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Contributed by a Reasons Alumni

We are grateful for the contributions and courage of our alumni to share his perspective on the 2019 National Eating Disorder Awareness Week theme “Come As You Are”. We want to highlight the importance of validating stories that may not fit the stereotype of who has an eating disorder. We hope that as you read this, you will be encouraged and find hope. Perhaps it is time for you to share your story or seek treatment, or connect more deeply with others- whatever it is, we hope that you take a step toward connection, hope, and healing. What does it mean to you to Come As You Are?

Despite my past stints in treatment and my ability to confidently recite the main pillars of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, sometimes I can go from zero to one hundred REAL FAST. Most days, I find myself oscillating through the emotional spectrum so often I’m never quite sure where I’m at internally. Knowing that, and accepting it makes it real easy to embrace the concept of “Come as you are.” There is a real comfort in knowing, despite the fluctuations to my mood and motivation for recovery, I can always show up for myself in any capacity.  My recovery is anything but a linear process, in fact, it’s messy, confusing and full of “I don’t know’s.” However, on any day, be it the worst or the best, I am able to to have a level of transparency with myself and acknowledge where I’m at. It’s very freeing being able to just be me, as i am, as opposed to what I feel I SHOULD be.

What has it been like for you to be someone who perhaps does not fit the stereotype of someone who struggles with an eating disorder?

We’ve all heard of the tired myth that of eating disorders preying on affluent, young Caucasians, and I can assure you that I am far from all of that. I am male, Latino, Gay, and thirty. and last I checked, there isn’t a trust fund with my name on it. Slowly but surely, a lot of the generalized stereotypes that are associated with Eating Disorders are waning due to exponentially more exposure and education. However, despite the progress, I often feel like I’m living in the liminal space. My eating disordered thoughts and behaviors were horrifically insidious and finely tuned to have me feeling dejected and isolated, so I often found my negative thoughts capitalizing on the fact that I felt disenfranchised. I’ve found that a lot of recovery-related reading I’ve read are strewn with female pronouns with stories that I couldn’t relate to, which reinforced my feelings of sticking out like a sore thumb.

How are mental health/eating disorder issues treated in your community?

Good mental health was never a guiding principal in my family growing up. There was always an intellectual understanding of your usual suspects like anxiety, depression and substance abuse, however intellectually is as far as it went. Mental illness was always something to just “get over” and move on. Which I’m sure you could imagine how helpful it was to receive help for something as misunderstood as an eating disorder. Apart from family, there was the West Hollywood gay subculture I had to also contend with. A lot of my earlier influences came from the glamorization  of eating disorders and being thin as a measure of your worth and desirability. Furthermore, the rhetoric involved with mental illness is constantly used in a mocking way, I probably hear “that hurts my OCD” or “he’s so schizophrenic” ten times a week. It can become really discouraging when people treat mental health as the root of a joke.

What would you like people (friends, family, or treatment providers) to know about identity and eating disorder recovery?

I consider myself to be incredibly lucky with the treatment I received at Reasons. My treatment was completely individualized and I was treated as a person as opposed to a case. This does not mean that I’ve not had my fair share of run-ins with people who have absolutely no idea as to what is going on in my head. Ultimately, like any illness, eating disorders can infiltrate the lives of ANYONE. Nobody is exempt. We don’t all have the same story and we should be treated as such by practitioners. We’re not just neurotic perfectionists or quietly wasting away in the corner. We have many facets and our treatment should reflect that. We’re not all dying to be thin, or incapable of controlling our impulse to eat. That’s just the symptom. It’s important to remember, food is just a small part in a giant web of feelings that need to be untangled.

If you or a loved one are struggling, please reach out today. You are not alone. We are here to help and can provide a complimentary assessment and provide referrals if needed. You can reach us at 844.573.2766.

The post Come As You Are: An Alumni Perspective appeared first on Reasons.

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Reasons Alumni Contribution By, Ashley

We are grateful for the contributions and courage of our alumni to share their perspectives on the 2019 National Eating Disorder Awareness Week theme “Come As You Are”. We want to highlight the importance of validating stories that may not fit the stereotype of who has an eating disorder. We hope that as you read this, you will be encouraged and find hope. Perhaps it is time for you to share your story or seek treatment, or connect more deeply with others- whatever it is, we hope that you take a step toward connection, hope, and healing.

