How My Counselor Contributes A Lot To My Healthy Eating Habit

Ever since I gained weight, I was in the realm of denial. I always believe that eating a lot was part of my life that I could never control. I always instilled in my head that it was the only thing that can make me happy. But not until I was diagnosed with many medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, liver damage, obesity, and God knows what else is out there. After the struggle with a bunch of physical pain, I realized I couldn’t do a lot. I experienced pressure and tons of restrictions which quite kind of me to extensive emotional and mental instability.

The fact that I couldn’t see it was more damaging than I thought. I was so focused on what-ifs and tried working it all out all by myself. I honestly do not know what to do because the more I tried controlling my eating habit, the more it backfired at me. So to address the complicated situation, I straightened up my head and went to seek professional help. It was about time.

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Counselor’s Advice

My counselor said that one of the simplest reasons I may be overeating is that I am distracted. I was confused about understanding that statement because I wasn’t sure what she was trying to tell me. My counselor elaborated that when I am distracted eating, I am not fully aware of the experience of eating my food. She said I was not enjoying it to the extreme that I only eat because I feel like it and not because my hunger strikes or my body needs it. With that, I struggled to identify my fullness level and what amount of food actually satisfies me.

The counselor explained that the distraction always takes place when I am not concentrating on eating and doing a lot of stuff at the same time instead. Usually, that was where I watched TV, used my phone, drove my car, or worked on my computer. She even said that when I am also ruminating thoughts in my mind, I could eat a lot because I won’t know if I am full or not, which is entirely true at that point.

To address that distraction issue, my counselor gave a piece of advice to remove all those things that take up so much of my attention when eating. She said I should consciously enjoy my food and know how much I want to eat it. At first, it was unusual because I was not used to thinking that I should enjoy eating food. But when I started focusing on what’s on the table and not thinking about anything, I realized that I genuinely appreciate how food makes me feel. Everything about how the food I eat tastes, smells, and looks made me understand my hunger cues.

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Emotional Eating And The Effect Of The Environment

The process of changing my eating habit didn’t stop there because as much as I want to fully incorporates a mindful-eating lifestyle, my emotions often get in the way. I explained to my counselor that despite my effort in putting away all the distractions aside, I can’t still make it when my emotions are out of control. Sometimes boredom takes all the effort and energy out of me. And let’s not talk about anxiety and stress, which happened to be the number one source of my negative eating behavior.

The thing I understand that I was doing wrong is relying on comforting foods that are unhealthy. You can’t blame me, though. Having pizza, burger, and fries in the middle of the night made me feel relaxed and happy. But again, those are detrimental to my overall well-being, and eating tons of food when I know I shouldn’t be my sweet escape.

Another thing she said that affects my eating behavior aside from the emotional factors is the environment. Seriously, I was not expecting that to be an issue. But she explained that environmental triggers are unavoidable sometimes. It was those situations that put me in a position where there is no available refusal. And that even if I know, I shouldn’t grab a can of soda or eat a lot of junk foods, the situation often calls for it. Usually, I can’t control it when I go out with friends, went to a bar, visit my relatives’ house, etc. Therefore, it becomes challenging to remember to check in with the food I should and shouldn’t consume.

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Insight

When I realized the mistakes I made in my eating habits, I tried to change my lifestyle but tried not to overdo it. My counselor said that I should still be compassionate with myself, so as much as possible, I practiced mindfulness eating to explore the root cause of my eating disorder. So far, I am more than thankful for realizing the mistakes I made, and I am now trying to get better at managing my disorder.

 

Counseling Guide In Knowing The Sings Of Eating Disorder

An eating disorder affects millions of people, and they couldn’t tell it most of the time. Usually, the problem begins during adolescence because food, eating, self-image, and body weight are a big deal for most individuals at this stage. It becomes a significant source of stress, anxiety, and depression, making them experience distorted thinking and behavior that negatively impacts their lives. In some unfortunate instances, the distorted thoughts and actions become out of control that people make life-threatening decisions.

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When food is more than just a portion of food, things change. It can potentially cause a very serious mental illness. One of the deadliest and common eating disorders is anorexia nervosa. The condition gets diagnosed when people restrict food intake more than they have to. It usually starts with a simple diet that makes individuals lose weight until they reach an unhealthy or below body mass. Unfortunately, the psychological problem starts to appear when people couldn’t see the drastic changes in their physical appearance and continue to ignore the obvious damage of food restrictions in the mind and body.

