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Empowered Eating: Book Suggestions for Recovery

Empowered Eating: Book Suggestions for Recovery

By Alex Raymond, LD, RD. When I think of Fall, I think of apple cider, flannel, and using the weather growing colder as an excuse to stay in and read. I was thinking about what to write about for this week,and I realized that I haven’t actually been reading a ton lately. Which is a bummer because I really enjoy a nice book! Back in either 2016 or 2017 (honestly I can’t remember!) I made it my New Year’s Goal (which I actually started in March of that year lol) to read a book a month. It was the only New Year’s Resolution that I ever stuck with. The past year has just gotten so busy for me and I feel like I have been reading less often, but more volume. For example, the only times I’m actually able to read is when I’m on vacation. In Thailand, I read 4 books. In Budapest, I read 3. It always feels so great to get lost in a book! Especially a thriller, which if you take a look at my bookshelf, those are literally the only books I own… Besides of course some body positive/non-diet/others-along-this-same-line books. Which is actually the topic of this blog. I feel like there have been so many amazing books out lately on my “to read” list and some that I’ve read that everyone should know about 🙂 1. Land Whale: On Turning Insults Into Nicknames, Why Body Image Is Hard, and How Diets Can Kiss My Ass by Jes Baker I actually have not read this, but it’s totally on my “to read” list. I have...
Q and A: Body Image Discussion with a Dietitian

Q and A: Body Image Discussion with a Dietitian

By Alex Raymond, RD,LD. Question: I’m majoring in psychology at school and my hope is to work with eating disorders. I’m in a sorority and I already hear a lot of negative body image talk in the house as we try on clothes before heading out. I’d love to get advice on what I can say to counter my friends’ negative thoughts. I just want them to feel good about themselves, but I’m not sure how I can help them to not listen to the part of their mind that unnecessarily shames them! This question was actually sent to me by a past intern. I was emailing her back and forth about how school is going and wondering if she wanted to help us out with some social media projects. She originally went to school majoring in nutrition, but switched to psychology. When she sent me this question, I thought to myself, “wow, I’m sure there are so many other people who would benefit from hearing my answer… it’ll make an awesome blog.” So here we go. Let me first start out by saying that it’s very normal (and almost socially acceptable) to poke at your body and point out perceived flaws. I always think of that scene in Mean Girls when “The Plastics” are in front of Regina’s mirror body bashing, and Cady is over there like “uhh this is weird, we didn’t do this in Africa, wtf am I supposed to say here?” We are brought up in a culture that overly values physical appearance (especially for women). Women are defined by their bodies and there is...
Instagram and Mental Health

Instagram and Mental Health

By Caroline Best, Student Intern Instagram is such a huge part of our culture. There’s no way around it. I can guarantee you know at least one person with an account.  This popular app is used for photo sharing. Newsfeeds filled with photos from family, friends, peers, and even strangers.  Looking at pictures of people’s dinner, or dog, or a party seems fun, and definitely harmless. However, a new consideration with the rise of popularity with this app is how looking at these photos impacts our mental health. If you’re like me you scroll through your newsfeed before you go to bed (or when you wake up, or on your lunch break, ect.) almost daily. Checking social media accounts easily becomes part of a routine. I know I’ve definitely had uncomfortable feelings while doing this. Moments where I’m lying around doing absolutely nothing looking at photos where everyone looks fantastic and is out doing fun things in fun places.  And it doesn’t feel great. This sort of discomfort is a real and studied thing. Researchers at Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota found a direct connection between regular Instagram use and lowered self esteem/ body image in women in their teens. So let’s talk about WHY something seemingly harmless and even enjoyable – scrolling through Instagram for 10 minutes when you’re relaxing – can actually have such negative effects. Think about it- I know when I post a photo it’s the best photo from whatever event I’m sharing. The photo with the best lighting. Where I look like I’m having the most fun. I think many people follow this...
The Weight Inclusive Approach

