Most of us have found ourselves looking to food as a way to soothe a negative mood. Although it can work, hopefully it is not your go-to or only strategy to make yourself feel better. You’re better off if you can rely on it as only one of many ways of coping with feeling down. Some alternative possibilities include feeling and accepting the emotion, reaching out for support, problem-solving, exercising, taking time in nature, meditating, completing a task, or distracting yourself. The options are nearly endless. But, some people use eating as a primary means of dealing with feeling bad which can cause even more upset later. Does this describe you? A new study provides hope for interrupting this cycle.Read More
For people trying to recover from eating disorders, the pervasive, socially acceptable increase in diet talk --as spring break and summer vacations approach-- can be very stressful and risky. Additionally, listening to the weight loss compliments bestowed upon family and friends who embark on fad diets and quick weight loss can lead them to idealize aspects of these illnesses, minimizing the potentially devastating consequences.
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 focused on cutting out food groups, weight loss goals and body size & shape comparisons. Complimenting someone's adherence to strict food rules or weight loss may seem kind and supportive, but it is not.Read More
Did you hear the recent announcement that Weight Watchers will be offering free services to teens (ages 13-17) starting this summer? They have cloaked the program in a language of wellness, calling it a way to guide healthy behaviors. (1) The primary problem is they are a for profit company trying to sell their product … and their product is weight loss, otherwise known as dieting. At weekly meetings and check-ins, Weight Watchers does not check glucose levels, blood pressure, vitamin deficiency or other health markers. They check, track, validate, and celebrate weight loss.
This move has struck a chord with the National Eating Disorder Association and with medical/psychological/dietetic professionals in the world of eating disorders who recognize it as potentially getting teens hooked on dieting, body shaming, internalized self-criticism, calorie counting and scales during critical years of self-development. Even after the immediate outpouring of concern, Weight Watchers maintained their position with a tweet saying “they take their responsibility seriously” and that the program “is not a diet.” (2)Read More
It can extremely scary, overwhelming and frustrating to provide assistance to a friend or family member who is trying to recover from an eating disorder. These illnesses are stubborn, life threatening and characterized by ambivalence. If you are wondering what to do to help, recent research sheds some light.Read More
Most of us love to share fun times, joys and pleasures with the people we hold most dear. Those euphoric moments can bond us together and create happy memories.
"In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed” -Khalil Gibran
But what do you do when life feels burdensome? What heppens when you are stuck in eating disorder behaviors? Do you isolate yourself? Do you enter into a shame spiral? Do you put on a mask and wait until you feel better or stronger to authentically show up with your friends? If so, I hope you’ll try reaching out, without self-judgment instead. Regardless of how open you choose to be, reach out. Allow a friend to be your warm landing. Let her or him be your bridge. Communicate the problem and what you need...Read More
Vaping is very much on the rise in adolescents and adults. (1) While early research shows that e-cigarettes are less dangerous to health than traditional cigarettes, there is no published data yet on cancer risks or the potential long-term impact on our lungs or heart. Here are some of the potential health risks we do know -- insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, increase in heart rate and blood pressure and may impair prefrontal brain development in adolescents. In addition, there’s an increase in the risk of addiction to other drugs, flavored types may cause permanent damage to bronchioles, and certain vaporizers may generate large amounts of formaldehyde and other toxins. (2) Though better than traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are far from risk-free.Unfortunately, people with eating disorders are particularly vulnerable to the allure of vaping -- now using e-cigarettes to suppress their appetites.Read More
“If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there's room to hear more subtle things - that's when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It's a discipline; you have to practice it.” (Steve Jobs)Read More
By Dr. Gia Marson
A day that seems to be all about food can be very stressful if you are trying to recover from an eating disorder. Here are some tips that can help you manage well on Thanksgiving. Starting by...Read More
"Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging" --Joseph Campbell
As if overcoming a serious eating disorder isn't challenging enough, more than half of people with bulimia nervosa also deal with a depressive disorder. New reseach is encouraging for those working to recover from both.Read More
By Dr. Gia Marson
France now requires all retouched, airbrushed or altered photos to come with a warning. The purpose of the new law that went into effect Sunday, is “to avoid promoting inaccessible ideals of beauty and to prevent anorexia among young people...Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic body images leads to a feeling of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can have an impact on health-related behaviour” according to their former health minister, Marisol Touraine.¹Read More
By Dr. Gia Marson
Spreading hope is part of what I love about being a psychologist. The following quotes have been shared anonymously by courageous people in recovery from eating disorders. I hope they inspire you to overcome any challenges you may be facing or to share your own success story.Read More
By Dr. Gia Marson
Does this sound familiar? You want to recover but you also want to keep a few of the familiar eating disorder behaviors. Maybe you want to ignore your body’s hunger or fullness cues or stay at a weight that your treatment team tells you is not healthy. While recovering, you may want to maintain certain parts of the eating disorder that seem comforting and comfortable. You may have even convinced yourself that you can pick and choose which behaviors or beliefs to keep and which to release. There are so many versions of resistance to change, so many symptoms you may be unwilling to give up. If so, you are not alone.Read More