Are you tired of yo-yo dieting?

Are you Looking for Help with an Eating Disorder?

It’s Hard to Find a Trusted Therapist or Counselor to Help with Issues Focused on Food!

Are you using food as a way to fulfill your emotional needs?

  • Do you constantly think about food?
  • Do you hate the way you look?
  • Do you use food to take care of yourself or to punish yourself?
  • Are you tired of dieting and don’t know what else to do?
  • Body Image Issues?
  • Body Shame due to Body Image?
  • Do you Feel Guilty Every Time you Eat?
Always thinking about what you should eat and how you should look is no way to live your life. That’s why I’m glad you’re here!
Taking the first step towards getting help is often the most difficult yet the best thing you can do for yourself.

Anne Cuthbert, MA, LPC, LMHC
All Shapes, Sizes & Bodies Welcome!

Why Dieting & Restricting Does Not Work! Read More...

Loveable At Any Size 3-day Intensive Workshop

April 3rd, 4th & 5th
Call Anne at 360-726-4141 for Registration.

This workshop is about being open and honest – being your real self, taking risks in a safe environment, deeply connecting with other women, fully receiving acceptance, validation, understanding, value and love from others, healing past traumas / challenges, greater empathy for yourself, letting your emotions out and
more!

And if you’ve done this workshop before, you know how healing it is. Come and do it again for even deeper healing! Really. Each time you participate, you will go deeper and get more healing benefit.

Learn More About the Workshop...

We are Growing.
Two New Group Practice Locations to Choose from.

Choose the best location below. We offer all services at both convenient locations.

Careers - Open Counselor Positions for Eating Disorders Therapists
Co-Occuring Issues

Because having an eating disorder is a way to cope with emotional challenges, it isn’t uncommon to have Co-Occurring Disorders. What this means is you may be suffering from one or more psychological disorders at one time.

When this other disorder is not properly diagnosed, or addressed, the Eating Disorder can be negatively affected. This can lead to the inability to recover or lead to future relapse. The Eating Disorder can also simultaneously be affecting the other psychiatric disorder, for example, food restriction progressing an anxiety disorder.

Our directory of specialists can help you diagnose and treat the co-occurring problem, in order to successfully rule out the disorder and identify how it is colliding negatively with your current Eating Disorder. You may be curious by now as to what co-occurring issues we are referring to. Here’s a list of one of many that may be harming you and your preexisting Eating Disorder from reaching recovery.

  • Depression– effecting 50-75% of Eating Disorder patients, many that may not even be aware. Malnourishment can cause the progression of the patient experiencing super low- lows.
  • Anxiety Disorder– affecting 2/3 of society at some point in a persons’ lifetime, ignited by the social anxiety and OCD that may come to the surface with Eating Disorders.
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)– there has been a higher rate of sexually abused victims having Eating Disorders. Coming from the feeling of lack associated with coping with the traumatic occurrences, that are often ignored by the fixation the Eating Disorder consumes. This can be diagnosed for anyone who has experienced a traumatic event in their life that has gone improperly treated.
  • Substance Abuse– the most common of which are drugs and or alcohol.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)– this disorder comes with the destruction of the patients’ interpersonal relationships. A need to cope with constant fear of abandonment can lead to an Eating Disorder.
  • Self-injury/Self-harm– affecting over 25% of Eating Disorder sufferers, this is often a result of preexisting anxiety, depression and/or trauma and involves the person physically or ritually turning to self-harming physical body tissue in order to relieve the anxiety or overwhelming feelings that come with the illness.

Through treatment for an Eating Disorder, you can also uncover the underlying issues present that co-exist with both disorders/challenges in play. Reach out and tell your story to our group of professionals experienced in the subject of diagnosing Co-occurring issues while having an Eating Disorder. Together, we can help you identify the preexisting issue to keep it from continuing to conflict and or merge with your Eating Disorder.

Reach out to us by phone or email (whichever you are most comfortable with) and we can help you get the help with going forward. When you are ready, look through our directory and find and contact a professional who is well versed with Eating Disorders and understands other mental health challenges. We have provided a directory to help you receive the best possible care to reach recovery and heal your mind in order to heal your body for good! Just one phone call or email away- let’s get started on a beautiful journey towards recovery:)

Binge Eating

What is Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is commonly known by compulsive overeating or consuming abnormal amounts of food while feeling unable to stop and a loss of control. Binge eating episodes are typically classified as occurring on average a minimum of twice per week for a duration of six months.

BED was first explained in 1959 by Albert Stunkard, a psychiatrist, and researcher, as Night Eating Syndrome (NES). The term Binge Eating Disorder was created to define similar binge eating behavior without the nocturnal aspect.

Though BED can occur in men and women of normal weight, it often leads to the development of unwanted weight gain or obesity, which can indirectly reinforce further compulsive eating.

Men and women suffering from BED struggle with emotions of disgust and guilt and often have a related co-morbidity, such as depression or anxiety.

The negative feelings that usually accompany binge eating often lead him or her to continue to use food to cope; thus creating a vicious cycle. Managed eating disorder treatments are extremely important.

Causes of Binge Eating Disorder

While the exact cause of BED is unknown, there are a variety of factors that are thought to influence the development of this disorder. These factors are:

  • Biological: Biological abnormalities, such as hormonal irregularities or genetic mutations, may be associated with compulsive eating and food addiction.
  • Psychological: A strong correlation has been established between depression and binge eating. Body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, and difficulty coping with feelings can also contribute to binge eating disorder.
  • Social and Cultural: Traumatic situations, such as a history of sexual abuse, can increase the risk of binge eating. Social pressures to be thin, which are typically influenced through media, can trigger emotional eating. Persons subject to critical comments about their bodies or weight may be especially vulnerable to binge eating disorder.

Signs & Symptoms of BED

As individuals suffering from binge eating disorder experience embarrassment or shame about their eating habits, symptoms may often be hidden.

The following are some behavioral and emotional signs and symptoms of BED:

  • Continually eating even when full
  • Inability to stop eating or control what is eaten
  • Stockpiling food to consume secretly at a later time
  • Eating normally in the presence of others but gorging when isolated
  • Experiencing feelings of stress or anxiety that can only be relieved by eating
  • Feelings of numbness or lack of sensation while bingeing
  • Never experiencing satiation: the state of being satisfied, no matter the amount of food consumed

The consequences of BED involve many physical, social, and emotional difficulties.

Some of these complications are:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Insomnia or sleep apnea
  • Hypertension
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Muscle and/or joint pain
  • Gastrointestinal difficulties
  • Depression and/or anxiety

Binge Eating Disorder Treatment

Professional support and treatment from health professionals specializing in the treatment of binge eating disorders, including psychiatrists, nutritionists, and therapists, can be the most effective way to address BED.

Such a treatment program would address the underlying issues associated with destructive eating habits, focusing on the central cause of the problem.

It is necessary to concentrate on healing from the emotional triggers that may be causing binge eating, having proper guidance in establishing healthier coping mechanisms to deal with stress, depression, anxiety, etc.

Food Addiction

About Food Addiction

There are two main categories of addiction: process addiction, in which a person compulsively engages in behavior(s) that become unmanageable; and substance addiction, in which a person compulsively consumes a substance to the point that they have lost control. Food addiction falls into this latter category.

A term such as heroin addiction has a high level of specificity; by definition, the person is addicted to one substance: heroin. The term food addiction is somewhat broad, yet equally valid. The woman or girl with this condition is addicted, with all the corresponding challenges and negative consequences associated with any addiction. However, this individual is usually not addicted to all foods, because only certain foods possess addictive qualities. These are often referred to as calorie-dense foods. Such foods are typically very high in sugar, fat or salt. It is this high level of these substances that can affect the brain in a profoundly negative fashion and cause dependency that is not unlike what we see with drug addiction. The reality of food addiction has enormous implications for those who struggle with compulsive overeating and/or obesity, and even some people with binge-purge anorexia and bulimia.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Food Addiction?

