Lindsay South

Back to Basics: Positive Body Image (Watch for Warning Signs of Eating Disorders)

     This month’s article was written and provided by Lindsay South, MA, LPC, RPT and the president of SMEDA and an active member of our group since the foundation of the organization.  She has been in practice since 1988 and treats children ages 5 to 12, adolescents, adults and families, working with issues like attention deficit and hyperactivity, learning disorders, weight and body image, eating disorders, divorce adjustment and trauma.

   

Watch for Warning Signs of Eating Disorders

     As summer is in full swing and bathing suits and shorts abound, many young teens become self conscious about their bodies. Both boys and girls are feeling more and more pressure to maintain a certain body type.

     The Winter 2006 issue of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) newsletter points out that, although obesity among teens has doubled in the last 30 years, so has the emphasis on eating, exercise and weight. Messages about diet and exercise can become triggers for some teens to develop an eating disorder.

     In my practice, parents often bring a reluctant child in for counseling about eating. Adults report a confusing picture of their child’s weight changes, different eating patterns and food choices.

     Why is one teen affected and not another? Why are some girls, and a growing number of boys, more likely to take an attempt to lose a few pounds and change eating patterns into a clinical eating disorder?

      Research suggests that eating disorders do have a genetic component. Numerous studies reveal that children with a family history of either bulimia or anorexia are at greater risk for developing one of these disorders themselves. Strong themes of perfectionism, competitiveness and drive, which may be harnessed successfully by siblings or parents, if turned toward dieting, can produce obsessive dieting and exercise behavior.

      Trauma or intense family conflict can certainly make children vulnerable to the development of an eating disorder. Environmental factors, including media and advertising, are a tremendous influence. Uncharacteristically thin views of women and extremely buff, bulked up men fill magazines of young readers. This constant barrage of unrealistic body images creates a lot of body dissatisfaction.

      How can you help your puberty-aged child? NEDA developed these guidelines to provide a healthy “to do” list:

  • Model fitness and balanced nutrition by striving to feel good, not achieve a certain appearance.
  • Help your children feel good about themselves no matter what they achieve.
  • Remember that dieting is not innocent behavior; it alters neurochemistry.
  • Intervene rapidly through expert consultation when dieting appears extreme and increasingly compulsive.
  • Take off blinders and be objective about any changes in behavior and eating habits.
  • Encourage self expression, verbalization of emotions, and independent thought and action whenever possible.
  • Have an open door policy of talking to your child about everything — magazine articles, family conflicts, school difficulties, relationship problems, etc.
  • Encourage eating all foods in moderation, rather than labeling particular foods “good” or “bad” or going on a restrictive diet.
  • Discourage extreme perfectionism and exactness in everyday activities.
  • Encourage a balanced lifestyle with attention to play, relaxation, work, relationships and spirituality.
  • Address family conflicts and sources of strain openly and honestly.

      If you have tried these principles at home and continue to have concerns about your child, one of the best places to go for an initial consultation is your pediatrician. Locally, the Southwest Michigan Eating Disorders Association maintains a website, http://www.southwestmichiganeatingdisorders.org/, which additional resources and a listing of nearby physicians, registered dieticians, and counselors skilled in the treatment of all types of eating concerns. Getting a jump start on eating related problems is far easier than treating a more entrenched disorder.

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)

 

Art Hop Series: Eating Disorders with Anxiety and Depression

The Art Hop exhibit countdown:  1 days left

Art Hop                                                                                                                                 February 3, 2017 5pm to 8pm                                                                                                             300 Portage Street (WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine)

Lindsay P. South, MA/LPC, an active SMEDA Board Member and a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, has written this brief explanation about one way to manage anxiety and depression that may accompany an eating disorder.  Her piece will be displayed at the exhibit along with food play examples.  http://www.southwestmichiganeatingdisorders.org/directory/

 

Eating Disorders and Anxiety

Many individuals struggle with comorbidity:  co-occurring diagnoses.  Although malnutrition certainly makes anxiety and depression worse, sometimes even after weight is restored, it becomes clear that an anxious wiring system was present long before the eating disorder developed.  Restricting food, overeating, or purging just becomes another way of managing underlying anxiety.

Anxious children can learn to manage their anxiety.  In her workbook, “What to do When You Worry Too Much,” Dr. Huebner helps kids externalize their anxiety with the creation of a worry monster.  Making these creatures and learning to talk back to them is a cognitive behavioral method of helping kids be in charge of their anxious thinking.

ART HOP Series: Food Play

The Art Hop exhibit countdown:  2 days left

Art Hop                                                                                                                                 February 3, 2017 5pm to 8pm                                                                                                             300 Portage Street (WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine)

The exhibit is designed to not only share pieces that promote an emotional response and bring insight into what it is like to live with and recover from an eating disorder, but also to provide a greater understanding on treatment and how health care providers and parents play a role in the recovery process.  As part of that educational component...

 

Lindsay P. South, MA/LPC, an active SMEDA Board Member and a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, has written this explanation about how food play can be used to help children with an eating disorder.  Her piece will be displayed at the exhibit along with food play examples.  http://www.southwestmichiganeatingdisorders.org/directory/

FOOD PLAY

      Children struggling with eating disorders are often terrified of eating.  Certain foods are especially scary.  An essential part of recovery involves reclaiming all those foods which were lost and rigidly categorized as “unhealthy,”  “bad,” or “off limits.”  A nutritionist plays a key role in food restoration.  Parents and children work together to reintegrate all these eliminated foods.  This is a painful and lengthy process!

      As a therapist, I have found a playful way to handle these aversive foods:  we make and shape miniaturized play food out of brightly colored Sculpey.  The child gets to choose what challenging food to make.  Creating ice cream cones, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cookies, pizza and root beer floats helps kids make friends with foods they once enjoyed.

 

Art Hop Series: What About Males?

The Art Hop exhibit countdown:  3 days left

Art Hop                                                                                                                                 February 3, 2017 5pm to 8pm                                                                                                             300 Portage Street (WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine)

 

Lindsay P. South, MA/LPC, an active SMEDA Board Member and a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, has written this reminder on males with eating disorders.  Her piece will be displayed on our information table at the exhibit.  http://www.southwestmichiganeatingdisorders.org/directory/

 

What about Males?

     This question is always asked at any gathering.   Although the ratio of men to women diagnosed with an eating disorder in the US is 1:2, many hypothesize that males may be underdiagnosed.    ED assessments using more female geared language, research focused on girls and women, as well as general difficulties males face for seeking psychological help, are some of the barriers boys and men face in being identified and treated (http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/research-males-and-eating-disorders).  It is not surprising that consciousness among healthcare professionals may follow suit.

     Interestingly, Mond (2014) found that  men possesses almost as many subclinical behaviors of disordered eating as women; episodes of binge eating, purging, laxative abuse and fasting for weight loss that did not meet criteria for a full blown eating disorder were just about as common among males and females.

     Men also face different pressures in terms of body image and advertising.  Whereas women’s magazines stress dieting for weight loss, men’s health and fitness magazines promote products, articles and incentives to mold body shape and enhance athletic performance.  Sometimes it is difficult to discern a fact-based article from an advertisement.  Products related to building muscles are paired with pictures of six (eight!) pack abs, a lean and mean physique, sculpted biceps, and an overall “ripped” appearance abound.  These increasingly “buff” men are coupled with a fast car, alcohol, and a sexy woman for an ever popular recipe for male success.