8 Ways Your Struggle Brings Gifts

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.

 

Eating Disorder Recovery — Seeing The Value Within

“We are all precious and unique. Every body has a destiny to fulfill, and we cannot do that unless we learn to see our value on the inside first. When something is valuable it is considered very worthy, of great importance.

There is no person that is more worthy than you. Yes, you. From the day you were born, God considered you the most valuable person on the planet.

He molded you in His image. He didn’t make one person more special, one more beautiful, and another more interesting, no, He made every person of equal value.”

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

 

Berry Breakfast Pizza

Who doesn’t love pizza for breakfast? I made two different versions, here is the first one!
This recipe is great for anytime of the day 🙂

You will need:

1 pizza crust, like Udi’s

2 tbs butter

4 tbs cinnamon sugar mix (see below)

1 1/2 cups yogurt blend (see below)

1 tbs heavy cream

2 tbs of lemon juice

1 cup of strawberries

1 cup of blackberries

Cinnamon-Sugar: Mix 4 tbs of alternative sugar or organic turbninado raw cane sugar with equal parts cinnamon in a small bowl.

Yogurt Blend: Mix 1 1/2 cups of yogurt with 1 tbs heavy cream and 2 tbs of lemon juice.

 

To make: 

Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the pizza crust on parchment paper and place on a tray. Spread the butter over the crust and then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar on top. Bake in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes until it is golden brown, then let it cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, heavy cream, and lemon. Spread it over the crust and top it with the berries and cinnamon-sugar once more. Eat like a pizza, and remember, mindfulness!

 

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

 

 

 

Berry Breakfast Pizza

Paint Me A Soul Part Five

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.

March 2009.

My twenty-fourth birthday had come and gone, and I could hardly recall any of it…at least anything honorable.  Although I had set out to enjoy the evening sober and in an elegant fashion, by the time I saw myself dressed and sporting new gold stilettos from Bloomingdales, I couldn’t let the night unravel without the heavens spinning.

I wanted to get drunk, fast and hard. As usual my innocent plans ended in raging fights, binges on birthday food, party goodies and alcohol, multiple episodes in the bathroom for purging sessions and, ultimately, a blackout.

I had managed to hide my binging over the course of the night, and purging, I thought that to be a cinch. Because I was partying in the Miami scene, the bathrooms were continuously filled with people who were hurling the hard liquor they had churning in their bodies…at least I thought. I used that as my excuse every time I made the trip into one of the disgusting stalls. As the evening drew on, I looked and behaved like something out of a deranged circus show. I needed a team of people to help put my life together, however I continued to look for fixes in all the wrong places.

 

***

Spring had finally arrived. Outside the world overflowed with cotton candy skies, lush Hibiscus flowers swirled kisses to ethereal butterflies and rows of Royal Palm Trees bended and swayed to the rhythms of the sweet, salty air, that tangoed with the sunshine.

But inside, oh but inside, my reality was muted and bare. Moment by moment I was being strangled by the pasty walls inside Dr. Melbourne’s office. The thick smell of sterilization and cleaning fluids filled my lungs and brought me to a nauseating reality. Blood red. It was, in fact, the only color apart from the chalky white that was in this hell hole. Gallons of blood trickled from the bodies of hundreds of victims, just like myself, down through plastic tubes and into clear containers. With every drip into the container, another soul was exposed and washed away.

The only noise I could detect besides the frail beating of my heart was the maniacal tickings of the stale clock that hung directly above the wooden entrance. I was trapped, and if I wanted to escape, which I did, I would have to dash down the long hallway of slippery shame and face one beautifully altered nurse after another, explaining why I didn’t want to get my breasts enhanced.

Enhanced sounded so…so innocent, as if putting on a padded bra would have sealed the deal. But no, I was fully aware that soon I would be under the knife…again…and Dr. Melbourne…Miami’s finest, would cut and stuff large balloons of potentially harmful substances into my chest. All for the sake of…what?

I wanted to please. I wanted to feel better about my body. I had always wanted a larger chest. Now that not just one, but several of my agents had agreed and brought it to my attention that implants would make my career more successful, I was convinced I was making the right decision. I believed that after the surgery, I would finally be…good enough. I couldn’t tell what was more superficially inflated…my ego, or the sample implants enclosed in the glass case across from me.

Only a few months ago, I had walked through these same doors for rhinoplasty. Any fear that I had was replaced once Dr. Melbourne reassured me with a marker outline on my face of what my new and improved self would look like. As he held up the mirror, I was pleasantly shocked.

That’s…that’s my new nose?”