Researchers at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Science & Policy developed a questionnaire to identify people with food addictions. The Yale food addiction scale includes the following:

  • End up eating more than planned when you start eating certain foods.
  • Keep eating certain foods even if you’re no longer hungry.
  • Eat to the point of feeling ill.
  • Worry about not eating certain types of foods or worry about cutting down on certain types of foods.
  • When certain foods aren’t available, go out of your way to obtain them.
  • The behavior continues despite negative medical consequences.

The questionnaire also seeks to ascertained the impact of food on an individual’s personal life by asking if the following applies:

  • You eat certain foods so often or in such large amounts that you start eating food instead of working, spending time with the family, or doing recreational activities.
  • You avoid professional or social situations where certain foods are available because of fear of overeating.
  • You have problems functioning effectively at your job or school because of food and eating.

What Causes Food Addiction?

Those with binge eating disorder (BED), eating disorder-not otherwise specified (ED-NOS), bulimia, a family history of substance abuse, a personal history with substance abuse, or early life trauma are most vulnerable. Often, they have identifiable binge foods such as sugary dessert or salty snack items. Once such individuals start consuming these binge foods, they find it nearly impossible to stop. In fact, if thwarted for any reason, they become extremely anxious until more can be obtained, just like a person addicted to alcohol or drugs. Food addicts continue to binge despite negative health and relationship consequences. Often, they want desperately to stop consuming these foods, but are unable to do so without help. It is not unusual for them to hide food, destroy the evidence such as wrappers, or eat in secret.

Food addiction frequently co-occurs with a mood disorder like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Co-occurring dependency on alcohol or abuse of such substances as stimulants, cocaine, marijuana, benzodiazepines, or nicotine is also common

The prevalence of such co-occurring disorders is what makes the professional care at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center so valuable. As our clinical team helps a woman or girl break her addiction to food, the depression, trauma, substance abuse, or other co-occurring conditions are also addressed. At Timberline Knolls, we treat all disorders and addictions simultaneously, knowing this offers a resident the best possible chance for sustained recovery. This approach proves highly beneficial on a number of levels. A woman or girl may admit to our program due to an addiction to alcohol or prescription medication. Only while in treatment, may it become clear to our clinicians that she also has a food addiction. Perhaps she had hidden this addiction for years due to shame or guilt. Once identified, she can receive the therapy required to break the addiction.

How Does Food Addiction Occur in the Brain?

The human brain is one of the most intricate, complex and impressive organs in the body. However, when it comes to food, it is actually quite simplistic. The brain was designed to seek out those foods that the body required to advance health and sustain life. Because the brain goes back thousands of years, by default, these were natural foods – foods derived exclusively from plants and animals.

Enter the modern age of manufacturing. Our senses are assaulted daily with desirable, highly processed, hyperpalatable and convenient food. It is everywhere and usually inexpensive. The problem is, so much of the fast, cheap and very available food is not nutritionally sound at all — it is an edible, manufactured product. These products are called hyperpalatable foods, which mean they contain inordinate amounts of sugar, fat, or salt; this food is highly processed or manipulated to attract consumers and increase product sales. Unfortunately, these hyperpalatable foods cause nothing short of chaos in brains of individuals who are predisposed to addiction. Once the path to addiction begins, it ultimately results an actual rewiring of the brain’s reward system and related areas. The chaos begins when the brain is over saturated with these calorie-dense foods. This triggers an enhanced release of dopamine, a neuro-transmitter that motivates people toward food, sex, alcohol, etc. It is dopamine that provides the incredibly positive feeling when calorie-dense foods are first consumed. But here is where the brain’s original wiring enters the equation. The human brain wasn’t created to cope with a constant onslaught of hyperpalatable foods. In certain people, it simply cannot tolerate that level of stimulation. To protect itself, the brain reduces the number of available dopamine receptors. This means that though large amounts of dopamine flood the brain, the chemical is not picked up or received. This receptor reduction doesn’t apply to all foods. Rodent studies prove it isn’t just high quantities of food, but large amounts of calorie-dense food, leading to increased dopamine release, which causes the eventual reduction in dopamine receptors. Unfortunately, what is beneficial for the brain ultimately proves problematic for the consumer. In order to receive the anticipated positive reinforcement from the food, more of the food must be consumed to replicate the reward. Over time, the individual eats more and more as the reward becomes less and less. This is often referred to as “chasing the high.”

At the same time the reward center is being hijacked, the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for control, decision making and exercising judgment, is also being affected. The decrease in dopamine receptors causes decreased activity in this important part of the brain. This means that as more calorie-dense food is consumed to achieve the reward, these women and girls are less able to exert control over the behavior. Moderation in consumption is no longer possible without help. In fact, studies funded by the National Institutes of Health have shown that the brain scans of food addicts show the same changes and impairments as those of a person with cocaine addiction.

What are the Effects of Food Addiction?

An addiction to food, especially if long in duration, results in negative consequences to all aspects of a person’s life.

Physical consequences: 

The short-term physical effect associated with dopamine and endogenous opiate release in the brain reward center is low level euphoria, a decrease in both anxiety and emotional pain. This calming, sedation experience is often referred to as a “food coma.” The long-term physical effects vary. If the person engages in compensatory exercise such as purging or restricting, the health consequences can be severe. if a food addict has obesity, it can be associated with the following: diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, osteoarthritis in the knees, hips and back; fungal infections in skin folds that are hard to clean, congestive heart failure, shortness of breath, coronary artery disease, and ultimately death.

Psychological consequences:

The psychological and mental effects can prove intense and plague an individual for years. These include hopelessness, powerlessness, isolation, shame, depression, self-loathing, guilt, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, and/or self-injurious behaviors.

Relational consequences:

Food addiction impacts relationships, especially those within the family. This is because the person with the addiction is vastly more involved with food than with people – it becomes their safest, most important and meaningful relationship. Other connections to friends and family take a back seat. This often leads to a deep sense of isolation from others. For people with obesity, strangers and even loved ones often engage in bullying and shaming words and actions due to the tremendous problem our culture has with weight stigma. Many times loved ones experience anger and frustration, since they are completely unable to understand why their sister or daughter just won’t stop eating, especially when it is clearly jeopardizing her health. Spouses often misperceive their wife’s behaviors, believing her actions indicate she is no longer committed to their marriage. Such comments as “if you loved me, you would stop bingeing on all that food,” are not uncommon.

Fat Acceptance

Over the course of the past couple decades, society has tossed around the word “obese” through casual conversation between normal weight people talking in regards to their appearance or the way they may feel after eating. But many do not know that by definition, obesity is when an individuals BMI index is 30 kg/milligrams squared, accounting for two thirds of Americans. Other than the physical evidence of being classified as obese, there are psychiatric behaviors signs that may become the result of having your body in this condition.

  • Do you find yourself mild-severely depressed?
  • Have you been experiencing extreme anxiety?
  • Do you experience panic attacks?
  • Do you ever have suicidal thoughts?
  • Are you dissatisfied with your weight/size?
  • Do you suffer from social anxiety?
  • Do you find yourself turning to food to relieve stress?

Obesity is a disorder where the health effects may happen at different times or frequencies to different bodies.In todays’ society, Americans alone are consuming 340 additional calories than they were in the 1980’s, which is most likely a refined type of carbohydrate, and more often out to eat at restaurants or fast food destinations and not prepared at home. Even though the amount of time spend together as a family unit, eating at the dinner table has become more uncommon, peoples’ portion sizes have only grown larger in size. The temptation comes with buying for convenience and most people not wanting to make the effort or take the time to prepare meals ahead of time or just at home.

This habit of purchasing and consuming inexpensive, low effort, processed foods leads to activities requiring minimal effort or movement such as TV watching, computer time, video games, etc., creating even unhealthier patterns.

