Tag Archives: Eating Disorder Treatment

“Good Food” and “Bad Food”

Good Food and Bad FoodIs There Such Thing as Good Food and Bad Food?

There is a growing amount of focus on obesity in American culture.  Phrases such as “the war on obesity” are commonly used by media outlets (DePhillis, 2013). In 2013 obesity was officially categorized as a disease, and in 2012, the New York City board of health passed a ban on sugary drinks in containers over 16 ounces in an effort to help thwart the “obesity epidemic,” (Pollack, 2013 and Lerner, 2012). People often have an idea that there are foods that are good and foods that are bad. This is evident in the way we talk about food. Chips are labeled as “junk food,” fast food as “unhealthy,” and other foods are simply labeled as “bad for you.” On the other side, there are several foods which are labeled with positive words and phrases such as “healthy,” “good,” and “pure.”

Continue reading

Unhealthy Relationships and Eating Disorder Treatment

Unhealthy Relationships and Eating Disorder TreatmentThe Truth About Unhealthy Relationships and Eating Disorder Treatment

One of the wonderful things about seeking treatment in a group setting is the benefit one gets from relationships built in treatment.  The relationships built with staff can be very helpful while in treatment, but the relationships built with peers can be helpful both during and after treatment.

However, not all relationships are helpful.  In my time as a milieu counselor at Center for Discovery, I have seen several types of unhealthy relationships emerge between clients.  The most frequent type of dynamic is enmeshment.  This is when two clients are so close that they do not operate as two separate people.  They do not express their own opinions, likes and dislikes or feelings.  Instead the two function as one person with shared emotions and opinions.

Continue reading

Disordered Eating and Athletics

Disordered Eating and AthleticsThe Link Between Disordered Eating and Athletics

Athletes are often glorified for their ability to transform their bodies. However, what cost do these athletes pay? Disordered eating may be one costly and dangerous step these athletes take to achieve their fitness and athletic goals.

The National Eating Disorders Collaboration offers the following definition for disordered eating, “Disordered eating is when a person regularly engages in destructive eating behaviours such as restrictive dieting, compulsive eating or skipping meals. Disordered eating can include behaviours which reflect many but not all of the symptoms of eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder or Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS).”

Continue reading

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

What is Body Dysmorphic DisorderFind Out What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Many people struggle with body image issues including how they feel about their bodies and the way in which they perceive their bodies to appear. However, those suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder have an especially complicated and complex relationship with body image.

Continue reading


Orthorexia may not get as much recognition as the better-known eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, however the disordered eating behavior of orthorexia deserves a closer look.

Just as excessive dieting can be the simple start of anorexia, trying to limit oneself to “good” or “pure” foods may lead to orthorexia.  According to Kratina, “Those who have an “unhealthy obsession” with otherwise healthy eating may be suffering from “orthorexia nervosa,” a term which literally means “fixation on righteous eating.”  Orthorexia may start out as an innocent attempt to eat more healthfully, but people who have orthorexia become fixated on food quality and purity.”

Those suffering from orthorexia may have difficulty eating food that they have not personally prepared as they may question the quality of the food. This can make socializing around meals difficult for someone with orthorexia. According to Marcason (2013), “Someone suffering from orthorexia likely doesn’t enjoy food in the same way that someone with a healthy relationship to food does. Rather, orthorexics feel virtuous when they eat the foods they consider to be good or safe, while deviating from their self-imposed extreme diet restrictions causes anxiety and self loathing.”

Like eating disorders, there are medical complications associated with orthorexia. Because many people with orthorexia will eliminate or greatly reduce certain food groups that are vital to a balanced diet, these people may not be getting adequate nutrition.

Another concern with this condition is that many individuals with orthorexia will have a great knowledge of food and nutrition but may not have factually correct knowledge of food and nutrition. Individuals should seek help from medical and nutritional specialists in order to receive the most accurate information and to better understand balanced nutrition (Marcason, 2013).

There is hope for those with orthorexia. There are trained specialists available to work with those suffering from this condition. Specialized treatment offers clients a better understanding of this condition and ways to help the individual adopt healthier outlook and relationship with food.




