Eating Disorders Articles

Is There a Right Way to Feed a Baby?

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

Is There a Right Way to Feed a Baby?This morning I opened “The Four Month Visit” email sitting in my mailbox from my pediatrician’s practice. Under the topics for the approaching visit is “solid foods.”

The blurb reads “Solid food: Since Brandon looks hungrily at your food and tries to grab it, how about starting him on a little solid food? Don’t waste your time with cereals, since they offer little added nutritional value. Read more about when, how and why to start your child on solid foods.”

Don’t waste my time with cereals? I spoke with some friends whose doctors told them to start with rice cereal. My mother claims my preemie brother was put on rice cereal at five weeks to gain weight. She says I was put on rice cereal when I was consuming 32 ounces of formula, which was probably around four months since I was quite the plump baby. Fast forward some 32 years later — my nanny, a 50-something Trinidadian, asked when we would be starting rice cereal.

Confused by the contradicting information, I set out to learn the intricacies of the rice cereal debate.

Community: The Kinship of Thinspiration

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Community: The Kinship of ThinspirationFrom beneath her beautifully tiny, A-cup breasts, her smooth ribs, covered only by a thin layer of white flesh, peeked out, taunting me, reminding me of what I could never be.

Yet, at the same time, they gave me a glimmer of empty hope that one day my ribs may protrude like hers. One day, my hip bones may sharpen and stick out, my collar bone may reveal itself to the public, my thighs may one day stop touching.

At 13, I found myself sitting in my living room, my eyes glued to the screen of my family’s clunky, black desktop as I fantasized what it would be like to be this 18-year-old goddess whose long, wavy dirty-blonde hair hung limp and dry from her scalp in that sexy, I-don’t-care fashion, framing her thin, pale, drawn-out face, made paler by her piercing, bright blue eyes encased by her dark bags and heavy black eyeshadow.

Emotional Eating: Unstuffing Our Faces & Emotions

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Emotional Eating: Unstuffing Our Faces & EmotionsFood is a wonderful thing! There are so many tastes, so many varieties, and quite frankly, we can’t live without it. We typically eat to satisfy hunger, to provide the proper nutrition and sustenance needed to get through our day.

However, we sometimes eat to relieve stress or reward ourselves.

While this behavior is not necessarily problematic or harmful when done in moderation, we have to be careful not to cross the line. It’s perfectly acceptable to reward ourselves with a special treat, or to indulge in something savory after a hard day.

It’s when this type of eating becomes a coping mechanism that we find ourselves being emotional eaters.

Why Do We Overeat?

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Why Do We Overeat?Is it what we eat? How we eat? How we learned to eat?

Many Americans are asking these questions and searching for the answers as they battle thickening waistlines and pounds that just don’t seem to come off.  And many watch in alarm as our children struggle with the same issues of obesity as American adults.

In recent posts, I have discussed how the media has focused attention heavily on what we eat.

And certainly the food that we put into our bodies plays a significant role in how much we weigh. 

5 Signs Your Teen Needs Mental Health Treatment

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

5 Signs Your Teen Needs Mental Health TreatmentTeens go through emotional ups and downs all the time. Hormones are changing, life can seem overwhelming, and without much life experience, a young adult can feel misguided. When parents are busy working, or a natural separation from family occurs, teens may turn to friends instead of parents.

Peer support can be helpful for certain issues. But when the symptoms of a mental illness are present, more than a good friend is needed.

The problem is, teens may not understand what the feelings they experience mean. As a parent, it’s important to stay connected so that you notice any changes or any symptoms of a mental illness in your child.

The Psychology of Eating Disorders

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

The Psychology of Eating DisordersAccording to statistics provided by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), there are up to 24 million people in the United States who suffer from eating disorders. This includes people of all ages and both genders and can result in premature death or other serious health problems.

Although common perceptions regarding eating disorders involve a belief that the afflicted person has a desire to be thin, more often than not, there are other underlying causes behind an eating disorder.

Several factors can cause the onset of an eating disorder, or turn negative eating habits into a full-blown condition. These causes can include certain personality traits and psychological factors, high-stress events, abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and difficult family life.

With Obesity, A New Disease is Born: Its Profound Implications for Psychiatry

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

With Obesity, A New Disease is Born: Its Profound Implications for PsychiatryA new disease was discovered the other day — or rather, one was created.

