Genuine Help For Eating Disorder sufferers and caregivers.On this site you will learn how to beat your eating disorder with the power of neuroplasticity and awareness therapy.
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
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…
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…
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.
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.
People often ask me about different side effects of bulimia: about short term, long term and the most dangerous ones. This article is about short term effects which appear soon after bulimia begins.
People are also interested if the short term effects are 100% reversible or not. Well, probably most of the short term bulimia effects are reversible but it is also depends on the intensity of the bulimia.
It is also depends on association with other medical and psychological problems the person as at the time they start being bulimic. So, I would say it is all down to the individual and for many people the short term effects are 100%reversable when they stop their bulimia. But there are some people who can have irreversible damage.
Now, let’s look at them – short term effects.
These are the most common short term bulimia side effects. There are many more and people get affected by bulimia differently. All side effects can turn into dangerous complications. So the best way to prevent them is to stop your bulimia all together.
You can always start looking for help: read more about it, educate yourself, ask professionals, work on changing your psychology, change behavioural pattern etc. Never give up and never take the side of disease.
Bulimia causes damaging side effects to the body. It can also destroy the brain, heart and the soul of the person suffering from this eating disorder. There is no one system in the body that does not get affected by long term bulimia.
What are the most dangerous side effects? – You may ask. These are the effects people can die from. Lets look at them separately.
To sum up, these are the most dangerous side effects of bulimia. There are many more which may not cause the death of the patient but damage the body and make it malfunction. You can prevent all these complications just by looking for help and doing something constructive about your bulimia. Even learning more about the condition and what you can do to help yourself will push you forward towards recovery.
Never stop resisting the disease and never give up fighting for your health and your life.
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.
Go to http://www.meditation-sensation.com for more help.
Dr Irina Webster MD.
Anyone who is fighting their eating disorder can fall into a slump.
Negative emotions, feelings and subconscious voices to binge, purge or starve yourself can become so strong
that the person can succumb to them again and again.
It often seems like there is nowhere to turn for help; but there is and that is where the use of motivational triggers come in handy.
Motivational triggers inspire mentally and spiritually. They also push away the past and help you focus on the present.
There are many motivational triggers that can be used every day.
You may already use your own personal motivational triggers but here is a list of the most common ones that work on most of us.
1. Listening to particular songs or music.
This is a really strong trigger to lift up your spirit and keep your desire to stop your bulimia or binge eating alive.
Although you have to be careful in choosing the right songs though, because some songs may bring on feelings that make
you perform your eating disorder behaviour.
Some song can be associated with something negative in your life or just switch on negative senses.
But with the variety of music that is around I am sure you will find music that motivates you to act your best.
Please refrain from music that has negative language, or bad language, or that is demeaning to others, this kind of music will
only make you worse.
2. Looking at art (pictures, sculptures etc.) that inspires you t is a great motivational trigger for art lovers.
When you look at art and get inspirational feelings from it you actually divert your attention away from food,
weight and body image worries towards the divine.
It can be very powerful for many people and can even make them create a piece of art. When you free your attention and focus from the eating disorder influence you will start to create things easier and faster.
3. Going to a special room (or place) in your house to think, meditate or connect with inner self.
Connection with your internal self is a powerful tool to motivate yourself to becoming free from your eating disorder.
Knowing your internal self can be difficult for eating disorder sufferers because their internal self is affected by the eating disorder.
The ability to separate yourself from your eating disorder and the ability to separate thoughts (those that come from you and those which come from your eating disorder) is important for your full recovery. Until sufferers learn to do this properly they can’t recover because the subconscious eating disorder voices will always overpower your logical reasoning.
Specialised eating disorder meditation can be an incredible tool to help you to control the voices and overpower them.
4. Going to a scenic area in your city or town to get away from the eating disorder distractions. This trigger can also be related to meditation and relaxation but using nature to help. A connection to nature can be one of the ways of connecting to the divine.
Meditating on your health and freedom from your disorder can be helpful while out in a natural setting.
5. Going for a walk/ jog outside. This can be just a quick fixer when you need urgently to change your mental state and stop
those overwhelming subconscious voices that tell you to binge. Don’t keep yourself hungry though because hunger will definitely make you binge sooner or later. Eat often (6-7 times a day) but small amounts. This way of eating stimulates your metabolism and stops the feelings of hunger.
