Posts Tagged ‘Recovery’

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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Students walking with backpacks

Tips for Going Back to School in Eating Disorder Recovery

It’s back-to-school time for parents and students across the country. Big changes in routine are an adjustment for anyone, and especially for people in eating disorder recovery. In addition to shifting schedules, these individuals often face additional difficulties this time of year. This article covers the potential triggers that can come with going back to school, as well as strategies for coping with these challenges in eating disorder recovery.

Student Mental Health Crisis

In 2021, more than a third of surveyed high school students in the U.S. reported experiencing poor mental health during the pandemic, and 44% said they persistently felt sad or hopeless during the past year, according to a recent CDC study. In a 2020 survey of 1,000 parents around the country, 71% said the pandemic had taken a toll on their child’s mental health. 

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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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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 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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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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Eric Pothen

Episode 74: Finding Yourself in Recovery with Eric Pothen

Episode description:

In this episode of Peace Meal, Eric Pothen discusses how well-meaning comments about his body played a part in the development of his eating disorder. Following the body commentary he received after college, he says he started restricting, bingeing, and purging via excessive exercise. Eventually exhausted by the darkness he was living in and the feeling of losing himself, he set out on a path to recovery. He explains how preparing for a marathon helped his recovery because he had to focus on nourishing his body to prepare for the race. He also tells us how affirmations played an integral role in his recovery. Eric ends the podcast by explaining that recovery not only gives you freedom from your eating disorder, but also helps you rediscover and love yourself.  

A middle school choir teacher in Albertville, MN, Eric struggled with an eating disorder for several years. Today, he uses his previous struggles of having an eating disorder as his strength to raise awareness and serve as an advocate for those who struggle with these illnesses, disordered eating, or body image. Eric is the owner and founder of the apparel company Embrace Wear, whose mission is to help others learn how to embrace themselves and discover beauty and self-worth within. He recently launched a podcast of his own, Embracing You, which is now available on Apple Podcasts.  

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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.

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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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Nicole Soltis

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 stands outside holding a notebook and looking at her phone while listening to a podcast

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. 

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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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Recovery Starts Here

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