Are you trying to go cold turkey with your eating disorder symptoms? It won’t work!
Going cold turkey to stop your eating disorder will not work, even if some doctors and therapists have told you it will. Unfortunately, I’ve had many patients over the years who saw therapists, doctors and even dietitians who advised them some form of the following: “You’re going to stop purging tomorrow and we’re going to count the days”.
Do you drop your routines over the holidays? It could hurt your eating disorder recovery!
I'm very happy to be able to help you with an extremely important topic when it comes to eating disorder recovery -- explaining why it's so important to keep up comforting habits and rituals during the holiday season. You don't have to suffer over the holidays if you have food and body image issues, and keeping up your self-care routines can really help.
Is your family’s constant dieting hurting your kids?
Diets are prevalent in our culture. Studies show that the average age that girls start dieting is eight, and they start to talk about dieting even younger. They view the word fat as a negative word starting at age five! As a parent, you may think you are helping your child by encouraging her to lose weight through dieting – in fact, many doctors still encourage parents to put their kids on diets because of the obesity crisis in America. This is a case where the prevailing advice is wrong and even dangerous for our children. Why? Because diets don’t work!
Do I need to go to the hospital for eating disorders treatment?
Should you choose inpatient or outpatient treatment for an eating disorder?
Eating disorders are not like other mental health issues people face, such as depression or anxiety, which can often be remedied by once-a-week visits to a qualified and empathic therapist. Complete treatment for eating disorders requires the work of a team of professionals who can treat the whole person. There are two ways most patients receive access to this team of professionals. Treatment that takes place outside of the hospital or residential setting is known as “outpatient treatment,” and treatment occurring inside of a hospital or residential care setting is known as “inpatient treatment.”
Why can’t I just stop bingeing, purging and emotionally eating?
Have you ever tried to “just stop” starving, bingeing or purging “cold turkey” out of frustration and despair? Here are some of the things people say to themselves when their eating disorder gets really bad:
“This is the last time I’m going to make myself throw up”
“I’m starting my diet today”
“From this day on, I’m not eating any more white sugar, carbs or other BAD foods”
“I’m going to mark off the days on my calendar that I don’t throw up, until I stop completely”
If you want lasting love, make a deal breaker list.
In order to have healthy friendships and loving relationships, it’s crucial to make what I call a deal breaker list. When you look for an apartment or car, you have a list of things that are deal breakers, right? For example, if the plumbing doesn’t work, or if the apartment is in a bad location or if it’s too small. Or if a car you want to buy is leaking oil, that’s a deal breaker. You should also have reliable list of deal breakers for friendships and love relationships.
Here is a question I saw in an eating disorder chat room the other day that I think speaks for so many people who are suffering in silence with eating problems, weight and body shame: “I seem to go in a cycle of being healthy, where I feel really good about myself, and then I suddenly go to the other extreme of binging on foods that are bad for me. Then I feel so guilty I just have throw up until I can’t throw up anymore. And I know that throwing up is horrible. Not only does it screw up your hair, teeth, and skin, but it doesn’t even help me lose weight. How can I be one way and then completely the opposite the next?
How do I help my child feel better about her body image and weight when she lives in a society obsessed with dieting?
A few years ago I saw a story on Good Morning America about a married couple whose job is to scout for potential supermodels. The story featured three teenage girls (ALL already painfully thin, I may add) who were "discovered" by this pair.
IN THE FIELD WITH LORI OSACHY, MSS LCSW, EATING DISORDER SPECIALIST
Thanks so much to Skyler Williams from Tiffin University who interviewed me about my work with eating disorders a few months ago. I’m reposting our interview here with her permission. I hope it will help all of you to know me better, and why I am so passionate about my job!
Are you trying to make it through college with an eating disorder?
Many college students have untreated eating disorders before they leave for college, and they leave home without fully planning ahead. They may be recovering from an eating disorder but can’t adequately handle the stresses at college without relapse.
Pregnancy is certainly one of the most challenging experiences of a woman’s life. It brings about so many changes: emotional, financial and social just to name a few. One of the most obvious, however, are the changes in a pregnant woman’s body and how she feels about those changes.
What if we have already found a therapist but my child’s eating disorder is not getting better?
