Why do we Confuse Weight and Health? by Gia & Danielle

By Dr. Gia Marson

Can we agree that weight and health are not synonyms? Even though most of us recognize this in theory, our everyday language confuses the two words. Furthermore, our conversations are littered with negative assumptions about what it means to have a higher BMI or weight. Research shows that weight bias is the fourth most frequently reported form of discrimination and there has been a 66% increase in its occurrence between 1995 and 2006.¹

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The Tyranny of “Should” Thoughts: 3 Questions to Fight Back by Gia & Danielle

By Danielle Keenan-Miller, Ph.D.

One of the most common and most problematic types of unhelpful cognitions are “should” thoughts.¹ Sometimes they take the form of thinking you “should” want or not want something, be some special way, or meet some particular (and usually arbitrary) standard. Other times, “should” thoughts are embedded in a deeper sense of whether our actions or someone else’s behaviors are right or wrong. These thoughts are often so deeply ingrained into our way of seeing the world that we might not even notice their presence.

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Want to Reduce Binge Eating? Use Your imagination by Gia & Danielle

By Dr. Gia Marson

Michael Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman believes vivid imagining (or mental rehearsal) is necessary for peak performance in every endeavor. Bowman says “the brain cannot distinguish between something that’s vividly imagined and something that’s real...If you can form a strong mental picture and visualize yourself doing it, your brain will immediately find ways to get you there.”¹

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Should You Tell Your Boss About Your Depression? by Gia & Danielle

By Danielle Keenan-Miller, Ph.D.

You may have recently read the story of Madalyn Parker, who emailed her boss to let him know she was going to take some days off to attend to her own mental health. Her boss, Ben Congleton, was not only supportive of her in his return email, but responded to reaffirm the “importance of using sick days for mental health” and praised her as an example for others to follow. The story quickly went viral¹, with many people lauding both Madalyn and Ben for being willing to tackle stigma and model the importance of mental health.

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Weighing In on Netflix’s “To The Bone” by Gia & Danielle

By Dr. Gia Marson

In “To The Bone”, Ellen, the main character played by Lily Collins, shifts to embrace healing when she faces and accepts the complexities of past missteps, multi-dimensional relationships, the life threatening illness of anorexia nervosa and the difficult recovery journey ahead. As Pema Chodron says… suffering begins to dissolve when we can question the belief or the hope that there’s anywhere to hide

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How to Improve Your Body Image in 3 Simple Steps by Gia & Danielle

By Dr. Gia Marson

Are your thoughts about your body or weight too intense, personal, emotional and overwhelming? Do they interfere in your ability to live well? Does negative body image cause you to avoid social situations?¹ “From womb to tomb, what we look like is an important part of who we are—both to others, as well as ourselves... we experience our bodies through a collection of multidimensional constructs.”²  When the internalized view of your body is strongly negative, you may be engaging in errors of thinking such as exaggerating, personalizing, emotional reasoning, and jumping to conclusions.

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Give Yourself Permission to Have Fun First by Gia & Danielle

By Danielle Keenan-Miller, Ph.D.

It seems like there is never quite enough time in the day, the week, or the Summer for everything we want to do. As a therapist, I often encourage people to dedicate more time to self-care, particularly pleasurable and meaningful activities like spending time with friends, being in nature, exercising, or engaging in creative activities. Scientific studies have found that engaging in these types of positive activities improves mood and that increasing positive activities is as effective as more traditional cognitive therapy in the treatment of depression.¹

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Denial is an Enemy, in Mental Health by Gia & Danielle

By Dr. Gia Marson

This may seem obvious: but to find solutions, we have to first clarify the problems. In this way, denial is an enemy. When it comes to mental health, we cannot afford to ignore realities-- that suicide, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, bullying, sexual objectification, sexual assault and eating disorders are far too prevalent. Each year, 1 in 5 Americans struggles with mental health issues. Keeping secrets about our individual troubles adds to isolation, to stigma and to the potential damage to our souls.

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Why the Way You Talk About Your Weight Matters by Gia & Danielle

By Dr. Danielle Keenan-Miller

I’ve worked with many clients who told me that they used harsh self-talk to keep themselves motivated. In fact, when the idea of using a kinder or more compassionate way of relating to themselves was introduced, many people have told me that they’re afraid they’ll no longer be motivated. There’s no domain in which this self-deprecating approach to motivation is more prominent or socially condoned than appearance, weight, and shape. Think about the last time someone paid you a compliment about your appearance...

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A Body Gratitude Meditation by Gia & Danielle

By Dr. Gia Marson

Go ahead and get comfortable in a chair. Allow your eyes to close gently. Allow your awareness to settle on your breath, traveling in...and out, in and out. Imagine the path of your breath as it comes in warming your body, flowing through your nose, down your throat, and into your lungs and as it flows out, taking with it any tension. Like an ocean wave, it brings in relaxation and takes away stress.

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Learning to Live With Unhelpful Thoughts by Gia & Danielle

By Danielle Keenan-Miller, Ph.D.

Your mind is not your friend. Don’t get me wrong-- your brain does lots of wonderful things, most importantly coordinating the many complex and intricate biological systems that must work in harmony for you to stay alive. And in many ways, our minds are responsible for the success of our species, our ability to anticipate, puzzle through problems, and build increasingly complex systems. But on a moment-by-moment basis, there’s a pretty good chance that your mind is not your friend.

