Our Clementine Family: Megan Fahey, MS, RD, CDN

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Clementine Briarcliff Manor Registered Dietitian Megan Fahey, MS, RD, CDN shares her personal journey to joining the Briarcliff Manor team in this week’s “Our Clementine Family”. Megan gives an inside look at her daily work in supporting adolescents on their path to full recovery. Read on to learn more about Megan and the Briarcliff Manor team.

What is your name and what are your credentials?

My name is Megan Fahey, MS, RD, CDN. I am a Registered Dietitian with a Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Bastyr University.

Please give us a brief description of your background.

I have always been intrigued by the mind-body connection, and am passionate about applying my knowledge of nutrition to promote physical, mental, and emotional healing. Through previous work in acute care and private practice settings, I have gained experience developing and implementing detailed nutrition care plans for adolescents and their families.

What does a typical day look like for you at Clementine?

My days consist of organizing menus in the kitchen, reviewing medical information in the office, and holding individual and group nutrition therapy sessions with our clients. I run weekly lunch outings to local restaurants, as well as weekly cooking groups to provide a variety of food exposures. As the adolescents progress through treatment, I also teach them the skills necessary to portion food in accordance with their meal plans. I keep in constant communication with the adolescents’ outpatient teams and families in order to collaborate on nutrition-related care and create a smooth discharge home. My daily goal is to help each adolescent feel energized and empowered by learning how to nourish her body in a mindful way.

In your own words, please describe the philosophy of Clementine.

At Clementine the goal is to provide adolescents with the tools required to let go of an eating disorder and re-engage in a healthy, well-nourished life. We reject the diet mentality, embracing that all food is fuel and that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Through an improvement in nutritional status and exploration of deep emotional work, we truly believe everyone can experience the freedom of full recovery from an eating disorder.

How does your team work together? How do your roles overlap and differ?

The clinical team at Clementine shares office space, which fosters an environment of collaboration and professional support. We hold weekly team meetings to discuss every component of the client’s care. Although each practitioner offers a unique skill set, we are constantly learning from one another in order to enhance our treatment approach as a team. I work closely with the chef, clinicians, and recovery coaches to create a supportive eating environment to help ease the anxiety that arises around meal times. I value our model of open and honest communication and admire the strength and empathy shown by each and every team member.

What is your favorite thing about Clementine?

I am humbled to work in a role that allows me to witness the powerful, healing journey of eating disorder recovery. The adolescents who enter our home are some of the most insightful, kind, and intelligent individuals whom I have ever met. In working specifically with adolescents, I am reminded to view the world through a lens of curiosity and possibility.  As an added bonus, the adolescents keep me up-to-date on the latest social and pop culture trends!

What are three facts about you that people do not know?

  1. My paternal family lives on a farm in Ireland. I spend time every year on their beautiful land and have always believed that those “roots” influenced my desire to pursue a degree in nutrition.
  2. I love to read and write and have kept journals regularly since the age of 8. The tattered, worn stack of journals sits at my nightstand and I almost never travel without something to write in.
  3. My absolute favorite movie is “The Little Mermaid” and as a child I dreamt of being able to live and breathe underwater.

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To learn more about our newest location, Clementine Briarcliff Manor, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.


The Impact of Social Media

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Senior Director of East Coast Clinical Programming Dr. Melissa Coffin, PhD, CEDS discusses the impact social media is having on our every day lives. In this week’s post, Dr. Coffin shares how you can ensure these outlets are being utilized for positive benefits as opposed to negative results. 

For some, technology is the first thing they check when they wake up, and the last thing they do before bed. Over the last few years, we have become a society attached to our devices. Recent data on this topic shows that some people are checking their technology, most notably their social media pages, more than 10 times a day while some are spending hours in this pursuit.

