Admissions Call: 1-800-863-7224 x 803 Fax: 703-649-3599 information@prosperityedwell.com

Communication Tips for Families in Eating Disorder Recovery

Woman on the Beach

Families play such a vital role in eating disorder recovery.  Your loved one(s) can benefit greatly from your support and involvement in their journey to recovery.  Below are some communication tips for families to keep in mind as they embark on the road to healthily recovering from an eating disorder.

Avoid making any comments (positive or negative) about physical appearance and weight.

There are comments that we say like “You look really good today” – from the mind of someone with an ED – they might think – I must have gained/lost weight. ‘You look thin” can mean to the ED that they are doing a great job and to keep it up. It is best to not make any comments that relate to how they look. 

 

Be an empathetic listener.

“I can hear that this is really scary and overwhelming for you.”

 

Have conversations that do not include talk about diets, calories, or exercise. 

It is always best to have a strong support system of people that you can trust and be open with about your feelings and struggles while in eating disorder recovery. You can rely on your support system, whether it may be a friend, family member, or even your therapist to be there for you in times that feel stressful. Your support system of trustworthy allies can help you breathe through stressful situations, help you redirect your focus, and be there for you when you need them most. Whether they be the people you call on the phone to discuss your thoughts and emotions or be the people that you ask to attend an event with you so that they can assist you in engaging in conversation that isn’t revolving around diet talk, they will be there for you when you need someone to lean on for support when you need it.

 

Express that you understand how eating disorders are very complicated. Recovery is hard work.

Eating disorders can change the brain. The altered brain from an eating disorder can suffer from anxiety, depression, adverse effects on emotions, weakened response in reward circuitry, shrinkage in overall size, as well as difficulty thinking and switching tasks. The mending process of the brain can’t happen overnight, but by making recovery a priority, the brain will heal over time. Eating disorders also tend to get in the way of personal values, making your loved one believe that the values of the eating disorder are their own. The eating disorder values food choices, weight, and appearance and will set goals related to these values. These values are not your loved one’s values. Eating disorders are incredibly complex mental illnesses. 

Remember that your child is not going through a phase and that this will pass.

We see our children constantly changing and having many successes and setbacks. Seeing your child depressed, anxious, feeling worthless, or not good enough is heartbreaking for us to watch. We never want to blame them or tell them all the things that they could be doing differently. It is our job to really listen, validate and let them know you are there for them. When they hear “you just need to…” they might be hearing that they aren’t good enough. 


One thing that I have heard a lot from children is that they have been suffering for a while and it wasn’t until they got really sick did their parents notice. I am not sure if this is accurate. I think what often happens as parents is that we feel helpless, confused, and at a loss for how to connect. So the best thing we can do is not assume that their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors are just phases. Take this time when you notice, to truly connect and give loving-kindness.

Very importantly, being a parent of someone going through an ED is so extremely hard. You are not alone. There are resources for you.

Prosperity invites you to come join our virtual Parent Support Group that meets on Monday nights at 6 PM. This is a safe and open space where we will answer any and all of your questions about eating disorders and mental health while providing you with an open forum to make validating supportive connections with others who are sharing this experience.

To register, please email information@prosperityedwell.com 

 

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!

Prosperity Advocates for Critical Eating Disorder Treatment Legislation

Prosperity Advocates for Critical Eating Disorder Treatment Legislation

Prosperity Eating Disorders and Wellness Center meets with Quena Dailey, Constituent Services Representative of US Senator, Tim Kaine

Prosperity Eating Disorders and Wellness Center had the greatest pleasure and opportunity to meet with Quena Dailey, MPhil, MPA. Quena Dailey is the Constituent Services Representative at the office of United States Senator, Tim Kaine.

Quena Dailey was given a tour of our eating disorder treatment facility in Norfolk, Virginia, as we told her more about who we are, what are doing for our community, and discussed particular issues around insurance coverage for eating disorders. We sat down and discussed the two bills we are working towards getting passed that will make a more significant change in the healthcare and eating disorder community. These bills include the Telemental Healthcare Access Act and the Anna Westin Legacy Act.

