Posts Tagged ‘Eating Disorder Recovery’

Yvonne Pedley

Make Small, Gradual Changes in Anorexia Recovery

**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.

Yvonne-Anne is an anorexia survivor currently residing in the UK. While caring for her family members, Yvonne also went to university for a Health and Social Care degree and graduated in 2016. Yvonne’s passion is providing coping strategies with a mix of self-help for those suffering with an eating disorder. She is also seeking literacy representation for her book, The Kaleidoscope Influence, which has recently been published on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

I would firstly like to congratulate those who have recovered or are still recovering from an eating disorder. My journey began when I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at the age of 16. The treatment, or lack of treatment, that I received would be considered unethical compared to the treatments available today. I had no choice but to navigate recovery on my own and find alternatives that worked for me.

In this blog, I will be discussing my recovery journey, including how I dealt with some of the physical and emotional effects that can come along with it.

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A parent cutting up their child's food for them

How to Support Your Child with ARFID

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is a newer eating disorder diagnosis that is not as well known as conditions like anorexia and bulimia. Once classified as Selective Eating Disorder (SED), ARFID most commonly affects children and young adolescents⁠—and of course, the parents caring for them. Navigating how to support a child with an eating disorder can be a challenging journey, one made even more difficult when the eating disorder is not widely known or discussed. 

In this blog, we will provide an overview of ARFID, its warning signs, and helpful ways to support your child affected by this type of eating disorder. 

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Kateri Anderson Heymans

Episode 72: The Benefits of Meditation with Kateri Anderson Heymans

Episode description:

Kateri Anderson Heymans is a woman from Minnesota who works remotely and lives her dream of traveling the world. After years of struggling with anorexia and binge eating disorder, she has found freedom from the illnesses that once consumed her life. Since Kateri was 17, she has practiced a type of meditation called the Isha Judd System, taught by the Isha Educating for Peace Foundation. She now teaches this method of meditation and supports others on their journey, taking whatever opportunity she can to share with others the tools and insight that transformed her life.

In this episode of Peace Meal, Kateri discusses her history of anorexia and binge eating disorder, including the isolation and misery these eating disorders caused. She tells us about her journey to finding a meditation practice that positively changed her recovery and life. Through meditation, Kateri was able to gain the self-love and compassion that she so desperately needed, as well as overcome anxiety, depression, and grief from the loss of her mother. Kateri encourages everyone to give themselves the love and grace they deserve and ends the episode with a powerful meditation. 

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A patient sitting on a couch with a medical provider

Responding to the Rise: The Growing Need for Eating Disorder Care

Over the past few months, we have seen a significant decrease in COVID-19 cases across our communities. Every region that The Emily Program and Veritas Collaborative serve is currently rated either low or medium risk for COVID-19 by the CDC. We have collectively seen a tremendous diminishment in the numbers of people with COVID, hospitalized with COVID, and dying from COVID. 

Having said that, we have now lost almost a million Americans to COVID-19. It is the most profound pandemic of any of our lifetimes. We are so glad to now see fewer people becoming ill or dying from this virus, as well as a rising level of safety in our community. However, two years of this pandemic have had a profound negative impact on people with eating disorders. 

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A pencil and notebook sits on top of a kitchen towel with wooden spoons off the left.

The Benefits of Meal Plans in Eating Disorder Recovery

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.

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Teen girl sits on the beachnd looks out at the ocean

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.

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Erin Werner

Episode 69: Mindful Self-Compassion with Erin Werner

Episode description: 

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. 

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A couple grocery shopping

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.

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Katie Whipple

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. 

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A red plate sits on a table with hot cider and gingerbread cookies. Christmas decorations surround the plate,

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. 

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Farheen Ahmed

Are You Sure It’s Just Picky Eating?

**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, or symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Farheen Ahmed is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park, studying Neuroscience on the pre-medical track. She is originally from Virginia and spends almost half of every year in Houston, Texas. In her free time, you can find her working at her research lab, volunteering for Rock Recovery, hanging out with her friends, or reading romance novels. Farheen struggled with an eating disorder throughout her high school years and can proudly say she is a recovered survivor.

For the longest time, my friends had me labeled as a picky eater. To them, I didn’t like pasta, I hated pizza, and I’d rather not eat at all than eat anything with cheese. Some excuses I told them were that cheese hurt my stomach, dairy made me break out, and ice cream hurt my teeth. All of this was nothing but lies. I was trying to cover up my fear of most foods. To my friends, I was just a picky eater, which is how I justified eating the same foods every day. I called myself “a creature of habit,” but in reality, I was simply living my life in fear of foods that didn’t deserve to have any sort of power over me.

