Cathy Cook

Helpful Suggestions: Going Back to School for Middle and High School Students

This article was written by Cathy Cook, LLPC, TLLP, RD Nutritional Therapist at Life Coach Psychology and an active member of SMEDA.

Going Back to School for Middle and High School Students

     The start of middle and high school brings excitement to see old friends, meet new friends, and the possibility to learn new material and succeed. The new school year can also bring anxiety ridden thoughts of “will I fit in?”, “can I succeed in school?” and “where will I sit for lunch and with who?” Going back to school can be an exciting, hopeful time but can also be a dreadful, anxious time, especially with an eating disorder.

      Before getting into tips with the transition, it’s important to understand an aspect of adolescence. All adolescents experience to some degree aspects of egocentrism which was first discussed by psychologist David Elkind. He described two related beliefs of natural self-centered behavior, which can be seen in the late tween and teen years:   the “imaginary audience” which includes a belief that peers are watching and critiquing their every move, and the “personal fable,” a belief that they are somehow special, unique and invincible. Why am I bringing this into a discussion of eating disorders in middle and high school? Because this is the target age of those thoughts and behaviors that can exacerbate eating disorder behaviors, and keeping them in mind may provide an opportunity for discussion and understanding.  

      Knowing your child, and considering normal adolescence, here are some thoughts to help ease the transition:

1)    Start the new school routine a few days or week ahead including sleep patterns and meal times.  

2)    Discuss expectations of meals including morning breakfast, snacks and lunch, monitoring to ensure a balanced meal is prepared including a protein source, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables.

3)    Talk about possible triggers exploring the obvious and unseen, considering friends and fitting in, bullying, boyfriends and girlfriends, drive to succeed and possibilities of failure.

4)    Consider after-school activities which your child would enjoy, as this is a time when kids who are home before their parents may binge or engage in eating disorder behaviors.

5)    If there is an active eating disorder, consider meeting with the school counselor or nurse to discuss monitoring mealtime intake, snacks and activity level during the day. It may be necessary to arrange meals to be eaten with the counselor, however be aware that friends may question this and want to be included.

6)    With an active eating disorder or recovery, be firm with ground rules and willing to implement if needed. If a meal is skipped or weight is not being maintained, have an alternate plan in place such as eating with your child at school or being sidelined from sports. Being clear and communicating ground rules is a must.

     Good communication, a plan, and knowing where to go for help if needed can help ease the transition back to school. Remember, being confident about your child’s recovery can increase both their confidence in their own recovery and in school.

 

Sources:
Lock, J., & Le Grange, D. (2015). Help your teenager beat an eating disorder (2nd ed.). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

What is Adolescent Egocentrism. (2017). https://www.verywell.com/
     definition-of-adolescent-egocentrism-3287985

May 2016 - May 2017 SMEDA Projects and Activities Completed

May 2016-May 2017 SMEDA Projects and Activities Completed

Compiled by

Lindsay P. South, MA/LPC, RPT-S
President, SMEDA

Ø  Development and Design of SMEDA logo

 

Ø  Website Redesign and Launching (Angela Morris and Peter Butts)

o   Blog Posts on topics such as Holiday Eating, Yoga and Eating Disorders

o   PayPal attached

 

Ø  Monthly publication of SMEDA Newsletter (now posted on-line as a blog), coordinated by Laura Smidchens.   Articles on topics such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Eating Disorders” and “Men and Eating Disorders” (both by Gary Snapper, LLP/LPC).

 

Ø  SMEDA Facebook Page posts with links to current research on eating disorders (Laura Smidchens & Vinay Reddy, MD)

 

Ø  Parent Support Group Reconceived into face to face parent meetings, online and telephone support and Parent Mentorship program (Angie Morris, Community Board Member and parent)

 

Ø  Free Monthly Support Group meeting for adults struggling with ED (Trina Weber, RD).  Approximately 7 adults attend regularly.

 

Ø  Dewpoint, support groups for adolescent girls and women with eating disorders at Well of Grace Ministries, Stevensville, MI (Flori Mejeur, SMEDA Lakeshore)

 

Ø  Outreach to local K-12 schools:  classroom presentations on Intuitive Eating, Eating Disorders Prevention, and What to Do if you Suspect Someone Might Have an ED (Moorsbridge Elementary, West Middle School and Portage Northern High School) (Trina Weber, RD)

 

Ø  October 2016 Co-sponsorship of and participation in St. Joseph Mercy annual eating disorders conference

o   Discounted rates for SMEDA members to attend @ $25 a person.

o   Info on SMEDA presented at table

o   (Trina Weber, RD, Deb Frisk, RD, Kris Gibson, MD, Lindsay South, MA, Sheryl Lowzowski-Sullivan, PhD, Cathy Cook, LLPC) SMEDA Professionals and 1 community board member (Angie Morris) attended.

