With Ananda De Jager Episode #2
In this episode, you’ll hear from Ananda De Jager a 26-year-old Ex-Model and her spiritual healing journey, to face her inner demons and recover from an eating disorder which ultimately leads to her starting her first business.
Part of Ananda’s recover involved her sharing poems written by others on her Instagram account. In noticing that other people connected with her through these poems, she embarked on writing her own poetry which resulted in Ananda publishing her first book. ‘Poems of Recovery’.
In this interview, Ananda openly shares her thoughts and feelings around her relationships with her family, herself, and food. There are so many great moments in this episode, you’ll be struck by Ananda’s honesty and ability to be vulnerable in the hope that she can help and inspire others.
But there are some really thinking outside of the box moments of how to approach marketing. Especially when your target market is hard to reach. As well as managing your side hustle and learning to live in the moment and enjoy the ride.
Expect to be astonished by Ananda’s resilience and outlook on life and how an entrepreneurial journey can be born out of a challenge; and how we can be thankful for even our darkest of experiences. And that everything really does happen for a reason.
Links and Resources Mentioned in the show
Ananda’s Website: https://anandadejager.com/
Ananda’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anandaaaa/
Ananda’s Book on Amazon: http://visualiseyou.com/poems-of-recovery
Freebies and Visualise You Resources Mentioned in the Show
Get Your Freebies (Affirmations, Meditations, A Guide to Journaling) https://bethhewitt.com
The Visualisation Vault https://visualiseyou.com/vault
Find me on Social
Facebook – https://facebook.com/visualiseyou
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/visualiseyou/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/_BethHewitt
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/bethhewitt80/
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Episode #2 Ananda De Jager – Poems of Recovery
Beth: [00:00:43] Welcome everybody I’m joined today by Ananda De Jager. And she's going to talk to us today about her poems, her book, Poems of recovery. I've done a little bit of an introduction already for you, but could you start by just telling us a little bit about your journey, where you worked previously to where you are today?
Ananda Dejager: [00:01:00] Yeah. So, my name is Ananda, and I've written a book about recovery. Recovery from an eating disorder and amenorrhea and amenorrhea is basically the absence of your period. so that happened to me three years ago, and I've always had like issues with eating, like really wanting to control what I eat, but not only that really using food as a mechanism to deal with my emotions, like not to feel them, but rather, if something bad happened, I would eat less or work out more.
[00:01:26] But really when I didn't get my period, I was like, okay. After three months, six months, nine months at one point, you're like, oh yeah, this is getting pretty serious. Maybe I should change something. Maybe I am not feeding my body properly. Maybe I am indeed over-exercising and putting a lot of stress on my body.
[00:01:43]and I didn't want to make the choice at 24, whether I would have kids or not. I was like, okay, not having a period is. Quite serious if your body shuts that down. So, to say, because in the beginning I was like, Oh, you know, it will come back. It's just temporary. But you really start to wonder after a while, [00:02:00] like, okay, maybe it's a bit more than I thought.
[00:02:02] And I shared a lot of poems back then, from other people on my Instagram and quotes. I mean, if you're on Instagram, you probably see a lot of quotes. And then I thought, why not write myself? So, I had a diary, but. I felt like sometimes it was so long to write. So, I just wanted like quick poems that really express how I felt.
[00:02:22] And when I opened more and started talking more about the issues that I had with friends, like being vulnerable, I noticed that other people also felt safe to be vulnerable. So, then I thought, okay, maybe if I publish what I wrote, it could help other people. Like I always said, even if it helps just one person, then that's already enough.
[00:02:43] So it was published about a month ago, a bit more than a month ago and yeah, the replies have been super nice. yeah, of course it's very heavy. It's also part of my healing process. I feel like really coming out with a book and a story, and talking about it and people asking like, Oh, if, I'm still in it, what do I do?
[00:03:02] So I also feel like it's part of my journey to really speak about it and be vulnerable.
