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Tips on surviving COVID and emotional eating

Tips on surviving COVID and emotional eating

Self-care during the COVID Pandemic I am here at home along with everyone else in this unprecedented surreal situation which is somewhere between a scary movie and a perpetual snow day. Our offices are closed and we are thankful to be able to support our clients with virtual appointments. I am feeling lucky that I can continue to do a job I love in the midst of this craziness to have some routine and normalcy. As I have been discussing with my clients the last few days- the effect COVID- 19 has on our mental health and disordered eating is palpable. The isolation that is mandated by law at the moment, and for good reason of course, contributes to more challenges on top of the fear of this pandemic. In this blog I wanted to highlight some ideas to help you take care of yourself during the isolation as it affects us both nutritionally and mentally. Ideas to help you take care of yourself during the isolation First, many of my conversations have been around emotional eating. Please be gentle with yourself. It is a natural human experience to eat in response to emotions. Think of happy celebrating a wedding to the sad- breaking up a relationship… food! This is NORMAL. The challenge becomes when this is the only tool in the toolbox to manage emotions. It’s a task food simply cannot do. The anxiety of the unknown we are experiencing is not an everyday occurrence and it is not uncommon for food to try “help”. If you find the last few days have been met with emotional eating-...
Binge Eating Disorder Treatment

Binge Eating Disorder Treatment

Did you know that going on a diet can be a trigger that leads to Binge Eating Disorder (BED).  This is what the diet industry isn’t telling you. If you have the genetic predisposition for binge eating and start a diet, this can eventually lead to a cycle of binge eating and dieting that will never be sustained. If you are looking to prevent binge eating disorder while focusing on health and weight concerns we have the solution. It’s time to rebel against dieting!  Step 1: Resist diets Here are the facts. 55% of adults in American are on a diet right now. 60.9 billion dollars are spent on diet products each year. 95% of the weight lost on a diet is regained in 5 years. Dieting is a predictor of weight gain: 66% of people on a diet regain the weight, and more, after stopping the diet. Young girls and boys who diet are respectively 12x and 5x more likely to binge eat compared to those that didn’t diet. Diets do not work. They are not sustainable because even one day on a restricted diet can decrease your metabolism by 15-30%. It would be helpful to think about your weight and diet history and see what did or did not work for you. Step 2: Look at eating as a way to care for yourself Take down the labels of looking at food as “good” or “bad” and start to incorporate all your favorites into a varied, balanced way of eating. Your RD can help you plan out new meals to try and structure your meals for fullness...
Why You Should Trash Your Scale

Why You Should Trash Your Scale

Stop the dieting cycle What is the dieting cycle? “Within a diet and thin-focused culture, the focus has been on weight loss as the goal. This ‘treatment’ is often promoted by well-intentioned friends, family, and professionals. But with binge eating, dieting is a causal factor in the development of binge eating disorder. So it’s essential for treatment to provide alternatives to dieting for improving health and body image. In fact, weight loss as a goal of treatment—as opposed to goals of improved self-care–can be damaging to the process of recovery.” ~Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) What does it mean to weight cycle? In order to see the effect the scale may have on your nutrition behaviors, body image, and self esteem take some time to answer the following: How long have you been watching the scale?  What is the frequency in which you weigh yourself? Journal about how you feel when the scale shows a decrease in weight. Journal about how you feel when the scale shows an increase in weight. What are the pros of daily weighing? What are the cons of daily weighing? Use the questions above to evaluate if weighing yourself often is bringing you CLOSER to your health goals or if it may be bringing your FURTHER away from your health goals.  Try to identify feelings associated with weighting such as guilt, shame, accomplishment, anxiety, relief, pride, excitement, disappointment. Beyond a Shadow of a Diet One of my favorite resources is a book by Ellen Frankel and Judith Matz, Beyond a Shadow of a Diet.  Here are some interesting points they make about the use of scales in the...
Treating Emotional Eating with REBEL Approach

Treating Emotional Eating with REBEL Approach

Dana Magee Speaks on Treating Emotional Eating in the Smart Women Series What is emotional eating? I recently spoke at a Smart Women series at Anne Arundel Medical Center, alongside two other practitioners in the eating disorder community: Ann Caldwell and Dr. Ramona Seidel. The topic of the evening was “Conquering Emotional Eating.” My portion of the presentation was, of course, REBEL Dieting. The reason for this is that dieting can start off as something very innocent, but it becomes a slippery slope that can grow into a full-fledged eating disorder. The diet industry is constantly pumping our society full of products and diet plans, but the problem is that diets do not work! Dieting only addresses the WHAT of eating, and the measure of success and failure only lies in the measure of weight. So if not a diet, then what? How do we treat emotional eating, compulsive eating, binge eating? That is why we encourage our clients to REBEL: Not only focusing on the WHAT of eating, because after all our body needs energy and nutrients to power its organ systems, but also the WHERE, WHEN, WHY, and HOW of eating. I like to describe the WHEN and the WHY with the concept of intuitive eating. This concept is centered around eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. Seems pretty simple, right? But what if for the last 5,10, 20 years you have been following diet plan after plan that tells you what and how much to eat regardless of if you are hungry or not? We lose touch with this and end up ping ponging back...
The Log: An Analogy by Anita Johnston

The Log: An Analogy by Anita Johnston

The Log: An Analogy by Anita Johnston What is The Log? If you have ever suffered with an eating disorder or work with those struggling with disordered eating you may have found them difficult to explain or understand.  We have to accept the fact that eating disorders do not make logical sense.   No one chooses to have an eating disorder.    Eating disorders are mental illnesses that have a genetic component. They are often triggered by a life event or experience for those with high risk factors.  These mental illnesses come with severe physical health consequences.  Since eating disorders can not be easily explained sometimes the best way explain them to my patients, their family and friends. As a reminder to myself I use the analogy of “The Log”. Please watch the video and see how your understanding of eating disorders changes. Anita Johnston explains This Youtube video by Anita Johnston, “The Log”, is one of the most important videos I watch with my clients.   This video is under 5 minutes yet it is so incredibly powerful.  I almost always play it for all my clients during our work together.  Timing is key. The video is relatable in different ways depending on what stage of phase of recovery they are in.   We often rewatch the video together at different points in recovery where it takes on new meaning and provides new insight.   The video itself moves me. It increases my understanding of the client I am with as I watch it through the filter their recovery, their struggles, and successes.   First without any explanation I...
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