Eating Disorders Treatment Center - Albuquerque, NM
The Eating Disorders Treatment Center provides you with helpful information about eating disorders and treat those who are experiencing one of the many forms of eating disorders such as Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating, Compulsive Overeating, Night Eating Syndrome, Laxative Abuse, or are experiencing some other form of Body Image Distortion.
Over this weekend with all my crazy… I realized who cares if I’m an attention seeker, who cares if it’s all about me, who cares if I’m a know it all, or whatever else anyone says about me.
I am strong, I am recovering, and I am here, and I’m doing the work, and if that means it seems like I wanna be center of attention and only care about myself and it’s Katie’s world then cool, because that’s a far cry from who I was 8 months ago when I didn’t think I deserved anything, when I didn’t think I was worth anything.
My kids love me as I am, my husband loves me as I am, my family (even though they don’t always agree) loves me as I am, and the friends that know me love me as I am. So why am I worrying. If I’ve been this way my whole life, why am I trying to change to make others happy. If they don’t like me for who I am and can’t overlook flaws that mean nothing to who I am as a person. Then that’s on them.
I love who I’m becoming and if some of the rest of the world can’t see that then that’s theirs to deal with. I don’t need them in my life if they can’t support me regardless of my issues.
Hope that made sense.
Katie is sharing her insights with us via her Facebook page ‘Recovering Katie’
Book Review: Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
We are born with intuitive eating instincts. For example, as infants our initial discovery that our cry can cue food allows us to begin voicing our hunger. Throughout our lives our natural instincts are often quieted by social pressures through background noise. We internalize so much of what society says “you must finish everything on your plate” or “you shouldn’t eat that because it will make you fat.” Thankfully, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch published the book “Intuitive Eating” and with that they really revolutionized how we relate to eating. In this book, there are 10 principles of intuitive eating beautifully outlined. The ten principles of intuitive eating go back to the basics and remind us of the importance of listening to our bodies, specifically emphasizing honoring our hunger by making peace with food and giving ourselves permission to enjoy food, rather than falling into the cycle of restriction and binges.
I remember a while back a friend and I had gone to one of our favorite restaurants. We had a long day of studying ahead, so I wanted to “fuel” my body with a nutritious salad, even though in the back of my mind I really wanted a shake and fries. Trying to focus on studying, I was distracted by every delivery of a chocolate shake walking by. I finally gave myself permission and ordered a shake and fries, knowing this should have been my initial plan all along. This is precisely what Intuitive Eating is all about and highlights the need for one of my favorite principles:
Give yourself permission to eat what your body and mind may be asking for!
If I had initially listened to what I wanted I would have saved money, time, and lost focus. In the end I learned that meeting both my nutritional and emotional needs helps to stay focused on things outside of food. In this case I was a lot more engaged in my studies after ordering my second round!
If you have ever been in a similar “should I get a salad or a burger” situation, reading Intuitive Eating is a great resource for you! When it comes to what you should and should not eat, there is no right or wrong answer. It is a matter of becoming in tune with what both your body and soul is saying. Intuitive Eating is a wonderful model and resource that guides readers down a path of self-discovery, creating a sustainable, enjoyable relationship between food and body.
The state of New Mexico is in desperate need of education and resources for eating disorders treatment and prevention!
Students in New Mexico schools get very little education or information about eating disorders. However, many people in our state struggle with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and compulsive over-eating.
What is offered in health class is often nutritional information that is peppered with warnings about resulting health issues from eating foods with sugar or fats. Foods are often labeled as “healthy” or “unhealthy” and emphasis is placed on the problems related to obesity.
Recently, I asked my son who is currently a high school senior in the Albuquerque public school system, what he had learned about nutrition and eating disorders. “Almost nothing, he replied. I know that pizza is a bad food because it is greasy and bad for your health. I feel guilty every time I order it at school, but I like it.”
Our clinics are full of children and adolescents, who, like my son, having heard this information, are already trying to avoid eating foods with sugar and fat, or feeling guilty about liking these foods. Research has shown that food restriction or deprivation causes bingeing on the ‘bad’ foods. In addition, research shows that dieting is a gateway behavior for all the eating disorders.
