Is the Good-Food-Bad-Food Trap Ruining your Relationship with Food?

emotional overeatingI can’t eat that because it is bad for me” or “That is a good food, so I can eat that anytime I want” are examples of the “good-food-bad-food trap.” They are common statements among the general public, and particularly dieters.

The good-food-bad-food trap is just as it sounds—dividing foods into different categories deemed either good to eat or bad to eat. Dieting and public health campaigns really reinforce this all-or-nothing thinking with a series of rules about what we should and should not be eating. While the intention behind this notion is good, it is actually quite problematic in practice. 

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3 Steps to Liking Your Body Better (Without having to change it.)

body image I want to scream every time I see this advertisement: “Get your body ready for bathing suit season”.  This is a typical fitness & diet advertisement that plays over and over during the Summer months. Guess what? Your body is all ready for bathing suit season-no changes needed.  Don’t believe me? Keep reading!

What is body image?

Body image is a mental image of what we think we look like. Body image is not necessarily how we look, but how we think we look. It is dynamic. That is, body image is dependent on the situation or your mood. For example, you may have a more positive body image if you are out enjoying yourself on a nice hike. In contrast, you may have a poorer body image if you are anxious in a new social situation.  Your mood affects how you think about yourself.

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Not Your Teens Eating Disorder: What you need to know about eating disorders in midlife.

eating disorders in midlifeUnfortunately, eating disorders in midlife are on the rise.  Many eating disorders in adult women may go undiagnosed because of the mistaken belief that older women don’t develop eating disorders.   It is true that adolescent girls are at a higher risk, but women of all ages are at risk for developing and maintaining an eating disorder.

Adult women usually present with eating disorders in the three following ways:

  1. An eating disorder was developed earlier in their life. That is, as an adolescent or young adult the individual developed her eating disorder, but never fully recovered.  Adequate treatment, motivation to change, social & family support, etc. are all necessary for a full recovery.
  2. The second scenario is similar to the first, an eating disorder developed in adolescence or early adulthood and the individual fully recovered through treatment.  But, then in midlife, a relapse took place either in response to environmental, social, psychological and/or physical stressors and the eating disorder returned.
  3. In this last scenario, which is the least common, is that the onset of the eating disorder first occurred in midlife. That is to say, the individual had no pre-existing eating disorder. The most common type of eating disorder that starts in mid-life is binge eating disorder (click here to learn more about binge eating disorder).

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5 Common Binge Eating Disorder Myths You Need To Know

Binge eating disorder Accurate information & challenging misconceptions is an important first step in getting treatment for binge eating disorder.  The phrase “binge eating” gets used a lot in the media & pop culture.  I have gathered some common myths about binge eating disorder (BED) that I have seen over my 15 years of working with clients with eating disorders.

  1.  Myth:  Overeating regularly at meal or snack time is considered binge eating.

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Perfectionism: Striving to be perfect.

Who doesn’t want to be perfect, right?  What’s wrong with perfectionism? We all want things to go well for ourselves in our career & school and personal lives.  Setting high standards can lead to high achievement.

Perfectionism, on the other hand, is striving for things to be perfect in most aspects of life, all of the time.  And when things don’t go perfect, as things often don’t in life, the person who suffers from perfectionism is self-critical and blaming.   This self-criticism, which often is intended to motivate, actually leads to poor self-esteem, extreme fear of failure and procrastination (“I can’t do it perfectly, so I won’t try”).  Perfectionism is a losing proposition.  We are human.  We are going to make mistakes.  Being perfect all of the time is an impossible standard to meet. Studies show that perfectionism can lead poor self-esteem, burn-out, procrastination, chronic stress, poor relationships, depression & anxiety, eating disorders and increases the risk for suicide.Continue reading

5 Reasons *Not* to Diet in 2017

New Year's ResolutionIt is that time of year: When New Year’s resolutions have been set.  Many headlines promote the “newest” diet trends to “jump start” weight loss in 2017.

If you make this resolution year after year with little results & lots of frustration have you ever considered NOT dieting?

Want to get off the diet roller coaster?  Make peace with food? Feel more in control of your eating?  If you answered yes to any of these I encourage you to set a new type of resolution: NOT to diet in 2017 or really ever again.

Why you ask?  I will give you five good reasons:

1.  Dieting doesn’t work for long-term weight regulation.  Scientists don’t have any good data that shows dieting works consistently in reducing weight, long-term.Continue reading

Weight Stigma Awareness Week 2015

According to an on-line dictionary stigma is defined as “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality or person”.  Synonyms of stigma include shame, disgrace and dishonor.  Weight stigmatization is essentially shaming and blaming people about their body weight.

In efforts to promote awareness and ultimately prevention of weight bias in our culture, The Binge Eating Disorder Association sponsors a week long Weight Stigma Awareness Week annually in September.  This year’s theme, held September 21st through 25th, is “Bias and Bullying: Weight Stigma in Diverse Communities.”

Studies suggest that weight bias may actually INCREASE the likelihood of obesity, binge eating and staying obese.

Weight BiasWeight stigma is wide spread throughout our society including areas of employment, education and health/mental health care.  Studies indicate that weight stigma is on the rise in our society.  Weight stigma often is internalized by individuals which can lead to shame, hopelessness, isolation, etc.

A recent study published in Pediatric Obesity (July 2015) found that weight-based bullying is the most prevalent form of bullying in our youth.   This study found that more kids are being teased about their body weight than academic ability, physical/cognitive disables, sexual orientation, race & ethnicity or religion.  According to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, the consequences of weight-based bullying increases our children’s risk for depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, poor body image, suicidal thoughts, poor academic performance and avoidance of health promoting behaviors.Continue reading

May 6th is International #NoDietDay

#NoDietDayOf course if I had it my way…EVERYDAY would be #NoDietDay!!

Here are just a few stats on dieting:

1.  95% of diets fail (weight is regained). ***Note:  Diets fail–NOT people***

2.  20-25% of dieters progress to disordered eating or clinical eating disorders.

3.  Studies show that dieting among female adolescents is a shared risk factor for purging, binge eating and overweight.

4.  Food restriction increases risk for overeating and binge eating.

5.  Studies suggest that dieting is a predictor of future weight GAIN.

6.  Making people feel bad about their weight is a strong predictor of obesity.

7.  It has been speculated that weight cycling (gaining and losing of weight) leads to chronic inflammation which is linked to cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes.



The Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Related Disorders

The Science Daily Study: “Simply being called ‘fat’ makes young girls more likely to become obese: Trying to be thin is like trying to be tall”.

The Science Daily Study: “Dieting does not work, researchers say”.

Study: Influence of obesity, physical inactivity, weight cycling on chronic inflammation (2010).

Study: Medicare’s search for effective obesity treatments: Diets are not the answer (2007).

Study: Examination of shared risk and protective factors for overweight and disordered eating among adolescents (2010).


Bullying Can Trigger Disordered Eating

We alBullying and Eating Disordersl know that bullying is harmful to our children.  And researchers and eating disorder professionals are now just starting to understand that bullying can contribute to disordered eating.  If a pre-teen or teen has an eating disorder they could be using their eating disorder behaviors to cope with being bullied.  To read more about how disordered eating/eating disorders are believed to be “helpful” in coping with life stresses please visit here.

**Eating disorders are described as maladaptive coping skills-behaviors that are harmful overtime.