Nourishing Connections: A Thanksgiving Practice Meal at Prosperity Norfolk

Nourishing Connections: A Thanksgiving Practice Meal at Prosperity Norfolk

Written By: Mary Dye, MPH, RDN, CEDS-S

The delightful aroma of freshly baked pies has filled Prosperity Norfolk all week! Our clients and nutrition team have been busy baking up a storm in anticipation of our practice round for a Thanksgiving meal.

This week, clients and the nutrition team have been busy in the kitchen, preparing for a special practice round of a Thanksgiving meal. At Prosperity Norfolk, this annual tradition serves a purpose beyond the joys of sharing and eating delightful food; it’s a compassionate initiative to support those dealing with eating disorders as they navigate the challenges of a food-centric holiday.

Creating a Safe Space

Thanksgiving can be a daunting day for individuals struggling with eating disorders. To ease this potential distress, Prosperity Norfolk hosts a practice meal, bringing together clients and staff to simulate the atmosphere of a festive gathering. Extra chairs are pulled up, and leaves adorn the tables, creating a communal space where the noise, stress, and stimulation (as well as laughter!) of a typical Thanksgiving can be experienced and managed. This inclusive approach aims to help our clients navigate these situations and create their own peace and calm, figuring out what boundaries and coping skills work best for each of them.

Crafting a Supportive Meal

Guiding the culinary experience is our chef, Savannah Dyer, whose thoughtful planning ensures the menu reflects the diverse array of foods clients might encounter on Thanksgiving Day. This practice meal becomes an opportunity for clients to practice choosing and portioning from a wide spread of dishes. The focus extends beyond just the culinary aspect; it becomes a platform for using and developing coping tools and skills that will prove beneficial on the actual holiday.

Developing Coping Skills

During the practice meal, clients are encouraged to explore various coping tools and skills. The aim is for each individual to identify what works best for them in navigating the complexities of a Thanksgiving gathering. From setting boundaries to employing mindfulness, the meal serves as a training ground for the real challenges they might face.

A Mindful Finishing Touch

The practice meal finishes with attention turning to the beautifully prepared pies. As clients savor each bite, they are guided in mindful eating, acknowledging not just the flavors and textures but also the emotions tied to the experience. This moment emphasizes the idea that food is more than just nutritional content; it’s a shared experience that fosters connection and support.

Food as Connection

This day and this meal remind us all that food is more than just nutritional content. It’s the experience of sharing in a way that is flexible and supportive, binding us to one another. Inviting and joining fellow humans at a table signals comfort, safety, and inclusion. At our table, all are welcome. Eating disorder behaviors are not! We are here to support each other in reconnecting to the joy, gratitude, and welcome that only the act of fully sharing a meal together can bring.

Virginia’s Boutique Eating Disorder Treatment Center

 

At Prosperity Eating Disorders & Wellness Center, we are dedicated to providing evidence-based, individualized treatment for eating disorders across all age groups, ethnic backgrounds, and genders.

Our approach addresses psychological, nutritional, emotional, and relational needs, guiding individuals toward a full recovery. We specialize in treating a range of disorders including Anorexia, Bulimia, EDNOS, Orthorexia, and Binge Eating Disorder.

Take the first step towards recovery with Prosperity Eating Disorders & Wellness Center today!

Five Eating Disorder Truths and Tips for Parents

Five Eating Disorder Truths and Tips for Parents

Written By: Adrianna Rodriguez, MS, MFT, CFBT

Coming to the realization that your child has an eating disorder can be overwhelming.

It’s daunting and scary. Learning how to navigate the ups and downs of an eating disorder requires a great deal of self-awareness and patience. I have found that parents most certainly have the power to help their child begin to heal – even if the child isn’t fully ready.


In family therapy, we explore not only the best ways to communicate with one another but also identify and practice the most effective ways to show up for and support your child.

In this blog post, I will highlight the top five things to focus on as you walk alongside your loved one on the path to full recovery from their eating disorder.

1. Recovery is Long and it is not a Linear Journey

Recovery comes in waves like a roller coaster, involving progress and setbacks – both of which are normal. It’s important to set realistic expectations for what recovery will look like. Parents are eager to see their child return to being their true selves. It’s important not to rush the process to avoid relapse.

