Question: Eating Disorder Recovery and Weight

“If you are in recovery from an eating disorder and struggled with binging that led you to gain an unhealthy amount of weight, what is the best way to deal with the situation?”

This was a question sent to me as part of Libero Network’s ‘Ask an Expert’ column. It certainly wasn’t an easy one to answer – the topic is complex and the ‘best way to deal’ will be different for everyone. Overall – recovery from an eating disorder is always the focus; weight loss should not be.

See my full response over at Libero Network, here.

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Six Things I’ve Learnt After Getting Rid of My Scales.

Mid-last year (2014), I shared this post on my Facebook page about getting rid of their scales (I encouraged people to use them as a pinata!). Not long after, I received a message from one of my page ‘likers’ – Naomi. She told me she’d planned to get rid of her scales. Six months later, she’s still without her scales and hasn’t been tempted to get another set (yippee!!!). 

This is a eye-opening article from Naomi about what she learned in the first couple of weeks of being scale-free. 

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What a Body Positive Paradigm Means to Me.

I think sometimes people get a little confused about the Health at Every Size or body positive paradigm. It’s not about suggesting everyone eats take-away, never exercises, disregards their health.

The paradigm I work from is about treating people as people, not numbers. First and foremost, that means showing respect for people regardless of their body weight or shape and even regardless of their food and exercise choices.

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Smash the Scale

95% of people regain lost weight within 2 years. 98% have regained it within 5 years. Most will gain extra too. Many people go through cycle after cycle of dieting with weight loss and weight gain.

Those statistics are all based around a number on the scale. It doesn’t tell us what methods were used to lose weight (healthy or unhealthy) nor does it tell us what emotional, social, and possible mental, effects (both good and bad) were experienced during the weight loss and regain.

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Supporting Someone with an Eating Disorder during the Holidays

The holiday season brings with it many joys, but it can also be a very difficult time for those struggling with an eating disorder (ED) or disordered eating.

Social gatherings and family get-togethers are a great opportunity to catch up with people you might not have seen in a while, or to spend extra time with those you love. Unfortunately, the conversation can sometime head down a very unwelcome path. The three topics that are said to be off-limits at the dinner table are sex, politics, and religion. For someone with an ED or disordered eating, those three topics are much more preferable to food, exercise, or weight.

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A Body Positive Guide to the Holiday Season

December and January. I’m certain it must be the diet industry’s favourite time of year. By the start of January we’re all convinced that we are awful people who ate waaaaaayyyy too much and didn’t exercise enough over the festive period. Maybe you will eat a lot and not exercise much. Maybe you’ll eat less and exercise more. Maybe there’ll be no change to your usual eating and exercise patterns. Either way, you’re not an awful person and you certainly don’t need to turn to the diet industry to ‘fix’ you.

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The Week That Was #4

A couple of great articles this week and a few things to make you smile. Would love to hear your thoughts, or let me know if you’ve seen any body positive diet or exercise info that should be shared 🙂

1. When NOT to eat mindfully.
Obviously, I’m a huge fan of mindful eating and I believe it’s the best way to develop a healthy relationship with food. But it’s not always appropriate, for example, those with an eating disorder or history of disordered eating. Fiona is a dietitian at RIPE and has written a great post exploring when it’s not always best to eat mindfully and some tips on how to introduce mindful eating when you’re ready.

2. What to watch when you’re having a s#!$ body image day…
Sure, it’s not going to fix everything, but it made me smile 🙂
P.S. Click the title above, not the picture, to go through to the link….

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3. This article exploring the relationship our children have with the word fat.
Really worth the read. I find it so upsetting that we’re teaching children to make assumptions about who people are based on the body shape. Regardless of what body shape or size someone is, regardless of how healthy they are (which you cannot tell from just looking at someone anyway), they are still a person and deserve to be treated with respect. If we want the world to become more accepting and promote a positive relationship with food, exercise and our bodies we need to begin teaching that to the younger generations.

“One of the consistent themes that I ran across speaks to the fact that children associate some of the worst possible personality traits and social outcomes with the words “fat” and “obese”.  Today, the younger generation no longer thinks of fat as simply a descriptor for shape or a biological substance, they equate it to lazy, bad, evil, uneducated, unacceptable and unlovable.  When they hear “fat” they do not hear that a person is fat shaped, they hear that a person is unworthy of respect and acceptance, consequently if they think they are “fat, they believe those same negative things about themselves.”

4. Getting rid of the scale.
I think people either love or hate the scale. Some people can have quite a healthy relationship with it, only checking in from time to time and they don’t allow the number to dictate their mood or their life. Then there are other people (I would hazard a guess and say the majority), who find the scale all consuming. Remember: the only thing the scale tells you is your current relationship with gravity; it will naturally fluctuate day to day. But the scale doesn’t tell you anything about your health, your body composition, your blood cholesterol or glucose, your bone density. It doesn’t tell you how fit you are, how far you can run, how much weight you can lift. It doesn’t tell you how talented and smart you are. It doesn’t tell you how much your family and friends love you.

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5. Squat Technique – using a plate under the heels?
Seen people in the gym doing squats with a plate or wedge under their heels? Ever wondered why or if you should be doing it too? Andrew from Move EP is an accredited exercise physiologist (and great friend of mine); he’s written a fantastic article clarifying why people do it but also why it’s actually not a good idea. Stretch your calves people!

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This is a bad idea!