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Joanna answers your questions...
Question: Do you have any suggestions to deal with the guilt my eating disorder makes me feel for having tried a ‘higher calorie’ meal that I’m not used to?
"First of all, congratulations on trying new foods! In early recovery, it’s normal to feel guilty when challenging the “eating disorder rules”. I once had a client describe this feeling as positive guilt — a sign that they were making progress, facing their fears, and exploring uncharted territory. Try writing down those guilty feelings. Talk to someone … Read More" Read More
Question: Why won’t s/he just eat?
"Eating disorders are not just about food; they are far more complicated. This can be a difficult concept to grasp because it contradicts what appears to be the only problem: “If only you’d just eat something!” An eating disorder is really about gaining some kind of control in a world that, sometimes for reasons that won’t seem apparent, feels very out of control. The eating disorder becomes a coping mechanism to take some control back. Controlling the food you eat and what you will and will not take into your body can feel very powerful." Read More
Question: Do eating disorders impact men and boys?
"Yes! Eating disorders do not discriminate! They can impact females and males of any background, class, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. People anywhere from youth to seniors can have eating disorders. Like females, there is a distorted sense of body image. Some men and boys with an eating disorder want to lose weight, while others want to … Read More" Read More
Question: Is my child’s eating disorder my fault?
"No. An eating disorder is not anyone’s fault. It’s important to remember that an eating disorder is a coping mechanism for your child to help create some control because s/he is feeling out of control. Do you need to be involved in your child’s recovery? Yes. Research increasingly points to family involvement in a child’s recovery as the single best predictor of a positive outcome. " Read More
"Weight fluctuation is a healthy part of growing up. A teenager needs more calories during times of rapid growth (i.e. puberty). If your child eats when hungry and stops when satisfied, then s/he will learn to eat according to internal hunger and fullness cues. It is important to know that children gain weight in advance of the rapid growth period that occurs during puberty, and that this weight gain is quite normal. " Read More
Question: Can you recover from an Eating Disorder?
"Yes. What works? There is no one answer to this because as we always say, if there was something that worked, we’d all be doing it and everyone would recover quickly. There can be many reasons for, and many individual parts to, an eating disorder. Because of this, recovery is an intricate process, and will have as much to do with your child’s specific needs as it will with the therapeutic processes that we have had success with. " Read More
Question: With summer approaching, I find myself comparing my body to others. I seem to really struggle when I see skimpy clothing advertisements and conversations about body image begin to surface. How can I get myself to stop this comparing habit?
"Comparing is a difficult habit to break because it’s natural to observe others when in our environment. What is most important is tackling the automatic negative thoughts you have about yourself when you go out. First, know that you are part of a beautiful, vast, and diverse world that is yours to appreciate. Notice how … Read More" Read More
"We are constantly bombarded with images from the media that show us a narrow picture of what it looks like to be cool, successful, and attractive. We are exposed to these messages more than ever before — through the Internet, TV advertisements, magazines, and social media. Models, actors, and celebrities are used to portray an … Read More" Read More
Question: When should I be worried?
"If your child’s eating habits change in a way that seems significant to you. For instance, s/he may begin to restrict food intake or change her diet entirely, may start skipping meals, or may begin to take meal replacement ‘shakes’ and skip meals. Or you may notice s/he now takes only half the portion s/he used to, for no good reason that you can see. Or you notice your child now cuts food up in small pieces and eats very slowly. These are just some examples." Read More
"It can be very difficult for families when a child goes through treatment and then re-engages in the eating disorder. This is a difficult disease and progress can be much slower than anyone, including the individual with the eating disorder, wants it to be. What it takes is continual patience, understanding and empathy, along with a good therapeutic approach that works for your child and your family. " Read More