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By Kate Fisch, LCSW

Because we stereotype individuals suffering with an eating disorder as teenage girls, adolescent boys with eating disorders often go overlooked.  This is further exacerbated by the fact that eating disorder commonly manifest differently in boys than they do in girls.  Typically, eating disordered girls describe an obsession with being thin and an irrational fear of gaining weight.  Indeed, eating disordered boys can also have similar focus but often their eating disordered goals are to increase muscle and achieve a more “chiseled” physique. This is sometimes referred to as “reverse anorexia” or “bigorexia.”  A physical “façade” reinforced by our sociocultural messages of masculinity.

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By Lauren Harding, Eating Recovery Coach

Often in eating disorder treatment, the eating disorder is interpreted as some outside entity, external from the individual struggling with an eating disorder. I view the eating disorder self a little bit differently. An old Cherokee Indian legend illustrates the most important battle of our lives between the good wolf and bad wolf inside of us. The wolf that ultimately wins is the one that we choose to feed. YOU are the one who has the power to either strengthen the eating disorder self or to defeat the eating disorder self, because the eating disorder is a part of YOU. You were born with a healthy core self that has been taken over by the eating disorder self over time. Clients typically describe the eating disorder self as a “monster that takes over” or the “demon inside of them”, I refer to the eating disorder self as ED- the abusive partner. The abusive partner, although toxic provides, a sense of stability for you. It promises a better future if you listen to it. It lures you in but continues to hurt you, while telling you that it will get better if you just stay. The longer you stay with an abusive partner, the stronger the abusive partner becomes. And ultimately, it is you that has the power to say goodbye to that abusive partner inside of you.

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By Lauren Harding, Recovery Coach

Disordered eating is NOT “less serious” than an eating disorder. And BOTH are deserving of support and treatment. Eating disorders are a pattern of behavioral, physical and psychological signs and symptoms that fit into the specific criteria outlined by the DSM. Disordered eating is a pattern of behavioral, physical and psychological signs and symptoms that do not clearly fit into a diagnosis outlined in the DSM. Disordered eating may be harder to detect due to a society that is obsessed with the pursuit of “wellness” and that celebrates disordered eating behaviors.

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By Lauren Harding, Recovery Coach

Warmer weather and the coming of summer often exacerbate worries about food and our bodies. This is especially challenging for those who are struggling with an eating disorder or who are in recovery. For many of these individuals wearing more revealing clothing such as shorts, sleeveless tops, or swimming suits can be a source of anxiety.  Avoidance tends to be the initial response when approaching summer. Unfortunately, advertisers don’t recognize the impact terms like the “summer body” can have on someone’s perception of themselves.

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By Lauren Harding, Eating Recovery Coach

The Facts

Dieting is linked to disordered eating attitudes and behaviors. Research shows that girls who diet are seven to eight times more likely to develop an eating disorder compared to those who do not diet. Furthermore, cross-cultural studies reveal an increase in eating disorders with an increase of urbanization. In Fiji, before television, dieting did not exist and there were no eating disorders. After television was introduced, Fijian women were for the first-time dieting, reportedly, as a way to “gain status”. Within 3 years 11% of these women reported vomiting in order to lose weight. “Without our cultural preoccupation with dieting, there would be no epidemic of eating disorders” (Gordon, 2000). An estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year, and Americans spend $33 billion each year on weight loss products. In 2017 the US dieting industry alone was worth $68.2 billion dollars. Yet, nearly two-thirds of Americans are classified as “obese”. With the increase of western civilization and dieting, there is also an increase of “obesity” and of eating disorders.

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Posted on February 1st, 2021 in Eating Disorders by

The desire to lose weight is actually pretty normal due to the fact that we all live in a very weight focused and fatphobic society. The pressure to make our bodies look a certain way seems to have become our main purpose as humans. We are not born believing there is something wrong with our bodies, but overtime are conditioned to think that way.  Certain industries capitalize on these beliefs. We latch onto superficial cultural goals- like having a “good body”- to feel as though we have achieved something important. If we fail to achieve this ideal it tends to become more of a personal failure rather than a fault of the damaging message itself. These industries and messages promise us that once the “ideal body” is reached, that “everything will be better”.

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Posted on February 1st, 2021 in Eating Disorders, Mindfulness by

Eating Disorders- about the food or not about the food?

Eating disorders are both about the food and not about the food.

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Posted on February 1st, 2021 in Eating Disorders, Mindfulness by

Exercise can be a difficult thing to navigate during eating disorder recovery. I often find that clients struggle to differentiate between whether they are truly exercising for enjoyment or if they are exercising with eating disorder motives. There are a few ways to first identify if you have a dysfunctional relationship with exercise, and several steps to take in order to find balance and make peace with it once more.

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Posted on November 25th, 2020 in Eating Disorders by

Eating disorder recovery coaches assist clients in reaching their treatment goals in real life situations by providing ongoing support, challenges, and serving as both a role model and a guide. Coaching is an important aspect of treatment by accompanying clients in everyday situations as well as providing exposure and response prevention. Coaches are trained in how to best support a client in making day-to-day behavior changes necessary for recovery.

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Posted on November 24th, 2020 in Eating Disorders, Mindfulness by

Thanksgiving is of course a day where we practice gratitude.  But, for those healing from an eating disorder, gratitude is a powerful tool for sustained recovery best practiced every day.  Eating disorder behavior and thoughts often create a false sense of reality that steers us away from important, worthwhile aspects of our lives and personal identity.  Expressing gratitude intentionally for the non-eating disorder components of our lives reminds us that we are and will continue to be more than just our eating disorders.  Here are 4 ways to increase your expression of recovery gratitude:

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Do you or your loved one need help navigating eating disorder treatment options?
Let us help you find the right direction at Northside Consulting »
COVID-19 Office Policy Update.
In an effort to keep both our clients and our staff healthy, all Northside Mental Health providers are now offering virtual appointments. Appointments can be scheduled directly with your provider or contact lindsey@northsidementalhealth.com.
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