Last month I went to the beach with a friend and, there, on the blanket next to us was a woman—in her early 20s, I’d guess—who most folks in this culture would assess as having a “10” body. Evenly toned and tanned, she also had a pretty face and straight, brown hair pulled back into a ponytail. Her bathing suit, a shocking neon blue, could probably be seen for miles. She certainly looked as if she had it altogether body-wise. Why, then, did I feel so sad for her?

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Dear Readers, We heard some good news this week. Some of you may have read about the Mental Health Parity Bill that was passed in both the House and the Senate on September 23. This is big news for the eating disorders community because the bill requires health insurers to cover mental illnesses (which include anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorder) exactly as they do physical illnesses. As many of you probably know from first-hand experience,…

Read More Mental health parity a step closer to becoming law

One of the worst things you can do that ensures you won’t become a “normal” eater is to regularly ignore hunger signals. People who skip meals when they’re hungry only cause and reinforce appetite disregulation. Frequently avoiding food when your tummy is empty is like refusing to put gas into your car and continuing to drive—eventually you’re going to run into trouble. There are several unhealthy reasons disregulated eaters use for not eating when they’re hungry.

Read More Ignoring Hunger

Last week I was talking to a phone client about her rebellion against taking good care of herself. Small wonder. Because of her dysfunctional upbringing, she’s confused about being cared for versus being controlled. Instead of believing that messages from others or from herself to herself are aimed at helping her, she feels controlled and strikes out in rebellion. When her inner voice tells her she should start the day with a healthy breakfast or stop eating when she’s full, it doesn’t sound caring and she doesn’t feel cared about. Instead, she feels bullied into doing something. Sound familiar?

Read More Care versus Control

Hmmm…

So goes another Fashion Week. 
I feel as though I am missing the point of the entire exercise.  Perhaps I have watched "The Devil Wears Prada" a bit too many times, or I am leery of a field that has to put weight minimums on their participants due to the high numbers of eating disorders.

Read More The Devil Sells Prada

Of all the rules of “normal” eating, the one that gives overeaters the most trouble is stopping when they’re full or satisfied. When food tastes delicious, it can feel like agony to lay down your fork. “Normal” eaters, as well, sometimes continue eating although they’ve had enough food or just because it tastes so darned good. However, they also know how to quit while they’re ahead. Here are some tips to learn and practice.

Read More Tips for Stopping Eating

How stressed you are now and, more importantly, how stressed you were growing up, may be at the root of your eating difficulties. By stress I mean the affective recognition of feeling internal pressure along with its physical manifestations in your body. If your childhood included chronic neglect or abuse—sexual, physical, or emotional harming such as shaming, degrading, living with constant fighting, witnessing abuse, and feeling scared and helpless much of the time—you may have a compromised stress response.

Read More Stress and Eating

I’m always amazed to hear about people throughout history who had eating disorders before they even  had a name. Today, anorexia, bulimia and even binge-eating disorder are so widely recognized that there’s even an anthology of essays on various author’s struggles with food, weight and self-image. Titled Going Hungry: Writers on Desire, Self-Denial, and Overcoming Anorexia, this book, along with another book on a woman’s struggle with food and weight, Thin is the New Happy:…

Read More It’s okay to talk about eating disorders now, finally

The subject of eating and hormone deficiencies is on my mind. I read about it in a Wall Street Journal article last month which concluded that appetite—no surprise—may be more about biology and biochemistry than previously thought. Days later a nutritionist colleague referred me to a website promoting a replacement for an appetite-regulating hormone some overeaters may lack. Interesting, but scary stuff, reminiscent of the nature-nurture debate—that is, how much power do we really have over our bodies?

Read More Hormones and Appetite