Before you freak out or assume that you qualify as an “obese person” you must make sure that your current physique is not due to a failing thyroid or pituitary gland that would severely restrict someone from daily, physical activity or strenuous movement in general.

It also wouldn’t hurt to check the stress levels in your life or what may be releasing the chemical cortisol in your body which may be producing unwanted fat cells.

Because no two cases are the same, and no two bodies are the same, if you can identify with obesity who can help you identify aspects of your life that trigger body shaming and the need to remain in control of preparing your food. Reach out to us by phone or email (whichever you are most comfortable with) and we can help you get the help you need to take control of your health, your body and self control! When you are ready, look through our directory and find and contact a counselor, nutritionist or anyone specialized in obesity a in particular! We have provided a directory to help you receive the best possible care to reach recovery and heal your mind. Just one phone call or email away can be the start of your improved health, mind and life! Call someone today 🙂

Body Image Workshops

Do you find yourself staring at your reflection in the mirror criticizing it up and down or picking out parts to focus your negativity? Do you blame your body for how it looks in the pants you put on that morning? Do you think it’s your fault that your body looks the way it does? Are you constantly trying to or hoping to change your body?

If so, these are all signs that you have poor body image.

Body Image refers to how you view yourself when you look in the mirror or the image you hold of yourself. This includes but is not limited to:

  • what you believe about your appearance including memories, assumptions or beliefs you may have subconsciously subscribed to
  • how you feel about your body (height, body shape, weight)
  • how you sense/control your body

Your Body Image falls under two classifications and can depend on the state of mind you are in (since it’s not your body changing from moment to moment):

Negative Body Image – embodies not just a state of mind but an overall emotion. This can be to the point of altering your viewpoint on your appearance or what you are actually seeing in your reflection.

Some examples:

  • Do you find yourself perceiving parts of your body unlike they actually are?
  • Do you view your body as an exception, a cause of your own failures?
  • Do you think that only attractive people are well deserving of having the body you want?
  • Do you get anxious, jittery or self-conscious about your own body?
  • More often than not, do you feel awkward or uncomfortable in your body?

It may be tough to admit to any of the above questions, yet doing so will help you in your journey toward Positive Body Image

The criteria for Positive Body Image is:

  • Seeing your body as it really is
  • Celebrating rather than shaming your natural body shape
  • Placing little importance on your physical appearance, emphasizing more of your character, morals, personality, and overall items and issues important to you.
  • Refusing to place heavy emphasis and extra time worrying about food, weight and or calorie intake.
  • Overall feeling comfortable and confident in your body.

Poor body image can lead you straight to an eating disorder and can make full recovery from an eating disorder challenging. Because appearance is highly emphasized and specifics of what the right look is are narrowly specified, many woman and men suffer from negative views of their body. Pair this with our natural desire to fit in with others and it’s no wonder that eating disorders and disordered eating and body image are prevalent in our culture.

You are not alone and it is okay to need help with this challenging issue.

Yes, we all have days in which feeling uncomfortable or critical about our body occurs; this is simply the challenge of living in a weight obsessed culture. However, you can develop more positive body image behaviors, develop a level of respect, self care and confidence about your body, and learn to dodge or block out those negative thoughts or beliefs from you and from others.

Find help here from professionals experienced in the subject of body image. Together you can identify aspects of your life that trigger negative body image behaviors and learn how to fully recover from negative body image and an unhealthy relationship with food.

Reach out to us by phone or email (whichever you are most comfortable with) and we can help you get the help you need to beat this, get your life back, and free yourself from the confined chains of self-doubt! Look through the directory and find a counselor, or anyone specialized in body image in particular! Or call us directly and we will connect you with someone who can help! Call someone today!

What is Negative or Distorted Body Image?

Body image refers to how people see themselves. Distorted body image (also called negative body image) refers to an unrealistic view of how someone sees their body.  Like eating disorders, it is seen most commonly in women, but many men also suffer from the disorder.

You begin forming your perceptions of your body’s attractiveness, health, acceptability, and functionality in early childhood.  This body image continues to form as you age and receive feedback from peers, family member, coaches, etc.

Personality traits such as perfectionism and self-criticism can also influence the development of a negative internalized image of your body.

Signs & Symptoms of Negative Body Image

Symptoms of unhealthy or negative body image may include:

  • obsessive self-scrutiny in mirrors
  • thinking disparaging comments about your body and frequent comparison of your own shape and size to other people
  • envy or a friend’s body, or just as commonly: the body of a celebrity or someone else in the media.

Causes of Negative Body Image

Sometimes body image is negatively impacted by one or more significant events.  For example, a gymnast who is continually chided by her coach and fellow athletes to lose a little weight may develop a deeply ingrained and long-standing dissatisfaction with her body, no matter how thin she becomes.

If  you are concerned about your body image, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is my perception of beauty distorted from years of media exposure that glorifies a very thin ideal that is unrealistic for most people to obtain in a healthy manner?
  • Do I find myself regularly criticizing my own appearance?

Happy Young Woman in the Sunlight with good Body Image

Binge & Purge Behaviors

Causes of Binge Eating Disorder

While the exact cause of BED is unknown, there are a variety of factors that are thought to influence the development of this disorder. These factors are:

  • Biological: Biological abnormalities, such as hormonal irregularities or genetic mutations, may be associated with compulsive eating and food addiction.
  • Psychological: A strong correlation has been established between depression and binge eating. Body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, and difficulty coping with feelings can also contribute to binge eating disorder.
  • Social and Cultural: Traumatic situations, such as a history of sexual abuse, can increase the risk of binge eating. Social pressures to be thin, which are typically influenced through media, can trigger emotional eating. Persons subject to critical comments about their bodies or weight may be especially vulnerable to binge eating disorder.

Signs & Symptoms of BED

As individuals suffering from binge eating disorder experience embarrassment or shame about their eating habits, symptoms may often be hidden.

The following are some behavioral and emotional signs and symptoms of BED:

  • Continually eating even when full
  • Inability to stop eating or control what is eaten
  • Stockpiling food to consume secretly at a later time
  • Eating normally in the presence of others but gorging when isolated
  • Experiencing feelings of stress or anxiety that can only be relieved by eating
  • Feelings of numbness or lack of sensation while bingeing
  • Never experiencing satiation: the state of being satisfied, no matter the amount of food consumed

The consequences of BED involve many physical, social, and emotional difficulties.

Some of these complications are:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Insomnia or sleep apnea
  • Hypertension
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Muscle and/or joint pain
  • Gastrointestinal difficulties
  • Depression and/or anxiety

Binge Eating Disorder Treatment

Professional support and treatment from health professionals specializing in the treatment of binge eating disorders, including psychiatrists, nutritionists, and therapists, can be the most effective way to address BED.

Such a treatment program would address the underlying issues associated with destructive eating habits, focusing on the central cause of the problem.

It is necessary to concentrate on healing from the emotional triggers that may be causing binge eating, having proper guidance in establishing healthier coping mechanisms to deal with stress, depression, anxiety, etc.

Eating Disorders Causes

What Will You Experience During Compulsive Eating Treatment?

A woman’s experience at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center may differ significantly from other rehab facilities or treatment programs she has attended. That is our intent.

Comprehensive, Integrated Treatment and Recovery

There is no such thing as a cure for overeating disorders.

Every woman who seeks recovery from compulsive eating must develop tools she can trust to help her manage emotions that trigger eating binges. We work with our residents help them learn to recognize their feelings and identify the conscious choices they are making each day. Through ongoing, supportive reinforcement women learn to trust the tools we give them when they experience feelings that would have triggered a compulsive eating binge in the past. As they gain confidence in their ability to make positive, healthy choices and to tap into the help that is available to them, they experience improved self-esteem and body acceptance, reduced stress and anxiety, healing of trauma, and increased self-awareness.