When it comes to social media, we are all still trying to keep up, including the field of eating disorders. Unfortunately, some research is showing that use of social media is increasingly correlated with depressive symptoms as a result of the inherent issues of acceptance, competition, and attention that present themselves in this domain (Chicago Tribune, 2013). Women working on recovery from body and food issues frequently mention comparing themselves to others, feeling inferior and having increased body image concerns as a result of their social media usage.

However, at Clementine adolescent treatment programs we are invested in helping our adolescents develop a healthy and mindful relationship with their technology, just as they are working on a relationship with food and their bodies. If time is spent on social media comparing to others, it can result in feelings of inferiority and dissatisfaction. Instead, if time is spent connecting with others, it can result in new and improved relationships and increased positive feelings. Monet Eliastam’s quote below captures this idea beautifully.

Imagine if social media became a place where we shared our dreams instead of hiding our faults, where we collaborated in conversation instead of trolling anonymously, where we felt included instead of excluded. We need to reinvent the online community to cultivate a safer, more diverse, more welcoming environment where we value people for generating thoughts, not likes… We have an incredible tool in our hands, we need to use it to change the world.

So, let’s embrace the world of technology and the interfaces that social provides us. The fact that you are reading this blog right now suggests you are looking for positive ways to spend your time and energy online. Thanks for doing so and share your positive experiences both on and offline with those you love.

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To learn more about our newest location, Clementine Briarcliff Manor, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.


Raising Resilient Kids in a Fat Shaming World

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Judith Matz, LCSW is a therapist, author and speaker specializing in eating and body image issues. Her books, The Diet Survivor’s Handbook and Beyond a Shadow of a Diet, have helped thousands of people make peace with food and their bodies. Her newest book, Amanda’s Big Dream, helps kids to feel strong and confident in their bodies—at any size! In this week’s blog post, Judith discusses how to support kids to have a positive body image.

We want our kids to grow up feeling strong and confident in their bodies. We’ve learned a lot about what to do—and what not to do—to promote a positive body image. We know better than to comment on other people’s weight and engage in diet talk in front of our kids. We model self-care behaviors and teach them values related to diversity in all areas, including body size.

But what happens when our children walk into the world?

No matter how well we teach our kids that bodies come in all shapes and sizes—that all bodies deserve respect and need to be taken care of—they’re going to come up against fat shaming messages that teach them something completely different:

  •      The teacher who turns down the birthday cupcake because “it’s too fattening.”
  •      The TV commercial they overhear touting the newest diet plan.
  •      The kids on the playground they hear being called names because of their body size.
  •      The medical professional who says, “you’d better watch your weight.”
  •      The friend’s parent who comments that they’re eating too many cookies.

And the list goes on and on and on.

We do our best to correct the messages they’re getting but, of course, they don’t tell us everything (and they don’t always listen to us, either!). The day comes when your six-year-old asks, “Mommy, am I too fat?” or your 12-year-old begins to diet or your 16-year-old develops an eating disorder. It’s a tough world out there.

But here’s where our greatest power lies as caretakers of kids: we can give them the gift of resiliency.

Resilience (noun) or Resiliency (noun): Able to recover quickly from misfortune; able to return to original form after being bent, compressed, or stretched out of shape. A human ability to recover quickly from disruptive change, or misfortune without being overwhelmed or acting in dysfunctional or harmful ways.

I believe we help facilitate that resiliency when we pass our wisdom about body acceptance down to our kids. We do that when we practice attuned/intuitive eating. We do that when we participate in physical activities we enjoy, rather than for the pursuit of weight loss. We do that when we refrain from making negative comments about our own bodies.

I was reminded of how crucial our attitudes are when the topic of male/female dating came up at an all-day training I offered to mental health professionals on the treatment of Binge Eating Disorder. A participant raised her hand and said she faced the following dilemma: “The reality is that for my 20 something clients, it’s impossible to date at a higher weight, so I have to help them do something about that.”

