Eating Disorders, Body Image, and Chronic Dieting Concerns
Eating disorders are serious conditions related to persistent eating behaviors that negatively impact health, emotions, and the ability to function in important areas of life. Eating disorders can affect anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, or age. Most eating disorders involve a hyper-focus on weight, body shape/size, and food, leading to dangerous disordered eating behaviors. Although there is often an intense focus on these, eating disorders are rarely about food or the body. Clinicians at Elevate Wellness take a unique approach to eating disorders that examines the function and underlying needs that the eating disorder is meeting. We promote food neutrality, working to eliminate "good vs bad" vocabulary to describe food, and operate from a Health At Every Size perspective. Individuals with eating disorders are recommended to seek support from a treatment team consisting of a therapist, dietitian, primary care physician or pediatrician, and at times a psychiatrist.
Some individuals may not have an eating disorder but experience great dissatisfaction with body shape and weight. Accompanying this dissatisfaction may be chronic dieting. Unfortunately, in our culture pursuit of the "perfect" body and emphasis on weight loss contribute to this obsession making the experience of poor body image more of the norm rather than the exception. Luckily, it does not have to be this way. Clinicians at Elevate Wellness can support you in finding freedom from obsessions about food, diet, weight, and exercise by learning to trust and respect your body.
Anorexia is characterized by restriction of caloric intake, low body weight, intense fear of weight gain, and self-worth being driven by body shape/size. Binging and purging behaviors may or may not be present.
Bulimia is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviors in order to prevent weight gain (self-induced vomiting, laxative or diuretic use, fasting, excessive exercise). There is also intense focus and typically dissatisfaction with body shape and weight.
Binge Eating Disorder
Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating with no compensatory behaviors.
Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder is characterized by lack of interest in eating/food, avoidance of sensory characteristics of food, or concern about aversive consequences of eating.
Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder can be a diagnosis for individuals who may not meet the diagnostic criteria for the eating disorders listed above; however, OSFED is a significant eating disorder with similar impact on health and level of functional impairment as is found in Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorder.
Treatment for eating disorders can include a variety of therapeutic modalities and interventions. Your clinician will work with you to determine an individualized treatment plan to best meet your needs.
Therapeutic approaches that may be utilized for your treatment:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Acceptance and Commitment
Eye Movement Desensitization
Exposure and Response
Family Based Therapy