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Reviews Be-Leef! Portugal

Many proceeded you, going to Portugal because of our short clinical boost programme Be-LeeF! in Portugal. In order to inspire you by telling what it was like and how much the participants have benefitted, we have collected a number of reviews. Read them and get inspired!

Nynke (born in 1995)

Recovered from NAO- Be-LeeF! group 36, year 2018

'I wish this opportunity to recover for everyone with an eating disorder.'

Be-LeeF! Has brought me so much more than I had expected. During the programme not only did I learn a great deal about the depth of the feelings I struggled with and the coping mechanisms I applied, but also when and why I did that. Be-LeeF! pulls you out of self-inflicted patterns and the diversity of therapies ensures that you always learn something.

In addition, my stay in Portugal has brought me a valuable friendship. My ‘Be-LeeF!-buddy’ has become a great friend. Be-LeeF! has also caused me to be much closer to my parents and siblings now.

The surroundings are amazing and soothing. There is plenty of space, so you can always retreat if you want. I would never have got this far without this clinical boost. I wish this opportunity to recover for everyone with an eating disorder.

Niet of weinig eten bij eetstoornis anorexia

Anna (born in 1984)

Recovered from anorexia - Be-LeeF!, year 2012

'I learned to enjoy life again'

My stay in Portugal has brought me so incredibly much. I have been able to take a giant step in the recovery of my eating disorder. Through small steps I learned to enjoy eating again there and, most of all, enjoy life! The location was so beautiful and relaxing.

During the different therapies, the Experience expertsⓇ provided advice, based on their own experiences. I could better handle them addressing me in a hard way than someone in my own environment who had never had an eating disorder. It wasn’t always easy in Portugal, but that was OK, there was plenty of room to share stories and to feel sad. I would recommend anyone with an eating disorder to follow the Be-LeeF! programme.

Robin (born in 1987)

Recovered from BED - Be-LeeF! group 10, year 2016

'Be-LeeF! was really the point for me at which I managed to start letting go of my eating disorder'

The programme Be-LeeF! is a unique experience. It is tough, but absolutely worthwhile. My personal development actually accelerated during my stay. The great thing about the programme is that there are different types of therapies. Although some felt better for me than others, I have the feeling that I have been able to get the best out of every form. So you learn a lot in a very short period of time. This all happens in a magnificent environment, on a remote terrain, which helped me to really focus on myself. In addition, you are surrounded by amazing people. For instance the Experience expertsⓇ, who were very approachable, which felt very good, so it wasn’t like ‘them’ and ‘us’. The Therapists gave a lot of themselves, in an appropriate way, because they had all overcome an eating disorder themselves, which in turn helped me to open up.

The programme is something you will never forget and it gives you a boost like, I believe, nothing else will ever be able to. I know that during the programme, I occasionally thought: it is so tough and I am so tired. But looking back, I just feel lucky. Before Be-LeeF! I always thought that I would never fully recover from my eating disorder. That things would be much better: yes! I would learn to cope with my eating disorder in a better way, but I never believed that I could recover until I returned from Portugal. For me that was really the point when started to let go of my eating disorder. And I wish that for everybody!

Roos (born in 1998)

Recovered from NAO - Be-LeeF! group 56, year 2022

'A true gift for myself'

Thanks to the stay in Portugal I am no longer afraid to acknowledge that I have an eating disorder and also it incited me to do everything possible to recover. Prior to that I had got stuck in my eating disorder, but Be-LeeF! has given me insights as to how the eating disorder was created and the way in which it functioned for me. Through the various therapies I have now got tools to apply things in a different way, so I no longer ‘need’ my eating disorder.

As it is really about yourself, for six consecutive weeks, I have learned more about who I really am and want to be, but also what I need and how I can signal that to the people around me. Be-LeeF! has mainly taught me that you do not need to do everything by yourself and that asking for help is not weak or wrong, but that showing yourself is actually powerful and strong. The great thing is that you are in a safe bubble, in which you can challenge yourself with respect to many aspects and when you are really struggling for a moment, there are so many people around to support you. A major part of the treatment is that close relatives, that you chose, are involved in a parallel trajectory in the Netherlands. For me, this was really valuable and the bond with those close to me has really improved by creating that openness.

I would recommend Be-LeeF! to others, because it is a gift to yourself if you dare to take on the six weeks in Portugal. I am so grateful that I went, despite the tension and fear I felt during the period prior to it. The memories and great moments I experienced with the people there will never be forgotten. You can never forget a trajectory like Be-LeeF! and the same goes for everyone who was involved and was part of it.

Voedingsbegeleiding bij behandeling voor eetstoornissen

Sterre (born in 2000)

Recovered from NAO - Be-LeeF! group 52, year 2021

'In Portugal I could really come to myself.'