It appears that the health issues resulting from dieting, purging, over-exercising, and laxative abuse to manage weight, which characterize anorexia and bulimia, are either skimmed or de-emphasized. This message our young people receive reinforces our country’s obsession with weight loss and intensifies fears of weight gain. Not surprisingly, eating disorders are on the rise.
Several years ago, our clinic experienced a rash of referrals from school counselors and parents whose boys, many on the autism spectrum, had full-blown anorexia or bulimia. Assessments with these children revealed that their focus on eliminating sugary and fatty foods stemmed from informational warnings they had received in health class at school or by reading well-meaning anti-obesity posters hung in the halls.
Educating students about the dangers of dieting, labelling foods as “good” or “bad”, “healthy” or “unhealthy”, and weight prejudice is imperative during this critical period of development. It is during this developmental phase that students are exploring their identities, learning to be in relationships, developing critical thinking skills, and place the utmost importance on the views and acceptance of peers. Without accurate information, proper understanding about nutrition, and the dangers of dieting during this vulnerable period of life, our students will continue to generate and develop these life-threatening illnesses.
– Holly Finlay, MA, LPCC, CEDS
Clinical Director of Eating Disorders Treatment Center
This is EDTC’s submission to the yearly contest IMAGINE ME for the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals –iaedp:
Much like the universe is in constant expansion, recovery is an expansion of awareness and understanding of oneself. Our mannequin draws inspiration from Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” which was painted in a time of adversity while he was in a mental hospital. In his painting, the sky is not photorealistic, but still captivating and expressive in its uniqueness.
Our piece also features our take of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” which we used to symbolize breaking out of the perfect porcelain mask and choosing instead to allow ourselves emotions, even if they’re not sparkling smiles. We also explored the silent scream of Eating Disorders – a scream for help and scream to silence the critical voice inside.
On the backside of the mannequin, we explored the concept of space to challenge perspective. In recovery, we learn the truth that we are so much more than a thin, flimsy mannequin. The world is much bigger than the body/food focus world we have lived in within our heads. Our lives / our world contains a whole universe that’s just waiting to be explored!
Our artistic medium of choice was acrylic paint and nail polish, which allowed us the opportunity to exercise creativity, work with the fluidity of the paint. In our medium choice, we wanted to keep it simple to express that beauty isn’t as complicated as the world makes it seem. The variety of colors symbolizes the many things we go through in life – the dull moments and the bright ones, the losses, the victories, and the hope. Imagining beyond what you can see requires breaking rigid norms and learning to live without the cage of expectation and perfection, allowing yourself the space to be yourself, and affirming the multifaceted, imperfect beauty of your own unique humanity.
While the title of this blog may seem dramatic to some, it is not.
We work with parents of teens with Eating Disorders. We are amazed at the dedication, commitment, and humility it takes for a parent to walk in the door of EDTC with their child. For many, it is a big sacrifice of time, work, money and ego to undertake the task of engaging in treatment. It isn’t easy. Yet, it is well worth all of it.
Here is what we experienced over the years of treating eating disorders.
Research tells us that for teens with Eating Disorders, Family-Based Treatment is the most effective, in the short- and long-term. It reassures parents and teens to hear this truth, “it’s not your fault”.
Too often families (and sometimes professionals) play the “blame game” in an attempt to understand how the illness started. And it never helps.
You don’t need to know why
Another thing experience has demonstrated – it isn’t necessary to know all the “why’s or how’s” of this illness to treat it.
Eating Disorders Treatment Center in Albuqerque
At EDTC, we work to change what doesn’t work into a recovery process that does.
We help parents to nourish their child, on many levels. We teach care and re-feeding. We offer coaching to patients and families while moving through the stages of recovery. We address concerns that parents have about “forcing their child to engage in treatment they don’t want” by offering support and teaching them about setting helpful boundaries.
