Working In My PJs - Elaine Fleming of Ginger PR

Working In My PJs – Elaine Fleming

Time for another instalment of Working In My PJs. Today, I’m talking to PR maven Elaine Fleming.

Elaine is one of those people so brimming with spark, brains and wit that you feel your own mojo rising just by being in her glorious presence. During her 17 year career Elaine has worked for some of Scotland’s biggest and best creative agencies, as well as for clients such as Domino’s Pizza, One Spa at The Sheraton, Whyte & Mackay, Buchanan Galleries, Scottish Rugby and even Susan Boyle.

Elaine set up independent agency Ginger PR in 2009. She’s now based in beautiful Angus where she rocks the world of her clients all along the east coast and beyond.

I’ve been lucky to call Elaine a pal since 2006 when we first met in person over tea and scones at the swanky Balmoral hotel in Edinburgh (start as you mean to go on, right?). I’m chuffed that she was up for letting us peek behind the Ginger PR curtain and share how she gets things done with her trademark style and kickassery. She also shares her top tips for making great Instagram stories, as well what she sees as the barearse minimum we can do to promote our work online, without going bonkers.


1. When did you first become self-employed? Can you you recall the moment you realised you wanted to paddle your own canoe?
I can indeed. It was 2009 and I was spending around three hours a day in total commuting from Edinburgh to Glasgow. I really enjoyed my job but I longed for more control. It really stuck in my craw having to carry out work just to appease a middle manager (on the client side). I wanted to do work that actually made a difference and had integrity.

The credit crunch was biting down hard and I could sense redundancy was in the air (the company I was working for at the time had just closed the Edinburgh office I headed up) and it seemed like things were all falling into place for me to take that jump.

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Resources for emotional eating, binge eating disorder, non-diet approaches and all that jazz

Resources for emotional eating, binge eating, non-diet approaches etc etc

I wanted to share with you all a big old list of things, from books to apps to courses to podcasts, that I’ve found helpful as I inch along this journey (spew) of finding my way forward from chronic dieting, learning to take better care of my long-suffering bod, while also working on this binge eating shenanigans.

(What a terrible sentence.)

I’ve been faffing around with this list for months, and I’m not sure why I didn’t hit publish sooner because a blog post is not set in stone! I can add more things as I remember, and I’d love if you’d share anything you’ve personally found helpful for similar journeys, in the comments. The more the merrier!

Let me slather this with the usual disclaimers. This is stuff that has either helped me, or that has helped good folks that I know. It’s not a ringing endorsement of every word. Sometimes it’s just one chapter or episode that produced a nugget of gold. Also, there are no affiliate links.

Podcasts

Listen to ‘Dear Sugars’: Trust Your Body — With Hilary Kinavey & Dana Sturtevant

Trust Your Body – this is a single episode of the Dear Sugars advice podcast, co-hosted by Cheryl “Wild” Strayed. A listener asks, “I struggle with how to be body positive after years of being told it’s wrong to be my size and weight. Is there such a thing as unconditional body acceptance?”. Hilary Kinavey and Dana Sturtevant of Be Nourished came on the show to help answer.

They talk about the “diets to donuts” phase that many folks have when they realise they’re done with dieting, but what’s great is that they talk about the place in between those extremes that we’re aiming for – they call that discernment.

If you’ve ever felt shame or frustration about the size or shape of your body, while simultaneously tired as f*ck from constantly trying to “fix” it to be more palatable to society, and/or if you’re bored of the space the struggle takes up in your head, while simultaneously not knowing how the hell to do things differently… you may enjoy this episode. I found this to be a poignant and helpful conversation.

Laura Thomas PhD, Don't Salt My Game

Update: Registered Nutritionist Laura Thomas of Don’t Salt My Game recently published two short episodes about Intuitive Eating. The first What the Eff is the Deal With Intutive Eating? is a great, bullshit-free primer that clear explains what it is and what it is not, how to get started and what disordered eating is. In the second episodeWill Intuitive Eating Help Me Lose Weight + Other FAQs tackles some great questions, including what if you don’t experience regular hunger & fullness cues? I also really loved her previous interview, The Inside Scoop on Intuitive Eating w/ Evelyn Tribole, Co-Author of Intuitive Eating.

The Done Bingeing Podcast

The Done Bingeing Podcast – This is a very practical and compassionate podcast by Martha Ayim. She was a secret binge eater for over 30 years, to the point of having her jaw wired at one point. I was in a bleak and desperate place when I found Martha’s work last year and she gave me a lot of hope. While there are a lot of great podcasts out there that deal with eating issues and non-diet approaches, I’m often in a different demographic to the hosts so I can’t quite connect. Martha was the first person I’d ever come across with a similar severity and duration of binge history, only she’d managed to find a way forward and now generously shares a lot of great information.

If you go right back to Episode 1 and listen chronologically, she guides you through a process, step by step. There’s also a transcript in the show notes of each episode if you prefer to read your way through.

Insatiable podcast

Insatiable – hosted by Ali Shapiro, it’s a podcast “for progressive, holistic health-care providers and real people fed up with fixing and fighting food”. So far I’ve only listened to this excellent episode about how to stop nighttime eating so far, including a bit about why advice like “take a bubble bath if you feel shit at the end of the day” can be so fecking unhelpful. I’m going to try some more episodes.

FEARLESS REBELLE RADIO
Fearless Rebelle Radio – “a podcast dedicated to body image, body positivity, self-worth, anti-dieting and feminism”, hosted by Summer Innanen. I’ve only just started listening to this one but my friend Denise recommended it highly and she’s never steered me wrong!

