Supporting a Sibling in Recovery

The impact mental illness has on a family is extraordinary. As parents, we were challenged every day for years as we struggled to understand anorexia, depression, and anxiety and find a way to stop it from destroying our daughter’s life. We had her to protect and, equally as important, her younger brother. He was caught up in the chaos and confusion like the rest of us, and he was only eleven. How could we help him understand what was happening to his big sister when we didn’t fully get it ourselves? Our love for both of them dictated our path moving forward. We decided not to shut him out or protect him from the truth; instead, we chose to do our best to meet his needs, openly communicate what was going on with Julia and include him in her treatment, get him personal counseling so he could ask questions and share his feelings, and always make sure he knew he had our unconditional love and support.

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Golden Bloggerz Award

A huge thank you to Rachel Duerden for the nomination. Please be sure to check out Rachel’s incredible blog Jasperden Health here. The Golden Bloggerz Award was created by Chris Kosto to motivate and reward all the amazing bloggers who work hard every day to serve their audiences and deserve some recognition.

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Intuitive Eating

Many of us have heard the phrase “intuitive eating” before on social media, in conversation, or, if you’re like me, from a dietitian or other nutrition and/or eating disorder specialist. But what exactly does it mean? Simply put, intuitive eating is an evidence-based approach to eating that encourages making food choices without guilt, honoring hunger cues, respecting fullness, and enjoying the pleasure of eating. It was introduced in 1995 by dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch and in eating disorder treatment is considered the “gold standard” and the ultimate goal in recovery.

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Parenting a Child with Anorexia

Julia was only thirteen when she was diagnosed with anorexia, depression, and anxiety: the trifecta of mental illness, as I called it. I spent far too much time trying to figure out how and why it happened; after all, I was the stay-at-home mother by choice and with all that daily love and experience I was giving my children, I should have seen the signs and intervened. But more often than not, parents aren’t to blame for mental illness, as was the case for my wife Susan and me.

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Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Happy National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2021! It seems like with every passing year, the engagement in this event grows. I’ve loved logging onto Instagram and Twitter and seeing so many positive quotes and recovery stories on my feed. This type of openness and support has been monumental in chipping away at the stigma surrounding mental illness and truly is the best way to normalize talking about mental health and keep making forward progress.

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The Role of a Dietitian in Recovery

Today marks the five-year anniversary since I began seeing my dietitian Betsy. It feels a bit surreal that it’s already been that long—and even more surreal when I reflect on how much I’ve grown in my recovery and my life since our first session. When I met Betsy, I was two days out of an Intensive Outpatient Program and two months out of residential care. My anorexia was still at large, dictating many of my decisions and driving many of my thoughts. I genuinely wanted to get better but when that voice was so loud and present, better sometimes didn’t seem worth the bother.

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Eating on a Schedule in Recovery

Food is fuel. Food is medicine. Most of us are familiar with the first saying, and those who have had or cared for someone with an eating disorder also know the second. Our bodies send out hunger cues every 3-4 hours as our blood sugar level drops. If we don’t take the cue and eat enough, we lose energy and aren’t as alert or focused. We start to feel sluggish, irritable, and weak. If we respond to our bodies’ need for fuel, we typically feel and behave better. It makes sense that a regular eating schedule can significantly contribute to helping our bodies and minds function at their best.

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Fear Foods

Fear foods, as the name suggests, describes certain foods that someone feels anxious, afraid, or uncomfortable eating. It’s not uncommon among people with eating disorders to develop these often irrational fears of food and even group food in boxes and assign labels such as “good” or “bad,” “safe,” or “unsafe,” and “healthy” or “unhealthy” to them.

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