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There’s Help. There’s Hope! The Emily Program is a warm and welcoming place where individuals and their families can find comprehensive treatment for eating disorders and related issues. This blog is a place for us to share the latest happenings at The Emily Program, as well as helpful tidbits from the broader eating disorder community. Subscribe via RSS to receive automatic updates. We want to hear your story. Email us (blog@emilyprogram.com) and ask how you can become a contributor!

Episode 62: Eating Disorders in the Jewish Community with Lucie Waldman

Lucie Waldman

Episode description: 

Lucie Waldman is the author of The Jots of Becoming, a book that features insights about recovering from anorexia and includes multiple Jewish excerpts. Lucie also runs an eating disorder recovery awareness and support account on Instagram, enjoys speaking for multiple platforms about the intersection between Judaism and mental health, and is deeply passionate about mental health, eating disorder recovery, and equity in the treatment setting.

In this episode of Peace Meal, Lucie discusses how Jewish culture and religion should be considered in eating disorder treatment, how sharing your recovery story can be beneficial, and how small steps in recovery add up to a longer and stronger recovery. Reflecting on her own experience, Lucie shares that she had trouble finding recovery content that resonated with her, so she decided to turn her story into such a resource for others. Among the messages she wanted to share is that not everyone has a “magic moment” where they feel ready to start eating disorder treatment. What’s more important, she says, is being willing to take small steps toward recovery. Lucie also examines the complex relationship between Judaism and her eating disorder recovery, underscoring the need to take into account intergenerational trauma and other cultural considerations during treatment. She concludes the episode by telling anyone struggling that every time they defy their eating disorder, it adds up to a longer and stronger recovery. 

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The Impacts of Bullying on Body Image

Bullying-School

October is World Bullying Prevention Month. In recognition of this, we want to address the impact of bullying on body image due to weight stigma/weight bias and how these factors relate to eating disorders. 

It has been reported that school-age students are most commonly bullied about physical appearance, race or ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, or sexual orientation. One type of “physical appearance” bullying is weight-based bullying. When someone is bullied about their weight, it can have a major effect on their body image and overall self-esteem. In this blog, we will describe what bullying is, the different types of bullying, and how it can relate to eating disorders. 

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How Coping With Another Diagnosis is a Big Deal in Recovery

Chocolate kisses and an apple shaped like hearts

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

While navigating her own recovery journey at The Emily Program, Teresa Schmitz discovered a hidden gift in being known as a great listener with a compassionate heart. Being earmarked as an IT Leader who was more into the people on her teams than the technology they were building, she realized her purpose was beyond her title. She connected the dots and soon realized her purpose was to help empower others. She pursued her dreams of becoming a coach and launched her own coaching business, My Best Self Yet.  She now helps women feel empowered to navigate the journey of loving themselves unconditionally. She also empowers others to know and use their character strengths in the In It Together group coaching program. Learn more about Teresa’s story and follow My Best Self Yet on FacebookInstagram, and her blog.

Grief. We usually associate it with what happens when someone passes away, especially someone near and dear to us. It’s “normal” for people to grieve in that situation. We send cards. We call them up. We tell them how sorry we are to hear about their loss. We expect that they will need time off from work. We expect that they will cry and be sad. It’s a given. It’s grief after all.             

Did you know that grief can also show up when navigating a new health diagnosis during your eating disorder recovery journey?

I didn’t recognize this was the case until a recent appointment with my eating disorder dietitian. I’d been diagnosed with heart disease after a calcium CT scan in early February revealed that I have significant calcium built up in my left ventricle. This ventricle, if blocked with enough calcium build-up, can lead to a fatal heart attack since it’s the main artery. It’s why they call it the “widow maker.”

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The Problem with “Before and After” Photos

A person sitting cross-legged outside with their phone in their hands

Whether we want to admit it or not, social media is a big part of our everyday lives. At best, it helps keep us connected and up-to-date on the latest trends. But, as we’re increasingly aware, social media can also pose significant risks. Different trends come with popular social media sites like Instagram and Facebook; one of these trends is “before and after” photos of those in eating disorder recovery. While some may think these photos show progress or success, recovery actually can’t be fully captured in a photograph. 

In this blog, we will explain the problems with “before and after” recovery photos on social media and how we should think beyond appearances when understanding eating disorders and the process of healing from them. 

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Staff Spotlight, Melissa Dahl

Melissa Dahl, RN

Tell us about yourself!

Hello, I am Melissa (she/her), and I am a Registered Nurse at the Anna Westin House for Adults (AWH) located in St. Paul, Minnesota. I’ve been at AWH for almost three years and currently work straight overnights, which I love. Before nursing, I was a medical assistant and worked in a maternity care center and an OBGYN clinic! I also do some volunteer EMS work for a small town close to where I grew up.

Describe the path that led you to The Emily Program.

I’ve always had a passion for healthcare but not always in the direction of typical medicine; due to some poor personal experiences, I have tended to resonate with a more holistic approach. I knew I wanted to change the patient experience but didn’t know what path or field I wanted because I had interests in several areas of healthcare (emergency medicine, pediatrics, labor, delivery/women’s care, and finally, MENTAL HEALTH!). Part of what I love about nursing is the ability to move around to different specialties and passions. I decided to follow my interest in mental health as there is still such a large stigma and I didn’t personally know many people who wanted to take this on professionally.

What led me to TEP is my interest in substance use disorders (SUDs)/recovery support and the incredible crossover and similarities between SUDs and eating disorders (EDs). I had a friend who was working for TEP, and although I really didn’t know much about EDs, I knew she loved the culture of the company, so I decided to interview and here we are.

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How to Screen for Eating Disorders

A close-up of a doctor's hands while they take notes and listen to their patient

With 9% of the U.S. population, or 28.8 million Americans, having an eating disorder in their lifetime (ANAD) and a person dying due to complications related to their eating disorder every 52 minutes, it is essential that healthcare professionals screen all their patients for eating disorders. The majority of people with eating disorders do come into contact with healthcare professionals, presenting an opportunity to detect symptoms and intervene early. 

October is National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month, which works to bring awareness to the need for depression and mental health screenings. Screening for eating disorders should be included in all mental health screenings. When it comes to eating disorder detection, knowing the physical symptoms to look out for, the questions to ask, and the people often left out of screenings is essential knowledge to have as a provider. 

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