Written by Clementine Director of Nutrition Services Amanda Mellowspring, RD/N, CEDRD.
Amanda is a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian with over a decade of experience in program development and clinical application working with eating disorders at various levels of care. She shares how the food exposures and challenges at Clementine help clients in their recovery process.
Healing Injuries that have Occurred “Around the Table”
Most often by the time an individual admits to one of Clementine’s residential treatment programs, the client, the family, and their peer group are afraid, frustrated, and exhausted. Oftentimes, many emotional injuries have occurred along the way. Many of these have occurred surrounding food.
With eating disorders, food is the vehicle through which feelings are expressed that otherwise may not be spoken or heard. For this reason, food symbolically consumes the family and the peer group for these individuals. Family meals become tense if not obsolete because of the frustrations and anxieties associated with food selection, preparation, quantity, and behaviors at the table. Dining with friends is no longer a fun way to catch up, laugh, and share stories. It becomes a terrifying task of eating enough of the “right” things to seem “normal enough” and not ruin everyone else’s fun as her mind races with thoughts of hidden calories, special orders, and comparisons.
In healing these injuries, it is vital that each client at Clementine, not only achieves a state of health and wellness with appropriate food intake and nutrient balance but that she also begins to experience freedom in her experiences with food. Food exposures and challenges with staff, with family, and individually are all important ways of doing onhealthy accutane this. This aspect of recovery takes practice in self-confidence with nutritional needs and honesty in honoring all of the aspects of food that make it enjoyable in our lives. Being able to cook a meal with mom and dad, go on a picnic, order in for a movie night, or go out for ice cream on a pass are all examples of ways that Clementine clients have practiced this healing.
During these exposures clients are not only practicing eating foods they like and desire in appropriate quantities to support their body’s needs, they are also challenging messages regarding comparisons with others, seeing calorie information posted in restaurants, managing herself while others around her may feed themselves differently, and working to be present in the moment socially and emotionally to enjoy the opportunity to be with friends or family.
The Clementine dietitian works closely with the entire treatment team and family to ensure that the dynamics surrounding these injuries at the table are acknowledged and approached with compassion for both the client and her family members.
Obtaining a state of health and awareness of how to nourish one’s body appropriately is vital in recovery, while healing the injuries that have occurred around the table offers peace and serenity for these individuals allowing them to move forward in their life and recovery without the wounds of the eating disorder.
To visit or tour a Clementine locations with one of our clinical leaders please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.
by Rachel Benson Monroe, LMHC
Rachel Benson Monroe is a therapist at MEDA who for the past 6 years has been helping those who struggle with body image, eating disorders, self-esteem, self-worth, trauma, and identity issues find peace, healing, connection, and empowerment in their lives.
To me, recovery means showing up for yourself. It means being willing to really get to know yourself, and open up to the belief that you can actually love who you are, all of you, even the parts that confuse you or frighten you, or that you don’t like so much. It means the ability to let go of the person you thought you would be, or think you should be, and allow yourself to unfold into the person you are. It means saying to yourself, “I’m here for you. I’m going to show up for you. I’m not sure what I’ll find, or that I’ll like it, but I’m showing up.”
Recovery means connection. Connection to self, connection to others, connection to the pulsing mysterious energy that runs through our whole universe. Connecting to whatever it is that makes you feel alive. It means taking a risk, reaching out, and trusting that there’s something else out there you can connect to. It means slowing down enough to let connections happen, maybe even in places you never thought possible.
Recovery means letting go. Letting go of the body you think you should have, the personality you should have, the weight you should be. Letting go of the ego, the trappings of “being a person” and instead making way for being a human. Letting go of the notion that we can control everything, and instead have enough trust that we can flow, we can adapt, we can change. Life is a river that never stops flowing. Suffering is holding on to the side for dear life, grasping. It’s exhausting. Recovery is letting go and letting the river hold you as you float on. And seeing who else might be floating along with you!
