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The Truth About Body Positivity and How it Fits Into Eating Disorder Recovery

The Truth About Body Positivity and How it Fits Into Eating Disorder Recovery

By Alex Raymond, RDN, LDN What is body positivity? Body positivity is a buzzword these days. People seem to be latching on to the idea of loving and appreciating their bodies. People post #bopo pics all the time. And while this may seem like a positive thing, unfortunately, much of the true meaning of “body positivity” is lost in mainstream social media. Body positivity is actually a social justice movement to give voices to those individuals in marginalized bodies. It’s rooted in the belief that ALL bodies are GOOD bodies. Including, but not limited to… fat bodies, disabled bodies, trans people, bodies of different races/ethnicities. And everyone deserves to find a place of body peace and respect for themselves. This is separate from having a “positive body image” and/or loving/liking the way your body looks. The body positive movement is so much more than aesthetics. It’s about existing in a world and being treated humanely regardless of how your body looks. Individuals who live in marginalized bodies have done so much work starting and continuing the body positive movement. And the problem is, well, privileged women. Honestly, like myself, white, cis, smaller bodied…etc. Have, most likely unintentionally, made it into something it’s not. I can understand why it happened. Who doesn’t like the idea of “body positivity”? But now, the voices of people who have started the movement are diluted, due to the other “body positive” noise that’s out there. Body Positivity vs. “Positive Body Image” I was inspired to write this blog after reading Lauren Newman’s (aka gofeedyourself_) instagram post on body positivity vs. positive body image. I...
Eating Disorder Recovery During the Holidays

Eating Disorder Recovery During the Holidays

By Alex Raymond, RD, LD. Aah, the holidays are right around the corner…… Even though Christmas stuff has been out in the stores since August. Sure, the holidays can be a joyful time for many of us. I personally remember loving the holidays growing up. I got to travel to my grandparents’, hang out by fire, eat some cookies, and most importantly, I didn’t have to go to school. Nowadays, the holidays are a bit different… I wind up traveling to see my mom or dad who live out west. My apartment sadly doesn’t have a fireplace, but I’ll snuggle under a blanket. And, I still eat cookies… As wonderful as the holidays can be, they can also be extremely stressful. When healing from an eating disorder, being around food, maybe moving less, hanging out with family, can all be triggers to increased ED thoughts about food and body. With many of my clients, we spend time discussing these triggers and possible healthy coping tools. That’s why I created this holiday guide. I wanted to give my clients space to brainstorm ideas about the holidays (struggles, excitements, plans, worries…etc) and different coping tools to use. You can refer back to this guide throughout the holidays when you feel you need a reminder of what to do. I’d encourage you to add to it and to use with various members of your treatment team. Click here to Download the Guide to ED Recovery During Holidays Worksheet     I also wanted to use this blog to talk about some coping skills to use, especially on the big family gathering days:   ...
How Eating Disorders Affect Your Brain

How Eating Disorders Affect Your Brain

The Effects of Eating Disorders What is the effect of starvation on the brain and how it functions?  Many times I find myself explaining to families and friends that if their loved one could “just eat” they would.  It is not the loved one these families are up against but rather the malnourished brain.  But what exactly is a “malnourished brain”? A brain that is malnourished and starved is not functioning properly and is unable to reason in the way it once could.  This is where we begin to reinforce that “food is medicine”, in order to give the client the “reins” in their recovery from malnutrition. Food is medicine Malnutrition is often created in the wake of an eating disorder but can have other origins as well, just as extreme picky eating or a lack of understanding of how much food or energy a person needs. By re-energizing and re-nourishing your body, you give your brain power to understand the bigger picture, find motivation, understand yourself again and do the work needed to get back to a nourished state. Vicious Cycle of Malnutrition The more malnourished someone becomes the harder it is to “eat normally” because of the way the brain responds when it is malnourished.  Especially in adolescents it is important to fuel the brain in order to reverse the damage from malnutrition as soon as possible. The impact of malnutrition on the brain includes limited ability to think, manage emotions, process information from the environment. This will in turn exaggerate some personality traits.  Understanding this piece of the puzzle can help families understand that it is...
How to Support Loved Ones with an Eating Disorder

How to Support Loved Ones with an Eating Disorder

How to Support a Loved One with an Eating Disorder Research shows that eating disorder sufferers are particularly prone to relapse during times of transition or change. It is important as family members and friends to recognize that for most sufferers, their eating disorder is their stability. When there is change or when things fall apart, this is one thing they can count on. The eating disorder is often referred to as their lifeline or life preserver. Change can cause our loved ones to hold on even tighter to their life preserver. What types of transitions or change may our loved ones be experiencing? Change in their meal plan Going off to college for the first time Returning to school, either college or middle/high, after being off for the summer or winter break Stepping down to a lower level of care in treatment Changing treatment team members for various reasons Friendship changes or losses Starting a new job Weather changes which bring about clothing changes Loss of a loved one Divorce or separation of parents Friends leaving for college while they are not What can we do to help support our loved ones during times of change or transition? Recognize and validate the changes your loved one is experiencing and how challenging this must be for them. Remind them of what remains consistent in their lives during this time. It may be that they are returning to school after being off for the summer. Reminding them that they are going back to the same school, with their same group of supportive friends, and that they will have their same...
5 Things You Should Know about Diabulimia

5 Things You Should Know about Diabulimia

What is Diabulimia? By Alex Raymond, RD, LD Thinking about the day in the life of a Type 1 Diabetic may not cross your mind too frequently, unless you have diabetes or a close friend or family member of yours has it. What you might not know, is that a Type 1 Diabetic has to think about food pretty regularly throughout the day. Since a Type 1 diabetic is completely dependent on the hormone insulin (which regulates blood sugars), every time he or she eats, they have to think about the amount of carbohydrates were in the meal and then decide how much insulin is appropriate. If they give too little insulin, they run the risk of their blood sugars getting to high. If they give too much insulin, they run the risk of their blood sugars going too low. Both of these have serious consequences. Combine type 1 diabetes, thoughts about food and insulin, pressure to look a certain way, pressure to eat a certain way, fear of gaining weight from insulin, and genetics. You have a set-up for development of a potential eating disorder. Diabulimia means intentionally manipulating insulin levels to manage/lose weight. These individuals will give themselves far less insulin than what is recommended when consuming carbs, causing sugars to sky rocket. This causes consequences like diabetic ketoacidosis, which means there are unsafe levels of ketones in the blood and requires hospitalization to manage. If you or a loved one is struggling with diabulimia, you came to the right place. This blog will inform you on the things that you should know and also where to...

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Beginning on July 1st, 2019 we'll be in our new office space*

5457 Twin Knolls Road, Suite 303
Columbia, MD 21045

*We're still seeing Empowered Eating clients in our Greenbelt Office as well

 

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