Written by Matthew C. Bartlett, M.Ed., LMFT Executive Director, New Haven Residential Treatment Center, Saratoga Springs Campus
So often we hear about how important it is to heal the individual. We can quote facts like roughly one percent of females will develop anorexia at some point in their life. Although it most commonly occurs in adolescent and young adult females, it can and does affect males at times. We can talk about genetic factors and family history. We can have proof that eating disorders often run in families. In fact, a close relative of someone with an eating disorder is 10 times more likely to develop an eating disorder than someone without any family history of an eating disorder. Plus there are environmental influences, stress events, the words of others, etc. All of these facts are relevant and true. And totally focused on the individual that suffers from the eating disorder.
What you don’t hear often is how eating disorders affect the family as a whole. How those stress events, those environmental influences, those statistics impact the whole family system. Too often we focus on healing the one and forget that she is a part of something larger. And if you ignore the bigger picture, that of the whole family system, the individual will be fighting her way back without the strong system that she’ll need to truly heal.
It is not uncommon for the eating disorder to become the center of the family system. As the person’s fears around her own eating, gaining weight and overall negative view of self increase, the family’s fears are increased as well. The pain onhealthy glucophage that families and friends are faced with often come as a result of a broken relationship due to the impact that the eating disorder has had on the family system. At New Haven, we believe that when families can explore underlying issues, address individual needs and concerns, in a space that provides both emotional and physical safety, then they can find peace and lasting change.
Although eating disorders are difficult to treat, research shows that with effective family focused treatment, roughly one-half recover completely, while many others will experience intermittent periods of recovery and relapse. At New Haven we believe that the path to lasting healing and change comes through the experiences and security of loving, healthy relationships. Family based treatment for eating disorders is often the most effective path for young people struggling in this way.
From our therapists, cooks, teachers, to our clinically sophisticated residential staff, we all strive to ensure our young women and their families experience safe, secure and loving relationships. Through our interactions we model and teach values such as healthy boundaries, individual worth, respect, love, and empathy. The understanding of a personal locus of control empowers our students and their families to regain control and find purpose in relationships and life. This provides space for the creation of strong, healthy relationships with friends and family instead of it being filled with all the fears and challenges associated with anorexia.
New Haven’s family systems approach has proven results, with 87% of program graduates never readmitting to long-term residential treatment. And that’s what it’s all about. Ensuring that the entire family is healed.
Written By Amy M. Klimek, MA. LCPC, Director of Program Development/Eating Disorder Program Coordinator, Timberline Knolls
Ever consider that the war on your body is simply a war with yourself? When struggling with an eating disorder or negative body image each “win” will justify a new challenge. Each challenge will justify the war. There will never be a winning side because both sides lose.
Ever wonder what it could be like to love your body and end the war with it? Your body is your ally. What if it can actually tell you what it needs? Could your body be trying to communicate to you? Could you trust yourself enough to listen?
Loving your body is being with it…sharing experiences. Embodying who you are. Loving your body is accepting the good, the bad, and the in between. It does not invite hate. It does not desire criticism. Loving your body is being open to the journey—it is allowing you to just be you.
Talk to your body. Start asking it questions. Your body’s awareness is different than your mind’s logic or reason. Your physical being holds memories and emotions different from your mind’s recollection. The body provides information the mind may want you to ignore, numb, or negotiate with. When struggling with an eating disorder or negative body image, the mind judges the body’s experience. You may start to feel good in your body, but your mind will judge the way the body looks. It’s confusing. It’s frustrating. But it does not have to be this way.
Learn your body’s language. Get in the habit of considering onhealthy amoxicillin that your body may have a different point of view than your mind. Consider both. This can begin the process of the two communicating more effectively and with honesty.
Learn your body’s truth and stop forcing change. How many times have you told your body to run faster, but it would not? Go on a diet, and it failed? Your body is rejecting your idea of change. Stop forcing it. Listen instead. Learn your body’s truth in what it needs to thrive. In forcing change, you are asking your body to push boundaries. Under what condition will you start to be fair?
Start a new language with your body. What is true for you one day may not be the same the next. Allow shifts in your direction. Be present to your body’s needs, what your mind gives you, and find a balance between the two. Do not turn off your mind. Instead incorporate some other words in your language- compassion, gratitude, curiosity of the present moment, and appreciation for the journey. Discover something new about yourself with your body. We are our own teacher and student. Be open to learn. Be open to change.
End the war. Stop limiting yourself and your body’s capacity to be present together. Co-journey with your self and your body. Learn to love not for what it may look like; instead, love your body for what it offers to you daily through new experiences, always listening to its language, and finding its organic truth.
written by Oliver-Pyatt Centers Director of Nutrition Services Mary Dye, MPH, RD, CDN, LD/N Mary shares about the complimentary relationship of Mindful and Intuitive Eating in this week’s blog post. Mary explains the ten principles of intuitive eating and the ways in which you can practice mindful eating in your own life.
Mindful and Intuitive Eating often become confused and used interchangeably. While practicing mindfulness is a necessary step on the path to intuitive eating, the two are actually quite different.
Mindful eating is awareness of all of the components influencing your eating (i.e. emotions, physical cues, timing, access, preference, etc) without judgment. The “without judgment” piece is hugely important as it allows us to observe our eating behaviors without criticizing our patterns.
On the other hand, intuitive eating is a form of attunement of mind, body, and food guided by 10 principles, nicely outlined by Tribole and Resch in their book, “Intuitive Eating.” These principles include eating in response to physical cues (rather than for emotional reasons) along with unconditional permission to eat when cues are present. We are born as intuitive eaters, yet somewhere along the course of life – often we start toying with diets and/or attaching shame and judgment to eating and our bodies, many people lose touch with their internal cues and eat according to external cues such as calorie counts, body weight, rules regarding timing or judgments of “good” and “bad” foods. In intuitive eating we let these external forces go and rely on our internal cues.