Recovery means widening the lens, zooming out, and getting perspective. No matter what the feeling or thought that you have, no matter how scary or overwhelming, that feeling or thought can be manageable, live-with-able, or even acceptable. Life in recovery is not made up of perfect moments- but for me it’s a life made up of moments that I greet with friendliness, with curiosity, with gratitude. Yes, even the crappy moments. Because even crappy moments may not end up being so crappy, in the end, in the grand scheme of things. Or maybe they are. And that’s okay. We feel like our lives are big, and they are. But if we zoom out, we see that we are also a tiny speck of sparkling dust in a galaxy brimming with stars that die and are reborn every moment. See what I mean?
Recovery means freedom. My life with an eating disorder was like a cage. My life in recovery is liberation. Like the mindfulness guru John Kabat Zinn says, “For we are locked up in the automaticity of our reaction and caught in its downstream consequences only by our blindness in that moment. Dispel the blindness, and we see that the cage we thought we were onhealthy actos caught in is already open.” In recovery, we learn that WE are the key to freedom. We learn that the cage was open all along, and in fact, we question, was there ever a cage at all?
Recovery means nourishment. Nourishing mind, body and soul. For me, recovery is the belief that no matter what I eat, or what form my body takes, or what it can and cannot do, I am good. I have always been good. And I will always be good, no matter what happens. My body is simply the space my soul rents here on Earth. It may falter, it may get old, it may not always be the way I wish it was. But it’s holding something miraculous, special, and beautiful, and for that I have to offer it nourishment in return. It also means giving myself gifts, for no other reason than I deserve it. It means offering my senses a chance to experience love and beauty in all it’s forms.
Recovery means vulnerability. Not letting yourself harden when you are faced with all the suffering around you, or within you, but becoming soft, becoming real, like the Velveteen Rabbit. Vulnerability in recovery means accepting love, accepting compassion, accepting help. Allowing yourself to be imperfect, to not know the answers. The great Buddhist nun Pema Chodron says, “We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder and more open to what scares us. We always have this choice.”
Recovery means compassion. Compassion for yourself, for others, for all living beings. Compassion for the younger you, the smaller you, the child you, and all the things that small person experienced. And compassion for the future you and all the things that life will offer. Recovery teaches you unfailing kindness for yourself and for others. You learn to speak gently to yourself, and you learn to speak gently to those around you.
Recovery means boundaries. Not the walls we put up to isolate, to keep others at bay, to punish ourselves for perceived sins or shortcomings- but flexible, bendable branches we extend into our lives that say “That is far enough” or sometimes “Maybe I can reach a little farther.” When we love something, we protect it and keep it safe. Boundaries teach us strength and self worth. In order to bend and flow with the wind, trees must have branches that can sway, but they also need strong roots. Trees aren’t afraid to take up space. They proudly spread their roots and branches as far as they can go.
Recovery is an evolution, an unfolding. No matter who you are, what you’ve been through, recovery is there for you, waiting, hoping that you grasp it. Recovery is a friend who really, really wants to hang out with you. All you have to do is open your eyes, step out of the cage, reach out a hand, take a risk, and let go. Recovery will reach back. Recovery will hold you. It’s within you. It’s been there all along.
Written by by Kari Anderson, DBH, LPC, CEDS, Chief Clinical Director at Green Mountain at Fox Run‘s Women’s Center for Binge & Emotional Eating
What makes someone a specialist?
It may be the many years I’ve worked with people with eating disorders, or the degrees I have, the research and books I’ve contributed to… But in my opinion what’s most important is, “I’ve been there, done that”. I’ve experienced Binge Eating Disorder, long before there was even a name for it.
So when asked to give a ‘Top Three List’ of the most powerful things someone can do to overcome Binge Eating Disorder, there isn’t the empirical data to pick just three, instead, I pulled from a very personal place.
1. Feed Yourself in a Moderate and Predictable Manner
Let go of false beliefs like: “I just need to find the perfect diet plan” or “when I lose weight, then I can start living”. Doing so will get you off of the “in control/out of control” roller coaster.
Relate to your body and food with trust and respect, instead of fear and neglect. This can be done by looking inward with mindfulness.
At a young age I (and so many others) adopted the “thin ideal. Believing that by looking a certain way my worth would be validated and the key to getting there was controlling what and how much I ate. I repeatedly went on and off the latest and greatest diets and “meal plans”.
