the sweltering Florida sun I sensed adventure, mixed with a feeling I couldn’t quite place. This undertaking would turn out to be one that I wouldn’t necessarily want to take.
I was instructed by the agents to come in the following day and sign my paperwork. I was overwhelmed by the move, the excitement of being in a new city and the fact that I was going to be a bona fide model! No longer would I just fantasize about being a model, I was actually going to be one. Pride washed over me and all at once I wanted to soar through the clouds and gaze at all the commoners in Florida. They would soon be seeing me on the billboards…I was a star!
The scenery the next afternoon on the way to the agency was quite a change from my safe house in Los Angeles. Girls and guys buzzed about on the white sanded beaches in barely-there bathing suits, rollerblading and confidently participating in a variety of sports. It was not going to be so easy to hide here. I pulled down my form-fitting skirt and withdrew my face as I passed through a dozen restaurants. The agents had informed me that I should wear something body-hugging, but now I was regretting it. I could feel a thousand unwanted eyes ripping off my clothes. I walked faster. As I entered into the sleek, two-story agency that faced the crystal ocean, I quietly took a seat and soaked in the moment.
I was the only person in the waiting area. All around me were large framed photographs of supermodels I recognized from the eighties and nineties. I was in awe. Did that mean I would be a supermodel, too? In my heart, I hoped so. I held my portfolio tightly and noticed a tall wall of composite cards. Rows of models that belonged to the agency were on display. I observed each and every one.
Wow, I thought. I wish I could look like her. I wonder what it’s like to be her, to be like that.
I became lost in the sea of faces and felt myself drowning.
Had I lost enough weight? Would they accept me?
I nervously tapped my foot but tried to appear calm and collected. My jittery eyes led to a second level that wrapped around to a glass enclosure. Inside a few agents stayed glued to their computers and telephones. They didn’t acknowledge my presence. I checked my phone; 2:49. The appointment was at 2:30. I bit my breath and quietly sat. In my stillness I was sorely reminded of one thing: how much I missed mom. In that moment I contemplated about what it would be like for her to be there with me, sitting beside me and cheering me on. I wanted her to be proud of me. I couldn’t wait to tell her about this opportunity, but most of all, I was tired of being…alone.
My podcast with Recovery Warriors is now LIVE!
Hear me speak on overcoming a more than seventeen year battle with binge eating, bulimia, anorexia, drug and alcohol addictions, and mental health issues. Also I talk about my experiences in the modeling and entertainment industries and how walking away from them led to my recovery.
The nights were uncertain
the days trembled too
yet on and on I carried
lit my way
You brought me through.
©2015 Nikki DuBose
Pancake with a twist! Baked in the oven with cinnamon and nutmeg, and topped with butter and agave.
You will need:
1 cup of flax milk (or whatever milk you prefer)
3 tablespoons of Organic turbinado sugar/monk fruit sweetner/honey/agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
*2/3 cup all purpose flour
*(Note: If you have a gluten allergy, here is a wonderul gluten-free mix from Bob’s Red Mill) http://www.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free-all-purpose-baking-flour.html
1/2 stick of unsalted butter (half for cooking apples, half for melting over finished pancake)
2 apples, any kind, cored and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
agave nectar to top
Preheat the oven to 425°F. While the oven is warming melt some butter in a pan on the stove and cook the apple slices until they are a golden brown, about five minutes. Whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, sea salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl until thouroughly combined. Add in the flour and stir until it is smooth. Pour the apple slices with the butter into a baking dish that is 13 x 9. Rearrange the apple slices so that they overlap and then cover with the batter. Cover with a touch of brown sugar. Bake the pancake until it is slightly brown, around 20 minutes, then remove and serve with agave, butter and any other toppings you prefer.
Need I really say more? Nutella hot chocolate. I think the name pretty much speaks for itself. This spin on the classic hot chocolate is incredible when paired with warm croissants.
You will need:
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of half and half or heavy cream
1/3 cup of Nutella
Whipped cream to top
Mix the milk, cream and nutella together in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Whisk until everything is smooth and has a creamy consistency. Be careful to not burn the milk. Pour into mugs, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with dark chocolate cocoa if desired.
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) awareness week is Feb 22-28th! Please visit NEDA’s Awareness site to learn more and to find how how you can get involved. ♡
The seemingly “perfect” images we see in magazines, billboards, on television, movies, and on social media, are an illusion, meant to make us feel bad for the sake of making advertisers and powerhouses wealthy. Please do not believe what you are seeing. The models behind the images have to resort to unhealthy measures to maintain their appearances and adhere to strict rules in order to keep their jobs. The environment that the modeling industry imposes at large is a breeding ground for eating disorders, and while they have made an effort to diversify and celebrate all body types and sizes, there is still much work to be done.
Beneath their palms
Cries to heaven
Reveal our star.
©2014 Nikki DuBose
Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, I used to eat crab, lobster, fish, and shark right off the boat, and sometimes, right off our dock in our backyard. My dad still has a tiny handmade fishing boat that he and his brother take out often, and my mom used to catch fish and taught me how to prepare and of course, cook ’em! One of my favorite dishes is alligator, and every time I go home I try get some of it downtown. In one of the houses we lived in we had many alligators in the reservoir. It was totally normal to see the alligators in the water during the daytime from our yard, and at nighttime we would see their red eyes glowing in the darkness and hear their low, slow, growls.