The Telemental Healthcare Access Act:

• The bill removes the statutory requirement that Medicare patients be seen in person within 6 months of being treated for mental health services via telehealth.
• This bill is consistent with how SUD telehealth services are covered under Medicare.

• Given commercial payors rely heavily on Medicare to make coverage determinations, we want to ensure these artificial barriers are not replicated in other insurance markets.

The Anna Westin Legacy Act:


• This bill would reauthorize the Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders to continue training primary and allied health professionals to screen, briefly intervene, and refer individuals with eating disorders.

• The bill would expand the evidence-based SBIRT protocol to the pediatric level.

• It would also build adaptive modules for at-risk communities that experience under-identification, including racially diverse and tribal communities, rural communities, men and boys, military families, veterans, and LGBTQ populations.

Prosperity Eating Disorders and Wellness Center would love to thank Quena Dailey for representing US Senator, Tim Kaine, for taking the time to tour our facility, learning more about who we are and what we do as well as listening to the changes that we are so passionate in working towards for our community!

Adjusting to Summer in Eating Disorder Recovery

Woman on the Beach

The Sun is beaming down on us way more than what we have been used to, people are wearing lesser clothing, and we are starting to hear the phrase “bikini body” said way too much… Summertime is here.

Summer is an exciting time for many people, but the people in eating disorder recovery are not always feeling the same levels of excitement.

Here are some ways to help adjust both mentally and physically to the sunshine-filled season of Summer while in recovery from your eating disorder.

Shut Down The Diet Talk

Warmer weather means people will be wearing less clothing to remain comfortable outdoors. This time of year, diet talk seems to come up more and more everywhere you go. First off, what exactly is diet talk? Diet Talk is exactly what it sounds like. It is the conversation among others on restrictive dieting, working out, and nutritional adjustments made in someone’s life to change their body shape/size/weight. Diet talk can also be as subtle as someone saying that they are “so bad” for eating dessert last night or that they’re going to need to “work off all the calories” after a meal. When people are wearing lesser clothing, they tend to drop diet talk around A LOT. We often hear the phrase “Summer Body” come out a lot at this time of year, as people are concerned with feeling that they must look a certain way for others due to having to wear less clothing. The truth is that we already have our Summer bodies. We have our Summer bodies just as we do our Fall, Winter, and Spring bodies. There is absolutely nothing that changes in between the seasons besides how you dress to keep your body comfortable!

So, what do you do when small talk gets too “diet-y”?

Tune it out and simply change the subject.

For example, you’re at a cookout and a friend brings up the new diet that they started for the Summer. They are mentioning that they are doing this to look good in a bikini. Here’s what you can say: “I’d really like to talk about something new with you! I would love to hear what you have been up to these days! Have you done anything fun lately or gone on any trips that you can tell me about?” By doing this you’ve tuned out the diet talk and have switched the conversation over to a new focus on catching up with your friend. Or, if you’d like to be more direct, you could say, “I have struggled with body image issues before and I don’t feel comfortable discussing this. Can we talk about something else?” By being direct with how you feel about the conversation, you have made it clear to your friend that you will not be partaking in any sort of diet talk with them. It’s not rude to switch the subject or completely avoid it, you are doing this for your well-being. Always remember that diet talk belongs to our very broken diet culture, not to you.

 

Wear Clothing That You Feel Comfortable In

Your physical comfort is a priority! If you don’t want to wear a bikini to the pool or beach, you don’t need to! If you feel more comfortable in shorts and a tee-shirt, then wear that! Summertime might involve having to wear lesser clothing, but that doesn’t mean that you must stick to a certain dress code. Clothing should never make you feel constricted either. If something is too tight or the fabric just doesn’t feel right, opt out for something different to wear that you can move freely in! Comfort is always key!

