Men and Eating Disorders

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Clementine Portland Student Intern Donald Marks works closely with families and clients in his current role. In this week’s blog post, Donald dives into a very important topic –men and eating disorders. 

At Clementine Portland, I work closely with the families and clients, as well as run groups and eat meals/snacks with the clients.

Eating disorders have long been stigmatized as primarily affecting women, and rarely affect men. In reality, eating disorders affect both men and women although gender and sexuality may impact their presentations. In this post four considerations regarding men and eating disorders will be examined.

1) According to the National Eating Disorder Association, up to 25% of individuals diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa and 36% of those diagnosed with binge eating disorder are men. It is estimated that 10 million men in the United States will experience a clinically significant eating disorder in their lifetime. It is also noted that homosexual males are three times more likely (15%) to be diagnosed with an eating disorder than heterosexual males (5%). When those statistics are applied to the general population, however, the majority of men diagnosed with an eating disorder are heterosexual.

2) Men may be less likely to be diagnosed for a number of reasons. Men face the stigmas of eating disorders being seen as ‘a feminine problem’ or ‘gay’ as well as social stigmas against men seeking psychological help. Part of this societal bias is that the majority of diagnostic tests for eating disorders have a gender bias in the language that is used. One study by Leigh Cohn (2017), found that 99% of the books on eating disorders have a female bias.

3) Men in media are most often portrayed as having one idea body type-lean and muscular. Research shows that this is the current ideal body type for men and a desire for a more muscular physique is not uncommon among men. In fact, Gardner (2014) found that 9 out of 10 adolescent males report exercising with the main goal of ‘bulking up’ and 1 in 4 males of normal weight perceive themselves as being underweight. Further, the thin-ideal internalization construct associated with eating disorders does not often apply to men who instead report internalization of the muscular or lean ideal, again pointing to a female bias in research, practice and even diagnoses.

4) Symptoms of eating disorders in males may be different than those typically expressed in females. Men are more likely to have an obsession regarding being inadequately muscular. Compulsions that some men may experience include spending hours at the gym daily, taking copious amounts of supplements, hyper focus on body fat percentage being as low as possible and exercising/weight lifting when injured. Men may also experience lower testosterone levels and a decreased interest in sex and/or fears around sex related to body image. Men may also use muscle gain, ‘bulking season’, and ‘cutting (weight) season’ to disguise their strict and rigid eating rituals. Some of these rituals include ‘clean eating’ and an obsession with micro- and macro- nutrients in foods.

Men and eating disorders is a topic that requires more study, as well as more consideration from clinicians, treatment facilities, and medical care providers. As more men are reflecting a decrease in body satisfaction, the percentage of men diagnosed with an eating disorder is going to increase. As discussed above, there are some special considerations when working with men experiencing symptoms of an eating disorder.

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

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.


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.

 

Tips & Suggestions: Share Your Eating Disorder Struggle With Loved Ones Eating Disorder Hope

How Are You Feeling? Talking to a Friend About Eating Disorder Concerns Proud2BMe

It’s Time for Rejection of Diet Culture Jewish Link

5 Ways to Stay Positive in the Face of January Diet Campaign NEDA

The Quote That Reminds Me of My Strength Over Mental Illness The Mighty

50 Psychological Hacks for Better Mental Health Psychology Today

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

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.


3 Considerations for Maintaining Recovery in College

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Maintaing eating disorder recovery while in college can be particularly challenging. In this week’s blog post, Clementine Portland Student Intern Erin Holl discusses these challenges and some strategies in how to manage them. 

Eating disorders affect people of all ages and from all walks of life, but are particularly prominent among students in college. College can be an exciting time of newly-found independence and self-exploration, it may also be a time of significant stress and vulnerability. In the interest of recovery maintenance, hope for making the transition into college should be accompanied by identifying and safety planning around the challenges of this environment. The following are three challenges facing college students maintaining recovery from an eating disorder:

Relocation and Roommates

Beginning college often means a new place of living. Relocating housing is stressful at any point in life, but particularly so when that move includes changing regions, leaving family and familiarity, and taking on new roommates. Leaving the familiarity of home can also mean leaving an existing support structure. When relocating to a new region, it is important to proactively establish a new supportive community of friends and professionals. Though some are fortunate enough to find friendships amongst new roommates, these individuals are not always positive influences on recovery maintenance. Living in close proximity to individuals with disordered eating patterns can be a challenge, though one minimized by awareness and planning.