During my time in the Be-LeeF! programme, I have gained many insights, for instance about myself, my eating disorder and my surroundings. In addition, I managed to connect to my feelings (again) and actually find my strength. I learned what I think is important in life and who I really want around me.

In addition to everything Be-LeeF! brought me in terms of feelings, it has predominantly handed me the tools to make my life beautiful again. In the ambulatory care I had already had a chance to experience the joy of discussing things with an experience expert Therapist. It ensured that I felt heard and understood. In Portugal this is similar, but the contact between Client and Therapist is more intense. For me, Be-LeeF! was exactly what I needed in terms of my recovery, which was to get away from my familiar environment, away from all the ‘masks’ that I needed during my life, here in the Netherlands. In Portugal I stepped into a completely different world, one where my recovery was at the centre continuously. This provided me with the security to dare sharing, to show my vulnerability, to reach my feelings and to dig for the deeper reason for my eating disorder.

In short, I would recommend Be-LeeF! because it is the best place to get in contact with your feeling. You are in these beautiful surroundings, with people who only want the best for you. You feel the warmth and security from everyone who was involved in your Be-LeeF! process. And that is something you certainly don’t experience everywhere. I am still in contact with my peers, one way or another, you will always be connected with each other.

Lisette (born in 1988)

Recovered from bulimia - Be-LeeF! group 38, year 2018

'Be-LeeF! changed my life.'

As soon as I entered the location in Portugal, a sense of tranquillity came over me. The location offers magnificent views and there are many snug corners where you can retreat for a while. It is very quiet there and you’re away from the world, which gave me a sense of safety and security.

During the Be-LeeF! programme I gained insights in the origin of my eating disorder. As a result, I could understand why I needed my eating disorder. Be-LeeF! brought me the courage to choose for myself and to allow me to take care of just me for some time. The combination of different therapies in Be-LeeF! ensured that one therapy reinforced the other. It’s also very special that there was always an Experience expertⓇ around who recognised something from my history, based on her own experience with an eating disorder. This provided very useful tools for me, regarding how to cope with it.

Without Be-LeeF! I would never have found the reason for my eating disorder and I would never have been able to solve the deeper layers that I needed for lasting recovery. Without Be-LeeF! I would never have come to where I am now, it changed my life! Grant yourself the Be-LeeF! programme, because it is absolutely worthwhile.

Herkenning van een eetstoornis

Julia (born in 1992)

Recovered from anorexia - Be-LeeF! group 5, year 2013

The time in Portugal gave me a lot of peace and comfort. I received so much acknowledgement and love from all the people there. During the therapies of the Be-LeeF! programme, I delved into the heart of my eating disorder. I was confronted in a good way, with questions like: why is it so scary to let go of this eating disorder? Why fight your feelings and seek comfort in your eating disorder? The sessions gave me so much insight and were so different, substantively, from what I had experienced with other health and welfare organisations.

The effort and the tears, but also the joy and being able to enjoy, to some extent, could coexist in Portugal. Eating no longer felt like a punishment imposed on myself, by definition. The therapies were also incredibly insightful and totally different from what I was used to with other health and welfare organisations, that focussed only on rebalancing my weight. It was great to receive so much understanding and acknowledgement from the Experience expertsⓇ. I often felt heard and seen. At the same time, there was also room for joy and fun with the other people there. It could simply be there at the same time. And now, many years later, I still have valuable contact with some members of my group.

I often think back on the Be-LeeF! programme and how special it was there. Perhaps when you are there, not everything is falling into place yet. But in the end, for me it was the most helpful place where I could be, to face my eating disorder and let go of it. I learned that life had more to offer to me and that my eating disorder was not the way to solve my pain. That is why I fought against everything and everyone, from a sense of despair and grief. In Portugal I learned to look at myself in a more gentle way, which I am still grateful for.

Faye (born in 2000)

Recovered from anorexia - Be-LeeF! group 54, year 2022

'Be-LeeF! has changed me in an indescribable way'

My stay in Portugal has actually taught me to see the light in my life. I have more gained more confidence in myself, in my body and in the people around me. The emotional depths I experienced were unparalleled and the highs were indescribable. The Be-LeeF! programme is a remarkable journey that you venture on together with your peers. For six weeks I learned, together with them and under the supervision of Therapists who truly understand and support you, to become a better version of myself. By taking care of my body, by growing at my own pace and by learning how to set my boundaries. Also I learned how I could be less strict to myself and how to really enjoy food again. My feelings are worth being felt again, instead of being assessed. I once again dare to look into the future, because I know it is there. Even months after my return, I occasionally struggle to find the words to describe how much I have changed in a positive way.

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