|Counseling and Psychiatric Services for Adolescents and Young Adults
Posts Tagged ‘Eating’
Thursday, June 13th, 2013
This summer, buy healthy snack food options for your teen’s go to snack rather than stocking the shelves with unhealthy choices. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
With so much attention on preventing both eating disorders and obesity in our teens, summer vacation means more than just a break from school. For many parents, it also means there are teens home alone all day with no one minding the kitchen. This summer, help your teen eat healthy even when they are home alone with these 7 secrets to healthy summer snacking.
1. Plan Ahead
One of the most common reasons that our homes end up packed with unhealthy snacks or with no snacks at all is because we don’t plan for snacks like we do for meals. Help your teen eat healthier this summer by incorporating snack planning into your normal grocery shopping routine. This way you can choose snacks conscientiously rather than winding up with bags of chips and boxes of cookies.
2. Stock Up
Most teenagers won’t go out of their way to procure unhealthy snacks if there are healthy snacks that they like easily available. This means keeping the kitchen full of the kind of healthy snacks your teen likes to eat.
3. Check the Labels
Checking the labels is good advice for all your food, but when it comes to buying healthy snacks, it is even more important because sometimes the snacks sold as healthy are not. Check the labels for high sugar content, lots of fat and additional ingredients. For example, if you are buying dried fruit, make sure that the contents are made from fruit with nothing else added.
4. Pick Things They Like
The truth is, if they don’t like it, they won’t eat it. While your idea of a healthy snack might be a fat free yogurt or an apple, you are only wasting your money if those aren’t things they will actually eat. Consult your teenager and work together to come up with a list of healthy summer snacks that they will love.
5. Prep for Portion Control
One of the challenges of healthy summer snacking is that eating too much of anything can be a bad thing, even if it is a healthy snack. Help teens keep track of and control over their portions by pre-portioning their favorite snacks. Rather than putting a big bowl of grapes in the fridge, split the grapes up in sandwich bag size portions. This also works for things that teens like but may not be willing to do themselves like peeling oranges or popping air-popped popcorn.
6. Availability is Key
If you don’t want your teen indulging in unhealthy snacks, don’t stock up on them. By stocking the shelves with things that they like that are healthy to eat, you are setting your teen up for success. But if you buy three bags of cookies, you can’t expect them to choose the healthy snack over the cookies every time. If you would like the special treat of cookies in the house, buy only one package and stress moderation. Encourage your teen to consume one or two cookies a day, over the span of a few days as a special treat rather than several cookies as snacks repeatedly throughout the day. Bottom line – if you don’t want them to eat it, don’t have it in the house. If you do want it in the house, only have a moderate amount so you aren’t encouraging unhealthy options as a primary choice.
7. Skip the Sweet Drinks
Soft drinks, juice, energy drinks, all of these are ways that teens can add an enormous number of calories to their summer days. Encourage them to drink water, low fat milk, and other low calorie non-soft drink options.
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
As a parent, do you know the warning signs of eating disorders? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Millions of people in the U.S. are impacted by eating disorders every year. This includes those suffering from the eating disorder as well as their family members and friends. Unfortunately, many people who have these disorders do not get the help, support, and treatment they need to be healthy. Recent research indicates that as many as half a million teenagers may be suffering from an eating disorder but according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) on average only 1 in 10 people with these conditions get treatment. This means we all need to do a better job of identifying those who are in trouble, preventing disorders from developing, and treating those who are struggling; the consequences of doing any less are simply too high.
Prevention and early detection are critical to minimizing the long term damage suffered by those who are dealing with these potentially life-threatening conditions. The key to early detection is to know what to look for and what actions to take if you suspect that someone in your life is suffering from an eating disorder. To help, here are the most common immediate symptoms of the most prevalent eating disorders.
- Unusual eating habits or patterns, may skip meals and/or avoid certain foods
- Eating only small amounts
- Weighing and measuring food
- Obsessive calorie counting
- Excessive exercise
- Intense fear of gaining weight
- Bingeing or eating excessive amounts of food in a single sitting
- Inability to control their bingeing
- Self-induced vomiting
- Abuse or misuse of laxatives or diuretics
- Skipping meals
- Excessive exercise
- Intense fear of gaining weight
- Bingeing or eating excessive amounts of food in a single sitting
- Inability to control their bingeing
- Eating to discomfort and eating when not hungry
These behaviors and symptoms can indicate the presence of an eating disorder and if you are concerned that your teen may be struggling with any of these disorders, you should make an appointment to discuss your concerns with their doctor.
