Posts Tagged ‘Anorexia’

Christmas Morning for Ed

Woman talking on phone in front of laptop

**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.

By Bev T

I’ve been dealing with chronic anorexia for many years. I have periods of time when I do well in my recovery battle and times when I feel like I’m back at the beginning. When dealing with an eating disorder, as you well know, it’s not just about meal plans and food intake. It’s about isolation, anxiety, panic, and all the noise you are hearing in your head from the entire committee, not just Ed. The Noise, as I call it, is overwhelming at times. Right now being one of those times, that noise can be devastating and in some ways deadly.

Everyone is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic causing widespread panic and anxiety. Dealing with everything being shut down and told over and over to stay home and self-isolate. No contact with people, and keeping 6 feet away from those you do come in contact with. Let me make this really clear: To someone with an eating disorder or those who have an entire committee in your head, as I do, this is like CHRISTMAS MORNING for the eating disorder.

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Cardiac Complications of Eating Disorders

Stethoscope with red heart

By Dr. Mary Bretzman, physician at The Emily Program

“Why an EKG?”

“Why do you check my blood pressure lying down AND standing up?”

“Why am I dizzy when I stand?”

We often hear these questions from our clients with eating disorders. The answer? Because eating disorders can affect every part of the body, including the heart. Cardiac complications may occur as a result of the malnutrition, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances commonly associated with these disorders.

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Eating Disorders in Older Adults

Woman standing on a bridge

There are many stereotypes that feed into society’s perception of the type of people afflicted by eating disorders. If we could, those of us at The Emily Program would scream it from the rooftops: Eating disorders do not discriminate! A person’s sex, race, age, socioeconomic status, and culture don’t matter when it comes to disordered thinking about food! In this post, we focus on age and the similarities and differences of eating disorders in older adults compared to young and middle-aged adults. We will also cover the importance of seeking help, no matter a person’s life stage.

Setting the record straight on eating disorders and age

Many people think eating disorders only affect young or middle-aged adults and that beyond those years, the disorders disappear. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Eating disorders do primarily affect younger populations, and they often manifest in younger adults. According to the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), it is true that eating disorders appear in early adulthood: the median age of onset for bulimia and anorexia is 18, while the median age of onset for Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is 21. However, if one of those eating disorders—or any disordered eating—goes untreated early on, that simply means that those with the eating disorder will likely continue to suffer into late adulthood. In other words, if an older adult is suffering from an eating disorder, that person has been plagued with the symptoms for decades. Adding to that heartbreak, because these adults have suffered for so long, it’s less likely that they will seek help during their golden years.

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How Sobriety Influenced my Eating Disorder Recovery

Rachel Moe

*Please keep in mind this is one person’s story and that everyone’s path to recovery and beyond will be unique.

Rachel Moe is a Registered Nurse, Emily Program client, Aunt, coffee connoisseur, and writer who loves sharing her experience through recovery in hopes of connecting with and helping others. Rachel started and leads an Eating Disorders Anonymous meeting in Duluth, MN. She also recently started a blog and plans to dive more into recovery advocacy, as she is passionate about ending the stigma around mental illness. She loves to hike, spend time with her family and friends, write, and practice yoga.

I vividly remember the first time I was told by someone that I may be an alcoholic and I should consider a life of sobriety. It was a hot August day in the Twin Cities, I was 24 years old, and sitting in my therapist’s office in a residential treatment center for my eating disorder. I had already been struggling with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa since the age of 13. My parents were on the couch across from me, tears in both of their eyes, and we were participating in family week at treatment. Now, this was not the first time someone had brought up my drinking and substance abuse to me, this was just the first time that I chose to truly listen to what was being said. I could no longer deny my life was falling apart as a result of alcohol, drugs, and my eating disorder.

The flood of emotions came immediately that day—sadness, shame, anger, grief. I mostly felt sad for my parents. I felt as though I had already inflicted enough pain through my eating disorder, how could I add another diagnosis to the list that has been growing for as long as I can remember? I felt angry that once again, I was different from my peers. In my group of friends, I was always the friend who was too anxious to go out for pizza or ice cream, so how could I also be the sober one as well?

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Throw Away the Scale

Woman standing on scale

**Content warning: the beginning of this blog explains the history of scales and their association with glorified weight loss. To skip over this information, scroll to the subtopic, “Why Scales don’t Measure Actual Health.”

In American culture, scales are often a household staple. They are in bathrooms, gym locker rooms, medical offices, and more. While at times, scales can be important for medical monitoring or developmental growth assessments, they are often unnecessary to have in homes. For those with eating disorders, an easily accessible scale can fuel the disorder, lead to obsession, and spark dangerous behaviors like bingeing, purging, or restricting food intake.

The History of the Scale

While scales were invented hundreds of years ago to measure goods, the “bathroom scale” or the scale used to weigh humans wasn’t developed until the late 18th century. Scales became popularized in the 1920s when they were widely produced and served as an innovative novelty positioned on public streets. As individuals stopped paying to weigh themselves and the industry lost profits, companies began to make improvements in scale technology—ultimately creating the household scale.

Initial Uses of the Scale

The household scale became popularized in the early-mid 1900s at the same time that dieting as a means to weight loss became commercialized. This led the household scale to be used as a tracker of “health,” or so medical professionals thought at the time. This assumption then led to the glorification of thin bodies in the media, Hollywood, and magazines.

The idolization of thin bodies as healthy led individuals to pursue this new ideal. Oftentimes, the progression went like this: an individual saw the image of a thin figure on a magazine or read in the newspaper about the positive effects of dieting for weight loss, they then decided to go on a diet, in order to monitor the progress of the diet, they had to buy a scale. Once the individuals purchased the scale, they were able to weigh themselves daily to monitor the progress of their diet. These actions and this belief system contributed to disordered eating throughout the United States.

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Episode 12: Eating Disorders and Athletes

Baseball Player on Field

Episode description:

Eating disorders in athletes are incredibly common but unfortunately, they often go unaddressed. NEDA estimates that eating disorders affected 62% of women and 33% of men who participate in aesthetic-based or weight-class sports. To discuss eating disorders in athletes and how we can help advocate for healthy living and recovery, former Vikings’ and current Twins’ dietitian Rasa Troup and recovered distance runner and advocate Jenny Scherer join Peace Meal.

Episode show notes:

This episode of Peace Meal features two incredible women, Rasa Troup and Jenny Scherer. Rasa Troup is a former Olympian and licensed dietitian who has previously worked for the Vikings and is currently the Head Dietitian for the Minnesota Twins. Prior to working for the Twins and Vikings, Rasa worked with the Track and Cross Country teams at the University of Minnesota and was a dietitian at The Emily Program for over a decade. Jenny Scherer is a former college and professional distance runner who struggled with anorexia. She currently works with student-athletes and advocates for a greater awareness of and education on eating disorders in athletes.

Rasa starts this episode by reflecting upon her Olympic career and how her professional career led her to the Minnesota Twins. Jenny found a career in working with athletes following her own recovery from the eating disorder anorexia. Jenny sought treatment at The Emily Program and worked with Rasa as her dietitian. Rasa and Jenny discuss the dietitian-client relationship and how Jenny’s desire to continue running informed her treatment. With the thought that food is fuel and that no food is good or bad, Jenny was able to maintain recovery with a new understanding of why she was running.

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