4 Tips to Help Calm Down My Child Now

|

Becky Henry is trained as a Certified, Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) who coaches with families to let go of fear and panic, reduce distress, learn self-care skills to tolerate a loved one’s distress and become effective guides for their loved one in eating disorder recovery. In this post, Becky discusses ways to manage Emotions that show up when your loved one is at a residential treatment center (RTC) and when they come home.

When a child or other loved one is away at treatment you’ll have many emotions. It is easy to have judgment about our emotions. AND, that is not necessary or helpful to us or our loved one. So when we can prepare for emotions, name them and accept them, then we can have a plan to cope with them.

My article: What Parents and Health Care Professionals can Expect from Residential Eating Disorders Treatment, highlighted 15 points for parents to consider and prepare for while a child is in a RTC. I promised I’d go into more depth on each point. Please note that these pertain to anyone who cares about someone in recovery, I use ‘parents’ simply because they make up the majority of my coaching practice.

Here are just a few of the emotions parents/caregivers have expressed to me over the years:

  • Panicked
  • Fearful/Scared/Afraid
  •  Sad
  •  Angry/Pissed
  • Anxious
  • Hopeless
  • Out of Control
  • Worn Down

Some of these may sound very familiar to you and some, like ‘angry’ may surprise you. It can often surprise us when we feel angry towards our very ill child/loved one. AND, when our loved one is acting out and using us as a punching bag and they aren’t taking responsibility for their actions, anger can be a natural feeling. We don’t help ourselves or our loved one in recovery when we judge our emotions. So how do we stop doing that?

Here are my 4 Tips for being calmer when your child has an eating disorder:

  1. Notice & name your emotions
  2. Accept your emotions
  3. Use a calming tool
  4. Make a plan for going forward

First, knowing we’re going to have emotions that may surprise us can prepare us so we’re not blindsided by the emotion. Then naming the emotion can help us gain clarity on what we are feeling so we can accept the feeling and make a plan. After we feel the feeling, name it and allow ourselves the compassion to have the feeling, then we don’t need to be stuck in it. We can then consciously choose to keep feeling it or to then release it when we are ready.

Part of the plan may be simply knowing that emotions are going to show up that we hadn’t expected. And being gentle and kind to ourselves.

Then we can have some coping tools to reduce our distress in our back pocket. One of the keys is to choose one or two that we really find easy and can do anywhere and anytime. Some parents even leave a post it note visible to remind them to use the tools they find most useful.

For instance, some parents really find DBT skills helpful. DBT is a mindfulness and distress tolerance therapy designed by Marsha Linehan. It stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy. I love the DBT skill; ‘Opposite action to reaction.’ When a crisis comes up I can choose this skill to be extra calm so I can make rational decisions.

Some people like the 4-7-8 breathing tool that I teach my coaching clients. It is simply breathing in for a count of 4, holding for a count of 7 and out for a count of 8. And repeating 2-3 times.

Now, it may seem odd to you that I’m not focusing on your loved one’s illness or treatment journey.

This is about you AND when you take care of YOU, it helps your loved one in recovery.

It can feel counter-intuitive. It is essential. What I see is that coaching clients who work with me for 6 months or more are able to implement tools for self-care and then we both see their loved one improve in their recovery. It surprised me too!

When caregivers are not burned out, we can be calmer. More compassionate. More caring. And more confident. When a person in recovery has caregivers who are calmer, more compassionate, more caring and confident; they do better. What would be different for you to not be exhausted, overwhelmed and unsure?

So when people ask me, “Becky, how can I support my loved one in recovery?” I tell them, “Get your oxygen mask on 1st. Make sure it’s firmly in place before assisting your loved one.” Where have you heard this before? This is NO DIFFERENT.

I know, it can feel selfish…and please go back and re-read this paragraph again: “ When caregivers are not burned out, we can be calmer. More compassionate. More caring. And more confident. When a person in recovery has caregivers who are calmer, more compassionate, more caring and confident; they do better.”

So what do you think? Are you ready to prepare for your emotions? To name them? Accept? Plan? What self care tools will you use?