The longer term symptoms and consequences of these eating disorders, which are outlined below, are increasingly more serious which underlines why prevention and early detection is so critical.
- Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance
- Constipation, bloating, and diarrhea
- Dental problems including loss of enamel, gum disease, and cavities
- Throat and esophageal problems including tears and ruptures
- Dry skin
- Vomiting blood
- Irregular heart beat
- Low blood pressure
- Heart failure
Binge Eating Disorder
- Type 2 Diabetes
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Gallbladder disease
- Heart disease
- Specific kinds of cancer
Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
What messages are you sending to your teen impacting their self-image? (Photo credit: Tammy McGary)
When it comes to preventing a child or teen from developing an eating disorder, the best place to start is with their parents. According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), studies have shown that eating disorder prevention programs can help keep disordered eating from developing by shifting perspectives, changing attitudes, and discouraging disordered eating behaviors. As parents play an important role in establishing and developing healthy attitudes about food and weight, their influence can make a real difference as their child moves through adolescence.
Follow these suggested tips and strategies to make sure you are doing everything you can to try and prevent your child or teen from having to deal with an eating disorder.
- Take a long look in the mirror. Your attitude about your own weight has a direct impact on child. Your attitudes about exercise, food, and weight will shape how your child feels about these things. If you are obsessed with your weight, participate in yo-yo dieting, avoid any physical activity, talk negatively about other people’s bodies, or have a disconnected perspective of your own weight, your child may, too.
- Watch what you say. Whether you are making disparaging comments about your own weight, your child’s weight, or the weight of that celebrity on television, you are telling your own child that weight is somehow related to worth.
- Focus on what you want. Whether you are worried that your daughter wants to be too thin or that your son is overweight, the best approach is to focus on what you want for them rather than on what you don’t. This means keeping your focus on developing and maintaining behaviors that promote health rather than focusing on how much they weigh.
- Make sure you send the right message. We, as people, are less likely to feel pressured to change to meet the ideals of others if we feel like we are fine just the way we are. This is the most important message parents can give their kids to keep disordered eating from developing.
- Be a role model. Actions speak louder than words and if you want your child to live an active lifestyle filled with healthy food and healthy attitudes, you need to live in that world first and show them how.
- Don’t be a food dictator. Help your child develop healthy eating habits by supporting their exploration into their own tastes. Encourage them to stay tuned in to their body so that they can learn how to eat when they feel hungry and to not eat when they don’t. Instead of requiring clean plates, suggest smaller serving sizes. Rather than counting their calories, get them involved in meal planning and preparation and choose healthy nutritious options together.
- Be accepting. Help your child develop a strong sense of their own self-worth by showing them it is ok to be who they are, no matter what that means. Be accepting of other people and celebrate differences so that your child grows up understanding that who people are is more important than how they look.
Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
Do you know all the variables that can cause an eating disorder in your teen? (Photo credit: andrefaria)
When a teenager is diagnosed with an eating disorder one of the most common questions parents ask is what caused the disorder to develop. This is an understandable response, but the unfortunate fact is that there isn’t a simple answer to this question. Disordered eating is a complex problem and there are many factors that can contribute to its development. According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), eating disorders evolve out of a combination of behavioral, biological, emotional, psychological, interpersonal, and social factors. This means that each individual that is diagnosed has their own set of circumstances within those common factors that lead to the development of their disorder.
Many people assume that when a person struggles with disordered eating it is about the food, their weight, or even their appearance. On the surface the outward symptoms of an eating disorder might support that assumption. For example, someone who is suffering from anorexia nervosa may seem obsessed with their weight and their caloric intake. They might track every calorie they ingest, worry about getting fat, and obsess about exercising. All these seem to support the assumption that the person has an issue with their weight. However, most experts agree that many people with eating disorders use food and their control over food as a coping mechanism. The exertion of extreme control over their diet can help them feel in control when other things are out of control, overwhelming, or too emotionally charged to handle.
Although there is often no clean, simple cause to blame when an eating disorder is diagnosed, there are some common factors that are known to contribute to their development.
- Some people that suffer from eating disorders have a chemical imbalance in their brain associated with the neurological chemicals that control things like appetite and hunger.
- There appears to be a significant genetic component to disordered eating.
