By Dr. Mark Warren
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.
Articles tagged with: Nutrition
As I mentioned in the post called Why does nutrition advice always seem to change?, there always seems to be some nutrition craze that tempts us to change what we eat or how we eat it. It is important to understand the science behind these trends so we know whether they’re worth our attention, or if they are more likely to result in an unnecessary, or even unhealthy, preoccupation with food.
It seems like every day there is a headline about some nutrition “news.” One day it’s “eggs are good for you,” and the next it’s “limit the number of eggs you eat.” We’re all looking for the best, most reliable information, but it can be difficult to decide which stories are worth our time and attention. So why does it seem like we’re constantly bombarded with incomplete or misleading nutrition information?
Amy Patefield joined The Emily Program in the fall of 2004. Previously, she worked in a hospital setting, but decided to take the leap to a smaller agency — The Emily Program only had 25 total employees at the time — and has never looked back.
Hi Everyone! Today’s blog is a brief introduction of the launch of a new nutritional series called “Food and Mood.”
We have come to the third portion of our Mindful Eating Series: Determining Practical Applications. So far, we have practiced Defining mindful eating and aspects of the practice as well as Demystifying.
The last time we “met” we explored the definitions of mindfulness and mindful eating. You may have even noticed an increase in your level of awareness during the selection, preparation and consumption of your meals. How was it to notice your breath, possibly inviting in a deeper one? Was bringing awareness to your feet touching the ground accessible to you? What happened?
Mindful Eating is a phrase often used in our country and, over the years, it has been a practice closely associated with weight control, among other things. But what is mindful eating anyway? What are the benefits? What are the challenges? Is there a time and a place for mindful eating in eating disorder treatment? If so, how and when? How can it be incorporated into life practically? Together, over this three-part series, we’ll explore these questions more closely.
So it's that time of year. The time when the marketing campaigns begin, telling us "this is the year" to make a change, lose weight, get fit, get healthy, change ourselves and turn over a new leaf. Hey, I am a big believer in change -- it truly is the only constant -- and some change and internal focus is needed to grow and expand as a human being. It can be positive, healthy and needed. It can be helpful to step back and reflect on how things went during the previous year, what you want for next year and sketch out a plan of action on how to reach those goals.
We hope our tips and ideas were helpful for anyone who struggles with an eating disorder and all support people who celebrated Thanksgiving last week. If your family or friends haven't celebrated yet, we are here for you. Feel free to check out all of our staff's #ThanksgivingSupport suggestions here.
By Lisa Diers, Director of Nutrition, The Emily Program
At The Emily Program, our registered dietitian nutritionists work with clients to help them heal their relationships to food and physical selves. Incorporating the proper mix of nourishment into their daily lives helps their bodies and minds begin to recover and function the way they are naturally meant to.
Today we are taking a look at some commonly questioned foods when it comes to servings. As always, your body has needs unique to you. Nourishing yourself in a way that meets those unique needs is what's most important.
By Lisa Diers, RD, LD, E-RYT, Director of Nutrition Services
Today I want to talk about the role of the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and what to expect in your first session with a RDN at The Emily Program.
At The Emily Program, part of your treatment will likely included meeting with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. And you may be wondering -- what role does the RD play in recovery?
Well, let's talk about it!
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 Clare Harmon, a former Emily Program client and woman in recovery
When people ask me about my recovery, I always say that it is, above all else, a practice. It's the application of skills I learned in treatment, it's daily reflection, it's forgiveness, and it's grace. Of course, everyone's journey to, in, and through recovery is unique; I'm honored to be given the opportunity to articulate a bit of my own.
By Lisa Diers, RD,LD, E-RYT Director of Nutrition and Yoga Services Manager
Many of us are familiar with the phrase "trust your gut" and now science is starting to show us why that saying couldn't be more relevant or important. In fact, the gut has been coined as "the second brain" because we are beginning to fully understand the complexity of the gut, the important role it plays in communication to the brain and the mechanisms by which the two are linked -- driving many bodily functions from nutrient absorption to serotonin production. As the importance of gut health and it's relation to overall health continues to unfold, you may find yourself both curious and confused about your own gut health. When it comes to the complexities of the gut, I equate it to the complexity of our galaxy. I know my spatial orientation and I can identify the big and little dipper. Beyond that I need to stop, pull out my astronomy guide and consult with someone more knowledgeable in this area. If you are suspecting you are suffering from gut related distress, it is important you track your symptoms and find a resourceful navigator like a registered dietitian, physician, gastroenterologist or another trained health care provider as you start your journey to healing your GI tract.