Competitive Environment

The acutely competitive nature of the college environment is no secret. In this culture students are encouraged to test their limits in order to academically achieve at the highest level. Further, the achievements of one student are frequently compared to the efforts of others rather than previous personal achievements. This cultural norm of comparing self to others and forgoing a balanced life in the pursuit of achievement in one area can be a particularly insidious challenge for students maintaining recovery from an eating disorder. Students in such an environment could benefit from intentionally planning for and cultivating balance between work and self-care as well as identifying personal goals and values around achievement. Additionally, students may find that practicing transparency with professors and advocating for alternative educational needs can create a more hospitable academic environment.

Inconsistent Structure and Schedules

Between course schedules shifting every few months, occasional extended breaks, and the increased workload around midterms and finals, college living provides little of the consistency in structure that is important for students maintaining recovery. This lack of structure often results in increased demands for accountability from the individual, particularly in regards to practicing self-care, engaging in appropriate levels of movement, and planning regular meals and snacks. Students may create increased structure by mindfully assessing their individual needs as well as generating and implementing realistic schedules that support sustained wellness. Furthermore, students who initiate participation in regular check-ins with primary support persons minimize the potential for isolation in their increased personal accountability.

The challenges facing students maintaining recovery from an eating disorder during the transition into college can be significant, but are largely able to be mitigated by proactive planning and accessing available supports. The three challenges noted here only begin to address what students can expect to encounter in this period of high stress. Engaging in party culture and risky behaviors, limited funds to provide for basic needs, and social media-driven socialization are just a few of the other obstacles that may present to students pursuing higher education. Fortunately, clinicians have the ability to aid clients in preparing for the college experience with the appropriate knowledge and skills that will support recovery maintenance.

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

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.


What Do I Say to My Child Away in Eating Disorder Treatment?

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Becky Henry is trained as a Certified, Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) and uses those skills to guide families to let go of fear and panic, learn self-care skills and become effective guides for their loved one in eating disorder recovery. In this week’s blog post, Becky shares valuable tips of what to say to your child who is away in eating disorder treatment. 

Your child has been away at a treatment center for about a week – maybe just 3-4 days and you get THE CALL! Your child, weeping or crying hysterically on the other end. “MOM! Help get me out of this place! They’re so mean to me!”

First, I am so sorry that this illness takes away our real kids from us. And I’m so sorry that no one gave you help in how to respond.

What do you say?  Hopefully the treatment center gave you a heads up that this is very COMMON.

Your job, once you’ve prepared yourself to be calm, rational and objective is to hang in there. Knowing this is VERY normal as the team is challenging the eating disorder (ED) a lot right now makes it very scary for your child. ED’s voice is VERY loud right now.

Keep loving him/her where he/she is at. Trust the model. Remind him/her that he/she is safe and that this is part of the process.  Remind him/her to lean on the staff when he/she needs support, that is what they are there for. Tell him/her she is brave. Acknowledge how scary and hard this is for him/her. Tell him/her you will always love him/her and be there for him/her. And that he/she can do this – one step at a time.

It might be useful to have something like this by your phone (or in your phone):

“Honey, I’m so sorry, it sounds so very hard and scary. I’m so proud of you for working so hard. I know. I love you. It will get easier. uh huh. yeah. WOW. Bummer. That sounds really scary. I know you can do this. Please remember to take one moment at a time. I love you.” 

And then repeat it each time he/she calls.

Know that ED is fighting for his very existence and is not going to give up easily.  When ED feels threatened he ups the ante.  This is what your child is up against. He/she needs you to be strong and not back down.

Then it won’t shred you to bits. As much. Loving a child is painful sometimes. Keep loving your child where they are at. Even when you want your child healthy and back home with you. For now you can do this.

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

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.


Sea Glass Grant: Recovered Living

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At Monte Nido & Affiliates, we save lives while providing the opportunity for people to realize their healthy selves. One of the ways we want to help provide opportunities for individuals to realize their healthy selves is through our Sea Glass Grants opportunity. We are excited to share our newest Sea Glass Grant recipient, Recovered Living, an organization providing coaching to those who aren’t able to obtain support in underserved locations, providing both in-person support and online. Read more about this amazing organization below! 

How did Recovered Living come about?

My own recovery experience inspired me to create a service for people who did not have access to face-to-face support.

After flying home to to New Zealand after 7 months with Monte Nido I realized the ‘Treatment Bubble’ had well and truly burst. The nearest eating disorder therapist was 6 hours drive away so I knew if I wanted to stay in recovery, I needed to get creative in finding a team.

