About

Polly Mertens – Life and Recovery Coach

A Life Coach and ED Recovery Coach Who Overcame 20 Years of Bulimia

Polly Mertens - Life Coach Inspirational SpeakerMy name is Polly Mertens and I am a life coach, blogger and public speaker.  After recovering from 20 years with bulimia, I’ve made it my mission to help millions of women searching for that “missing key” to finally achieve lasting recovery.

If you’re searching for a coach to help you stop bulimia or make another big change in your life, I want to acknowledge you because you’re in action and I wish you the best wherever you are on your journey.

It is ab-so-lute-ly possible to overcome bulimia, anorexia, or any other binge eating disorder and I am a witness to many eating disorder success stories.

Life Re-Started for Me in 2005

I had bulimia for 20 years and have been in complete recovery since 2005. I’m so thankful for the many teachers, coaches, mentors and infinite guidance I’ve learned from.  I appreciate my ever-unfolding life and the freedom I’ve experience from the overwhelming struggle I used to face with food and body issues.

When I’m not working on my blog, helping women as their life or bulimia recovery coach, hosting a podcast, giving a talk to a sorority, business group or women’s circle,  you’ll find me out on the trails training for my next race like Spartan, Tough Mudder or a 12 hour Adventure Race.

I live full-time in my 32′ motorhome with my kitties exploring national parks, unknown back roads and small towns across the US.  My license plate is LVN VRTX for “living in the vortex”.  If you’re a student of Abraham Hicks you know that means my happy place and my home brings me great joy.

My home base of San Luis Obispo, CA has been written up by Oprah and other books as the happiest city to live. It’s a small town on the Central Coast of California between LA and San Francisco and I appreciate coming back here during the year to call this place my home.

I have a healthy relationship with food, my body and I can honestly say I’m comfortable in my own skin and I am proud of the work I do and the life I am living.  I enjoy the process of learning new things and teaching others what I know so that we may up level together.

My Expectation and Invitation

My expectation with this website and blog are to encourage you to make a big change from wherever you are right now. Of course I’d like to be your life coach to help you release the habit of binging and purging that you may be caught up in, help you to remember who you, are and allow you to be happy and healthy again.

You’re worth it!

As a start I hope you’ll download my ebook which includes bulimia success stories so you will receive my newsletter so we can stay in touch. Once you download the ebook I begin to email you my 10 steps to overcome bulimia. These steps includes what I’ve learned about how to have lasting recovery, be healthy, confident and have a happy life. It is a process. A journey. It takes time and commitment.

I believe you can overcome the habit of bulimia and start living your life with incredible purpose.  You know you’re not supposed to live this way – that’s why it feels so bad.  I want you to be free just as much as you do.

Let’s work together to make that happen, ok?!

To your beautiful life,

Polly

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18 Comments

  1. I just wanted to say thank you…I have been dealing with this gorilla on my back since I was young…I am now 39….and finally feel that the past year and a half I have made some headway. No where near perfect like I would hope for…but I keep saying progress not perfection. I have a difficult time reaching out…I tend to isolate myself. although i am an outgoing and passionate person, it seems that I haven’t met the right person to reach out to..I am a loyal and dedicated friend…and would rather have one or two close friends then a thousand…because I don’t feel I can be a good friend to so many…well that is my problem..I have been so hurt and let down by others…that I fear or lack trust…well, didn’t mean to vent..truthfully wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart….I have a degree in nursing and psychology…and not amount of education could provide me with the comfort and assistance I get from reading your blog, email, and website….blessing to you…

    • Hi Mickey,

      Congrats to you for starting to make headway along your road to recovery. I encourage you to keep doing it wrong and not go for perfect. We learn and grow and as long as we see ourselves as students of life, we can’t get it wrong. If perfect is the goal, then yes we can not measure up. But who cares? and who sets the bar for what perfect is…we do! So let’s just all be students and on the “learning team”, not the “winning or losing team”.

      I’m glad you’re here and look forward to hearing from you again.