I was about to respond to her about the problems with that point of view when another audience member shared her wisdom:

I’m a stepmom to two girls. Ava is thinner, and Talia is heavier. As we prepared to go on our trip to Mexico, Talia complained that she didn’t want to go. She said she was uncomfortable with her clothes and didn’t have anything that fit. I took her shopping and made sure she had some nice things for the beach.

Once we got there Talia was surprised to find that she got lots of attention from boys. In Mexico, there was a preference for a fuller body. Talia relaxed and had a great time.

And then we got home. Again, she expressed how bad she felt in her body. I said to her, “Talia, you were beautiful in Mexico and you’re beautiful here. It’s the same body, and we love you.”

As I think about the messages that the first participant was sending to her clients I imagine them concluding:

  •      Men prefer thinner women.
  •      You need to change your body if you want to date.
  •      It’s worth engaging in disordered eating behaviors to lose weight so that you can be happy, sexy and successful.

Then I compare that to the different message offered to Talia:

  •      You are beautiful.
  •      Men will find you attractive in the body you have.
  •      You are loved at any size.

If our kids struggle with these issues, messages we’ve offered that reinforce the pursuit of weight loss as important and valuable will add to their shame. On the other hand, messages of support, respect, and kindness around body size diversity throughout their lives will give them a positive place to return to.

We can’t fully protect our children from the body shaming they’ll encounter in a culture where disordered eating is normative and weight stigma persists. But we can give them a strong foundation in valuing body positivity and normal eating, so they’re more likely to recover quickly – to be resilient – in the face of struggles with food and weight.

As I always like to say: What we do, what we say, and even what we think, matters.

You have lots of power in the lives of the kids you touch. Knowing what we do about how painful and destructive struggles with eating and weight can be, it’s difficult to watch the kids we love deal with these issues. However, the attitudes we pass down will strengthen them in their relationship with food and their bodies so they’re able to reject fat shaming messages that are present everywhere in our culture.

But the reality is we can do our best, do the “right” things, and they may still struggle. We need to remember that we’re only one influence in their complex lives. They will have their own journey in figuring out how to be comfortable at any size and to take care of their bodies. We can rest assured that the seeds of acceptance we planted in their formative years will give them the greatest possibility of befriending their body and finding peace with food.

And if you haven’t been doing that – after all, you may have your own internalized body shame – it’s never too late to sit down with your kids and share with them that you’re learning some new ways to think about body size.

 

Originally published on the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) blog and republished here with their permission. 

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To learn more about our newest location, Clementine Briarcliff Manor, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.


Article Spotlight

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Join us in reading inspirational and informative articles we have cultivated from across the web. If you have found an article you feel is inspirational, explores current research, or is a knowledgeable piece of literature and would like to share with us please send an e-mail here.

6 Tips for Getting Through the Most Difficult Days Project Heal

Eating Disorders Are About Much More Than Eating: A Guide for Parents Who Have Children with Eating Disorders Much Love

The Importance of Accepting “Radical Acceptance” The Huffington Post

10 Self-Care Tips for Caregivers NEDA

5 Ways to Help Kids Practice Mindfulness Healthline

A Gift From Mothers to Daughters Psychology Today

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To learn more about our newest location, Clementine Briarcliff Manor, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.


Our Clementine Family: Nicole Palumbo, MS

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Clementine Briarcliff Manor Math Teacher Nicole Palumbo, MS shares her personal journey to joining the Clementine family in this week’s blog post. Nicole shares her passion for teaching and some of what makes the work being done at Briarcliff Manor so special. Read on to learn more about Nicole and the Clementine Briarcliff Manor team…

 

What is your name and what are your credentials?

My name is Nicole Palumbo. I am a graduate of Buffalo State College (B.S.) and Canisius College (M.S.). In addition to serving as a classroom teacher for many years, I have extensive supervisorial and managerial experience, serving as the Mathematics Department Chair at two prestigious New York City private schools, as well as serving as Board President at a large cooperative in Lower Manhattan.

Please give us a brief description of your background.

Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, I moved to New York City shortly after completing graduate school, ultimately landing in Northern Westchester County, New York. With over 20 years experience in the classroom, my primary focus (by choice!) has been the middle school grades. I absolutely love working with adolescents and feel very lucky to be part of an amazing team of people focused on this age group.

What does a typical day look like for you at Clementine?

A typical day starts as one might expect in any educational setting: arrival, clerical duties, and readying the classroom. Once done, I then move on to one of the less traditional aspects (but truly a highpoint), walking down to the breakfast area to greet my students. Seeing their faces light up is incredibly rewarding, and very powerful. My students are happy to see me, happy to come up to the classroom, and happy to get started on their coursework. What more could a teacher ask for? The classroom is one of many safe places in a typical day for our adolescents, but the classroom offers a bit of a divergence from their typical routine, as a result, they come relaxed, focused, and ready to learn.

In your own words, please describe the philosophy of Clementine.

The philosophy of Clementine is pretty straightforward: The whole is incomplete if the parts are not in working order. Like a chain, we are only as strong as our weakest link. The Clementine program serves as the solder necessary for reinforcing the weak points. By shoring up the weak points, we help to cultivate the skills necessary for pushing back against the pressures that weaken our adolescents over time. The Clementine program provides the tools necessary for helping our clients go the distance.

How does your team work together? How do your roles overlap and differ?

The education team works very closely together. Although each team member’s role differs, and we may not all be in the classroom at the same time on any given day, we are in constant communication. We take a hands-on approach to learning, tailoring instruction to meet the needs of the individual. Our adolescents feel supported, and are at ease while working with us. We offer a safe environment that encourages healthy risk taking. We teach our adolescents that it is okay (and perfectly normal) to experience uncertainty, and that it is through mistake making that some of the most profound learning takes place. We teach our adolescents the skills necessary for success inside the classroom, and offer strategies for applying those skills outside the classroom as well.

What is your favorite thing about Clementine?

My favorite thing about Clementine is the caring staff and our amazing adolescents. My job is more rewarding that I ever thought possible. I truly enjoy coming to work each day.

What are three facts about you that people do not know?

  • I rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange twice!
  • I don’t know my left from right (I have to think about it, it isn’t automatic)
  • I love rollercoasters!

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To learn more about our newest location, Clementine Briarcliff Manor, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.


Clementine Portland: An Interview with Dr. Lauren Ozbolt, MD, CEDS

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Dr. Lauren Ozbolt, MD, CEDS is a board certified Adult, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist who specializes in the evidence-based treatment of mood, anxiety and eating disorders. She currently serves at the Medical Director of Clementine Adolescent Treatment Programs. Dr. Ozbolt took a local news station inside Clementine Portland to share the work being done to support adolescent girls on the path to full recovery. Learn more about Clementine Portland watching Dr. Ozbolt’s interview…

 

 

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To learn more about our newest location, Clementine Briarcliff Manor, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.


Summer at Clementine

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Summer provides a finite time frame for treatment. At Clementine, the multidisciplinary team is committed to making the most of each and every day a patient is with us by providing the care and environment necessary for healing and growth.

Our specialized programming integrates highly personalized and sophisticated medical, psychiatric, clinical and nutritional care with comprehensive academic and family support. We place a focus on back-to-school preparedness while delving into the developmental needs of the adolescent girls we treat. We do this through daily supported exposure therapy, the development of life skills, step-down programs and aftercare planning. Aftercare planning begins upon admission and places a strong focus on academic reintegration.

Through progress-indicating benchmarks, Clementine’s level system offers the possibility of measurable change in a defined time frame. It provides time-sensitive opportunities to evaluate readiness for movement; family outing passes; and self-portioning, which allows the adolescent to gradually handle food more independently as she progresses in treatment. We also evaluate readiness for step-down programing and discharge.

Embedded in the Clementine culture is a philosophy of close collaboration – among our team members and with our patients’ outpatient providers. We work together to instill hope and trust, and heal the entire family. We take a holistic approach to get our patients on the path to long-term health and a sustained recovery.