I found a therapist and a dietician that worked online and figured out that lunchtime in New Zealand was dinnertime in California. I would Skype with my recovery friends at mealtimes and in this way created my own virtual IOP. No matter where I was in New Zealand, my entire team was at my fingertips via my laptop.  This is how I recovered.

In my recovery journey I saw many people relapse and even die as a direct result of lack of available treatment options. I became determined to bridge the gap for people who did not have access to face-to-face support and create something different that addressed the gap.

How has Recovered Living helped you in your recovery journey?

Recovered Living was a dream of mine years before it was a reality. When recovery was tough for me or the temptation to go back to my eating disorder was strong, I would remind myself that I couldn’t be a role model for others if I went back to my eating disorder. Helping others and being a leader in the recovery field was a very strong motivator for my recovery.

Who is Recovered Living? 

Recovered Living is 100% Kristie at the minute! I often refer to Recovered Living as ‘we’…because it truly has a life-force of its own. I have my Kristie life and there is another being in my life called Recovered Living that I am in relationship with.

It is getting close to the time that I need another coach to help meet demand – Recovered Living will soon be ‘us’!

What feeling do you most associate with Recovered Living?

Only one?  Hope. The most important thing in the world. Inspiration. Authenticity & Effervescence!

Walk me through the Recovered Living process, how do people currently hear about the services you provide?

Recovered Living provides two distinct services.

Transition Assistance is a 24/7 service where a Recovery Coach will move into a clients home to help them transition. This can be moving from Residential to PHP, from School to Home…or anything in between. When the Recovery Coach leaves, they can continue supporting clients via online sessions.  With such a detailed insight into Client’s lives, we have noticed people’s recovery wobbles are more like a dance move than a dive.

The other service Recovered Living provides is online Meal and Snack Support, Recovery Coaching and At-Home Cooking Sessions. This means we have clients all across America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Europe.

We recently started a free online ‘Support Space’ group for family and friends of Recovered Living clients. An eating disorder does not just affect one person in the family, it affects every person in the family. We believe families deserve support too!

People have found Recovered Living from all over – we get lots of people from Google searches, word of mouth referrals or from our social media platforms. Something we always offer clients is the opportunity to talk with us first, before making any commitments. We will connect via video call with any new client to hear their story and to talk about how we can help them move forward in recovery. If we seem like a good fit and you want to move ahead – we will design a support schedule that works for your individual needs. We are available nights AND weekends – we get that recovery operates outside office hours – so do we!

What is your favorite part of the day-to-day start up process?

It is not one moment that is my favorite so much as the feeling of a driving and vibrant passion inside me. Sometimes I get so excited I don’t want to close my eyes at night!!

How can people get involved?

If you think Recovered Living is a service that could help someone you know, please spread the word!  We have a Facebook and Instagram account, as well as a monthly blog (you can sign up for our newsletter on the website).

Have spare time on your hands? We currently have volunteer opportunities available to help get an upcoming project off the ground. We always welcome support!!!

What advice would you give to someone in their recovery who has a dream?

Do it!  Something that helped me in recovery was the mantra, ‘bigger jeans, bigger life’…now I say ‘bigger dreams, bigger life’!   

What are your hopes and dreams for Recovered Living?

I hope Recovered Living reaches every corner of the world that has access to the internet.

I dream of a time where treatment for people will be affordable, help is available and support is practical.  No matter where you live.

I hope Recovered Living helps to promote the benefits of telemedicine, giving rise to the critical mass that is creating a change in treatment options.

I dream of the client that will one day become a Coach. The client that follows their calling and becomes the person they wish they had in their recovery – themselves.

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

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.


Part Two: Don’t Look in My Lunchbox! An Open Letter to all teachers, coaches, school personnel, educators, parents, and frankly, everyone, everywhere…

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Clementine Advisory Board Member Cherie Monarch shares an important letter from a mother’s perspective in this week’s blog post. Cherie continues with an “open letter to all teachers, coaches, school personnel, educators, parents, and frankly, everyone, everywhere”.  

