Anorexia/Eating Disorders/Eating disorders

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Question
Hello,
I guess I'm trying to seek help, and this is what I found. So thank you.I am 19 years old, and I have suffered from an eating disorder since I was 12. About a year ago was when I came to the full realization that I had an eating disorder. Do you think I can heal on my own or should I seek other help? I fear my parents finding out about my disorder, and I would rather keep it to myself for the rest of my life. One more question, do you think by wearing belts tight around my waist is causing any damage to my insides?
Thanks!

Answer
Hi Sarah,

I am so sorry you are going through this. While seeking therapy is often a more effective way to treat eating disorders, if you'd rather try self-help books and websites first, I am going to give you a variety of resources you can use.

We have a few issues that need to be addressed right now: 1) nutrition needs, 2) improving your body image, and 3) healing your eating disorder. I will address each in turn.

1) We need to address your nutrition needs. You didn't say what you currently eat, go to this website and create a profile: https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/CreateProfile.aspx. Once you've done that, it will tell you how much you should be eating of each food group each day. If you click around, you'll even find sample meal plans. If you commit consistently eating a healthy diet, your food cravings should improve and your binge eating should stop.

2) We need to work on your body image issues and disordered eating thought processes. Here are a variety of books and websites that you might find helpful:

Body Dysmorphia:

The Body Image Workbook by Thomas Cash - http://www.amazon.com/Body-Image-Workbook-Eight-Step-Learning/dp/1572245468

Diet of Despair by Anna Paterson - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Diet-Despair-Eating-Disorders-Families/dp/1873942192

Emotional Eating:

http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Free-Emotional-Eating-Geneen/dp/0452284910
http://www.amazon.com/The-Food-Feelings-Workbook-Emotional/dp/0936077204

Eating With Heart: The Five Steps to Freedom From Emotional Eating, Laurel Inman - outlines the path to freedom from using food as a coping mechanism. Trained in intuitive eating techniques, Laurel leads readers through five simple steps that anyone can use to make peace with food and re-learn how to trust themselves around food. I highly recommend her book to all of my clients as a valuable resource. And for those of you who think Laurel’s book comes out of an ivory tower, rest assured; this book comes from Laurel’s own journey with food. She has used this program to heal from her own battle with emotional eating and also to help her clients heal from theirs.To find out more about Laurel and her 5 step program, check out her website at www.eatingwithheart.com


Eating Myself Crazy by Treena Wynes

Treena’s poignant story made me laugh, made me cry, but most importantly made me feel empowered. This is a book I would feel comfortable using as a resource for my clients and students. Treena tells her story in a compassionate, easy-to-understand way that just about everyone should be able to relate to. Her hands-on approach will allow readers to explore and heal their own relationships with food. Her journal questions are insightful and her recipes are quick and easy to make with ingredients most people have on hand. This is a valuable resource in the emotional eating field for both clients and clinicians.

-Here are several good web resources for healing eating disordered thinking:

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/eating_disorder_treatment.htm
http://www.healthyplace.com/eating-disorders/articles/eating-disorders-self-help
http://www.eatingdisorderself-cure.com/
http://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/recovery/self-help-tools-skills-tips
http://www.something-fishy.org/whatarethey/coe.php
http://anred.com/welcome.html

I also recommend these two books:

Just Tell Her to Stop by Becky Henry

Many of my clients are parents and teens struggling with eating disorders. The teens aren’t sure they even want help and are afraid of gaining weight. The parents are afraid of losing their children to a battle with an eating disorder. Mostly, they all just want it to stop. I cannot tell you have many times I have recommended Becky’s book to clients and friends. Her story-telling method is just what my clients need. They read her book and realize that she “gets” them. With 20 stories to choose from, every client has been able to find at least one that resonates with them. Just Tell Her to Stop is a powerful testament to the effect an eating disorder can have on the life of not only the person who has been diagnosed, but also everyone around him or her. At the same time it offers the advice you need to hear to help yourself, your family, and your friends who suffer with eating disorders.


Food to Eat: guided, hopeful & trusted recipes for eating disorder recovery by Lori Lieberman and Cate Sangster

I talk to young women every day who are in the midst of their battle with an eating disorder or just embarking on their recovery. Every single one of them is afraid to eat. They worry that if they start eating, they’ll get fat overnight. And for someone with an eating disorder, that is the worst fear imaginable. If I could reach out to my clients across the globe, I would give every single one of them a copy of this book. Lori and Cate’s compassionate approach to recovery is just what these young women need. They give practical advice and explain why each recipe is nutritious and okay to eat in their “outsmart your ED voice” sections. Their conversational style makes it feel like you’re sitting down in your living room with them, a non-confrontational approach that my clients can all relate to.

Here are some websites that discuss healing from bulimia:

http://www.bulimiahelp.org/articles/strategies-help-you-stop-purging
http://www.bulimiahope.com/bulimia-treatment/binging-purging/
http://www.casapalmera.com/articles/how-to-stop-purging-7-ways-to-stop-the-cycle
http://www.teenhelp.org/forums/f15-eating-disorders/t51285-purging-disorder/

Emotional Eating:

http://www.emotionaleating.com/   

3) If these resources are not enough, you may want to seek help from a health coach or therapist who specializes in eating disorders. Let me know if you like to try this option and I can help find someone for you to see.

Now to your last question: yes, wearing your belts too tight can cause damage to your internal organs (like a corset). So please don't do this to yourself!

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Hang in there and good luck!  

Anorexia/Eating Disorders

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Mary Pritchard

Expertise

I can answer questions about the psychology of eating, disordered eating attitudes and behaviors such as drive for thinness, drive for muscularity, binge eating, body dysmorphia, dieting, excessive/obsessive exercise, and body dissatisfaction. I can also answer questions about anorexia and bulimia.

Experience

I have a PhD in Psychology and teach courses in the Psychology of Health and the Psychology of Eating. I have been conducting research on disordered eating and exercise behaviors for 15 years.

Organizations
Midwestern psychological association, rocky mountain psychological association

Publications
Over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles in journals such as Eating Behaviors, Eating Disorders, and Eating and Weight Disorders

Education/Credentials
PhD in Psychology from the University of Denver

Awards and Honors
30 teaching awards, have received funding to conduct my research from academic institutions and state and local government

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