2. Be Strong, Calm, and Consistent

Most importantly, do not negotiate during meals. The eating disorder is masterful at manipulation, so it’s imperative that parents are on the same page and show up as a united front against it. Eating disorders thrive off heightened emotions and overreactions, so remaining calm is crucial. Maintaining a sense of calm during mealtimes will help your child have the confidence to recover. Additionally, being consistent with meal expectations can help alleviate anxiety and fear.

3. Maintain Clear Mealtime Rules

One way to minimize stress is to keep your child out of the kitchen when cooking and serving meals. This can alleviate anticipatory anxiety around the upcoming meal. Incorporating distractions at mealtimes, such as games or watching television, can diffuse tension and shift the focus away from the food. Encourage the completion of meals and avoid engaging in power struggles. By providing firm and loving support, you are sending the message that you will not let the eating disorder take hold and that recovery is the only option. A non-shaming approach can be much more effective than a shaming one, so encourage meal completion in a non-judgmental and tempered manner.

4. Externalize the Disorder

Externalization of the disorder is a critical tool that allows the parent to temper their anger and frustration towards their child. It involves separating the child from the chaos and ravages of the eating disorder. This is most helpful when the eating disorder is driving disruptive behaviors, anger, abuse, etc. It helps prevent getting pulled into power struggles and reminds parents that the behaviors stem from the disorder itself. Your child has not consciously chosen this; rather, they want and deserve help.

5. Steer Clear of Blame, Guilt, and Shame

Blaming yourself or your child does not serve either of you. It is common for both parents and children to experience guilt. One thing is certain: guilt reduces your self-efficacy as a parent and your ability to remain grounded. It also poses challenges to your ability to help your child overcome the eating disorder. Just as it is unhelpful to place blame or guilt on yourself, it is also important not to blame or guilt your child. Just like you would not blame your child if they developed diabetes or any other physical illness, the most important thing to do is to be involved in your child’s recovery and offer them compassion and unconditional love.

Supporting your loved one with an eating disorder is a challenging task. At Prosperity Eating Disorders and Wellness Center, our team is committed to walking you through and providing you with all the tools you need to help your child successfully reach full recovery from their eating disorder!

Virginia’s Premier Day Treatment And Intensive Outpatient Treatment Centers

Prosperity Eating Disorders & Wellness Center specializes in the treatment of eating disorders while offering evidence-based, comprehensive, ethical, and individualized treatment to all ages, ethnicities, genders, and eating disorders. Our goal is to help sufferers find a full recovery by meeting their psychological, nutritional, emotional, and relational needs. We specialize in treating Anorexia, Bulimia, EDNOS, Orthorexia, and Binge Eating Disorder. With locations in Herndon and Norfolk, Prosperity is equipped to serve the needs of adolescents and adults throughout Virginia. 

Get started with Prosperity Eating Disorders & Wellness Center today!

Empowering Your Path: 10 Vital Reminders on the Road to Eating Disorder Recovery

Empowering Your Path: 10 Vital Reminders on the Road to Eating Disorder Recovery

Eating disorder recovery is a journey that encompasses physical and emotional healing. Each meal becomes a crucial step on the path to reclaiming your strength and nurturing self-love.

As you navigate this transformative journey, carry with you these 10 gentle reminders:

1. You Deserve Nourishment:

You deserve to honor the nourishment your body craves. All bodies, no matter their weight, shape, or size, deserve proper nourishment. There’s no need to postpone providing your body with what it needs. Don’t allow your eating disorder or societal pressures to persuade you otherwise. Embrace this essential truth!

2. Listen to Your Body:

Trust your body’s signals. It knows when it’s hungry, full, and what it craves. Tune in and honor these cues.

3. Release Judgement:

Food is not a moral compass. There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods. Embrace variety and allow yourself to savor the flavors of life. Food is meant to serve two purposes: nourishment and enjoyment. That’s it. You are not “bad” because you had a dessert.

4. Progress, Not Perfection:

Recovery isn’t linear. There will be ups and downs, and that’s okay. Celebrate your victories, no matter how small.

5. Challenge Negative Thoughts:

Replace self-criticism with self-compassion. Remind yourself of your worthiness and the progress you’ve achieved.