 

What does it mean to you to Come As You Are?

“To come as you are means to be who you are despite what anyone else thinks.  It is to be confident in yourself and to see your beauty and uniqueness.  Come as you are means accepting yourself; your flaws and your strengths.  For me, come as you are meant claiming my truth and coming out as a gay woman.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever done and it cost me my family and some of my friends but it also was one of the biggest pieces in setting myself free from the eating disorder that had gripped my life for over 20 years. ” 

What has it been like for you to be someone who perhaps does not fit the stereotype of someone who struggles with an eating disorder?

For the majority of my struggle I fit the stereo type of what people typically think of an eating disorder client.  On the outside I fit the picture; white, upper-middle class woman with a slim figure.  However, inside I was holding secrets that were keeping me sick.  Growing up in Georgia, in a strict Christian community, surrounded by southern expectations I found myself constantly feeling like I didn’t fit the mold of a “good” southern girl.  I was outgoing, a bit of a rebel and I demanded to be heard.  I was not the quiet little southern belle, that my mom wanted me to be instead I strived to be different.  I wanted to make an impact on my community and to not be stereotyped as a “typical” southern woman.  On the outside I was put together, proper and cute but on the inside I felt like I was screaming to get out.  I felt like no one really saw the real me or could understand me. I did everything “right” yet I felt so out of place.  I made good grades, excelled at sports and had a lot of friends but still I was lost.  It took me moving away from the south and struggling for years bouncing in and out of treatment for me to finally start to embrace my true self.  I had to fight hard to let down the masks I had worn for so long to finally find and embrace the real me.  It is still a work in progress as I believe we are always learning and growing but I have finally gotten to a place where I really love the woman I have become and I’m very proud to be me!

How are mental health/eating disorder issues treated in your community (family, social groups,  etc.)?

I was born and raised in a Christian community of north Georgia just outside of Atlanta.  When I was diagnosed with an eating disorder as a teenager it was looked at by the community as a spiritual problem.  I was told that I was not a strong enough Christian and at one point was told by the dean of students when I was in college that “the devil had taken me over” simply because I was struggling with an eating disorder.  I was appalled and disgusted and I knew in my heart that what I was being told was CRAZY but it still hurt.  I was ostracized from my community and lead to believe that something was truly wrong with me.  I had no support from my family and was on my own throughout my whole treatment experience.

What would you like people (friends, family, or treatment providers) to know about identity and eating disorder recovery?

Honestly, I have surrounded myself with people who love and accept me just the way I am.  They are people who look at what I have gone through with my recovery as a strength and not a flaw.  They are people who lift me up everyday and inspire me to be the best woman I can be.  I no longer feel a desire or need to link my identity to an eating disorder.  I feel empowered to be able to find my identity in who I am today as a strong, independent, loving women.  Therefore, I would like to share a message with those currently struggling with eating disorders. Surround yourself with people who encourage you, people who are not interested in gossip or bring others down but more interested in building each other up.  Choose people who make you happy to be who you are and challenge you to continue to grow.  Surround yourself with people who do not care what your race,  nationality, sexuality or gender is they accept you just as you are, no changes required!  Most importantly, accept yourself! Be proud of who you are and what you have gone through.  If you are gay, like I am, claim your truth without shame. Do not let others tell you that you are wrong or something is not ok about you! Choose to hold your head high and be proud to be uniquely you!!

If you or a loved one are struggling, please reach out today. You are not alone. We are here to help and can provide a complimentary assessment and provide referrals if needed. You can reach us at 844.573.2766.

The post Come As You Are: A Reasons Alumni Perspective appeared first on Reasons.

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Last week Pulitzer Prize winning poet Mary Oliver passed away at the age of 83. She wrote about the natural world and called our attention to storms, swans, trees, horses, morning, dusk, love, joy, and human connection.

She continually inspired us to slow down and engage in a deep practice of noticing what is around us. She stirred a certain spirituality and contemplative nature in her readers. Her words have been like a healing balm for many and we have embraced her work at Reasons through reading her poetry in groups, framing her words on our walls as inspiration for recovery, and inviting her respect of nature to inform our philosophies about healing.