Another eating disorder is called binge eating. People eat large amounts of food in an extremely short amount of time, leaving no room for the body to process digestion. They have no control over their desire to eat anything. In some unfortunate cases, some people with the condition do not know how to stop despite feeling sick about constantly putting stuff in their mouths. People who experience this mental health condition also suffer from medical health problems, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes.

Apart from anorexia and binge eating disorder, there is also one that people know a lot about. It is bulimia nervosa. It is almost the same as binge eating. But when people realized they had eaten a lot of thought that their eating actions are too much, they compensate through purging behaviors. That explains why most of them end up using too many amounts of laxatives, intentionally putting fingers down their throat to vomit, and excessively exercise without the intention of resting until they get satisfied. As a result, people struggle with other health problems such as dehydration, sore throat, and stomach complications.

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What Causes People To Get This Far?

The act of being in control of something can make people feel great. That sense of control over their mind and body makes it unable for them to see the truth and deny the health problems they are going through despite experiencing the symptoms of other serious medical conditions such as bone, skin, muscles, and heart problems. People with eating disorders have a pretty unrealistic perception of what they currently look like. Thus, they need to wrap it up and figure out the signs of their eating disorders.

Withdrawing From Meal Time – It is sometimes okay not to feel hungry because the body sometimes needs to adapt to people’s daily routine changes. However, they have to pay attention to their behavior when it comes to the avoidance of food. It is not okay not to put something into the stomach as the mind and body need the energy to sustain strength and mental alertness.

Excessive Exercise – There is always something wrong when people work excessively, and exercising is not exempted. Though some would say that it can be great for helping physical, mental, and emotional health, exercising excessively can still mean something else. As for this case, it can be associated with an eating disorder when people do it out of the ordinary only to support an unrealistic body image.

Refusing To Eat Certain Food – Refusing to eat certain types of food can be tricky and might not count as a sign of an eating disorder. That is because people sometimes refuse to eat, perhaps due to existing medical conditions such as allergies; however, if the eating habits occur instantly where people decided not to eat some of the food they once like, it can be a sign of something mentally unhealthy.

Constant Calorie Counting – When people are on a diet or want to maintain a physically fit body, they opt to count calories. Admittedly, not all individuals know the importance of calorie counting. Therefore, they somehow understand the amount of food their body needs. However, it becomes a problem when it gets out of hand and turns out to be an obsession. Calorie counting associated with the intense desire to get a specific result could be a significant component of an unnoticed eating disorder.

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Takeaway

Eating disorders are complicated mental health conditions that are often go unnoticed. Thus, people experiencing these signs and symptoms should seek help immediately. They have to work extensively with their dieticians or treatment team and develop the best solution as much as possible.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About The Right Good Foods For Depression

Depression is one of the most known serious mental health issues that not everyone talks about. It is as if topics including this particular psychological problem are way too invalidated that people often do not see the importance of knowing and learning more information about it. You can’t blame them, though. Depression is a silent killer that people often think they can handle perfectly alone and sometimes without professional help. In fact, some individuals happen to manage it without a hassle. These people focus on changing their lifestyles and sticking to a healthy routine. But how are they doing that? What are the lifestyle considerations these mentally strong individuals need to lay on the line to get better? Let’s figure out the answers to these frequently asked questions.

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What are the best foods for depression?

Many foods contain vitamins and minerals which act as an antidepressant. Some of these include oysters and mussels, other seafood, dark leafy greens, lettuce, lean organ meats, and peppers. Vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, kale, broccoli, and brussels sprouts are part of the list. Focus on eating more vegetables and fruits and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon. Nuts, legumes, and seeds such as beans and lentils, are also good for the brain.

 What foods are good for mental health?

Changing your nutrition and dietary habits can be a great addition to overall wellness. Thus, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, helps improve mental health. Also, dark green leafy vegetables are brain-protective, including nuts, seeds and beans, and lentils.

 What food is a natural antidepressant?

Foods that naturally act as an antidepressant and boost serotonin levels are Salmon, Milk, Soy products, Nuts, Spinach, Seeds, Poultry, and Eggs. Experts and health professionals recommend these foods because they contain important vitamins and minerals and omega-3 fatty acids that protect and help brain development.

 What foods are good for serotonin levels?

The foods that might increase serotonin levels include Cheese, Tofu, Turkey, Eggs, Pineapples, Salmon, Nuts, and seeds. But before consuming too much of these, make sure to consult your doctor. Any changes in your diet might have an impact on your overall health. And regardless if these foods can significantly boost your blood plasma and serotonin levels, a piece of advice would be a great help.

 What is the best natural antidepressant?

