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Shame is one of the roots of anorexia and bulimia.

January 11, 2011 – 1:30 am

Shame plays an important role in developing eating disorders because shame is a controlling device. Basically all people with anorexia or bulimia can recall being shamed or ashamed several times before their disorder began.

Shame is complex. It extends from small things like parents or teachers saying to someone that she/he is a bit overweight and needs to lose weight, or to something more serious like physical or sexual assault. For a young vulnerable person even a wrong look or an inappropriate comment can be shameful and it can trigger control mechanisms in the brain.

The simplest and most available thing that the shamed person has to exert control over is food. Restrictive eating or binging on food and then purge it all up is an action that only the person who is doing it can control. Plus it gives to the sufferer the intimate sense of achievement and conquering their own body. But there is a catch 22, externally the sufferer keeps it a secret because if it was revealed it will be a shameful action if someone was to discover their secret.

So, feelings of shame start working on the sufferer even before the beginning of their illness.  Shame makes the person shrink her/his inner self and avoid others in order to stop interpersonal humiliation. Shame produces resentment, irritability, tendency to blame everyone, suspiciousness and bouts of agitations. Shame also blocks the person’s emotions and makes the person unable to be compassionate to others.

Often family and parents themselves promote shame unknowingly. On different stages of development many children feel inadequate in many tasks. Some parents by criticizing, comparing their children with other kids and controlling them can evoke a lot of shame in their sons and daughters.

Other parental behaviors and styles that provoke shame and body images issues are:

–       avoiding children and avoiding to feel and respond to their emotions

–       being judgmental

–       being constantly angry and disapproving

–       expecting children to please

–       defensive parental attitude

–       being depressed and anxious

–       acting as a victim in front of children

–       being indirect

Turning to food becomes a substitute for non realized emotions in many children. Their mind is searching for a coping mechanism to ease their emotions and food is an easy outlet to find.

For this reason a big part of eating disorder treatment is working on understanding the impact of shame and how to counteract it. The best antidote for shame is compassion, love and understanding. This has to be understood by the sufferer, family and all the people who interact with the sufferer.

The second step is to change the person’s self-talk from negative feelings towards food, to positive feelings about food. These both are important steps in the sufferer’s recovery and have to be done with the help of the whole family and not just with the sufferer.

This may not be an easy thing to do if the family does not understand exactly what to do to help. But luckily there is help available; you can read more at www.mom-please-help.com

How does bulimia cause weight loss?

December 15, 2010 – 1:37 am

Bulimia and weight loss are two things that interest many people. Nowadays nearly everyone wants to know a fast and easy method to lose extra weight. Bulimia is considered by some people as one of this easy ways to become slim.

But how does it work, if it works at all?

When people become bulimic they start to throw up food after eating. Often they binge before vomiting. Most bulimics have a certain time when they binge: dinner time, sometime in the afternoon or at night.

These people believe that by vomiting they get rid of the food they ate. Because of that they think they satisfy their hunger and reduce the amount of calories at the same time.  In fact, it is not exactly true.

First, when bulimics binge, some foods still get absorbed by digestive tract before they throw up. This is especially true for fatty and sugary foods, which are the bulimics favourite foods.  The longer the binge, the more calories get absorbed.

Second, after vomiting bulimics have the “empty stomach effect”.  Their appetite increases drastically and this can evoke another binge. Some people can have several binging-purging episodes during the day because of their inability to control the hunger pains after vomiting.  And again, as a result of this they consume overall much more calories than if they had just had a normal meal.

Vomiting also changes their electrolytes and nutrient balance in the body.  Their Insulin producing system suffers enormously also.  The Insulin system is the system that breaks down sugar in the body. That’s why during the day bulimics often munch sweets, breads, biscuits, chocolate, cakes and the like. This can push their calorie consumption up through the roof, making them put on weight the exact opposite of what they are trying to achieve.

Of course you may say that some bulimics are slim. But most of these people are slim because they fast during the day and eat only when they are binging-purging. To say in other words those who alternate between bulimia and anorexia and never eat normally.

