Eating Disorders

Addictions-Introduction and Food Addiction

Addictions-Introduction and Food Addiction

Addictions are a common issue we deal with here at Imagine Hope. We see everything ranging from alcohol, drugs, and sex, to work, facebook, and food.  Society is getting deeper looks into addictions as well, through T.V. shows like "Hoarders" and "Intervention" becoming more popular. So what makes something an addiction?

Effects of Emotional Eating

Today we are discussing the effects of emotional eating. This list is not exhaustive but will hopefully give you an idea of what can happen when emotional eating is a problem.  

Weight Gain/Health Issues: Unfortunately emotional eating can lead to significant weight gain. This can cause various problems with our health. Diabetes, joint/bone issues, heart problems, just to name a few.

 

Relationship Problems: Oftentimes when food is being used to cope, the person in a relationship with the emotional eater will feel worried, frustrated, and sometimes alone. The feelings can mirror that of someone in a relationship with an alcoholic or drug addict. Anger is often an issue as well. It’s difficult to talk about the issue because the person doesn’t want to cause shame to the overeater. So they often hold in their feelings, creating a gap between them and the emotional eater.

 

Intimacy Issues: Unfortunately, weight gain can lead to issues sexually with couples. Like we mentioned in the previous section, this can create relationship problems as well. If couples struggle sexually, often they can struggle with communicating about it as well. Again, the partner does not want to put more shame on their partner so they stuff their feelings about sex and their relationship, leading to a lack of emotional intimacy as well.

 

Self Esteem: It’s difficult to feel positive about yourself when you are using anything to cope. It’s especially difficult with food because the challenges it creates physically (weight gain) are apparent to others. The emotional eater often struggles with feelings of shame about their appearance, leading to a downward spiral in their thinking, leading to a downward spiral in how they view themselves.

 

Shame: Have you heard a common theme throughout the effects? Shame is typically a symptom that causes emotional eating but it is also an effect as well. The person tells themselves they won’t overeat again, only winding up eating a bag of chips after a fight with their spouse. This makes them feel horrible about themselves, “Something must be wrong with me. I am bad.” This is a shame spiral.

 

There are more effects of emotional eating but these are a few to get you thinking about what it looks like. Tomorrow Joleen will share how to combat it! Thank you for reading and have a great day.

*Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC, LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling.  We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.

Emotional Hunger Vs. Actual Hunger

This week we’ve defined emotional eating and given examples of triggers. Today we continue to talk about the difference between emotional hunger and actual hunger:

  • Emotional hunger is instant. It’s an overwhelming sense of “I have to have__________ right now”. Physical hunger comes on gradually and isn’t demanding.

  • Emotional hunger is food-specific . It often makes you want fatty foods, sugar, or comfort food. When you are actually hungry, you are willing to eat almost anything, including fruits and vegetables, to help ease your hunger.

  • Emotional hunger doesn’t stem from your stomach. It is in your head, is psychological, and can cause you to obsess over the smell or taste of a certain food. Actual hunger originates from your stomach being empty and your body needing energy.

  • Emotional hunger is not satisfied. You don’t feel full or like the craving has gone away. You may eat until you’re stuffed and it’s still not gone. Actual hunger, once you’ve eaten, goes away when your stomach is full.

  • Emotional hunger often is mindless. What starts off as “I really want a few potato chips” leads to “I can’t believe I ate the whole bag!” When you are eating because of actual hunger, you have more awareness of portions and being full.

  • Emotional hunger causes shame, guilt, and ultimately regret. You may finish that pint of ice cream, swearing you’ll never allow yourself to eat the whole thing again. You probably shame yourself and beat yourself up for allowing it to happen. Physical hunger will not make you feel guilty if you are eating to fuel your body.

Continue to read tomorrow as we will talk about the impact emotional eating can have on you.

Written by guest author Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW

Christy is a licensed therapist at Journey to Joy Counseling in Carmel, Indiana. She specializes in Individual Counseling, Couples/Marriage Counseling, Premarital Counseling, Family Counseling,  and Teen/Adolescent Counseling.

What Is Emotional Eating?

Food is a big part of our society. There are rarely times it is not included with socializing and celebrations. But sometimes food is misused. Many people use food for more than just nourishing their bodies to give it energy.