But do not use exercise as a way to feed your obsession, do not use it as a substitute for controlling your weight or body image problem.
Going for a walk or jog is only to break the moment and stop the feelings that make you binge.
6. Do any other activity that helps you clear your mind from negativity and to remain motivated.
Doing an activity which is pleasurable is important for breaking bulimia/binge eating cycle. Finding this kind of activity can be difficult for people with eating disorders because their negative food thoughts over-ride all the positivity in them.
To stop it you need to clear your mind first with meditation. Than in a meditative state ask your inner self what you really love to do.
The answer will follow if your mind is clear from eating disorder thoughts.
7. Write a diary. Writing a diary helps thousands of people to feel better. Initially you should just record your thoughts; any thoughts that come into your mind. Then when you get a hang of it, try to direct your thoughts in the direction you need.
That means diverting your attention away from food and weight, towards other activities which are positive and constructive.
Who knows – some people have become writers that way. Just keep trying!
If you use these triggers to stay motivated there is no way that you can continue with the bad behaviours that you want to eliminate from your life. If you learn to change focus you will be definitely on the way to a full recovery.
Dr Irina Webster MD is an expert in eating disorders, author and public speaker.
To read more about specialized meditation for eating disorders go to http://www.meditation-sensation.com
Motivation is important for overcoming any eating disorder.
People with bulimia/binge eating often lack of motivation because of the nature of their illness.
They often feel that the only things they like to do are related to food. But this in most cases is an illusion.
Many bulimics feel good when they cook or prepare food but this often leads them to binge the food.
This problem can be overcome if sufferers learn to motivate themselves using other motivational methods which are not related to food.
Motivational triggers for bulimics/binge eaters are similar to what normal people use to motivate themselves.
The only thing to remember is to keep your motivational triggers away from the thoughts of food, especially in the beginning.
There are many things that can be your motivational triggers. The best motivational triggers are the ones which affect your
emotions the most. Some people know the specific things that motivate them.
If you haven’t found any yet things that specifically motivate you try the ones which are considered to be the most common
- Motivational/inspirational music and songs
- Going to a nice peaceful environment where you can connect with nature.
- Looking at the art (paintings, sculptures, ikebana etc.)
- Doing sport like activities outside (walking, jogging etc)
- Going into a meditative state and feeling your own vibrations.
- Doing positive affirmation when in a meditative state.
- Writing a diary.
- Any other activities that you LOVE to do.
The list can go on and on and it can be different for everyone.
The main thing is to find an activity (other than food) which you LOVE to do.
Discovering your LOVE, following your heart and knowing your inner self is the best way to stop your eating disorder.
When you learn to drive your attention away from the food, weight and body image issues to something positive and constructive is
when recovery starts to happen.
To discover your LOVE and things that motivate you, you should clear your mind first. The mind of people with eating disorders is filled with negative conditioning.
This conditioning stops them from seeing what they really are as people and what they LOVE to do.
The best way to clear the negative conditioning is to meditate.
A meditational state is when your mind becomes clear and you feel a connection to your inner self.
This has to be your true inner self not the one you may think you have at the moment.
A Bulimics inner self is often mixed with their bulimia and they often identify bulimia as being a part of them or a part of their inner self.
This is completely false, bulimic thoughts have no place in your true self. You can find and change the bulimic thoughts by doing regular meditation.
To really know your inner self you need to have a clear mind, one without the bulimia thoughts and then ask yourself “Who you are and what you want?”
The true answer will follow if your mind is clear, but if your mind tells you it is food and binging then this is false and just the old bulimic thought pattern.
So you have to keep trying to get a clear picture.
Specialised meditation can be the first most important thing you can do towards your recovery.
Specialized meditation will also keep you motivated because it can clear your mind from the negative bulimic thoughts and help you to find
your true self (not the mixed up bulimia/binge eating self). So, meditate regularly and love it, this is the best advice you can give to someone
with eating disorder. A clear mind with a clear set of goals and focus is a healthy mind. A mixed up food orientated mind is a unhealthy one.
Dr Irina Webster MD is a recognised authority on the subject of women health with a special interest in eating disorders.
She is the author of many books and a public speaker.
To read more about mindfulness training for eating disorders go to http://www.meditation-sensation.com
There are many kinds of meditation techniques available these days. How to choose which one is the best for a person with an eating disorder?
Are any methods better than the others?