Comprehensive and individualized eating disorder treatment plans use approaches proven to help women learn to healthfully experience their emotions and develop the tools to recover from compulsive overeating. Specific elements of treatment may include:

  • one-on-one therapy sessions
  • expressive and experiential therapy
  • education about disease processes and recovery
  • meal support and regular consultation with dietary staff
  • group sessions to teach and practice behavior modification and emotion management
  • family therapy (including family participation)
  • twelve-step facilitation
  • onsite and offsite twelve-step meetings
  • weekly psychiatric consultation
  • trauma awareness and recovery
  • educational services for school-age women
Professional Mental Health Counselors

When seeking treatment for an Eating Disorder, it’s important to go to someone who understands Eating Disorders. It may be tempting to seek help from a dietitian that may give you the food plan your Eating Disorder seeks or the therapist that doesn’t understand Disordered Eating and may potential encourage weight loss or dieting.

You may need just a therapist or you may need a whole team of support. If you aren’t sure what you need, reach out to one provider in our directory (all providers verified by us work with Eating Disorders) and allow that person to help you decide.

Below is more information about the types of Eating Disorder Specialists and what to look for to help guide you. Please don’t think too much about it and stall your progress forward. The most important step is the first phone call or email.

First, pat yourself on the back right now for taking this huge step toward finding this directory and wanting help!!!

Types of Eating Disorder Specialists

Professionals who specialize in the treatment of Eating Disorders include the following:

  • Eating Disorder Therapists or Counselors:  These professionals provide therapy sessions of various types, such as individual, groups, family, workshops, couples. Each has a different style and theory base, such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or many others. The most important part is that you like the person and believe he/she can help you.
  • Registered Dietitians: These professionals specialize in nutrition and will help you create and maintain a healthy, balanced meal plan that supports recovery.
  • Eating Disorder Psychiatrists:  These professionals prescribe medications and manage drug therapy.
  • Physicians who specialize in treating Eating Disorders:  These professionals supervise and oversee any medical complications that may have resulted from the Eating Disorder, such as heart conditions, electrolyte imbalances, etc.

What To Look For in an Eating Disorder Specialist

Seeking a specialist who understands, has training in, and may even have personal experience with recovering from an Eating Disorder is important. Not all professionals really understand the complexity of an Eating Disorder. However, the most important aspect to your recovery is finding someone you like and can learn to trust. Here are some other points to consider when speaking with a provider:

  • Does the provider primarily treat Eating Disorders and what experience does he/she have?
  • Can the provider help with other co-occurring disorders that might be important for you?
  • Is the Eating Disorder specialist accredited or licensed?  Degree accreditations/licenses for Eating Disorders therapists and counselors to look for may include an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) or LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker). Psychiatrists and physicians should hold a medical degree.
  • You may want to work with a provider who is not yet licensed but is working toward licensure under supervision with a provider who is licensed and specializes in Eating Disorders. This can be a good option if you need lower cost counseling as many will offer a sliding fee.
  • What is the approach the professional uses? This is often less important than a feeling of trust and safety with the specialist. Yet working with someone who addresses the Eating Disorder in a way that makes sense to you, may be important.
  • Does the specialist already work with a team of other professionals who also treat Eating Disorders, such as those mentioned above?
Dietitian Services

How can a Dietitian
Help You Have a Great Relationship with
Food and Your Body?

A registered dietitian will support and guide you to find helpful and realistic solutions to your food and body image struggles. Whether you are in eating disorder recovery or have struggled with chronic dieting, a dietitian that understands your unique challenges will help you develop a more positive relationship with food and body image. A dietitian can help you follow an Intuitive Eating and Health at Every SizeⓇ framework to help you to:

* Make peace with food and ditch dieting
* Stop the restrict-binge cycle
* Re-learn your internal hunger and fullness cues
* Regain the freedom to include a variety of foods into your life
* Learn how to adequately nourish your body for your unique lifestyle
* Feel satisfied with your meals
* Build trust in your body’s natural ability to self-regulate and maintain a healthy-for-you weight
* Stress less about food and enjoy life more

Working with a dietitian will give you a chance to address food issues directly, to problem solve specific challenges in your relationship with food and guide you in steps toward healthy eating for your body. Paired with counseling, dietetic support with someone who understands your eating disorder, will help you gain ground in your recovery and healing.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health disorder in which you can’t stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance — a flaw that appears minor or can’t be seen by others. But you may feel so embarrassed, ashamed and anxious that you may avoid many social situations.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Body dysmorphic disorder (body dysmorphia) describes a condition where a person can’t stop thinking about one or more perceived flaws with her appearance. The flaw can either be minor or one that is imagined. Seen from an outside perspective, the obsession with these flaws will seem unnecessary or baseless, but to the person, her appearance seems so shameful and distressing that in some cases she won’t want to be seen by anyone.

Body dysmorphia has sometimes been called imagined ugliness. Body dysmorphic disorder is also occasionally referred to as dysmorphophobia, or the fear of having a deformity.

Signs and Symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder Include:

  • Preoccupation with physical appearance, similar to anorexia nervosa and bulimia
  • belief that one has an abnormality or defect in appearance that makes her ugly
  • frequently looking in the mirror
  • avoiding mirrors altogether
  • believing that others take special notice of ones appearance in a negative way
  • frequent cosmetic procedures with little satisfaction
  • excessive grooming, such as hair plucking
  • feeling extremely self-conscious
  • refusing to appear in pictures
  • skin picking
  • comparing appearance with that of others
  • avoiding social situations
  • wearing excessive makeup or clothing to camouflage perceived flaws

Signs of body dysmorphic disorder may include obsessive concern over various physical features such as:

  • nose
  • hair
  • skin
  • moles or freckles
  • acne and blemishes
  • baldness
  • breast size
  • muscle size
  • genitalia

What are the Effects of Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

It is not uncommon for a person with body dysmorphia to intensely obsess over her appearance and body image, often for many hours a day. She may seek out numerous cosmetic procedures to try to fix her perceived flaws but will never be satisfied.

A person may change which body feature is the center of focus over time. She may be so convinced about her perceived flaws that she begins imagining something about her body that’s not true, no matter how much someone tries to convince her otherwise. Similar to anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders, the intense subjective and implacable nature of this condition can cause it to be very trying for those close to the person. The intensity of shame and embarrassment about her appearance that body dysmorphic disorder causes cannot be overstated.

What Causes Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

It’s not known specifically what causes body dysmorphic disorder. Some evidence suggests that naturally occurring brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, in particular serotonin, which is linked to mood, may play a role in causing body dysmorphia. Some studies show that body image fixation is more common in people whose biological family members also have the condition. This may indicate a genetic cause behind body dysmorphic disorder.

Our image-obsessed culture may contribute to body image fixation, especially if the person has had experiences she perceives as negative about her body or self-image. The constant barrage of unrealistic, idealized physical perfection can be an aggravating factor.

Certain factors seem to increase the risk of developing or triggering the condition, including:

  • having biological relatives with body dysmorphic disorder
  • childhood teasing
  • physical or sexual abuse
  • low self-esteem
  • societal pressure or expectations of beauty

Body dysmorphic disorder is a serious disease, particularly if it is accompanied by other co-occurring psychiatric or addictive disorders. Like other eating disorders, body dysmorphia is a medical condition that can result in irreversible health complications, including death in extreme cases. Read more about body dysmorphic disorder treatment for women and adolescent girls (ages 12 and up) at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center.

Orthorexia

What is Orthorexia?

Orthorexia is a common co-occurring eating disorder. It is characterized by a fixation or desire to eat only “healthy” foods, or to avoid entire food groups. Every person suffering with orthorexia has their own food preferences; foods they will eat and foods that they won’t. Orthorexics feel isolated from or superior to people who may consume a food they they themselves reject. The most common form of orthorexia is an obsession with healthy foods, i.e. never eating foods that contain additives, and planning one’s diet to the extreme to make sure that undesired foods and food groups are not consumed.

Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric Surgery is necessary when a portion of the stomach has to surgically be removed, the size of the stomach is reduced by using a gastric band when the patient has reached the point of severe obesity. Although there have been many reports of successful weight loss stories following this procedure, this surgery has no reports of increasing longevity of ones’ life.

This surgery is usually advised or prescribed when the obese patient has reached a BMI of 40kg/m2 or more, while in some cases patients with even a BMI of 30-35 have had much success with bariatric surgery.

If you are unsure whether or not you are candidate for this kind type of procedure ask yourself:

  • Is your BMI 30-40kg/m2 or greater?
  • Have you failed to have a routine diet and fitness regime?
  • Do you suffer from the following medical issues- hyperextension, glucose intolerance or allergic reaction, diabetic symptoms like no longer being able to produce insulin, a reported high concentration of fats in your blood stream or sleep apnea?

There are many classifications of this surgery to successfully treat your specific health conditions. Lets briefly go through them!

  • malabsorption procedure- an imperfect or smaller absorption space for food in the smaller intestine
  • Biliopancreatic diversion- a smaller stomach is created in order to correct malabsorption of nutrients from foods
  • Predominantly restrictive procedures- literally limiting gastric volume so the patient can reach satiation at a much quicker pace
  • Vertical banded gastroplasty or “stomach stapling”- the stomach is stapled in order to create a smaller stomach
  • Adjustable gastric band- restricting the stomach with a band that ultimately limits nutrient intake by limiting the space in which it can travel
  • Sleeve gastrectomy- stapling the stomach into the shape of sleeve or banana shape, reducing 15% of the stomachs’ original size
  • Intragastric balloon- the insertion of a balloon in the stomach followed by filing the balloon in order to limit the stomach’s gastric space
  • Gastric plication- reducing the stomach to a smaller size in order to only salvage enough space for nutrient absorption and for the person to reach complete satiation at a faster pace
  • Gastric bypass surgery- a permanent procedure that reduces the overall size of the stomach in order to ingest less food consumption and reach desired weight loss goals
  • Sleeve gastrectomy with duodenal switch- this switch is added to just restricting the size of the stomach through stapling by reducing of 70% of the gastric volume of the stomach
  • Implantable gastric stimulation- this has been nicknamed the “pacemaker for the stomach” sending electrical signals to the outer wall of the stomach that has been proven to translate signals to the nervous system soon followed by the brain that signals satiation

These may look scary but do not fear! Many patients have reached successful weight loss with all of the above procedures but no one surgery is for everyone! In order to explore and be definite about which procedure may be beneficial or life saving to you or a loved one, all you need is help from our group of professionals experienced in the subject of Bariatric Surgery who can help you identify which procedure would be most successful for you based on your current health conditions. Reach out to us by phone or email (whichever you are most comfortable with) and we can help you get the help with going forward with treatment so you can reach weight loss pain free and live your life again!

When you are ready, look through our directory and find and contact a professional who is well versed with types, side effects, benefits and how to eat around Bariatric Surgery! We have provided a directory to help you receive the best possible care to reach recovery and heal your body. Just one phone call or email away can help you get started on getting results right away! Call someone today 🙂

Anorexia Nervosa

What is Anorexia Nervosa (AN)?

Anorexia Nervosa is a psychological and potentially life-threatening eating disorder. Those suffering from this eating disorder are typically suffering from an extremely low body weight relative to their height and body type.

Often referred to as BMI (Body Mass Index) is a tool that treatment providers often use to assess the appropriateness of body weight for an individual struggling with an eating disorder. Additionally, observations of eating patterns, exercise, and personality traits may give indications of an anorexic diagnosis. Those struggling with anorexia frequently fear gaining weight and have a distorted body image. They often believe they appear much heavier than they are.

Additionally, women and men who suffer from this eating disorder exemplify a fixation with a thin figure and abnormal eating patterns. Anorexia nervosa is interchangeable with the term anorexia, which refers to self-starvation and lack of appetite.

Major Types of AN

There are two common types of anorexia, which are as follows:

  • Binge/Purge Type – The person struggling with this type of eating disorder will often purge after eating. This alleviates the fear of gaining weight and offsets some of the guilt of having ingested forbidden, or highly restricted food. The compensatory purge behavior by the individual with Binge/Purge Type anorexia may purge by exercising excessively, vomiting or abusing laxatives.
  • Restrictive – The individual suffering from restrictive anorexia is often perceived as highly self-disciplined. They restrict the quantity of food, calories and often high fat or high sugar foods. They consume far fewer calories than are needed to maintain a healthy weight. This is a heartbreaking form of self-starvation.

Though two classifications of this eating disorder exist, both types exhibit similar symptoms, such as an irrational fear of weight gain and abnormal eating patterns.

Woman Running at Sunset battling anorexia

Causes of Anorexia

It has been said that genetics load the gun and environment pulls the trigger in eating disorders. This eating disorder is based on genetic predisposition, personality traits, and environmental factors.

Examples of environmental factors that would contribute to the occurrence of this eating disorder are:

  • The effects of the thinness culture in media, that constantly reinforce thin people as ideal stereotypes
  • Professions and careers that promote being thin and weight loss, such as ballet and modeling
  • Family and childhood traumas: childhood sexual abuse, severe trauma
  • Peer pressure among friends and co-workers to be thin or be sexy.

Examples of biological factors include:

  • Irregular hormone functions
  • Genetics (the tie between anorexia and one’s genes is still being heavily researched, but we know that genetics is a part of the story).

Anorexia Signs & Symptoms

An individual suffering from anorexia nervosa may reveal one or several signs and symptoms such as:

  • Chronic restrictive eating or dieting, beyond the norm
  • Rapidly losing weight or being significantly underweight and emaciated
  • Obsession with calories and fat contents of food
  • Engaging in ritualistic eating patterns, such as cutting food into tiny pieces, eating alone, and/or hiding food
  • Continued fixation with food, recipes, or cooking; the individual may cook intricate meals for others but refrain from partaking
  • Amenorrhea: an abnormal absence of menstruation, or loss of 3 consecutive menstrual cycles
  • Depression or lethargic stage
  • Development of lanugo: soft, fine hair that grows on face and body
  • Reported sensation of feeling cold, particularly in extremities
  • Loss or thinning of hair
  • Avoidance of social functions, family, and friends. May become isolated and withdrawn
Bulimia Nervosa

What is Bulimia?

Bulimia Nervosa is a psychological and severe life-threatening eating disorder described by the ingestion of an abnormally large amount of food in short time period, followed by an attempt to avoid gaining weight by purging what was consumed.

Methods of purging include forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics, and extreme or prolonged periods of exercising.  Often, in these binge/purge episodes, a woman or man suffering from this disorder will experience a loss of control and engage in frantic efforts to undo these feelings.

Since he or she may have bingeing and purging episodes in secret, they are often able to conceal their disorder from others for extended periods of time.  Those suffering from bulimia nervosa often utilize these behaviors in an attempt to prevent weight gain, to establish a sense of control, and/or as a means of coping with difficult circumstances or situations.

Described and classified by the British psychiatrist Gerald Russell in 1979, Bulimia Nervosa comes from a Greek word meaning ravenous hunger. If you or a loved one are suffering from this eating disorder, seek professional treatment for eating disorders.

Major Types of Bulimia

There are two common types of bulimia nervosa, which are as follows:

  • Purging type – This type accounts for the majority of cases of those suffering from this eating disorder.  In this form, individuals will regularly engage in self-induced vomiting or abuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas after a period of bingeing.
  • Non-Purging type – In this form the individual will use other inappropriate methods of compensation for binge episodes, such as excessive exercising or fasting.  In these cases, the typical forms of purging, such as self-induced vomiting, are not regularly utilized.

