Thank you to all that joined February’s #endED twitter chat with National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) before Eating Disorders Awareness Week. NEDA is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. Elizabeth Saviteer ( @NEDAStaff )and Marci Anderson ( @MarciRD ) lead the chat and some wonderful comments were heard! Here’s a recap of some of the highlights
Q1. Eating Disorders have been getting more media attention, has this been harmful/helpful/both?
• @MissDEIntl2012 more helpful! It reduces the stigma associated with ED and has opened a dialogue
• @ScritchfieldRD helpful because it opens a dialogue, silence is the most harmful of all. We cant heal what we dont see/say.
• @NEDAstaff Media can be a great way to increase awareness, decreasing stigma, if presented in a responsible way
Q2. A risk factor for developing an ED is poor body image, how can we promote positive body image in children and teens?
• @jessicaclaytonm: Take the focus off appearance. Teach children to value their minds, passions, opinions rather than weight.
• @MarshaHudnall Kathy Kater has some good materials to help kids build healthy body images bodyimagehealth.org
• @NEDAstaff One way to promote positive body image in kids is to be a good role model for them as a parent, teacher or mentor
Q3. How do you deal with people in your life who are dieting or weight-focused?
@MauveDinosaur My confidence is growing. Fat-talk is so normalized, people look at you like you have 2-heads when u dont join in.
• @ScritchfieldRD: I will tell them that #diets are disordered eating and that eating disorders start as weight focused goals
• @EDNMaryland By remembering to focus on YOUR issues and healthy lifestyle not anyone elses.
Q4 What is some new/exciting research on ED?
1. @KendraTaylor_ more recognition/research out there that EDs affect more than the perceived stereotype.
2. @MarciRD Love #intuitiveeating research: http://tinyurl.com/7v385zk
3. @MarciRD Walter Kaye doing really important research on the #brain and EDs: http://vimeo.com/1678383
4. @NEDAstaff Regarding prevention more research on how screening tools help in early detection and treatment outcomes
Q5 How do you define recovery from an eating disorder?
• @ScritchfieldRD: A5: freedom from the physical and emotional suffering brought on by the eating disorder
• @jessicaclaytonm Trying to embrace that it is a process and perfectionism has no place in recovery
• @EDNMaryland I like Carolyn Costins definition of what true recovery is. NOT being triggered by lifes ups & downs.
• @MarciRD Learning how to manage life without using food
Q6 What are your favorite pro-recovery tools for eating disorder sufferers, family, and friends?
• @YaseminMerwede: For me, family support was instrumental. Feeling safe in my environment to share my thoughts and feelings.
• @MarciRD This article, b/c it lists my favorite positive body and pro-recovery social media friends! http://bit.ly/A8xOgE
• @jessicaclaytonm Listen to your heart and your support system, not the media.
Let your voices be heard for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week! Talk to friends, wear purple, write a blog post! Find out more here: Eating Disorders Awareness Week
During my sophomore year of college I learned about Maslow's hierarchy of needs. At the time, it didn’t interest me all that much. In fact, the whole theory seemed like a no-brainer to me. And as for that whole notion of “self-actualization”… let’s just say it didn’t really speak to my 20 year old self.
But little did I know that Mr. Maslowin’s theory would come back to serve an important perspective in the way that I work and how I teach my clients about food and eating. For those of you not familiar with the theory it teaches us that we have a variety of needs for healthy and appropriate development. They are depicted hierarchically in pyramid fashion with the most fundamental and important needs at the bottom. Maslow's theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will focus energy or desire for higher level needs. So if his theory holds true, it’s more important to secure food and shelter before forming relationships and sexual intimacy.
With this theory in mind, I have some questions for you to ponder.
1. What shall we do with cultural messages that tell us we need to “earn our food” through extreme exercise in order to have permission to eat? According to Maslow it's not earned but a right as humans.2. What happens to our self-esteem if our minds are perpetually stuck in obsessing about food (which is considered a lower level need)?
3. Can we form healthy relationships if we are denying ourselves our basic rights (such as food) through dieting?
I believe that forming a healthy, balanced, secure relationship to food and your body is imperative. Living at war with food and your body can disrupt your ability to meet your higher level needs like healthy self-esteem, creative thinking, and forming relationships. Now THAT is a pretty big deal. . What do you think?