We have experienced the myriad ways the illness works to disconnect the family. This illness thrives on disconnection and isolation. We encourage and support you all through the process of increased communication.
We need you as much as you may need us. It is our goal to work together, as a treatment team partnership, to cure your family of the Eating Disorder illness and thrive.
Several years ago, I lost my 17-year old son in a car accident. After the passing of someone you dearly love, you often start to look at life in a new way. I questioned my own life and questioned if I was living my life to its fullest?
I began to look at how much of my life was wasted in fear of things that never happen and negative thoughts that keep me stuck. I could have chosen to stay stuck on the ground and robbed of joy, peace and happiness, but instead, I began to work on recovery. The hot air balloon became a metaphor of taking flight rising above life on the ground (stuck in my head and negative thoughts).
As I rise above the ground in my hot air balloon (I rise above my thoughts), things look much smaller and less threatening up in the sky. I caught a glimpse of a bigger picture and solutions/possible pathways. My hot air balloon became a recovery therapy tool. I put my negative thoughts in the basket of my balloon and send them skyward, letting them go. Because we never know how short life can be, I work at my recovery to be healthy, free and live life to its fullest.
Contributed by Cyd Davis-Hubler, Art Therapist at EDTC
Every few years or so it seems like another major nutrient is completely blamed for destroying our health. In the 90’s, fat became synonymous with heart disease and every manufacturer started rolling out the fat-free options, usually substituting added sugars so that people could tolerate the taste. We now know, of course, that fat is essential to good health and that striking the right balance between types is what is important. So for now, fat is once again in our good graces.
Today, it is carbohydrates that are under attack. From crazy diets that exclude them completely to well-meaning medical professionals who can’t find the truth amongst the mythology, it seems that everyone is vilifying an entire class of nutrients, which I’m sure you can guess is completely bonkers.
While budgeting for the appropriate amount of sweets and added sugars is important, carbs as a whole are absolutely essential to a well-balanced diet. They do not cause weight gain. In fact, a gram of carbohydrate has the exact same calories as a gram of protein, arguably the most celebrated nutrient of the moment. Furthermore, carbs are critical to many important bodily functions. The brain, for one, can ONLY run on carbohydrates. There’s a reason you feel foggy when you don’t eat them. Also, carbs literally make us happy, helping regulate serotonin and other important mood lifting chemicals in our bodies.
Different carbs offer different nutrition super powers. Focusing on eating whole grains and fruit is a healthy habit to get into, at least at a certain point in your recovery, and fun foods and dessert comprised of simple sugars are best eaten in moderation. At the end of the day, even a brownie (aka “junk food”) can be good for you if it makes you happy!
So, the next time you hear someone bragging about how they haven’t had a carb in weeks, just know that what they’re really saying is that they’ve fallen for the biggest nutrition myth of the day and rest easy knowing that your mind and body are running on the carbohydrate-fueled truth.
We are rarely afforded the opportunity to forget which holiday will be coming next: Halloween costumes are replaced by Christmas trees and Christmas trees become an aisle of Valentine’s Day candy overnight. When you are trying to recover from an eating disorder, Valentine’s Day might be somewhere at the bottom of your holiday list, due to its emphasis on coupledom, chocolate and the date night of the year.
What’s a recovery-focused person, or even a single person to do?
Our hope for those in recovery is to find room on Valentine’s Day for self-love. Eating disorders thrive on self-loathing in some form, after all. The voice that fuels an eating disorder does not send love letters to its sufferers. Instead, an eating disorder would have you think that you are lazy, fat, stupid, ineffective or any other host of judgmental adjectives. The very idea of self-love through the lens of an eating disorder becomes twisted into selfishness or worse. Eating disorders are not maintained through love, but by the idea that we are inherently flawed.
Ask yourself a couple questions that will help you nurture and love yourself:
What is my hope for self-love in recovery?
How can I sweeten my life or romance myself?
Now go get the most beautiful Valentines card you can find and write yourself the love note you always wanted to receive – don’t be shy!
You deserve every bit of it, just because you get up and do you, every day. Take a step back from the aisles of red foil boxes and decide what you would like Valentine’s Day to be about.