10 Things you need to know before you speak (read 1-4 HERE)

5. It is estimated that at least 10 to 15 percent of children and up to 80 percent of all special needs children struggle with some form of feeding disorder or challenges. Some children have complex food challenges, allergies, or anxieties – they can be physical or mental. Many of these challenges are not obvious. My child may have severe anxiety in social situations or loud environments (like a lunchroom) and become overwhelmed and distracted. Therefore, they must consume calorically dense, safe foods – foods you may not consider nutritious – in an effort to meet their energy requirement for the remainder of the school day. My child may have ARFID – Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and may avoid foods based on certain qualities – such as texture, color, taste, or temperature. As such, my child may only have 3-4 foods total that he/she will eat. If you shame my child about what is in their lunchbox, they may eat nothing. Your words may have just eliminated one of my child’s “safe” foods – therefore harming them and erasing a source of energy.  

6. There is little research on the effectiveness of healthy eating and weight initiatives in schools. In fact, there have been studies that have indicated that a potential unintended consequence of these programs and schools monitoring lunches was the development of an eating disorder in children who were susceptible or genetically predisposed. The children who are negatively impacted by these programs are typically students who excel in academics and extra-curricular activities and view the healthy weight initiatives as another measure of their success. So, please be careful with your words. They may compel to my perfectionistic child, my rule follower, to embark on a competition to be the “healthiest” kid. I know you would not want to be the trigger that caused a child to develop a life-threatening eating disorder or unhealthy food and exercise behaviors.

7. Research suggests that up to 50% of the population demonstrate problematic or disordered relationships with food, body and exercise. In our culture, there is an obsession with size and weight (thinness), diet and exercise. In fact, research has indicated that 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fatYour words may result in my child having disordered eating which could include chronic yo-yo dieting, frequent weight fluctuations, rigid and unhealthy food and exercise regime, feelings of guilt and shame every time my child eats a food you have instructed is “unhealthy” or they gain weight or they are unable to maintain exercise habits. Your instruction could potentially cause my child to be preoccupied with food, body and exercise that causes them distress and has a negative impact on their quality-of-life. It could result in my child using compensatory measures such as exercise, food restriction, fasting, purging, laxative use, etc., in an effort to “offset” any food consumed. It is estimated 35-57% of adolescent girls and 20-30% of adolescent boys engage in crash dieting, fasting, self-induced vomiting, diet pills, or laxatives. You likely do you not realize the impact your words can have on my child’s mental and physical health – for the rest of their life. It is important you understand disordered eating is a serious health concern. Detrimental consequences could include a greater risk of obesity (the very thing you’re trying to prevent), eating disorders, bone loss, gastrointestinal disturbances, electrolyte imbalances, low heart rate and blood pressure, increased anxiety and depression, and social isolation.

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

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.

 


When Emotion Mind Wreaks Havoc on our Behaviors

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Clementine Briarcliff Manor Primary Therapist Dana Sedlak, LCSW discusses the progression of “emotion mind” to “wise mind” in eating disorder treatment. In this week’s blog post, Dana explains how our emotions are directly tied to our behaviors and some strategies used to support clients in recognizing and moving past maladpative behaviors.

One of the most difficult parts of treatment involves identifying and understanding one’s thoughts and feelings. This can be more challenging for those with eating disorders whose function has served as a numbing agent for several unwanted emotions. It has become natural and sometimes habitual to dismiss feelings in order to feel in control. Through DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), teenagers are introduced to the idea of Distress Tolerance: Unfortunately, pain is a part of life and therefore one must learn how to manage difficult emotions.

Many teenagers speak to having an increase of emotions once they begin completing their meal plan in treatment. We often wonder whether they are experiencing more emotions due to many of their eating disorder behaviors decreasing or because they are becoming more connected to themselves and others due to the therapeutic process. Despite the reasoning behind this, the increase in emotions is extremely uncomfortable for them. They often report feeling easily overwhelmed by these emotions with little confidence in coping with them. The danger in this scenario is that without intervention, emotion mind leads right back to use of destructive behaviors. They then become stuck in what often feels like an endless cycle.

The beginning of this cycle includes a precipitating event that is identified as the trigger. This could be anything from a death of a loved one to getting a poor grade on a test. One’s emotions then start to bubble up, including depression, desperation, anxiety, and worthlessness. Shortly after these emotions then turn into thoughts that become fueled by these emotions. “I can’t deal with this anymore” and “I’m so dumb, I might as well just stop trying” are prime examples of these emotion-driven thoughts based on the triggering event. As we know from CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), the thoughts also quickly turn into behaviors. This is where one’s eating disorder and co-morbid illnesses take hold. Restricting, binging, purging, over-exercising, self-harming, and other similar behaviors serve as protective measures that protect one’s ego/self-esteem in order to avoid these thoughts and emotions.