Help us ring in a body positive 2012 by participating in our #EndED twitter chat on Wednesday, January 25th. I'm honored that writer Rosie Molinary will be there to talk about kicking off our year in a way that deliberately embraces intentional wellness. If you're new to Twitter, here's a primer on how to participate. It's simple, go to www.tweetchat.com and enter the keyword "#endED" and it will appear as if you're in a chat room. Watch the tweets stream live and join in on the conversation. Be sure to follow @MarciRD and @RosieMolinary.
Here are the questions we'll be chatting about Wednesday evening, 8:30 EST
1. Are there rituals/exercises you start the year with in order to inspire you to joyfully, deliberately live well?
2. What is your vision for yourself this year?
3. What do you already want to celebrate about the way you are intentionally embracing wellness this year?
4. Wellbeing encompasses physical, emotional, mental + spiritual health. How are you caring for yourself in these areas?
5. What ways do you still need support for your journey this year?
6. What wisdom can you share with all of us about embracing wellness and ending ED?
The author of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance, Rosie Molinary inspires women to embrace their authentic selves so that they can live their passion and purpose and give their gifts to the world. She teaches Body Image at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and facilitates workshops and retreats for women. She loves to garden, cook, read, and play outside with her son. Learn more about her and read her blog at www.rosiemolinary.com.
Hope to talk with you on January 25th! Feel free to RSVP on Facebook today!
This post is part 2 of what will likely be a 5 part series on understanding bod image. My first post in the series can be found here. To reiterate, body image is actually really complex. The series is aimed to help you understand more completely what the phrase "body image" actually means in order to help you better understand your own concept of your body and the way you relate to it.
As I mentioned in my first post, body image issues are influenced and made made manifest in four areas: perception, cognition, affect, and behavior. Today we are going to explore what is meant by perception.
Perception can simply be defined as sensations or mental images of physical appearance and body size. Typically, people with poor body image have some common features related to perception that aggrevate body image issues:
1. Weak central coherence. This means you have a bias for "details of discontent" and tend to miss out on the big picture.
2. Focusing on the negative. When looking in the mirror, research shows individuals with EDs look at parts they dislike. In contrast, non-ED individuals with high body satisfaction look at parts they like.
3. Mental images may not be current, but rather based on stored memories.
The cool thing is that over time perceptions can change. A couple of therapeutic exercises that help to shift perception include:
1. When you are looking in the mirror, try to pay attention to where your focus lands and how long it stays there. Can you look at your body as a whole or do you get overwhelmed by specific body parts?
2. Make a list of positive or even neutral body parts. Draw a body figure and color the parts you feel positive or neutral about.
3. Looking at photographs at previous weights/sizes compared to mentality at time of photos.
I hope this post on perception is useful. What shapes and informs your perceptual experience of your body image?
Stay tuned for part 3, coming up!
In the spirit of the holidays, I wanted to share with you two little "treats" I've recently discovered.
XO Jane: Check out this article "Suck It, Food Guilt Season." I had trouble choosing a favorite quote to share with you, but here's one to give you the flavor:
"You don't need to titter and say 'Well, maybe just a little bit more' when someone offers you something you want to eat. Nor do you need to apologize when you don't really want to eat any of Aunt Susan's sweet potato casserole because you can't stand marshmallows: it's totally fine to say 'I'm good, thanks.' "
Your food choices are yours to own. It's ok to eat foods you LOVE, it's ok to honor your hunger. But it's not ok to add a heaping plate full of guilt and shame to go along with it. Quite frankly, it just tastes bad.
Body Image Advent Calendar- 25 days to address 25 different body image topics via video. Nick and Sarah are tackling tough topics like: media, airbrushing, fat talk, plastic surgery, how to define beauty, etc. Enjoy!
Do you have any holiday treats to share?
When you read the words "body image" what does that mean to you? Body image is actually a pretty complicated topic. I google searched a definition and there were over 4 million results and quite the variety of definitions. For our conversation, I decided to select my favorite definition:
A term that refers to a person's inner picture of his or her outward appearance. It has two components: perceptions of the appearance of one's body, and emotional responses to those perceptions.
There are multiple factors which influence your body image. And I've decided to create a series of blog posts dedicated to helping us better understand what creates our own body image. I will not make promises to change your body image (this may take a lot of work in therapy). But I can give you some tools and insight to get started with your body image work.