It was when I was off the plan that I did more damage to my body, heart and soul which counteracted any good that may have been done when I was on the plan. The truth is, the “when I…” never comes, instead the timeline just gets recalculated. I had to just surrender and live my life, now.
2. Create an Inner Dialogue Driven by Self-Compassion & Validation
This helps in making daily health-supportive decisions.
Essentially, try to be a good parent to yourself. The reality is our heads talk to us all day long, but we can decide what we listen to.
We never outgrow the need to be guided, parented, or coached, so why not train your thoughts to sound like someone who sees the best in us and continually onhealthy finpecia validates our existence?
To train my thoughts I spent years writing love letters to myself, as if they were from God, a perfect parent, or my biggest fan. Lots and lots of love letters. Until at some point, they just stuck. I began to talk to myself with love and compassion.
3. Make a Point of Intentionally Front Loading Self-Care to Stay Self-Regulated.
Allowing ourselves to get to a point of overwhelm causes us to desire escaping it all through a binge. Whereas intentional mindfulness breaks are an excellent way to check in.
Remember to take a few moments to figure out what you need to feel better right now. It doesn’t need to be a big deal, in fact the simplest pleasures can do wonders in the middle of the day. The more the better. Focus on the senses.
Try pausing to take 5 breaths. Or washing your face in warm or cool water (depending if you want to energize or calm down) then put on extravagant moisturizer.
When I’m tired or anxious, too hungry, etc., I tend to feel vulnerable and turn to mindless eating. So I try to be aware of these vulnerable states of being.
Take anxiety for instance. I know I’m stressed when I catch myself not breathing deeply. So a short break to take 5 deep breaths can be just enough for that moment. If it’s possible, I create a calming environment with a candle, soft lighting, a sound machine and try to disengage fear with a gentle mantra to such as, (breathing in) “you are safe”(…breathing out) “all is well”.
I’m not perfect at it, but I’m learning to “front load” this stuff before I get to the point of chronic stress. Mindfulness for me involves embracing the sense of wonder again; I make a point to stop and notice a beautiful view, taste a garden-grown tomato, and hear the sound of crickets at dusk. Moving to Vermont was the best act of self-care recently.
So…there they are, the top three things to change to help overcome binge eating disorder, and other disordered eating behaviors such as emotional eating, night eating syndrome (NES), and others.
by Kari Anderson, DBH, LPC, CEDS, Chief Clinical Director at the Women’s Center for Binge & Emotional Eating of Green Mountain at Fox Run
Most women can relate to eating emotionally in some way – eating for comfort rather than quenching hunger. But when this process becomes more and more out of control, confusion sets in over whether women see themselves as someone with binge eating disorder.
With uncertainty, insecurity and despair at the forefront, thoughts arise such as: “I never thought I might be binge eating” or “I know I eat emotionally, but do you think I’m binge eating?”
There are answers to these questions, though not always so clearly defined.
Binge and emotional eating aren’t necessarily two separate and distinct processes. Instead, they are one process that occurs on a continuum. We can relatively clearly identify the end of the continuum when it is a diagnosable eating disorder, and here at the Women’s Center for Binge & Emotional Eating, we specialize in supporting women anywhere on the continuum.
This is important because we know that there doesn’t need to be a diagnosis in order for the potential for a rich, full life to be interrupted. We believe that no one should have to suffer with the emotional and physical effects of binge and emotional eating.
It’s Normal to Emotionally Eat
In times when we need to comfort ourselves, relax, take it all away, sometimes reaching for that special something to eat just does the trick.
That’s right, it’s normal and ok. And when our clients understand this truth, the ‘shame-monster’ shrinks a little.
Why do we say it’s ok to eat emotionally? Well, for one reason…it works.
When we start eating, we go into a relaxation response (aka parasympathetic response, or “rest and digest” response). As humans, we digest really well when we’re calm, so we shift into this relaxed state as soon as we start eating.
Our breathing becomes deeper, our heart rate decreases, muscles relax, etc. and we calm down… for a little while (here comes the catch).
The Important Point About Emotional Eating
This is EMOTIONAL onhealthy klonopin eating… it’s about using the food as a tool to soothe a difficult emotion, not actual physical hunger.