Several natural antidepressants that help in lifting your mood, especially when you are experiencing mild to moderate depression, include Omega-3 fatty acids, Saffron, Folate, Zinc, and St. John’s wort. You can also try eating foods that contain vitamins B and D. Also, if there is a chance that you can help yourself, consider working on some natural relief such as meditation, breathing exercises, taking a nap, or hydration.

 How can I increase my serotonin levels quickly?

You can increase your serotonin levels quickly if you focus on providing yourself with healthy foods. Some of these are fruits and vegetables containing vitamins and minerals and seafood abundant with omega-3 fatty acids. Also, consider taking supplements to increase the body’s immune system and serotonin levels. It would help if you also exerted an effort in exercising to increase brain and body development.

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 What foods give you happy hormones?

The foods that give you happy hormones are meats with low-fat content, eggs, yogurt, beans, and almonds. These are foods known to support the right amount of dopamine release. Meanwhile, foods high in tryptophan, such as kimchi, yogurt, and sauerkraut, are also part of the list. These foods help with the increase of serotonin levels in the brain.

 What foods make you fat?

The foods that contribute a lot to weight gain are sugar-sweetened beverages, processed meats, unprocessed red meats, potato chips, and other potatoes.

 How can I make my brain happy?

There are tons of ways to remember how to make your brain happy. You can start by practicing gratitude. Being thankful for everything you have right now allows you to have a positive mindset. Also, help yourself to memorize a list of happy words. That way, you can think of better ways to handle your stressors instead of drowning yourself with uncertainties. Learning to celebrate your successes, even the small ones, also helps. Spend a few minutes each day appreciating yourself and everything around you.

 What can I eat to improve my mood?

The foods you can eat to improve my mood instantly include Coffee, Berries, Oats, Bananas, Fatty fish, Fermented foods, Nuts and seeds, and Dark chocolate.

But before indulging more in these foods, you might want to check with your doctor for recommendations. Be mindful of taking care of the possibility of allergic reactions. Always pay attention to what you eat and make sure everything is enough and not too much.

 What foods are good for female hormones?

The foods that are good for female hormones are Dried Fruit, Garlic, Soybeans, Sesame Seeds, Hummus, Flax Seeds, and Tofu.

 What foods make you sleepy?

Dairy foods contain a sleep-promoting substance called tryptophan. Other good sources of foods that can make you sleepy include bananas, honey, nuts and seeds, and eggs.

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Insight

Depression promotes a disrupted emotional and mental state. It leaves people unaware of their capabilities, behaviors, feelings, and thoughts. Yes, some people can perfectly handle it with the help of self-care. Thus, they provide a maximum consideration on the habits they do regularly, such as exercise, meditation, hydration, good night’s sleep, and a healthy diet. But in some cases, this self-help is not enough. Depression can reach a state where it impacts self-judgment, emotional reaction, and logical thinking. When that happens, people lose control over their lives as mental health affects their self-awareness, relationships, and community involvement. It is entirely important to pay attention to the signs and symptoms to seek medical advice. Please be aware that a full recovery from depression starts with acknowledging its existence.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Depression in People With Eating Disorders

 

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Eating disorders frequently start with the best intentions – a longing to lose weight and manage to eat appropriately. However, those great intentions go badly in some individuals, leading to binge eating, bulimia, anorexia nervosa, and other disorders.

Why some are at a higher risk for eating disorders is unclear, but studies reveal that depression is almost always a factor. In another study by experts at the Pittsburgh Medical Center, more than 20% of bipolar patients met eating disorders standards. Over 40% had difficulty controlling the way they eat.

As many as 50% of individuals who suffer from binge eating disorder have a past medical history of depression. This was documented by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Almost 5% of adults in America are afflicted with binge eating, making it the most common type of eating disorder.

Depression also affects a lot of people with anorexia nervosa, another prevalent eating disorder. Those with anorexia are unable to eat sufficiently to keep a healthy weight. The outcomes can be terrible. Studies found that anorexics are almost 50 times more inclined to experience suicidal ideations and self-harm than the general population.

Eating Disorders And Depression

Depression may cause eating disorders to develop, but there is also rising proof that eating disorders can lead to depression. Being extremely malnourished and emaciated, which is a typical feature of anorexia, could result in physiological alterations that negatively impact one’s mood. Depression in people diagnosed with eating disorders commonly has its distinct characteristics.

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Here are more details regarding depression and how it does to one’s body and mental health.

   

What is the number 1 cause of depression?