Body image issues are influenced and made made manifest in four areas: perception, cognition, affect, and behavior. The following four blog posts in this series will target each of these individually. Often, people believe that they can only feel better about the way they look once their physical appearance changes. I am here to tell you that it is possible for your body image to improve without any physical changes taking place.
I have worked with countless individuals who admit that the only time they felt slightly ok with their physical appearance (if at all) was when they were engaging in harmful eating and exercise patterns that became self-destructive and non-sustainable. My hope with this blog series on understanding body image is to help you empowered by realizing WE create our own body image. And I promise, the only lasting way to feel better about yourself is by treating your here and now body with love, kindness, and lots of self-care.
This week is Fat Talk Free Week. Yup, you've read that right folks. The one week out of the year that is dedicated to banning fat talk and body bashing. We women have come a long way over the past couple hundred years. But we are stuck in the dark ages when it comes to body image. My hope is that women everywhere will start to realize that they are worth far more than their physical appearance. You have more to offer the world than slim thighs, a flat tummy, and perfect breasts. You have creativity, passion, enthusiasm, compassion, and brains!
So why don't you start this week by banning fat talk and encouraging your friends and family members to do the same?! This link may help you get started.
Here are some other self-esteem boosters you can try:
1. Develop a list of 3 things that you can talk to your girlfriends about that DON'T have to do with physical appearance.
2. Spend time reading positive body image blogs rather than stalking celebrities. This blog post should give you some good resources.
3. Buy "Beautiful You" one of my favorite positive body image books.
4. List 10 things you offer the world that have nothing to do with physical appearance.
One thing women struggle with is what to do/say if another women is engaging in "fat talk" around you. Here are a few suggestions.
*Have you ever noticed how guys don't sit around talking about how fat they are? Why do you think that is?
*Ya know, I read this super interesting article on (fill in the blank). What do you think about (fill in the blank)?
*Man, when I start criticizing my body I feel even worse about myself.
What suggestions do you have? How can we cure the "fat talk" epidemic? I'd like to end the culture of body bashing. Who's with me?
A few days after the FNCE (the American Dietetic Association’s annual conference) dust has settled, I still find my emotions riled up about the very first session I attended. John Foreyt, renowned obesity research and Linda Bacon, Health At Every Size (HAES) clinical researcher and advocate stood head to head to duke out their views on the “obesity epidemic.” John Foreyt staunchly defended his position that the war on obesity is a war worth fighting and Linda Bacon asserted that this war we are waging is ineffective, misguided, and even harmful.
I cannot escape the fact that I write this post from a very biased point of view. I simply cannot give a neutral, objective review of the debate because my feet stand so strongly in the HAES camp. I use a non-weight focused approach in my nutrition counseling and I am a certified Intuitive Eating (IE) Counselor (which means I teach my clients how to respond to internal cues of hunger/fullness rather than dieting).
So, I questioned whether to write this post at all, knowing I don’t currently have access to a recording of the debate and my memory seems to have only held on to the pieces of Dr. Foreyt’s arguments that I found uniformed, inaccurate, and downright offensive. So despite all of this, I sit here writing my two cents, which are heavily influenced by my flawed memory, passion for a non-weight focused approach to health, and personal experience in my own clinical work (and in my own life).
I cannot adequately re-cap the 90 minute debate. But I will recount my top 5 assertions that Dr. Foreyt made that I whole-heartily disagree with. If you are interested in learning more about HAES and Linda Bacon’s perspective, keep reading. I’ll share some fantastic resources at the end of the post.
Top 5 Unscientific, Unsupported, Inaccurate Assertions made by Dr. Foreyt:
1. There are no negative side effects to yo-yo dieting and weight regain (except “some bad feelings like depression for some people.”)
If Dr. Foreyt had properly done his homework, he would have known that dieting is the #1 PREDICTOR OF FUTURE WEIGHT GAIN! See here and here for two examples. And I think it’s a bit crazy for him to undermine the negative mental health consequences that are a by-product of weight cycling. Anxiety, depression, and chronic self-esteem issues are serious concerns. He treated them like nothing more than a pesky skin irritation, when in fact mental health problems are like a deadly form of cancer; challenging a person’s ability to live with a quality of life everyone deserves. We cannot minimize the effects of re-bound weight gain and mental health challenges.
2. Some of your clients will be failures and some will be successes. That’s no reason to stop trying to diet and lose weight. Just keep trying.