Meditation is a practice of focusing your attention for some time on specific emotional states, mantras (non-religious), breath, intentions, specific focal points, visualization, thoughts, or simply being aware of what is happening in the present moment.
But please don’t think because we used the word meditation that you have to become a Zen monk or some kind of guru who sits on top of a mountain in India some place.
We are also not talking about some weird religious cult or anything like that. We are talking about scientific techniques proven by modern day science. In fact we like to use the term Mindful Awareness as this is one of the secrets to beating an eating disorder.
To choose the right meditation technique (Mindful Awareness) for an eating disorder sufferer let’s look at what kind of meditation are the most common nowadays.
Each meditation system has certain benefits and people with eating disorders can practice any of them if it is what they believe in.
But has previously stated we recommend a kind of meditation called Mindful Awareness.
People with eating disorders need a special focus on resolving their issues like stopping urges to binge, purge or starve while meditating. This is important for them because until they learn to ignore, re-label, re-value, and re-focus their thoughts about food, weight and body image issues, they wouldn’t be able focus on anything else. That makes all the above meditation techniques except Mindful Awareness difficult for them.
First if they learn to concentrate by focusing on how to cope with their abnormal food and weight urges that this is much more helpful to them.
This special meditation can be done in an upright seated position either in a chair or cross-legged on a blanket on the floor, even lying down. The spine is straight yet relaxed. Eyes can be closed to better access a relaxed state. Then by listening to specific guidance (on a CD, iPod etc) telling them how to deal with their urges (binging, purging, starving, etc) they can reach their subconscious mine where the ED lives.
By listening and following the instruction while in meditative (Mindful Awareness) state they can benefit and over time learn to control the ED voices that keep them locked into their eating disorder.
The benefits from doing this special meditation are:
1) Reduction of stress and anxiety,
2) Decrease of urges to overeat and purge,
3) Improvement of food toleration in anorexics,
4) Improved confidence, calming the mind, clarity of thinking,
5) Improvement in motivations, understanding of happiness and indentifying their purpose in life.
To get significant and life-changing benefits from this kind of meditation people should start with as little as 5-20 minutes a day practiced consistently over time.
Generally speaking, mediation (Mindful Awareness) can help enormously to improve mental, physical and spiritual health of people suffering with eating disorders.
Meditation (or mindfulness training) is proven to be very helpful for eating disorder sufferers. If practiced regularly, meditation can balance abnormal mental states of patients. It can also bring them peace and stability.
The brains of eating disorder sufferers are overloaded with abnormal thoughts and feelings to the point that they sometimes have to give up on their studies, jobs and relationships; because they simply feel that they can’t cope with anything anymore.
Meditation (or mindfulness training) is not a magic cure for all the problems that an ED patient has, but it can help enormously to improve their mental, physical and spiritual state of mind. Hence clearing up some of their muddled thinking and straightening out some of their obsessive tendencies.
First, let’s define what is meditation? Meditation (or mindfulness training) is consciously focusing your attention for a period of time on something positive. It is a process where a person is guiding her/his focus in a specific way: directing it to promote health, personal development and spiritual growth. Mindfulness training can be use to drive a person’s thoughts away from food, weight issues, personal problems and bad emotions.
An eating disorder at its roots is a disorder of attention or a too regimented thinking process. All the problems sufferers have started with abnormal attention; or their attention always focused on the wrong things. To cure an eating disorder people need to be able to re-train their whole attention focusing system. That means to learn how to focus on constrictive positive things, and stop focusing on the things that give abnormal feelings like food, weight, body image etc. Meditation is an indispensable tool for doing this.
Will this be an easy process: absolutely not.
The results of meditation will depend on the chosen technique and the intention a person brings to her/his practice, meaning are they really serious about getting rid of their ED?
If you are a sufferer, you may say I really want to stop, but in reality deep inside you are not willing to do the hard yards, so you will remain the same regardless of what you do.
So: are you ready, really ready? Or are you just playing lip service to your ED?
This can be a confusing time for many sufferers. Do I want to get better or not? You have to choose no one can do it for you. But how can you find out?
The answer lies in getting in touch with the real you, not the ED you, but the person who lives inside, the healthy person you can become again: meditation will help you find that person.
In general, when eating disorder sufferers meditate they can expect to experience:
- A reduction in stress, muscular tension and bring about a state of general relaxation.
