Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I really want everyone to consider this perspective on eating disorders.  How do you define an eating disorder?  In an earlier post I linked you to another blog that spoke about the images women are expected to live up to in order to maintain their career in modeling.

I find a striking similarity in the television/cinema world as well.  How many times do we hear about this or that celebrity who eats "clean", "organic", or "raw".  The term "orthorexic" describes an obsession with healthy eating.  The behaviors actually become disordered, and therefore compulsive behaviors and control begin to take over.  Check out this website to read more about orthorexia and to read about all the other topics it has to offer.  The site is more or less an eating disorder 101 site.  Helpful perspectives and links.


Ophelia's Swim Team: What if...

I could not have said it better myself, which is why I'm not going to try. This was written by a friend of mine. Her blog is on my Google Reader and should be on yours too!

Ophelia's Swim Team: What if...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Holidays, What Do You Have To Be Depressed About?

It has been a week of shopping and wrapping. I totally soaked in the holiday season, and like many other people felt complete joy just picking out that perfect gift, didn't you?

Truth is that the holidays only bring about more stress and anxiety than the rest of the year. So when sitting around the fire sipping on your choice beverage, or in my case staring out the window at a palm tree with cold punch, use these tips with your family members who are less than enthusiastic about the holidays.

What not to say to a depressed person from an article by Therese J. Borchard:

1.Snap out of it! -- "...depression is not something patients can turn on and off, and they’re not able to respond to such pleas. Instead, tell your loved one that you’re available to help them in any way you can."

2. What do you have to be depressed about? -- "You can’t argue someone out of feeling depressed, but you can help by acknowledging that you’re aware of his pain. Try saying something like “I’m sorry that you’re feeling so bad."

3. Why don't you go for a nice walk? -- "By definition, depression keeps you from wanting to engage in everyday activities. But you can show your support by offering to take a walk, go to a movie, or do some other activity with your loved one. How about: “I know you don’t feel like going out, but let’s go together."

4. It's all in your head. -- "Suggesting that depression is imagined is neither constructive nor accurate...Try saying instead: 'I know that you have a real illness that’s causing you to feel this way.'"

What then can you say? Try this:

"Seeing a therapist is probably a good idea." -- "You think your loved one could benefit from talking to a mental health professional. Should you say so?"  


Full Article

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Better Late Then Never...

I really want to bring awareness to the following topic of "Fat Talk".  This can occur when referencing disordered eating patterns and/or body image.  Talking to your girlfriend about her food choice, announcing the reason for your own food choice, and even being "brutally honest" in the fitting room in order to make yourself feel better about your own body.

Delta Delta Delta Sorority has developed a website and program dedicated to the reduction of "Fat Talk" and the improvement of body image.  Body Image Program is a great resource in order to find information on this topic.  Even though Fat Talk Free Wekk was in October, it is never too late to discuss this issue.

I am going to share a video for you to enjoy, and ask that you please become more aware of your words and your environmental influences as you journey to find your own healthy sense of self.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Maudsley Method

There is a new method for treating eating disorders out of London called the Maudsley Method.  It incorporates the family into the daily living and therapy of the individual struggling.  It involves the family with the decisions at meal time and allows them to contribute in a way that most programs leave to their own staff. This sounds great right?  

A success rate for remission twice that of a normal modality.  Well what if the parents are the primary cause of the eating patterns?  What if the caretakers consistently use "fat talk"?  This modality will be great for families who are desperate to help the individual recover.  

In the cases of sexual abuse, post traumatic stress, and social pressures the individual may not be willing to share their deepest secrets with their family or even willing to work through the therapy--as mentioned in an earlier post "Stuck Like Chuck".  Also in cases of very young children this type of treatment could give caretakers the answer and motivation to participate actively in the treatment, which can often create a better home environment on the whole.

The Maudsley Method will be another great option for treatment, but I challenge professionals and programs to really take the time to understand the dynamics of the situation before jumping in.  A success is only as good as the motivation driving it, and when that lacks (in the case of "fat talk" or other psychosocial elements regarding the family unit) it can be very difficult to maintain.  Hence, the reason for the low percentage of success when treating eating disorders.