The biggest mistake that therapists make when it comes to eating disorders is to not ask about them at all. Many therapist and treatment providers do not have an adequate eating disorder assessment section in their intakes
I thought it would be powerful to highlight just a few of the groups of people who suffer from eating and body image disorders that we rarely hear about. In the media, the most common stories on eating disorders often sensationalize anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating in young, white women (usually celebrities). I would argue that eating disordered behaviors and body image distortion affect a much greater number of people, but either because they don’t fit within a defined “diagnosis”, or are not celebrities, we hear very little about the many other groups of people who can suffer a lifetime with low self-esteem and destructive eating behaviors. Here are some of the groups we rarely hear about:
How Do I Know If My Teenager Has An Eating Disorder?
Eating disorders are a growing and alarming problem among teenage girls. Girls may chronically overeat, or at the opposite extreme, may starve themselves in an effort to look thin. When a person diets to the point of losing 25% or more of her normal body weight, she is suffering from a condition called anorexia nervosa.
Did You Know These Seven Powerful Ways to Build Healthy Eating Habits in Children?
In our fast food culture, mealtime in many homes is no longer a time of family togetherness. Find your family’s own ways to express gratitude for bounty and to appreciate food (after all, we need food in order to live. You can also give your child responsibility for one part of each meal -- saying blessings, setting the table...
Is Parenting Stress is putting your Relationship in Jeopardy?
Are you and your partner experiencing relationship difficulties due to parenting stress? Parenting can be one of the hardest jobs in the world, and stress is amplified when your relationship is caught in the crossfire. Here are some ideas to consider and tips to improve the situation before your relationship is beyond repair.
Is your toddler, child or teen reluctant to eat in front of other people? Does he or she have only a few foods that they prefer and are those options becoming fewer and fewer over time? The “Picky Eater” is a common experience for most parents who have toddlers.
How to Help Your Teen with Self-Care Skills & Money Management without Going Insane!
Are you concerned about your teenager’s ability to manage money wisely? Today’s financial landscape is more complicated and risky than that of previous generations. However, there are ways to empower your teen to make smart money choices now, as well as provide skills that will help them become more independent adults.
Problems Communicating? 7 Ways to Help Your Child or Teen Learn Social Skills
Are you worried about your child or teen’s lack of social skills? Do you think your child is too shy, doesn’t have any friends, or is pushing potential friends away? Is your child struggling to communicate effectively with you or others because they become frustrated or angry? Does he or she seem unable to understand the complex social situations they face at school?
If so, you’re far from alone. Just take a look at some of the worries I discovered on the internet expressed by concerned parents:
How to Help Your Shy Child Relax and Have a Fulfilling Social Life
Does your child struggle with anxiety, especially in social situations?
Do you want your child to feel relaxed and enjoy a more fulfilling social life?
It’s possible. Even better, they can get the help they need at home, where they feel the most comfortable. Soon, your child can feel confident and prepared for what the world has to offer.
What is Applied Behavior Analysis and How Can It Help My Kids?
Is your child struggling with certain behaviors such as school phobia, extreme shyness, disrespectful behavior, refusal to complete chores, or procrastinating on homework?
Is your young adult having difficulty completing college classes, holding a job, and being able to live on their own?
Do you want your kids to learn how to positively interact with others and handle stressful situations appropriately?
Successful Relationships Secret #2: Overcome your shyness.
Our first secret in finding fabulous friends and love relationships was, ironically, to learn to enjoy being alone. But what if you’re fine being alone, but have trouble meeting people? Often I counsel people who are very, very shy and experience social anxiety. They have a lot of trouble taking social risks. They can entertain themselves just fine, but they are afraid to talk to people. Many introverts say they like their own company but still crave deep, meaningful friendships and love relationships. You can’t discover those relationships if you spend most of your time alone.
Thirteen Secrets to Finding Fabulous Friends and Love Relationships
As a certified Gottman educator and a couples coach, I talk to a lot of people who are either in strained and unsatisfying love relationships, or who are desperately searching for Mr. or Mrs. “Right”. I thought it would be helpful to offer a blog series on the 13 secrets I’ve learned over twenty years as a couples coach on how to find fabulous friends and love relationships.
Don’t send your child to college with an eating disorder
It’s that time of year again when young people head back to college and school. Unfortunately many of them take more than their bedding and books with them; up to 25% of college students also return with an untreated eating disorder.