He remained neutral and said nothing. Suddenly I dwindled into an eight year old, afraid and timid. I was an annoyance with my mouth.

Yup! As I told you before, it’s not a big deal. Rhinoplasty is a common procedure. Especially with girls in your line of work.”

I felt…insulted on some levels, but I also couldn’t help noticing how seeing myself in a potentially new way soothed my emotions. As I turned my head from side to side, I believed that this surgery would fix all of my problems. No one could ever make fun of me anymore. I would book more jobs, and become a supermodel. Everyone at the agency would be astounded by my success. I could never be looked at as ugly again, and coming from a woman who as a child had been made fun of for her big nose, chunky cheeks and glasses, I felt that reducing my nose was a slap in the face to everyone…at work, and at home.

I’ll show them.

I can’t wait to do it, Dr. Melbourne.”

A few months later, after weeks and weeks of lying in bed with bandages on my face like a mummy, I uncovered my new self. A reinvented me. Dr. Melbourne removed the layers to reveal a nose that was more petite, and in my mind, a me that was finally worthy and desirable. However, I was severely swollen and numb to the touch. Numb like my life. The surgery didn’t stop my binging, or purging. Although I saw myself with a new face, I was ridden with issues. I spent hours in the bathroom, obsessing over every little detail. The sadness and anger ate away at my skin, and I wanted to die. I contemplated suicide during my rehabilitation.

Pig. Now you look even more like a pig! Your nose is tilted!

I seriously considered a second nose procedure to correct the first one, but those sane around me talked me out of it.

Now, a hard raspy knock on the door brought back me to these chalky walls, and a life-sized doll stepped inside.

Hello, I’m Theresa. Ms. Du-Boise? Du-DuBose?”

DuBose.”

Ok. Ms. DuBose, please come with me, we need to take your vitals, check your weight, etc.”

God, my weight.

As she turned out the door, I put my feet together and checked to see if my thighs were touching. I hadn’t eaten anything that day, in preparation for this very moment. My jeans were looser. I was down to wearing between a size two to four.

Just don’t look at the number.

We walked over to an area where a shaky scale sat. Fleshy eyes knocked and rolled all over my back as I took off my shoes and stepped onto the platform. Clenching my eyeballs shut, I squeezed my hands until I was sure I would burst into flames.

Please God, please don’t let her tell me the number. Please God, please don’t let her –

God wasn’t listening.

123.” She scribbled some notes on her pad.

123, that’s actually not that bad!

Not my goal, but, not enough to send me into a tailspin at the moment, either. I lifted my flat chest a little higher, and, walked out of the torture chamber straight into the room of doom. I gloated in my number.

123, 123, 123, 123…

My glory, my shining moment was shredded to pieces, the moment she closed the door. Unbeknownst to me, she mentally whipped out her blood-spattered butcher knife and sliced me in half.

123…that’s a lot for models, isn’t it?”

 

Paint Me A Soul — Part Four

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.

Only a couple weeks had passed since I had first walked into the doors of the agency, but it felt as though I had journeyed through an entire lifetime. My universe consisted of photo shoots, blind contracts, and meeting person after person in castings all over town, although hardly ever eye-to-eye. Most just wanted to evaluate my face and body, not look into my eyes…that required a sincere connection and I was quickly learning that I was in the wrong place for that.

 There was a sort of bitter flow that just…worked. It only took a couple of days before I understood certain protocols and ideals. Show up, on time. Do as you’re asked. Dress to show off your body, and, work hard to maintain certain measurements. The thinner, the better. Always, always appear immaculate. Practice, practice, practice your walk. Be the best. Once you complete a job, don’t ask questions as to when you will get paid. If I had a question about something, I asked, but many times I was shot down and ignored. The tactics seemed…familiar. It was a reflection of my childhood, and one that I was willing to give up everything for. It was a family that I wanted desperately to call my own.

November 2008

Pinching the skin between my forehead repeatedly, I fell off into space. Darkness ran in all directions as the world ceased to exist. My body tingled and my brain throbbed. Suddenly I was sorry for the massive purging session that had just taken place in the bathroom of the downstairs cafe. I couldn’t really think, I was numb. Numb to it all.

Get it together. You have to take new polaroids!

I forced my eyes open to splotches and grey floaters. Sitting on the toilet, clothed, in the agency bathroom I gathered the strength to stand. Dizzy, my stomach churned with anticipation. I walked over to the sink and brushed my teeth. As I spit and raised my head, I came face-to-face with a reflection that was not my own. The glazed eyes, puffy cheeks and red lips didn’t belong to me. Who was I?