Whoa, hold it right there. I cannot stomach the notion that anyone I work with is a failure. But I suppose if there is only one way to measure success that might be the case. If there was a chemotherapy treatment that created more cancer than it eliminated, would we keep using it? No. So why do we keep using the same methods for weight control when the research shows that a weight-focused approach leads to more weight gain? I have learned something magical in my work. When I take the focus off the scale it allows me and my clients to work on core issues which affect body weight, food choices, and self-esteem.
3. Intuitive Eating is a cause of today’s obesity epidemic. Intuitive Eating doesn’t work.
#1 I about jumped out of my chair when Dr. Foreyt stated this. How on earth can he say that Intuitive Eating contributes to obesity when virtually no one in the US practices it?!? Not practicing Intuitive Eating is THE REASON most people struggle with food and many carry more weight than they naturally would.
#2 The principles of IE are often misconstrued or improperly applied. Dr. Foreyt, have you read the book or the research on IE? It is not eating with reckless abandon. No, quite the opposite. It is eating what you want in response to physical cues for hunger/fullness, while attending to emotional needs without using food. I cannot fathom how this can lead to increased rates of obesity.
#3Please see the IE website, where there is research showing the effectiveness of IE.
4. Dieting does work.
Unfortunately, every long-term clinical trial aimed at reducing body weight by placing clients on a specific diet that I’m aware of results in the lovely “J-Curve.” The J-Curve illustrates rapid weight loss, followed by creeping weight gain over time. The LOOK AHEAD trial, led by Dr. Foreyt is an interesting example. Like all obesity research, interventions like a healthier/reduced calorie diet and exercise protocols are given. Consequently, weight decreases but a whole slew of other parameters improve (ie blood sugar, fitness levels, cardiovascular health). What's really fascinating is that the decrease in weight is sometimes quite small, like less than 10 pounds. But the researchers always cite the improved parameters secondary to weight loss, rather than a natural consequence of eating healthier and moving more. Why the focus on weight loss?
Many people love to cite the National Weight Control Registry as an example of permanent/lasting weight loss. Dr. Bacon informed us that weight loss must only be maintained for 6 months in order to be added to the registry, with no clear way to have your name removed if you have re-gained your weight. Dr. Bacon shared a story of a student whose name is on the registry, but has since gained back more weight than she lost and hasn’t been able to remove her name from the list. The weight loss research we have shows the majority of lost weight gained after two years. So the National Weight Control Registry may not be a reliable measure of successful "losers."
5. It’s better to be skinny than fat.
Again, Dr. Foreyt needs to check the research because it actually shows that the life expectancy for a person who is categorically overweight but exercises regularly is longer than someone of a “normal weight” and doesn’t exercise. Having dedicated my career to working with eating disorders, I can promise that it is better to be healthy inside and out regardless of your body weight. Being thin is absolutely no guarantee than you are healthier or “better” by any standards.
Please let me make myself clear. I am an advocate for HEALTH. This means I am an advocate of:
1. Eating a balanced, nutritious diet that includes all foods
2. Eating when hungry and stopping when full MOST of the time
3. Learning to cope with emotions without using food
4. Learning to eat in a way that leaves you feeling energized and satisfied
5. Eating by your own rules and no one else’s
6. Incorporating exercise in a way that keeps your body strong (this can only be done if you are eating well first)
7. Eating guilt and stress free
8. Enjoying and finding pleasure in what you eat and how you move your body
And I believe that this is possible at any weight. I stand with Linda Bacon when she says that “fat” is not the problem, it’s the war on fat that is making us sicker and more miserable.
My regret is that the session left a divided group more divided. If we are going to figure out how to create a nation of healthier people, those of us in the eating disorder field have got to come together and truly dialog with those in the obesity field. And until then, the war will certainly continue.
This is a controversial topic. What are your thoughts?
Thanks to all that joined our #endED Twitter chat this Wednesday with @BEDAorg as we talked about weight stigma. For those of you that missed it, here were some of the "highlights."
(If you don't know about Twitter, the @ symbol is the way a username is signified on Twitter. The # before a word makes the word searchable in Twitter.)
Q1a: How has #weightstigma affected you or someone you know?
@MarshaHudnall Seems like #weightstigma affects almost everyone I know. Creates dissatisfaction with life and distracts from what's important.
@JanetZimmerman research suggest #weightstigma increases body dissatisfaction and can lead to disordered eating behaviors
Q1b: How has #weightstigma affected your or their own ED journey?
