February 26th through March 4th represents National Eating Disorder Awareness week. During this week, the general public will likely see articles, tweets and maybe some Facebook posts that will cause them to think for a bit about those suffering from an eating disorder. For those who do suffer however, they’d give anything not to think about their eating disorder for a week. Not to think about calories, food or exercise. Because for those suffering from an eating disorder, this is not just a week but this is all consuming. It’s what keeps you up at night, regretting what you ate that day or how you can make tomorrow “better.” It’s what drives wedges between family members and ruins the notion of a happy family meal. Social lives will be impaired as impromptu happy hours and dinners out become the causes of stress, not stress-relievers. Your relationship with exercise? It’s not a means of keeping healthy but rather, simply a method of burning calories. Eating disorders affect every aspect of an individual’s life thus deeming it impossible not to constantly think about.
Family and Friends Newsletter
First Ever Legislation Victory for Eating Disorders
Groundbreaking legislation, the 21st Century Cures Act, was passed in the last few days of the Obama administration. The bill includes important language surrounding eating disorder recognition and treatment. The passing of this bill has the potential to change millions of lives with its clause that ensures that healthcare professionals know how to both recognize and treat eating disorders. The bill will also ensure that insurance companies treat eating disorders the same as they would treat a physical condition. Mental health parity – treating physical and mental illnesses equally – became a law in 2008, however eating disorders were excluded up until this point.
Check out more by Kitty Westin, who spearheaded the bill in memory of her daughter, on her blog post here.
To view EDRC’s newsletter archive, click here.
By pretty much every definition, Lady Gaga looked in supreme shape as she delivered her epic performance at the Super Bowl 51 half-time show. She vaulted off the roof of the NRG Stadium in Houston, then danced her you-know-what off during her 13-minute run through patriotic American classics and her own hit songs, including a burning-down-the-house rendition of “Bad Romance.”
But all some could focus on is what she exposed when she changed into a second Versace outfit that featured sparkly hot pants and a stomach-baring crop top that showed a softly toned abdomen that critics thought wasn’t toned enough. These critics — mostly men apparently — saw a slight belly roll that to them meant she wasn’t a desirably skinny as she should be.
In response to critics, Gaga took to Instagram late Tuesday to say: “I’m proud of my body.” She told fans they should never “cater to anyone or anything to succeed,” and added, “Be relentlessly you. Finally she thanked them for their support.
Over the last several years, laws in the United States have expanded insurance coverage and made treatment more accessible to individuals with binge eating disorder. While true parity and access to care for marginalized populations remains unrealized, we have seen strides in our country. Providers have in many cases been vocal advocates and helped to push important legislation and change forward. Unfortunately, however, there are still many ways in which providers may inadvertently be working against the process. If you are invested in being one of these individuals, follow our how-to guide below.
- Failing to recognize how being underinsured may impact your patients.
While the Affordable Care Act has increased access to health insurance in the United States, over 31 million insured Americans continued to face underinsurance through 2014 (Commonwealth Fund, 2015). Even those with plans through their employer are increasingly likely to be underinsured. Being underinsured means that, despite having health insurance, an individual cannot adequately afford the deductibles or other out of pocket costs associated with the plan. The result of this is that even those with health insurance are not accessing care when they need it. We know that patients with binge eating disorder face a myriad of barriers to accessing care, such as lack of early identification and social stigma, and underinsurance is a very real and prevalent barrier as well. For those patients who do start treatment, recognize that underinsurance may play a role in early termination of care or refusal to seek higher levels of care even when needed. Perhaps most frustratingly, dropping out of treatment due to resource constraints like underinsurance further undermines patients’ confidence that treatment could eventually be feasible or effective.
Written by: Cyndi Eddington, Ashley Solomon, Psy.D., and Angela Woods
To subscribe to the free ED Resource Catalogue newsletter, click here.
My therapist told me I was running out of time. She had been recommending I sign myself into the hospital for several weeks. Each time, I said I was fine, that such drastic measures weren’t necessary, especially considering that I was acing all my college classes at my small liberal arts school in western Michigan. I didn’t think I needed to gain weight — in fact, I wasn’t even positive I had an eating disorder, despite weighing less than I had as a fourth-grader. I wrote off my falling-out hair and diminishing body temperature as mere coincidences to my steadily declining weight.