Today I'm pretty mad. I saw a story on Good Morning America yesterday on a married couple whose job is to scout for potential supermodels. Do I care what these folks do for a living? Not really, it IS a free country after all. It's what happens after they find their supermodel progeny that makes my blood boil.
Is an eating disorder the real problem, or just a symptom?
There are so many people who live a secret life, and sometimes a secret lifetime, battling an eating disorder. The physical, emotional and spiritual problems that manifest with eating disorders are so powerful and all-encompassing that it can be easy to believe that these are the primary symptoms that must be overcome.
Do eating disorder therapists REALLY know what they're doing?
The last few days I have been reading some of the comments posted in eating disorder online support groups, and there seems to be a lot of negative thinking and despair about the ability of therapists to be able to truly help people with eating disorders. Too many people have reported bad experiences with therapists and other helping professionals when trying to seek relief and recovery.
In my work with helping individuals with eating disorders I have learned that negative thoughts and poor boundary setting are two of the most dangerous enemies of full recovery. Conversely, one of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal to help you turn negative thoughts around is a rock-solid support group, or what I call your inner circle.
Did you know this deadly myth about eating disorders?
I receive this question all the time from parents and loved ones of people with eating disorders. Please know that it is a DEADLY MYTH that someone can’t have an eating disorder if they seem to be of normal weight. Remember, eating disorders are complicated illnesses, and present themselves differently depending on the person. For instance, did you know that studies show most people with bulimia nervosa are of NORMAL weight? Did you also know that you can have symptoms of different types of eating disorders all at the same time? For example
I’ve worked with hundreds of men, women and children with eating disorders over the past twenty years, and I can tell you that without a doubt, fat feelings and body image distortion are even more difficult to get rid of than the actual eating disorder symptoms (such as purging, compulsive exercise, dangerous weight loss, and laxative abuse). Why are fat feelings and fears so hard to conquer?
I've had a lot of distraught parents calling me in the last few weeks because they just found out their child is suffering from anorexia, bulimia, compulsive overeating or body dysmorphic disorder. Many of these parents had called doctors, counselors and other medical providers who had been either been unable to help, had implied it was somehow the parents' fault, or hadn't even called them back! The only thing worse than finding out your child has a potentially life threatening condition is to be continually frustrated in finding qualified help. For this reason I wanted to send out a supportive article this week to parents encouraging you to follow your intuition about what is right for your child, and not to waste precious time blaming yourselves.
The 6 Most Common Mistakes People Make When Trying To Help Someone With An Eating Disorder
Even though I truly love being a therapist, one thing about my job that is very difficult is receiving the weekly calls from parents and loved ones of people with eating disorders who ask the same heart-breaking question: “I know my child (wife, sister, brother, mother, or friend) has an eating disorder, but when I beg them to get counseling or see a doctor, they refuse and deny they even have a problem. What can I do to get them help?"
How Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Can Help You Rapidly Recover from an Eating Disorder
As a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), my main focus is to increase socially appropriate, healthy behaviors, and decrease unhealthy, dangerous behaviors. With regard to eating disorders, I will help you to increase healthy behaviors in your life such as: following your meal plan, exercising an appropriate amount, eating an appropriate amount of calories, and regularly using healthy coping skills instead of your eating disorder symptoms. At the same time, I will also help you decrease unhealthy behaviors such as: yo-yo dieting, purging, over exercising, and emotional eating.
Does the man in your life have an eating disorder?
Over the years I have been treating more and more boys and men for eating disorders. Do you know that for a long time it was believed that men do not get eating disorders? For that reason, all treatment was focused on women, basically excluding the needs of men. Luckily, times have changed and slowly but surely, men with eating disorders are finally getting more specialized attention and treatment options.
What would your life look like if you were totally free of your eating disorder?
Think about it for a minute.
I bet you haven't asked yourself that question very much, or maybe never at all. Why do I know this? Because most people with eating disorders live with them in secret, as well as the false belief that they can never fully recover. So, if you believe you will always have to live with your eating disorder, why would you waste time dreaming about what your life would be like without it?
