Eating Disorders Articles

Want Better Health? Your Eating Environment Matters

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Want Better Health? Your Eating Environment MattersLast week, McDonald’s announcement that it will begin posting calorie counts on its menus caused an online buzz.  Reactions to the announcement ranged from support to dissent to the unconvinced.

Food choice, nutrition and diet have been growing topics hotly debated in the public arena.

But despite increased public awareness that food choice plays a vital role in health, most Americans continue to eat too few fruits, vegetables and whole grains (USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion).

Why is it So Hard to Curb Your Cravings?

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Why is it So Hard to Curb Your Cravings?What’s your weakness?

Is it cupcakes, potato chips, bread, a big bowl of pasta, cheese fondue, fried chicken, pizza, ice cream or something else?

Do you crave something creamy that melts in your mouth or a salty crunch that takes the edge off?

If you do, you’re similar to 100% of women and 75% of men who reported food cravings in the last year, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Cravings, once considered the body’s way of signaling that we’re missing important nutrients, are now understood to be something quite different.  If they were merely a signal that we were short on, say, magnesium (a nutrient found in chocolate), then why do we tend to crave salty and sweet snacks, rather than healthier options of nutrient rich foods?

Tips and Tricks for Enjoying Food Mindfully

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Tips and Tricks for Enjoying Food MindfullyThere’s so much focus on food these days. What should you, or shouldn’t you eat? How do you avoid gaining weight or developing serious medical problems, such as heart disease and diabetes? Should you emphasize foods high in protein or fiber? How much sugar, fat and carbs can you safely consume?

Digestive problems, including bloating and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), are an increasing concern.

Have you ever noticed that you’ve just eaten something and can hardly remember what it tasted like? Kind of like eating on autopilot? Our busy and stressful modern-day lifestyles may have to do with this. Our minds are so busy planning our next move that we don’t allow time to savour the food we eat, or allow time for it to digest.

Helping to End Eating- and Weight-Related Disorders

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Helping to End Eating- and Weight-Related DisordersOur current culture presents a confusing array of messages about eating and body image. We see media images which promote unrealistic (and generally unreal) bodies paired with headlines about obesity prevention programs; news stories about eating disorders alongside multiple supersize food options; push for perfection alongside marketing for indulgence.

It’s no wonder we have both increasing incidents of eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, as well as increasing prevalence of binge eating disorder and rates of obesity.

Navigating this confusing world without falling into an eating- or weight-related disorder does require a return to some basic facts.

Jump for Joy Foundation Puts Childhood Obesity on the Ropes

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Jump for Joy Foundation Puts Childhood Obesity on the Ropes“The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake.” 
~ First Lady Michelle Obama at the Let’s Move! launch on February 9, 2010

Frank Bruni was a fat kid.  He was also the New York Times food critic from 2004-2009 and the best-selling author of Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater.  In his deeply moving memoir, he explains the problems and perils of being fat and the emotional struggle food caused him as a child and an adult.  He said he wanted to write his memoir to show  “what food could do to trip people up.”

Apparently food can do a lot to trip you up.  Being obese can have a devastating impact on life. A child born in this century has a one in three chance of developing diabetes and an alarmingly high percentage will suffer obesity-related conditions such as cancer, asthma, high blood pressure and heart disease.  Those numbers go up dramatically in the Hispanic and African-American communities:  Right now 40 percent of these children are overweight or obese.

With these statistics, is it any wonder that Michelle Obama would introduce Let’s Move to combat childhood obesity?

Qsymia, Belviq Approved for Obesity, Weight Loss

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Qsymia, Belviq Approved for Obesity, Weight LossIf you’re obese and are at the end of your ropes looking for weight loss help, there’s good news from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA in the past few months has approved two new weight loss drugs for people who struggle with obesity and being overweight — Qsymia and Belviq.

Both Qsymia (pronounced kyoo-sim-EE-uh and manufactured by Vivus Pharmaceuticals) and Belviq (pronounced bel-VEEK and manufactured by Arena Pharmaceuticals) have been shown to be effective in their clinical trials to help people lose significant amounts of weight.

Qsymia is composed of two generic drugs, phentermine (an appetite suppressant) and topiramate (a seizure and migraine medication). Belviq focuses on changing on how serotonin is processed by the brain. Qysmia will be on sale by the end of the year, while Belviq won’t be available until sometime in early-to-mid 2013.

Should you consider these drugs if you’re obese or seriously overweight?