People emotional eat when they are using food to comfort themselves, reduce stress, and push away uncomfortable feelings.

Numbing out on food is not always a conscious thing people do. It is often an "easy" way to distract in a struggling time to get a quick fix to "feel a little bit better" in the moment. It's not common that someone will say, "I'm sad, where's the cookies."

Beware that this can be a dangerous cycle for many as they develop unhealthy coping skills and can find themselves and their health spiraling out of control.

Read more tomorrow about what triggers someone to become an emotional eater.

Written by guest blogger Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC 

www.RenewedHorizons.com

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Renewed Horizons Counseling, who does virtual counseling with clients in Indiana and Florida. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.

Factors Contributing to Eating Disorders

This week, Imagine Hope is discussing eating disorders and the different ways they manifest.  According to the National Eating Disorders Association, while we don't fully know the exact causes of eating disorders, science is advancing in understanding some of the general issues that can lead to eating disordered behaviors.  While eating disorders may begin with preoccupations about food and/or weight, they are most often about so much more than that.  The behaviors end up being a way that a person uses food in an attempt to compensate for other feelings that might be overwhelming, or to feel "in control" of their life.  Ultimately, however, the behaviors will damage a person's physical and emotional health, self esteem, and sense of competence. So, what are the different factors that contribute to an eating disorder? Psychological Factors

  • Low Self Esteem
  • Feelings of inadequacy or lack of control in life
  • Depression, anxiety, anger or loneliness

Interpersonal Factors

  • Troubled personal relationships
  • Difficulty expressing emotions and feelings
  • History of being teased or ridiculed based on size or weight
  • History of physical or sexual abuse

Social Factors

  • Cultural pressures that glorify "thinness" and place value on obtaining the "perfect body"
  • Narrow definitions of beauty that include only women and men of specific body weights and shapes
  • Cultural norms that value people on the basis of physical appearance and not inner qualities and strengths

Biological Factors

  • Scientists are still researching possible biochemical or biological causes of eating disorders.  In some individuals with eating disorders, certain chemicals in the brain that control hunger, appetite and digestion have been found to be unbalanced.  The exact meaning and implications of these imbalances remains under investigation.
  • Eating disorders often run in families.  Current research indicates that there are significant genetic contributions to eating disorders.

Eating disorders are complex conditions that can arise from a variety of potential causes.  Once started, however, they can create a self-perpetuating cycle of physcial and emotional destruction that requires professional help.

Just because someone doesn't meet the criteria for an eating disorder doesn't mean that their relationship with food is healthy.  Since this week's blog ultimately focuses on a person's relationship with food, here are some questions from Lysa Terkeurst's book "Made To Crave" that you can ask yourself as you reflect back on your eating over the past week:  Did I overeat this week on any day?  Did I move more and exercise regularly?  Do I feel lighter than I did this time last week?  Did I eat in secret or out of anger or frustration?  Did I feel that, at any time, I ran to food instead of a Higher Power? While these questions aren't meant to indicate an eating disorder, they can give you direction on the different areas to work on and having a healthier relationship with food overall.

Thank you for reading!

Materials adapted from the National Eating Disorders Association at  www.NationalEatingDisorders.org

and the book  "Made to Crave" by Lysa Terkeurst

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.

How Eating Disorders Affect Males

When most people think about eating disorders, they tend to think about how they affect girls and women.  However, it is estimated that 10% of all reported eating disorders affect the male population.  I believe that those numbers are low since males tend to report less and do not ask for the help they deserve.  Like females, men can be seduced by the media’s portrayal of the perfect body image.   Where women tend to want to shrink their body size, men tend to want to build up.  What does a “real man” look like?  My 7 year old son was looking at a “health advertisement” on TV recently and asked me after viewing a “ripped core muscle” photo, how the man in the commercial “got all those bumps on his stomach”.  Even a second grader can tell that muscle building is not natural!  But there may come a time where he will believe that he is supposed to look like that, no matter what it takes. Binge Eating Disorders in Males:  Binge eating disorder (compulsive overeating, emotional eating) is a severe, life threatening disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of compulsive overeating or binge eating.  In binge eating disorder, the purging to prevent weight gain that is characteristic of bulimia nervosa is not present.