Beth: [00:03:07] There's something about that vulnerability isn't there. Like you said, like when you shared your story with other people, it allows other people to come forward, and share their stories. So, it’s a really powerful and brave thing that you’re doing. And how are you finding that? Are you able to fully step into that vulnerability or has that been a journey in itself?
Ananda Dejager: [00:03:24] it's been a journey in itself because I have a full-time job next to it. So when I just launched a book and it was in the local newspaper and stuff, it was really overwhelming also because when you have an eating disorder, the last thing you want to hear is you have an eating disorder or you're anorexic, bulimic, whatever you want to call it.
[00:03:42] And then when it's suddenly a headline in the newspaper, I was like, okay, this is like, there's no going back now. And it was tough to find kind of that balance between vulnerability, but also a strength to do my normal job and everything, but it's going better now. And I think part of the process when you recover or when you have an issue, whether that's an eating disorder or something else, it's also to allow yourself to lean on other people, like saying like, okay, today I'm having a tough day.
[00:04:12] So can we please have a chat, or can you just give me a hug?
Beth: [00:04:17] That's powerful. So how old were you around that time? Where you about 15 when you stepped into modeling?
I don't think we should blame industries because obviously the problems are problems aren’t, they? But I think it is interesting to hear if there's perhaps other young girls out there who are maybe thinking about the industry.
Ananda Dejager: [00:04:31] I think for me, I used it more as an excuse, so I'm a model I need to be thin anyway. If I hadn’t modelled, I probably would have gotten it too. Because I don't think an eating disorder can be, blamed by an industry. I think it is more for me. I use it kind of as a coverup, like, Oh, but I'm a model I'm supposed to be skinny.
Because I know so many girls in the industry that are just naturally thin, naturally healthy. But then of course you also have girls who do not get the right support from their agency. And that is when it gets, gets tricky. When people tell you,
“Oh, you should lose weight.”
And if you are already young and insecure, maybe you're more prone to it.
[00:05:13] But for me personally, I would not blame it on the industry, but I do think there's a lot of pressure on young girls or us women. We put a lot and men. But I, I'm not a man, so I don't have the experience with that, but as women, we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect, or to have a flat stomach or to look a certain way.
[00:05:32] When in reality, what does it matter in the end? Like I'm not going to love my friends any less. If they gained five kilos, like why would I love myself any less?
Beth: [00:05:41] So where on the journey and at what point did the writing and the poems come in to be part of your recovery?
I know you've talked about, you started to share your quotes on Instagram and it started to help and you opened up and you're being vulnerable, but at what point did you think actually, this could be more than just sharing my feelings?
Ananda Dejager: [00:05:57] Last year in summer, I started to write poetry. So, I had just done a retreat in Nepal, and I knew one of my friends had published a book and I always wanted to publish a book as a kid. It just seems like a cool thing. Right. but I always felt like writing a whole story was a little bit too much. So, then I thought, okay, I like poetry.
[00:06:15] Why shouldn't I try writing myself, like really [write] my feelings. and it helped me in the process that if I felt stressed or if I felt like I was having anxiety, then I would just start writing. Because then you really stay with the emotion and then reading it back. It also helped me [to] see like, Oh, I'm not at that point anymore.
[00:06:36] I’m further from that, like I wouldn't want to go back there. So, I think it was also for me discovering, what works. So, if you have a panic attack, maybe it helps you if you paint or write or dance or whichever, like really trying to find more balance because I'm often more in my masculine energy, like doing things, always on the move, but then when you write, you actually have to sit down and feel your emotions.
[00:07:04] but what I hadn't realised with the book is it's actually a business. I don't really mind how much it gets sold because I just want to help people. And I believe it will, it will reach the right people. But it is a business like with your taxes, with your promotions, you really like, you have to put your heart in [to] it because I also started noticing when I approach people or write emails.
If I don't put my heart in it, or if I let someone else do it, then it doesn't work. So I think the more entrepreneurial part is if you are fully behind your products and you put your heart in it, the right people will find you and you will attract the right people that I really believe in.