Causes of Bulimia

The exact cause of bulimia nervosa is currently unknown; though it is thought that multiple factors contribute to the development of this eating disorder, including genetic, environmental, psychological, and cultural influences.  Some of the main causes include:

  • Stressful transitions or life changes
  • History of abuse or trauma
  • Negative body image
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Professions or activities that focus on appearance/performance

Bulimia Signs & Symptoms

An individual suffering from bulimia nervosa may reveal several signs and symptoms, many which are the direct result of self-induced vomiting or other forms of purging, especially if the binge/purge cycle is repeated several times a week and/or day.

Physical signs and symptoms of this eating disorder are:

  • Constant weight fluctuations
  • Electrolyte imbalances, which can result in cardiac arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, or ultimately death
  • Broken blood vessels within the eyes
  • Enlarged glands in the neck and under the jaw line
  • Oral trauma, such as lacerations in the lining of the mouth or throat from repetitive vomiting
  • Chronic dehydration
  • Inflammation of the esophagus
  • Chronic gastric reflux after eating  or peptic ulcers
  • Infertility

Signs and symptoms of binge eating and purging are:

  • Disappearance of large amounts of food
  • Eating in secrecy
  • Lack of control when eating
  • Switching between periods of overeating and fasting
  • Frequent use of the bathroom after meals
  • Having the smell of vomit

It can also create problematic strains between the sufferer and family and friends, particularly as the individual has abnormal eating behaviors and/or the avoidance of social activities to engage in binge/purge episodes.

Bulimia Treatment

Since negative body image and poor self-esteem are often the underlying factors at the root of the problem, it is important that therapy is integrated into the recovery process. Bulimia Treatment usually includes:

  • Discontinuing the binge-purge cycle:  The initial phase of bulimia treatment for involves breaking this harmful cycle and restoring normal eating behaviors.
  • Improving negative thoughts:  The next phase of bulimia treatment concentrates on recognizing and changing irrational beliefs about weight, body shape, and dieting.
  • Resolving emotional issues:  The final phase of bulimia treatment focuses on healing from emotional issues that may have caused the eating disorder.  Treatment may address interpersonal relationships and can include cognitive behavior therapy, dialectic behavior therapy, and other related therapies.

Don’t delay and risk serious medical complications. Seek out an eating disorder treatment facility in your area.

Binge Eating Therapy

Binge Eating Disorder Treatment

Professional support and treatment from health professionals specializing in the treatment of binge eating disorders, including psychiatrists, nutritionists, and therapists, can be the most effective way to address BED.

Such a treatment program would address the underlying issues associated with destructive eating habits, focusing on the central cause of the problem.

It is necessary to concentrate on healing from the emotional triggers that may be causing binge eating, having proper guidance in establishing healthier coping mechanisms to deal with stress, depression, anxiety, etc.

Webinar: Understanding the Facts About Binge Eating Disorder

Presented by: Allan S Kaplan MD MSc FRCP(C) is currently a Senior Clinician/Scientist, Chief of Research at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, and Vice Chair for Research and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto. He is also Director of the Institute of Medical Science, School of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Medicine. He was the inaugural Loretta Anne Rogers Chair in Eating Disorders at Toronto General Hospital and is currently Senior Scientist, Toronto General Research Institute. He received his medical, psychiatric and graduate school training at the University of Toronto. He has worked in the field of eating disorders for 30 years, has lectured widely on various topics in the field, published 150 peer reviewed articles, two books, 50 book chapters and over 200 abstracts. He is the Past President of both the Academy for Eating Disorders, the largest organization of eating disorder professionals in the world, and the International Eating Disorder Research Society. He has been a continuously funded peer reviewed investigator since 1992, and has received grant support from the National Institute of Mental Health in the USA and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in Canada.

There are also three types of therapy that can be especially helpful in the treatment of BED. These therapies are:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): A type of therapy aimed at helping individuals understand the thoughts and feelings that influence their behaviors.
  • Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT): A form of therapy in which the focus is on an individual’s relationships with family members and peers and the way they see themselves
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): A type of therapy that focuses on teaching individuals skills to cope with stress and regulate emotions

In addition to these methods, group therapy sessions led by a trained eating disorder therapist, as well as eating disorder support groups, may also be effective methods of establishing recovery from BED

Body Shame

Have you ever stopped and wondered how often you are clouded with media telling you to change your appearance, body shape, or overall look in order to be “prettier, thinner, tanner,” i.e. better?

Feeling the obligation to feed into these vicious ways of marketing is an example of Body Shaming. These subliminal and sometimes obnoxiously obvious messages from the media convince you that you must change in order to be “happy” and accepted by others.

It isn’t just the media! Have you been told by your parents, family members or friends that you should do something to change/fix/enhance your appearance? Diet talk is a great example of doing just that.

Do you even use Body Shaming of yourself to connect with others and to feel part of a group?

Some signs of Body Shaming:

  • Judging yourself or comparing yourself to others, wishing you were more like them?
  • Criticizing others’ appearance?
  • Internally or externally criticizing others without their knowledge?
  • Judging people based on their physical features?

This default to criticize others’ appearance when feeling insecure is certainly not uncommon. This can become the choice of judgement because it is often easier to target yours or another’s physical appearance, something that appears to be in one’s control, rather than admit to what you, yourself, are dealing with emotionally.

You can end Body Shaming and learn to find the positives in your appearance! No matter what your body shape or size, it is possible to accept yourself just as you are! In turn, you accept others too.

Stop the crazy making cycle of hating your body that never leads to self-improvement. Through our directory of professionals who understand the underlying emotions that drive the shame, we can help you:

  • identify why you feel inferior/insecure/inadequate
  • surround yourself with body-positive/motivating people
  • confront/eliminate people that promote body-shaming
  • journal/promote aspects of you that you like

Reach out to us by phone or email (whichever you are most comfortable with) and we can help you get the help you need to beat this and fall in love with yourself again! When you are ready, look through our directory and find and contact a counselor, anyone specialized in Body Shaming! We have provided a directory to help you receive the best possible care to reach recovery and heal your mind. Just one phone call or email away can be the start of your improved health! Call someone today

Relationship Between Body & Weight Image

A normally healthy weight range for an individual can be perceived as overweight by someone with a distorted body image.  An anorexic young woman may look at herself in a mirror and see a reflection that is greater than her actual size.

Conversely, it is not uncommon for obese individuals to report that they did not realize they were as large as they are and had perceived their body as much smaller until an occasion arises where they see a photograph, video or window reflection that strikes a nerve and causes them to come to terms with their actual image.

HAES Approach

“HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE™ (also known as HEALTH AT ANY SIZE) is a health-centered paradigm that focuses on total health and well-being, not weight. It promotes active living, eating well without dieting, and a nurturing environment that includes respect and acceptance for people of all sizes.”
From: Healthy Weight Network 

Like many, I used to think that being fat was unhealthy. I used to think it was my fault when I gained or lost weight. I believed that the BMI determined my level of self-esteem. I thoughts that my “ideal weight” was something I should be in control over and if I couldn’t control it, something was wrong with me.

No longer!

Katherine M. Flegal, PhD, Senior Research Scientist at the National Center for Health Statistics, CDC, explains, “Although people think there’s all this evidence out there showing a high mortality risk associated with (being) overweight, in fact the literature doesn’t show it.” Far from it. Flegal’s research, analyzing 30 years of actual deaths in the US, corrected an earlier CDC report that indicated severe risks related to (being) overweight. She showed instead that being clinically ‘overweight’ is associated with a lower death rate than so-called ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’ weight. (JAMA 2005;293:1861-1867). It confirmed much earlier research that had been studiously ignored. -Taken from: Healthy Weight Network.

Intuitive Eating

What is the definition of intuitive eating?

Intuitive Eating is an approach developed to help people heal from the side effects of chronic dieting. … An intuitive eater is defined as a person who “makes food choices without experiencing guilt or an ethical dilemma, honors hunger, respects fullness and enjoys the pleasure of eating.”
Food Addiction

Although many claim that food as a drug is equivalent to the brain activation present in cocaine or heroin use, this simply is not proven. Music also stimulates the pleasure centers in the brain but no one has claimed that music is addictive.