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To learn more about our newest location, Clementine Briarcliff Manor, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.


A Father’s Heart, An Open Letter

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Don Blackwell is a Trial Attorney with extensive experience in the eating disorder community. He has a unique perspective which he often shares through his honest and heartfelt writing. In this week’s post, Don shares a heartfelt letter on behalf of all dads to their daughters.

Dads are somewhat notorious for being poor communicators where feelings are concerned and, for some reason, that’s particularly true when it comes to their daughters. Regrettably, daughters often interpret their fathers’ silence (or awkwardness) in the face of life circumstances that demand (or would greatly benefit from) a heightened degree of vulnerability to mean that their dad is disinterested in them, lacks empathy or, worse yet, is simply insensitive to their needs.  Sometimes, daughters harbor those perceptions for the better part of a lifetime. And yet, nothing could be further from the truth! To the contrary, if the men I met during the course of our daughter’s illness (and, more recently, at conferences and webinars that I’ve been privileged to host) are fairly representative of the whole (and I believe they are), most dads care deeply about their daughters. Moreover, though we may sometimes appear to be “clueless” as to how to go about accomplishing it, I suspect every dad silently thirsts for a closer (i.e., more emotionally intimate) relationship with their daughter. I certainly do and while lately I think I’ve done a better job of figuring things out – at least where the vulnerability piece is concerned – I know all too well the sense of longing for (and uncertainty of the means to achieve) that objective, which is what led me to write this post.  So, if my fellow dads will permit me, I thought I’d share a few “secrets” of our own collective hearts in the form of an “open letter” to daughters everywhere, who may still be wondering about us and, more critically, about our feelings towards them:

To Our Little Girls –

It seems like only yesterday that we held you in our arms for the first time.

It was love at first sight.

From that moment on, you’ve held a very special place in our hearts – a place reserved only for you.

When you were little, it was “easy” to let you know that.  We could hold you tight, comfort you when you were sad, tell you bedtime stories and tuck you in – and we did.  You probably don’t remember those special father/daughter moments, but we do. 

But, as you grew older, things got more complicated for us where you were concerned.

You were becoming young women, perhaps before both of us were ready for all those changes – and we weren’t at all sure how to respond, how we fit in to your emerging womanhood.

We wondered if it was still “okay” to hold to you as tightly as we once did (or hold you at all), to kiss you, to tuck you into bed – to dry your tears and comfort you.

We looked for other ways to stay connected with you and share our love, ways to stay engaged in your life, to discern the role you wanted us to play as you entered your teenage years, but we confess we struggled with that – a lot.

We assumed, without asking, that your mom was the person you wanted/needed for all those “girl (and boyfriend) things” and that you would let us know if/when you needed us and how we could help.

Between your mom and your friends (who took on an increasingly important role in your life), it seemed like you were doing “just fine” and growing more independent (and less in need of us) with each passing day. 

Part of us was content to watch you grow, but we missed you – we missed “us”.

Only now have we come to realize, however, that we may have missed the most important thing of all – the realization that you were missing us too and maybe even misconstruing our distance and seeming “absence” as indifference.

If only we had known then what we know now. 

If only, rather than trying to “guess” at what each other was thinking or hoping one of us “would get it” from the unspoken “bread crumbs” we were leaving in each others’ lives, we had simply talked, allowed ourselves to be more vulnerable with one another.

Maybe we could both be a little better about that going forward?

In the meantime, lest there be any doubt in your mind, know this . . .

there has never been a day since you were born when we haven’t loved you, 

a moment that has passed when we haven’t thought of you,

an occasion where we weren’t proud of you or felt disappointed in you or

a time that we wanted anything but what was best for you –

today is no exception, nor will tomorrow be.

Because, while we may not always be great at showing it, let alone expressing it (!), we love you and we value you!

Your Dads

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To learn more about our newest location, Clementine Briarcliff Manor, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.