      To your joy,

      Polly

    • Thanks so much Mickey. It’s wonderful to hear from you and I appreciate you stopping by to say hello. I don’t think perfect is something to strive for in life, so I think you’re doing great. I think JOY is something worth living for. If you do your best to live in JOY, then you’re fully living your life. Kudos to you.

      Much love,

      Polly

  2. The Skeletons in the Closet series is eanixorditarrly powerful andintense I suffered from eating disorders for years, as did mymother, who was a fashion model. I think it’s a much more prevalentdisease than statistics show. I became an active feminist as ateenager, joined Riot Grrrl meetings, and wrote zines to raiseawareness about body image issues and the role of the media. I wasbriefly hospitalized for anorexia, then got very fat out of protest!I had a breast reduction because my breasts looked so fat to me, andnow it is my sincere hope that I will still be able to nurse a child.I tried every therapy under the sun just to get the stupid voice outof my head that monitored everything I ate, or was obsessed with howmy butt looked. Long after my weight stabilized, the toxic voiceinside continued to obsess on every detail. The story of the methodthat finally cured me is a little epic in itself.First off let me say that it is very refreshing to see a straight manraise awareness of these issues. I read that you had suffered fromanorexia as well and I appreciate your honesty in coming out with this.I guess what I found so fascinating about the photo series is the waythat you alternately did and did not reveal the body behind the voice. I’m just wondering what your intent was did the subject of thephoto control the revealing (or not) of the body? Or were theconcepts your ideas?I’m asking because the common rant of feminists is that the mediasexualizes thin bodies to sell products, or to promote insecurityabout physical imperfection so that women don’t claim all the poweravailable to them. So I’m just wondering if you were thinking abouthow easy it is for thin bodies to be sexualized as you were editingthe photos Sorry if I’m rambling, I’m just still digesting thecontent. I guess I’m wondering about the choice to show a wholefigure when we have all been trained by the media to identify a bodyas fit or not fit, thin or fat, attractive or ugly if I thoughtthe women in the photo was attractive than it was easier for me toignore the text about her suffering.I thought the photos that only revealed a portion of the body weremore evocative, because they suggest the mystery of the body themystery being that it is always morphing, changing shape, that it willappear different to different people, and that it is eminentlymanipulatable with a camera lens and editing techniques. But thenagain I liked the full-figure photo of the women in bikini and cap andgown, maybe because it was unintentionally ironic suggesting aweight loss ad in the back of a magazine.Sorry, I guess you hit a nerve I’ve long dreamt of writing afirst-person novel in which the main character obsesses over herweight, but the reader is never actually sure what she looks like,because she is described variously by other people as skinny, fat, andnormal looking which to me describes exactly the experience ofbeing a woman in this culture disconnected from any real sense ofour own bodies, and dependent on others for information about our worth.Well, I think the series does a wonderful job of showing the spectrumof anorexia and that it doesn’t strictly afflict model types. Iguess I’m just wondering if there was an overarching idea in how youdepicted these bodies with your camera since media images are reallythe source of the disease in the first place. Really fascinating andI will try to make the show in Portland!

    • Hey Lucas, thanks so much for your notes and support for women to be their best selves. I commend you for what you’re up to and let me know if I can do anything for you.

      You rock!

  3. Polly thank you for giving me hope. I recently started my recovery for bulimia. Its really tough I have been binge and purging for 23 yrs. But I have hope and know that it is not going to happen overnight. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Hi Theresa,

      I’m so thankful you stopped by and I wish you the best on your journey. I know lasting recovery is possible for all of us, so keep at it woman! Please come back and share your story with us, ok?

