Archive for November, 2019

Giving Thanks for What Our Bodies Allow Us to Do

A man extends his arms in gratitude.

Thanksgiving is more than turkey and trimmings. At The Emily Program, we’re celebrating the holiday by thanking our bodies for all the ways they protect, defend, and care for us.

We hope these quotes and poems help inspire gratitude for your body as well.

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To Those Fearing the Thanksgiving Table…

A Thanksgiving place setting, including ornate plates, a gold charger, and a decorative pumpkin.

You are not alone.

You are not alone in wondering why—or how, rather—your friends and family enjoy Thanksgiving with such abandon. You are not the only one who sees this Thursday as the first trial of a long holiday series, the first of many get-togethers where you feel extra eyes on you and your plate.

You are not the only one just trying to survive.

Others will pull up chairs to Thanksgiving tables with similar worry, self-doubt, and guilt. They’ll feel equally distressed by the platters and bowls and dishes before them, their fears garnished with cranberries and french-fried onions. Others too will feel confused and resentful, maybe even angry, as their company gives thanks for their food and then, in the same breath, condemns it for sabotaging their diets.

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What is Binge Eating Disorder?

Woman looking sad

Binge eating disorder is just as serious, just as real, and just as dangerous as anorexia and bulimia. Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States. About 3.5% of women and 2% of men have it. The disorder can occur in anyone, regardless of age, race, gender or other demographic categorization.

This is an important point to highlight because while many people have some knowledge of anorexia and bulimia, they often pause when we talk about binge eating disorder (BED). The conversation that follows can highlight common misconceptions about binge eating disorder, which may also shine a light on why sometimes people don’t think it’s a big deal. “Oh, I must have that. I binge eat when I get stressed out during [insert occasional situation here].” “When I watch TV I zone out and eat.” “Every holiday I end up overeating.” But there is a difference. Let’s talk about what binge eating disorder is and is not, how it’s caused, and why it’s important to get treated.

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How Do I Develop a Positive Body Image?

person using smartphone

Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses, caused by a combination of environmental, biological, and psychological factors. While our environment is only a part of the equation, it is important to look at the ways it does contribute, and what we can do to change it.

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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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Five Ways to Beat the Binge/Purge Urge

thoughtful woman

For those struggling with bulimia, the desire to binge and purge can be overwhelming. If you are struck with the urge to binge and purge, stay strong and look for ways to cope that don’t involve eating disorder behaviors.

Take time

Clinical evidence shows the longer you can separate the action of purging from the impulse to do so, the more likely it is that the urge will lessen. By taking a break and engaging in a mindful activity for 5-10 minutes, you can work to ease the intensity of your feelings. You could do laundry, go for a relaxing walk, work in the garden, take a long shower, or any other activity that provides a distraction.

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