So, bulimia on its own will not cause any decrease in weight at all. But complicating bulimia by adding anorexic behaviours will cause severe illness and even death.

 If you are thinking of using bulimia as a way to lose weight – than think again: because you are cheating on yourself and putting your life in danger also.  If you have already started on bulimic path of behaviour, you should find help to stop it before the addiction becomes overpowering. There are lots of help available and you should pick the one which suits you.

To read more about meditation for bulimia go to http://www.meditation-sensation.com

Can a University Course help with eating Disorders?

December 8, 2010 – 1:35 am

It was with great interest I read the press release “University course to study bulimia and anorexia” 11-11-10 on the Wales online website.

The Cardiff University is putting together a Collaborative Working in Eating Disorders module to be studied as part of the School’s MSc in Advanced Practice by the university’s school of nursing.

 Although this seems a noble cause I do get a little concerned when academia and governments gets involved with the treatment or suggested treatment of a disorder. Academics are renowned for not being able to think outside the square and get bogged down with dogma, so will concentrate on the so called conventional approach to eating disorders.

Governments are even worse tending to back the established approach even if it does not work, they can’t afford any political backlash if they make a mistake. Plus it is always good to be seen as doing something in the eyes of the voters. So to save themselves down the track they also back the conventional approach.

From reading the article it seems apparent that the course will have its basis on the conventional approach to the treatment of eating disorders and this is worrying and will only produce much of the same thinking that is prevalent now. 

As an eating disorder specialist, author of two books on the subject and an ex-sufferer of anorexia and bulimia myself: I know the conventional approach is not that great. I myself did the rounds of therapists etc, to no avail for years and I was training to be a doctor, so you would think it should have worked.

 I am not the only person who has gone through multiple treatments only to find they did not work; I get emails everyday from people telling me the same thing.

Here are a few abbreviated emails.

 I am helping a young adult girl whom I have become extremely fond of!… At the age of 14 she became anorexic and eventually bulimic. She has been in clinics a number of times, but every time she just goes home things just continue where she left off…
Charleen SA.

My daughter is 22 years old and she was suffering ED for 2 years… For your information she has been treated in the ED clinic as outpatient, visiting the internist doctor and the psychologist regularly to no avail…
Li Australia.

My daughter has been in and out the eating disorder clinic in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the last 4 years. I’m tired of them, she continues to struggle…
D M USA.

I took her to our health care Clinic and they seemed to have a handle on the disorder and they seemed to be helping with all kinds of counseling, nutritionist, psychiatrist and nursing… but once home she “back-slid” back into binging and purging.
VF, GB.

These emails are very typical from people contacting me still searching for answers when the conventional treatments have failed.

There is a very good reason why this happens and why sufferers fail to get better after showing promise while in the clinic? Conventional treatment methods do not confront the disorder where it lives in the subconscious mind of the sufferer. They do not understand that an eating disorder is a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

But unlike the person who has to wash their hands 100 times a day, or the sufferer who has to check to see if the gas is turned off 200 times before they can leave their home. These people get nothing but pain from their OCD, whereas the ED sufferer actually gets pleasure from their disordered eating habits.

This extra element of pleasure adds a different dimension to the disorder and is most difficult to treat with conventional approaches used in clinics and by therapists. Sitting and talking to a therapist rehashing old hurts for hours is not going to help. This is a logical approach to a disorder that is not the least bit logical. After all why would someone purposely starve themselves to death and know they are doing it?

In my view there is really only one method that can beat an eating disorder and that is one that attacks the ED where it lives in the subconscious mind of the sufferer. To do this you have to use the power of Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the ability to change the way our brain functions by how we think, feel and act.

With the use of specialized methods to promote positive feelings, emotions, action and pictures we can change the faulty neuronal pathways and negative programming that has occurred in mind of the sufferer. The beauty of using a specialized neuroplasticity approach to curing eating disorders is it can be used at home.

This is the place all ED sufferers fail and relapse back into their old habits, because the triggers that control their habits are all at home, they are not in the clinic or therapists rooms.  

