Meal plans are often an essential part of eating disorder treatment and recovery. Developed by registered dietitians as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, they are valuable in providing structure and ensuring that the individual gets the variety and amount of food they need. In this blog, we will cover the basics of meal plans, as well as some different types of meal plans used in eating disorder recovery.
Recovery is Not an Overnight Thing
**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.
Leah Appel is a senior at Wayzata High School in Plymouth, Minnesota. She was born in Florida but moved to Minnesota when she was about three years old. She grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis. Her father moved to Florida when she was in middle school, so traveling has been a big part of her life. Leah loves to shop, spend time with friends, and explore places and stores around the city.
Top 5 Podcast Episodes for Eating Disorder Awareness
Here at Veritas Collaborative, we are recognizing Eating Disorders Awareness Week, an annual campaign to educate the public about the realities of eating disorders, as well as provide hope, support, and visibility to individuals and families affected by these illnesses.
In honor of this week, we are spotlighting five episodes of Peace Meal that raise awareness and provide education on eating disorders. Peace Meal, a podcast we co-produce with The Emily Program, covers topics related to eating disorders, body image, and how society may influence our thinking. In each episode, our host Dr. Jillian Lampert speaks with experts in the field and those experiencing recovery for themselves. Check out these five episodes to learn the basics of eating disorders and who they affect, why it’s possible to recover, and more.
Staff Spotlight, Emilee Rojas
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Emilee Rojas and I am the Practice Manager at Veritas Collaborative’s Child, Adolescent, and Adult Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’ve worked here since March of 2018!
Episode 69: Mindful Self-Compassion with Erin Werner
Erin Werner is a mental health administrator, student, makeup artist, and ordained minister who enjoys being present with her family, cooking, and baking. In this episode of Peace Meal, she shares her eating disorder experience, including the factors that contributed to her illness, her process of seeking help, and the power of mindful self-compassion in her recovery.
Erin recounts her struggle with multiple eating disorders, illnesses that were characterized by bingeing, restricting, and purging throughout her adolescence and into her 20s. She then explains how, with the help of her parents, she started therapy and learned to identify the factors and co-occurring issues that were masking and influencing these conditions. Over time and with professional help, she learned the skill of mindful self-compassion, which was critical to her recovery. She shares how she has developed better coping mechanisms through the practice of self-compassion and overall feels more at peace with herself, her body, and food. In addition to finding a passion for cooking, she can now see food for what it is, fuel for the body.
Grocery Shopping in Eating Disorder Recovery
It’s been a few weeks since you’ve completed treatment. You have learned coping strategies to manage eating disorder impulses and behaviors, but certain activities can still be triggering. Shopping for food is a common challenge for so many who are struggling or have struggled with an eating disorder. A grocery store, with its endless options and food labels abound, can be an overwhelming place for anyone, let alone someone recovering from an eating disorder. When thoughts of food are already taking up your whole brain, entering an environment filled with such a vast amount of food can understandably exacerbate that issue, causing anxiety, fear, and distress.
We want to help you cope with this common trigger. In this article, we will cover the potential challenges of grocery shopping while in recovery, as well as helpful strategies to overcome those challenges.
What to Expect When You Contact Veritas Collaborative
We know that seeking treatment for an eating disorder is often a difficult decision, one that requires support and understanding. We’re here to help. Starting with your first phone call, we’re committed to ensuring you get the expert, compassionate care you need as quickly as possible.
It’s natural to have questions about what to expect when you reach out for help. This overview of our admissions process describes the steps between your first phone call and your first day of treatment so that you are informed from the very start.
Staff Spotlight, Anne Ganje
Tell us about yourself!
Hello, my name is Anne Ganje, RD, LD, and I am the Lead Dietitian at the Child, Adolescent, and Adult Center in Richmond, Virginia. I have been with Veritas Collaborative since January 2020.
What is Compulsive Overeating?