It would be much more productive to think of food addiction from the perspective of an emotional addiction or desire to use food to avoid difficult emotions. When the avoidance of these emotions have connections to the past, particularly in childhood, they can be very difficult to handle. Eating can be a way to manage, although in an unhealthy way, with these painful and overwhelming emotions.

Over time, the use of food to avoid and replace painful emotions with the pleasure of eating can become very compelling and eventually lead to feeling increasingly out of control with food. It certainly can have the feeling of an addictive energy. However, the problem is not actually food.

There has been much research and case examples of the importance of and even necessary aspect of utilizing intuitive eating to help with eating disorder recovery.

Intuitive Eating is about learning to listen to your body and to trust it with a variety of food choices. For the person with an eating disorder, this often starts with adding in previously forbidden foods and/or allowing yourself to eat what you want without judgement.

If food addiction, like alcohol or drug addiction were true, this approach would lead further to eating the addictive foods. On the contrary, over time, this instead leaves you with greater choice around what to eat and a greater trust with your body. Almost like magic, you no longer feel out of control with food. Eventually, you will easily choose foods not from a place of punishment but from a place of self-care.

Pair this with working on the underlying emotions that have lead to the disordered relationship with food and recovery can really begin.

Learning to listen to your body and to eat intuitively can be challenging and scary. Facing the fear of weight gain is often a frightening component. If this fear is too great, you may need to work with a professional who can help you confront this fear and other, stuffed-down emotions, so you can stop using food to help you cope.

It is possible to trust yourself with food again! Get help today from someone in our directory. Call or email us or a provider that you think can help. It’s okay to ask for help. We understand that it can be scary and we are here to help! Reach out today and start on your path to Intuitive Eating.

Compulsive Overeating

Often called “an addiction to food,” compulsive overeating food is used as a placebo to hide or dodge emotions, daily stresses or emotional triggers.

  • Do you often eat to a point of no control or no stopping you?
  • Do you eat more frequently than normal?
    Do you eat alone for feeling ashamed or guilty?
  • Do you find yourself obsessed with food or weight gain?
  • Do you experience a lot of mood swings on a daily/weekly basis?
  • Have others commented or brought attention to your abnormal eating behavior/habits?
  • Have you missed out on social activities because of body shame or insecurities about your body?
  • Does you or your family have a history of unsuccessful diets?
  • Do you eat very little around others and eat the most in isolation?
  • Do you believe that your life will “begin” or be better after you lost weight?
  • Do you hide or hoard food in odd places?
    Do you have a lot of self doubt or self loathing episodes after an eating sessions?
  • Do you find that food is your only friend/companion?
  • Have you gained an unhealthy or abnormal amount of weight?
  • Have you lost your sex drive?

But do not confuse this disorder with bulimia nervosa. Those suffering from bulimia, do not purge after these “feasts” or “binges.” When this individual eats an excessive amount of food, it chemically releases the same chemical that brings euphoric thoughts under drug use, only relieving stress or overwhelming negative emotions for a limited amount of time. Even though society or loved ones may advise the individual to fix the problem by beginning to exercise and going on a diet, the problem is not food consumption but the person using food as a coping method for emotions in their life. A person with this disorder may also be a victim of sexual assault, feeling inadequate and therefore filling this void with food consumption. Binging episodes are also used to numb the negative emotions that come with body shame and insecurity.

Even if you are not a survivor of sexual assault, or find yourself with binges even once a week to the point of blacking out while eating, we are here to help! Together we can help you identify emotions or memories that trigger compulsive eating. Reach out to us by phone or email (whichever you are most comfortable with) and we can help you get the help you eat regurely again, prevent long term effects such as heart problems diabetes and many other psychological issues! When you are ready, look through our directory and find and contact a counselor, nutritionist or anyone specialized in compulsive a in particular. We have provided a directory to help you receive the best possible care to reach recovery and control your behavior around food. Just one phone call or email away can be the start of a new, healthier you-you deserve this! Call someone today 🙂

Eating Disorders Counselor Training

Food Is Not The Enemy Mission is to help you get the support you need to recovery from Disordered Eating, Exercising, and/or Disordered Body Image. In the Portland, Oregon area, we strive to list specialists that understanding your particular struggle and provide you the support services you need. No matter what type of Eating Disorders / Body Image challenges you have, help is available and it’s right in your backyard. It is possible to recover and Eating Disorders Directory is here to help you get started on your recovery journey today!

Thinking you have an Eating Disorder can bring about feelings of fear and shame. You may feel alone and that no one understands. You may be afraid and ashamed to ask for help. These and any feelings you have are normal! Yet staying alone in your struggle with food and body image is lonely and likely won’t lead to recovery. Instead, get the help and support you need from people who understand!

Perhaps you’re terrified of gaining weight so you significantly restrict calories, even knowing you aren’t taking good care of your body. This might be a sign you have Anorexia Nervosa. Your fear of weight gain drives you to starve your body, to obsess about food and to fear eating most foods. You likely have a body weight below what is healthy and may also be malnourished.

Paired with Anorexia Nervosa, symptoms derived from Body Dysmorphia, Orthorexia, and/or Excessive Exercise are common.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is the desire to constantly hide or change your physique because it does not fit internal or external standards. This leads to shame about your body and drives you toward excessive dieting patterns and eventually Eating Disorders like Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa.

When following an eating lifestyle that thrives off keeping track of ingredients and isolating yourself to only consuming healthy/clean foods, Orthorexia can be an easy disorder to adapt. Orthorexia is about controlling your weight and health and can become increasingly obsessive. Although not an official psychological disorder, insisting on these eating patterns can lead to the same obsessions about food and weight, and shame when you are unable to maintain your restrictive eating.

Perhaps you use Over-Exercising to purge “bad” eating or to control Binge Eating. As well, setting unrealistic goals that exceed healthy exercise can lead to obsessive Over-Exercising. Because coping in this way cuts you off from being able to listen to your body, injury and increased obsession will often result.

When addressing treatment for Anorexia Nervosa (or any Eating Disorder) you will likely grow even more fearful of weight gain, and claiming treatment is not necessary because Anorexia Nervosa is simply a lifestyle, not an illness. You may be ultimately attempting to prevent the effects of body shame that can mentally prolong even after physical recovery and likely began before anorexic behaviors took place.

If you struggle with Bulimia Nervosa, you are likely vomiting or exercising to “get rid of” any amount of food that you feel uncomfortable eating. It may follow a feeling of being too full or it may be that you are afraid of digesting what you did eat. Binge Eating is common for someone with Bulimia Nervosa. Sometimes the binge is eating hundreds or thousands of calories all at once but it doesn’t have to be. Bulimia Nervosa is indicated by the way you get rid of the food, often with vomiting / purging. Those with Bulimia Nervosa come in all shapes and sizes and, like other Eating Disorders, you fear weight gain.

Although a newly diagnosable Eating Disorder, Binge Eating has been around a long time. Most of those with an Eating Disorder struggle with Binge Eating; it’s the most common. Those who binge eat find food soothing and will often turn to food to manage anxiety, depression, loneliness and other emotions. You may or may not exercise to manage the Binge Eating consequences but you likely feel ashamed of eating and try to diet to get back on track.

If you believe you have a Food Addiction, you may have first attempted to get help by avoiding sugar, flour, or other foods you think are driving your addiction. Unlike avoiding alcohol, which is not needed for survival, this tactic will not work with food. In fact, avoiding foods may lead you straight into an Eating Disorder, if you aren’t already struggling. However, your emotions may be the reason you think you’re addicted to food. Using food and hating your body to help you avoid what you’re really feeling is very common.