      Polly

  4. I am inspired by you and by all the women who reach this site (like me!) trying to understand where they’ve been, and how to embrace health fully. For so many years (30) I thought that stopping the bulimia would be the key to everything. I still believe that, nearly 3 months into recovery. I read stories about severe and persistent relapse, and I refuse to accept it at this point. Many other things are coming up that I need to look at in my life; probably they’d been numbed and pushed aside by the illness. Getting rid of the bulimia is not the key to solving all the issues, but the veils are removed so we can see more clearly where we need to go. Even with the difficult issues coming up (health issues, marriage, anxiety) these have been the most empowering months of my life. I really thought I would never be recovered. I even made my peace with that in some weird way, so I could pursue other areas of my life in depth. College degrees, trainings, travel, children, languages, reading… And yet this one piece stayed missing. Recovery isn’t easy. But ending the binge/ purge cycle can happen overnight. It’s like switching on a light in a dark room. But then be ready to bravely face what comes up next, and next and next. We had this silver bullet to pacify all these things before, and now we have to look the all squarely, evenly in the face, stare them down if need be. But knowing you are strong, proving it by stopping the bulimia, you can face anything. One of my favorite quotes these days: when there is no demon within, you cannot be tormented by the demons on the outside. I hope this helps. I stumbled upon the pro-bulimia website today by accident and started crying. I had no idea what was out there. It is so sad. Life is short and we are fragile and strong all at the same time. When you’ve been bulimic for a long time – you said 23 years, and for me 30 – the illness becomes a way of life, and almost another relationship you are having. My therapist recommended that I personify the bulimia so I could separate myself, and turn my back on it. This helped enormously. But then I started to think about health and beauty and strength and sacredness in the same way and started to personify those things, so I could create a “relationship” therein. It helped me stop the behaviors (and quickly) and it has been a warm place to come home to when my heart needs it. 23 years is a long time. I know. Be kind with your recovery but be diligent, and determined. Don’t give your heart away to such a lonely existence. You have a choice, every moment. I don’t mean to hate yourself if it does go awry here & there, but take quiet, clear attention to look at the whys. Don’t let them be setbacks, but acknowledge the disappointment. Maybe I am talking to myself, too! We can do this. Life is asking us, inviting us to do this now, or we wouldn’t be here looking for info, support, posting comments…

    • Hi Lauren,

      Be-au-ti-ful share. Thank you so much for stopping by and for opening up about where you’ve been, where you are and where you’re going. I can tell things are changing rapidly for you. I so wish the best for anyone reading this to know that there is a wonderful life waiting for you on the other side of your eating disorder. It really is worth working to get to the other side – even if it’s been 20, 30 or 40 years since you started. Keep going…don’t stop believing and allowing yourself to learn how to recover from bulimia. It’s possible and worth it.

      Much love,

      Polly

  5. Hey Polly,

    Thank you so much for putting so much effort into your website. It inspires me that there is a light at the end of this tunnel. I was curious if you knew any counselors/coaches in the Portland, OR area. I really would like some in person therapy. Thanks so much and have a lovely day!

    warmly,

    Nina

    • Hey Nina,

      So nice to hear from you. I wish I could say that I knew one personally, but I do not. Sorry!

      If I were in your shoes I would be intentional about what you want and who you want to work with. By envisioning the feelings you want to experience in the support structure (accountability, discipline, ease, compassion – or whatever comes up for you) you and the counselor you’re supposed to work with will match up. It is law. Do the vibrational work, be clear as you can, and follow your instinct to the right person for you. Be smart about it, of course. Do homework, check out their websites, ask questions – the usual stuff you would getting to know whether you’ll be a good match or not. Most coaches and counselors I know offer a complimentary first session or partial session to allow you both to get to know each other. Sort of a test drive. 😉

      Hope this helps!

      Polly

  6. Hi Polly I liked what you suggested about being intentional about the person you want to work with. I’m feeling confused as I don’t know or understand if I’m addicted to food as part of my binge eating disorder (previously bulimia etc) or if I need to stop eating certain foods to be successful in recovery. Hopefully I will find someone who can help me find clarity around this so I can move forward. I’m open to hearing from any source about this.