Compulsive overeating is eating an excessive amount of food but not because of hunger. When someone compulsively overeats, it is often an unhealthy and ineffective way of avoiding or distracting from difficult emotions or situations. Though engaging in the eating behavior may provide some short-term relief, ultimately it often brings physical and emotional distress, as well as feelings of shame, anger, anxiety, or fear related to food. This blog describes compulsive overeating, including its relationship to eating disorders and its common characteristics.
Episode 66: A Compilation of Advice for Those Doubting Recovery
In this special holiday episode, we have compiled some powerful insights on recovery from several of our 2021 guests who have experienced it themselves. Throughout the year, we asked our podcast guests with a personal eating disorder story this question: “What would you tell someone listening who believes recovery isn’t possible for them?” This episode features some of the answers we received in response.
Many of our guests share how they once thought that recovery wasn’t possible for them as well, but every little step they made toward healing was so important. While acknowledging how challenging recovery can be, they also emphasize how much better it is than having an eating disorder. If you are experiencing or recovering from an eating disorder yourself, we hope that this episode leaves you with some hope and wisdom on your path to healing.
Episode 70: The Healing Power of Embodiment with Heidi Andersen
Heidi Andersen is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor, Certified Eating Disorder Specialist Supervisor, Registered Yoga Teacher, and Embodiment Specialist. She has worked with people struggling with eating disorders as a therapist in residential, PHP, IOP, and outpatient levels of care. She currently maintains an outpatient group practice of body-centered psychotherapists specializing in weight-inclusive treatment for the intersection of trauma, attachment wounds, and eating disorders through an anti-oppression lens and somatic approach.
In this episode of Peace Meal, we explore the concept of embodiment and how it relates to eating disorders and recovery. Heidi covers the reasons we can become disembodied, as well as different ways we can work toward reconnecting with our body. Heidi also dives into how important it is for healthcare providers who help others with their embodiment to work on their own. She offers yoga as one tool in increasing embodiment, and it is a practice she finds especially valuable to ground herself on bad body image days. Recognizing that embodiment can often feel unsafe for people who are not in white, straight-sized bodies, Heidi hopes for a future where embodiment is more accessible for all.
Staff Spotlight, Corey Marshall
Tell us about yourself!
Hello, I’m Corey Marshall, LMSW, and I’m a psychotherapist at the Atlanta Hospital and Center. I started at Veritas Collaborative as a therapeutic assistant in May 2019. I was promoted to Site Trainer in April of 2020, then transitioned to Psychotherapist in April 2021.
Supporting a Partner with an Eating Disorder
It is the season of love and romance, and here at Veritas Collaborative, we are thinking about all the loved ones currently supporting a partner with an eating disorder. Though relationships can be negatively affected by eating disorders, they can often serve as a key catalyst in recovery as well. One study, in fact, revealed that a supportive partner relationship was the most influential positive factor in women’s recovery.
The support of loved ones is essential to the recovery process, but knowing how to best support your partner can be tricky to navigate. In this blog, we focus on romantic partnerships and how they can be affected by an eating disorder, as well as some helpful tips for those supporting a loved one with this illness.
Eating Disorders 101: Warning Signs, Risk Factors, and Treatment
Nearly 30 million Americans experience an eating disorder in their lifetime. The vast majority, however, do not receive care due to stigma, misinformation, and access barriers. Increasing our understanding of these serious illnesses is crucial to improving early detection and intervention. In this blog, we provide a general overview of eating disorders, including the types, risk factors, and warning signs, as well as the importance of multidisciplinary treatment.
Body Checking and Body Avoidance
Many eating disorders involve a preoccupation with body shape and weight. This preoccupation often results in distorted thoughts and beliefs, as well as disordered behaviors around food and eating. Some common and well-known behaviors that may indicate the presence of an eating disorder include: rigid food rules, denying hunger, hiding or stockpiling food, and eating in secret.
Body checking and body avoidance are some less-discussed behavioral signs of an eating disorder. In this article, we will cover the definition of body checking and body avoidance, as well as how those behaviors relate to an eating disorder and ways to overcome them.
