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Veritas Blog

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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!

February 3, 2022

Body Checking and Body Avoidance

Call 855-875-5812 to get help with an eating disorder.

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. 

In the context of an eating disorder, body checking and body avoidance are some less-discussed behavioral signs. In this article, we describe how body checking and body avoidance relate to eating disorders and ways to overcome these behaviors. 

It is important to note that anyone can exhibit body checking and body avoidance behaviors 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. However, due to a fairly strong correlation with eating disorders, body checking is a behavioral pattern that you should be aware of, both in yourself and your loves ones.

January 27, 2022

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.

January 19, 2022

Episode 68: The Dangers of “Clean Eating” with Jason Wood

Episode description: 

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. 

January 18, 2022

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. 

January 13, 2022

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.

January 10, 2022

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. 

January 5, 2022

What is Compulsive Overeating?

Call 855-875-5812 to get help with an eating disorder.

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 compulsive 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.

December 22, 2021

Episode 66: A Compilation of Advice for Those Doubting Recovery

Episode description: 

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. 

December 21, 2021

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.

December 16, 2021

Is Fasting Bad For You? Why Intermittent Fasting is a Dangerous Fad

Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating that includes regular periods of fasting. Unlike traditional diets, intermittent fasting does not include any rules on what foods “should” or “should not” be eaten; instead, it specifies when and when not to eat. Participants limit their eating to a certain window of time—for example, only eight hours per day or even alternate days of the week—and do not eat for the remainder of the time. 

In the last several years, the trend has become increasingly popular. Proponents of intermittent fasting tout its promises of improved health and weight loss. However, the notable dangers of intermittent fasting are often left out in conversations about the subject. The risks of fasting may not be readily apparent in our society that celebrates weight loss at any cost, so in this article, we will cover the potential negative side effects of intermittent fasting, including the dangers for those at risk of or suffering from an eating disorder.

December 6, 2021

Hope for the Holidays

Nearly two years into the pandemic, we continue to feel its deep impact on our lives. COVID-19 has changed the way we live, the way we work, and the way we spend our time. It has taken 750,000 lives from us and impacted the physical and mental health of countless more.

This holiday season, Mark Warren, MD, MPH, FAED, Chief Medical Officer of Veritas Collaborative, joins us to reflect on the continued impact of COVID on those with eating disorders and look forward to a year of hope and better health.

December 6, 2021

Episode 65: Honoring Your Hunger with Hannah Howard

Episode description: 

Hannah Howard is a writer and food expert who has spent her career in the food industry serving, bartending, cooking on a line, flipping giant wheels of cheese, managing restaurants, and now writing about food. She is the author of two memoirs, Feast: True Love In and Out of the Kitchen and Plenty: A Memoir of Food and Family. 

In this episode of Peace Meal, Hannah tells us about her complex relationship with food, describing how she once feared her own appetite. Food had been the center point of her career–her professional passion–and also a source of anxiety as she struggled silently with an eating disorder. Hannah describes how sharing her story in recovery has not only connected her to others with similar experiences, but also allowed food to be a source of joy and passion once again. In addition, she discusses the  “good” and “bad” labels often applied to food and encourages everyone to approach eating with self-compassion and kindness. She reflects on her experiences of pregnancy in recovery, naming how she set boundaries at the doctor’s office and strives to set a good example for her children. Recovery is a process, one Hannah says she is still learning.  

November 30, 2021

What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive eating is a method that trusts the body’s natural intuition to guide a person’s eating decisions. It is about eating mindfully and dismissing food rules that have been made from either childhood, family rules, diet culture, misinformation about food, or eating disorders. Intuitive eating is not a diet, but a way to work with your body to notice signs of either hunger or fullness. These are internal signs that allow the body to be the expert of its physical and psychological needs.

The intuitive eating approach relies on the body’s natural intuition. However, eating often feels far from intuitive for many people, as diet culture and disordered eating habits create distance from this natural intuition. A strong mind-body connection is needed with intuitive eating; without it, the mind can’t act as a manager for the body’s hunger and nutritional needs. An eating disorder can make it difficult to satisfy the body’s needs, relying instead on external rules. This blog aims to inform you of the principles of intuitive eating as well as what intuitive eating looks like.  

November 23, 2021

Self-Care During the Holiday Season

During the holiday season, it can be easy to get wrapped up in festivities and family. Thanksgiving can be especially stressful for those struggling with an eating disorder because most households celebrate with food. Having to navigate this food-centric holiday with an eating disorder just adds to the chaos often experienced around this time. This blog aims to keep you mindful of yourself and your recovery during the holidays ahead.