Once the behaviors have initially subsided, consequences are likely to appear. This could occur in either the short or long-term, but often results in loss of freedom, relationship problems, health problems, or a worsening of symptoms. Emotion mind revs up and creates more feelings of depression, anxiety, being overwhelmed, and an increase in shame because of these consequences. These emotions now feel intolerable again and one resorts back to what she thinks works: Covering up these emotions through more behaviors.  Before she is even aware, she becomes stuck in this cycle of suffering all over again.

The goal through DBT is to intervene at the beginning stages of this destructive pattern. It is vital in recovery for one to be able to appropriately identify and feel one’s emotions. It makes sense for someone to feel sadness after a death or anxiety after doing poorly on a test. We never want to invalidate this part of the experience. What we would like to change comes in-between the negative thoughts and the behavior use. At this point in the cycle, one must learn to challenge her thoughts and then seek self-soothing coping behaviors to gain the same sense of protection and security that the eating disorder often creates. This can come in the form of one’s five senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Go outside in nature, listen to your favorite song, smell a candle of a scent that brings you peace, take a warm bath or shower, or sip on your favorite drink.

Through continued intervention and practice, emotion mind will mold into wise mind where one no longer needs to use the eating disorder to manage and push away the emotions. Instead, one has gained the courage to face the emotions as they are. By breaking this cycle, one becomes vulnerable enough to know and believe that she is completely capable of working through any emotion that arises. It is then that one can begin to slowly and surely let go of the old destructive behaviors that no longer serve the same purpose.

 

References: “Out-of Control: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)-Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook for Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior”

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

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.

 


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.

 

How to use Meditation for Teen Stress and Anxiety Cleveland Clinic

How is Hating Your Body Serving You? Huffington Post

How to Keep a Recovery Mindset During Finals Week Angie Viets

4 Tips for Navigating the Holiday Season without Compromising Your Recovery Recovery Warriors

5 Ways I’m Managing my Mental Health Through the Holidays The Mighty

5 Ways to Stay Motivated in Recovery Over the Long Term Project Heal

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

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.


Don’t Look in My Lunchbox! An Open Letter to all teachers, coaches, school personnel, educators, parents, and frankly, everyone, everywhere…

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Clementine Advisory Board Member Cherie Monarch shares an important letter from a mother’s perspective in this week’s blog post. Check out the first of two posts written by Cherie…

10 Things you need to know before you speak

An Open Letter to all teachers, coaches, school personnel, educators, parents, and frankly, everyone, everywhere…

Dear Teacher,

I can’t thank you enough for your dedication and inspiring my child to love learning. You truly are a hero to me and my child.  I want to thank you for your concern for my child’s nutritional wellbeing and wanting my child to be healthy. It is greatly appreciated. But with all due respect, it is important for you to know that I am my child’s mother and I know their nutritional needs better than anyone.

Here are a few things you likely don’t know:

  1. My child may have a sibling who has struggled with an eating disorder. As a result of the genetic link, my child is 10 times more susceptible to developing an eating disorder than the average population. It is important that my child eats ALL foods. I do not want my child being encouraged, instructed, or told that he should not eat certain foods. Your words could potentially be the catalyst for food restriction and negative energy balance which could trigger an eating disorder for those prone.
  2. Foods do not have moral value. I do not want my child being taught that some foods are good and some foods are bad. Yes, some foods may offer more nutritional value than others, but all foods have purpose. Some may offer more vitamins, but others may offer comfort, celebration and nurture their spirit. Nutrition is about balance. I want my child to eat all foods and learn all foods are good in moderation. Balance is key.
  3. You do not know a child’s medical history, needs and conditions. Therefore, I encourage you to not instruct any child on their food choice or monitor their lunch boxes for content. A student could have a hematologic condition where their blood clots faster than normal. Ingesting vegetables, which are loaded with vitamin K, could actually harm them by creating a blood clot. A child with this condition needs to have a limited amount of vitamin K. The child could also be suffering from an eating disorder or a brain condition, you can’t tell by looking at them. They may need additional fats in their diet.
  4. Are you aware that the average person needs 30% fat in their diet for normal brain function? You telling my child not to eat NO fat or low-fat may cause their brain to atrophy and may cause them to have memory problems. Having fat in my child’s diet can actually make them smarter. You see, their brain is comprised of 60% fat. So, their brain needs fat in order to function correctly.
  5. It is estimated that at least 10 to 15 percent of children and up to 80 percent of all special needschildren struggle with some form of feeding disorder or challenges. Some children have complex food challenges, allergies, or anxieties – they can be physical or mental. Many of these challenges are not obvious. My child may have severe anxiety in social situations or loud environments (like a lunchroom) and become overwhelmed and distracted. Therefore, they must consume calorically dense, safe foods – foods you may not consider nutritious – in an effort to meet their energy requirement for the remainder of the school day. My child may have ARFID – Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and may avoid foods based on certain qualities – such as texture, color, taste, or temperature. As such, my child may only have 3-4 foods total that he/she will eat. If you shame my child about what is in their lunchbox, they may eat nothing. Your words may have just eliminated one of my child’s “safe” foods – therefore harming them and erasing a source of energy.