 I believe that any university course however noble it may seem if it does not incorporate the use of neuroplasticity and a method to change the neuronal pathways in the brain will not help. This will only produce a whole new batch of conventional method thinkers to the detriment of the eating disorder sufferer.

To read more about Neuroplasticity is the key for eating disorder help go to http://www.eating-disorders-books.com

A Mother’s Secret for Treating Anorexia.

March 27, 2010 – 2:13 pm

A sufferer’s mother is the most important person in helping a daughter or son to beat anorexia. A Mothers connection to her child is a sacred connection.
 
Most mothers can not only see but they can feel what is happening to their child.
 
Nowadays we know that the anorexia lives in the subconscious level of the mind. The subconscious is a level where our feelings and emotions live. It is also a level where people keep their deepest beliefs about themselves and their world.

The content of our subconscious mind depends a lot on what our parents put in there. Parents are our first teachers and role models. Because of this our parents can do a lot to affect the subconscious mind of their child (especially mothers).

Anorexia takes a lot of space in your child’s mind and wrong beliefs can take over the big part of a sufferer’s subconscious mind.

So, what can a mother do to help?

1. Never give up on inspiring your child to learn new things. This will help take her/his attention away from the anorexics beliefs.  Remember: The less space you leave for the anorexia the better.

2. Show unconditional LOVE to the child.  Love appears to be the most powerful emotion that can stimulate and inspire people. Nothing heals better emotionally, biochemically, physically and mentally than love.

Love is a positive high frequency emotion which can heal and help us overcome many obstacles in our life.

3. Maintain close intimate connections “mother-daughter/ son”.  Often these intimate connections do overpower the disease.

4.Watch what kind of words you use when you talk to the sufferer.  One wrong word from someone, like “why can’t you just eat” can undo months of good work. 

5. Constantly focus on increasing the sufferer’s self-esteem and enjoyment in life.

6. Understand that the first priority for underweight people is gaining weight.  A starving brain cannot process things logically, so do not think that just saying things will make changes.

Anorexics should be encouraged to achieve a certain weight appropriate for their height and age. This should be done in small steps, like getting her to aim for a pound (kilo) then another pound (kilos), if you tell a sufferer they have to put on 20 pounds (10kg) they will completely freak-out.

7.Sugar consumption is important for the brain because the brain works on glucose so try to get them to take sugary foods, even if you have to camouflage them.

A high consumption of proteins and calcium is also necessary for anorexics because of their bone density problems. We have had people use the high protein drinks weightlifters use with great results. But you can’t tell the sufferer what it is or they will not take it. We have had mothers substitute diet powders with protein powders so the sufferer will take it: because all anorexics read the labels on everything.

There is no substitute for mothers love and a mother’s involvement in treating anorexia. One mother who was very successful in helping her daughter to beat anorexia said that anorexia should be healed, not just treated. 

Karen used a process of healing and took her daughter through it step by step using special methods she devised herself.  Healing was the process that saved her daughter from the grips of anorexia and brought her back from deaths door.

Read More About Karen mom please help go to http://www.mom-please-help.com

How to Resolve Self – Conflicts in Eating Disorder Sufferers.

January 12, 2010 – 2:55 pm

Eating disorders are rooted in emotional struggles. These struggles are deep emotional conflicts within the sufferer, these are called self-conflicts.

How the conflicts started in the first place?

This process begins by fantasizing at a very early age. People fantasize a script, for example like a Hollywood production focusing on TV stars or other celebrities. Then they start rehearsing their part. As they go, they either give up on their initial part and take up a new one, or they practice the first part and role -play that script out until it becomes who they think they are. Practising the script automates their behaviour and it becomes fixed.

For example, a young girl perceived that she is overweight. By looking through magazines, watching TV and movies she finds herself a role- model that is slim, polished and glamorous and play out this picture in her mind. From the same source she gets a script to follow to achieve this kind of unattainable look. She rehearses it until it becomes automatic and turns into an eating disorder, anorexia or bulimia.

Her imprinting environment plays a significant role in the alternative scripts available to her. If her parents happen to be too strict or uncaring, she would be unable to develop a positive coping strategy to counteract her developing problems. In some problematic families being warm and friendly is seen as an embarrassment, so the child becomes cold and aloof to compensate.