So while it’s ok to eat and it does soothe us, the honest truth is that there is a point during emotional eating when it doesn’t feel good or taste good anymore.
How can we know when we’ve reached this point? By paying attention to what we refer as the “3-how’s”:
How else we’re coping with difficult emotions?
How much we’re eating?
How often we use eating as a coping strategy?
When we don’t pay attention and continue eating, we end up creating more stress in the form of shame or self-loathing.
Which means we have a new difficult emotion that needs soothing, and round and round we go.
The Continuum of Emotional Eating:
When we think of the continuum of emotional eating, at one end is the very normal and ok process of emotional eating. When we lose touch with the “3-hows”, we move into emotional overeating and as that continues, into binge eating and binge eating disorder.
Criteria for the clinical diagnosis of binge eating disorder are found in the DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition) – the guide healthcare providers use to make clinical diagnoses.
The primary criteria involves eating a large amount of food in a short period of time, while feeling a lack of control over the eating episode as well as intense shame about the behavior.
In order to know whether women we talk to might benefit from further support for emotional and binge eating, we inquire about whether they feel they’re losing control of their “hows” and are moving up this continuum.
Take the Quiz: Find Your Place on the Continuum
To assess whether you might be on the emotional binge eating continuum and how severe the eating behavior might be, try this self-scoring quiz.
Feel free to contact us to talk about emotional eating, binge eating, or to learn more about our unique and specialized treatment at (802) 975-0435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Know that we get it, and you are not alone.
By Amy M. Klimek, MA. LCPC
Director of Program Development / Eating Disorder Program Coordinator, Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center
People are often their own worst critics. In a culture that breeds competition to be the best, we live to measure up to those around us, often feeling less-than, judgmental, and blind to our own accomplishments. We compare ourselves to others from how many “friends” we have on Facebook or followers on twitter, to our career choices and incomes; from the size of our house (while not mentioning the cost), to the sizes of our pants.
These comparisons usually leave us feeling shame from our inability to reach this “unachievable” status in this world and self-conscious to share our successes with others fearing it will not measure up.
Shame is a powerful self-conscious emotion, making us think we are inherently flawed. Our conversations have moved away from listening, engaging or celebrating our selves and others, to an internal self-dialogue noting the messages of the “should haves”, “not good enough”, and “I need to change” talk. This self shaming is an all too familiar, and strangely comforting feeling to an individual suffering from an eating disorder.
Self-criticism and shame during periods of illness and recovery have a similar tone. The process of recovery is long and challenging, leaving the individual to believe recovery is impossible. Set-backs, lapses, and relapses are the harsh reminders of the suffering an individual experiences when struggling with an eating disorder. From the self-hatred messages about their bodies, to the questions of how many calories can I have or how many calories did I just have, to the internal onhealthy celexa agony of wanting to be invisible, damaging, and lost to the eating disorder thoughts. The ever-present societal message that no matter ones physical, mental, or emotional state, they are not good enough becomes even more pronounced as individuals struggle through recovery. These social cues often drive an internal message board of criticism and shaming which perpetuate the illness.
Now, is the time to respond with compassion to our internal struggles, with our bodies, and our overall internal well being. Recovery comes with choices, choices to return to old behaviors and unfamiliar choices that leave individuals feeling vulnerable to something and everything different. Choices are made every minute of every day in eating disorder recovery. Sometimes its living one minute at a time, inviting the choice to be mindful and accepting of our present moment.
Choose appreciation instead of indifference. Choose connection in place of isolation. Choose honesty when faced with uncertainty. Lastly, choose compassion to practice kindness to yourself and your journey. Mistakes will be made. Uncertainty is unsettling. Listen generously to your healing in both mind and body, hearing the truth within yourself. Practice presence to the life around you and within you. When you are truly present, you are already experiencing compassion. Begin to learn to love, care for yourself again. We live in a culture driving messages of inadequacy, but we also live in a culture of resiliency with individuals on the road to recovery fighting everyday for their life back. Show up to your life, learn to live again and share with the world around you, who you truly are, resilient, present, and compassionate.