Anne Poirier ’85 is a champion for self-reflection and change. In fact, she’s made a business from it. “It’s interesting how life can roll out for you if you are open,” she says. Together with husband Tim Drown ’85, she runs Shaping Perspectives, a coaching business that helps women overcome distorted eating habits and body dysmorphia so they can discover body confidence and self-compassion. The business grew from Poirier’s struggles and the methods she created to overcome them and live more fully.
Poirier became overly aware of her own body image and weight as a child, and this fixation followed her into adulthood. Her self-image anxieties pushed her to achieve as a physical education major and PSU soccer player, eventually to the point where she tore her ACL.
After college, Poirier was successful as a trainer and coach but realized that something had to give when her injury deteriorated significantly. Years of physical and mental exhaustion led her to seek a change. “I was tired,” she recalls, but she knew that her years of physical performance experience could help initiate a new opportunity. Enter: Plymouth State University’s Eating Disorders Institute (EDI).
While she holds fond memories of her undergrad years, and credits Professors Arthur Bourgeois, Mardie Burckes-Miller, and Coach Janet Nell among supportive mentors, EDI allowed her to really dive into the science behind dieting and the forward path to healing. “I learned so much and received clarity,” she says. “I began to ask, ‘How can we shift the way we talk to ourselves?’”
Together with EDI Teaching Lecturer Kari Anderson, Poirier worked with women struggling with weight, which helped her reflect on her own story. She began to unearth the hows and whys of her struggle and move toward a path of helping others.
Thus was born Shaping Perspectives and, with it, a burgeoning community with the goal of living more fully without dieting and negative self-talk. Anne and Tim are helping to empower women through some of the same methods that Anne developed in her own journey, including introspective work and movement.
Poirier’s words on healing from distorted eating and body image have appeared in Huffpost, Eating Well, and the Guardian, and she has formed The Body Joyful Revolution, a free, private Facebook group for women to have a safe space to discuss these matters. “I’d love to see this space grow into 10,000 women strong,” she says.
Poirier’s inspiration of positive change in others would not have been realized if she didn’t go through the struggle herself. She will share her insights in The Body Joyful, to be published this fall. She calls it “part memoir and part observation about what worked for me and lessons that I can share to help others.”
In addition, she has also found a network in the Women’s Leadership Summit, a PSU group that challenges attendees to test their physical, mental, and social comfort zones while embracing the natural landscape. Poirier has attended several of these get-togethers and contributed as a sponsor. She loves the well-being that the group promotes and sees it as a connective platform to shift the conversation of diet. She says, “The only way we can become leaders as women is if we are taking care of ourselves.”
Poirier will lead “Upgrade Your Mindset,” a free Women’s Leadership Summit online event on Wednesday, April 7, 6 p.m. Please visit this link for more information and to register.