Posts Tagged ‘Recovery’

The Sticks and Stones of Eating Disorder Recovery

Rock stack

*By Lisa Whalen

*Some guest blogs may mention eating disorder behaviors or thoughts. Keep in mind that everyone has a unique road to recovery and that this is one person’s story.

“I didn’t know you had an eating disorder,” a coworker I’ll call Jane said when she learned that I’d written a book about my recovery. “You don’t look like you do. I’ve always thought you look… normal.”

Ouch.

Before I completed treatment at The Emily Program, Jane’s comment would have boomed in my head and created an echo that followed me everywhere. It also would have sent me careening back into the starvation and compulsive exercise that had hijacked my 20s due to my need to be anything but normal. Back then, I’d equated “normal” with “average” and was terrified of being average. Who will love, respect, or want me if I’m just average? I’d wondered. So I’d wanted to be much more than average: I’d wanted to be perfect. Being perfect had included being thin, tiny, and delicate—a butterfly among birds.

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Mealtime Tips

Chili soup

Eating disorders are complex illnesses that often lead to severe disturbances in thought patterns and behaviors. A key time when behaviors and thought patterns are illuminated is during meals. Those affected by eating disorders may dread or fear eating and experience anxiety, anger, and depression during mealtimes. 

What does Someone with an Eating Disorders Experience During Meals?

Individuals affected by eating disorders often cite mealtimes as a significant cause of distress. Since eating disorders typically accompany an intense preoccupation with food and body, they lead individuals into disordered eating patterns like restricting, bingeing, or purging. These patterns become solidified over time and become harder to challenge and break. In addition, those affected may experience significant distress over meals. Possible reactions and responses to meal times can include:

  • Anxiety, fear, or distress of the impending meal
  • Fear of the food served
  • Anxiety about eating, especially eating in public
  • Lack of appetite
  • Emotional disturbance 
  • Negative thought patterns like “I hate myself for eating this”
  • Unrealistic thought patterns such as “If I eat this I will become fat”
  • Activation of the body’s flight or fight response
  • Anger
  • Refusal to eat
  • Depression, anxiety, or experiencing an intense need to compensate after the meal is over

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Episode 16: What is Healthy Activity?

Group of people exercising outside

Episode description:

Exercise in eating disorder recovery is a hotly disputed topic. What type of activity is positive? When does activity become disordered? Is there a place for intense exercise in recovery? The Emily Program’s Director of Nutrition, Sheena Washburn, joins Peace Meal to answer these questions and more.

Episode show notes:

Sheena Washburn is the Director of Nutrition at The Emily Program, where she oversees nutrition and food services programming. Sheena is a former dance instructor and is passionate about helping those in recovery find food and body peace.

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Living the College Life: Tips for Maintaining Healthy Eating Habits

Students taking notes

Whether you have struggled with an eating disorder or not, going away to school can present challenges in maintaining a healthy, balanced eating pattern. Below are some tips to consider as you settle into the collegiate lifestyle.

Maintain a consistent eating pattern

We know from both research and clinical experience that maintaining a consistent 3-meals-plus-snacks pattern decreases eating disorder tendencies (1). It also ensures that your body is receiving the energy and nutrition needed to support the life of a busy college student. Remember, you are feeding both your brain and your body.

Mind your macros

College cafeterias can open up almost endless food choices. Remember what your meal plan emphasized, balance your meal with foods that provide protein, fats and carbohydrates. Avoid falling into diet fads that restrict one food group or another. A balanced meal provides balanced energy and satisfaction, which prevents feeling overly full or being hungry again quickly.

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