I didn’t have much time to contemplate because the door swung open and a fellow model rushed in. She glanced at me and my swollen face, suspiciously.

My gaze went from her, to myself, and back to her again. I watched her walk into a stall and shut the door.

I bet she doesn’t throw up. Why can’t you get yourself together stupid? Why can’t you just be…normal?

I packed my items away in my bag and scrutinized my body in the mirror. I just had to observe it from all angles. The fear of being rejected and criticized by my agents loomed largely. I smoothed my stomach over and over, as I moved from side to side. I checked my back, legs, everywhere. Then I fixed my hair and re-fixed it. I wanted to smash my face into the glass as I morphed into a giant swine.

God Nikki you look like a fat pig. Ugly!

After the polaroids were updated, I was asked to stay longer. Besides the negative comments that were made about my thighs, I was unsure as to why I was asked to stay behind. I wanted to leave, but I patiently agreed and sat down in an empty chair that was normally occupied by the men’s agent. I sat for an eternal time, hot and anxious.

I bet they’re going to tell you about your weight! That’s what happens when you eat right before! You better starve!

I drifted off to the wall of cards that showed off all of the women the agency kept on roster. There I was, on the bottom right. All around me were the most beautiful of the beautiful. I was still on a paper card and didn’t even have my permanent card yet.

You’ll never be like them. Never. Look at their beautiful faces.

I sunk into a bottomless pit of depression, and I couldn’t see the light. Pile after pile of dirt was thrown on top of me. I was suffocating.

Nikki?”

I snapped to my senses, but only for show.

Yes, I-I’m ready. What is it you wanted to see me for?”

My agent came over to me and firmly placed her hand on my shoulder.

Helena wants to see you in her office.” With that she motioned for me to go upstairs.

Upstairs. It was a place that few ever ventured. The owner of the agency practically lived there. Many days as I passed through the main entrance, she was always aware, yet somehow engrossed in her affairs. She intimidated the hell out of me, and she knew it too. A well-known figure, she had guided the careers of some of the world’s most recognizable faces. For a brief second, I wondered if she wanted to help me, too. Adrenaline exploded throughout my body.

As I crept up to the door I adjusted my clothes for a solid five minutes. I closed my eyes and exhaled heavily.

Finally I rapped lightly on the door. I was afraid to disturb her.

Come in and sit down please.”

Pushing the door slightly, I quietly walked in and sat in the chair across from her. The office was even more elaborate than what little bits I had noticed from downstairs. Fur rugs were strewn across a dark hardwood floor. Animal prints and jewel tones were highlighted by fancy candles and framed pictures of articles that boasted of her years of accomplishments. Her massive desk was coated with photographs of famous faces. I felt as big and important as a discarded peanut shell.

She took in a long, heavy breathe and searched me up and down with a neutral expression. Her eyes, however, were piercing. Then she unfolded.

It has come to my attention that, that there is a – a problem darling with some things. Some things that need – attention.” As she spoke she twitched her hand in the air and rolled her eyes to either side.

Attention? Oh my God. What is wrong with me?

I was transported back to my childhood. All at once I was nine years old again, waiting to show my mom my report card. Perspiration trickled between my legs and behind my neck.

It’s, it’s your nose, darling. It’s the shape. And the width. It’s too big. One of the agents brought it to my attention in the polaroids that you took. At first I didn’t notice and I thought that you could cover it up with makeup, but really, it is going to be a problem for clients.”

It took me a while to recover from the massive punch in the face I had just received.

What had she said? It took all my strength not to melt into a puddle of tears.

O-OK,” I stammered. “I understand. You are just looking out for my best.”

I have a wonderful plastic surgeon that I have sent other girls to, he’s the best in Miami, you’ll really love him. Think of it as an investment in your career, and in your life.”

Yes ma’m, thank you for telling me.”

Ok, that’s really about all I needed to tell you.” She stared blankly out her window and motioned me out the door with her crimson fingernails.

I turned, dejected and hopeless. My dreams were shattered. Change my face? Change my life. As I shuffled out of the room I felt the heat from the blistering flames, threatening to singe me.

Roasted Pears with Camembert and Agave

Roasted Pears with Camembert and Agave

 

Happy New Year!  This is a simple, delicious and perfect way to welcome in 2015. This dish is ideal for when you do not have a lot of time and want to have something comforting and satisfying.