Experts suggest that depression does not arise from merely having too little or too many particular brain chemicals. Instead, many potential factors cause depression, including existing medical conditions, genetic predisposition, improper mood regulation, medications taken, and stressful life situations.

What happens to your body when you are sad?

When you are depressed, your body experiences increased pains and aches, resulting in approximately 2 of 3 individuals diagnosed with depression. You will also most likely have a loss of appetite, chronic fatigue, and a reduced interest in sex.

What age group has the highest rate of depression?

Major depression is highly likely to impact individuals between 45 and 65 years old. This range, which includes middle-aged individuals, is at the bell curve’s peak for depressive symptoms. However, those at the end of each turn, such as the very old and the very young, maybe at an even heightened risk for developing severe depression.

What is the hardest mental illness to live with?

The National Institute of Health describes borderline personality disorder or BPD as a severe mental health disorder marked by a structure of continuing instability in self-image, function, behavior, and constant mood instabilities.

Which race has the highest rate of depression?

Major depression was most widespread among the Hispanics, which accounted for almost 11%, followed by African Americans, nearly 9%, and finally, the Whites, which accounted for almost 8%. The likelihood of depression among the older Hispanic group was more than 40% greater than the Whites.

What country is the most suicidal?

The country reported to be the most suicidal in the whole world is Greenland, following its years of transformation from an isolated state to a welfare state. The male-to-female ratio is 2.99.

Which country has the most suicidal deaths in 2019?

The countries with the top suicide death rates across the globe include Russia, Lithuania, Guyana, and, finally, South Korea. Suicide rates of males are higher compared to females in a lot of countries. But predictably, Lithuania, a country with the highest suicide numbers overall, also has the highest suicide numbers for males.

How does race affect depression?

Depression and the factors related to depression were more common among individuals belonging to the minority groups than Whites. Increased depression rates among these groups are most likely related to greater health problems and lack of insurance coverage, which are factors that are open to public policy involvement.

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Treatment

Both cognitive behavioral therapy and medication have distinct pros and cons, specialists agree. Medications can be easily taken, and their effects usually show up relatively fast.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, on the contrary, may take a longer time to see results. Most patients need about three to six months of ongoing therapy. Others require even more. But CBT provides a more reliable permanent cure.

When people suddenly stop taking their medications, they are more inclined to relapse than cognitive-behavioral therapy. It’s not surprising, though. The issue with medications is that when you don’t take them anymore, it’s gone. With CBT, you can constantly alter the way patients see themselves and their surroundings. This type of perceptual change can be particularly beneficial for people with eating disorders accompanied by depression.

Specifically for binge eating and bulimia, a combination of medications and CBT may work more efficiently. In a trial done on 30 subjects with binge eating disorder, experts at the Sacco Hospital in Italy discovered that getting both CBT and drugs like Topamax and sertraline lost weight and decreased their bingeing behavioral patterns.

Customizing treatments to patients is useful. Some are responsive to medications, while others are not. Still, some do well with various types of counseling, including nutritional counseling. Other people require intensive therapy to make changes in the way they perceive food and eating. Treatment is frequently a matter of hit or miss. Certainly, experts are testing a range of cognitive-behavioral therapies especially developed for eating disorders.

 

Seeking Help

There is no magic pill for managing eating disorders accompanied by depression. Even rigorous research program rates have dramatically dropped. Patients who have been doing well for some time often go into a period of relapse.

Still, experts agree that there are many things that we can do to manage underlying depression and change people’s mindsets about themselves and how they see food. The first and most important step is to find a mental health professional or a psychiatrist in particular who has extensive knowledge and experience in deal with eating disorders. Consequently, a person’s success depends on his commitment to change.

 

 

 

The Link Between Eating Disorders And Mental Health

An eating disorder affects as many as 30 million people in the US. But it is only when the illness has progressed past a certain point do patients seek and get the help they need. Too little, we realize that eating disorders are complex mental health problems that take a heavy psychological and emotional toll before they manifest on a physical level. 

People struggling with eating disorders set unrealistic targets about their food intake, body image, and weight. The self-destructive path that they choose to achieve these unrealistic goals affects their behavior, thoughts, and emotions, which has a knock-on effect on relationships with family and friends.

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Emotional Upheaval

Take anorexia nervosa, for instance. People with this eating disorder have an intense fear of gaining weight, and they take extreme measures to prevent it through self-starvation. Some individuals set strict eating limits, while others consume large amounts of food and purge it through unhealthy methods.     

Anorexia messes with your emotions and can manifest in constant irritability, fluctuating moods, social withdrawal, and obsession with food and exercise.  