- More research needs to be done in this area to study how genetics and neuro-chemicals can contribute to disordered eating.
- There is evidence that stressful times, major life changes, and traumatic events can lead to the development of an eating disorder. If you consider that disordered eating is about establishing a feeling of control over one’s life, it makes sense that events that shake up a person’s world or alter it altogether could lead to the development of these conditions.
- Issues with self-confidence, self worth, and self-esteem can contribute to disordered eating.
- Feelings of hopelessness, inadequacy, anxiety, and loneliness can also lead to the development of a disorder.
- Mental health conditions like depression and anxiety might also precede or go hand in hand with the development of an eating disorder.
- Problems interacting with other people and trouble with personal relationships can be a contributing factor along with struggling to express emotions and difficulties dealing with feelings.
- A history of being bullied, especially if the bullying behavior centered on weight.
- A history of some form of abuse including physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.
- Cultural messages that value beauty over other attributes and that associate beauty with a specific body type.
- Stress related to prejudice, discrimination, bullying, or other forms of harassment and abuse.
Eating disorders are very serious, often life-threatening. A person struggling with an eating disorder needs professional help; they can’t win this battle on their own. If you know someone you suspect may be struggling with an eating disorder, or if you have any questions about how to know for certain, please give us a call. We would love to help. Their life could depend on it.
- This Month Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day (doorwaysarizona.com)
- What Causes Eating Disorders? (doorwaysarizona.com)
- Eating Disorders Affect Everyone in Your Family (doorwaysarizona.com)
Monday, February 25th, 2013
This week, February 24 – March 2 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. KPHO CBS 5 AZ talks with Certified Eating Disorders Specialist, Rachel Brogan from Doorways Arizona about the prevalence of eating disorders amongst today’s teens and adolescents. 62% of teen girls in Arizona are on a diet when less than 30% are overweight.
Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
Rachel Brogan MS, RD, Registered Dietitian
Doorways is now offering weight loss and nutrition services
- Weekly one-on-one with our dietician
- Personal eating plan
- Get help with eating issues
- Get the accountability, support and resources you need
Rachel is also available to speak to groups and organizations about healthy eating.
Rachel received her Masters of Science degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Nebraska in 2003. She worked at Remuda Ranch for over five years treating adult women, girls, and boys with anxiety and eating disorders. She specializes in adolescent eating disorder treatment, weight management, and family education. She is excited about leading adolescents and young adults into a more positive relationship between their bodies and food.
For more information call Doorways at 602-997-2880.
Thursday, January 31st, 2013
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, everyone is at risk for an eating disorder, regardless of their age, creed or color. Fortunately with greater understanding, increased awareness, and reduced stigma, people can have improved skills to prevent or reduce the suffering associated with this life-threatening illness. This year, National Eating Disorders Week is February 26 – March 2, 2013.
Below is a list of resources about Eating Disorders. You can use them for yourself or download and pass them on to others who are struggling with an eating disorder or would like more information.
ANAD Eating Disorder Fact Sheet
ANAD 8 Steps
ANAD Caring for Someone With an Eating Disorder
ANAD Reading List
Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
Half of teenage girls and a quarter of teenage boys have used dieting in an attempt to change their body. (Photo credit: justonlysteve)
There is a lot of pressure on today’s teens to go on a diet. Some feel this pressure because they are overweight or struggling to maintain a healthy weight. Others are at a healthy weight but feel pressure to be thinner or to look a certain way. These pressures encourage teens to “go on a diet” and to try the latest “thing” for losing weight. According to the National Institute of Health, half of teenage girls and a quarter of teenage boys have used dieting in an attempt to change their body. Teens of all sizes believe that dieting will help them get the body they believe will make them beautiful, popular, and happy.
Unfortunately, this is simply untrue. In fact, research has shown that teens who diet have lower self esteem, feel less connected to their families and friends, and don’t feel like they have control of their lives. In some cases, dieting, especially when it is done over and over, can actually lead to weight gain and weight problems later in life. No matter how popular a diet is or what kind of claims are made about how successful it is, the simple fact is that dieting doesn’t work almost all the time.
Here is the thing. Dieting, as we think of it in our culture, is something temporary. It may mean eating healthier foods, restricting calories, following strict rules, skipping certain meals, or only eating or not eating specific foods, but it is always a temporary change. This is the most important reason that dieting doesn’t work. Even if the changes being made lead to a healthier diet, the temporary nature of dieting means that once you achieve your goal, you will go back to your regular, potentially less healthy, eating habits. For many people, a return to their regular eating habits often means a return to their previous weight. This is how the rollercoaster of dieting begins.