Please share your comments.

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.587.0780visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Healing the Family

|

Amanda Mellowspring, RD/N, CEDRD is a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian with over a decade of experience in program development and clinical application working with eating disorders at various levels of care. She shares how the food exposures and challenges at Clementine help clients in their recovery process.

Most often by the time an individual admits to one of Clementine’s residential treatment programs, the client, the family, and their peer group are afraid, frustrated, and exhausted. Oftentimes, many emotional injuries have occurred along the way. Many of these have occurred surrounding food.

With eating disorders, food is the vehicle through which feelings are expressed that otherwise may not be spoken or heard. For this reason, food symbolically consumes the family and the peer group for these individuals. Family meals become tense if not obsolete because of the frustrations and anxieties associated with food selection, preparation, quantity, and behaviors at the table. Dining with friends is no longer a fun way to catch up, laugh, and share stories. It becomes a terrifying task of eating enough of the “right” things to seem “normal enough” and not ruin everyone else’s fun as her mind races with thoughts of hidden calories, special orders, and comparisons.

In healing these injuries, it is vital that each client at Clementine, not only achieves a state of health and wellness with appropriate food intake and nutrient balance but that she also begins to experience freedom in her experiences with food.  Food exposures and challenges with staff, with family, and individually are all important ways of doing this. This aspect of recovery takes practice in self-confidence with nutritional needs and honesty in honoring all of the aspects of food that make it enjoyable in our lives. Being able to cook a meal with mom and dad, go on a picnic, order in for a movie night, or go out for ice cream on a pass are all examples of ways that Clementine clients have practiced this healing.

During these exposures clients are not only practicing eating foods they like and desire in appropriate quantities to support their body’s needs, they are also challenging messages regarding comparisons with others, seeing calorie information posted in restaurants, managing herself while others around her may feed themselves differently, and working to be present in the moment socially and emotionally to enjoy the opportunity to be with friends or family.

The Clementine dietitian works closely with the entire treatment team and family to ensure that the dynamics surrounding these injuries at the table are acknowledged and approached with compassion for both the client and her family members.

Obtaining a state of health and awareness of how to nourish one’s body appropriately is vital in recovery, while healing the injuries that have occurred around the table offers peace and serenity for these individuals allowing them to move forward in their life and recovery without the wounds of the eating disorder.

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.587.0780visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Part Three: If It Were Cancer…

|

Clementine Advisory Board Member Cherie Monarch concludes her series in this week’s blog post. Cherie shares the pain felt by a family when a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder. 

Read Part One of Cherie’s Series HERE and Part Two HERE.

If it were cancer… Would you accommodate it or do everything possible to eradicate it?

If it were cancer… Would you be passive or would you be aggressive?

If it were cancer… Would you allow them to drive a car when they were so sick from undergoing chemo treatments?

If it were cancer… Would you validate their distress, yet still require them to undergo prescribed treatment? Or would you let the treatment stop?

If it were cancer… Would you be angry at your loved one? Would you lose your temper?

If it were cancer… Would anyone in the family be upset or angry? Would there be any hesitation to support the family or the patient?

If it were cancer… Would you remember that you have to take care of yourself, so that you can take care of your loved one?

If it were cancer… Would you ever blame yourself? Would you ever think that you caused the cancer?

If it were cancer… Would you be proactive and diligent about following up with your team and providers? Or would it not even be on your priority list?

If it were cancer… Would you and your spouse or ex be working together to eradicate the cancer in your loved one? Or would you be feuding on how to navigate?

If it were cancer… Would you go against the treatment team’s recommendations? Or would you think it’s not that serious, we will wait to seek a higher level of care?

If it were cancer… Would you accept the first medical practitioner recommended? Or would you ask questions and seek out the best?

If it were cancer… Would you ask me or my loved one how did you get cancer?

If it were cancer… Would you validate the struggle? Or would you judge and interrogate?

If it were cancer… Would you be empathetic? Or would you say “just eat” or “quit purging”?

If it were cancer… And a clinician did not appear educated, would you stay? Or would you seek new expert care?