The Weight Inclusive Approach

By Alex Raymond, RD,LD and Caroline Best, Student Intern I am an eating disorder (ED), non-diet dietitian. And I absolutely advocate for using the Weight Inclusive method of practice. What is this method? Why do  align myself with it?  Well, I became a dietitian to help people. I want to support individuals in feeling better about themselves. I want to support people’s food choices.  And to improve quality of life. Food these days has become so complicated, through all the latest diet trends and fads. So, I wanted to be that voice to help people find peace. I want people to free from the false messages that are often portrayed in not only the media, but also through health messages from a wide range of people, including health care professionals. Interestingly enough, there is a lack among the university nutrition programs of education surrounding Health at Every Size ® or HAES approach and weight inclusivity. Despite the research we have that discusses the consequences of weight stigma in our health care world, If you’re confused about all these terms, weight-inclusive, weight stigma, HAES…etc. I promise I will clear all this up for you in just a bit. If you are reading this, and have never heard about HAES or weight inclusivity. I would encourage you to read this with an open mind. In this article, I am offering a different outlook on how to approach health. I find that some are skeptical at first. But bear with me! I encourage you to be curious, ask questions, and read the research. I was inspired to write this blog after reading...
Prioritizing your Recovery this Year without Falling into the ‘New Years Resolutions’ Trap

Prioritizing your Recovery this Year without Falling into the ‘New Years Resolutions’ Trap

New Year’s Nutrition Resolutions I am fairly certain that most everyone that is suffering, or has suffered, with an eating disorder, has looked to the start of a new year, as a fresh start, maybe a “re-do”, for the year ahead.  The New Year brings about this overwhelming mindset that we must set these unrealistic goals, often ones we have set in the past, that within a few days, weeks, or months, leaves us feeling like we have once again failed, either failed in recovery, or failed at our eating disorder. Resolutions can cause hopelessness I know for myself when I was in the depths of my eating disorder, the start of a new year saddened me because I was yet again stuck in this disease, feeling like I had gone no where, maybe even feeling like I had moved backwards, which was so overwhelming, and caused a sense of hopelessness. Having lived with an eating disorder for many years, I remember even the start of the next day bringing with it the same unrealistic goals that the New Year brings for those suffering with an eating disorder: Tomorrow Resolutions “Tomorrow I: will stop purging” won’t binge” will tell someone” promise I will follow my meal plan” will really start my recovery” won’t get mad at my parents” Tomorrow vs Next Year All of the “tomorrows” in these statements above are so often replaced with “This Year”, at the start of a new year: This Year’s Resoultions “This year, I: will stop purging” won’t binge” will tell someone” promise to follow my meal plan” will really start my recovery”...
Intuitive Eating: Honoring Your Hunger

Intuitive Eating: Honoring Your Hunger

By Alex Raymond, RD, LD. Intuitive Eating is a book written by Evelyn Tribole and Elise Resch. I recommend many of my clients to read it. All of us are born as intuitive eaters…. Think about a baby or a young child. He/she is going to cry until he/she gets something to eat. And then, when she’s done, it’s nearly impossible to feed said baby more food. If a food if really tasty, chances are the child is going to ask for more of it, because it tasted so good! Somewhere along the way, because of social situations, what we learn about nutrition through diet culture, we lose touch with our hunger and fullness signals. (Not all of us, but many of us). We use information from the outside as opposed to the inside to decide when and what to eat. Maybe we feel hunger, but we try to “control” it and don’t eat. Maybe we’re not even sure if we get the hunger signal. And maybe we are really in the mood for a cheeseburger and fries, but the rest of the table is ordering grilled chicken and a side salad, so we feel pressure to get that too.   The first principle of intuitive eating is Honor Your Hunger. What does this mean? In summary honoring hunger means 1) recognizing when you are hungry. 2) deciding what you’re in the mood for. 3) eating without judgment. I’d like to go in a bit of detail with these 3 steps. 1. Recognizing when you are hungry. First, try to tap into what your body feels like when you’re...

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