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

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.


Supporting Eating Disorder Recovery Through the Holidays

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Clementine Briarcliff Manor Registered Dietitian Megan Fahey, MS, RD, CDN discusses eating disorder recovery through the holidays in this week’s blog post. Megan outlines tips to offer you or your loved one support around the holiday table.

It is once again the most wonderful (and stressful) time of year! Along with shopping, decorating and gift giving, cooking and baking are included on the never-ending to-do list. From Thanksgiving dinner through New Year’s celebrations, food undeniably plays a central role at holiday gatherings. For an individual struggling with an eating disorder, or working to maintain recovery from one, the overwhelming focus on eating can take away from celebratory experiences with family and friends. The following are tips to offer you or your loved one support around the holiday table.

Plan Ahead.

Schedule holiday plans in advance in order to make any necessary adjustments to your meal plan. Gather details on the location and timing of each event, as well as the type of food served. Work with your dietitian prior to a holiday party to create a balanced plate from the dishes that will be available. Focus on incorporating a variety of textures, colors and flavors to enjoy. Keeping in line with a 3 meal + 3 snack meal plan model, try selecting appetizers or desserts for one or more of your “snacks” to normalize your style of eating for the holidays. If you or your loved one have food allergies or dietary restrictions, be sure to collaborate with the hostess and bring alternative dishes as needed. Although the meal plan is a tool to help you navigate decisions around food at the table, it is important to maintain flexibility around timing of eating and selection of food. Becoming attuned to your physical body will ultimately shift your focus away from an external meal plan. Eating disorder recovery is possible when you provide yourself permission to nourish yourself based on your body’s internal cues and desires.

Ask for Support.

This is a time of year to connect with those around us. Open up to a trusted family member or friend to communicate whatever support you may need to follow your established meal plan. Identify particular food behaviors you are working on and explain how your “ally” can best support you at the table. Maybe you need a second set of eyes assessing your portion sizes, or someone to pace with you during the meal. It may be stepping aside before and/or after the meal to briefly process your emotions and check in with your hunger / fullness levels. Eating disordered thoughts and urges are isolating, even when surrounded by a room full of people. Reach out and ask someone to help you process the emotion of the holiday to help resist eating disorder urges before, during and after the meal.

Be Mindful.

Mindfulness practices such as deep breathing will activate the parasympathetic nervous system and ease the muscles of the digestive tract. Your mindset while eating impacts not only the quantity of food you consume, but also how well your body is able to digest and absorb the nutrients present in the meal. Take a moment before the first bite to place both feet on the floor and take a few deep breaths to help calm your nervous system and ground yourself at the table. Although it sounds simple, mindful breathing will restore oxygen to the brain, helping you think clearly and make more effective decisions.

Create New Traditions.

It is not uncommon for holiday discussion to revolve around food, often times referencing the “good” or “bad” qualities of each component of the meal. This can be especially triggering to hear if you are working to establish a more nourishing relationship with food and your body. Although it is not possible control the attitudes of those around you, try introducing games or music at your family gathering to help shift the focus from food talk to interpersonal connection. Set a goal to interact with family members in a different way by engaging in conversation around shared interests or offering non-appearance related complements to at least 3 people. Remember that most people experience some level of anxiety at holiday gatherings and may also benefit from creating new traditions for the day.

Give to Yourself. 

During this season of giving, it is extremely important to tend to your own needs. There is such a beautiful energy in the spirit of the holidays, which can be overshadowed by your anxiety around food and eating. Create time in your schedule for self-care, incorporating relaxing activities to balance social holiday events. Implement a gratitude practice to connect with the abundance of your life. You have worked so hard on this journey of eating disorder recovery and are inherently worthy of experiencing all of the joy of the holiday season.

 

Clementine invites you to an open house celebration for our newest location, Clementine Malibu Lake, opening in December, on November 30th at 5pm! Learn more here

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.