Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Weighing in on Weigh-ins in Eating Disorder Treatment

A doctor and a patient by a scale

There is likely no topic more on the minds of clients than weight. While the degree of preoccupation with weight varies—some clients admittedly experiencing little to none—weight is a construct that carries extraordinary meaning within and outside of the eating disorder experience. For those with and without these disorders, weight is a common source of concern and is often given disproportionate influence as a vital sign measure.

We live in a society that obsesses over weight. It erroneously conflates weight with health, attaching both social and moral significance to our body size. Weight bias is pervasive, and people who live in larger bodies face discrimination in settings from the workplace to the doctor’s office.

Eating disorders often compound the significance of weight even more. When we have these illnesses, the number on the scale can operate as a definition of who we fundamentally are. Our essential value as a person becomes attached to that numeric value. While we may know rationally that weight should not hold so much power, eating disorders are not rational illnesses. Therefore, the topic of weighing in eating disorder treatment is not simple at all.

Read more

Can You Have Anorexia and Bulimia at the Same Time?

A therapist and client

Is it possible to have two eating disorders at once? What if you restrict and binge and purge? Is that anorexia or bulimia? Both? Neither?

It’s a common question, one that makes sense to ask. Many people do experience a continuum of disordered behaviors within or over the course of their illness, at times restricting, bingeing, and purging. One behavior leads to another in what is often called the eating disorder “cycle.” Trapped in this cycle, people experience symptoms that overlap multiple eating disorder diagnoses. They may be left to wonder: Exactly what, then, is the appropriate diagnosis?

Read more

Beyond “Eating Disorders Don’t Discriminate”

A Black woman looking to the side

When those of us in the field say “eating disorders don’t discriminate,” we’re trying to express that eating disorders affect everyone. The intention is to challenge the stereotype of the thin, white woman and recognize a diversity of experiences and identities.

And while it’s true that eating disorders affect all social groups, this statement is inadequate. Much like “eating disorders see no color,” it lacks nuance and complexity. Taken alone, it doesn’t advance meaningful conversation about race-related body, food, and illness experiences. 

The conversation about eating disorders in the Black community cannot stop here. 

Read more

What Does Recovery Mean?

Woman enjoying food

The question of what constitutes recovery from an eating disorder is one that has been debated in many places by many people. Providers, families, and clients often have different perspectives, and there is a wide spectrum of beliefs within each of these groups. A key reason for this is that eating disorders have distinct physical and psychological manifestations

The physical manifestations of eating disorders are usually what drive people to the highest level of care. That is because these manifestations often carry an immediate risk to one’s physical health and require intensive clinical support. Recovery from physical manifestations is very important, but it does not constitute full recovery.

Read more

Nutrition Labels Are Changing: What to Know about the New FDA Guidelines

A close-up view of a nutrition label

Beginning this year, food manufacturers will be required to start phasing in a new version of the food label (officially the “Nutrition Facts Label”) on packaged food and beverages. Though the label’s “improvements” will likely be helpful for some people, these changes may present new difficulties for individuals struggling with issues around food and eating. Here is an overview of what is changing and what to look out for.

Read more

Am I “Sick Enough” for Eating Disorder Treatment?

A woman looks at her reflection in a wall mirror

People with eating disorders will often ask themselves, “Am I sick enough to deserve treatment?” There is something dangerous buried in this question—something that implies eating disorder behaviors are not serious or that people with eating disorders are not deserving of care until a certain point. It suggests that you need to be sicker than you are in order to “truly” have an eating disorder. None of this is true.

Unfortunately, this type of thinking comes easily in a society that is obsessed with dieting, weight, and body shape and size. It is common in a culture like ours, which encourages people to restrict food and view other eating disorder behaviors as “ok” or “not a big deal.” Moreover, if you do have an eating disorder, you likely have a high level of judgment about what you should and should not be doing related to food and body. These thoughts, combined with the pressures of our social reality, can make it easy to wonder whether you have an eating disorder and delay your decision to seek help.

The truth is this: If you think you have an eating disorder, the odds are likely that you do. And if you do, there isn’t a line at which you are “sick enough.”

Read more

The Emily Program Logo