In an interview with Krista Tippett on the podcast “On Being” Mary shared that her own childhood was painful and it was poetry and the beauty of the natural world that saved her. Her work has been a gift to all of us and we are grateful for her deep poetic instructions on how to live life.

We would like to share with you a few of our favorites that have a particular medicinal and healing quality on the recovery journey:

In the Gardener she writes, “Have I experienced happiness with sufficient gratitude? Have I endured loneliness with grace?”

In the Summer Day she writes, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

In Sometimes she writes, “Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”

In Have You Ever Tried To Enter the Long Black Branches she writes, “Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?”

In Wild Geese she writes, “You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.”

We would love to hear your favorite… will you share what poems have touched your soul on your own healing journey? Contributed By: Nikki Rollo, PhD, LMFT

The post Gratitude to Mary Oliver appeared first on Reasons.

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We are honored to share this piece with you, written by Wendy York, senior at UCLA and member of the UCLA Body Image Task Force.  This piece feels very timely with all that is currently being shared in the media. The trauma stories and experiences that brave souls are coming forth with can be healing for some—but for other’s maybe threatening to their recovery and mental health.

There is empowerment and inspiration in the stories that we share. Wendy reminds us that when sharing our stories there is so much value and healing when focusing on the fact that the fight for recovery is worth it. She reminds us as storytellers, that we have a responsibility to ourselves and others to be mindful and honor that recovery is non-linear and what we put out into the world may be triggering. Yes, we must create space to speak our truth and process the emotions that come with those while being mindful of how we do so. Thinking about who has earned the right to hear your stories and what platforms are most appropriate for sharing them are ways of doing this. 

Sharing an Eating Disorder Journey With Care

Contributed by Wendy York, senior at UCLA and member of the UCLA Body Image Task Force

Upon being discharged from my eating disorder treatment center in 2014, I re-entered the world feeling rejuvenated and enlightened. How was it that I had gone through 19 years of my life with so little knowledge of eating disorders? How had I not known that they have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, that they do not always fall into the neat boxes of either anorexia or bulimia? Equipped with newly acquired knowledge along with personal investment in sharing my own journey to be of service to others, I quickly developed a passion for educating the world on the issue of eating disorders.

The drive to share this personal story is not an uncommon one within the eating disorder community; many survivors emerge from their eating disorders feeling compelled to share their own stories in an effort to educate and help others who have been affected. However, unfortunately, good intentions can only go so far. If not handled with care, the sharing of one’s journey can often do more harm than good.

A common error in sharing about one’s eating disorder is the tendency to emphasize specific behaviors and mental processes that were occurring when things were at their worst. While it is certainly important for people to understand the myriad of experiences that are common for those struggling with an eating disorder, it is not appropriate for any individual sharing their personal story to outline those details, particularly when people who are still in the throes of their eating disorders could potentially be absorbing such information. Rather than educating people, these types of stories become more of a “how-to” guide for those still struggling, giving instructions for new behaviors to incorporate into already-unhealthy patterns. These stories generally serve as models to compete with or new goals of “self control” to strive towards, prompting survivors to compare their own methods with the ones being shared and potentially worsening their relationships to food, exercise, and their bodies as a whole.

Beyond being detrimental to people who are still battling their eating disorders, these types of stories can be harmful for those in recovery as well. Reaching a place of complete recovery is a non-linear process, meaning that some days are inevitably more challenging than others. Although for some, behaviors may be in the past, plenty of survivors still struggle with their relationships to food and their bodies on a daily basis. For others, the behaviors themselves may re-occur every so often as well. Hearing stories that inadvertently glorify the trauma of engaging in such behaviors can undoubtedly lead to setbacks for those in recovery and even for those sharing their stories.

By no means does any of this suggest that people who share stories such as these do so from a place of malicious intent. There is no doubt in my mind that all survivors share their stories purely with the hopes of shedding light on the serious physical and mental tolls eating disorders take on people all over the world. However, we must acknowledge that placing so much stress on the specifics of the disorders themselves is often not conducive to healing. It can instead make it feel as though the eating disorder – a never-ending cycle of despair – is the only conceivable coping mechanism available, when this is not the case at all.