Why Do Women Hate Their Bodies?

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

Women’s National Health Week, an annual awareness event dedicated to all issues related to women’s health, was May 13-19 this year.

In honor of this year’s message, “It’s your time,” I want to draw attention to the link between how we see ourselves and how we treat our bodies.

Currently, 80 percent of women in the U.S. are dissatisfied with their appearance. And more than 10 million are suffering from eating disorders.

So the question I have to ask, Why all the self-hatred?

5 Ideas for Boosting Your Body Image

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

5 Ideas for Boosting Your Body ImageIt takes continuous practice to maintain a positive body image. Think of it as a skill that needs attention and sharpening.

And that’s a great thing. It means that you can lift a low body image at any time. While it’s not easy, there are practical, concrete ways you can improve how you see your body — and yourself.

Below, Joyce Marter, LCPC, a psychotherapist and owner of Urban Balance, LLC, a multi-site counseling practice in the greater Chicago area, offers five ideas to do just that.

My Psychotherapy Story for an Eating Disorder

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

My Psychotherapy Story for an Eating DisorderI live in a town where eating disorder treatment is almost nonexistent. Feeling in danger of a relapse, I decided it was time to see a therapist. She was a licensed psychologist specializing in eating disorders and women’s issues. I went voluntarily, not expecting what I received.

Everything was booked and set via email. My choice. I hate calling people. She mailed me all the paperwork from her office to bring with me on my first visit. What I loved when I first met her was that she didn’t even want to look at the filled-out documents during session; she was eager to get down to talking. I was nervous being there, naturally, it’s sensitive material being shared with a stranger. I remember which chair I sat in and how she sat on the couch.

Eager. Ready.

Is Unresolved Trauma Preventing a Full Eating Disorder Recovery?

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Is Unresolved Trauma Preventing a Full Eating Disorder Recovery? There is a strong correlation between trauma and eating disorders. A number of studies have shown that people who struggle with eating disorders have a higher incidence of neglect and physical, emotional and sexual abuse. In particular, binge eating disorder is associated with emotional abuse while sexual abuse has been linked to eating disorders in males.

So what constitutes trauma?

Trauma comes in many forms, including childhood abuse or neglect, growing up in an alcoholic or dysfunctional home, environmental catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina, a serious accident, loss of a loved one, and violent attacks such as rape and sexual assault. What all of these experiences have in common is that they leave the individual feeling helpless and out of control.

Trauma isn’t the same as having post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a specific diagnosis with distinct criteria, involving a serious or life-threatening experience that results in nightmares, flashbacks, attempts to avoid situations similar to those that led to the trauma and a hyperactive startle response, among other symptoms.

Interview with Margarita Tartakovsky

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Interview with Margarita TartakovskyRecently I had the chance to ask Margarita Tartakovsky, an associate editor at Psych Central, a few questions about eating behavior.  She blogs regularly about eating and self-image issues on her blog Weightless.

Q. Why doesn’t the current model of treating obesity — only telling people what and how much to eat — work for most people?

A. Great question, because the current model definitely doesn’t work. I can’t remember who said it, but there’s a saying that if you want to gain weight, go on a diet. Diets have a failure rate of about 95 percent. People may lose weight initially but then they usually gain it back and then some.

So this model doesn’t work for many reasons. For one thing, genetics plays a prominent role in our weight. This is why you can have two people who eat the same foods in the same quantities look very different. One may be thin; the other may be considered “overweight.” Our bodies are more complicated than the “calories in, calories out” equation assumes.

Integrative Medicine to Treat Eating Disorders

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Integrative Medicine to Treat Eating Disorders Integrative medicine can be defined as “a healing-oriented discipline that takes into account the whole person — body, mind and spirit — including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship and makes use of both conventional and alternative therapies.”

Complementary and alternative therapies used in integrative medicine can include acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine, dietary supplements and others that give the clinician a wide array of treatments for difficult conditions. This is particularly true in the integrative medicine approach to eating disorders.

Eating disorders have been documented in adolescents and adults for many years. More recently, there is evidence that these disorders can also affect young children.

The cornerstones of an integrative medicine model for eating disorders includes some components that are found in every approach to the treatment of eating disorders, but may be used in a unique manner. Others are more specific to the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies. The most important difference in this model when compared to other treatment strategies is the philosophical underpinning of integrative medicine — that is, the belief in the self-healing nature of body, mind and spirit.

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