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Articles tagged with: Eating Disorders

Why Can't I Just Eat?

May 24, 2018. Written by Mark Warren, M.D.
  • By Dr. Mark Warren

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    Anyone with an eating disorder has been asked at some point or another "Why don't you just eat?" Most likely if you have an eating disorder you have asked yourself the same question. You might wonder "Why is eating so hard for me when it seems to be so easy for everyone else?" On one level the answer to this is incredibly simple, and on another level incredibly complicated. The simple level is biology. Having an eating disorder means having neurological or neuroanatomical organization of your brain that creates enormous barriers to eating normally. These barriers include visual and sensory distortions, impacts on reward centers and executive organization of the brain, distortions of senses of fullness and hunger, and over evaluation of body size and shape, in addition to other issues that may be present. The combination of all of these things makes eating incredibly hard to do. The complex answer comes from the interaction of all the issues above in addition to the fact that eating itself is an activity that is way more complicated than people give it credit for. Eating is not just about seeing food, grabbing food and putting it in our mouths. Eating is about being aware of what's happening inside our bodies, understanding and appreciating our sensations, knowing what gives us pleasure and how to eat in a balanced way. Add social eating and societal influence and its clear that eating is a complex activity on many levels. So the answer to why can't I just eat is that you have an eating disorder and that in fact is what the disorder is. It's what makes it such a scary, painful, and life threatening disease. Having an eating disorder is confronting the question "Why can't I just do something that ultimately may save my life?" It's also what makes recovery from an eating disorder so rich, full, and rewarding. Because when you are able to "just eat", you are able to embrace life in a way that had never felt possible before.

    Should you have an questions or comments regarding this post please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Worried It's An Eating Disorder?

May 22, 2018. Written by Jillian Lampert, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., L.D., F.A.E.D.
  • Worried

    Peter's story: Excessive exercise, unusual eating habits

    Josey is the parent of Peter. Josey is worried because Peter seems to have become obsessed with what he is eating and has become extremely committed to his martial arts class in a way that seems excessive compared to the class expectations. Peter is running in addition to 5x/week classes and asking Josey to buy special foods for him – low fat, low sugar, low carb, high protein kinds of foods. He doesn’t really eat with the family anymore, but that’s not so unusual because they are all so busy and often not home at the same time to eat together. He’s lost a significant amount of weight, but he was at a higher weight, so Josey isn’t sure if that’s a problem, or not. Peter is talking about wanting to get “six-pack abs” and seems unhappy with his appearance. Josey has even wondered if he might be throwing up after eating and has tried to watch for behaviors that might indicate that, but so far, she isn’t sure. Peter seems withdrawn and down, but irritable and anxious when engaged in conversation about his day. Josey is worried Peter might be developing an eating disorder, but she doesn’t want to overreact. But, as Peter’s mom, she just knows in her bones that something isn’t right.

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Social Media and Body Image

May 17, 2018.
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    Eating disorders affect approximately 30 million people in the United States and have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. With the majority of that population using social media daily, it’s not hard to see why the use of social media can prompt or exacerbate disordered eating. With celebrities like Kim K. promoting thinspiration to “health” blogs pushing fitspiration, researchers sought to answer the question, “Does constant exposure to body image posts have a positive effect on fitness, nutrition, and making healthy choices?”

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The Continued Fight for Equal Insurance Coverage

May 15, 2018. Written by Jillian Lampert, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., L.D., F.A.E.D.
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    The passage of a federal mental health parity law nearly a decade ago was an important step in ensuring that people struggling with mental health issues received the insurance coverage they needed. More progress came in the form of the 21st Century Cures Act in 2016, which included the first instance of eating disorders language in legislation, clarifying that it is not acceptable to exclude eating disorder treatment—specifically residential programs—from insurance coverage.

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The Brain, Binge Eating, and Balance

May 09, 2018. Written by Hilmar Wagner, MPH, RDN, CD
  • Puzzle brain

    Every day we are faced with “now or later” decisions. Should I buy that piece of clothing I want now so I can wear it right away or should I wait and hopefully get it on sale? These types of decisions involve the concept of immediate or delayed gratification. Brain research is showing that people’s tendencies in this area often end up being expressed in their eating disorder.

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Your Guide to Effective Medical Care for Eating Disorders

May 07, 2018. Written by Mark Warren, M.D.
  • AED guide

    Eating disorder treatment can be lengthy, complicated and may even take several treatment attempts for someone to fully recover.