There are plenty of mental health and medical professionals who are qualified to educate people on the intricacies of these disorders in responsible ways. However, as survivors, our stories of recovery must reinforce the fact that the fight is worth it, rather than dwelling on the battle alone. Instead of sharing stories of despair or hopelessness, we can choose to share stories of resilience, triumph, and hope. This is not to say that the recovery process should be misrepresented as a simple or painless experience. However, one can acknowledge that there are inevitable challenges throughout recovery while still primarily emphasizing the fact that the journey is worth it.

Beyond the realm in which the eating disorder voice seems to be the only one that exists, there is another voice that speaks the truth. This voice has the power to take each and every recovery warrior to a place filled with an abundance of hope, happiness, and healing. Although it may lie beyond the pain that comes with facing whatever the eating disorder has been suppressing for so long, it is there within. It is merely waiting for an invitation to bloom and flourish.

For more information about the UCLA Body Image Task Force, please visit their website here

The post Sharing an Eating Disorder Journey with Care appeared first on Reasons.

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Reasons Alumni speak out and share their experiences of what they found were their reasons for recovery, the hurdles that they faced, and still face in recovery and what were their biggest takeaways from treatment.

Recovery is not a linear path and each individuals has their own reasons that bring them to seek treatment and decide the face the journey of recovery. Our alumni bring a message of hope and inspiration but they also hold the reality of perseverance they have had to lean into in their recovery journey.

Taking the step to seek treatment is an extremely difficult decision to make. It is normal to have lots of trepidation. Often times we put off seeking treatment until we start realizing that its our only option. We can tell ourselves all sort of stories like “I am not sick enough” or “I have this all under control”. In reality these are just rationalizations because the real work can be scary. People seek treatment for different reasons. Sometimes it is due to the strong encouragement of family members, other times its because the eating disorder has taken over so much of the individual’s life that it’s all they can see and other times, people see treatment because they are able to see hope for a better future. No matter what the Reasons are to start the Recovery journey, it is incredibly brave to step into the uncertainty.

Watch to hear the Reasons Alumni’s Reasons for Recovery:

Reasons EDC Alumni: Reasons for Recovery - YouTube

Recovery is not without challenges. It’s impossible to heal and overcome without facing the pieces of ourselves and our past that make us uncomfortable. There will be challenges in treatment, whether it is facing a difficult, triggering foods or having to work through painful traumatic experiences. Its tough work in treatment and we ask you to engage in the work, struggle in the work and grow from the work. In treatment, the intention is to prepare you for life after treatment, which is guaranteed to present many challenges to recovery. Therefore, we have to ask you to walk this difficult path but the treatment team is going to be there with you. Treatment is structured to help provide the framework and support to contain unhealthy behaviors while developing new skills and ultimately transitioning responsibility back to you to build your confidence in Recovery. It is hard but it is worth it.

Reasons Alumni address Facing Challenges in treatment:

Reasons EDC Alumni: Facing Challenges - YouTube

Recovery is ultimately an act of self-love. It can be hard to imagine what life will look like without an eating disorder and why it would be important to take this journey. This process can be invaluable and can bring you deeper connection to others, as well as, to oneself. Healing your relationship with your body and yourself can open you up to engage in life more fully. Its about being connected to your body, your feelings, your passions, your friends and family and to fully embrace your life’s journey.

Here are the Reasons Alumni’s Takeaways from Treatment:

Reasons EDC Alumni: Takeaways from Treatment - YouTube

To begin your Recovery journey, please contact our admissions department at 844.573.2766. Our admissions team is available to simply answer questions, seek referrals or to help assist you in getting started with the admissions process.

The post Reasons EDC Alumni: Recovery In Their Words appeared first on Reasons.

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Contributed by Nikki Rollo, PhD, LMFT ~ National Director

“Inside you there’s an artist you don’t know about… say yes quickly, if you know, if you’ve known it from before the beginning of the universe.”   -Rumi

When you think about creativity what comes to mind? I know for me, I immediately have images of famous painters or musicians. I think of great works of art hanging in galleries and songs that have been written that set my soul on fire when I hear them. And yet I realize this is a limited view of creativity and since I am neither a famous painter OR musician, what does that mean about my capacity for creativity in the world?