You may be hearing that voice right now, that negative, pessimistic voice, whispering "Don't listen to HER (or HIM!), you know it's impossible to get better, don't get your hopes up". If that voice (some people call it Ed) is there, just tell it to wait a few minutes, and clear a space to answer, what *exactly* would your life look like if you were forever free? Would it include...
When It Comes to Friends, Lovers, and Eating Disorders, Are You Listening to Your Alarm?
Published February 2, 2015 | By Lori Osachy
If you have an eating disorder and you’re having trouble approaching people, you may have turned off your “alarm”.
Our body is like a house. When we’re born, we all have a natural “alarm system” built into our house that tells us when we’re in danger, and when it’s safe. When we’re in danger that alarm goes off in the form of our intuition or instinct, and tells us it is not safe.
Do You Know About This Hidden College Epidemic?
Published January 19, 2015 | By Lori Osachy
Do you know about this hidden college epidemic: substance abuse and eating disorders?
An excerpt from my new book brings it to light.
Do you know there has been a dramatic increase in marijuana use on college campuses, even in states where it’s not legal? I’m finding more and more that when people come to see me for help with eating disorders, they’ve also been regularly drinking to excess and/or using marijuana daily.
Don’t Be The One-Legged Woman In a Wheelchair
Published January 6, 2015 | By Lori Osachy
Today’s tip on eating disorder recovery is to think about your deathbed and how you want to look back on your life. This is serious but we have to bring out the big guns to battle negative body image and eating disorders, right? I want you to sit and project yourself one year, then five years ahead in your life and think about how you want to feel. And then I want you to think about the end of your life and ask yourself: “Do I want to look back and say that I hated my body? That I was obsessed with calories and weight for all of my years? That I always struggled with food and body image? Do I really want to look back and say that’s what much of my life was all about?”
Do You Have to Live With an Eating Disorder for the Rest of Your Life?
Published December 29, 2014 | By Lori Osachy
A common and harmful misconception about eating disorders is that you have to live with them in some form for the rest of your life, and just hope you can successfully manage the symptoms. Having an eating disorder is not a natural state. It’s a faulty coping mechanism. Although people can be genetically predisposed to eating disorders, environment is much more influential - about 75% over our genetics. There has been a lot covered in the news lately on the topic stemming from a renewed interest in research about how humans can overcome our genetics. Research has shown that our genetics are, in many cases, a very small part of what influences us.
Are You Terrified To Be Alone?
Published December 15, 2014 | By Lori Osachy
Did you know that learning how to be alone is one of the most important steps in eating disorder recovery?
It’s essential to learn the difference between aloneness and loneliness. Loneliness is a very normal emotion; sometimes we pine for other people, and we do need community in order to be emotionally (and physically!) healthy. However, a critical task in life is learning how to be alone, how to enjoy your own company, how to not need other people to entertain yourself or feel good about yourself.
Why You Need Professional Help To Get Better From an Eating Disorder
Published December 8, 2014 | By Lori Osachy
Many people with eating disorders wonder if professional treatment is absolutely necessary for them to get well. Eating disorders are mysterious to the average person, and individuals often lack full understanding of this complex and dangerous problem. When a person lacks information and guidance about a stressful problem, they can be prone to minimizing it or denying its seriousness. This can unfortunately lead to disastrous consequences.
4 Ways to De-Stress During the Holidays
Published November 25, 2014 | By Lori Osachy
The holidays are here and along with cheer, parties and gift exchanges, they can bring a lot of stress. Many people suffer from stress during the holiday season and if you are one of them don’t feel bad about not enjoying every moment of the season. Attempting to attend every get-together, see every family member, buy gifts for everyone and stay happy while you do it can cause unnecessary stress and you can avoid it! The stress of the holidays can cause relapses and can trigger eating disorder symptoms so it’s important to find ways to stay calm during this season. Finding ways to de-stress during the holiday madness can help you keep your sanity and actually enjoy the holidays.
Lori Osachy, MSS, LCSW, the Director of The Body Image Counseling Center, provides confidential, client-focused counseling and therapy services specializing in areas that include, but are not limited to: Marriage Counseling, Couples Therapy, Premarital Counseling, Relationship Counseling, Marriage Problems, Relationship Problems, Body Dysmorphic Disorder Therapy, Compulsive Overeating Help, Purging Help, and Anorexia Recovery.
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