Beth: [00:07:45] That's so true, whatever I've written sales copy or an email that has been more personal, you get the replies in the emails. If it was just for the intention of selling. A book or a course, then it never works in the same way.
[00:08:00]. So, do you want to share one of your poems, that would be cool to listen to one if that's okay to share.
Ananda Dejager: [00:08:06] yeah, I'm going to read one. It's still so strange. If I read it myself or sometimes people have the book and they stand next to me and they start reading it out loud and I'm like, hello, that's my deepest feelings things, please don't read them out next at me.
To be able to have ice cream with your daughter.
Lunch with your father
Burgers with your brother
Breakfast with your mother.
And if you have a son,
You can tell him that you won
– the Why
Beth: [00:08:34] Wow. That is so powerful. I think when I read this one, it is the simplicity of the words in the fact that. Eating is something that we must do as human beings. Every single day. It’s part of our lives. There is no getting away from it, but it's also the relationships. That we have with other people in our lives and how eating disorders don't just impact the person.
[00:09:00] It impacts a whole bunch of other people as well. Especially with the first line being to be able to have ice cream with your daughter and now having a daughter who loves ice cream it just really hit me straight away that actually this is more important than just, Being able to eat in the right way and the healthy way. This is about the relationships that we have every day.
[00:09:17] What was going through your mind when you wrote this – Was it around future passing and having your own children in the future? I know you've mentioned the problem that eating disorders have on our bodies, biologically as a woman, to be able to have children in the future, did that feature as part of this poem?
Ananda Dejager: [00:09:35] Yeah, because I think, for example, let's say if your parents or your grandparents had problems with eating, I think you're more likely to have an eating disorder. So, let's say I would ever have kids and they see me eating an apple for lunch or struggling with food. Kids don't usually do what you say, but they see what you do and then they do the same.
[00:09:56] So in that sense, I was like, if I ever want to have kids, like the last thing I’d want to do is give them an eating disorder. So, if I can't recover for myself today, then I will do it for potentially my future kids. Or I will do it for my parents or for my brother, because like I noticed the last month, is the first time in years that I can have dinner with my parents and eat the same thing as they do. And I'd never realised what big of an impact that had. I would always cook something else or eat something else. And then for example, two days ago, my mom was like, let's eat risotto. And I was like, yeah, why not?
[00:10:36] Whereas before I would've said I'll make something else. So, it's like really the small things and allowing yourself to enjoy that because, I really believe eating disorders are not about the food. There's often a lot more behind it. It's not as simple as just saying, Oh, just eat more. It's more like the control and with eating for me; also came my feelings. It all comes back because not eating suppresses your emotions as well.
Beth: [00:11:04] Yeah, I think it's so beautiful though. Isn't it? And then just to be able to sit down with your family and eat as a family unit, especially in these times where being forced to spend more time with people within our own households, but then that longing to actually be with our extended family and being able to eat again in a joyous occasion, it must be difficult for people who have eating disorders, who are going through those struggles and you put it so beautifully in this poem. So, thank you for sharing that with our listeners.
[00:11:31] So at what point did the publishing come along then in terms of like you've written all these poems, for any of my listeners who are thinking about being an author?
Ananda Dejager: [00:11:39] So one of my friends had already written two books and she published them at a Boekscout in the Netherlands, which is a printing on demand company. But I think in every country you have a lot of publishers. I think you also have Amazon printing on demand. but I think I had written132 poems, and it just felt finished, but in my mind, I wanted to do more.
[00:12:01] But then in the end, at one point it's finished. Right? And it was end of 2019. So, for me it was like, okay, I'm closing the year. Now I'm going to send the manuscript. So, the manuscript is basically all your poems with the pages. and then they checked it. It got validated in March of this year. So, three months later, and then of course COVID happens.
[00:12:23] So during the lockdown, I finalise it
Beth: [00:12:27] So not a long process, really.
Ananda Dejager: [00:12:29] not a year.