You will need: 

Cutting knife

Spoon

Melon ball scoop

Non-stick cookie sheet

Aluminum foil

2 TBS oil, such as canola or coconut

Three pears

Camembert cheese

Agave nectar

To make: 

Preheat the oven to 375°. Rinse the pears well. Place the pears on a cutting board and with the cutting knife slice the pears into halves and then scoop out the middle of each half with a small spoon or melon ball scoop. Discard the mush. Place aluminum foil on top of the cookie sheet and grease with two tablespoons of oil. Put the pear halves on top of the aluminum foiled pan. Fill each hole with camembert cheese and squeeze agave over top in a zig-zag motion. Place the pears into the oven for thirty minutes or until tender. Enjoy, and remember to eat mindfully. You are worth it!

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

B.E.A.U.T.Y is in Your Heart by Emma

This precious drawing comes to us from my sweet and talented neighbor Emma. She explains that this cat sees life in a very different way than most of the other cats in her world, for although her body iB.E.A.U.T.Y_Project_beauty_is_in_your_heart_Emmas filled with scars and bruises, she has a kind and gentle soul. Many of the other cats cannot see past her outward appearance, and fail to be her friend. She doesn’t let life get her down though, for she knows that her in
ner beauty shines and defeats all of the negative attitudes that the other cats have. Her positive attitude builds a world where love is all she sees, and therefore, she can never be sad or lonely.

Thank you Emma, for your endless light and love for the world.

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

 

Chia Seed Banana Bread! :D

There’s nothing like warm, fresh bread out of the oven! This bread is special because it combines organic whole wheat, bananas, and chia seeds which fill your tummy and make your heart happy. 🙂 And the smell…come on now, who doesn’t love the enticing smell of freshly baked bread in the oven? You know when I was a little girl my mom made all of the breads homemade, so I try to carry that tradition on as often as I can.  I can’t always make the bread at home, but when I can, I am transported to holiday times with my mom, peering over the counter and watching her make the most delicious whole wheat and pumpernickel breads from scratch.  I think that the memories and habits we carry through from generation to generation are so special, and I hope you enjoy this delightful Chia Seed Banana Bread as much as I did.

God Bless,

<3 Nikki DuBose

You will need:

3 TBS melted unsalted butter, plus some extra for softening the pan

3 bananas

1 egg

3/4 cup stevia/monk fruit equiv.

2 cups organic whole wheat flour

1 TSP baking soda

1 TSP baking powder

2 TBS chia seeds

10″ x 3″ round pan or 5″ by 9″ loaf pan

To make: 

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Use some of the butter to slick the pan and set aside. Peel the bananas, mash them well in a large mixing bowl, and then stir in the stevia/monk fruit and egg. Mix completely and then add the melted butter. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and chia seeds. Gently combine the dry ingredients into the wet and blend well but do not over-mix.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for forty-five minutes. You will know it is done when a toothpick is placed in the middle and comes out clean. The bread should be golden brown, and the sides should fold away from the pan easily without breaking.

Let the bread cool in the pan for at least five minutes before removing.

Relax and remember to enjoy your creation! Eating mindfully is the key to a healthy and happy mind, body, and spirit. 🙂

Chia_Seed_Banana_Bread_Nikki_DuBose

 

 

 

 

Black Bean Brownies with Sweet Avocado Frosting

Generally everyone like brownies, and never does this theory hold true more than with young people, right? While it is important for kids to enjoy dessert, I like to bake treats that are healthy and delicious!

Last night for Mondays at the Mission, I made these black bean brownies with a sweet avocado sauce for the youth! No sooner had I placed them on the table than they were gone 😀

I couldn’t believe they were made out of BEANS because of how scrumptious they were! I am curious to see if you agree with me 🙂

I made two batches of these and both came out fluffy yet moist because of the baking powder. If the idea of the avocado frosting turns you off, I understand, but just think of all of the health benefits balanced with the sweet taste! It’s a win-win 🙂

God Bless,

You will need:

Black Bean Brownies

1 (15 oz). can of low sodium black beans, drained
3 eggs
3 TBS coconut oil
1/2 cup of wondercocoa powder
3 TSP of bourbon vanilla extract
1 TSP baking powder
equ. of 1/2 cup of monk fruit in the raw/stevia/agave

Sweet Avocado Frosting

1 avocado, ripe
1 TBS canola/coconut oil
1/2 TSP bourbon vanilla extract
4 packets of Stevia
1 cup of arrowroot
1 cup of powdered milk

To make:

First, let’s make the brownies. Preheat the oven to 350°. Blend the black beans, eggs, coconut oil, wondercocoa powder, vanilla extract, baking powder, and sweetener of choice until smooth in a blender. Spray an 8×8 baking pan with fat-free cooking spray and pour the brownie mix into the pan. Bake in the oven for about twenty-five minutes. Let the brownies cool in the pan before cutting into even squares, which will make about twelve.