Likewise, bulimic individuals struggle with low self-esteem linked to their body image. Despite being of average weight or just a bit overweight, their negative perception of their body may bring them to binge on large amounts of food then take measures to compensate through forced vomiting, laxative abuse, and intense exercise.

Similarly, people struggling with binge eating disorders (BED) experience distress after binging behavior. Unlike bulimics, they don’t take compensatory measures like purging, but the emotional upheaval may be as intense. 

Eating And Psychological Disorders

There is no single cause in developing an eating disorder, but biological factors like genetics may increase the risk. 

External pressures also shape how a person perceives himself against the prevailing beauty standards reinforced by pop culture and social media. These messages’ most prominent theme calls on women to aspire for slim, hourglass figures while pushing men to strive for muscular bodies to achieve success and happiness in life.  

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People with eating disorders work to achieve these unrealistic standards, which does them more harm than good. A well-meaning diet to shed extra weight may spiral into a full-blown eating disorder, developing into psychological problems like depression or anxiety.  

Although there’s some evidence suggesting that severe malnutrition can cause physiological imbalances that negatively affect one’s mood, people suffering from eating disorders often have existing or co-occurring psychological problems that make symptoms worse by amplifying the negative emotions associated with unhealthy eating habits. 

In addition to depression and anxiety, people with eating disorders might have a borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance use disorder. 

According to two separate studies, half of the patients diagnosed with binge eating disorder have a history of depression. Nearly a fourth (24%) of bipolar patients met the criteria for eating disorders. 

Likewise, people with anorexia are not exempt from depression, with tragic results. Studies show anorexics are 50 times more likely than the general population to die because of suicide. 

High Mortality Risks

The strong connection between eating and psychological disorders increases the former’s mortality rate. A study published in 2012 concluded that all eating disorders have increased mortality risks. Anorexia is recognized as a fatal mental illness with an estimated mortality rate of 10% as patients die due to starvation, metabolic collapse, substance abuse, and suicide. 

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People with eating disorders fail to receive timely treatment because they try to hide their condition due to feelings of guilt, shame, or embarrassment. If left untreated, it can lead to serious medical complications like heart failure, osteoporosis, gastric rupture, pancreatitis, and diabetes.  

Treatment 

The good news is eating disorders can be treated, and early diagnosis plays a big part in improving health outcomes. 

Given the close link between eating disorders and mental health issues, it’s essential to form a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses co-occurring conditions and involves a multidisciplinary team that might include a primary care provider, psychiatrist, dietician or nutritional counselor, and a social worker. 

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The treatment will likely include psychotherapy, counseling, and a medical plan that addresses one’s nutritional needs. The doctor may also prescribe antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication as needed.   

Outpatient treatment works for some people with mild eating disorders, but severe cases might require inpatient care or hospitalization in a specialized facility. Inpatient stays are usually followed by outpatient treatment and aftercare to adequately address the disorder’s underlying issues and reduce the risk of relapse.

Final Thoughts 

Some people might dismiss eating disorders as a fad, a phase, or a choice, but they are real illnesses that require immediate medical intervention. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to treating eating disorders, but early diagnosis increases the likelihood of reversing this disease’s health consequences. 

Anorexia didn’t earn its reputation as the deadliest mental illness for no reason. It’s best to get professional help when disordered eating is already harming your productivity, functioning, and quality of life. 

 

Talking To Your Family About Your Eating Disorder

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Eating Disorder is a sensitive topic. Most people diagnosed with this find it difficult to strike a conversation about what they’re going through. They fear that when they open up, they may receive judgments from their friends and family. However, hiding your eating disorder may worsen your mental and physical health. It is crucial to reach out to your family members about your eating disorder to speed up your recovery.

Set A Time And Place To Talk

Choose a quiet place and right timing to talk about your eating disorder with your parents and other family members. There will be a meaningful conversation if they have their undivided attention and are in a positive mood. If you aren’t confident to tell your situation in front of everyone, you can talk to your parents or siblings separately.

An ideal time maybe during weekends, where everyone has their day-off. It is essential to have an uninterrupted conversation in a private place where nobody is rushed and fewer distractions.

Air Out Your Concerns

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Understandably, talking to your family members about an eating disorder is difficult. But you have to be honest and open about what you feel and experience. Tell them that you think you have an eating disorder, explain your unusual eating behaviors, and show what you’ve researched.

Talking about your eating disorder for the first time can be nerve-wracking. If you are not prepared to discuss in person, you can write them a letter or message them on any online platform. Although messages on these platforms may get misunderstood or misinterpreted, so be sure to be clear and concise with what you want to convey to your family members.