Beth: [00:12:30] a year
[00:12:32] So for anybody who's maybe thinking about buying. Your book, how is it structured? Is it chronological or is it set into themes? Can you just give us a bit of a feel?
Ananda Dejager: [00:12:41] Yeah, of course. so, for me it does have a structure. So, I started writing around August and I think as of September 2019, I had my regular period again. So, there's three parts, which is healing feeling and living, but they're not all equally long. So, the healing part was really [00:13:00] where I was like, okay, I know there's a problem.
I know I must do something, but I didn't change anything about my food. At that point, there was really just writing down my emotions cause I was kind of hoping I could recover without changing my food habits, but unfortunately that's not the case and I'm really happy that I eat differently now. So that was really also bringing up things from the past and still, you see, I think the struggle between, I want to stay as skinny as I am and I want to recover and also a part like, okay, what did I do to my body?
[00:13:35] Will I get my period back? Or did I really ruin it forever? And then you have the feeling part and there. I think it's at the end there that I hire a food coach. And that, you can also see a bit like when I started falling in love. And at the end it also gets a bit lighter.
[00:14:00] I heard people say like in the beginning it can sometimes be a bit deep and tough, but at the end you also see like the strength in the journey and like, okay, I'm going to get there.
Beth: [00:14:13] Thank you for sharing that. It just gives a better understanding to know how you have segmented [the book] in that way. And I love how it becomes lighter as you transition through that period.
Ananda Dejager: [00:14:22] Yeah. Because I can also understand it can be very confronting, right. Because the poems are quite short and direct. So, for people who dealt with an eating disorder, like one of my friends, she was like, okay, I read one and then I have to put it down.
Beth: [00:14:34] what would you say one of the biggest life lessons you've had as part of this journey? I would imagine there's so many but is there anything that you would pick out that kind of stands out for you.
[00:14:44] Ooh, that is a tough one. I haven’t had this question before about the biggest life lesson, like, first, I'm super thankful that I got amenorrhea because otherwise I wouldn't sit here. And I wouldn't have published a book, but I think the biggest life lesson is even though you have to recover on your own and you have to do it, you don't have to do it alone.
[00:15:08] And I always wanted to do everything alone and prove people that I don't need anyone else. But in the end, what's wrong with meeting people. Like I think the biggest life lesson is really to open up be vulnerable and also trust myself. That I'm doing the right thing and trust the people on my path.
[00:15:27] Like if people want to be in my life, they will be there. Even if I tell them things that are heavy.
Beth: [00:15:34] So true. Yeah. I think as entrepreneurs, one of the biggest lessons starting out is, we should lean on other people. We have this tendency as human beings to want to do everything ourselves and our way, but there’s people who can sometimes do the things that we want to do better.
[00:15:52] And there's people who can come into our lives. Exactly the right moment in time. And I love what you say about you love that you had amenorrhea.
[00:16:00] because, you can see the beauty in all the directions and the branches that come off that time.
MANIFESTING AND AFFIRMATIONS
Okay. I can hear that you're very spiritual, I feel, and that you are into kind of the law of attraction and manifesting and things like that.
[00:16:15] has that been part of your journey as well?
Ananda Dejager: [00:16:16] Yeah. So of course, how most people start with the law of attraction, it's The Secret, right. And telling yourself affirmations. So, in the beginning, I thought, you know, if I tell myself I'm going to get my period, I'm going to get it. unfortunately, it's not as straightforward as that because you have to believe it.
[00:16:34] And. If you tell yourself affirmations, they're going to work, but I feel like just telling yourself affirmations, it's not enough. You also have to feel it
[00:16:43] and to work on it. If you say I am healthy, but you still eat pizza and burger King every day, which if you feel great, that's fine. But then at one point you're also kind of tricking yourself, right?