Men who have Binge Eating Disorder may have:

  • Recurrent episodes of binge eating
  • A sense of lack of control over eating during binge episodes
  • Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
  • Hording food
  • Eating in secret and or hiding food
  • Feelings of disgust, guilt, or depression during and after overeating
  • Use binging to relieve feelings of anxiety, depression, or tension

Men who have a Binge Eating Disorder may have difficulty talking about their feelings, and avoids conflicts.  They may have feelings of worthlessness, depression, moodiness and irritability.  They may have problems with heart and blood pressure, sugar levels, joint problems or low energy.

Bulimia Nervosa in Males:  Bulimia nervosa is a severe, life threatening eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by self -induced vomiting or other purging methods (e.g., laxatives, diuretics, excessive exercise, fasting) to prevent weight gain.  A male who is struggling with Bulimia is afraid of gaining weight and exhibits persistent dissatisfaction with is body and appearance, as well as a significant distortion n the perception of the size or shape of his body.  Males who need to “make weight” for sports can succumb to bulimia.

Men who have Bulimia Nervosa may have:

  • Recurrent episodes of binge eating
  • Recurrent purging or compensatory behavior to prevent weight gain: secretive self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, excessive exercise, body building, weight lifting, or running.
  • A preoccupation with weighing himself
  • A preoccupation with how his body relates to his athletic interest
  • Disgust with body shape or size
  • An intense fear of becoming “fat” or gaining too much weight
  • Difficulty expressing feelings
  • Feelings of worthlessness- using weight and appearance as a measure of worth
  • All or nothing thinking

Men who suffer from bulimia will go through weight fluctuations, loss of dental enamel due to vomiting, edema (fluid retention), constipation, swollen salivary glands, esophageal tears, gastric ruptures, and cardiac arrhythmia.

Anorexia Nervosa in Males:  Anorexia is a severe, life threatening disorder in which he individual refuses to maintain a minimally normal body weight, is intensely afraid of gaining weight, and exhibits a significant distortion in the perception of the shape or size of his body as well as dissatisfaction.

Men who suffer from Anorexia may have:

  • An excessive restricted diet
  • Food rituals
  • Preoccupation with body building, weight lifting, or muscle toning
  • Compulsive exercise
  • Difficulty eating with others or lying about eating
  • Preoccupation with food and weighing self
  • Body distortion and disgust with self-image

Men who struggle with anorexia have an intense fear of gaining weight.  They may suffer from depression, rigid thinking, social isolation, decreased interest or fears of sex, perfectionistic thinking, irritability, denial.  He believes others are overreacting to his low weight or caloric restrictions.  He may have low body weight, lack of energy, decreased balance, low body temperature, thinning hair, lanugo (downy growth of body hair) and low testosterone levels.

Eating disorders for males and females are complicated conditions that can arise from a variety of potential causes.  Once started, however, they can create a self-perpetuating cycle of physical and emotional distress.  All eating disorders require professional help.  Please continue to check back with the blog to read about what to do if you suspect or have an eating disorder.

*Adapted from National Eating Disorder Association materials

Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT

Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT  is a licensed therapist and Registered Play Therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapyfamily counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield

Fall Book Recommendations- Teri

Imagine Hope loves a good book! This week each of us are sharing some favorites with the hopes that they will help you on your journey. Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food by Lysa TerKeurst

Last week we covered the topic of emotional eating, so I found it fitting to recommend my favorite book on this topic!

I love this book! As a therapist who has a passion for food addiction, I knew I needed to check it out.

Humans are hungry for a lot…hungry for attention, love, acceptance, not to mention food. It is our human nature to crave. This faith based book reminds us that we are made to not only crave food and earthly desires, but also most importantly more of God.

Lysa helps us see that sometimes we misplace our cravings for emotional needs and God with food. When our emotional cravings aren’t met, some people will turn to destructive things to cope instead of the spiritual connection and personal relationship with God.

This isn’t a “hot new diet fad”. It is a book to give clarity to the importance of relying on God as you battle food and body image issues. It helps you learn about what the Bible says about food, and ways to stop beating up on yourself for what the numbers are on the scale.

The focus on a healthy physical body along with a growing relationship with God will refocus your energies on being loved by God and treating your body as the special creation He made you to be. There's also a Bible study workbook to go along with it.