Self-conflict is a conflict between different “selfs” inside one person. There are 4 different “selfs”:

1. The actual self.
It is the private self. This self consist of thoughts we wish we didn’t have and actions we wish we haven’t done. It also contains our self-esteem, our attractiveness, and our secret ambitions. Eating disorders sufferers may dream of looking like a slim movie star, or a sport champion etc. Her/his self-esteem is really proportional to a degree of how alike she/he looks compared to their famous role-model they are trying to emulate.

2. The ideal self.
This self is built by culture and society. Ideal self is about living a perfect life, without any mistakes and therefore without room for growth.

3. The ought-to-be self.
This self is about our “should” and “oughts” which have been learned from our culture and our society but they are not ours. For example, when a swimming coach tells a young girl: ” You should lose weight immediately in order to fit the criteria for the swimming completion.” Initially the girl was probably OK with the way she was and didn’t think she needs to lose weight immediately. Her swimming coach installs the “ought-to-be self” in her. Her “ought-to-be self” may go into conflict with her “actual self” after the coach’s comments and if she is vulnerable she will develop an eating disorder in order to comply with the losing weight rules that have been set in her mind.

4. The desired self.
This is a self we believe we could be and desire to be. This self is especially obvious in young people when they plan for the future. Later in life this self can be a source of discontent if the desires have not been fulfilled. For example, a woman after 30 suddenly develops an eating disorder. This eating disorder is very likely to be a consequence of discontentment due to her unfulfilled desires of an earlier time (or the “desired self”).

What is a solution for solving this self-conflicts? Emotional healing would be the answer and you can put it into 5 steps:

1. Realize that one has emotional conflicts and they are probably the cause of the eating disorder.
2. Believe that one should and can solve these self- conflicts.
3. Accept that emotional healing is the only way to solve these internal conflicts.
4. Go through the emotional healing process.
5. Follow the emotional healing strategies as a way of living your life.

Emotional healing is the only answer to resolve self-conflicts in eating disorder sufferers. If emotional healing does not occur during a particular treatment – there is little hope for this kind of treatment being helpful.

Maybe in this case the person ought to look for different alternatives. Mindfulness training seems to prove itself as a great emotional healer for these kinds of ED sufferers. It has been proven that if one is mindful and aware, one can experience true freedom and liberation from all their self conflicts.

Dr Irina Webster MD is a Director of Women Health Issues Program. She is an author and a public speaker. To read more about mindfulness for eating disorders go to http://www.meditation-sensation.com

Mindfulness Training for Eating Disorders.

November 3, 2009 – 2:40 pm

Mindfulness Training for Eating Disorders.

Most eating disorders are linked to significant amounts of stress, mood disturbance, anxiety, phobias, substance abuse, and physical complications. All these factors have to be addressed when someone is trying to overcome an eating disorder.

Mindfulness training is a technique which can help a person to cope with all these factors. Mindfulness means a calm awareness of body functions, feelings, emotions, thoughts and sensations. Mindfulness consists of paying attention to an experience of the present moment — without moving into thoughts from the past or concerns about the future. Using mindfulness training people with eating disorders can attain control over their body and mind.

What exactly does mindfulness do for the mind and body?  The main benefits of mindfulness are:

1.       Calm and quiet the mind. This will bring more happiness, joy, positive feelings, appreciation and gratitude into people’s lives.  It will also increase kindness to yourself and others which is necessary for ED sufferers as they often behave badly to themselves and others due to their conditioning.

2.       Diminish the grip of habitual responses that cause suffering. ED sufferers all have certain habitual responses to their feelings, thoughts and emotions. For example, bulimics have habits to binge-purge at a certain time a day; anorexics have strict habits and routines about their diets and exercising.

Mindfulness can diminish these habitual behaviours to the point that the sufferer is able to choose how she/he is going to behave at a particular moment.