10 Principles to Intuitive Eating:
1. Reject the Diet Mentality
2. Honor Your Hunger
3. Make Peace with Food
4. Challenge the Food Police
5. Respect Your Fullness
6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food
8. Respect Your Body
9. Exercise–Feel the Difference
10. Honor Your Health
Our aim at OPC is to really dive into the work of mindfulness by noticing what impacts our food choices and responses to food both internally and externally. We discuss everything from what judgments might be held about the food itself, what emotions might be experienced that impact hunger and fullness cues, how the food feels in our bodies and what foods truly satiate us. For instance, when someone reports feeling a lack of hunger before a meal, we dig in and discuss if any emotions might be masking their hunger cue or if a long-held judgment over the food being served is impacting their readiness to have the meal. By acknowledging all of these facets to eating openly to seek support we can help women re-engage in their intuitive cues and learn to respond to them appropriately.
A part of our work that we take very seriously as a clinical team is our modeling of mindful eating behaviors to our clients. There’s something very powerful about women eating and acknowledging their need and desire for food. In our culture it is all too common to hear of women onhealthy prevacid depriving themselves and striving to alter their bodies and deny their need and desire for food. Yes, we’re a busy group of clinicians, but we make time to nourish our bodies in a mindful manner. Our client’s see that and share in it – I believe it is a key to their healing process. I’d love to see more women promoting mindful and intuitive eating to one another. And don’t even get me started on the need for more positive body talk!
At the table we promote the entire mindful experience; considering every detail from a beautiful tablescape and relaxing environment without distractions to thoughtful conversation so clients can fully engage with the meal experience. These are details I find so important in the promotion of mindfulness, whether a person is recovering from an eating disorder or not. Learning to differentiate emotional and physical forms of hunger, fullness, and satiety are a preliminary step to intuitive eating in all of our lives. In doing this we find that sometimes what is needed to satiate us isn’t even food.
As a mother of a 3 year old, I understand how hard it can be to remain mindful on a daily basis. Often, dinner time in my house can feel rushed and distracted after a day of work, the need to start a bath, and complete a pre-schooler’s bedtime routine. It is so important to check in with cues and assess fullness and satiation to ensure intuitive cues are being honored. I sometimes find that what’s lacking for satiation is something as simple as the chance to sit outside after being inside all day or to have a deep conversation with an old friend. Other times, I just need some ice cream. It’s all about taking each eating experience one at a time and not judging what your body needs in that moment, but answering it and moving on. Really, how can any of us feel confident in our food choices and enjoy food if we have a constant feeling of shame and doubt when choosing food and eating it?
Ways you can practice mindful eating:
Sit down at the table to eat without added distractions (yes, I mean turn off the TV)
Step away from the package and take the time to put all foods on a dish
Schedule in breaks from meals and snacks rather than munching while working, driving, or studying
Take time before meals to appreciate the color, aroma, texture, and care taken in the meal prep
While eating, note the flavors and textures of your food
Keep food and body talk positive both at and away from the table
Remember: Food is food; it can nourish our bodies but it can’t solve our problems
by Rachel Benson Monroe, LMHC, MEDA Staff
So often at MEDA, our clients report to us that no one in their life understands or supports their eating disorder recovery work. Some families or friend groups can even make the person working on recovery feel guilty- as in, “You’re STILL not better yet?” or “All these silly therapy appointments you go to are so expensive, and don’t seem to be working” or “Why can’t you just eat normally?” It can feel so isolating if your support system doesn’t seem to extend to your recovery work. But- we typically see that if a person in that support system gets an illness or breaks a leg, there is endless support. Eating disorders and the vital recovery work to heal them deserve just as much support, sympathy, empathy, dedication and understanding as any other medical, mental or physical ailment.
So what can you do if your support system isn’t supporting your recovery work?
1. Be assertive and insist they get educated. Ask them to attend a caregiver support group (like MEDA’s), meet with a therapist specializing in the treatment of eating disorders, attend family therapy or a family group, attend a seminar or webinar, or even talk to a person who is recovered. When families, friends and partners are educated, they are more likely to be supportive.
2. Find other supports. Sometimes our “families” don’t end up being the ones we are born into. Find your team of cheerleaders. It can be professionals, friends, support groups, online support, social media recovery onhealthy minocycline groups, mentors, or even pets!
3. Set boundaries. If people in your support system make hurtful comments or offer unhelpful advice, let them know you will not accept it. Remain calm and use confident “I” statements, like “Mom, when you tell me I should be better by now, I feel frustrated and hurt. I am doing my best. If you were willing to come to one of my therapy sessions you would learn about all the hard work I’m doing.” Or “Dad, when you make comments about my body size, I feel hurt and ashamed. Please don’t make comments. It is not helpful to my recovery.”
4. Know it’s okay to get upset. You are entitled to your feelings. It shouldn’t have to be your responsibility to explain about your recovery or educate others. It’s normal to feel frustrated, overwhelmed, or sad. The key is to find healthy ways to sit with those feelings, instead of using the eating disorder.
5. Accept and Let Go. Sometimes, we have to accept a situation for what it is instead of trying to force it to be different. It’s possible that your family, partner, or friend group might not be the right support for your recovery. You may need to let go of the idea that they can help you, and instead lean on those that can or are willing to help you. It’s okay to grieve this loss, but please remember how deeply you deserve support, even if it’s not from who you want it to be.
by Rachel Benson Monroe, LMHC, MEDA Staff