We often need the reminder that creativity is not exclusively about having specialized artistic talent. This seems obvious I suppose but I must admit, that has really been a challenging lesson for me to learn. We often attach creativity to art and think that if we can’t draw, dance, sculpt or write music then we are not creative. This is a self-limiting thought that keeps us from engaging in creative process.

It is actually quite hard to define creativity. It is really about ideas and our amazing ability as humans to generate unique and imaginative ways to transcend the traditional, to solve problems or bring something new into existence.  We are all creative. Yet, we don’t often all fully realize it, embrace it, and embody it. Our creative capacities need space and nurturing to express themselves.

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray Love, says “If you can just release yourself from the anxiety and burden that might be associated with the word ‘creativity’ you’ll see, in fact, that you are an enormously creative person”.

When I was completing my dissertation, I hit a pretty significant writers’ block, as so many do in the process. I wasn’t sure where to go next…. 4 chapters in and dead stop! I felt stuck in my writing. I looked to my dreams to see if they could shed some light on what was happening. I again experienced this feeling and theme of “stuckness” both in my dream life and waking life. My next step was to reach out to my editor, a gifted and wise woman who deeply understood and hosted space for the creative process of psychological writers. She suggested I make art (!) and create a piece that represented each chapter of my work and see where that would lead me next. My initial reaction was “But I’m not an artist!”.  She wasn’t deterred. She encouraged me to let go of any expectation about the final product and engage in the process of art making.

So, I dutifully went to the store and bought some paper, canvasses, colored pencils, water colors, and paint. I put on some inspiring music, started with a meditation, and then began to hold the topic of my work in my imagination as I engaged with the materials in front of me.

Now it’s true, I am not a skilled or accomplished artist. But what was illuminated in that process was that I AM creative and in a welcome and open hosting environment, I can create things that hold meaning and beauty.

I ended up creating an artistic and creative representation of each chapter that opened up my writers’ block and allowed me to not only see but also feel and embody the way forward in my work. And, of course, self-doubt was a big part of this. I needed to move into that feeling and allow myself to become fully uncomfortable and a bit anxious (yet simultaneously joyful in the creation) for the creative process to be activated.

For me, this was less about actually using the artistic modalities of paint for example and more about doing something different. Engaging creativity means solving a problem in a new way. I typically express myself through writing or movement. In my story, I needed to engage in art as my relationship to that has always been a bit muddled and clouded by perfectionism. Grabbing these art supplies was different and opened up something that was stuck. For you, it may not be engaging with art supplies, but may be writing a poem or dancing to music that inspires or the development of a new process at work, or simply thinking about a problem in a new way.

I leave you with this quote from Rollo May from The Courage to Create:

“The creative process must be explored not as the product of sickness, but as representing the highest degree of

emotional health, as the expression of the normal people in the act of actualizing themselves. Creativity must be seen in the work of the scientist as well as in that of the artist, in the thinker as well as in the aesthetician; and one must not rule out the extent to which it is present in captains of modern technology as well as in a mother’s normal relationship with her child. Creativity…is basically the process of making, of bringing into being.”

Do something differently. Host your creativity in the ordinary day to day life. Express your story.

The post “But I’m not an artist!”: Tapping into Your Innate Creativity appeared first on Reasons.

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Contributed by Claire St John, MPH, RD, Outcomes and Follow-up Manager

Calories are everywhere, peering down from menu boards, getting bigger and bolder on nutrition labels and racking up on FitBits on a nation of nervous wrists.

Last week, federal rules went into effect requiring all chains with 20 or more locations that serve prepared foods to post calories on menus and menu boards, from Chester Chicken at gas stations to popcorn at the movie theater to a glass of wine or beer and a salmon salad at a Whole Foods. Many restaurants, such as Starbucks, Panera and McDonalds have complied with the rule for years, but now all prepared and restaurant foods must be labeled, and a nation already obsessed with calories will get a lot more exposure to them.

Perhaps because of the prevalence of calories, many people overestimate the importance of calories, crunching numbers before they crunch their carrots or cookies.

The intent of the new policy is to allow consumers to make “better” choices, and while it may induce people to choose lower-calorie options, fewer calories does not necessarily guarantee a healthier choice.