There is no “lab test” for this disease, nor is there an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan that can detect it. It is diagnosed on the basis of a mathematical formula that many believe is simplistic and poorly-validated.

Sometimes this “disease” results in metabolic abnormalities, sometimes not.

Many clinicians view the decision to recognize this disease as another example of “medicalizing” a problem stemming from the person’s “life-style” — not from a specific pathological process. In fact, the declaration that this condition is a “disease” was the result of a vote among a group of doctors at a medical meeting in Chicago.

In effect, this condition became a disease through a show of hands.

Can We Stamp Out Thinspiration on Twitter? Torri Singer Thinks We Can

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Can We Stamp Out Thinspiration on Twitter? Torri Singer Thinks We CanPro-anorexia (or “pro-ana”) groups have been around online for over a decade, and we first discussed them here five years ago. More recently, with the rise of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, these groups have found a new life. Often associated with the label “thinspiration,” these groups elevate the idea of being thin to a virtual religion.

People who are all about thinspiration engage in disordered eating in order to be as thin as possible — a common symptom of anorexia. But they don’t see it as a disorder or a problem, making this an insidious problem.

Nonetheless, such eating and self-image problems can result in health problems, even putting the individual’s life at risk.

Some people have sought to get common words or terms that people engaged in thinspiration use banned from social networking websites. One such woman is Torri Singer, a broadcast journalism major who has recently begun a petition to get such terms banned from Twitter.

5 Ways to Help Your Kids Use Social Media Responsibly

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

5 Ways to Help Your Kids Use Social Media Responsibly “For most teens, the Internet is a fundamental part of life,” according to Dana Udall-Weiner, Ph.D, a psychologist who specializes in media literacy. It’s how they communicate and interact. Teens use social media sites like Facebook for everything from casual talks to breakups, she said.

With social media a major part of teens’ lives, it’s important they have a healthy relationship with the Internet. What does this look like?

According to Udall-Weiner, it resembles any healthy relationship: It has boundaries.

It also shouldn’t have to meet all their needs, including emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual, she said. For instance, sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest should never replace face-to-face interactions, she said. Instead, they should supplement them. That’s because online interactions lack the emotional depth and support of real-time relationships. “…[I]t’s hard to know whether someone is trustworthy, loyal, and invested in your well-being.”

The No. 1 Obstacle to Weight Loss

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

The No. 1 Obstacle to Weight LossHave you tried to lose weight? 

More than one third of U.S. adults currently are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physicians and other health care professionals urge us to lose weight or risk becoming vulnerable to a host of diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Weight loss has become a national conversation.

On an individual basis, most of us either have tried to lose weight or are actively engaged in maintaining a healthy weight.  Why we struggle with weight and how best to lose weight are hotly debated topics.  The nation’s current weight struggles have been attributed to a range of biological, societal and personal problems such as unhealthy school lunches, media advertising, too much corn and corn syrup in our diets, sugar substitutes, lack of willpower, overreliance on fast and prepackaged foods and many more.

But what gets in the way of your ability to lose weight?

Do Fashion Magazines Make You Feel Fat?

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Do Fashion Magazines Make You Feel Fat?Want to feel better about your body?  Stop reading fashion magazines.

It’s the holidays.  Magazines focus on our waistlines and ways to survive the season while keeping a slender figure. I’m all for good health, but we’re frequently sold an image, product or diet that does not always result in good mental or physical health, particularly for women.

What’s your ideal weight?  In one alarming study, adolescent girls described their ideal girl as 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing a mere 100 pounds.

This ideal is — at best — unhealthy and, for many, anorexic. 

The Secret & Silent Killer Behind Thinspiration

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

The Secret & Silent Killer Behind Thinspiration

Beautiful images of fashion, art, vacation destinations, and food: what’s not to love about Pinterest?

Well, after seeing several pins labeled “thinspiration,” displaying overly thin women and quotes like, “All I want is to be happy, confident, and skinny as hell,” I decided it was time to speak up.

The image in this post is of me, back in my modeling days. This photo was very popular with friends and family on Facebook and with my followers on a modeling website I was a member of at the time.

If Pinterest had been around back then, I definitely would have pinned it for all to see.

Some may look at this image and see a woman that offers “thinspiration,” but the truth is actually much darker.

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