November 17, 2021

Episode 64: Healing Has No Age Limit with Betsy Brenner

Episode description: 

Betsy is a long-time tennis coach, retired hospital attorney, and the author of a memoir titled The Longest Match: Rallying to Defeat an Eating Disorder in Midlife. Her inspiring message is that it is never too late to be a work in progress. Betsy is also an eating disorder recovery speaker, advocate, and peer support mentor who shows that it is possible to heal from past trauma and become healthier in body, mind, and spirit.

In this episode of Peace Meal, Betsy discusses how she was taught to suppress her emotions growing up, how dealing with her trauma was the only way to recover from her eating disorder, and how you’re never too old to start healing. She tells us how the food she consumed as a child was completely controlled by her mother, and how that prevented her from learning how to eat intuitively. She also covers the combination of events that led to her developing an eating disorder in midlife. Betsy shares that telling her story in her memoir lifted the weight of her trauma and made her feel empowered and free. She emphasizes that you can recover, as long as you’re willing to put in the hard work and deal with the trauma you’ve experienced.

November 16, 2021

Eating Disorders in the Transgender Community

According to an analysis based on federal and state data, 0.6 percent of individuals (roughly 1.4 million people in the United States) identify as transgender. Identifying as transgender means that someone’s gender identity or gender role differs from those typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. The number of people coming out as transgender has gone up in the past 10 years and it is believed to be because these individuals are finding it increasingly safer to do so. 

The LGBTQ+ community is at higher risk of developing an eating disorder, which can be associated with the likelihood of past trauma and difficulties of coming out. Research shows that transgender children are at greater risk for developing eating disorders than their cisgender peers (individuals whose gender identity and gender expression match the sex they were assigned at birth). In this article, we will discuss body image issues in the transgender community, why transgender individuals are more likely to develop an eating disorder, how transgender people may experience limited treatment options, and how we can help.

November 10, 2021

The Difference Between Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating

In any individual, eating disorders can be tough to notice or diagnose, especially because they are so common. Diet culture and the glorification of over-exercise may leave many warning signs of eating disorders unnoticed and are sometimes mistakenly seen as positive instead of worrisome.

It can be confusing to distinguish the difference between disordered eating and eating disorders. There is a gray area which disordered eating sits because of the potential less severe or less frequent restricting, purging, overeating, or irregular eating patterns. These patterns are usually much more frequent, and sometimes obsessive, in eating disorders. In this blog, we will dive into the differences between disordered eating and eating disorders.

November 1, 2021

Episode 63: Healing from Compulsive Exercise with Amy Gardner

Episode description: 

Amy Gardner, MS, CEDRD, RYT, is the creator of the program iMove and the author of the book iMove: Helping Your Clients Heal from Compulsive Exercise. The book discusses the difference between movement and exercise, and how each relates to eating disorder recovery.

In this episode of Peace Meal, Amy breaks down what compulsive exercise and movement are, both in and out of the recovery space, how to notice when exercise turns into a compulsion, and what to do when compulsive exercise starts to become the only way some individuals feel a sense of accomplishment. Amy provides insights based on her and her clients’ experiences with movement and offers different approaches to changing compulsive exercise routines.

October 27, 2021

Halloween with an Eating Disorder Can Be Scary

Along with cozy sweaters and pumpkin patches, fall also brings Halloween, which, like many other holidays, can be triggering for individuals struggling with an eating disorder. Food that is considered by diet culture to be “bad,” like candy and cookies, are often a huge part of celebrations, and choosing a costume may be fraught with body image concerns and the pressure to look a certain way.

In this post, we’ll discuss why Halloween can be difficult for anyone actively coping with an eating disorder as well as those in recovery. We’ll also cover how to navigate those anxious feelings and how to find alternative ways to enjoy the holiday if you’re not feeling up to traditional activities.

October 20, 2021

Episode 62: Eating Disorders in the Jewish Community with Lucie Waldman

Episode description: 

Lucie Waldman is the author of The Jots of Becoming, a book that features insights about recovering from anorexia and includes multiple Jewish excerpts. Lucie also runs an eating disorder recovery awareness and support account on Instagram, enjoys speaking for multiple platforms about the intersection between Judaism and mental health, and is deeply passionate about mental health, eating disorder recovery, and equity in the treatment setting.

In this episode of Peace Meal, Lucie discusses how Jewish culture and religion should be considered in eating disorder treatment, how sharing your recovery story can be beneficial, and how small steps in recovery add up to a longer and stronger recovery. Reflecting on her own experience, Lucie shares that she had trouble finding recovery content that resonated with her, so she decided to turn her story into such a resource for others. Among the messages she wanted to share is that not everyone has a “magic moment” where they feel ready to start eating disorder treatment. What’s more important, she says, is being willing to take small steps toward recovery. Lucie also examines the complex relationship between Judaism and her eating disorder recovery, underscoring the need to take into account intergenerational trauma and other cultural considerations during treatment. She concludes the episode by telling anyone struggling that every time they defy their eating disorder, it adds up to a longer and stronger recovery.