To help you get started, Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC and Crystal Karges, MS, RDN suggest, “Phrases that might be helpful to share with them include ‘I feel sad and scared about a health problem I am struggling with,’ or ‘I have tried to overcome this on my own but feel that I need help,’ or even ‘I am struggling with an eating disorder and would like your support and guidance to find treatment and overcome this challenge. Will you please help me?'” 

Prepare For Anything

Your parents’ reactions will vary. Some may get frightened, shocked, angry, or confused with all the information you told them. But most parents are supportive of their pursuit of the improvement of their mental and physical health because they only want the best for their children.

Expect that you will receive an emotional response from your parents and know that their feelings are valid and normal. Don’t blame yourself if they lashed out on you as their emotions are not necessary for your healing process. Give yourself some positive reinforcement that you are brave enough to open this sensitive topic to your parents and acknowledge that you want to feel better with your condition. It may take time for them to digest everything, but they will slowly accept it through time.

Educate And Seek Professional Help

Parents play a significant role in your recovery from an eating disorder. Some parents may feel guilty, and they blamed themselves. While you sit down and talk to them, educate them about eating disorders to better understand your situation. Tell them that your eating disorder can be treated.

You may also want to have a list of treatment centers handy. Discuss with your parents the treatment centers you looked up and consider some options in looking for the best treatment center. Here are some things you and your family may want to consider:

  • Length of stay in the treatment center;
  • Kinds of insurance accepted;
  • Treatment center’s philosophy;
  • Treatment methods offered;
  • Location of the treatment center;
  • Amenities; and
  • Payment options

Find A Specialist

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Aside from considering a treatment center, find a qualified eating disorder specialist who will oversee your treatment. Usually, treatments for this type of condition begin at the outpatient level, and most patients respond successfully to this level. The specialist will diagnose which type of eating disorder you have and will inform you of the types of therapy you will undergo based on your condition.

There are different types of Eating disorder treatments. Discuss with your specialist the underlying issues that should be prioritized, and the level of eating disorder treatment needed. Some helpful therapies include:

  • Art Therapy;
  • Dance/Movement Therapy;
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy;
  • Family Therapy; and
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy

Combat Eating Disorder With Your Family’s Support

An eating disorder can have long-term consequences and complications if not immediately treated. Confronting the eating disorder and admitting that you need help is the first step towards recovery.

However, you don’t have to go through this alone. Opening up to your family members about your situation, and getting support from them makes everything better. You’re one step closer to overcoming your eating disorder. It may not be easy for them to understand at first, but their unconditional love and support will always remain.

 

 

Why Lockdown Is Good For Binge Eaters

I am a former binge eater. I was diagnosed with this eating disorder at 15 years old. I used to be able to down three 2-L bottles of root beer and five party-sized pizzas in one sitting.

My parents thought at first that I was just too hungry after coming home from softball practice. However, they put their feet down when they realized that I was eating the same amount of food even on days when I had nothing to do. That was when they took me to a child psychologist, and we all found out that I had a binge-eating disorder.

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At the time, I held my ground and insisted that I was unaware of the issue. All I said was, “I love food. Perhaps I couldn’t control my love for food.” But deep down, I had suspicions that my binge-eating habits stemmed from stress. It was the early 90s, after all, and everyone had a specific picture in mind of what a cool kid looked like. There was no way for me to be seen in that manner, so I ate my feelings (literally).

Now that I am no longer a binge eater, though, I help binge-eating kids to get over it. I facilitate group therapy for them during the weekend, and it is apparent how their social interaction works in their favor.

Unfortunately, all group activities have stopped since the state governor has asked everyone to avoid leaving the house. The coronavirus is still wreaking havoc all over the world, and the lockdown is the safest preventative measure.

I can still meet the kids but only via Zoom or Skype. We cannot hang out anymore, as we have typically done before. It saddens me as much as the children, but I think the lockdown is suitable for young binge eaters.

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You Cannot Sneak Out To Pig Out

When I was trying to overcome the binge-eating disorder, I was not the most effortless child to rehabilitate. My desire to overeat was too intense, to the extent that I would pretend to go to my friend’s house to hang out. The truth, however, was that I would walk to the nearest McDonald’s and buy as many burgers as possible.

Thanks to the lockdown, the young binge eaters cannot follow my previous example. No child below the age of 18 is supposed to be seen out of their house, so no one can sneak out. Hence, they need to make do with what’s in the pantry.

