Eating Disorders and Intimacy

Eating Disorders and Intimacy

Eating Disorders and Intimacy: Curing an Eating Disorder As a therapist, I often hear about the shame and secrecy surrounding eating disorders. Usually clients experience this pain behind locked doors, in their bedrooms and bathrooms, separate from the rest of the world. There is a fear that many clients have of feeling utterly alone whilst simultaneously thinking that no one could possibly love them if they were “found out.” Isolation feeds eating disorders. Connection feeds recovery. This begins by allowing eating disorders and intimacy to go hand-in-hand, and through this process the “cure” will naturally unfold. In my client work, I have seen two primary barriers to intimacy, which can block us from our inherent desire to connect. This causes us to feel alone, separate, and desperate. Here are some ideas to overcome these barriers to eating disorders and intimacy: Intimacy Requires Being Vulnerable: In order to feel connected to others, we have to reveal truths about ourselves, even the ones we don’t like to share. If I only share the positive aspects of myself with someone, then I am robbing them of actually knowing me. We are made up of good and bad, light and dark, and everything in between. How can we truly feel loved if we only share certain parts of ourselves? Many clients think that there is no possible way they will be loved or accepted if they share their deepest, darkest secrets. Although I think everyone has the right to keep things secret or decide when and where they want to reveal more about themselves, I also believe that true love and acceptance comes from an appreciation or understanding of...
Eating Disorders and Spirituality

Eating Disorders and Spirituality

What is the link between eating disorders and spirituality? Can healing an eating disorder also become a path of self-discovery? Are eating disorders and spirituality keys to the deeper levels of recovery? Perhaps there is a reason why the things that we consider bad, unhealthy, broken, and dysfunctional still exist. If it’s here, it is serving a purpose. Everything serves, and there is wisdom in all of it. A common practice used in working with eating disorders is to quiet the voice of “ED” or the eating disorder. However, I believe that no aspect of ourselves should be disregarded. Instead, everything about ourselves can be embraced in order for us to transcend or move beyond a limiting, painful perception of the world. I think re-encouraging a split within the psyche where the eating disorder is a problem only adds to the client’s feelings of internal conflict. Instead, we can include the eating disorder as a part of the client and find a deeper meaning in the experience. As a therapist, I will often ask the following questions: • What wants to be said or heard? • How did the eating disorder protect you when you were younger? • What part of the unconscious wants to become known? • And how is it perfect that it became intolerable and caused you to seek help? Many eating disordered clients can feel like they are living inauthentically. Maybe they are living according to family or societal standards that have been internalized or introjected. The eating disorder can be a form of rebellion, a reaction against the socialized self, and can provide insight into...
Will Eating Fat Make Me Fat?

Will Eating Fat Make Me Fat?

Will Eating Fat Make Me Fat? My name is Janelle Hunt, MS, RD – and I’m a Registered Dietitian who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders. In my last two blogs, I discussed how essential it is to consume carbohydrates and protein. Now let’s look at the last vital macronutrient, fat. Yep, the forbidden word, fat! It seems like currently the media is on a ‘carbohydrates are bad’ kick but many of us recall the 90’s fat-free craze. Almost all food naturally containing fat, became fat free. Cheese would no longer melt, potato chips caused gastrointestinal problems because of the Olestra being added instead of fat and our pans were never the same again as even oil or degreasers were forbidden. Even though the media moved onto different trends, this fad still hangs in the back of our minds and I often have clients who are still convinced that fat is bad. To answer the common question, Will Eating Fat Make Me Fat – let’s review the different types of fats: Saturated: found in animal-based products and tropical oils – meat, eggs, dairy, palm oil and coconut oil. They are typically solid at room temperature. These used to be thought of as bad fats but more studies are showing that as long as these are consumed in moderation, they are not harmful. Unsaturated (poly, mono and omega’s): typically found in plant oils as well as fatty fish – olives, nuts, seeds, avocados, salmon and tuna. These are known for having huge health benefits. They are being used to treat schizophrenia and depression, prevent blindness, decrease cholesterol levels and...
DBT Group Denver: Eating Disorder Recovery