Kratina, K. Orthorexia Nervosa. Retrieved from: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/orthorexia-nervosa

Marcason, W. (April 2013). Orthorexia: An Obsession with Eating “Pure”. Retrieved from: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442471029

The Holidays and Eating Disorders – APPLE

Decorations, family, work parties, pumpkin pie, black Friday, one more glass of eggnog, travel, New Year’s resolutions… the holiday season is a unique time of year. Even for those that are healthy-minded and well-balanced, this “uniqueness” often brings along some additional seasonal stress.

For individuals with eating disorders, the extra food, family interaction, media messaging, and social stress may be experienced at a greatly magnified level. As a professional in the field, how can you help your clients tackle the challenges that arise during this difficult time of year?

Try using the APPLE approach. APPLE stands for Anticipate, Plan, PLay it Out, and Evaluate. The approach is a systemic method for handling specific holiday challenges, before they actually arise.

Anticipate: Help your client identify the specific holiday triggers or scenarios they are concerned about. For example: “I’m having dinner at my mom’s this Christmas. She always makes at least 3 kind of pie and I’m worried I’m going to binge on pie.”

Plan: Help your client develop a plan for the triggers or scenarios they identified in the Anticipate stage. This plan needs to be specific, concrete, comprehensive (i.e. planning for before, during, and after), and realistic (do not set your client up for failure!). It is also best if the plan involves another player such as a significant other, family member, or friend who knows what the plan is and can lend support in the moment. Some planning tools: behavior contracts, menu plans, coping skills cards, a timeline for the event, or pre-determined back-pocket responses.

PLay it out: Have your client practice their plan. Visualizing themselves going through each step, and being successful, can be extremely empowering. You can also engage your client in role play, e.g. mimicking a difficult dialogue they anticipate happening with a family member.

Evaluate: After your client has encountered their anticipated trigger or scenario, help them process it. Focus on drawing meaning from the experience, acceptance of what happened, and sometimes, forgiveness. Despite careful anticipation, planning, and practice, things never go exactly according to plan. What went well? What didn’t go well? What would they do differently next time? What did you learn from the experience?

“There is no such thing as failure, there are only results.”
– Tony Robbins

Happy Holidays!

What to Expect at Center for Discovery

What to Expect at Center for DiscoveryWhat to Expect at Center for Discovery

Clients entering residential treatment at Center for Discovery face a wide range of emotions. Some clients may feel sad, upset, angry or excited about their new placement. It is important for clients entering residential treatment at Center for Discovery to understand what they can expect from their time spent in treatment.

Continue reading

Eating Disorders & Siblings: A Family Affair

eating disorders siblings family affairEating Disorders and Siblings: A Family Affair

Eating disorders are one of the most complex and confusing disorders for those affected and their families. Having a child diagnosed with an eating disorder can be very challenging for parents. Many programs and support groups are available for parents of individuals with eating disorders. However, very little attention or research has been focused on the siblings of individuals with eating disorders. Professionals and families must remember that siblings are also affected by these disorders. When a family faces a crisis such as a child facing an eating disorder often times the family’s attention will focus on the sick individual. This behavior although well intentioned can leave siblings feeling disconnected from the family or ignored by their parents. This also leaves room for siblings to build resentment towards the individual with the eating disorder and the parents that are focused on them. These siblings could also be forced into a new family role while the family organized to support the suffering individual. This could lead the sibling to take on extra responsibility to support his or her parents or take on a parental role in raising other siblings while parents are absent.

Continue reading

Trends in Eating Disorders & Eating Disorder Treatment

Trends in Eating DisordersWhat Are the Latest Trends in Eating Disorders

Although eating disorders diagnosis is nothing new, new trends are developing within the eating disorder community. Two of these trends include the rise of eating disorders among men and the rise of eating disorders in younger children. According to Huffington (2013), “ A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in January 2013 found that eating disorders — once considered the domain of young, white, privileged females — are increasingly affecting males, with research indicating that 10 to 15 percent of people who suffer from anorexia or bulimia are male.”

Continue reading

What to Expect from Eating Disorder Residential Treatment

What to Expect from Eating Disorder Residential TreatmentWhat to Expect from Eating Disorder Residential Treatment

Entering a residential treatment facility can be anxiety provoking for returning clients, new clients, and families. Understanding this, most residential treatment programs are designed to accommodate all the tension and apprehension that may come with this change. The days spent at a residential treatment center are organized, planned, and focused on providing the best care and support possible. Although clients may enter a residential program at different stages of recovery and with differing disorders, all enter with the same rules and follow the same program.

Continue reading