 

Ø  Art Hop- Friday, February 2, 2017 at WMU’s Homer Stryker School of Medicine (Laura Smidchens)

 

Ø  Coffee Tasting Fundraiser-Saturday, February 11, 2017 ( 5 Coffee Roasters and at least 8 Companies involved)(Angie Morris, parent)  Profit:  $2,407.77

 

Ø  Public Speaking and Outreach:

 

1)      Brief presentation at Rambling Road Pediatrics clinical staff meeting -August 2016, (Lindsay South, LPC) this led to cultivation of new relationships with Dr. Dodich and Dr. Dobson, two female pediatricians at Rambling Road Peds.

2)      Panel Presentation to Dietetics Association in Battle Creek-September 27, 2016 (  Jillane Mofitt-Bernacki, LMSW, Danielle Seabold, parent/community board member)

3)      Presentation at Grace Health, Battle Creek on “Food Relationships and Identification of Disordered Eating Behaviors” during the monthly behavioral health staff meeting, February 17 , 2017 (Cathy Cook, LLPC, TLLP, RD)

4)      Lunch and Learning presentation to Potawatomi Reservation, March 15, 2017. ( Jillane Mofitt-Biernacki, LLMSW, Danielle Seabold, parent SMEDA board member)

5)      Article on the problems associated with dieting, (Title?), February 2017 Good News Gazette

6)      Article on eating disorders, “When Dieting turns into a Disorder,” South Haven Tribune, February 8, 2017. (Interview with Kristin Fiore, SMEDA Community Board Member and Susan Katz-Scheinker, RD, Flori Mejeur, LMSW)

7)      Radio interview with Lori Moore during Eating Disorders Awareness Week,  February 2017(Kris Gibson, MD and Angie Morris, parent)

8)      Panel Discussion at WMU after “Food Prisons,” a play about ED (Trina Weber, RD and Kris Gibson, MD)

9)      TV interview about eating disorders, February 2017 (Kristin Fiore, Community member/Down Dog Yoga)

10)   Panel Discussion on eating disorders, Kalamazoo College.  (Kris Gibson, MD, Deb Frisk, RD and Jillane Mofitt-Biernacki, LLMSW)

11)   Meetings with local representatives in Lansing to spread awareness for eating disorders. Representative Hoadley read a resolution on the House floor to support eating disorder awareness at 11:36 a.m. , February 22, 2017 (Jillane Mofitt-Biernacki, L LMSW and dietetic students)

12)   SMEDA Lakeshore mailed out over 100 letters to medical practices, counseling offices, and school counseling centers in Berrien County to raise awareness about ED and highlight SMEDA as a resource (March 2017, Flori Mejeur, Abby Black, RD)

13)   On March 28, 2017 SMEDA Lakeshore highlighted a presentation by Dr. Stephanie Style at Lakeland Regional Center.  The presentation was live streamed and was watched by over 600 people.  SMEDA members were present and offered resources and referral information.

14)   Guest Lecture, Introduction to Eating Disorder at WMU for Amy Getman’s undergraduate dietician course. March 13, 2017 (Danielle Seabold, parent SMEDA board member)

15)   Presentation at DeVos Children’s Hospital Conference entitled, “Adolescent Eating Disorders:  Early Detection and Treatment,” an Eating Disorders Interprofessional Teaching Event for third year medical students, undergraduate nursing students, Masters level dietician students and psychology PhD candidates, April 26, 2017.  Kristine Gibson, MD, WMU Stryker School of Medicine.

16)   Panel representation in Kalamazoo College’s Abnormal Psychology class discussion on eating disorders, May 24, 2017 (Jillane Moffit-Biernacki, LLMSW)

 

 

Ø  Monthly Case Presentations on eating disorders at SMEDA general meetings (Gary Snapper, LLP/LLP, Lindsay South, LPC, Trina Weber, RD, Cathy Cook, LLPC, TLLP, RD)

 

Ø  Topical Presentations for SMEDA general meetings:  “How to Cope with Therapy Interfering Behaviors” and “Evidence Based Treatment of Binge Eating Disorder” (Gary Snapper, LLP/LPC)

 

Ø  Conference for professionals on Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse coordinated with Castlewood Treatment Center, St. Louis in planning stages for Fall 2017 (Gary Snapper, LLP/LPC)

 

Ø  Formation of SMEDA’s Instagram Group, a new commitment to reaching young people about eating disorders.  First meeting:  Saturday, May 20.  Sawalls Health Food, second floor restaurant. (Angie Morris and Emily Marre)