6. Practice Mindful Eating:

Engage all your senses during meals. Appreciate the textures, flavors, and aromas. This deepens your connection to the nourishment you’re providing.

7. Set Realistic Goals:

Break down your recovery into manageable steps. Each day is a new opportunity to progress.

8. Patience is Key:

Recovery takes time. Be kind and patient with yourself. You are worth the effort.

9. Celebrate Non-Food Related Achievements:

Acknowledge and applaud your accomplishments outside of your relationship with food. Remember, you are a multi-faceted individual with talents, dreams, and unique qualities that extend far beyond your dietary choices. Celebrate your achievements in all aspects of your life. You are more than what you eat; you are a person of remarkable depth and potential.

10. Remember, You Are Enough:

Regardless of what you eat or how you look, you are inherently valuable, just as you are.

Remember, this journey to recovery from your eating disorder is about reclaiming your life, your joy, your relationship with your body and food, and your sense of self. You are not defined by your struggles. 

 

Eating Disorders Among College Students – A Deep Dive Into the Statistics

Eating Disorders Among College Students – A Deep Dive Into the Statistics

Unveiling the Hidden Battle: Exploring Eating Disorders Among College Students.

College life is a transformative experience filled with academic challenges, newfound independence, and personal growth. However, beneath the surface, many college students face a lesser-known struggle – eating disorders.

In this blog post, we will explore the significant connection between eating disorders and college students, delving into compelling statistics that shed light on this critical issue.

The Prevalence of Eating Disorders Among College Students

Eating disorders are not uncommon among college campuses, affecting students from various backgrounds and academic pursuits. According to several recent studies, the statistics reveal a concerning reality:

The Prevalence of Eating Disorders Among College Athletes

  • In a study of 204 female college athletes from 17 sports at 3 universities, 2% were classified as having an eating disorder and another 25.5% exhibited symptoms at a subclinical level (Greenleaf, 2009).
  • The prevalence of eating disorders in college athletes is higher among dancers and the most elite college athletes, particularly those involved with sports that emphasize a lean physique or weight restriction (e.g., figure skating, wrestling, rowing), (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 2003).
  • Though most athletes with eating disorders are female, male athletes are also at risk—especially those competing in sports that tend to emphasize diet, appearance, size, and weight. In weight-class sports (wrestling, rowing, horseracing) and aesthetic sports (bodybuilding, gymnastics, swimming, diving) about 33% of male athletes are affected. In female athletes in weight class and aesthetic sports, disordered eating occurs at estimates of up to 62% (Bonci, 2009).
  • One study found that 35% of female and 10% of male college athletes were at risk for anorexia nervosa and 58% of female and 38% of male college athletes were at risk for bulimia nervosa. (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 2003). 

Eating disorders represent a pressing issue on college campuses, profoundly affecting students’ physical and mental health, academic success, and overall well-being. The statistics shed light on the concerning reality of the prevalence of eating disorders among college students, emphasizing the need for proactive and comprehensive measures to address this hidden battle.

Introducing Prosperity's Virtual IOP for College Students

 

At Prosperity Eating Disorders and Wellness Center, we are committed to providing accessible and effective treatment for eating disorders to college students. Our Virtual IOP for College Students breaks down barriers, ensuring that every student has the opportunity to heal and thrive. With Telehealth accessibility, students can seek help and support from the comfort of their dorm rooms or apartments.

Our Virtual Adult IOP offers personalized care, matching all individuals with a therapist and dietitian best suited for their unique needs. We specialize in treating various eating disorders, including binge eating disorder, anorexia, bulimia, and OSFED, guaranteeing tailored support on the journey to recovery. We prioritize meal planning on campus, ensuring a balance between recovery and academics while fostering a recovery community in the midst of a diet culture. Additionally, we collaborate with Student Health departments to provide comprehensive care and manage health factors.

With Prosperity’s Virtual IOP for College Students, every student can receive the support and guidance they need to thrive during their college journey and beyond. Take the first step toward recovery and contact us today to learn more about this transformative program.

Get started with Prosperity Eating Disorders & Wellness Center today!