[00:16:56] So I was like, okay, I know what my eating disorder is, it's not about the food so I can eat more. I can go to the doctor who will tell me, go on the pill and then you have a fake period. Then I still have the same problems so that, okay, there must be something that happened that makes me this way. And it's not to blame on anyone but me, of course, but I do think we're here to learn specific things and that even if you have the perfect childhood, there are still things that can impact you in a way that affect your adult life.
So, a lot of inner child work I did as well because as a kid, I was also very shut down and like wanting to be on my own. So, I think really trying to look at my patterns and my triggers is what really helped to me. And then when you work on those attracting the things you want [it] also get easier.
Beth: [00:17:51] so one of the things I like to ask on the podcast is around our superpowers. So, I know that that sounds a bit lighthearted and maybe too fun for the subject matter, but I think we all, amass skills and experience don't we over the course of our career. and I think it's really important that people can acknowledge their strengths. so is this something that somebody would say that you have a particular superpower for, or that you are willing to blow your own trumpet today around what that might be.
Ananda Dejager: [00:18:20] Yeah, people will always say, if I go for something, I go a hundred percent. And I also wrote that in the introduction of my book. but giving hundred percent can mean two things, right? It can mean that maybe a hundred percent when publishing something or you give a hundred percent working yourself into an eating disorder.
[00:18:38] It's also about balance. So, I think, really putting my heart into things I do. And, right now, being vulnerable, I think that is slowly becoming a strength. but I think everybody has their own superpower in that sense, so I really believe in that. So, I really like the question.
Beth: [00:18:56] Thank you for sharing that. Okay. I suppose as entrepreneurs, we all have a platform that we use to get our messages out there. Obviously, you have your book right now, but what’s working for you in terms of getting these messages out,
Ananda Dejager: [00:19:07] so I really try to think outside of the box, when approaching marketing. So, my book is in English, right. So, I thought, okay, what is my niche? And then I thought, okay, I want to help people with an eating disorder or mental health problem. So, then I thought, okay, what’s the most logical thing to do? I'm not going to find those people randomly; And those people are probably, if I give a book presentation somewhere, not going to come, because if I have an eating disorder, the last thing I want to do, depending on what stage I'm in is I don't want people to know.
[00:19:39] So I'm probably not going to go to a book signing. Then I thought, okay, what's the easiest way to reach them. And that is through platforms. Or associations that deal with mental health eating problems. So, what I did was I emailed every, anorexia bulimia eating disorder association in the Netherlands and Belgium.
[00:20:01] So with some of them I'm organising workshops or we're having nights where people like parents can come and then I can talk about my experience. And then I thought it's in English. Why stop in the Netherlands? I went all out and emailed the US, Ireland, UK, Malta, Spain. You name it anywhere where I could find an English website, regarding eating disorders and mental health.
[00:20:26] That's where I send it to. Because you can start small, even magazines, just call local newspapers. I feel like local newspapers are a bit easier to reach because if you have a story, and you shared with your local newspaper often, it's already special. So, it's easier to get publicity and then it can grow afterwards.
[00:20:47] And of course, being on a lot of podcasts, speaking, then you keep it alive as well. Because with every podcast you reach new people or there's a new subject. But it does cost a lot of work, [I’m] not going to lie.
Beth: [00:21:00] yeah, that. Have you got any help?
Ananda Dejager: [00:21:03] no I'm doing it alone. But also, because it's so personal, I feel like if I would do it with someone. I'm not sure if it will work the way it does, because of course, if you have a business where you sell a product, then it makes sense to hire someone, for example, for the marketing. But for me, it's my personal journey. It doesn't make sense if I don't put my face behind it because nobody else went through this journey.
[00:21:33] And I was also thinking in the future, maybe to organize some webinars or zoom calls to. Share my experience for people who want to hear it because there's enough people struggling. So really like that, try to keep the momentum going. So, I would say really find your niche and find what works for you, but also what you enjoy.
[00:21:52] If you don't enjoy doing podcasts, it's not going to work. If you have your own business, you can also start to be a guest writer for some newspapers, those kinds of things. And. If, you know, people within the industry just ask, like some of my friends have their own companies.