- Decreased or even the eliminate the urge to binge or purge
- A better tolerance towards food in the case of the anorexic or bulimic
- Feel happier, more peaceful and more compassionate towards others
- Improved confidence
- Calm, clear and a more focused mind
- Identifying their life purpose and gain a sense of spiritual connection with that purpose.
Another major skill a person can learn during mindfulness training (meditation) is the ability to make clearer choices. That means the ability to do constructive things while their eating disorder tells them to do non- constructive things, like binging, purging, starving, over-exercising, takings diuretics or laxatives. Initially it may be hard to do but the more a person meditates the easier it becomes, because their mind will gradually start to lose the old conditionings it had.
Every person who learns how to meditate becomes a unique individual. This is because these people are able to work and understand their previous conditioning and change it through an awareness of their problem. This will make them a stronger person and set them free.
There is an old saying in Buddhism that all changes start from being dissatisfied or even from suffering. It is not the matter of where the source of your eating disorder stems from or the reason why: but the best reason to start meditating is your eating disorder.
Using special mindfulness training (meditation) developed for eating disorders can easily change your perspective fast. You even don’t need a special trainer and you don’t need to go anywhere, just sit at home and follow the instructions and you will see an amazing difference.
To read more about mindfulness training for eating disorders go to http://www.meditation-sensation.com
Since eating disorders are rooted in emotional conflicts, the solution for the problem can be found in emotional healing. Emotional healing doesn’t happen instantly; it is a process. Many existing treatments nowadays promote only a physical fix while the emotional component is severely underestimated. This could be the reason why some ED treatments failed to make the person better. It is simply because the deep intimate emotions remain unchanged after these kinds of treatments.
To make any eating disorder treatment successful people should concentrate on the emotional healing of the sufferer, foremost.
There are 5 steps to emotional healing:
1. Acknowledgment: One must say” I need emotional healing because my emotions are not in balance at the moment”. They have to believe this is true, not just say the words.
2. Locate the cause of the pain: Emotional pain is located in the subconscious mind so it is basically impossible to find out the true cause of pain by simple thinking or rationalising. One should have access to their subconscious mind to sort out the problems. The best way to do this is through mindfulness training techniques. Mindfulness is a mental and emotional state when the person is fully aware of her/his owns body and brain. It is when communication with the subconscious mind becomes easier.
3. Cleansing the emotional wound: This can only be done on the subconscious level of awareness, so mindfulness techniques are a great help for doing this. Cleansing occurs when the person reassess the old emotional hurts, attaches a new meaning to them and maybe even replaces them with other more constrictive emotions.
4. Receive healing: This means accepting a new positive emotional state which comes with the healing and hanging on to it. When a person becomes more mindful she/he should be grateful even for little positive changes in their emotional state. Feeling grateful for small subtle changes will attract bigger changes and so on. This means receiving and accepting the healing at all levels.
5. Strengthen the weak areas: This means to continue on with a new way of living and maintaining a new level of awareness for the rest of their life. This is the only way to stop an eating disorder from coming back. It is easy for many sufferers to cling to their old programming as the weak areas seem safe and comfortable. It is scary for some to take the next step and face their weaknesses head on, but it has to be done regardless of how hard it may seem.
To accomplish these 5 steps the person should remain non-judgemental and mindful. Mindfulness is a mental state when one becomes an observer of themself and they have the ability to see things without criticism. People’s emotions often make that person sway to one or the other side: too far either way can lead to disorders.
But mindfulness does not take sides, mindfulness does not get obsessed with the good stuff, it does not try to sidestep the bad stuff, it takes a balanced path.
Mindfulness doesn’t cling to the “pleasant” and there is no fleeing from the “unpleasant” either. A person has to learn to face the ED and control their ED demons and mindfulness training will achieve this.
Mindfulness sees all experiences as equal, all thoughts as equal, and all feelings as equal. Nothing is suppressed. Nothing is repressed. Mindfulness does not play favourites.
The beauty of being mindful is it will cause emotional healing in the eating disorder sufferer and it does not matter how long one has had the disorder.
Emotional conflicts will be solved by just being mindful and wounds will be healed. Mindfulness training is also harmless; it has no side effects and is beneficial for the health of the majority of people, even non-ED sufferers.
Dr Irina Webster MD is a Director of Women Health Issues Program. She is an author and a public speaker. To read more about meditation for eating disorders go to http://www.meditation-sensation.com