Now for the avocado frosting! With a high-powered whisk, beat together the oil and avocado until smooth. Then carefully add the vanilla. Blend the stevia, arrowroot, and powdered milk in a blender well to imitate powdered sugar, then mix that in with the avocado until everything is properly combined.

Now here’s the best part! You can and the kids can sit down and take quality time to enjoy the incredible brownies you have spent making. What better way to bond than over a meal as a family?

Pineapple Pancakes

These are the ultimate treat for me!  Pancakes are something that terrified me for years because of my struggles.  I am grateful for eating pancakes as it is a marker of overcoming and letting go.

This recipe uses two kinds of flour: almond and organic whole wheat.  I like to combine the two because it gives the pancakes a more consistent feeling rather than a cakey turnout.

I hope you enjoy my pineapple pancakes!

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

You will need: 

1 cup of almond meal/flour

1 cup of organic whole wheat flour

2 TBS stevia/monk fruit/agave/organic raw cane sugar

1 TBS baking powder

1/4 TSP baking soda

2 eggs, beaten

1 can of freshly crushed pineapple (I bought a package of fresh pineapple and crushed them myself)

3/4 cup of coconut almond milk

1/4 cup of canola oil

Light whip cream and sugar-free caramel syrup to top (or top with apple butter)

To make: 

In a large mixing bowl combine the almond and whole wheat flour together. Next, add the stevia, baking powder, and baking soda. In a separate medium bowl mix well the eggs, freshly crushed pineapple, almond milk, and canola oil.  Now pour the pineapple mixture in with the flour, and stir until everything is slightly lumpy, but smooth.

Place a pancake skillet or pan on the stove and raise the heat to about medium.  Cook about 1/4 of a cup of batter at a time, and let it sit for about three minutes on each side, turning when the bubbles form and the edges start to dry. The pancake should be golden and crispy on each side…but if you “mess up”…don’t worry, it’s all about progress, not perfection right?

Serve immediately and place a dollop of light whip cream on top. Pour  caramel syrup over the top (I got mine from Starbucks!), or get more creative and make your own delicious sauce 🙂

 

 

 

B.E.A.U.T.Y Art Project “Whole”

Sometimes we become broken into a million pieces inside as a result of the things that happen to us along life’s way.

God has promised in His Word to give us, “beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3). IMG_20140711_124757No matter what we have been through or will go through, we can be happy and confident because God will make us whole and complete.

Thank you to Susie Fernandez and her wonderful art students in Long Beach, California for this joyful creation!

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

B.E.A.U.T.Y Art Project “Insecurities”

BeautybySusieF2Here is another art piece by Susie Fernandez and her creative art students from Long Beach, California.

The theme of the picture is, “You are more than your insecurities.”
Do you ever feel as if all you can focus on is the things you don’t like about yourself? How about redirecting that energy and focus on the things you love about yourself?! Did you know you are made for greatness? You really and truly are!

We all have insecurities, but they do not define who we are. In fact, the things that make us different are also what make us extra special 🙂

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Gaining

The Hope Diary: Gaining

July 9, 2014

You can’t paint over pain.

Gaining weight in recovery from anorexia and bulimia has been hell. There’s no ice cream-caked way to sugar coat the horrendous feelings that have surfaced once I actually started to put down my addiction, and picked up life again. Not numbing myself with food, drugs, or alcohol left me stone-cold naked and faced with thoughts and emotions that I had buried years and years ago; and many that I did not even know existed.

The sexual abuse began in my childhood and resurfaced in the modeling business. I used food, and later drugs and alcohol, to forget the experiences and dull the nightmares that I was having of being used for my body and thrown away like yesterday’s trash. I lost my identity over the course of my life, and between all of the mental problems with my mother, I often considered suicide. I began to see myself like a monster in my teenage years, and I felt like my eating disorder was my best friend, and the only thing I had to live for. Sometimes when life was really low, I found myself debating between only the eating disorder or killing myself. I truly thought that I was so low, so degraded, that I had nothing to live for. I had been so shamed in my body since my childhood, that I had come to view myself as an object, which is what others had treated me as.

Gaining weight in recovery has given me my strength back physically, mentally and emotionally, and it has enabled me to deal with the underlying pain underneath the eating disorder. When I was first sexually abused at the age of eight, I began to overeat to try to bury the shameful feelings that I had. Therefore, as an adult in recovery, at twenty-nine years old, I am working every day to value and love myself at a healthy weight, and not feel ashamed of the person that I am. There is a mental and emotional reflection I guess you could say that stares back at me sometimes, even without a mirror, and that is because of the tremendously damaged little girl and adult girl from the modeling industry that really got hurt from the constant abuse.