If it were cancer… Would you have done anything different? Would you have taken a different path?

If it were cancer… Would you accept any treatment to stay alive? Or would it be a battle just to get you in treatment?

If it were cancer… Would you understand why your family is so scared?

If it were cancer… Would you tell your family?

If it were cancer… Would you understand why your family wants to support you? Why they want to be involved?

If it were cancer… Would you tell them it’s none of their business? Would you tell them to walk away? Would you tell them that you can do this on your own?

If it were cancer… Would you refuse treatment? Would you battle your family? Or would you listen?

If it were cancer… Would you understand why your family wants you to be diligent in your recovery? Wants you to have the support of a team?

If it were cancer… Would you think your family is trying to control you?  Would you think that your family is trying to smother you? Or would you think my family really loves me?

If it were cancer… Would you allow your family to hold your hand as you navigate treatment?

If it were cancer… Would you allow them to comfort you when you’re struggling?

If it were cancer…Would you allow family and friends to love you? To hug you? Or would you isolate?

If it were cancer… Would you trust them and want them to help carry your pain?

If it were cancer… Would you run to them or from them?

If it were cancer… Would you listen to their concerns and their fears?

If it were cancer… Would you understand that this is the most terrifying thing that has ever happened to your family? Would you understand that their fears are justified?

If it were cancer… And your student needed to miss school would you hesitate to allow them? Or would you do everything to support them until the school can wait?

If it were cancer… Would you allow virtual school at home until they were recovered and fully in remission?

If it were cancer… Would you penalize them for missing school?

If it were cancer… Would you do everything to support the patient help them reintegrate into school? Or would you saddle them with unrealistic expectations and burdens?

If it were cancer… Would you send cards and bring meals? Would you offer to help?

If it were cancer… Would you offer to watch the kids so the carers could get a night away?

If it were cancer… Would you unite the neighbors, school families, and church members to support the family and the patient? Or would you look the other way? Would you do nothing?

If it were cancer… Would you continue to speak to those affected about your diets, workouts, latest health craze?

If it were cancer… Would you quit asking the patient to babysit because you were afraid your children might catch “it”?

If it were cancer… Would you reach out to the family if you had not heard from them for a week, a month, a year? Would you express concern and offer support?

If it were cancer…Would we be demanding more research? More funding? More grants and scholarships? Would we accept “no”?

If it were cancer…Would nations, organizations, and populations join hands to eradicate?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate to give your employee time off? Or would you offer them to take all the time their family needs?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate or refuse to cover treatment? Would you tell the patient or the family that treatment is not “medically necessary” and deny insurance coverage?

If it were cancer… Would you tell the patient and the family that they need to fail at a lower level of care first before insurance will cover prescribed treatment?

If it were cancer…Would you ignore the prescribed treatment of the treatment team and allow the insurance company to determine what is best practice or best care for the patient? Would you follow the mandates by the insurance company medical director who has never met the patient? Would the public and media allow any such treatment of a cancer patient?

If it were cancer…Would a patient be discharged from care without completing treatment?

If it were cancer…Would continued coverage be reviewed every two weeks, week, or three days? Would chemo treatments stop if insurance denied?

If it were cancer…Would the patient or family be battling insurance while trying to save their loved ones life?

If it were cancer…Would treatment be denied by the insurance company?

If it were cancer…Would the entire team – family, friends, providers, and insurance demand early intervention and treatment? Would every one collaborate and communicate to ensure the action was swift and aggressive? And as prescribed?

If it were cancer… Would you let any newly diagnosed patient leave your office without appointments, materials, and support?

If it were cancer… Would you help the patient and the family find appropriate support and treatment? Would you do everything possible?

If it were cancer…and you weren’t familiar with that particular type of cancer, would you align yourself with a doctor who was? Would you tell the family I am going to help you find the best care possible?

If it were cancer… Would you tell the family that their loved one needs to do this alone?

If it were cancer… Would you ever tell the family that their support is not helping? Or would you teach them how to support the patient?

If it were cancer… Would you ever tell the patient they were “not that sick”?

