Thursday, December 24, 2009

Eating Disorders and the Holidays

Families living with an eating disorder can find the holidays extra challenging with all the focus on food. There are so many different stresses and foods that can be frightening for people facing eating disorders.

Last night I got to have a conversation with Peter McClellan on his radio show 401k Latte about eating disorders at the holidays. We talked about the huge spreads of food that can be overwhelming and stress inducing. Take a listen:

Peter asked some great questions to open up the conversation about how both parents and health care providers can support someone with an eating disorder. A few things we talked about were:

* As family member; put on your oxygen mask first-make a Top Ten list and do 1 each day
* Family members can help by: Learning to let go with love
* Don't make comments about other people's bodies
* Low fat - Low Calorie diets backfire - they don't work
* Language from health care providers is important - telling patients to lose weight not only doesn't help - it hurts.
* Health care providers can ask open ended questions about what a patient's health care goals are can enroll the patient in the process of making healthy choices.
* Health Care providers can attend: to learn more
* The book: Just Tell Her to Stop can be pre-ordered at:
* Weight-ism is alive and well and needs to be addressed
* People can be health at many different sizes
* Focus on overall health to achieve your health goals
* Insurance and eating disorders coverage - Academy for Eating Disorders works for mental health parity
* Book on family stories of living with eating disorders website will be live in a couple weeks:
* I received the Braveheart Award for living life with Passion and Inspiration
* College professors can order the book to add to their curriculum
* Pharmaceutical companies are invited to purchase the books to donate to eating disorders treatment centers.

I welcome your comments on the show. What have you heard from your health care provider that has backfired for you? What comments have you found helpful while recovering from an eating disorder?

I hope you will focus on what you are grateful for this holiday season and have peace.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

How helpful is "War on Obesity?"

After interviewing a number of larger people for my book: Just Tell Her To Stop; Stories of Families Surviving Eating Disorders, I have seen close up and personal how incredibly unhelpful and downright damaging anti-obesity statements can be for people.

I have heard stories of people being shamed for being "overweight" all in the name of intending to help them be healthier. Well, it backfires.

Here is one such short story. A woman I spoke with went to the doctor for a physical and in the process was told, "You need to lose 70 pounds." What happened next was a stress response (as I have learned from my brilliant Registered Dietician friend Michele Gorman) that sent her not to the gym but instead across the street for a doughnut.

What can we do differently as people who are trying to help others to achieve health? I can tell you that from what I have learned, it is not shaming people. There are other behavioral approaches to achieve health and sometimes it may not have anything to do with weight. What a concept.

That is what drew me to collaborate with a small coalition of health care providers to share a new paradigm for healthy body image, eating, fitness and weight. Check out the continuing ed program being held in Minneapolis Jan 16th, 2010:

Here is the latest from the Association for Size Diversity & Health:

(PRWEB) December 16, 2009 -- The Association for Size Diversity and Health joins national and international eating disorders organizations in urging school administrators, employers and health policy makers to focus on health rather than weight in all populations.

"We offer as a resource in this shift the principles and science behind Health At Every Size that are available at our website,,"; ASDAH president Deb Lemire said.

The weight-neutral Health At Every Size (HAES) movement calls for size acceptance, an end to weight discrimination, and lessening of the cultural obsession with weight loss and thinness.

Last week the Academy for Eating Disorders, Binge Eating Disorder Association, Eating Disorders Coalition, International Association for Eating Disorders Professionals and National Eating Disorders Association issued an unprecedented joint press release expressing concern that strategies in the global "war on obesity" fuel weight prejudice and contribute to negative self-esteem, body dissatisfaction and eating-disordered behavior. Their concern aligns with ASDAH's position that weight-focused health messages and practices harm the health of people of all sizes by increasing body shame, eating-disordered behavior, and health care avoidance, and by failing to address the health needs of people of all sizes.

ASDAH is an international organization composed of health professionals, scientists and activist committed to promoting all aspects of health and well-being for all populations. Its basic principles of Health At Every Size ( recognize the multidimensionality of health and well-being and promote balanced eating and enjoyable physical activity, rather than eating or exercise focused on weight loss.


Source : PRWeb