    We know early recognition and rapid intervention is the ideal standard of care and, in many instances, increases a patient’s chance for long-term success. So it’s critical that medical providers become experts at recognizing, referring and treating patients with eating disorders.

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Staff Spotlight: Mandy Gross, Program Coordinator

May 04, 2018.
  • Staff Spotlight Gross

    In the fall of 2014, Mandy Gross joined The Emily Program as an intern. Soon after Cleveland Residential opened in 2015, she accepted a full-time position as an eating disorder technician at the house.

    “I knew long before working for TEP that I wanted to become a therapist and work with people suffering from eating disorders,” she said. “So, I was very hopeful that my internship would lead to my dream job, and lucky for me, it did.”

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Fighting My Eating Disorder

April 19, 2018.
  • Sunrise

    This is one person's story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.

    by Mitchell S. Moyer, a man in recovery from anorexia

    When you have an eating disorder, the thoughts that swim in your head are dark and relentless. You ask yourself: Will I ever be the same? Will I ever stop thinking about food? How did I get here, and how do I beat this monster? You rise in the morning. But as the day progresses, your energy wanes and those thoughts continue to weigh you down. You feel adrift in frustration, confusion, and self-doubt.

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The Trouble with Fad Diets

April 17, 2018. Written by Mark Warren, M.D.
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    Dieting is ubiquitous in our culture. Everywhere we turn, there’s another commercial for a weight loss pill, an article about a new “miracle” diet, or a show like The Biggest Loser reinforcing the perception that society values thin bodies and respects those who are willing to go to extremes to lose weight.

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Words of Encouragement

April 13, 2018.
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    This is one person's story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.

    by Katie Monsewicz, an avid writer and practicing journalist who has been through The Emily Program's residential treatment program. She wants to help others who have struggled with eating disorders - and those who are still struggling - through her writing and as an advocate for eating disorder recovery.

    I’m an adult now. (Insert image of me shouting from the top of a cliff like in “The Lion King” movie.) Wow. That was tough to get out.

    I just turned 21 last month, marking nine years of the harrowing illness that has taken over much of my life, much of my memory, many of my relationships. An eating disorder is like moss on a rock. Some people think it’s beautiful (which is pretty strange) and most see it as a nuisance, an invasion. But it takes you over and you can’t shake it without any help from an outside force.

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Taking the Reins On My Recovery

April 11, 2018.
  • Lisa on Horse Jumping a Fence

    This is one person's story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.

    Lisa Whalen, a former Emily Program client, has a Ph.D. in postsecondary and adult education, and an M.A. in creative and critical writing. She teaches writing and literature at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Her essays have been featured in An Introvert in an Extrovert World, WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society, and MotherShould? Whalen is working on publishing her memoir, Taking the Reins. In the meantime, she is a regular contributor to The Feisty Writer and maintains a blog called, Writing Unbridled.

    On April 6, 2018, I stood in a college auditorium and scanned rows filled by my faculty colleagues, students, family, and friends—the people I most admire and want to respect me. Then I said something I never thought I’d utter aloud: “For more than a decade, I battled an eating disorder and depression.” That sentence began my faculty lecture series presentation, where I discussed a memoir I’d written about recovering from the eating disorder with the help of an Emily Program therapist and 12 special horses.

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Staff Spotlight: Amy Allyn, Program Support Coordinator

April 05, 2018.
  • Staff Spotlight Allyn

    Since joining The Emily Program last March, Amy Allyn has worn different hats to meet the various needs of her clients.

    She began as a case manager at Seattle Residential, working closely with the treatment team to coordinate discharge and connect clients with helpful resources. Today, Amy now serves as The Emily Program’s program support coordinator, where she manages admissions to the Seattle facility.

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Follow-up to the Minnesota Starvation Experiment

April 03, 2018.
  • Restricted portion

    A new chapter in a landmark study

    Researchers recently conducted a 57-year follow-up investigation of the Biology of Human Starvation study, commonly known as the ‘Minnesota Starvation Experiment’ or the ‘Keys Study.’ The original study, which took place following World War II, proved a remarkable model for the effects of semi-starvation, and has therefore been useful in better understanding restrictive types of eating disorders. To learn more about the original study and the follow-up investigation, we caught up with Dr. Susan Swigart, a co-author of the follow-up investigation and Emily Program psychiatrist.

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