 

For example, instead of realizing 10-30 minutes later that you’ve been lost in bad thoughts about your body, weight, food, your bad memories or fantasies from the past, a person can stop themself after only 30-60 seconds from wandering thoughts using mindfulness training. With practise, people can increasingly observe these habitual responses and choose to respond in other more constructive ways.

 

3.       Develop a stronger “observing self”. This means to observe what one does. It is like you having a third person who sits inside your own chest and constantly watches what you do.


Mindfulness makes a person become an observer of what one does, thinks and feels.  This helps to have better control over their eating disorder thoughts and behaviours.

For example, when a person gets stressed, instead of reaching for alcohol or going on a binge –purge cycle, the person could simply sit and observe the negative emotions and sensations which were brought on by the stress until they are gone.

Unlike relaxation techniques mindfulness can be developed to the point where it can be practiced in the middle of stressful situations. So instead of reacting to stress a person starts to respond wisely. While being mindful a person can still remain alert and respond appropriately to the situation at hand, instead of being over powered by it.

 

4.       Slow down the pace of thoughts and become more attune to the present moment.   Eating disorder people often complain that they have too much continual inner “chatter” and images from the past or from the future in their minds.


This chatter and images don’t simply go away, because that’s the nature of the human mind. But they can be settled down with practice. This settling down of the mental processes brings relaxation and freedom.

 

With practice one will have the ability to choose what to think about instead of being dragged along with uncontrolled thoughts and feelings. This effect can be experience after just 8-12 minutes of mindfulness state of mind. So, if one practices mindful awareness at least 10 -15 min a day, it may possible for him/her to choose what to think instead of their thoughts going uncontrolled.

 

Mindfulness will also increase your concentration letting you perform task , study and work with better accuracy. It also improves the immune system and general health. It regulates the autonomic nervous system which control automatic functions of the body organs. Mindfulness is a great anti- aging factor as it improves metabolism of the cells.

 

Most eating disorder sufferers who practice mindfulness training find it an incredible tool to beat their problem right at root of the disorder, in the subconscious mind.

You can read about healing meditation for eating disorders CDs at http://www.meditation-sensation.com

Dr Irina  Webster

Magical Benefits of Meditation for people with Eating Disorders.

October 12, 2009 – 3:03 am

Many researches have proven now that people with eating disorders get a lot of benefits from doing meditation. Eating disorder sufferers have disturbances in autonomic nervous system, problems with impulse control and many emotional problems. All these can be improved with regular meditation.

You see, human beings are made up of three components—physical, mental and emotional. You can think of it as like a triangle with the same length sides. To correct eating disorders all the sides of triangle have to be balanced.

The Mental side represents the knowledge people learn about their condition and how to cope with it.  The physical side represents the natural strength of a person’s body which we inherit from parents. The Emotional side of the triangle is the one which always becomes unstable in people with eating disorders.

That’s why eating disorders sufferers have very bad mood swings, uncontrollable negative thoughts, long-standing bad feelings and painful sensations in different parts of the body that they try to moderate with food (obsessive eating or abstaining from food).

Emotional strengthening is the key to curing many eating disorder problems. Meditation and relaxation techniques are great strategies to do for emotional strengthening in order to become healthy again.

In order to understand about emotional strengthening, you first need to understand a bit about how the brain works. You’re probably aware that our brains work across a range of different levels or brain-wave frequencies. While the range is actually continuous, it is divided for convenience into 4 categories—beta, alpha, theta and delta.

As adults, we spend most of our waking time in the beta area. Beta is where we do our logical thinking, rationalising and planning.  Stress also occurs in the beta wavelength but on high frequencies beta waves. Eating disorder sufferers spend nearly all their time on high frequencies beta waves where the problem lies.

Alpha, on the other hand, while still an “awake” state, is that relaxed, day-dreamy state that you can go into when you are doing something creative (eg, painting, knitting)  or meditation.  It’s the time when your mind just wanders freely, and when time just seems to fly by.

Alpha-experience represents a relatively stress-free and euphoric state of being. For eating disorder sufferers the alpha state helps to balance their autonomic nervous system and correct impulse control problems.