What good is calorie counting doing us, anyway? What, in fact, are calories, and why are we so determined to minimize their consumption?

A calorie is a measurement of energy, more specifically, the energy required to heat one gram of water by one degree Celsius. What we refer to as a food calorie, is actually a thousand calories, or the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of a kilogram of water by one degree Celsius.

Kind of boring, right?

Talking about nutrition in terms of calories is like talking about architecture in terms of nails. “Great building, Frank Gehry, but the public wants to know, how many nails are in it?”

Like nails in a building, calories are necessary. Unlike nails in a building, calories are not physical things you can hold in your hand, but a measurement of heat that can be translated to a measurement of energy. In food, that energy is stored in chemical bonds. To qualify as food, our bodies must be able to break the chemical bonds contained therein. Trees, for example, contain billions of calories, but our bodies are unable to access them – we don’t have the enzymes required to digest and use that energy. (In our endless adaptability, however, we access that energy with fire, which can break those bonds, and supply us with warmth – a more direct example of calories as a measurement of heat).

Caloric energy powers millions of reactions in the body every second of the day, allowing us to maintain a temperature of about 98.6 degree F, beat our hearts 60 to 100 times per minute, balance our electrolytes by running millions of teeny-tiny sodium-potassium pumps in each cell, break down and build up tissue constantly, and perform thousands of other reactions.

Because calories are essential to our functioning, our bodies have tightly controlled mechanisms supporting our energy intake and use. Although we do not fully understand all of these mechanisms, they are apparent in our functioning. While each of us consumes nearly a million calories per year, our weight fluctuates very little in that time. When food intake goes down, as in dieting, metabolism slows, reducing the number of calories the body needs and keeping weight more stable. Similarly, when we eat more, metabolism increases, burning more calories. These processes function best when we are able to mindfully listen to our body’s signals of hunger and fullness, and worse when we intentionally ignore those signals. The body knows what it needs, and calorie counting can undermine it by double-guessing it.

Calories aren’t the whole story, either. Our bodies also require vitamins and minerals, cofactors and coenzymes, proteins and fats, adequate hydration and normal temperature. The body is always performing an intricate ballet, for which calories are merely the fuel.

Healthy eating is so much richer and more interesting than counting calories. Food contains calories, yes, but it also has those necessary vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants, carbohydrates, fats and proteins, fiber and fluid, enjoyment and pleasure and the quieting of hunger and headaches.

Also, there are interactions between nutrients within foods that we don’t yet fully understand.

A tomato, for example, contains vitamins A, C and K as well as lycopene, a phytochemical. While all of those nutrients can be taken in pill form, we don’t yet know what we’re missing from the tomato complex itself, or the tomato eaten together with another food. It wasn’t that long ago that we discovered cooked tomatoes allow us to absorb more of that lycopene.

So many traditional foodways include food groupings that maximize the nutrition of each item – rice and beans create a complete protein, salad and dressing allow the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and beef and green leafy vegetables eaten together increase the iron available in the greens.

There are likely countless benefits we get from whole foods and pairings and preparations of foods that we don’t know about. Focusing on calorie counting often reduces the types and varieties of food we eat, which may limit our overall health, according to several studies.

Many calorie-counting apps, as well as restaurant menu boards, lead a lot of people to think of calories as a zero-sum game. For example, a lot of calorie apps describe calories in terms of how much exercise would be required to burn off a meal. But your body needs a certain amount of calories for basic function. Your basal metabolic rate, or BMR, is the number of calories you would need if say, you were in a coma with absolutely no movement. This accounts for about 70 percent of your calorie needs and includes your body’s constant tissue breakdown and build-up as well as organ function. The brain uses about 25 percent of that energy alone. Movement accounts for about 20% of calorie use, and digestion takes up 10 percent.

If, therefore, your goal is to burn off all the calories you’ve eaten (calories in, calories out!), you will be at risk of dying.

So, if calories can’t help us maximize our nutrition and wellness, what can?

As a Registered Dietitian working with patients diagnosed with an eating disorder, I go head-to-head with some truly world-class calories counters on a daily basis. They almost always know the calorie counts of food items better than I do.