Check out more great recommendations tomorrow!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.  Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

Spring Book Recommendations- Alexa

Carry On Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton I do not follow many blogs, but there are some I follow regularly: Brene Brown’s Ordinarycourage.com; Jenny Lawson’s thebloggess.com; Andrea Owen’s Yourkickasslife.com and finally Glennon Melton’s Momastery.com.  All of them have published wonderful useful entertaining books in the last year, so I was so excited two weeks ago when my copy of Carry On Warrior by Glennon Melton arrived in the magical brown Amazon box at my door!  I immediately told my husband and sons to go do something manly because I was headed to the bathtub to read and did not want to be disturbed.

If you follow momastery.com, you are familiar with Glennon’s story.   She is a mother of of three children who writes for her own popular blog site as well as Huffington Post.  Even if you do not follow her, you have likely read some of her viral posts like “Don’t Carpe Deum” and “A Mountain I’m Willing to Die On”.  If you have not read these posts, you should.

Glennon is someone most of us can relate to.  Although she has a checkered past, she has learned from her addictions, eating disorders, recovery and redemption.  She is candidly honest about her imperfect life, maternal experiences, and close relationship with God, painful marital struggles, and tender caring heart.  Glennon believes that women should stop competing with being suspicious of, and stop hiding from our honest selves.  Her blog is a place where we stop making parenting and marriage harder by pretending that it’s not hard.  Glennon emphasizes three main thoughts through her work:  She teaches us “We can do hard things” and “We belong to each other” and “Love Wins”.

I enjoyed learning more about Glennon’s story through her book.  I especially enjoy hearing about parenting challenges since they make me feel more normal in my own parenting journey.  Her writing is familiar and funny and feels like reading a letter from a long lost friend.  The book made me laugh and cry throughout.  Others are touting this book as self-help but I do not see it that way.  I read it as more of a connection to another human’s amazing story.

If you are looking for a light beach read, and to regain some centeredness in the often competitive world of wifedom and motherhood, this is the book for you.  And if you get a chance, read her post called For Maggie Who Lost Her Lobster.  Awesome beautiful post on addiction and loss.  Enjoy!

Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT

Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT  is a licensed therapist and Registered Play Therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapyfamily counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.

Spring Book Recommendations-Christy

Reshaping it All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness by Candace Cameron Bure Candace, who most of us remember as the oldest daughter DJ on the hit TV series “Full House” is now grown up with 3 kids of her own!  In this book, she talks about her faith and how it has helped her to overcome a lot of hurdles in her life, including a struggle with food addiction that started as a teenager working in Hollywood.

Candace recalls the struggles of growing up in front of the public eye, and the criticism she received once she started to put on weight.  Now 25 pounds lighter than she was on Full House, she talks about how she lost the weight with a lifestyle change, not a diet.  Her change included portion control, exercise, prayer, and learning self-control.

At the end of each chapter are lighthearted subtitles such as “The Main Ingredient”, “A Slice of Advice”, “A Pinch of Practicality”, “Food for Thought”, “Candy Dish”, and “From My Stove to Yours”.  Each of these includes scripture, stories, advice, healthy recipes, and a lot of laughs!

If you are struggling with food addiction or losing weight, or even are just looking for an easy read that is positive and uplifting, I would recommend this book.  Continue to read this week as we share more recommendations with you!  :)

Written by: Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW

Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group.  Christy enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling.  Christy also provides family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.

Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

 

Feelings and Defenses 5

This week, Imagine Hope is discussing how defenses can be used to mask or avoid feelings, especially the feelings of anger, sadness, fear, loneliness, shame guilt.  Now that we have learned some of the defenses and what feelings they can mask, how does this impact us in our lives? Not dealing with feelings can cause a host of issues, such as depression, anxiety, issues with reactivity or rage (an extreme form of unhealthy anger), and other issues.

Today we will cover some different resources that might be helpful to you if you often find your defenses covering up your feelings:

Mind Over Mood by Dennis Greenberger and Christine Padesky

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne

Anger:  Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way by Gary Chapman

Healing the Shame That Binds You by John Bradshaw

Guilt is the Teacher, Love is the Lesson by Joan Borysenko

Loneliness:  Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John Cacioppo, PhD

We hope you find these resources helpful!  Did you see any defenses in yourself from this week's blog?

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.