I guess you could say that seafood is an enormous part of my culinary makeup, and I am so proud of my Charlestonian heritage! I love using my tried-and-true Gullah cookbooks from the lowcountry, but I modify them to fit a healthy lifestyle. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Here is a simple yet delicious crab meat recipe that I took from one of my Charleston receipts and modified it slightly.
I call it: Lovely Sherry Crab Meat
*Note: I accompanied it with vegetables to keep it fresh!
You will need:
1 pound of white crab meat
4 tablespoons of yogurt (Note: I used goat’s milk yogurt, but any will work here, and if you want this dish to be ultra rich and creamy, I imagine a thick greek yogurt or greek goats milk yogurt will work best!)
4 tablespoons of hazelnut flour (Note: This flour is significantly lower in carbs and sugar, suitable for a healthy lifestyle)
1/2 pint coconut almond milk
4 tablespoons sherry
3/4 cup sharp grated cheddar cheese
Pepper to taste (Note: I used A LOT of pepper as dishes from my beautiful hometown are somewhat spicy. So, alter as you see fit, but I think that the more pepper in this dish, the more authentic it is!)
Nonfat cooking spray or butter/olive oil
In a pan over medium heat bring together the yogurt, hazelnut flour, and coconut almond milk. Next add in the pepper and sherry, mixing well. Remove the pan from the fire and add the crab meat. Pour the spread into a casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray/butter/olive oil. Sprinkle with the cheese and cook in a hot oven just until the it melts on top, but do not overcook it.
*Note: You can subsitute 1 1/2 pounds of lobster or shrimp for the crab meat.
I am thrilled that NEDAwareness week 2014 is upon us and kicking once again! This is a great chance for people all over the world to get involved on social media, the workplace, school, home – everywhere!
To find out how you can get involved in this year’s NEDAwareness week, please visit their site.
Step Eight requires tremendous doses of humility and courage as we ponder over the courses of our lives who we have hurt while living in our addictions. Sometimes we have mistreated others and were not even aware that we had done so. As we begin to meditate on those who had been affected by our irresponsibility we quickly find that we can list a slew of of people we had hurt.
This was a tough step for me the first couple of times I went through early recovery and now I really try not to hurt others. I may not always be where I need to be but with God’s help thank God I am not where I used to be! Take heart and know that although your healing journey may seem difficult or like a long road to walk on, that it is a path filled with healing and with healing comes many blessings and happiness. And we all deserve to be happy! Most importantly we all need to learn how to treat other people with kindness and love so this is a very important step to accomplish but with God’s help you can do it one day at a time.
Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.
1. How have I failed to respect the property of others.
2. Have I been so harmed or condemned by others that I have avoided responsibility for myself. By whom and when.
3. What excuses have I used for not looking at my behaviors.
1. In what areas have I unintentionally harmed others with my words/moods/self-pity/depression/anger/or fears.
2. In what ways have I acted thoughtlessly without regard for others’ needs or feelings. When; To Whom;
1. Have I been putting off making a list because I am afraid of some responses. Whose.
2. Have I held on to shame about a certain incident or relationships. What am I willing to do to let go so that I can become willing to make amends.
3. Is there someone I am having trouble forgiving who blocks my willingness. Who.
1. How have I allowed isolation due to shame and guilt to keep me from supportive relationships.
2. What is the role of shame and guilt in my isolation.
3. Am I willing to forgive myself for the hurt I have caused others. Write a prayer of willingness to forgive and ask for God’s grace to heal these relationships.
Forgiven to Forgive
1. Are there people on my list that I am having trouble forgiving for their part in our relationship. Who and Why.
2. What keeps me from letting others off the hook. Fear/Resentment/Caretaking.
3. What blocks me from forgiving others for the wrongs done to me.
a. Fear of what others would think of me. (Pride).
b. Fear of letting others see my hurts.
c. Fear of conflict. Protecting others feelings to avoid conflict.
The Fruit of Forgiveness
2 Corinthians 2:5-8
1. Is there anyone on my list whose behavior I do not approve. Who. Why.
2. Am I willing to let go of judgement and disapproval to open myself to working this step.
3. Have I been so afraid of rejection that I have delayed willingness to make amends. Who could reject me and why.
1. What “crop” did I sow while practicing my addiction.
2. Describe the correlation between healthy living and acceptance of the consequences for my addiction/behavior:
Thank you to FHM and FHM.ES for making me one of the most desired women in the world. I feel very honored, but I know that true beauty comes from the inside out!! Personality far exceeds physical beauty, and how we treat others is a greater reflection of our looks than anything else. I will also always take with me something my grandmother taught me when I was a little girl. She said, “Manners will take you farther than looks, money, and education.” I am a firm believer in this. Manners are so important because how we behave implies how the world sees us and encompasses as a whole our physical beauty as well. It all works together to “make up” our inner confidence.