Your Parents Can Watch What You Eat

The ultimate challenge for the parents is to make the binge-eating child’s relationship with food healthy again. It is not enough to order the kids to go on a diet because it can trigger their rebellious side. Hurt feelings can pave the way for other eating disorders, you know.

One vital thing you can do is to watch what your child eats. Reduce the number of servings they can get little by little, and explain this plan very well. This technique may not work if they feel like you are working behind their back.

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There Are Many Indoor Activities To Keep Your Mind Off Excessive Eating

The lockdown is also ideal for kids who want to curb their binge-eating habits because you can try many indoor activities with the family. For instance, you may do a reading relay, build a massive puzzle, or paint a specific object and see who has recreated it best.

If you notice, such activities are not too physically strenuous. The reason is that exhaustion can make anyone hungry. Your goal is to get distracted from hunger pangs, not to end up entertaining it.

Final Thoughts

I wish I can say that binge-eating disorder is less challenging to beat than other eating disorders. It has taken me five years to see put my spoon and fork down when I am full. Despite that, the rehabilitation may speed up due to the lockdown, considering you don’t have sources of temptation everywhere.

Good luck!

How to Overcome Pica Eating Disorder

The 2018 Sedona Health and Nutrition Conference was held for health care providers to discuss and identify general and specific approaches to the incorporation of nutritional intervention in medical practice. The conference aims to recognize the links between dietary choices and illnesses, such as eating disorders.

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In the case of the less recognized and understood eating disorder such as Pica, an individual or his family may not know the behavior as a disorder. As it is not motivated by the desire to change one’s appearance, it is considered a feeding disorder more than a classic eating disorder. Pica is especially challenging to detect as the person may be aware and worried about their eating patterns but may be embarrassed to seek help. The first step to overcoming Pica is to understand the condition and the available treatment options.

 

What is Pica?

Pica is a compulsive feeding disorder that causes people to eat non-food items that do not contain a significant nutritional value for at least one month. These non-food items and substances ingested may vary with age and availability, but they are usually:

  • Hair
  • Dirt and sand
  • Paper
  • Plastic
  • Paint chips
  • Cloth
  • Soap
  • String
  • Metal
  • Stone
  • Cigarette butt 
  • Chalk

It can affect children, adolescents, adults of any genders, as well as pregnant people. Pica often occurs alongside mental health disorders. It is associated with impaired functioning, such as schizophrenia, intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, excoriation disorder, and hair-pulling disorder.

Treatment of Pica

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The diagnosis for Pica is usually made from the clinical history of the patient. Hence, the patient needs to be honest with their doctor about the substances that they eat. 

The first line of treatment for people diagnosed with Pica is to correct any mineral or nutritional deficiencies caused by the disorder. Surgery may also be performed to remove substances from the patient’s digestive tract or to treat other injuries caused by the digestion of non-food items. The doctor may refer the patient for psychological evaluation and behavioral interventions. 

After the results, the patient may be prescribed with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. These treatments will help the patient develop coping skills and strategies to deal with the impulses of eating non-food items. Along with these treatments, the awareness of and support by their loved ones can help set off a Pica patient towards healing.

 

Psychiatry Experts’ Tips On How To Avoid Anorexia Relapse

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Have you stopped working out excessively or fasting for days?

That’s a great thing! It entails that you are in the process of recovering from anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder. Extreme dieting and exercising are a couple of indications that you have this illness, as you perhaps already know. The fact that you managed to let go of the reins can only mean that you’re ready to make peace with your body.

Eating disorders in people at higher weights are commonly misdiagnosed, leading to delayed treatment and more dire prognoses. — Alexis Conason Psy.D.

The problem is, your willingness to cull the symptoms of anorexia may not suffice to ensure that the illness won’t creep back in your life. It may not happen after a few months, but future circumstances can push you to go down that rocky road again if you have an unstable anchor.

So, find out the tips on how to avoid anorexia relapse from psychiatry experts below.

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Identify The Causes

As the person who experiences the eating disorder, you surely know the reason(s) why you acquired anorexia at the back of your mind. It isn’t the time to feign ignorance about the subject since it’s never easy to fight any disease when you don’t know what you’re facing.

In case it feels hard to divulge the causes even to your family or a mental health professional, you can start enumerating them on your own. Write your reasons down so that you won’t forget what pulled you towards the dark path in the first place. Then, you can prevent them next time.

