Is food always on your mind?

 

 

5 Signs You May Be Eating When You Don’t Need To

  1. You sneak food.
  2. You eat every time you come home regardless of your hunger level.
  3. You eat in bed.
  4. You always eat when you are sad or angry.
  5. You eat food just because it is there.
If you answer yes to any of the questions above, read the article below. 

ENDING THE INTERNAL FOOD FIGHT

By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDS

You’ve finished eating dinner. You’re satisfied and feel good. But coming from the other room is a voice. It whispers, “Eat me. You’re tired, and I will make you feel better. You gorged last night. . . and every night the week before—why not tonight?” So you get off the couch and sink, bite by blissful bite, to the bottom of a pint of your favorite ice cream.

Moments later, your feeling of bliss is gone. Guilt, remorse, shame and loss set in. You just ate an entire pint of ice cream when you weren’t even hungry. You feel that food is controlling you and that you just can’t win.

Well, you can win. Food needs to be balanced with your physical needs and sometimes your emotional needs. You can break the cycle of behavioral eating by giving yourself time and working in phases. This article outlines six phases to end the internal food fight and gain a neutral relationship with eating. Each step focuses on a small behavioral change designed to prevent the feeling of deprivation. The continuation and accumulation of the new habits can lead to big health and lifestyle changes for your future. Give yourself a week or two to move through each phase.

This article addresses night eating of previously restricted foods and builds off the ice cream example above, but these phases can be applied to many other eating habits. Other non-hunger reasons for eating include eating to comfort yourself, eating something after a meal because you grew up eating dessert, and eating socially because your friends are eating. Using the steps below as a guide can help you break these too. Before you begin, however, you have to first identify and accept your counterproductive habit. Only then can you begin the journey toward freedom from your internal struggle.

Phase 1 (Weeks 1 & 2): Once you’ve identified your behavior, embrace your habit or forbidden food. Give yourself permission to eat ice cream past your point of fullness. Allowing yourself the food or behavior removes the guilt and releases you from the internal struggle. Enjoy the food/habit, recognizing how your body feels as you are indulging. In our example here, remember how good that first bite of ice cream tastes (it’s often what your body remembers most, because as you continue to eat, your senses are dulled).

Phase 2 (Weeks 2 & 3): It’s time for another small change. Start by reducing your portion to three quarters of its original size. While you’re modifying your behavior in a healthy way, you’ll still be allowing yourself to enjoy the food. You aren’t depriving yourself, and you’re beginning to be mindful of your physical needs.

Phase 3 (Weeks 4 & 5): Decrease your portion to half the original size over the next two weeks. While slowly reducing the portion, you shouldn’t feel restricted or deprived. Savor your food; notice the color, the texture, the taste, and how it makes you feel during and after eating it.

Phase 4 (Weeks 5 & 6): You have experienced your food fully and have probably realized that a smaller portion satisfies you. Now change the food you are eating. Using our example, try a creamy sorbet. If nuts are your night food of choice, try switching to another salty finger food, like popcorn.

Think about why you are eating. Do you want to keep this habit? While you’re continuing to eat at night, you’re now doing so with a neutral food (one that was not formerly restricted), which is less numbing. Your relationship with food should feel more balanced.

Phase 5 (Weeks 6 & 7): Get ready to reintroduce your original food. Alternate eating the halved portion of regular ice cream with one of sorbet. When you crave the ice cream, eat it. And when you want the sorbet, dig right in. Try to alternate your snack every other night and eat your food at the kitchen table with no other stimuli (watching TV, talking on the phone). This creates an environment that allows you to be mindful, and intuitive. Hopefully you feel freer and are better able to enjoy both foods.

Phase 6 (Weeks 7 & 8): Incorporate your night foods in moderation. Enjoy the food while paying close attention to your body’s needs. Remember that your night eating should be stimulus-free and at the kitchen table. Alternate your foods, follow your cravings and, most important, if you aren’t hungry, find something else to do.