Through the course of their treatment, however, they learn to focus less on external measures (such as calories) and more on internal signals (such as hunger and fullness). Shifting your focus from calorie counting to your body’s natural ability to regulate intake and output can allow you to truly nourish yourself.

Nutrition advice is, as all nutrition labels will remind you, “based on a 2,000 calorie diet.” This number is meant to be the best advice for 300 million Americans, but cannot take into account the needs of individuals, who each vary day by day. If you’re more active, you need more energy. If you’re spending the day with Netflix, you need less energy. If you have a fever, you need 7 percent more calories per degree of fever. If you are younger or older, you need differing amounts of energy. No food label can tell you what’s going on with you.

Here are a few tips to better listen to your body’s signals of hunger and fullness:

  1. Strive for balanced Make sure to include a variety of macronutrients (carbs, proteins, fats) on your plate at every meal and snack.
  2. Don’t deny yourself foods that you want. Eat them with joy and enjoyment. The calorie-counting mentality includes a lot of guilt and shame, which can actually lead to overeating with reduced enjoyment.
  3. Eat quality foods that you truly want. Craving a donut? Get a good one. Eat it slowly and focus on the tastes, sensations and smells. Chances are you’ll be satisfied with a normal portion.
  4. Learn to forgive yourself. Overeating foods you rarely have or at special meals is normal, it’s not the end of the world. Remember that your body is well equipped to handle variation in intake.

The more you can respect and respond to your body’s signals of hunger and fullness, the more you will come to trust them. As we are more and more saturated by calorie information, this skill will become useful, allowing you to eat the foods you enjoy without input from the menu board. It doesn’t know what you need.

The post Calories Are Boring appeared first on Reasons.

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Guest Contributor Jennifer Lombardi LMFT, CEDS, Certified Daring Way Facilitator -Candidate, Certified Family Based Therapy Provider

“Truth and courage are not always comfortable, but they are never weakness.” – author, Brené Brown, PhD

If I had shared this quote with my 18-year-old, eating disordered self, here’s how it would’ve gone down:

On the outside, a smile.  A nod.  An affirmative,” yes, exactly.  It’s so important to always be honest and take risks in life.  I always encourage others to do so.”

On the inside, heart pounding.  A feeling of being exposed.  An internal dialogue that would have included, “yeah, that’s a lie.  It sounds nice, but the truth is that you are an emotional, needy mess.  You are the definition of weak.  And you can never let anyone see that.”

Now, more than 20 years into recovery, I often find myself encouraging clients to embrace authenticity.  Own their stories.  And in the spirit of honesty, its sometimes really hard.  I know what it’s like to have people tell you everything will be okay.  That you can say what you feel, what you think.  Trying to absorb that while every fiber of your being is – and has always been, thanks to a harm-avoidant temperament – paralyzed by the fear of, among many things, judgment.

The real truth is that finding your voice is an exceedingly, painfully hard thing to do.  At times, it sucks.  We struggle to find the words, and when we do, we struggle to say them.  We debate about who to say them to.  And people don’t always understand.  They sometimes don’t “get it,” and, worse, they sometimes judge.

I spent the better portion of my youth and young adult life living in fear of judgment.  Having every decision I made be filtered through the fear-based, emotional meat grinder of my mind.  The result?  Whatever came out usually didn’t resemble anything close to what I was really feeling or thinking.  It didn’t resemble my truth.  Safer?  In some situations, absolutely.  But it also felt exhausting.  And lonely.  And sad, boring, and fake.  I lived a life that wasn’t really mine.  I spent a lot of time pleasing everyone else, and periodically breaking down, shutting down and isolating; in an attempt to disconnect from my disconnected life.

So, what’s the lesson in all of this?  That living an authentic life is full of so many wonderful, connected moments – and also very hard, uncomfortable ones.  It’s a mixed bag either way.  “Truth and courage are not always comfortable,” to be sure.  At times, I still do feel very weak and weary with emotions, but the power of connection inevitably shows up.    And authentic connection is worth it.