@CounselorMusing Can lead to an increase in stress/anxiety/depression, can harm relationships, and can lead to isolation
@mmarzipan My least favorite #weightstigma aspect is when people ignore the mental health aspect of weight/body politics.
@marciRD Many people invalidate the severity of their #eatingdisorder if they feel they don't "look" a certain way.
Q3 What have you done recently when you recognize a thought that is stigmatizing?
@BEDAorg We must begin to each look within. I have my own stigmatizing thoughts about myself and others at times.
@VoiceinRecovery I catch it in a net & usually say WTF and throw it out. Weird but instant thoughts dont define me. I KNOW what I stand for
@mmarzipan Stop. Process. Think: who is this comment really about? Realize that it's NOT about me. Move on.
@BEDAorg We must begin to each look within. I have my own stigmatizing thoughts about myself and others at times.
Q4 How can the eating disorders community better recognize and address stigmatization based on size?
@akaMemily I think it's helpful to look past appearance differences & see the internal similarities & shame found in EDs regardless of dx
@BEDAorg #weightstigma interferes in the treatment of eds. In the BED population, the ed is often put aside to focus on weight loss.
@BEDAorg Nurses in study: 31% would prefer not to take care of obese patients, 24% agreed that obese patients “repulsed” them
@BEDAorg There are studies showing that #weightstigmakeeps people from getting proper physical & mental health care
@mmarzipan Q4: not assume that someone of a certain size isnt suffering. Eating disorders manifest differently in people
Q5 How does #weightstigma contribute to body image issues?
@castlewoodtc Neg Body image is deeper than societal prejudice, but prejudice breeds discontent with oneself.
@BEDAorg I feel we cannot talk about body image issues without first acknowledging that weight stigma fuels them.
@MarshaHudnall #weightstigma makes anything outside the societal ideal unacceptable. and the societal ideal is for the most part underachievable
@BodywiseProgram I think too we need to challenge our own eyes; expand our ideas about beauty to include all sizes/ages/colors...... #weightstigma
@marciRD When a single body size/shape is presented as acceptable, it is easy for false assumptions and negative self-image to grow
Q6 How do we best address those who believe that a person’s worth & will are based on that individual’s size?
@marciRD Make a list of the top 10 things you love abt someone you love. Be surprised if includes size/shape of their body.
@MarshaHudnall Modeling is one of the most effective ways to promote change. "Be the change we wish to see."
@mmarzipan Relentless compassion - those people are a product of their experience. Educate, breathe, and remember it's not about YOU
Q7 How do we keep all people-of-size from being bullied and discriminated against in a society that equates thinness and health?
@ScritchfieldRD it starts w/ us - being authentic, we have to use our voices, find our tribes of supporters, and believe in a better world #endED
@mmarzipan We can't. But we CAN create safe, nonjudgmental, loving spaces and live our lives by not buying into the bias.
@BEDAorg After a lifetime, I have learned to accept my body today as it is and each day this opens the door to something new.
Join BEDA during #weightstigma awareness week Sept 26-30. www.bedaonline.com to continue to spread the word!
Also, check out @VoiceinRecovery's blog carnival on weight stigma. It is an awesome resource.
The goal of #endED is to bring anyone and everyone together who cares about ending eating disorders. My hope is to end the silence and myths about eating disorders, create a place for honest and informed discussion, while offering hope and encouragement. The next chat will be on 10/19 with Michelle May. Find her on Twitter at @EatWhatYouLove!
Our next #endED Twitter chat is Wed, September 21st at 8:30pm EST with @BEDAorg to talk about about weight stigma.
You might be asking what exactly is weight stigma? Weight stigma is bullying, teasing, negative body language, harsh comments, discrimination, or prejudice based upon a person’s body size. Weight Stigma is something that shames and hurts many people (of all shapes and sizes) and it is time to spread an awareness of how harmful it is to all and talk about it.
Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) was founded to help those who have binge eating disorder, their friends and family, and those who treat the disorder. BEDA provides individuals who suffer from eating disorders with the recognition and resources they deserve to begin a safe journey toward a healthy recovery. To learn more about BEDA check out: http://www.bedaonline.com/
The goal of #endED is to bring anyone and everyone together who cares about ending eating disorders. My hope is to end the silence and myths about eating disorders, create a place for honest and informed discussion, while offering hope and encouragement.
RSVP on Facebook and we hope to you join in!