Follow this proactive plan, and after 12 weeks of gradual changes, you will be eating less and feeling more empowered and less controlled by food. Don’t be tempted to race through phases. There’s no reward for finishing first, so remember to take your time. Doing so will help make your new habit a permanent one, and you’ll be more in tune with your body’s needs.

Moving forward, you can repeat the phases if you feel the need to further reduce your portions or if your old habit recurs. Finally, remember that you can always receive additional support from trusted friends, family, self-help books or a registered dietitian.

Phases 1 through 6, in Brief

Phase 1: Allow yourself your chosen food or behavior for the first one to two weeks.

Phase 2: Reduce your portion size to ¾ its original size.

Phase 3: Decrease your portion further to ½ its original size.

Phase 4: Choose a different food. Change the food you are eating.

Phase 5: Alternate eating the halved portion of original food with its healthier counterpart. Remember to eat in a stimulus-free environment at the kitchen table.

Phase 6: Incorporate all foods, in moderation. Choose ice cream one night, sorbet one night and perhaps nothing another night (if you are not hungry), maintaining your new healthy habit.

 

The above is not intended for those suffering from eating disorders.

 

 


Wait!!! You’re a male with an eating disorder?

By Dr. Tony Wendorf, Guest Blogger

In a culture that values image so much, women may feel a lot of pressure to look a certain way.  Over the last few decades the movement toward valuing “being thin” has progressed at an alarming rate. Eating disorders have also followed suit and increased over the last 10-20 years.

Perhaps society is to blame, or it may just be that we have gotten better at understanding and recognizing what an eating disorder looks like. For years we have placed so much clinical attention on females with eating disorders that we completely ignored similar symptoms in males when, in fact, The Academy of Eating Disorders recently released statistics demonstrating a 10:1 female to male ratio. This gap is only continuing to get closer and closer the more we learn about males with eating disorders.

Typically, men have a later age of onset (21 years old) versus women (18 years old). Men typically do not seek treatment as quickly as females (nearly four years later). When men do seek treatment, their hospital stays are typically almost three full weeks shorter than females. Not surprisingly, we also see that males tend to die sooner after hospitalization than females.

Men diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa—Restricting Type are the most likely to die following treatment. It’s possible that this alarming notion is due to the fact that men are admitted and discharged based on a lower Body Mass Index (BMI), which contributes to quicker fatality. The older the male is for admission, the more likely they are to die sooner than someone who is admitted at a younger age.  And yet another contributing factor is poor social support, which naturally results in the likelihood of death.

Many of the clinical symptoms of an eating disorder are similar, if not identical between males and females.  However, there are a few significant differences. For one, many males with eating disorders have struggled with a history of being premorbidly overweight.  This is not the case with females. Additionally, males do not tend to attempt suicide nearly as frequently as females with eating disorders. Anecdotally speaking, many males with eating disorders are having or have actively dealt with struggles with their sexuality. This may also contribute to body image dissatisfaction and distortion. Lastly, a great number of men with eating disorders struggle with Binge Eating Disorder, which is not currently listed in the DSM-IV-TR, but clearly has a distinct clinical pattern that requires immediate attention—immediate attention that is often not received.

The message is clear. Eating disorders do not discriminate between males and females.  As a professional in the field, there is a greater push to treat men with eating disorders and far more training available to better address this population. If you believe that yourself or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, it is highly encouraged that you seek immediate evaluation. I highly recommend the following facilities:

Rogers Memorial Hospital: www.rogershospital.org
800-767-4411

Rosewood Ranch, Center for Eating Disorders: www.rosewoodranch.com
800-845-2211

My contact information:
Dr Tony Wendorf
Licensed Clinical Psychologist #2977-57
Specializing in Recovery for Eating Disorder Individuals
tonywendorf@gmail.com

 