Gaining weight is my “sharpened Savior” in a sense, because it is a necessary tool that has been molding me into the true person that I really am, and need to be in order to face all of the monsters from my past, and the ones that will inevitably reoccur. Knowing that God is with me throughout everything is my hope and comfort.

Don’t give up. Wherever you are at in recovery, embrace it. You are strong. You can do this. I know you can. I believe in you.

God Bless,

 

B.E.A.U.T.Y Art Project by Susie

Beauty by SusieThis inspiring art work comes from Susie Fernandez and her talented art students in Long Beach, California.

We can change the negative voices in our heads from “I’m not smart enough” to “I’m smart,” and “I’m ugly” to “I’m pretty,” and “I’m amazing!”  We can program our minds to think beautiful thoughts about ourselves, and soon, we will begin to believe the positive thoughts. What we believe, we act upon, and we spread the love to others.

What negative thoughts are you having about yourself, and what phrases can you meditate on that will produce a positive change?

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

B.E.A.U.T.Y Art Project “Shine”

DuBose.Nikki.BeautyProject.Shine“All of the stars twinkle for you. This world needs your beauty! You shine so bright!”

I hope you never go another moment wondering if you are special.  Look up at the stars in the sky at night and know that God made them for you.  The stars shine for you to soak in and meditate on.

Did you know that you were born to do great things in this life, and burst with your inner beauty just like the stars?

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

B.E.A.U.T.Y Project Art in Honor of My Mom

"Each tiny leaf upon this tree will tell my message: I love thee"
“Each tiny leaf upon this tree will tell my message: I love thee.”

My mom was a deep person who loved nature and art, among many other things. She always tried to spread her love to me and my brother in her artwork, and I am happy to share that with you. We all express our love in different ways, and I think it’s important to accept that love for what it is, instead of trying to change that love to fit our desires. We are all here on Earth trying to do the best we can.

We love and miss you mom.

How do you see love and beauty?

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

2014 LA Artist Initiative NEDA Walk

What an amazing turnout we had at this year’s Los Angeles NEDA Walk in sunny Santa Monica, California! As I take a while to pause and reflect on all of the time and energy that was put into preparing, sharing and executing this inspiring and emotional event, I am sad that it is now over, but I am also ready and preparing to have an even bigger and better time for next year’s event.

When I was approached by NEDA to captain the LA Artists Initiative Team, which first started in New York City, I felt grateful and blessed to be a part of such a momentous occasion and felt unsure if it was something that I could be responsible for. Was I meant to be a leader? I am so flawed!

Read more on NEDA.

NEDAwareness Week 2014 is Officially here!! Show Your Support!

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.

1780840_10202433945464289_610226513_n

Recovering From Anorexia and Bulimia: Loving My Jiggle

After taking a year and a half off work from modeling to recover, I feel so freaking happy to say that I am getting my booty back, my boobs back. I feel things jiggle when I walk. I have arm muscle now. I can eat to my hearts content and have a big, curvy body that is sexy.

Do I regret coming out about having an eating disorder? NO!

Do I regret sharing photoshoots that show myself at a low weight?  NO!

Why?  Because I am proud to help others who are also suffering from anorexia and bulimia and I am not afraid to show how recovery looks like, the good, the bad and the scary.

I am so happy that my body is growing to whatever size God made it to be. Let it grow baby!!

How am I preparing for NYC? Eating to my hearts content and letting go of all fears that used to consume me!

We are all already perfectly made!

Let the journey continue!

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

Grecian Banana Cream Pie

There is one dessert (ok, about a thousand) that I just can’t resist, and that is whipped banana cream pie!! I love the simplicity of the dessert yet how daggon’ INSANE it tastes!! Am I right, or am I right? No matter where I am at, when I taste a banana cream pie, I feel like I am twelve again, sitting in mom’s kitchen, reminiscing with my family.

I made this pie for a friend’s birthday over the holidays and it was a hit (Thank God!)

Grecian Banana Cream Pie 
You will need:

Crust

2 Cups Roasted Almonds
4 Tbsp Butter
9″ Pie Pan

Filling

3/4 – 1 cup Light Whipped Cream or *Soyatoo! Whipped Topping if Lactose Intolerant
1 Cup Greek Yogurt or *Goats Milk Yogurt if Lactose Intolerant
1 Mashed Banana
1/4 Tsp Vanilla
1/4 Tsp Vanilla Bourbon (optional)
2 Tsp Stevia/Splenda/Monk Fruit Sweetner

Top it off with:

Thinly Sliced Bananas
Sprinkle of Cinnamon
Sprinkle of Cacao Powder

To make:

First, let’s prepare the delightful crust! It’s as easy as one, two, three!

