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Perhaps your child was teased at school.  Maybe the news came from your pediatrician or the BMI Report Card from her school.  Or she straight-up asked you: “Mommy, am I fat?” 

The reality is hitting you: your precious baby is at risk of becoming a statistic in the dreaded “Childhood Obesity Epidemic.” 

Perhaps you’ve suspected this and felt a little concerned, but you’ve been t

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If there were ever a time to get bariatric surgery, Jackie thought, this was it.  The 55-year-old widow weighed almost 300 pounds.  Her 30-year-old disabled son lived with her, struggling with multiple medical and psychiatric conditions.  Her brother and his teenage son also lived in her home after losing theirs in the economic downturn.  But despite these stresses, she had a stable job with insurance that would help cover the costs. Jackie decided to get serious about her weight loss journey.  


She scheduled her first therapy session the week after her gastric bypass operation.  Acknowledging that she was an “emotional eater,” Jackie’s worst fear was sabotaging the surgery with her old coping mechanisms.  With her new tiny stomach, we needed to de-construct and then re-construct her complex relationship with food, fast.   


As far back as she could remember, Jackie’s primary role was “Caregive

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Most of today’s afflictions and addictions are a direct result of our desire to not know what we know.  There are times when we cannot bear the anxiety, anger and grief that accompany harsh reality. Humans are constantly devising new methods for numbing our awareness: from cigarettes to heroin, from shopping to cell phones.  We find ways to leave our bodies because powerful emotions make us uncomfortable.  Knowing the truth can have frightening implications. 

 

A man involved in an intensely destructive marriage keeps himself numb with alcohol so he can better tolerate the craziness: “I’m afraid if I divorce her, she’ll kill herself.”  


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The scrawny poodle with spindly legs and a too-long Dr. Seuss-ish curvy tail was not pretty, but she fit all three criteria. She was 1. a rescue dog, 2. small, and 3. a non-shedder. 

 

It was mid-December of 2009, and the only thing our boys wanted for Christmas was “a new little dog we can cuddle on the couch!”  We had strict criteria since we already had a big dog, plus we had allergies. So when I spotted that weird stray dog at the pet shelter, I told the adoption counselor, “We’ll take her!”


“Not so fast. She needs to meet everyone in the family, including your dog.” So we all gathered inside of a small cage-like room, along with our golden-doodle, Murphy.  The counselor gingerly brought Dr.-Seuss-Tail into the cage.  In a flash, she transformed from a cartoon character into the evil cave

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Sexual abuse shatters and disrupts the core of a person’s sense of safety, self and worth.  The damage inflicted can influence every aspect of a person’s existence. Because sexual abuse attacks the body and soul of the victim, it can cause shame, depression, disconnection from one’s own body, distrust in others, tumultuous relationships, addiction and eating disorders.   


At the same time, human beings are amazingly resilient.  Children who are abused by the same person in the same ways may grow up and turn out very differently.  An abuse survivor may i

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Recently, there’s been a growing awareness of the problem of eating disorders among women who are middle-aged and older. Guidebooks have been developed for the adult offspring of these moms to help them support their ill parent.   


But what if the child of the eating disordered mom is just a kid?  And what about the young siblings of teenage eating disorder sufferers?


Children between the ages of eight and 13 often end up as collateral damage in these families.


At a highly tumultuous stage of emotional, cognitive and physical development, tweens who live in a family wrestling with an eating disorder may be anxious, confused and overwhelmed by conflicting messages about food and their growing bodies. Often the needs of these kids are subsumed by the family’s total immersion in the illness and recovery of the “sick” family member.  

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These days I see many women seeking help for binge eating only to discover they have serious drinking issues.  This week’s column is from a client who discovered the only way to fix her binge eating was to tackle her binge drinking.


Here’s her story: 

 

Awake.  Aware.  This is how I feel today.  It is Day 19 of my “60 Day Challenge,” a challenge I created to break free of my self-destructive behavior.  I’ve had an unhealthy love of alcohol and food that’s shaped my life for years.  


If you met me, you’d see an average 34-year-old woman with a few extra poun

...... [ Read the rest of this story ]

Most of today’s afflictions and addictions are a direct result of our desire to not know what we know.  There are times when we cannot bear the anxiety, anger and grief that accompany harsh reality. Humans are constantly devising new methods for numbing our awareness: from cigarettes to heroin, from shopping to cell phones.  We find ways to leave our bodies because powerful emotions make us uncomfortable.  Knowing the truth can have frightening implications. 

 

A man involved in an intensely destructive marriage keeps himself numb with alcohol so he can better tolerate the craziness: “I’m afraid if I divorce her, she’ll kill hers

...... [ Read the rest of this story ]

     A few decades ago, a kid like my 12-year-old son Schuyler may have been labeled as spacey, absent-minded, creative, forgetful, or lazy depending upon the perspective of the viewer.  But by viewing his struggles through the lens of Attention Deficit Disorder (of the Inattentive variety) we’ve been able to better manage our frustrations and devise strategies for addressing the problem.  


     ADD/ADHD symptoms, like all psychiatric issues, fall on a continuum of severity.  Because Schuyler has a mild case, we’ve not invested in the $1000 testing battery, filled out the parent and teacher checklists, nor met with a psychiatrist to discuss medication.  Parents of children with more serious and disruptive cases may need to take those steps to chart a course of treatment for their child. I recognize that we are fortunate.   


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This past week, Lisbeth Rhine, the head of the Eating Disorders Information Network, lost her battle with anorexia.  Her death is a devastating blow to those who knew and loved her as well as the eating disorder recovery community as a whole.  It is especially tragic when a person who is a champion for this cause succumbs to the illness.  We feel an overwhelming sense of futility and hopelessness when we lose a warrior on the front lines.   


I met Lisbeth when she joined the EDIN board four years ago.  She was passionate about the issue because she had battled with an eating disorder for decades, dating back to her days dancing with the Atlanta Ballet.  She was an active and involved board member, always raising her hand when we needed a volunteer.  When EDIN needed a new exec

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