Each of these patterns of disordered eating lead to feelings of shame about your Body Image. As well, shame about your Body Image can lead you into Disordered Eating. The two go hand-in-hand. Body shame, or not looking the way society or even your parents told you was good enough, is so common in our culture that it may be difficult to spot until your obsession and negative feelings about yourself and your body interfere with your pursuit of happiness and joy.

Recovery from Eating Disorders and poor Body Image are about the practice of viewing food as a vital energy source, and less of a reward or sinful aspect of life and a way to avoid the difficulties of life.

If you think you may have one of the above Eating Disorders, is it possible to get better? Absolutely! We are committed to helping you find the help you need to get out of your Eating Disorder and back into your physically and emotionally healthy life! We have listings for treatment centers, therapists, and nutritionists that can help you because they understand and know the way out.

If you aren’t sure what type of help you need, read more of our articles, call or email a couple of people listed in your area or give us a ring. You don’t have to figure it out on your own! Let us and the people in your area help you. All it takes is a phone call or email to get your started.

Excessive Resistance

What is Exercise Resistance

Do you enjoy exercising? Do you have a physical activity that you just love and can’t wait to do? Or, do you wish you wanted to exercise – after all it will help you lose weight – but you can’t seem to get yourself to do it? Perhaps you yo-yo exercise – you exercise for a while and then, suddenly, you can’t bring yourself to go to the gym or jump on your bike again?

Many people have heard of compulsive (or addictive or over-) exercising. This is a term used to describe someone who exercises too much and/or too often. For many who use compulsive exercise, it is a way to cope with feeling too full or as a way to control weight gain or to compensate for other areas where they feel out of control.

On the other end of the continuum is Exercise Resistance. Francie White, a dietician working with eating disorders in the Santa Barbara California area, coined the term Exercise Resistance. Although it is not widely recognized as a type of eating disorder or body image issue, it is an important element to be explored.

Most of the women who have a resistance to exercise also tend to be emotional eaters, have a history of dieting and/or challenges with body image. Therefore, motivational strategies to encourage exercising fail and the thought of exercising is met with feelings of anger, anxiety and, well, resistance.

What are the risk factors?

  • A history of chronic dieting. Resisting exercise may be a way to consciously or unconsciously respond to society’s emphasis on the ideal body as thin… as if to say, “I will not look the way you want me to look!”
  • Parents who forced or overemphasized exercising as a way to encourage their child to lose weight. Physical activity stops being play and becomes work and something to dread.
  • A history of sexual abuse for women or early onset puberty/development of large breasts. The sexual abuse could have occurred at any age or in any form and may even have occurred shortly after weight loss. In these cases, you may be attempting to prevent sexual attention or intimacy as a larger body size often receives less unwanted sexual attention.

Do you think you have Exercise Resistance?

If you resist exercising, you may want to explore the underlying reasons for this.  Find support by searching for a provider in the Eating Disorders Directory. Remember, it may be more than just finding a coach to help motivate you. You may need to further explore your feelings about exercise and your body.

 

Excessive Exercise

Would you say that exercise is the most important aspect of your day?

Do you use exercise to control your body shape and or weight?

Do you workout even when you are stressed, ill or in poor weather conditions?

Have you ever missed any school, work or social obligation times for exercise?

If you find yourself saying “yes” to any of these questions, you may be engaged in Excessive Exercise, a disorder that can become addictive. Excessive or Over-Exercising is characterized when the exerciser abuses the frequency, intensity of exercise and makes it his/her top priority. This behavior can fall under many classifications such as:

  • Exercise Addiction
  • Obligatory Exercise
  • Compulsive Athleticism
  • Compulsive Exercising
  • Exercise Abuse

Other Symptoms/Behaviors

  • Get extremely depressed or frustrated when exercise is not achieved, or exercise does not receive that excrete “high”
  • Exercise alone to avoid attention from others such as trainers, other people at the gym, etc.
  • Always following the same strict exercise schedule
  • Exercising for 2+ hours daily, repetitively
  • Obsession with weight loss/calories expended
  • Exercising past the point of discomfort or pain

In addition, this disorder can be a product of Anorexia Nervosa when used in conjunction with striving for thinness by starvation or with Bulimia Nervosa when it is used to purge calories consumed.

Even if you have a semi positive body image, there is still the possibility of experiencing Excessive Exercise Disorder or behaviors where exercising becomes an obsessive task for the sake of exercising.

You are not alone in this! Through our directory of professional providers, you can help realize the psychological torment and damage of overall wellbeing that comes with the disorder. You can learn other, more effective ways to relieve overwhelming emotions of anxiety that go beyond working out.

Get help from professionals experienced in the subject of Excessive Exercise who can help you identify aspects of your life that trigger your need to burn calories and the shame you feel if you cannot or do not choose to that day. Reach out to us by phone or email (whichever you are most comfortable with) and we can help you get the help you need.

When you are ready, look through our directory and find and contact a counselor, psychologist, anyone specialized in Excessive Exercise! We have provided a directory to help you receive the best possible care to reach recovery. Just one phone call or email away can be the start of your improved health, both physically and emotionally! Reach out today!

Men & Eating Disorders

Men and Eating Disorders: A Widely Ignored Subject

The vast majority of education about eating disorders is focused on women. Admittedly, women are twice as likely to develop an eating disorder due to oppressive societal standards. However, male eating disorders are just as dangerous and far less discussed.

Though men are less likely to develop one of these disorders, it is important to include men in the discussion. About 10 million men in America will develop an eating disorder each year. That’s plenty of risk, warranting an education for both men and women when it comes to these life-altering mental illnesses. Here are a few things to know about men and eating disorders.

Men Can Have Negative Self-Image

Though women receive the brunt of societal expectations, men also receive pressure to be strong, masculine, muscular, and emotionless. Being fit is commonly considered mandatory for male attractiveness. Since “thin” and “fit” are often incorrectly viewed as synonymous, men can easily fall prey to an eating disorder in an attempt to look more fit and, therefore, more attractive.

Men Suffer From Binge Eating Equally as Often as Women

Of course, not all eating disorders cause weight loss. Binge eating has been shown to be roughly as common in men as in women. This disorder falls under the category of “subclinical,” meaning it is not considered severe nor will it result in death.

Anorexia and bulimia are considered clinical as they can cause permanent damage and even death. In studies of subclinical disorders, men actually fall equal to women whereas clinical disorders are more common in women.

Though subclinical disorders such as binge eating are not technically dangerous, they can certainly cause a slew of health problems and often tell of a much deeper issue. Do not ignore binge eating if you see the signs in a loved one. Seek help.

Males Face Additional Stigma and Often Go Untreated

Eating disorders are often associated with women who want to lose weight. While women do face a stigma thanks to misconceptions and misinformation about eating disorders, men have great difficulty. Not only will others believe that they have done this to themselves and just need to stop, but they will also be ridiculed for behaving like a woman.

These two hardships men with eating disorders face can result in undiagnosed disorders and lack of treatment. With the potential fatality of some eating disorders, these stigmas are much more harmful than one might think.

Men are too often left out of the conversation on eating disorders. They have been viewed as a women’s problem and little more than an effort to lose weight when in reality, eating disorders can affect anyone and are typically the result of an underlying issue.

Of course, societal standards on appearance do not help the problem nor does the lack of education the public has on eating disorders. If you notice a male loved one avoiding food, purging, or binge eating, do not shrug it off. With 10 million men a year falling prey to eating disorders, it is not unlikely that your loved one needs help.

Are You Always thinking about what you should eat?

About how you should look is no way to live your life? 

Taking the first step towards getting help is often the most difficult yet the best thing you can do for yourself.

Start now by contacting a counselor who understands and can help you find freedom from food obsession and fear of weight gain. Call us at 360-726-4141 or send me an email on our secure contact page We have offices in inner SE Portland and Vancouver.

We look forward to working with you!
Anne Cuthbert MA, LPC, LMHC