Now here’s another important piece of the puzzle—besides containing our feelings and emotions, the alpha (sub-conscious) state also contains our “self-beliefs”. Our self-beliefs are the sub-conscious view you have of yourself (the real you), they drive our behaviour at a sub-conscious level. They are similar to the programs you have on your computer that makes it run.

So if, for example you have a self-belief that says “I am bulimic or I am a binge eater or anorexic”, the behaviour that results is that you perform compulsive eating, binge or starve yourself actions. This becomes the real you even if you consciously don’t want to become that person.

Where do self-beliefs come from? Mostly they develop in us at a very young age up to when we are teenagers. These self beliefs go through many developmental stages throughout our lives. It’s interesting to note that, unlike adults, children spend the majority of their waking time in the alpha region and this is why they are so resilient.

Most of our adult behaviours are based on “programming” we picked up before the age of 7. Many eating disorder sufferers picked up their programming when they where youngsters to teenagers.

When it comes to getting results, your self-belief (programming) will always win out over your conscious desire. So it does not matter if you get up every morning swearing that you will eat today, or you will not binge, but by the end of the day you have not done what you said you will do. This is because you are in the beta state and this can not affect the subconscious mind, so you are doomed from the start.

That’s why it seems impossible for many people to stop their eating disorders. But the problem is that they try to fight it with their logical conscious mind, being in a beta state, not an alpha state.

What happens if you target an eating disorder from the alpha state?

Well, you will get a completely different result. Being in alpha state you will target the emotional core of the eating disorders self-beliefs. When sufferers start to change their self-beliefs then the magic occurs:  then they can be cured from their eating problems.

Specific meditation which target people’s self-beliefs can create a real magic in the sufferers life. For eating disorder sufferers who put themselves in an alpha state while meditating regularly, means they can stop their disorder for good.

If the sufferer is only ever in a beta state this probably means they will have their disorder for the rest of their life, with no escape.

It has been proven that meditation brings enormous relieve for the eating disorder sufferer who starts to add meditation into their treatment methods.

But a word of warning, not any old meditation method will do, it has to be a system that is purposely made for anorexia or bulimia and eating disorders. It is totally useless listening to a meditation CD that is just generic, as the subconscious mind will simply dismiss it as irrelevant.

Also lookout for CDs that say they are for Anorexia or Bulimia, but are exactly the same with only the words anorexia replaced with bulimia but everything else does not change. Although anorexia and bulimia are similar they are not exactly alike, so you do need slightly different words to affect the subconscious mind.

Dr Irina Webster.

 You can read about healing meditation CDs for Anorexia-Bulimia at http://www.meditation-sensation.com

Adult Eating Disorders – How to Deal If the Person Doesn’t Admit Having One

September 27, 2009 – 2:08 pm

If you are dealing with an adult who suffers from an eating disorder, then you should adjust your talk to a relevant format. Remember, an adult may use stronger language than a child would use. Do not get angry. It will not do any good, and will probably make things worse. Plus, the sufferer will not want to confide in you.

Remember that your appearance and tone of your voice should make her/him feel that you are coming with an open heart, and you do it only because you love her/him and care very much about the person: that you don’t have any intention of putting them down or embarrassing them in any way.

Be sensitive, diplomatic and intuitive. Regardless of what happens during the conversation, you should finish the exchange letting the person know that you are willing to listen to them anytime they feel more comfortable about talking.

If the person you want to help doesn’t admit they have a problem, then:

1. Understand that you (and the person close to you) are not responsible for their illness BUT you should take responsibility to do what you can to help them to improve and recover. Without this decision to help, it is more difficult for them to improve on their own.

2. Focus on loving and supportive relationships between you and the sufferer. Avoid being on a drama triangle which means avoid being a “Persecutor”, a “Rescuer”, or a “Victim”.

3. Create intimacy between you and the sufferer. When the sufferer feels completely secure with you, she/he will open up and talk about the problem.