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Setting Goals That Work: the Building Blocks of Success by Gia & Danielle

By Danielle Keenan-Miller, Ph.D.

Goals come in all shapes and sizes, large and small, monumental to quotidian. At best, our goals motivate us to make incremental progress towards something we want or something that will improve our lives. But all too often our goals end up being a source of frustration, stress, or disappointment. The difference between accomplishment and failure isn’t the willpower of the person making the attempt. Anyone can be helped to reach their goals more effectively. The difference is in how we create the roadmap for accomplishing goals, starting with how we set goals in the first place.

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Take Steps To Do No Harm: End Weight Compliments by Gia & Danielle

By Gia Marson, Ed.D.

Medical doctors agree to do no harm. Does this responsibility end with them? We are all potential helpers and healers. In every interaction and conversation with family, friends, partners, and strangers, we can either increase light or cast shadows. Yet, sometimes we are unaware of the impact of our actions, especially when cultural norms unintentionally lead us to do harm. We have settled into a destructive normalcy around conversations comparing bodies, weight, shape, and size. Complimenting someone's weight may seem kind and supportive, but it is not.

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Art Can Help You Heal? by Gia & Danielle

By Gia Marson, Ed.D

This weekend I was fortunate to take part in a celebration of the opening of the Marciano Art Foundation in Los Angeles. I was awestruck. This art space presents us with inspiring contemporary works, a restored, historic building, and the vision and talent of a large number of hands, minds, and hearts that generated this coming together. Much of our healing comes from art. Whether making it or taking it in, art gives us a pathway to connect with our emotional life, witness the complex workings of the human condition, and be fully present in the moment.

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What Everyone Should Know About Preventing Suicide by Gia & Danielle

By Dr. Danielle Keenan-Miller

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, an excellent time for each of us to commit to understanding and destigmatizing mental health problems. A surprising number of Americans struggle with mental health concerns— at least 1 in 5 in any given year— and most of those who are suffering do not receive the support and treatment that they need. One of the most devastating consequences of our lack of openness around discussing and treating mental health problems is the increased risk of suicide.

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Fat Shaming At School? by Gia & Danielle

By Dr. Danielle Keenan-Miller

If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s time to gather the kids or teens in your life and watch The Student Body. It’s an inspiring documentary about the negative consequences of an Ohio state law that mandated weighing in schools and so-called “fat letters” being sent home to students. Bailey Webber, a high school student, learns of a fellow student who received a letter from the school nurse telling her that her Body Mass Index (BMI) was outside of the “acceptable” range. Unsurprisingly, the letter resulted in shame, feeling out of place at school, and significant frustration for the otherwise healthy young woman who is active and eats well but who suffers from a disorder related to growth hormone. As the documentary unfolds, Bailey meets with a wide range of students and parents negatively impacted by this school weighing program.

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Are you ready for therapy? by Gia & Danielle

If you’re thinking about starting psychotherapy, either for the first time or after a break, it’s a good idea to take a moment to check in with yourself about your readiness for treatment. What does it mean to be ready for therapy? There’s no one answer to that question, but psychological scientists describe four distinct parts to psychotherapy readiness

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How Steve Jobs’s Words can Enhance Recovery by Mirjam Roelink

By Dr. Gia Marson

Pay attention to the word Steve Jobs used above to describe the growth of intuition as a result of practicing meditation: Blossom. Eating disorders, unfortunately have the opposite impact. They shut down this expansion of awareness and creativity in the world and your own life. They make it hard, if not impossible, to distinguish the truest sense of who you are and what you want from the mandates of the eating disorder. Meditation can relieve you of those limits by helping you bypass the overpowering thoughts of the eating disorder and make room for your own voice. What parts of your life and soul are waiting to blossom? What might you hear in greater stillness?

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Putting Your Child On a Diet: A Recipe For Weight Gain? by Mirjam Roelink

By Dr. Danielle Keenan-Miller

With all of the recent social and media focus on childhood obesity, many parents have gotten the message that they should be monitoring their child’s weight closely, and many intervention programs focus on giving parents feedback about whether their child’s weight would qualify as “overweight” or “obese.”  It’s long been thought that if parents are aware of their child’s weight status, they can be more effective in helping their child control their weight. That makes a lot of intuitive sense. However, there’s now a wealth of scientific evidence that shows just the opposite-- that parents’ perception that their child is overweight (regardless of whether or not that is true) is associated with an increased risk of weight gain in comparison to children of the same body weight whose parents don’t think of them as overweight.²⁴

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“Just don’t think about it”-- why that never works and what to do instead by Gia & Danielle

By Drs. Danielle Keenan-Miller

When I was a little girl, my grandpa used to tell this joke that goes: “A man went to the doctor. He said ‘Doc, every time I do this [mimes lifting his arm], it hurts.” The doctor says to him ‘So don’t do that.’” It wasn’t a terribly funny joke, but my grandpa loved it. Funniness aside, it illustrates an important point-- it’s absurd to try to live your life not lifting your arm just because it hurts when you do. Most of us would agree that’s not a workable strategy. And yet, many of us try to use that same unworkable strategy when it comes to our own minds. 

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