In high school, my friends started to realize that something wasn’t right. Some people might have seen me eating the same food every day and thought it was due to my Type A personality, controlling tendencies, or Virgo traits. However, that was far from the truth. When my best friend approached me about my limited diet and strict exercise routine, I decided to come clean about my fear of most foods and the comfort I found in the routine I had built for myself. I had found the few foods that I felt comfortable eating and adjusted my diet and schedule to allow for this. I often found myself fearing dinner plans with friends, vacations, or any type of schedule change due to the fear that it would change my eating and workout schedule.

At the end of it all, the only one harmed was me. I missed out on lifelong memories out of fear of changing my daily schedule, deprived my body of countless meals, and didn’t allow myself to change and grow in order to protect my eating disorder. Picky eaters do exist, and in fact, I know many of them. But there is a difference between being a picky eater and using picky eating as an excuse to avoid certain foods out of fear. This can become very dangerous and lead you to deprive yourself of core memories and tons of amazing food. Coming to terms with my eating disorder made me realize that I don’t hate dairy and ice cream doesn’t hurt my teeth. In recovery, I discovered that I loved all the foods I feared eating and I found myself saying yes to dinner plans more and more. I am now able to put making lifelong memories above a strict food schedule and continue healing my relationship with food.

Sometimes we begin to believe the lies our eating disorder tells us. At one point, I began believing that I was a picky eater and truly did prefer the food I ate every day. However, when I stepped back and was able to accept what was actually happening, it became clear that being a picky eater was a way to hide my dangerous eating habits. I encourage those who only allow themselves to eat certain foods to ask themselves: Are these the foods I prefer and enjoy or is my fear of food making this decision for me?

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Alisha Hana

A Journey to Healing Is Never Easy, but It’s Always Worth It

**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, or symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Alisha Hana is a bulimia survivor and Surgical Tech in Columbus, Ohio. Writing has always been a passion of hers and has given her a healthy outlet in her recovery. As she continues her journey in healing, she hopes her story can help others and remind them they aren’t alone.

My eating disorder began as a thought, then morphed into a response to an idea that progressed to fear and eventually extreme restriction.

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Rachel Smith

Recovery Isn’t Linear

**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.   

Rachel Smith is a college student studying sociology. She has recently been interested in studying eating disorders alongside her own experience as someone who has struggled with bulimia.

When I was in middle school, I learned about eating disorders in health class. Among the things I learned were specific eating behaviors, and I am now a firm proponent of better-quality eating disorder education in schools. I know that I and many people like me have learned disordered eating behaviors from the institutions that were supposed to protect us from them. I’m confident that there is a healthy way to teach about the symptoms and hazards of eating disorders without having to go into details that are negatively affecting real people.

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Episode 71: Figure Skating and Eating Disorders with Nichole Soltis

Episode description: 

Nichole Soltis recently earned her master’s degree from The University of Akron and is now a licensed therapist in the state of Ohio. A long-time figure skater, she will be competing at her second Adult National Championships this month. She has a passion for eating disorders and their impact on athletes, and she hopes to use her platform to spread awareness, support others, and start the conversation about eating disorders and sports. 

In this episode of Peace Meal, Nichole discusses how her passion for figure skating played a role in the development and maintenance of her eating disorder, as well as how she was able to get back on the ice after treatment. Delving first into the complicated relationship between aesthetic sports and eating disorders, she shares how restricting her food did not improve her skating performance in the way her eating disorder promised it would. Instead, it negatively affected not just her sport, but also her physical and mental health. Through recovery, Nichole learned that nourishing her body and working on her technique was the best thing for her skating performance. Now as a therapist passionate about supporting athletes, she encourages all coaches to get their athletes professional help if they notice the warning signs of an eating disorder. Nicole ends the conversation by assuring any athletes struggling with an eating disorder that getting help can mean enjoying life, food, and their sport once again. 

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Heidi Andersen

Episode 70: The Healing Power of Embodiment with Heidi Andersen

Episode description: 

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.

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A woman gets a piggyback ride from her partner as they smile at each other

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. 

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A girl looks at herself in the mirror

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.

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Jason Wood

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. 

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New Years Blog

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.

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A Christmas place setting with a card on the plate that says, "Christmas Menu." as well as a pine branch and three little ornaments

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.

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Recovery Starts Here

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