The ways to create intimacy between two people are:
• Be Present and Tune In.
• Ask questions in which you can show your caring and lovable attitude toward the person.
• Listen with Empathy and compassion.
• Accept without Judgment.
• Saying softly “Tell me more….” when you are listening it will make her/him feel immensely loved by you and connected to you at a deeper level.
• Reflect Back.
• Respect Soul.
• Be Transparent. Let others see into your heart and inner world.
• Speak Gently.
• Realize that if the person doesn’t want to talk about her/his problems and denies their anorexia-bulimia, it could be the result of her/his emotional state of mind at that time. They could be experiencing emotional cut-off.

4. Emotional cut-off refers to the mechanisms people use to reduce anxiety from any unresolved emotional issues with parents, siblings, and other members from the family. To avoid sensitive issues, some people either move away from their families or rarely go home. Or, if they remain in physical contact with their families, they avoid sensitive issues by diverting the conversation, cutting off the risk of having to face their emotions.

The opposite of an emotional cut-off is an open intimate relationship. It is a very effective way to reduce a family’s over-all anxiety and acts like security priming.

5. Continue on with your education about eating disorders. The more you know about the disease, the easier it becomes to conquer it.

From our personal experience coping with a person suffering from an eating disorder, it is obvious that there isn’t one single definitive guide or course of action for you or the sufferer to follow that will guarantee a solution to their eating problems.

Your attitude and beliefs about how the sufferer should act and your ability to interact as a caregiver can affect the way you respond to your loved one.

Remember, that if one approach for coping with your loved one’s illness does not work, there is always another way. People who develop eating disorders are absolutely normal. However something happens in their lives that make them suffer emotionally and they turn to an eating disorder to compensate for this emotional discomfort.

So you as a caregiver have to be very understanding, caring and most of all none- judgmental if you really want to help.

To read about eating disorders books go to http://www.eating-disorders-books.com

Pregorexia : Is it a selfish obsession or a cultural problem with modern women?

June 22, 2009 – 3:07 pm

Pregnancy has always been a time when a woman can put on 30 -35 pounds and still feel good and proud of herself, after all she is bringing a new life into the world.  But now it is not like this for every woman.  A new study shows that 20% of all pregnant women in the Western world do not gain enough weight during pregnancy.

These women don’t eat enough during pregnancy or induce vomiting, overexercise, take laxatives and diuretics. They do these dangerous things  for the sake of having a slim figure during and immediately after pregnancy.

Many of these women get inspired by the super-slim celebrities whose pregnant images we often see on TV and magazine covers.  These celebrities manage to go through their whole pregnancy without putting on much weight and continue to look slim. They keep their belly bump small so they become skinny again immediately after their baby is born.  This unnatural “skinny” image becomes a role model of many other “non-celebrity” women to follow.

So, how much weight should a woman gain during a normal pregnancy? The normal range to gain during pregnancy is 25-35 pounds but the amount of weight to gain is different during 1st, 2nd and the 3rd semester.  In the 1st trimester it is normal to put on 5 pounds. During 2nd and 3rd trimester it is normal to put on 1-2 pounds per week.  So all up it should be about 30 pounds by the end of the pregnancy.

When a woman tries to be skinny during pregnancy she is starving the foetus.  Starving the foetus is a high risk action and can result in foetal mortality plus a high risk of getting conditions such as:
–  Spine bifida
– cerebral palsy
– increased incidents of asthma
– increased incidents of allergy
– ear infections
– low birth weight
–  prematurity
–  metabolic abnormalities
– growth retardation
–  birth defects
The  list of serious problems that a baby can get is much longer that this.

Don’t you think that pregorexia is the most selfish thing you can ever do?  Ask yourself what is this for?  – It is all for the sake of attaining this glamorous unnatural look you see on celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Nicole Ritchie who never even had a normal baby bump when they were pregnant, not to even mention their general low body weight.

Also, the big challenge for anorexic women (for those who had anorexia before pregnancy) is that they are expected to gain even more weight during pregnancy then non-anorexic women do – to support the baby.  How much more do you need to gain if you are anorexic?  You should check this with your doctor because weight gain can be an individual thing and depends on your initial body weight and body mass index to start with.

As a general guideline, pregnant women are supposed to put on about 30 pounds during pregnancy.  This means that you should consume an extra 50 calories in the first trimester of pregnancy, an extra 300 calories in the second trimester and extra 400-500 calories in the third trimester.

