Archive for September, 2019

Episode 18: The Minnesota Starvation Experiment

Ancel Keys

Episode description:

Ancel Keys’ Minnesota Starvation Experiment was a 1944-1945 study where 36 men voluntarily starved themselves to aid researchers in discovering ways to help those affected by the war recover from starvation. While the study shed light on starvation recovery, it also became an important study in the eating disorder field. Susan Swigart, an Emily Program psychiatrist, explains why.

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Staff Spotlight, Julia Yarkoni

Julia Yarkoni Staff Spotlight

TEP: Hi Julia! Can you introduce yourself?

Julia: My name is Dr. Julia Yarkoni and I am the medical physician at the Cleveland Outpatient site, as well as the supervising physician at the Cleveland Residential site. Outside of The Emily Program, I am a proud wife and mother to two young sons. 

TEP: Why did you choose to work for The Emily Program?

Julia: I chose to work at The Emily Program for two main reasons. One is that when I became a doctor, I intended to go overseas in order to serve unrecognized international need but when that plan changed, my prayer was to serve unrecognized needs in the United States. That prayer was answered when I got accepted to work for The Emily Program. The medical community at large does not do enough recognition of eating disorders and I hope to change that—starting with myself. The second main reason is I highly value the work-life balance that The Emily Program promotes and with my husband currently being a full-time student, the flexibility of my schedule allows me to be there for my husband and children.

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Weight Stigma Awareness Week

Scrabble spelling the word learn

September 23-27, 2019 marks Weight Stigma Awareness Week (#WSAW2019). The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) started Weight Stigma Awareness Week to help the entire eating disorder community understand why weight stigma should matter to everyone, not just those in higher-weight bodies. 

What is Weight Stigma?

Weight stigma is the judgment and assumption that a person’s weight reflects their personality, character, or lifestyle. For example, the common stereotype that people in larger bodies are lazy is an example of weight stigma. Weight stigma also plays out in other ways, such as a lack of proper accommodation for larger bodies on airplanes or in public seating spaces. 

Not only is weight stigma a cruel form of bullying, but it is also inaccurate. Medical studies and scientific evidence have shown that all body sizes can be healthy. Read our blog about body diversity to learn more about why health isn’t size-specific. 

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Shannon’s Story

Shannan Callahan lifting weights

Shannon Callahan is a full-time public defender who in her work, gives a voice to the voiceless. In her spare time, Shannon enjoys using her voice, as part of the GRRRL Army, to help teach women non-judgment, to understand and embrace that we have a positive impact on the world, and to further the global revolution of body acceptance.

I grew up with a mother who didn’t love herself or her physical appearance, so naturally, I learned what I was taught, I learned what I saw. I was parented but not shown love or nurturing. I grew up being told what I could and couldn’t eat and what I should and shouldn’t eat. I grew up being told things like, “you don’t get to leave the table until you drink all of your milk, this isn’t a restaurant; you eat what you’re given or you don’t eat at all…” I was never taught what balance and moderation were nor was I given the tools for a healthy relationship with food. If I ever asked why I was met with “because I said so” or “because I’m the parent.” I grew up without choice.

It all started with I was 11. I think I so desperately sought connection with my mother that I would do anything to bond or spend time with her. I wasn’t going to get that connection from my father who, I found out at 19 when I overheard a conversation my mother was having, didn’t want me and resented me for just being born; for existing. The way I was able to connect with my mother was through dieting and weight loss. When I was 11, she introduced me to the Atkins diet. This type of diet fed my perfectionism; I had to do everything “right” or not do it at all. If I did not I failed. This applied to everything I did: school, sports, dieting.

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How do I Provide Comfort for my Child in Treatment?

Mother and daughter

Starting eating disorder treatment can be scary for the individual affected—but it can also be a stressful time for parents. When your child experiences a negative food/body relationship, you may struggle to understand why. Their behaviors may seem perplexing and leave you feeling frustrated, afraid, and sad. The Emily Program understands that it’s difficult to watch someone you love struggle with an eating disorder. It’s also difficult to know how to comfort them.

What Will Happen When My Child Starts Treatment?

Eating disorder treatment is a new experience, and like all new things, it can be scary at first. Prior to starting treatment, your child’s eating disorder behaviors may increase due to the stress and fear of starting treatment and confronting the eating disorder. Your child may experience dread, anger, anxiety, or depression. They may also experience relief upon knowing that they are on the road to recovery. All of these feelings are normal. 

For parents, it’s important to be aware and present in the days or weeks before treatment. Make sure to check in with your child about how they are feeling or if they could use any specific support. Reassure them that treatment is a good idea because it will help them to live their best life. Be vocal about your support and be present when they share with you.

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Episode 17: Abbie’s Recovery Story

Girl overlooking the beach

Episode description:

Peace Meal’s Recovery Series aims to share stories of those in eating disorder recovery in hopes of starting conversations, breaking stigmas, and encouraging healing. On today’s episode, we talk to Abbie Scott. Abbie suffered from an eating disorder during her youth, continued on to pursue recovery, and now helps others who have struggled in her career as a registered dietitian.

Episode show notes:

Abbie Scott is a Registered Dietitian at The Emily Program’s Anna Westin House in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She is passionate about eating disorder prevention, yoga, and helping others develop positive food-body relationships. In addition, Abbie holds her 200-hour registered yoga teacher certification and has completed multiple trainings on the intersection of yoga, food, and body image.

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