“If you don’t voluntarily sign yourself in, we might have to start thinking about forced commitment. You could die,” she said.
I tried not to laugh in her face. But as her words sunk in, I realized where any court would send me. I had heard stories about that psychiatric unit, and it frankly terrified me. I realized I would have far more control over my care if I signed myself in. So, two days after Christmas, at age 21, I did.
Joey Julius called his mother. It was 2 a.m. on a day after a Penn State football victory, and his feelings of triumph were being gnawed by doubt.
He was that big guy everybody loved but nobody really knew. He was a video sensation, a giant kicker who made crushing tackles. But nobody understood his real fight.
“Mom, I feel like a fraud,” he said. “I feel like I’m not being true to myself.”
Joey Julius then hung up the phone, logged onto Facebook, and began to type.
“After a long consideration of not only myself, my family and my team, I have decided to go public about my absence from the team during spring ball of 2016 and thru out this summer,’’ he wrote. “I was admitted into the McCallum place on May 9th for eating disorders.”
For the approximately 8 million Americans who suffer from binge eating disorder, help could be just a download away.
Psychologists in Drexel’s Laboratory for Innovations in Health-Related Behavior Change are developing a new smartphone application that aims to tackle binge eating, and they are seeking study volunteers to test it out.
The app, called iCAT+, is for patients who suffer from binge eating disorder or bulimia nervosa. It uses an approach called Integrative Cognitive-Affective Therapy (ICAT) to identify users’ binge “triggers” and teaches coping skills to change unhealthy eating behaviors. ICAT is a type of individual psychotherapy that focuses on helping people change their behaviors, feelings and thoughts about themselves.
From the 10.2016 press release:
EDRC Announces its 8th Annual Everybody’s Beautiful Poetry and Essay Contest
Eating Disorders Resource Center (EDRC) announces its eighth annual Everybody’s Beautiful Poetry and Essay contest for Middle and High School students in Silicon Valley. 6th – 12th grade students are invited to share about the meaning of beauty and to answer questions about how the media and society can affect self-esteem and body image. Entries will be accepted in either English or Spanish.
“As many as 30% of girls and 16% of boys in American high schools suffer from disordered eating including, bingeing, vomiting, fasting, laxatives, diet pill use, and compulsive exercise. EDRC’s goal, as a part of eating disorders prevention, is to increase “media intelligence” among youth and to encourage body and self-acceptance. Our annual poetry and essay contest helps create mindfulness and self-acceptance among students.” – Janice Bremis, Executive Director
Read the full press release here.
The average American woman is 5 feet 4 inches and 166 pounds. The average American model is 5 feet 10 inches and 110 pounds, according to the University of Minnesota’s “Guidelines for Adolescent Nutrition Services.”
The media distorts our perception of body image. Shouldn’t models actually be what their job title describes and model the appearance of the average woman in the country they represent? There’s a worldwide epidemic plaguing the First World, and America plays a big part in enabling it.
The media’s depiction of unrealistic standards for body shape affect younger people every year. Altering images with Photoshop and using incredibly skinny women in fashion and pop culture perpetuates low self-esteem among young girls, which often leads to extreme dieting.
SAN FRANCISCO — Paraag Marathe’s structured, analytical mind has served him well in the offices of Silicon Valley and the National Football League. He figured that he could lean on those traits the first time he spoke publicly about his sister, Shilpa, and how anorexia had taken her life.
But composure failed Marathe in 2011, six years after Shilpa’s death, while he spoke to survivors and grieving family members at an event for Andrea’s Voice, a nonprofit foundation that tries to promote education about eating disorders and their treatments.
“Not only did I break down a little bit during that speech,” said Marathe, 39, the San Francisco 49ers’ chief strategy officer and executive vice president for football operations. “It was also one of those weird moments afterwards. I emotionally collapsed in the arms of somebody there who had lost her daughter.”
The memories were back. Marathe had watched his brilliant sister succumb to self-destructive thoughts and starve herself. He had seen Shilpa wither to less than 50 pounds in the last years of her life, had felt the shame and puzzlement that her condition brought to his family.