Misconceptions about anorexia abound. One of these is that anorexia happens almost exclusively to women and girls. — Tom Wooldridge, PsyD, ABPP, CEDS

Stop Minding Criticisms

Anorexia and various eating disorders originate mostly from the truth that you allow negative comments to get to you. Someone says you have chubby arms even if you’re size 6, for instance, and you see that as a reason to be in the gym for hours every day. Or, when others talk about how your regular meals make your cheeks full, it may have an adverse impact on your mental state too.

What psychiatrist experts suggest to avoid going through that phase again is to block off criticisms entirely. Don’t pay attention to acquaintances or relatives who think you look better when super skinny. Limit the time you dedicate to browsing social media as well so that you lessen your chances of being lured to read mean messages.

Talk To Your Loved Ones

The most stable anchors you will ever find are within your inner circle. They can be your parents, boyfriend, girlfriend, or best friends. Only, you need to have the courage to voice out your woes to them. That way, they’ll have an idea of how to help you stay in recovery mode.

Lead A Healthy Life

The best solution to anorexia, of course, is living healthily. You can work out and maintain a diet plan, yet make sure that everything stays in moderation. If you exert physical effort without eating anything even just once, then your system will go out of whack.

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Besides the stuff mentioned above, the ultimate secret to avoiding anorexia relapse is tosee the beauty of life. Doesn’t it feelincredible to be able to do things without worrying about what others will think of you? It’s also great to try new dishes and relax your mind and body without needing to weigh yourself in often.

As I know personally and professionally, the symptoms may be similar but the causality is unique to each individual. — Lauren Grunebaum L.C.S.W.

You ideally know these by now, so it’s merely a matter of ensuring you remember that you don’t forget them to avoid anorexia relapse. Good luck!

Counseling 101: How To Talk Someone Out Of An Eating Disorder

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If I asked you to picture someone with an eating disorder, what comes to mind? — Jennifer Rollin MSW, LCSW-C

Eating disorder is an extreme mental illness that enables the individual to take drastic measures to conform to their idea of beauty. In case it’s anorexia, for example, they may work out till their system drops and not touch any food for as long as possible. With binge eating, on the other hand, the person wolfs down various dishes in one sitting as if somebody will clear them away anytime.

Regardless of the types, however, the disease harms the patient’s mind and body in the process. It isn’t unlikely to develop an ulcer and various health conditions as well due to it. So, it’ll be incredible if you can talk a loved one out of an eating disorder.

Professional counseling can come when he or she is fully ready, but it matters to encourage them to get better even at home. Below are several hints on how to do that.

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Many people who don’t “look like they have an eating disorder” based on their weight, gender, or skin color are not identified as having an eating disorder by medical professionals. — Alexis Conason Psy.D.

1. Learn About Eating Disorders

The disease will stay unsolvable for as long as possible if you have no idea about what it is and what it does to someone. You may even do something inappropriate by assuming that drastic moves will push them towards the path to recovery.

Our advice, therefore, is to gain knowledge about every eating disorder known to man. It will be especially helpful in case the specific illness remains a mystery to you. Volumes ofDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association is an excellent source of such information. You can also learn about them from blogs and health-related websites.

2. Know The Signs

With some knowledge under your belt, you may now acquire the perception of the patient. In particular, ask him or her about how they feel about themselves. Are they happy whenever they see their reflection in the mirror? Do they feel satisfied with their appearance?

Negative answers, of course, indicate that there’s something wrong. But you need to consider as well that they may be lying about being alright to lessen your worries. Thus, again, it’s vital to read their actions and realize the symptoms of the illness to understand what they’re going through in reality.

3. Watch Your Words

It can get frustrating to make your loved one notice that they are beautiful as is, yet that doesn’t give you the freedom to be insensitive. Spewing out harsh statements, in fact, won’t help people with eating disorders to get better. Words like ‘fat’ or ‘heavyweight’ will hit the patient like solid rocks and force them to work on their weight harder than ever.

If your goal is to enable them to overcome the problem, you should be more careful with your words. Always think before you utter anything, mainly if it has a connection to body image. Criticize no one’s figure as well in front of them to prevent feeding them with cynical ideas indirectly.

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Sometimes attitudes and behaviors emerge in response to the overwhelming despair and hopelessness that accompanies watching a loved one starving herself/himself. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

4. Cheer Them Up

Eating disorders are just as challenging to deal with as any other disease. The patients may want to get rid of their issues too – it’s just that they feel as if they’re alone in this battle. For that reason, always give them a boost of confidence.

Compliment every single treatment they try to recover from the illness. Don’t stop telling the individual as well that they are more than enough. Although they may not initially believe it, your constant reminders can hopefully make a significant difference soon.