If it were cancer… Would you do everything possible to support the patient and the family?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate to collaborate with other treatment providers? Or would you feel it’s a necessity?

If it were cancer… Would you listen to the family’s concerns when they approached you?

If it were cancer… Would you schedule appointments in two days, two weeks, or two months?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate to include the parents? Would you care if they were over 18? Would you let them decompensate because there was no release? Would let them refuse to take the chemo? Undergo treatment?

If it were cancer… Would you think it is serious?

The bottom line is eating disorders are just as deadly as cancer. In fact, without treatment, up to 20% will die. They have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and they are the third most chronic illness in adolescents. Every 62 minutes someone dies as a direct result of an eating disorder… 23 lives lost every single day!

So as you’re navigating this journey yourself, with a loved one, with a patient, or with a friend, and you’re pondering what to do or what to say, how to support someone who is struggling, determining your next step, questioning what the right path is, please try to reframe it.

If it were cancer…

P.S. This post is not meant in any way to diminish the seriousness of cancer nor negate any families horrific journey with cancer.  It is intended to highlight the seriousness of eating disorders. Imagine if everyone treated eating disorders like cancer…

 

This article originally published on Cherie Monarch’s Blog.

 

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

|

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.


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

|

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.

 


Article Spotlight

|

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…

|

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

|

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.


Creating a Game Plan for the Holidays – Helping you and your loved one navigate

|

Clementine Parent Advisory Board Members Becky Henry, CPCC and Cherie Monarch co-wrote this week’s blog post for all those with a loved one struggling with an eating disorder. Becky and Cherie outline clear tips to create a game plan to support you and your loved one in navigating the upcoming holidays. We are thankful to both Becky and Cherie for contributing this extremely helpful piece.

For someone with an eating disorder, the holidays can be an extremely difficult and stressful time. There are family celebrations, school parties, office parties, friend parties…the list goes on. But the common theme of these celebrations is FOOD.  Food is everywhere. Food is the topic of conversation. Everyone is speaking of “good” and “bad” foods. How they shouldn’t be “bad”. How they will “work it off” tomorrow. FOOD. FOOD. FOOD. WEIGHT.

For our loved ones trapped in the private hell of anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and other eating disorders, the holidays are the ultimate nightmare.  These holidays magnify the personal struggles of our loved one and can be extremely difficult – for the family and the patient. The family is uncertain how to support the patient during these “food” feasts and the patient is terrified, feeling an increase in anxiety surrounding the holidays.

Follow these 10 tips to create a game plan that will help support you and your loved one throughout these food focused holidays.

Encourage your family to focus on the real meaning of the celebration. Make sure that the primary focus of the holiday is not on the food but rather on the family and the valued time you will share together. Take this opportunity to educate family and friends about eating disorders prior to the event. Discourage talk of calories, food, fullness, over eating, and encourage discussions of gratitude and love.

Recognize and validate how challenging the holidays are for your loved one. Understand for someone navigating an eating disorder the holidays are overwhelming. Validate their fears and their challenges. Be compassionate, kind, supportive and loving.

Plan other activities and distractions. Allow for other activities such as games, movies, caroling, decorating, that focus on the quality time with friends and family. This will give your loved one and you and opportunity to relax and breathe.

Plan meals ahead of the event. Establish a plan with your loved one on how they will navigate the day. Determine ahead of time how you can best support them and what their menu will be. For someone with an eating disorder, being faced with a bountiful buffet can be overwhelming. So many choices and decisions can be paralyzing. Help free them by supporting their decisions for meal choices ahead of time.

Grab a buddy. Prior to the event, help your loved one establish a buddy. This buddy will be their support system throughout the day. Anticipate what potential challenges will be and plan ahead on how to navigate. Have the buddy sit next to them during the meal. Establish a sign, like a squeeze of the hand, that will make the buddy aware they need additional support or are struggling. Step away privately to navigate.

Don’t make it about the food. Do not focus or comment on what your loved one is eating or NOT eating. Remember if they are unable to properly nourish at the event, they can supplement later. Don’t ruin your day or your loved one’s day by focusing on the food.