 Author

Dr. Tony Wendorf is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders and is a professor in the Masters of Counseling program at Mount Mary College in Milwaukee, WI for courses in Multicultural psychotherapy, Psychopathology, and Eating Disorders. Dr Wendorf is a psychologist at The REDI Clinic. Prior to joining the REDI Clinic, Dr. Wendorf completed his Doctoral Residency at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-All Saints in Racine. During this time he was part of the consultation-liaison team in the medical hospital, established an eating disorder therapy group, saw eating disorder patients for individual therapy and conducted psychological and neuropsychological evaluations.Dr. Wendorf gained specialty training in treating males with eating disorders during his time at Rogers Memorial Hospital as the primary therapist for the male program in the residential Eating Disorder Center. Additionally, he has specialized training in Maudsley Family Therapy (FBT).

Dr. Wendorf received his Bachelors Degree in Psychology from UW-Milwaukee, his Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology and his Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology from Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology. He is a member of multiple professional organizations including the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (iaedp), the American Psychological Association (APA), National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) and the Wisconsin Psychological Association (WPA).


Leaving Perfectionism Out of Your Diet

By Katherine Kaczor, Nutrition Assistant and Intern

We all want to eat right, but no one can (or should) have a perfect diet. This perfectionist mentality limits our enjoyment of food and ultimately out of life. Perfectionism does not belong at the table. Follow these tips to have a healthier relationship with food.

  1. Make foods morally neutral– Labeling foods “good” or “bad” gives them way more power than they deserve. Foods are meant to provide energy, nutrients, and enjoyment. Each food has its unique set of nutrients that can find its place in a healthy diet. Following a diet that restricts certain foods takes away from this enjoyment and can ultimately lead to feelings of deprivation and ultimately overindulgence.
  2. Live in the present– Don’t put your life on hold while you attempt to meet your dietary goals. Start living today! The positive experiences you go through will help motivate you to make healthier choices.
  3. Take a mindful approach- Take the time to truly savor your food. Experience all the flavors, textures, and aromas of the food. Listen to your body’s hunger signals and honor them. Try not to eat on the run or while distracted by television or reading material. This can inhibit your ability to enjoy the meal and reach a point of satiation and consequently, lead to over or under eating. Eating in a mindful manner will allow you to consume the appropriate number of calories and obtain the proper nutrients you need.
  4. Don’t listen to critics– These days it seems like everyone wants to be the food police. Do not allow people in your life or the promotion of fad diets steer you away from a wholesome lifestyle. Just because Dr. Oz or your mother-in-law scrutinizes you for eating a bagel, do not allow them to upset you or perpetuate you into restriction or overeating. Everyone has his or her own nutrition needs. Talk to your RD about your individualized needs and stand up for yourself when critics arise.
  5. Make SMART goals- Trying to change all of your eating and exercise habits at once is unrealistic and unsustainable. Accomplishing small goals over a period of time leads to greater success and helps ensure the changes become permanent. To make your goals smart, make sure they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and provide a time frame for yourself.  An example of a SMART goal would be: I will eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily for at least 4 days per week by the start of next month. Work with your RD to help find the SMARTest goals for you.

Are you trying to lose weight?

If you are trying to lose weight by restricting during the day, be aware that this causes binging. This is a constant theme that unveils itself regularly in nutrition sessions with my clients. Instead of sabotaging your efforts, work slowly and in phases. Go from A to B to C. Do not attempt to go from A to Z. Work on health promotion and adding filling food. Avoid a negative mindset and daily weigh – ins. Be mindful, patient and accepting.

Are your food issues causing your child to have an eating disorder?

Read my nutrition article on feeding your children at citibabes blog:

1. If you struggle with your own food issues and fear they may alter your child’s relationship with food.
2. Need guidance feeding your children a balanced intake.
3. Are confused if a donut is okay to offer your child.
4. If you are a parent, caregiver, teacher, politician or want to make a difference in our youth.