[00:22:11] So I asked like, okay, do you know anyone at this newspaper or this newspaper? Because then it's way easier to reach the right people faster instead of having a general email address.
Beth: [00:22:22] So you were going a hundred percent, like you said. yeah. You're doing the podcast. You're doing everything. You're doing everything locally. So, in terms of, your future and for the book itself, what's the long-term goal for the book and what comes next for you.
VISUALISING THE FUTURE
Ananda Dejager: [00:22:34] So I'm trying to live in the moment. But I think really the rest of the year, I'm going to focus on getting the message out there and seeing what it brings. of course, a lot of people also ask, is there going to be a second book? I don't know yet, because then I have to do the whole thing again.
[00:22:50] So for now it's just this one, maybe a second one, but then it would be more for myself really, because I'm not going to go back to where I was.
[00:22:58] So the topic would be different as well. but the goal now is to just reach a lot of people. And I feel like it's also a timeless thing because unfortunately in a few years they're still going to be girls or guys with eating disorders. So, in that sense more to build a name and to see what I can do to help others.
[00:23:20]and enjoy the ride. I mean, if I had known how much work it would have taken to publish it and the effects. I don't know if I would have done it if that makes sense. Because it's, it's quite confronting as well. but so far, I really like it. I think if, if you want to do something, you just go for it.
[00:23:42] You try. And if it works, it works. If it doesn't, it doesn't.
Beth: [00:23:47] So you're still working right now, as well as doing this. So, do you do that part time or full time? how do you make everything fit together?
Ananda Dejager: [00:23:55] I do it full time.
[00:23:56] I'm a CRM manager at a large beauty company as, so this week we're working from home. But then for example, if I have a podcast, I make sure that I work an extra hour in the morning or in the weekend. So, I'm really trying to balance everything, or I take a day off if it becomes too much.
[00:24:13] So I, but I, I try to plan all the interviews and everything mostly at night or very early in the morning. But otherwise I just work longer hours. So, it’s kind of helps that way, like half look down because there's no time to party and everything. So that saves a lot of time.
Beth: [00:24:33] Was there a lot of partying going on before then?
Ananda Dejager: [00:24:35] No, not really. Not really, but you know, in your mind you don't have as much fear of missing out. yeah, I'm just trying to really balance it like that. but I think especially if you have a full-time job and you start your own company, it takes quite a lot of energy.
[00:24:52] So at one point now you need to learn either to say no, or to take more days off, like really find a balance in a way.
MANAGING A SIDE HUSTLE
Beth: [00:24:59] I think that's really important for listeners to hear, because there's so many different ideas around. If you're about to start a business, do you go part time? Do you do some freelancing? Do you go all in? And I think it's different for everybody. I don't think you can possibly say one way is right for anybody.
[00:25:17] I've certainly. Done things in lots of different ways over the years. So I think it's important to hear that, you're still working full time and that you're able to do this, the side hustle and getting the book out there and doing what you're doing, which is amazing, but I think it's really important for people to hear that there's different ways of doing both.
Ananda Dejager: [00:25:34] And of course it also means like giving up some things. Right. I used to go to dance class, and I don't know how I would do it right now. So, I just work out from home. But, yeah, it's, it's about finding a balance. I always wanted to do everything, but I also realized that I cannot do everything fully.
[00:25:52] So then now with the book, some other things are currently a bit on postpone and I think it will calm down after a while. Maybe we'll see.
Beth: [00:26:01] See what happens?
Lovely to, hear your story. Thank you so much for sharing it with our listeners today. I wish you all the best, with the book, I'm going to put everything in the show notes, but where can people find out more about you?
Ananda Dejager: [00:26:12] So on my website, it's just my name. anandadejager.com or on Amazon, the book is being sold. And I think it's worldwide delivery.
[00:26:23] but maybe not Australia
Beth: Maybe Australia in the future.
Ananda Dejager [00:26:25] maybe who knows?