I recently watched the Netflix movie that has created a lot of “buzz” with many of us working to help people with an eating disorder.
The movie did a good job portraying the condition of anorexia nervosa in a way that kept the viewers’ attention, and even elicited a few smiles despite the seriousness of the subject. It also clearly mentioned several times the awful consequences that all too often can happen when patients resist treatment.
However, though realistic in its portrayal of the condition itself, I was struck by the failure of the movie to show an understanding of effective treatment for eating disorders in general, and for showing bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder as bit players in the tragedy. In actuality, more people suffer with bulimia and binge eating disorder, while anorexia nervosa is less common. The movie focused mainly on the condition, and only superficially and unrealistically portrayed the treatment which presumably led to a path of recovery.
The movie portrayed the highly dysfunctional, even toxic, family of Ellen, the protagonist, implying the family dynamics were the cause of the problem. It is true that people with eating disorders often do come from polarized families in which there is a father who is controlling and authoritarian, and a mother who is passive and somewhat childlike, or perhaps narcissistic and neglectful. Conversely, sometimes the mother is both controlling and enmeshed with the daughter, and the father is a fleeting apparition, orbiting well outside the family circle. However, it is simplistic to imply that the family dynamics alone cause the illness.
Ellen’s family certainly followed those stereotypical dynamics. Her biological mother seemed somewhat helpless and childlike, falling apart and needing to be parented herself, with her new partner portraying the more dominant and stable presence in the couple-ship.
Susan, Ellen’s step-mother, occupied the role of mother and father in Ellen’s home. Although it seemed she was well-meaning and did care about Ellen, she was often controlling, critical, and frustrated with Ellen’s illness. It was she who finagled a way for Ellen to be accepted into the highly sought-after treatment program after Ellen had been booted from other programs. All of this was believable since often it is one parent who tries so hard to “make” the child well while acting as a stand-in for the absent parent.
Though he was often referenced, Ellen’s father wasn’t seen in person at all in the entire movie, which did not go unnoticed by both Ellen and her half-sister, and clearly was resented by both girls. The story’s implication was that Ellen was acting out in response to her father’s neglect, and her biological mother’s abandonment. In real life though, it is never just that simple. Eating disorders are a bio-psychosocial illness and many factors come together to create a perfect storm made manifest in the illness.
Ironically, Threshold (the treatment program) seemed to parallel the family dynamics. Keanu Reeves was portrayed as a workaholic physician who avoided intimacy by his own admission, rarely making a meaningful appearance in Ellen’s therapeutic treatment, yet appearing as the be-all-end-all super doc.
In keeping with the parallel theme, the female group therapist and the live-in Mental Health Worker provided the most consistency and support for the patients.
As is often the case in real life, Ellen’s sister, and her peer in treatment, Luke, were the most supportive characters in the movie. However, in treatment, Luke and Ellen were permitted to pair-up which caused difficulties for the other patients, and would never be allowed to happen in a properly run treatment program.
To someone who has devoted a lifetime to treating eating disorders, the movie was frustrating to watch. While the movie portrayed common behaviors and symptoms of advanced anorexia nervosa and implied just how or perhaps why neglected, gifted, and/or perfectionistic young people could develop an eating disorder, the therapy was simplistic, nearly non-existent. The treatment center setting was a re-creation of Ellen’s original familial situation. In addition, the lack of structured meals mimicked Ellen’s family meals including allowing other members to fill in as food-cops. We saw polarization, splitting, parentification, and unstructured meals, none of which leads to recovery.
Treatment of anorexia nervosa involves a structured approach, with therapeutic support rather than parentification. Recovery is possible, and it doesn’t necessarily have to happen after the sufferer hits rock bottom or has an out of body experience that allows him/or her to see just how close to death he or she may be.
At EDTC, we individualize treatment with a comprehensive program of therapy and nutritional rehabilitation to enable our clients to change and thrive in a safe, warm, and healthy environment – which is what everyone deserves on the journey to recovery.