Set healthy boundaries together. You and your loved one work together to establish a plan on how friends and family will be addressed should the conversation take an unhealthy or triggering turn… such as diet talk, food, weight, etc. It can help to role-play this in advance. Saying something like “I declare this table a diet free and weight free zone” or “Can we please change the conversation to something more meaningful and just enjoy each other’s company?” or “I’m so thankful to be amongst family and friends on this special day. Why don’t we each share what we’re grateful for?”  Important that you learn how to ask for what you need.

Be mindful of the time. Often times when our loved ones are navigating recovery it helps to eat at structured times. Have this conversation ahead of time. How can your loved one meet their nutritional needs that day? Make sure the events are planned with a pre-determined time for meals and nourishing. Be aware that it can add tremendous stress to someone in recovery when meal times are ignored or unstructured. Change in routine is very challenging to navigate.

Remember there is always next year.  Holidays can appear at difficult times in the recovery process. If your loved one feels they are unable to face family and friends at this time, change it up. Maybe go for a picnic in the park, spend time in nature, and feed the ducks. Another option is to do something small and intimate right in your own home. Or maybe just prepare a bunch of appetizers (something fun and different) and watch a movie and take a nap. Maybe the entire family can do a hobby together, and keep the focus off the food and on the experience and together time.

Don’t forget to laugh!! It is amazing how much laughter can help lighten the mood and alleviate the stress!

While the holidays are a time for celebration, it is also key to remember that those with eating disorders may be having a particularly hard time. It is critical that a game plan be created in order to help you and your loved one navigate these stressful holiday gatherings.  Following these tips may be a helpful way to guide you and your loved one through this stressful time.

Try to remember that holidays are about celebrating family, gratitude, blessings, and remembering what is truly important in life. The holidays are not about the food. Food is just a part of the celebration. But it’s not the reason we celebrate.

Try not to focus on the eating disorder or let the eating disorder even be a part of the day. Remember that any missed nutrition can be replenished. If there are any concerns, certainly address them with the treatment team after the holidays.

If the celebration, or thought of it, is causing tremendous stress or anxiety on your loved one express concern in a constructive way and ask how you can support them. Remember that you can celebrate quietly and don’t have to attend large stressful gatherings if your loved one is not ready. The most important thing is that there are future opportunities for celebration and that your loved one is here to truly experience them in a healthy way.

Happy holidays to you, your loved one, and your family.

 

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.

 


The Tipping Point in the Pursuit of Health: Clinical Assessment and Treatment of Orthorexia Nervosa and Exercise Addiction

|

Join Oliver-Pyatt Centers, Clementine Adolescent Treatment Programs and T.H.E. Center for Disordered Eating of Western North Carolina for “The Tipping Point in the Pursuit of Health: Clinical Assessment and Treatment of Orthorexia Nervosa and Exercise Addiction” with Director of Clinical Programming Jamie Morris, MS, LMHC, CEDS-S.

Exercise and nutrition are foundational to good health, but extreme behaviors can be warning signs indicating unhealthy behaviors. Proper assessment and treatment are key in preventing these behaviors from becoming life-interfering and, in some cases, health harming. Through this workshop, participants will come away with an understanding of orthorexia, its definition and the controversy surrounding the term. Similarly, exercise addiction will be defined and assessment measures will be reviewed. The presenter will address the cognitive and behavioral similarities between orthorexia and exercise addiction and participants can expect to receive practical clinical interventions. The presentation will also address how cultural and social reinforcements impose challenges in the treatment of these disorders.

Participants will be able to:
1. Define the term orthorexia and understand the history of this disorder
2. Define the difference between compulsive and excessive exercise and name assessment measures that can be used
3. Name two validated measures that can be administered to assess eating and exercise behavior

The presentation will be held on November 17th from 10:00am – 12:00pm at The Center for Disordered Eating Office in Asheville, North Carolina. Two CE Credits Provided: PhD, PsyD, LMFT, LPCC, LMHC, LMSW, LCSW, RD

To RSVP, please reach out to Regional Outreach Manager Jamie Singleteary: jsingleteary@montenidoaffiliates.com