So here’s your challenge for today (or some time this week): ask for help with something.  Especially if it’s something you feel uncomfortable asking for help with.  See if you can do in person, retina to retina,  without the use of social media, email or text.  Asking someone to help with a project, a decision, an errand – anything, so long as it makes you a tad uneasy to do it – might just be a bid for connection.  There is no guarantee that the other person can or will, but that’s honestly not the point.  Sure, it would be nice if, after sitting with all your discomfort about asking and finally doing so, s/he responded with a resounding “yes, I’d be happy to help,” but we can’t ensure that will happen.  All we can do is push ourselves out of our harm-avoidant comfort zones a bit, and in the process, take a step further down the path of recovery.  That’s what valued living is about.

The post Truth and Courage Are Not Always Comfortable appeared first on Reasons.

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Guest Contributor Jennifer Lombardi LMFT, CEDS, Certified Daring Way Facilitator -Candidate, Certified Family Based Therapy Provider

“Truth and courage are not always comfortable, but they are never weakness.” – author, Brené Brown, PhD

If I had shared this quote with my 18-year-old, eating disordered self, here’s how it would’ve gone down:

On the outside, a smile.  A nod.  An affirmative,” yes, exactly.  It’s so important to always be honest and take risks in life.  I always encourage others to do so.”

On the inside, heart pounding.  A feeling of being exposed.  An internal dialogue that would have included, “yeah, that’s a lie.  It sounds nice, but the truth is that you are an emotional, needy mess.  You are the definition of weak.  And you can never let anyone see that.”

Now, more than 20 years into recovery, I often find myself encouraging clients to embrace authenticity.  Own their stories.  And in the spirit of honesty, its sometimes really hard.  I know what it’s like to have people tell you everything will be okay.  That you can say what you feel, what you think.  Trying to absorb that while every fiber of your being is – and has always been, thanks to a harm-avoidant temperament – paralyzed by the fear of, among many things, judgment.

 

The real truth is that finding your voice is an exceedingly, painfully hard thing to do.  At times, it sucks.  We struggle to find the words, and when we do, we struggle to say them.  We debate about who to say them to.  And people don’t always understand.  They sometimes don’t “get it,” and, worse, they sometimes judge.

I spent the better portion of my youth and young adult life living in fear of judgment.  Having every decision I made be filtered through the fear-based, emotional meat grinder of my mind.  The result?  Whatever came out usually didn’t resemble anything close to what I was really feeling or thinking.  It didn’t resemble my truth.  Safer?  In some situations, absolutely.  But it also felt exhausting.  And lonely.  And sad, boring, and fake.  I lived a life that wasn’t really mine.  I spent a lot of time pleasing everyone else, and periodically breaking down, shutting down and isolating; in an attempt to disconnect from my disconnected life.

So, what’s the lesson in all of this?  That living an authentic life is full of so many wonderful, connected moments – and also very hard, uncomfortable ones.  It’s a mixed bag either way.  “Truth and courage are not always comfortable,” to be sure.  At times, I still do feel very weak and weary with emotions, but the power of connection inevitably shows up.    And authentic connection is worth it.

So here’s your challenge for today (or some time this week): ask for help with something.  Especially if it’s something you feel uncomfortable asking for help with.  See if you can do in person, retina to retina,  without the use of social media, email or text.  Asking someone to help with a project, a decision, an errand – anything, so long as it makes you a tad uneasy to do it – might just be a bid for connection.  There is no guarantee that the other person can or will, but that’s honestly not the point.  Sure, it would be nice if, after sitting with all your discomfort about asking and finally doing so, s/he responded with a resounding “yes, I’d be happy to help,” but we can’t ensure that will happen.  All we can do is push ourselves out of our harm-avoidant comfort zones a bit, and in the process, take a step further down the path of recovery.  That’s what valued living is about.

The post Truth and Courage Are Not Always Comfortable appeared first on Reasons.

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Reasons Eating Disorder Center: Reasons Alumni Take-Aways - YouTube

Reasons Alumni discuss their most important take-aways from treatment. Hear in their own words what their experiences of treatment have been and some of the key things that have aided them on their journey.

Every recovery journey is different and is never linear, however with support, courage and a lot of hard work, a full recovery is possible.

To learn more about Reasons Eating Disorder Center and to begin your Recovery journey, call us today at 844.573.2766.

The post Reasons Alumni Take-Aways appeared first on Reasons.

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