    Many thanks

    • Hi Angela,

      You’re in a great inquiry. It’s wonderful that you’re looking inward for the answer…that is where it will come from. I encourage you to remember how you used to eat when you were a kid. What was food/eating to you way back then? That’s where you want to get back to. I don’t mean the early days when you had an ED, but I mean as a young girl how did you look at food? I suggest you probably looked at it for what it is – energy. And you likely ate foods you enjoyed and trusted your body to know when and how much to eat. Just a reflection there, but hopefully helpful for you as you inquire about what’s best way to go about looking at whether you should or shouldn’t eat certain foods.

      I invite you to sign up for a complimentary 30 minute coaching session if you want to further discuss how we could work together if you are considering hiring a coach.

    • Hi Angela,

      Everything with BED has to do with patterns in your brain. It may be that you’ve linked up good feelings to certain foods. It may be any number of things. I’d invite you to consider keeping a journal of your daily experience (sometimes called a food/mood journal) to begin to notice your patterns. Often if you can simply notice the patterns you’re in a place of awareness and then can make the changes you want. Start here and let me know if this helps you turn things around. Strategies for ignoring the urges are everywhere and you probably have already read about them so I won’t go into detail here. Hope this gets you started!

      Cheers,
      Polly

  7. I am in my 40s and have been a bulimic for 23 years. I have become very sick in last 8 months and I need help. I am having severe nerve issues beyond more. I need support and someone to step up and mentor me or I will not make this . I don’t eathink much and have the mentality that I once had long ago but I still need help and reading a book is not enough for me. I can’t even find a doctor that will listen or help me. I wonder if I’m going to wake up in there morning every morning because of what I have sufferin with. I eat a little and my body shakes after. This is so scary but all my blood test are normal. If there is anyone out there I could use your strength…

    • Hi Tambra,

      Thank you for contacting me here and sending me a private message. I look forward to speaking with you soon and seeing if we can together untangle what’s going on and help set you free from these old patterns and your pain. I’ll do my best!

  8. This is a refreshing blog to read and I was surprised by the amount of woman who have been bulimic for as long as I have. I was 18 when I started, I am now 43. The only time I have ever been able to stop was when I was pregnant with each of my children. I gained quite a bit of weight and went immediately back to bulimia as soon as they were born. I have had an eating disorder since I was 13. I have had bad body image for as long as I can remember. If I had to pinpoint it, probably about 8 years old. I first became anorexic at 13 and this carried on till I found bulemia at 18. I think I progressively got worse as time went by. It was nice to eat and not worry about being hungry or gaining weight. Just worry about timing and when I could secretly purge it all. I am so tired at this point in my life. Tired of food, tired of guilt, tired of not knowing how to like, never mind love myself. I was sitting here awake in bed thinking of how disappointed I am in myself. How did I become this sad woman of 43, with this disorder that owns me, and keeps me in a state of despair. I have been on my own with This illness. I told my husband a while back in desperation to stop. It kind of backfired. He followed me to the bathroom when I would go and became controlling, angry, and frustrated with me. Made me feel badly that I wouldn’t just stop. That only made me feel like more of a failure. So I lied and told him I had stopped. I have actually become worse. He is often not home, so it’s very easy, I am alone a lot.
    Your blog has given me hope that I can do what I ultimately have wanted to do for the past 15 years. Find recovery and stop my bulimia. It’s supportive to just know I am not alone. Every day I wake up and say this is the day I fix myself, and then I stumble. It’s very hard to fix this alone. I don’t trust anyone in my life with this secret about me, so I am hoping maybe sharing this here will help. As I write this I am already feeling nervous to post it. I am thankful to you for being brave and sharing your story!

    • Hi K,

      So great to hear from you and I’m deeply moved by your inspiring story. A story where you’ve decided to take back your life and start living on your terms. I, too, lived for many years under the impression that I could just go about this secret life as a way to manage my weight. What B.S. I eventually, like you, came to realize I was lying to myself because the suffering caused by the shame and sneaking around were becoming unbearable. Too many years of living in secrecy is like poison to our soul. We are meant to shine.

      I hope you find your way through the tunnel back to the light and begin living freely and fully.

      It’s your time to SHINE!

      In joy,

      Polly

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