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There’s Help. There’s Hope! The Emily Program is a warm and welcoming place where individuals and their families can find comprehensive treatment for eating disorders and related issues. This blog is a place for us to share the latest happenings at The Emily Program, as well as helpful tidbits from the broader eating disorder community. Subscribe via RSS to receive automatic updates. We want to hear your story. Email us (blog@emilyprogram.com) and ask how you can become a contributor!

What Does Compulsive Overeating Feel Like?

Cupcakes with blue, purple, and pink frosting

It is normal to overeat from time to time.

Perhaps you order the pecan sundae when you’re already full from the restaurant’s main course. You empty a bag of chocolates from the clearance Valentine’s aisle, or celebrate your daughter’s birthday with party treats and snacks galore. You eat a box of Girl Scout cookies in one sitting because you just “can’t leave them alone.”

Given this occasional overeating, you might assume you know what compulsive overeating feels like. Overly full? Stuffed. Your pants are tight, and for a moment you wish you hadn’t taken that last bite. Your next meal or snack may be lighter.

But compulsive overeating is more than eating too much.

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Beat the Winter Blues to Keep Your Recovery on Track

Man sitting on snowy ground

This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, or symptom use. Please use your own discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Lisa Whalen has an M.A. in creative and critical writing and a Ph.D. in postsecondary and adult education. She teaches composition, literature, and creative writing at North Hennepin Community College in Minnesota. Whalen’s writing has been featured in several literary journals and edited collections. Her book, Weight Lifted: A Memoir of Hunger, Horses, and Hope, will be published near the end of 2020. For updates and more about Whalen’s writing, visit her website or follow her @LisaIrishWhalen on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Winter is tough, especially in northern states like Minnesota, where 2020 delivered the gloomiest January on record. Meteorologists claim the sun appeared on 3 of January’s 31 days, but I’m skeptical. Maybe I was teaching in windowless classrooms during the sun’s brief peeks from behind gray clouds, but in early February, I couldn’t remember a single yellow ray since mid-December.

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The Other Side

Alex Isla

**Content warning: Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Alex Isla is an artist and producer from Brighton, United Kingdom. Her debut single, “52,” tackles the formidable subject of mental health and eating disorders with its raw, honest monologue and heavily emotive arrangement.

Alex will be using profits from the song to help people with eating disorders. You can check out “52” here and contact Alex via Facebook, Instagram, and email. She would love to hear your thoughts.

If I had told myself four years ago that I would be where I am today, I wouldn’t have believed it.

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The Health Benefits of Loving Yourself

Woman holding heart balloons

Valentine’s Day may be commercialized and over-hyped. For some it’s an obligatory gift-giving day, for others it’s a reminder of a broken heart or an unclear relationship status. But for those who do choose to celebrate, the holiday is an occasion to recognize love in all its forms.

This Valentine’s week, we’re exploring love in the context of the relationships we have with ourselves. Like other types of love, self-love is an action we practice and develop, one cultivated through self-compassion. And self-compassion bestows physical and mental health benefits worth celebrating in this season of love and beyond.

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What Taylor Swift’s Documentary Can Teach about Eating Disorders

Taylor Swift

“Taylor Swift opens up about eating disorder.” 

It is arguably the most revealing part of Miss Americana, Taylor Swift’s Netflix documentary released last Friday. It’s the headline that circulated immediately after the film’s Sundance premiere, and the part mentioned in seemingly every review of the film since it started streaming.

In the documentary, the singer talks candidly about her relationship with her body and food during the 1989 era of her career. While on tour for that fifth studio album, she says she significantly restricted her food intake and exercised frequently. She maintained lists of what she ate and, at times, “stopped eating” altogether.

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Nutrition Labels Are Changing: What to Know about the New FDA Guidelines

A close-up view of a nutrition label

Beginning this year, food manufacturers will be required to start phasing in a new version of the food label (officially the “Nutrition Facts Label”) on packaged food and beverages. Though the label’s “improvements” will likely be helpful for some people, these changes may present new difficulties for individuals struggling with issues around food and eating. Here is an overview of what is changing and what to look out for.

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