References:

  1. Greenleaf, C., Petrie, T., Carter, J., Reel, J. (2009). “Female Collegiate Athletes: Prevalence of Eating disorders and Disordered Eating behaviors.” Journal of American College Health, 57(5), 489–496.
  2. Eisenberg, D., Nicklett, E. J., Roeder, K., & Kirz, N. E. (2011). Eating disorder symptoms among college students: prevalence, persistence, correlates, and treatment-seeking. Journal of American College Health, 59(8), 700-707. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2010.546461. PMID: 21950250; PMCID: PMC3721327.
  3. National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). (2013). Collegiate Survey Project. Retrieved from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/sites/default/files/CollegeSurvey/CollegiateSurveyProject.pdf
  4. Bonci, L. (2009). Sport Nutrition for Coaches. Human Kinetics.
  5. Byrne, S., McLean, N., Trotter, M., & Mazanov, J. (2001). Prevalence of eating disorders in female athletes. Social Science & Medicine, 52(7), 1045-1051.
  6. Sundgot-Borgen, J., & Torstveit, M. K. (2004). Prevalence of eating disorders in elite athletes is higher than in the general population. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 14(1), 25-32.
  7. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University. (2003). Food for Thought: Substance Abuse and Eating Disorders. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) Columbia University; New York

3 Often-Missed Signs of Binge Eating Disorder in Teens

3 Often-Missed Signs of Binge Eating Disorder in Teens

What is Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a severe and treatable eating disorder that affects many teenagers across the United States. Recognizing the signs of BED is crucial for timely intervention and support. Unfortunately, these signs can be easily missed, and affected teens may keep their struggles hidden from both parents and peers.

In this blog post, we will shed light on three often-missed signs of Binge Eating Disorder in teens and explore why parents may overlook them.

1. The teen hoards food.

Teens with Binge Eating Disorder may engage in secretive behaviors, such as hoarding food. In preparation for their binge episodes, they might collect substantial amounts of food in their rooms or other hidden places. As a parent, it can be challenging to notice this behavior if you do not regularly inspect your child’s personal space. Additionally, during the early stages of binge eating disorder treatment, teens may continue to hoard food as they struggle with the recovery process.

To address this sign, parents can try to have open conversations about their child’s eating habits and emotions. Building a supportive and non-judgmental environment can encourage teens to share their struggles, making it easier to identify signs of BED.

2. The teen prefers to eat alone.

For many families, mealtime is a social occasion that allows parents and children to bond and share experiences. However, a noticeable change in your teen’s eating habits might indicate an underlying issue, such as Binge Eating Disorder. If your child starts eating alone instead of joining family meals, it could be a potential red flag.

Teens with BED may feel ashamed or embarrassed about their binge eating behavior, leading them to eat in solitude to avoid scrutiny. As a parent, it’s essential to pay attention to any shifts in your child’s eating patterns and emotional well-being. Encouraging open communication and expressing concern in a compassionate manner can help teens feel comfortable discussing their feelings and struggles.

3. There are hidden food packages around the house.

Another subtle sign of Binge Eating Disorder in teens is the presence of hidden food packages around the house. After engaging in binge eating episodes, teenagers may attempt to conceal their actions by discarding empty food containers or wrappers in hidden places.

To address this sign, parents can take an active role in understanding their child’s emotional state and overall well-being. Supporting open dialogue about mental health and body image can help teens feel comfortable discussing their struggles and seeking help when needed.

Recognizing the signs of Binge Eating Disorder in teenagers is vital for early intervention and successful treatment. By understanding these often-missed signs and fostering open communication, parents can offer crucial support to their teens during their recovery journey. If you suspect that your child may be struggling with Binge Eating Disorder, seeking professional help from eating disorder specialists or healthcare providers is essential for their well-being and long-term recovery.

Virginia’s Premier Day Treatment And Intensive Outpatient Treatment Centers

Prosperity Eating Disorders & Wellness Center specializes in the treatment of eating disorders while offering evidence-based, comprehensive, ethical, and individualized treatment to all ages, ethnicities, genders, and eating disorders. Our goal is to help sufferers find a full recovery by meeting their psychological, nutritional, emotional, and relational needs. We specialize in treating Anorexia, Bulimia, EDNOS, Orthorexia, and Binge Eating Disorder. With locations in Herndon and Norfolk, Prosperity is equipped to serve the needs of adolescents and adults throughout Virginia. 

Get started with Prosperity Eating Disorders & Wellness Center today!

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