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Through advocacy work, community and professional events, and media outreach, Veritas is helping to bring cutting-edge research, best-practice care, and scientifically backed information into the national eating disorder conversation. Here in our blog you can learn about the work we and others are doing to advance the understanding and treatment of eating disorders. You’ll also find interesting articles and helpful insights that can support you or a loved one on the journey to lasting recovery. We want to hear your story. Email us (blog@veritascollaborative.com) and ask how you can become a contributor!

The Thanksgiving Table

Navigating the Thanksgiving Table: A Letter for Those in Eating Disorder Recovery

A note upfront: you will get through Thanksgiving this year.

You will get through this day supercharged with expectations of gratitude, joy, and togetherness. This day when seemingly everyone is eager to take to the kitchen and prepare their assigned dish, presenting it to a table of revelers ready to express their thankfulness over an abundant feast.

You will get through this day that marks the first in a series of seasonal holiday gatherings in which family dynamics and food compete for the center stage–for better or for worse.

Thanksgiving can push the limits of eating disorder recovery in so many ways. It is fraught with the potential for triggers, whether you are well-established in your healing journey or are in the throes of an eating disorder.

Know the lessons from this day will be abundant. Moments that challenge your recovery may be abundant. Ultimately, your growth will be the most abundant. You can and will get through this.

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Maddie Duzyk

Episode 78: Occupational Therapy and Eating Disorders with Maddie Duzyk

Episode description:

We begin this episode of Peace Meal with guest Maddie Duzyk describing her lived experience with anorexia as it compares to her life in recovery. Reflecting on the everyday impact of her eating disorder, she explains how the illness made it difficult to distinguish between her own values and those of her disorder. Fortunately, treatment and recovery have allowed her to find herself again and reconnect with her interests and roles separate from the illness she once mistook for herself. 

As an occupational therapist, Maddie now helps patients on their own recovery journey, including during the often difficult transition from higher levels of care to outpatient life. She shares with us her recent doctoral capstone, which explored the perceptions of social eating behaviors among adolescents with eating disorders, and provides suggestions for those supporting a person with an eating disorder during mealtimes. She ends the podcast by expressing her hope that one day patients and providers alike will recognize and employ occupational therapy as an additional resource in eating disorder recovery. 

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A table set for Thanksgiving decorated with pumpkins, leaves, and pinecones

How to Help Patients Navigate the Holiday Season in Recovery

With the abundance of food, shared mealtimes, and large social gatherings, the holiday season can be immensely difficult for anyone living with or recovering from an eating disorder. Even as we shift into a more “normal” routine after pandemic-related disruptions, we continue to witness the impact of the last few years on people with eating disorders.

According to Hilmar Wagner, MPH, RDN, LN, CD, there are four key aspects of successfully navigating the holiday season while in eating disorder recovery. His method for a successful holiday is called P.R.E.P., which you can use in your work with your patients to support them this holiday season and beyond.

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A mother and her daughter smiling while eating ice cream

How to Help Children Build a Healthy Relationship with Food

Diet culture is so ingrained in our society that we sometimes can’t even see it. It’s in media messages that tell us that being thin will make us attractive, popular, and successful. It’s on grocery store labels that say foods are “guilt-free” or “sinful.” It’s in conversations about the latest diet or the food someone is “being so bad” for eating. 

In a culture that regards some bodies and foods as good––and others “bad”––it’s no surprise that children might start to develop unhealthy relationships with both. Unfortunately, a negative relationship with food and one’s body can play a part in the development of an eating disorder. Although a child’s environment alone cannot cause a biopsychosocial illness like an eating disorder, it is the factor we can work together to change. Parents have the opportunity to create a healthy environment around food and body image in their home, which can have an incredibly positive impact on their child’s development. 

In this blog, we will delve into how parents can help their children develop a healthy relationship with food and body image.

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A room decorated for Halloween, including pumpkins and a bowl of candy

Celebrating Halloween in Eating Disorder Recovery

Halloween can be scary in more ways than one for people with eating disorders. Being surrounded by candy, wearing a costume, and attending social events are some of the potential triggers this holiday can bring. Despite these challenges, it is possible to celebrate in a recovery-friendly way. 

Read on for helpful tips on how to enjoy Halloween while also prioritizing your eating disorder recovery.

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Jonathan Levy

Staff Spotlight, Jonathan Levy

Tell us about yourself!

I’m Jonathan Levy, Medical Director and Director of Psychiatric Services for Veritas Collaborative’s Atlanta Hospital for Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults. I am a physician specializing in General Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. I am also a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a CEDS-S (Certified Eating Disorder Specialist – Supervisor). In addition, I serve as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry for Emory University School of Medicine and for Morehouse School of Medicine in its Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Prior to joining Veritas Collaborative, I worked in various clinical settings, including at a PHP eating disorder program, the Atlanta VA Medical Center, Georgia Regional State Hospital, and in private practice.

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