 

Unfollow Social Media Accounts That Are Negatively Affecting Your Body Image

If you’re seeing posts on your feed that trigger negative thoughts about your body image, you can unfollow them to protect your mental health and well-being. Being exposed to content involving weight loss stories, fitness routines, or people in their bathing suits can trigger those in eating disorder recovery. Being envious can come naturally when taking a look at other people’s lifestyles. This feeling of envy can quickly become very destructive and damaging to your feelings of self-worth and how you view your body! If an account is making you anxious or questioning how you feel about yourself in a negative way, it’s time to hit “unfollow.” Your mental health will thank you in the end.

 

Secure A Trustworthy Support System

It is always best to have a strong support system of people that you can trust and be open with about your feelings and struggles while in eating disorder recovery. You can rely on your support system, whether it may be a friend, family member, or even your therapist to be there for you in times that feel stressful. Your support system of trustworthy allies can help you breathe through stressful situations, help you redirect your focus, and be there for you when you need them most. Whether they be the people you call on the phone to discuss your thoughts and emotions or be the people that you ask to attend an event with you so that they can assist you in engaging in conversation that isn’t revolving around diet talk, they will be there for you when you need someone to lean on for support when you need it.

 

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder this Summer or beyond, please reach out for help. 

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!

10 Common Eating Disorder Myths Debunked

10 Common Eating Disorder Myths Debunked

Eating disorders are surrounded by a very large number of myths and misconceptions that make the importance and severity of an eating disorder very difficult to fully understand. Read below as we debunk 10 of the most common eating disorder myths!

MYTH: Only teenagers have eating disorders.

FACT: Eating disorders affect all ages, genders, races, ethnicities, cultures, sexual orientations, body shapes and sizes, geographical locations, educational statuses, and socioeconomic statuses. Eating disorders do not discriminate, there is no immunity against other demographic segments.

MYTH: Eating disorders are a choice or “lifestyle.”

FACT: No one decides that they want to have an eating disorder. There is no exact cause for one developing an eating disorder. Eating disorders are generally believed to be caused by a complex interaction of biological, psychological, and environmental factors.

 

MYTH: Males don’t risk the development of an eating disorder.

FACT: About one in three people suffering from an eating disorder are male. In the United States, studies show that eating disorders will affect 10 million males at some point in their lives.

 

MYTH: People with an eating disorder are just in a phase and will eventually just grow out of it.

FACT: Eating disorders are not a phase or a choice made by someone. Eating disorders are serious, complex, and potentially life-threatening mental and physical illnesses that require professional attention to be effectively treated.

 

MYTH: Parents are to blame if their child develops an eating disorder.

FACT: There is no evidence that parenting style and actions are the cause of their child developing an eating disorder. Eating disorders develop from a combination of factors. Parents are not to blame but they are crucial to recovery.

 

MYTH: Strict dieting is nothing to be concerned about.

FACT: What appears to be a strict diet on the outside may actually be the beginning of an eating disorder. Chronic dieting has been associated with the later development of an eating disorder, so addressing these issues right away may prevent a fully developed eating disorder.

MYTH: You can look at someone and tell if they have an eating disorder.

FACT: Individuals of any body shape and size can suffer from an eating disorder. There is no distinct body size or shape that can distinguish whether or not someone has an eating disorder.

 

MYTH: Purging is an effective way to lose weight.

FACT: Purging restricts your body from digesting your food properly and will not result in effective weight loss. Purging is a very dangerous behavior that is associated with medical conditions that have an impact on one’s teeth, gastrointestinal system, esophagus, kidneys, skin appearance, cardiovascular system, musculoskeletal system, and eyes.

 

MYTH: An eating disorder is no big deal.

FACT: Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. One suffering from an eating disorder may face medical complications from binge eating, purging, starvation, and over-exercising. Suicide is also very common among individuals suffering from an eating disorder.

 

MYTH: Children aren’t affected by eating disorders.

FACT: Eating disorders affect all age groups, as well as children. Eating disorders can cause significant damage to a child’s body, affecting their physical growth which is an important component of childhood. The rates of eating disorders among young girls and boys under the age of 12 have been growing in the past several years.

To shed light on the prevalence of eating disorders in the Black community

Eating disorders DON’T discriminate!

Contrary to the common stereotype of having an eating disorder, eating disorders affect all races, genders, ethnicities, ages, and sexual orientations. The popular culture has deemed the eating disorder stereotype to be a White women suffering with anorexia. This stereotype has resulted in those that do not fall into this stereotype, such as the Black population to receive under-diagnosis, under-treatment, and have the lack to receive help for their disordered eating issues. There are many other eating disorders that exist besides anorexia, i.e., bulimia, binge eating disorder, orthorexia, OSFED, etc. Those besides anorexia seem to be researched the least because they do not fall into the popular culture stereotype that anorexia is the most significant eating disorder.

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week will take place this year during the week of February 21-27th, 2022. With National Eating Disorder Awareness Week falling during Black History Month, it’s time that we shed light on the prevalence of eating disorders in the Black community.

Here are some shocking statistics and facts to support that the prevalence of eating disorders in the Black community are on the rise and need not to be ignored:

1The lifetime prevalence rates found for bulimia in Black Americans is 1.5% for adults, which is slightly higher than the national average of 1.0%.

2. Black LGBs have at least as high a prevalence of eating disorders as white LGBs.

3. Between 2017 and 2020, there was a 216% rise in the number of Black people being admitted to hospital due to eating disorders.

4. When presented with identical case studies demonstrating disordered eating symptoms in White, Hispanic and African-American women, clinicians were asked to identify if the woman’s eating behavior was problematic. 44% identified the White woman’s behavior as problematic; 41% identified the Hispanic woman’s behavior as problematic, and only 17% identified the Black woman’s behavior as problematic. The clinicians were also less likely to recommend that the African-American woman should receive professional help.

Goeree, Michelle Sovinsky and Ham, John C. and Iorio, Daniela, Race, Social Class, and Bulimia Nervosa. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5823.

Henrickson, H. C., Crowther, J. H., & Harrington, E. F. (2010). Ethnic identity and maladaptive eating: expectancies about eating and thinness in African American women. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 16, 87-93.

Jackson, J.S., et al. (2004). The national survey of American life: A study of racial, ethnic, and cultural influences on mental disorders and mental health. Int J Methods Psychiatr Res,13,196–207.

Taylor, J.Y., et al. (2007). Prevalence of Eating Disorders among Blacks in the National Survey of American Life. Int J Eat Disord, 40(Suppl), S10–S14. doi: 10.1002/eat.20451

Thompson BW. A Way Outa No Way: Eating Problems among African-American, Latina, and White Women. Gender and Society.  1992;6: 546.

The Truth: Suffering With an Eating Disorder During Thanksgiving

Using our coping skills while suffering with an eating disorder can feel more difficult during the holidays, especially during Thanksgiving. This is the holiday that we envision in our minds that revolves around a lot of food and a lot of mentally tough choices we feel we have to make involving what and how much we eat. Thanksgiving is not easy while suffering with an eating disorder. The coping skills that we use daily can feel so much harder when we know we have so many people sitting around us. We feel that everyone is watching our every move; what we eat, how much we eat, and what our bodies look like in our Thanksgiving dinner outfits. Getting seconds could feel so easy to anyone else, but when you’re suffering with an eating disorder, you have a back-and-forth battle with the thoughts in your head. These thoughts want you to believe that you’re going to need to intensively work out for hours just to burn off the single plate you had at diner. These thoughts tell you that instead of getting up for seconds, you need to calm it down with how much you’re eating. These thoughts tell you that everyone around you is observing how your body looks in the outfit you chose to wear, so you probably shouldn’t fill up anymore on dessert. 

These thoughts are mentally draining and they are cruel.

This is the ugly truth about suffering with an eating disorder during the day we are supposed to be relaxed and grateful. We should be enjoying this time with our family, friends and loved ones, but instead, we are battling with the demons of our disordered eating thoughts.

We ask that you be patient with us. We ask that you please not pressure us. This is difficult for us. We ask that you love us for who we are. We are struggling, and we fear judgement. We fear this day. 

If you’re speaking to us, please remind us that you support us. If we look like we are struggling, please help us take a little breather. A 5 minute break away from the dinner table can feel like a minor part of your day, but this break could actually be the highlight of our day, allowing us to disregard any of our negative thoughts. Bringing our thoughts back into the present can feel impossible sometimes, but with your assistance, we can feel that we belong again. Going around the table and asking everyone what they are thankful for helps us remember to be mindful and thankful for all that we have and get to experience in life. It may sound simple to anyone else, but to us, this fuels our positive thoughts and helps us take this day in stride. 

Allow us to get through this day at our own pace. We are so thankful for your support, even if it may feel unnoticeable to you when we are struggling. We are brave warriors battling through recovery every single day.

Finding Beauty in Our Imperfections

Releasing Perfection for a Better Life Through the Ancient Japanese Philosophy of Wabi-Sabi

In our world, we live fast-paced, sometimes highly stressful lives. Judgment and the desire of meeting society’s standard of perfection is something many of us may struggle with. Living by the teachings of the ancient Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi can change our perspective on life, helping us find the beauty and appreciation in imperfection.

“Even when petals have flaws, all you see is a beautiful flower.” -Adrianne Elizabeth

Wabi-Sabi is an elegant philosophy that promotes a more connected way of living. Living a lifestyle the Wabi-Sabi way, one is more connected to nature, and thus, better connected to our truest inner-selves. Wabi-Sabi allows us to search for the beauty in imperfection by accepting what is flawed, impermanent, and incomplete. Perfection is unattainable by accepting this philosophy into our lives. Impermanence becomes the elusive beauty of life.

What is Wabi?

The term, Wabi, refers to living in tune with nature, paring down to the essentials, so that each object and moment are appreciated in it’s fullness. Open your heart, appreciate simplicity, detach from materialism, and you will experience spiritual richness.

What is Sabi?

The term, Sabi, refers to the concern of the passage of time. The passage of growth, age, and decay manifests itself into the beauty of an object. Beauty lies from beneath the surfaces, underneath the cracks, imperfections, and wrinkles.

Together, Wabi-Sabi promotes the thought of, “Accept what is, stay in the present moment, and appreciate the simple impermanent stages of life.”

Freedom is found through acceptance of what is. Surrender to the gravity of the situation, giving gratitude to all that is. Nature is always changing, therefore it is not perfect, and nothing can be absolutely complete. Perfection is a state of completeness. So, why do we put our body through such shame in attempting to sculpt it to perfection, not eating enough, over exercising, or disregarding the importance of nourishment? The attempt to achieve a perfect body is just one blurring out the understanding of what perfection truly is. The desire of looking younger is very popular as well with the usage of many different anti-aging products. What’s forgotten about is ageing with the passage of time is beauty itself. With imperfection, we should not compromise it, we need to accept the imperfections because that is the true nature of life. Just as nature is, life is fragile and temporary, so allow yourself to accept what is and find the love in the imperfections.

In Japan, broken objects are repaired with gold. The flaw is seen as a unique piece of the object’s history, which adds to its beauty. When you are feeling broken, remember this. 

“Put simply, Wabi-Sabi gives you permission to be yourself. It encourages you to do your best but not make yourself ill in pursuit of an unattainable goal of perfection. It gently motions you to relax, slow down and enjoy your life. And it shows you that beauty can be found in the most unlikely of places, making every day a doorway to delight.” -Beth Kempton

Resources: 

Itani, O. (2021, April 24). 5 teachings from the Japanese wabi-sabi philosophy that can drastically improve your life. OMAR ITANI. Retrieved October 19, 2021, from https://www.omaritani.com/blog/wabi-sabi-philosophy-teachings.

Jobson, C. (2017, October 19). Kintsugi: The art of broken pieces. Colossal. Retrieved October 19, 2021, from https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2014/05/kintsugi-the-art-of-broken-pieces/.

Shaireproductions.com. (2012, September 27). Imperfect flower. Flickr. Retrieved October 19, 2021, from https://www.flickr.com/photos/shaireproductions/8030295044.

Walther, A. (2021, January 14). What is Wabi Sabi? the elusive beauty of imperfection. Japan Objects. Retrieved October 19, 2021, from https://japanobjects.com/features/wabi-sabi.

5 Effective Coping Skills for Recovery

5 Effective Coping Skills for Recovery

fortune teller

5 Effective Coping Skills to Assist Your Journey to Recovery

Recovery is a journey. Recovery takes time. Recovery is your journey that you live and control day to day. Throughout this time, life stressors that you may not be able to control come into play and you may feel as if they are acting as a halt in the direction you were headed throughout your recovery journey. Life stressors may include starting back up at school, starting a new job or leaving a current one, an increase in financial obligations, taking care of an elderly family member, moving to a new home, worrying about a touchy conversation you need to have with someone, or even relationship stress. Facing this stress, it feels quite easy to rely on disordered coping skills. However, these disordered coping skills can mentally and physically play a negative impact on recovery. With an eating disorder and partaking in disordered coping skills, one’s eating disorder symptoms could heighten. Practicing healthy coping skills with your eating disorder will aid to the longevity of your wellness and nourishment journey. 

 

Here are 5 effective and healthy coping skills to handle those stressful bumps in the road that life may present in your path while you are on the road to your recovery:

 

  1. Did someone say Self-Care? Make yourself your own priority! Wash your face, brush out your hair, put on a face mask, and hop in that bath tub! Light your favorite candle. Enjoy Mother-Earth and the sunshine she has to offer by taking a walk outside and enjoying some fresh air. Listen to the soothing sound of the rain hitting your windows and meditate for 10 minutes. Get cozy and read a new book. Tidy up your living space, rearrange your closet or organize your dresser. Cook yourself one of your favorite meals or bring out your favorite family relative’s cookie recipe! Allow yourself 7-8 hours of sleep, being well-rested will aid in avoiding triggers.

2. Start a new hobby or activity, or return to one you truly enjoyed in the past. Run to Michael’s, grab a canvas and paint something beautiful, get creative! Start a new DIY project for something that would look great in your home, or something you can give to someone as a gift! Inquire through social media or online for a local book club if you enjoy a great read with people that share the same passion as you. Gather friends and family for a once-a-week game night, such as bowling, roller skating. You could even form a kickball team! Find your passion!

3. Journal it out! Keep a journal handy to write about your day. Write about your daily thoughts, emotions, something encouraging someone said to you that day, three things that you are thankful for.

 4. Recognize the way that you speak to yourself. Whether it be about your body, the food that you eat, or your actions. Write down the negative thought, and for every negative thought, on a separate piece of paper (let’s say a sticky-note) write down three positive thoughts about yourself. Now, throw away that negative thought and remove it from your mind-space as it falls into the trash, crumbled up and left behind. Take that sticky note with your three positive thoughts about yourself and place that on your mirror. Leave it there! Look at yourself in the mirror and read these positive thoughts out loud. Remind yourself how awesome you are. Speak these thoughts into existence to yourself and they will become a part of you! Self doubt and self blame will not cure your eating disorder. Uplift yourself. 

5. Reach out and lean on the community you have built around yourself of friends, family, loved ones, and others going through their own road to recovery. Associate yourself with those that you can trust. These people can help carry you throughout your journey when times don’t feel as easy or fair as they should to you. Allow them and involve them in your healthy coping mechanisms. You will be able to rely on these people when you allow them in, giving them your trust and them giving you theirs!

 

 

Sources:

3 tips for coping with triggers in Eating disorder recovery. National Eating Disorders Association. (2018, February 21). https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/3-tips-coping-triggers-eating-disorder-recovery. 

About eating disorders. Eating Disorder Foundation.org. (n.d.). https://eatingdisorderfoundation.org/learn-more/about-eating-disorders/coping/. 

To cope with stress, Try Learning Something new. Harvard Business Review. (2019, November 26). https://hbr.org/2018/09/to-cope-with-stress-try-learning-something-new. 

 

Equity for All

We believe in Equity in Treatment for all.

Prosperity Eating Disorders and Wellness specializes in the treatment of eating disorders while offering evidence-based, comprehensive, individualized treatment to all ages, genders, and eating disorders.  Our goal is to help sufferers find a full recovery by meeting their psychological, nutritional, emotional, and relational needs throughout Virginia.

Weight Stigma

Weight Stigma

Weight stigma is any bias, discrimination or stereotyping related to an individual’s weight. It supports the misconception between worth, value, and competence in regards to weight. Research has idealized weight loss and living a ‘healthier’ lifestyle due to the promise of improved overall wellbeing. However, is that really the case? Continuous societal pressure to change and reform the body, in order to fit the standards of research, can cause behavioral changes that have been linked to poor metabolic health and increased weight gain. Weight stigma can be especially harmful when exposed to children at a young age. Children who are perceived to be overweight by loved ones are two times more likely to form irregular and poor relationships with food and self-regard. As these relationships continue to develop, they can become a part of a child’s identity and the cycle of dieting continues. These influences can begin with as little as a comment from a stranger on food choices, or weigh-ins in public schools. It is our responsibility as a member of the community to prevent these influences from causing further consequences. 

While it can be hard to take weight loss out of the picture completely, it does allow the potential for a life of freedom. This does not mean ignoring your body completely, but rather learning to respect and appreciate your present self. Accepting your body entails taking care of your health, both physical and mental. This is a crucial part of making peace with your body, and is the stepping stone for making peace with food, thus supporting one to become an intuitive eater. 

Those who experience weight stigma have been shown to be at an increased likelihood of developing psychological and behavioral issues. Some of which includes depression, body dissatisfaction, and binge eating. This is exacerbated by a culture that idealizes thinness and inundates the public with fatphobic messages. When these fatphobic messages are internalized, individuals can experience self-stigma. Self-stigma has been found to have a strong effect on overall mental health due to the acceptance of weight stigmatized statements as being true for themselves, making it increasingly difficult to challenge these messages.

Unfortunately, healthcare professionals are often guilty of perpetuating weight stigma in their practices. Thus many individuals in larger bodies who choose to seek care often find themselves being treated differently due to their body size. It is important that, as providers, we continue to explore our role in ending weight stigma and work to provide compassionate, unbiased, weight-inclusive care.

We each come in our own shape and size, similar to the unique ridges and whorls that make up our fingerprints. We wouldn’t expect someone who is 5’10 to someday be 5’5. Therefore, why do we assume we must shrink or shape our body to be a size that it shouldn’t be? Spending your life trying to control your weight is essentially a constant attempt to be someone else. We must be kind and accepting of ourselves and who we are meant to be. It can be a slow process to accept a body that has been labeled as ‘not good enough’ but quitting won’t speed it up. 

References:

Emmer, C., Bosnjak, M., & Mata, J. (2019). The association between weight stigma and mental health: A meta‐analysis. Obesity Reviews, 21(1). doi:10.1111/obr.12935

Puhl, R. M., & Heuer, C. A. (2010). Obesity stigma: important considerations for public health. American journal of public health, 100(6), 1019–1028. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2009.159491

Weight Stigma. (2019, June 27). Retrieved September 23, 2020, from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/weight-stigma

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