Non-Fiction books

Body Kindness: Transform Your Health from the Inside Out-and Never Say Diet Again: Transform Your Health from the Inside Out-and Never Say Diet Again

For a practical primer, Body Kindness: Transform Your Health from the Inside Out–and Never Say Diet Again by Rebecca Scritchfield is full of useful tools. She uses the concept of “spiralling up” – small, sustainable changes building upon each other. She also has a Spiral Up Club if you want support, loads of free resources, and of course her free podcast too (which I help to produce – client disclosure! 🙂 ).

Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Binge Eating: Mindful Eating Program for Healing Your Relationship with Food & Your Body

Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Binge Eating: Mindful Eating Program for Healing Your Relationship with Food & Your Body by Michelle May and Kari Anderson. I’ve just started reading this one and finding it to be very practical.

Intuitive Eating, 3rd edition

Intuitive Eating, 3rd edition by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. I first read it in 2010 and it’s taken me eight years to wrap my head around the ideas within and start putting them into practice, such is the grip that diet culture has on one’s brain.

A top tip I heard via Jes Baker is to skip the chapters on Gentle Nutrition and Exercise if you’re just starting out, and just focus on absorbing and experimenting with the earlier principles. This stuff takes time. If you dive into the nutrition stuff too soon it can really get in the way of tuning into your body signals, which can lead to one turning intuitive eating into yet another diet (which is exactly what I did ;).

The Intuitive Eating Workbook: Ten Principles for Nourishing a Healthy Relationship with Food

I found this newer companion book even better – The Intuitive Eating Workbook: Ten Principles for Nourishing a Healthy Relationship with Food. There is something so thrilling about writing inside a book! I’ve been working my way through this book in a slow and steady fashion. The step by step exercises helped me see the patterns in my behaviour. There was one exercise in which I had to list all the diets I’d been on, alongside my weight over the years. After seeing the diet/binge cycle in black and white, I could no longer argue with reality!

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Dr. Kristin Neff – I bought this book after the self compassion class at Green Mountain, curious to learn more. I thought that self compassion = self indulgence; letting oneself off the hook. But Dr Neff dives into why this is not the case, and the tangible and research-proven benefits of being kinder to ourselves. Basically it starts with talking to yourself like you would a good friend. Instead of constant trash talking, which I have to admit has got me bloody nowhere.

Dr Neff’s TED Talk The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self Compassion is also a good watch.

Reclaiming Yourself from Binge Eating: A Step-By-Step Guide to Healing

Reclaiming Yourself from Binge Eating: A Step-By-Step Guide to Healing by Leora Fulvio is another good practical guide. She also has an online course if you want more support.

Books on the To Be Read pile

I really should finish one freaking book before I start another but… och well!

Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight

Memoir

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay – as mentioned in the 2017 review, this book ripped me up and rocked my world.

Also, Roxane’s recent Medium essay What Fullness Is – On getting weight reduction surgery is mindbogglingly powerful. Her whole Unruly Bodies curated series on Medium is full of great stories, too.

Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living and Landwhale by Jes Baker. I’ve only just started these but they came highly recommended! Update: I’m halfway through Landwhale now and I bloody love Jes Baker. Also, check out her posts about intuitive eating on her Instagram Story highlights – she shares some great stuff about her own foray into IE.

Apps

Recovery Record

Recovery Record – I’ve been working with a dietitian and I wanted a digital means of sharing my food diary with her. I asked, Can I just use MyFitnessPal but not look at the numbers!? That was a hard no from her. She introduced me to Recovery Record, a free app. It’s a bit daggy in design I gotta say, but it’s a powerful recovery tool. As well as keeping a log of your meals you can track thoughts, feelings, any binge/restrict urges, any moments of disordered eating, all in a gentle and totally non-judgy way.

My favourite features are 1) being able to just snap a photo of your meal instead of typing stuff our and 2) if you are working with a clinician who also uses the app, they can check in with you, see your diary, post you messages. I’m finding it very helpful for where I’m at right now.

nomo

Nomo – Last year where getting through just ONE day without bingeing felt impossible, I found this app helpful. After years of My Fitness Pal and other “friends”, I felt compelled to count something.

It’s designed with addictions in mind, like alcohol, drugs or smoking, but has options to add your own thing. Seeing the streak of Not Bingeing days was hugely motivating, for a good 150 days.

I would say that you should know thyself with this app and decide if it’s helpful for your or the opposite. When I “fell off the wagon” on Day 151, I let that mess with my head and struggled to “get back on”. My thoughts were a blur, what defines a binge? Is it the amount or the way that I ate the food? What’s Bad enough to reset the counter? I got caught in a negative, all-or-nothing diet-esque mentality again, so no more Nomo for me.

Also, it’s really quite knackering to have your aim to be simply “don’t binge”. My therapist suggested instead I focus on adding good stuff in to my life. It’s those pesky twinkle lights, y’all.

Other things

Embrace – “is a social impact documentary that explores the issue of body image”. We watched this at Green Mountain and I thought it was great – funny, thought-provoking. It is on Netflix in the US and the website has details on where you can watch it in other countries.

Feeding Freedom – “is a group coaching programme that will help you loosen the hold that secret eating has on you by bringing it into the light” – run by my kickarse friend Shona Macpherson. Also, check out this video of her recently solo 16-day walk of the Cape Wrath Trail in northwest Scotland.

Green Mountain’s blog has some fantastic posts in the archives that cover different aspects of eating, moving and living with lots of practical advice.

In case you missed it – my post Emotional eating, binge eating and friends – some definitions has some helpful definitions if this is all a bit WTF.

UPDATE 9 August. I can’t believe I forgot to include the “feisty anti-diet feminist” @healingcrayons on Instagram. Her collages always hit home for me.

Photo by Rodolfo Clix from Pexels

 



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