*Melt the butter and chop the two cups of almonds in a blender until they are finely done.
*Mix together the almonds and the butter and make sure it is thoroughly combined.
*Press the nut crust mixture into the bottom of a 9″ pie pan, and smooth it out so that everything is even and covered.

You’re done with the crust honey buns, let’s move on to the filling!

*In a large bowl with a masher, mash the banana.
*Gently combine the banana, whipped cream (or Soyatoo! Whipped Topping for lactose intolerance) and greek yogurt (or goats milk yogurt for lactose intolerance).

Almost there!

*Spoon the Grecian Banana Cream Pie Filling into the Almond Nut Crust and smooth it all around with a spatula. (I like to use this time to make pretty little swirly designs).
*For best results I recommend sticking this baby into the ‘fridge for an hour or so before serving, BUT you can serve it immediately. Woohoo!

*Layer it with sliced bananas right before you serve and sprinkle cinnamon and 100% Cacao powder over the top.

You’re done!

Don’t forget to eat and relax! You’ve worked hard for this 🙂

 

Understanding How Perfect You Really Are!

Recovering from anorexia and bulimia IS a long and tricky road. There are so many days when I feel on top of the world and others when I feel like I want to throw in the towel.

Feelings and emotions are normal, however, and should be welcomed openly because they are signs that we are not numbing or stuffing them down with addictive behaviors.

Physically, we see our bodies grow and change into the way that they are supposed to be as we re-feed ourselves, and this can provoke many uncomfortable thoughts and behaviors.

Its ok! If you need to cry, scream, yell, write, call someone, whatever, please do so. Any form of healthy release is great and encouraged. Don’t expect others who have not gone through an eating disorder to understand how you feel because they just cannot. Instead stick to your doctors, therapists, 12 step support group friends, etc. Anything else is really just co-dependency.

One of the things that has really helped me during re-feeding and watching my body change as I gain weight during my anorexic recovery is constantly asking God (my Higher Power) to help me to see myself the way that He sees me. To understand that I am beautiful and wonderful in His sight. I have to break away from that child-like box that anorexia put me into and accept that I am growing into the beautiful 28 year old woman that I AM! It is a renewal of mind, body and spirit into this amazing creature that God has made. How dare I destroy that? I am a warrior, a Woman of the Most High God, and He has a big future for my life.

So I just really encourage you today that wherever you are in your life and road of recovery that you are NOT alone. Your feelings, thoughts, physical body and spirit are unique yes, but they are being shared with countless others who are also recovering. Do NOT GIVE UP!! Become the beautiful masterpiece you were designed to be so that you can achieve all that you have in your heart!! YOU DESERVE IT!!

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

Leading the Way: NEDA Artist Initiative Team

“Hello, gorgeous people, my name is Nikki. I am a model, host, commercial actress, writer, believer and dreamer. I am an advocate for NEDA, and sponsor those in eating disorder recovery because I am a survivor of a seventeen year battle with bulimia and anorexia. At the height of my modeling career, I was known for my beautiful curves; however in Europe as my battle with anorexia overcame me, I became known for my bones. Recovery for me has been filled with years of ups and downs but I decided from day one to never give up. I was fighting for my life and striving to be a role model for everyone suffering silently in the modeling industry and beyond. I am forever grateful to be free of addiction and pain, however I know that it is only because of my God, and by helping others every day with my story. Now, if I get back into the modeling business, I am calling the shots! I don’t care how much I weigh, and I refuse to surround myself with a team who would ever try to make me lose weight. I believe that our value comes from who we are on the inside and this is the message I want to leave behind for generations to come!”

Read more on NEDA.

 

The Hope Diary: Step Twelve: Helping Others

We have now arrived at the twelfth and final step of the recovery program. Congratulations! Give yourself a huge hug and relish how far you have come to reach this point. Your recovery is the cornerstone of the success for the rest of your life.

Step twelve touches on what is single-handedly the most important part of daily recovery. Although all of the steps are essential for a healthy soul, mind and body, the twelfth step is crucial because it instills the importance of giving away what you have been given. After all, where would we be if recovery, support, and guidance had not been given to us by others all along the way?