Now, how do you know if you are getting pregorexia?
If you think too much about being skinny during pregnancy, think about what clothes to wear so you look like you are not pregnant, about how to fool people in to thinking that you are not pregnant.  If you constantly think about food and eating or non-eating – these are all signs that you may have pregorexia.

If this is the case go to your doctor immediately and fix the problem as soon as possible. Otherwise your baby could be in big danger of dying in the womb. You will regret it your whole life, and even if the baby is born do you want it to suffer all its life from birth defects: just because you wanted to be thin to look good for the sake of vanity?

Anorexia and pregnancy are totally incompatible and against nature.

More information on this and other ED news.

eating disorders help go to http://www.womenhealthsite.com/eating_disorders.htm

Eating Disorders are the Reverse Side of the Child Obesity Campaign

January 19, 2009 – 3:06 am

In 2006 the Australian Government launched a $6 million campaign to reduce Child obesity and the Australian Medical Association (AMA) welcomed the focus on kids’ health.

The idea was to focus on junk food and get parents to stop the child from eating fast foods, sweets and other unhealthy foods.  TV, radio and newspapers were running government sponsored ads to point out the dangers of these kinds of foods, with the idea to get kids eating more healthy foods.

This at the time seemed a very noble cause as overweight kids are a big problem in all western countries. The government was correct that for these overweight kids there was a great risk to their health from diseases such as diabetes, heart problems and high blood pressure etc, in later life.

What they did not factor in was the psychological effects on these overweight kids and may have inadvertently created a whole new generation of eating disorder victims.
Kids were encouraged to start diet clubs at school and there have been stories of kids being weighed at school, at times in front of the whole class. We learn of incidents of bullying and social isolation of larger children which is another anecdotal trigger for eating disorders.
What has now happened is a lot of these overweight kids are starting to be ostracized by their peers and so much pressure being placed on them that they are starting to suffer from stress and other psychological ailments, like anorexia and bulimia.

What the so call experts in the government ranks forgot was that the child brain is like a giant sponge and very plastic. It absorbs huge amounts of information forming neuronal pathways with the information that is deemed to be important.

So constant teasing and emotional abuse from other kids for being a bit overweight can have a devastating effect on the child and the way they see themselves, or to put it simply their body image.

This added to the fact that the so called perfect body type is the emancipated Hollywood stars and the super thin catwalk models they see in the media: it is easy for the plastic brain of the child to form a distorted view of reality.

Even shows like Australian Idol and American Idol favor the slimmer better looking contestant, with the bigger contestant voted out of the show even if they are fantastic singers. They just don’t fit that TV mode or what a modern singing idol should look like. This is an extremely bad role model for the slightly overweight child or teenager who watches these shows; it sends a lot of false messages to their brain.

The major problem that arises from all this negative bombardment on the child about weight is the fact that it will be formed in a child brain and formed by child logic, e.g. eating food equals becoming fat, equals being teased, equals bad emotions. So the remedy is to stop eating, loose lots of weight and you will be accepted.

When these kids become adults this faulty distorted thinking will be a full blown case of an eating disorder and extremely difficult to treat because it was formed in the plastic brain of a child with child logic and emotions.
But luckily there have been major breakthroughs in the treatment of eating disorders using the fact that our brains remain plastic even into adulthood, it is call neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is a method where we are able to form new neuronal pathways by using a set of mental exercises built on new positive emotional input. Once these new pathways have been built and are used instead of the old destructive ones, the old pathways will loose their power: hence the eating disorder will disappear.

Will this be easy for this new generation of eating disorder sufferers to do:  no absolutely not.  The problem as stated is the fact that these faulty neuronal pathways have been build in the child brain and will be extremely hard to shift.

Unfortunately a lot of children will fail and suffer lifelong eating disorders, but luckily a lot of people will succeed using the neuroplasticity approach. Many more than will succeed with this new approach than the conventional treatment used today to treat eating disorders.

William Webster BA.

To read more about bulimia help go to http://www.mom-please-help.com