It is important to note that anyone can exhibit body checking and body avoidance behavior whether they have an eating disorder or not, and not everyone with an eating disorder exhibits those behaviors. Additionally, it is not always the case that a person will only experience either body checking or body avoidance; it is not uncommon to experience both at the same time or go back and forth between the two.
Episode 68: The Dangers of “Clean Eating” with Jason Wood
Jason Wood combined his therapeutic love of writing with his mission to break the stigma around men’s mental health and eating disorders by launching Orthorexia Bites in 2021. His first book, a memoir titled Starving for Survival, is out now.
In this episode of Peace Meal, Jason discusses how weight-based bullying, the loss of his parents, and a cancer scare all contributed to the development of his eating disorder. He reflects on how the praise he received after weight loss in his early teens led him to believe that diet and exercise were something that made him “good” in the eyes of others. Then, he explains, a cancer scare led him to dieting and “clean eating” in an attempt to prevent cancer—the illness that took both of his parents. Jason experienced weight loss and was once again praised by friends and healthcare providers, suggesting that he was on the right track. In reality, however, an obsession with “clean eating” was consuming his life. Jason wants to share his story so that other men and boys know that they are not alone in their struggle with an eating disorder.
PHP/IOP Treatment at Veritas Collaborative
At Veritas Collaborative, we offer a full continuum of care for people with eating disorders of all types. Ranging from inpatient to outpatient, the levels of care vary according to the level of support and structure they provide. These diverse and distinct levels support our individualized approach to treatment.
In this article, we provide an overview of both our Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). Learn the components of PHP/IOP for adults, adolescents, and children and how day programs differ from other kinds of treatments on the care continuum.
Episode 67: Pursuing Your Joy with Katie Whipple
Katie Whipple is a Certified Public Accountant who co-led a $7 billion business deal as the youngest and only female on her team. After moving from New York to Indiana, she now participates in community involvement through Junior Achievement, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and her own podcast “Cup of Common Grounds.” Five years into her recovery, and after a seven-year hiatus, Katie decided to return to pageantry and will be competing for Miss Indiana USA in April.
In this episode of Peace Meal, Katie explores the factors that led to the development and worsening of her eating disorder, as well as those that now keep her strong in recovery. As a home-schooled Christian who grew up in purity culture, she says she was unaccustomed to the cultural and social pressures she encountered at college. The dramatic transition triggered her eating concerns, as well as a feeling that she was living a double life: a high achiever confidently facing business partners and pageantry judges in public but struggling in private. In recovery, Katie has learned to find worth beyond her appearance and better name her emotions, a skill that has deepened her relationships with family and friends. She has also been able to reignite a passion that provided self-confidence and self-development when she was younger, pageantry. Acknowledging that pageantry can be a significant trigger for those with eating disorders, Katie shares how she protects her recovery while doing what she loves.
A Non-Diet Approach to New Year’s Resolutions
With 2022 just around the corner, many people are making their New Year’s resolutions. As in years past, many of these resolutions will revolve around diet and weight loss. These diet culture resolutions are incredibly problematic, especially for those struggling with, recovering from, or susceptible to developing an eating disorder. Dieting is a key risk factor for eating disorders and interferes with the process of developing a healthy relationship with food.
If making a New Year’s resolution is something you would like to do, remember to do so with your recovery in mind. In this blog, we have examples of goals unrelated to diet or weight that could get you started when making your own. Some of these suggestions may not be appropriate for everyone; please work with your recovery team or modify the examples to suit your recovery needs.
Holiday Dos and Don’ts for Those in Eating Disorder Recovery
The holiday season can be a complicated and difficult time for those in eating disorder recovery. Stress and anxiety can increase with the presence of food and the large amount of time often spent with family members, both immediate and extended. It can also be hard for people to know the best way to support their loved ones in recovery. In order to make this holiday season a little bit more tolerable, we have created a list of dos and don’ts for those in recovery, as well as for the people who support them.