DBT Group Denver: Eating Disorder Recovery

DBT Group Denver – February 8 thru March 29, 6-7:30pm Do you want to change your relationship with food? Have you made some New Year’s resolutions and are hoping is that in 2017 you can find solutions to create a freedom point with food, eating and body image? DBT can help you! Have you heard of DBT? Perhaps you’ve heard this term in the therapy world or have read about it online. Maybe you’re curious how DBT can help you. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a form of tangible evidence-based treatment that can help with a variety of issues. I especially find it helpful for people with eating disorders or disordered eating. In my experience as a therapist, I have used DBT for seven years and have found it to work wonders with people who have binge eating disorder, food addiction, restrict food, or have anorexia or bulimia. DBT can help you change your life and have the relationship with food that you have been searching for. There are four main components to DBT. They include Distress Tolerance, Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. In the DBT Group Denver (starting February 8), we will encompass all four principles and apply them to your relationship with food, as well as what’s underneath your struggle. Below I will give a brief example of how each of the four DBT principles can apply to you. In the DBT Group Denver, we’ll use distress tolerance to find new and healthy ways to cope with stress and other of life’s challenges instead of either overeating or under-eating. Stop beating yourself up for engaging in disordered eating and find new ways...
Binge Eating Disorder and Weight Loss

Binge Eating Disorder and Weight Loss

Binge Eating Disorder and Weight Loss Success Strategies Binge Eating Disorder and weight loss goals tend to surface with New Year’s Resolutions. However, your therapist tells you, “Trying to lose weight can trigger binge eating.” And, your dietitian tells you, “Cutting calories too much can trigger binge eating.” But you’re wondering,”I’ve gained so much weight because of binge eating, so how can I lose this excess weight in a healthy way?” Based on my 20+ years of clinical experience in the treatment of Binge Eating Disorder and Obesity, as well as my own personal experience overcoming these issues, I have some Binge Eating Disorder and Weight Loss Success Strategies to share with you. Stop Trying to Lose Weight. You’re probably thinking, “But I want to lose weight!” As strange as it may seem, weight loss happens when you stop trying so hard to make it happen. Allow weight loss to be an outcome of other goals, such as reducing or eliminating binge eating. Don’t Diet or Forbid Food. Many people with Binge Eating Disorder attempt to restrict or forbid certain foods (usually the foods they tend to binge eat). However, deprivation eventually triggers binge eating. The key is to have “permission to have” all foods in moderate amounts. Learn Mindfulness Meal Skills. Binge Eating Disorder typically involves rapidly eating large quantities of food. Incorporating mindfulness skills at mealtimes can help to restore balance to the quantity and quality of food consumed. There are many books about mindful eating – and our therapists and dietitians at Positive Pathways can give you 1-on-1 guidance. Incorporate Intuitive Eating Practices. Intuitive eating is...
Eating Disorder Recovery: Shoulding on Yourself or Others

Eating Disorder Recovery: Shoulding on Yourself or Others

Shoulding on Yourself or Others: How Does this Affect Eating Disorder Recovery? What happens for you when I tell you this: You should lose weight. You should gain weight. You should eat more green vegetables and less carbs. You should exercise more. In other words… You are not OK as you are. How does that feel? Lisa Dion, the creator of a neurobiological-based form of play therapy, says that when we hear a “should,” our sense of Self is threatened. When shoulding on yourself, or when others should on you, your Authentic Self is directly challenged. You’re denying who you are in the moment and not seeing your own wisdom. This can create an internal dilemma between who you are and who you think you should be. The result is that the autonomic nervous system becomes activated trying to handle the discrepancy (Dion, 2015). Most clients in eating disorder recovery are already receiving a ton conflicting “shoulds.” These endless shoulding on yourself voices will often activate the trauma response in the body, especially when their actions don’t happen to match up with their perceived “shoulds.” If clients in eating disorder recovery are hearing endless “shoulds” regarding food, their weight, and following a specific plan, their nervous systems may be over-activated to the point of fight, flight, freeze, or collapse. Because their sense of Self is threatened, they are operating out of fear and are caught in their lower parts of their brain. These clients may not be able to access their prefrontal cortex and cerebral cortex, which are the parts of the brain that can hear rationalization and reasoning. This is why I would...