The temporary nature of dieting is the foundation of this rollercoaster. Cutting calories drastically, skipping anything with carbs, and other dieting tactics can have unexpected effects. Dieting can decrease a person’s metabolism which can actually lead to gaining more weight than they lost once they stop following the diet. Restricting calories, cutting out certain types of foods, and being hungry can also make people moodier and make it harder to concentrate. In fact dieting, in the long-run, can actually result in an increase in overall body weight. This can mean lifelong issues with weight – even for those teens that were not overweight to start with!
So, what is the answer? Stop dieting. Maintaining a healthy weight should be a lifelong goal which means you need a long term solution. Rather than turning to dieting, try these healthy eating tips instead.
- Eat small meals such as 1/2 sandwich, some fruit, or some vegetables 4 or 5 times a day.
- Drink enough water. Teens need 64-80 ounces of water each day. Staying hydrated helps stabilize appetite and eliminate cravings.
- Eat a variety of foods and participate in fun physical activity on a regular basis.
- When eating out, assess how much you may want to eat ahead of time and then stop when you are full.
- If you find that you are eating when you are emotional, choose something besides food to help you cope.
If you have any questions about how your adolescent or teen can maintain a healthy body weight, a certified nutritionist at Doorways can help. Please give us a call and we would love to talk more with you.
Monday, August 27th, 2012
Two New Intensive Outpatient Programs Coming This Fall!
Young Adult Trauma IOP is for ages 17-25. It is 3 days per week, a total of 10 hours per week.
The Adolescent Eating Disorders IOP is for ages 14-18. It is 3 days per week, a total of 13 hours per week.
Monday, June 18th, 2012
Eating disorders affect the entire family (image via kippster on Flickr)
One of the best things about being part of a family is having other people to stand by you and support you so that you don’t feel like you are facing the trials and tribulations of the world on your own. When there is trouble, the family circles the wagons, pools the resources, devises a plan, and focuses all their energy, attention, and resources on getting through whatever situation they are facing. For the short term, they are stronger individually than as a group because they can band together. But this dynamic can create serious problems if a family gets stuck there for the long term, especially if the challenge they are facing means all the attention and all the energy are focused on a single family member. This is how an eating disorder in one child can impact the lives, behavior, and future of any other children in the family.
In the Beginning
As with any family crisis, most family members have no problem pitching in, taking a back seat, and fending for themselves in the days and weeks immediately following the start of the crisis. For families that are dealing with eating disorders, this event may be diagnosis, hospitalization, or any point in time when the focus of the family shifts to the child with the disorder. Siblings understand that their brother or sister is ill and needs help and generally step up to help out however they can. In most cases, siblings of someone who is struggling with an eating disorder will do all this willingly and without complaint, in the beginning.
When Weeks Become Months and Months Become Years
The real danger to siblings of teens with eating disorders is that unlike many other family crises, there isn’t usually a quick resolution. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), it can take years to recover from an eating disorder. To siblings, this means that the sacrifices they so willingly made in the beginning may be required for a significant chunk of their childhood or teenage years.
Let’s pretend there is a family with 3 children, Sarah who is 16, John who is 10, and Max who is 7. Sarah is diagnosed with anorexia and the family rallies around her to provide love and support during her treatment and recovery. Over the coming months, as Sarah struggles to overcome her disease, John and Max will be struggling too. They accept getting less attention from their parents because they know Sarah needs them more right now. They give up activities, sports, and clubs to help ease financial strains and because there is no one around to take them. They learn to take care of things around the house like dishes and laundry and meals so that they have what they need even when no one is around to provide those things for them. They may begin to act out or rebel as a way to get their parent’s attention. They may become resentful of their sister and lose the ability to be sympathetic toward her. They may pull so far away from the family unit in an effort to protect themselves, that when Sarah is better and the family shifts its focus back to the center, they may find it irreparably broken.
How to Help
The most important thing to understand is that eating disorders don’t just impact the person with the diagnosis and in most families, everyone is going to need assistance, attention, and support to get through the process. Approach the problem as a family and rally the troops but realize that the battle you are fighting is more like a siege than a head to head fight and plan accordingly.