Please read this article, it is a great introduction to the method and what it can do for you or someone you may know.  Bringing in Family to Combat Anorexia

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Facing Cancer...

There has been so much talk this week about the positive spin that Elizabeth Edwards put on her final days after succumbing to the medical complications of her breast cancer.  But friends claim that "Elizabeth did not want people to say she lost her battle with cancer.  The battle was about living a good life, and that she won."

So what then about a person's sense of self, mental health, while dealing with this chronic illness?  What does cancer look like?  We perceive cancer as a solemn, painful, desperate disease that takes the best of our loved ones.  Yet these photos of Elizabeth show a different side of cancer.  The side that reflects personal choice to live in a positive environment.  The side that encourages independence for her future (her children and her life without her husband).  The side of inner strength so bright that reflects an outward shine. 

An article reflects the little known focus of many therapists who work with cancer patients.  Mental Health and Cancer: The Often Over-Looked Connections

The "power of positive thinking" becomes such a generalization that it loses its impact.  It is suppose to reflect a healthy outlook on the process of disease.  The stages of grief, anger, denial, sadness, etc.  Stabilizing the mental health during this time can actually provide the patient with the tools to improve their quality of life, and therefore their outcome in some cases.

What is interesting is that many patients are not even aware that therapy can even help with their treatment.  I think Elizabeth's story is a great example of what a healthy outlook on chronic illness looks like, and how it can ultimately benefit the individual and their family.  It did not extend her life, but it paved the way for a fuller life for her children, and a solid understanding of her peace that will bring comfort to all who mourn her.

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's Not Just For Girls...

Please take the time to read this story about a young man who struggles with exercise addiction and an eating disorder. Beginning at the age of 11, Eric struggled with his disorder. From 1999-2006 the rates of eating disorders in kids under the age of 12 increased by 119% Reference article

Eric's Story

Starting at age 11, Eric weighed 79lbs at his lowest weight.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Stuck Like Chuck...

Ever wonder why anyone in your life, maybe even you, have trouble completely freeing themselves from the emotional entrapment of a past experience?

I was watching the movie "Thin" last night.  It is a documentary focusing on the journey through treatment for an eating disorder.  One woman in particular admitted in her counseling session that there were things deep inside her that she shared with no one.

That made me think about her ability to control whether or not she unlocked her past.  In many cases: deep dark secrets, painful events, sinful thoughts, devastating tragedies, and thoughts of ill will towards the self or others are the very pieces of the puzzle that most clients refuse to discuss.  They are often ashamed, angry, uncomfortable, or just flat out do not trust the therapist or themselves enough to even begin to entertain the thought of divulging that information.

How then can you actually provide adequate treatment to any client?  If you want to get better, but you aren't willing to do the full scope of the work, then can you really want help?

I guess the point of all of this is that we are often have too much control of ourselves, so much so that we do not even realize how we are holding ourselves back from the very things we want most in life--or at least what we think we want.

The hardships that you have faced, must be dissolved in order for you to heal.  If you are unwilling to hit the rock hard bottom of your emotional state, you will never fully recover.  Eating disorders are amongst the hardest mental disorders to overcome, and I suspect that many of those who wrestle with their disorder are not really fighting food, they are fighting to control of their deepest thoughts and feelings. 

Food is in a way the manifestation of their mind.  It is controlled, and it controls you.  With it you live and without it you die.  They feel as though without control of the depths of their mind they might as well be dead, and so they walk a fine line where uncomfortable becomes comfortable.  Being totally honest is a nightmare for an ED patient.  Giving up 100% control is their version of death.  Why would you need food when you feed on your own control?

If you feel stuck in some way in your own life, to this extreme or not, I invite you to at least have a conversation with yourself about the depths that exist in your mind.  It is only with a sense of self and a willingness to share that self that we are able to truly let go of the control that we have.