Helping other people get their life back on track by sharing our experience, strength and hope can be done in the form of sponsoring up to the level of your recovery or by being an accountability partner.  Just being kind to others and allowing positivity and love to flow through your personality to the world around you enables all kinds of continual healing to take place. When we don’t pass on the knowledge that we have received, we run the assured risk of falling back on our own recovery and becoming selfish and proud.

The steps need to be repeated for the rest of our lives. We never become “too good” for program; rather, our success in life is dependant upon our daily surrender to God and being willing to work on ourselves. Recovery is a beautiful thing; how will you pass it on today?

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.

Our Mission
Isaiah 61:1-3

1. How have I passed through the pain and despair of enslavement to addiction and moved into healing and freedom?

2. Having had a “spiritual awakening” after being set free from my addiction, am I excited or hesitant to share my experience, strength, and hope with others who are struggling with addiction? Why?

Our Story
Mark 16:14-18

Describe the story of your spiritual awakening and how the first eleven steps have brought spiritual principals, truth, and healing into your life. Describe what you were like, what happened, and what you are like now.

Sharing Together
John 15:5-15

1. Am I connected to the vine? How do the Twelve Steps help me to “remain” in him?

2. Is my recovery attractive to other addictive/compulsive people because I am becoming more loving rather than condemning those who need my help?

3. What am I doing to reach out with Jesus’ love?

Listening First
Acts 8:26-40

1. What is my attitude about sharing my story of recovery? Am I reluctant to tell my story, or am I the type that wants to share too much, too soon, with too many people?

2. From either extreme, am I willing to wait for God’s timing for sharing recovery?

3. Do I see my story as valuable to God’s plan? Describe how.

Talking the Walk
1 Timothy 4:14-16

1. Paul encourages Timothy to “throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.” What changes in my life can others observe since I have been sober and working the Twelve Steps?

2. Paul wanted Timothy not only to teach others, but to be an example. When I share my story with others, am I preaching, or sharing my experience, strength, and hope.

3. Am I able to let the other person make his or her own decision by relinquishing control and letting God do his work?

Never Forget
Titus 3:1-5

What do I remember about my last drink or my last binge? Describe that last time, including actions, feelings, behaviors, and thoughts that led up to it and followed it:

The Narrow Road
1 Peter 4:1-4

1. Peter pointed out: “You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy-their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties” (1 Peter 4:1-2) the pains of recovery.

2. Does the approval or judgement of others keep me from sharing recovery? Do I fear negative rumors?

3. How can I work the Twelve Steps on this fear?

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step Eleven: God’s Will be Done

Step eleven of the twelve step program teaches us that recovery is a daily renewal of our minds, bodies and souls. Without surrendering to God’s Will for our lives it is impossible to have a successful and abstinent day. I tried to live my life in recovery my way for a long time until I finally became exhausted because I kept ending up in the same place: failure! I just said “Ok God You win I give up! Your Will be done not mine!” Now whenever I feel myself getting frustrated it is a warning sign that I am trying to live life on my terms, and so I have to 1. Stop and 2. Simply ask God for His help. Man what humble pie tastes like going down! But the rewards of humility and surrender surely are sweeter than trying to do things alone.
Prayer does not have to be fancy. God wants us to come simply as we are. I often pray “Father, your will be done, not my own. In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.” God is a God of hearts.

What is your Step 11 Prayer that you can use throughout the day?

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook for the following questions.

A New Hiding Place
2 Samuel 22:1-33

1. How was addiction a hiding place from life for me? Compare this with having God as a hiding place.

2. Describe how I experience “conscious contact” with God:

Thirst for God:
Psalm 27: 1-6

1. What do I most seek from God?

2. What is difficult about trusting God with my requests?

Joy in God’s Presence
Psalm 65:1-4

1. What keeps me from accepting God’s forgiveness?

2. What scares me about knowledge of God’s will for me?

Finding God
Psalm 105:1-9

1. Is my life changing daily? Am I noticing when I am resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid today? Identify ways that I am changing:

2. Am I aware of others’ feelings, needs, and rights? What have I noticed today?

Powerful Secrets
Psalm 119: 1-11

1. What am I hiding in my heart–secrets of old behaviors and issues, or God’s Word?

2. List what I can thank God for today:

Patient Waiting
Isaiah 40: 28-31

1. How does impatience show itself in my attitude and behaviors?

2. Am I impatient about my progress in recovery? Do I expect myself to “get it” the first time? Do I expect perfection?

3. Why is it hard to “trust in the Lord”?

Friends of the Light
John 3:18-21

1. In what areas of my life am I still afraid to seek God’s will?

2. When I think I am hearing God’s will, whose power do I act on? Am I tempted to do God’s will in my own power?

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose