Join Oliver-Pyatt Centers, Clementine Adolescent Treatment Programs and T.H.E. Center for Disordered Eating of Western North Carolina for “The Tipping Point in the Pursuit of Health: Clinical Assessment and Treatment of Orthorexia Nervosa and Exercise Addiction” with Director of Clinical Programming Jamie Morris, MS, LMHC, CEDS-S.
Exercise and nutrition are foundational to good health, but extreme behaviors can be warning signs indicating unhealthy behaviors. Proper assessment and treatment are key in preventing these behaviors from becoming life-interfering and, in some cases, health harming. Through this workshop, participants will come away with an understanding of orthorexia, its definition and the controversy surrounding the term. Similarly, exercise addiction will be defined and assessment measures will be reviewed. The presenter will address the cognitive and behavioral similarities between orthorexia and exercise addiction and participants can expect to receive practical clinical interventions. The presentation will also address how cultural and social reinforcements impose challenges in the treatment of these disorders.
Participants will be able to:
1. Define the term orthorexia and understand the history of this disorder
2. Define the difference between compulsive and excessive exercise and name assessment measures that can be used
3. Name two validated measures that can be administered to assess eating and exercise behavior
The presentation will be held on November 17th from 10:00am – 12:00pm at The Center for Disordered Eating Office in Asheville, North Carolina. Two CE Credits Provided: PhD, PsyD, LMFT, LPCC, LMHC, LMSW, LCSW, RD
To RSVP, please reach out to Regional Outreach Manager Jamie Singleteary: email@example.com
Jennifer Kreatsoulas, PhD, RYT is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist specializing in eating disorders and body image. In recovery herself, Jennifer is extremely passionate about helping others reconnect with their bodies and be empowered in their lives. Jennifer works with clients in person and via Skype. She also teaches yoga at the Monte Nido Eating Disorder Center of Philadelphia, is a partner with the Yoga and Body Image Coalition, and leads trauma-sensitive yoga classes. In this week’s post, Jennifer discusses detaching from your diagnosis identity.
When a diagnosis becomes our identity and our identity a diagnosis, we unknowingly become walking, talking containers of illness, pain, and even hopelessness.
We separate ourselves from others in the belief we are different or broken. As we embody the disease we believe precedes us, we disconnect from our unique gifts and passions. Our bodies hurt, our minds become one dimensional, and our spirits wither. Our world narrows to a single dark point chained to the fear of not knowing who we are without our diagnosis identity.
It’s only having lived to come out the other side of shedding the diagnosis identity of an eating disorder that I can say with conviction that you have permission to detach from yours too. I understand the fear, anxiety, confusion, and uncertainty that accompanies even the smallest of steps to let go of that which you believe keeps you safe, in control, and put together. For decades I fiercely resisted detaching from the diagnosis of anorexia. From my hair style to how my clothes hung on my body to the bags under my eyes to the food on (or not on) my plate, I dedicated my every action, word, and thought to fulfilling my identity as an anorexic. That diagnosis was the lens through which I viewed the world and my place in it, and it was a dead end.
With time, persistence, willingness, and a whole lot of support, my eyes opened to the shadow I was living in, the shadow of my diagnosis identity. Once I spotted this identity as a menacing shadow and not the entirety of who I was, I realized I had the power to walk out into the light. As I inched away from the shadow, new possibilities for healing came into my life as did new relationships and opportunities. Slowly but surely, I began to resent the shadow for holding me back from embracing more and more of the world around me and the food, people, and sensations in it. The stronger my resentment grew, the more willing I became to detach from the diagnosis identity and replace it with the gifts, talents, and passions that were buried but by no means dead.
It took practice giving myself permission to detach from the eating disorder identity. Every morning for months I asked myself Who are you? until the words anorexia, anorexic, and eating disorder were not my first answer. Little by little, more answers surfaced in my mind, like mother, daughter, wife, yogini, writer, creative soul, kind person, etc. I did this exercise over and over until the words related to my diagnosis identity moved down the list and one day slid right off it. Getting to this point took perseverance, and it wasn’t a straight line, just as recovery is not.
With the help of a therapist, other supports, and my Yoga practice, I was able to arrive at complete permission to detach from the diagnosis identity. Now the words anorexia and eating disorder do not define me, nor do I strive to embody them. Rather, I respect and honor these words for the profound experiences in my life they represent and the gifts they provided: self-awareness, empathy, resilience, compassion, and ultimately my life’s purpose to support others healing from eating disorders through yoga.
My friend, you are capable of detaching from any identity that keeps you trapped in shadows. Once you give yourself permission to do so, the possibilities for goodness to fill your life are endless. Take a few moments and reflect on these questions:
How would your life change if you shed your diagnosis identity?
What dreams would become possible?
How much more fulfilled would you be?
How much more connected would you be?
How much more whole would you be?
Don’t be afraid to ask yourself who you are. Let the answers come as they are in this very moment. Ask again tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that until new words bubble up. With permission, they will. Be patient and gentle with yourself as you step away from the shadow, but trust you can do it. I fiercely believe you are more than a diagnosis. You have permission to detach from your diagnosis identity. You have permission to explore who you are without it. You have permission to move through this world as an whole, vital individual.
In part four of the nutrition series, Director of Nutrition Mary Dye, MPH, RD, CEDRD, LD/N continues to share about the nutrition philosophy at Oliver-Pyatt Centers. Mary dives into the use of meal plans and how clients are supported through dietary challenges throughout the day.
At Oliver-Pyatt Centers, our meal plans have the basic pattern of 3 meals and 3 snacks but caloric levels vary from client to client. Registered Dietitians set the initial plan and adjust it over time to the client’s needs (to meet weight gain goals if needed, for example) and authentic (not ED driven) preferences and cue system. We study each client’s patterns and when certain criteria have been met, we move them from staff portioned foods to having clients portion their own plates. As client’s gain more autonomy, we know that the pull of the ED often gets strong in each transition. This a reason why we do not use measuring tools in our model. Instead, we move clients from staff plated to eye-balled portions with staff feedback, helping them to continue to read and respond to their internal cues and visual knowledge of their meal plan rather than rely on external cues such as calorie numbers or measuring tools. Calorie and exchanges can be followed perfectly and still leave a person wanting for more or feeling un-satiated, therefore we take satiety into account when considering whether or not a client has ultimately met her needs in a meal or snack.
Since our dietitians aren’t meal planning in sessions, we are able to use our sessions addressing table behaviors, patterns, rituals, food rules, barriers to dietary acceptance and expansions, etc and to help our women discover their preferences, positive associations and memories of foods, taste, texture, ways to navigate their meal plan in their increasingly autonomous life in recovery, etc. Essentially, by having food exposures 6 times per day and bringing all of the information gathered into session, we can initiate dietary challenges and changes that led by the client’s experience rather than by the dietitian telling them how to eat. We are continuously able to help them learn from what they’ve already experienced. This is a huge factor in sustained recovery, especially in populations of clients who have been in and out of treatment or those who have been told how to eat but never given the chance to develop their own understanding of how to nourish their body.
We are so grateful to do this work of challenging, reconnecting and nourishing the women who come through these doors in this unique and bold way.