The "Benefit" of an Eating Disorder

Jenny was going to a family reunion last month. She tearfully described how her grandmother has Alzheimer’s, her aunt has breast cancer, and her uncle just died. She revealed in her therapy session, "I was afraid to feel my sadness. And I realized this sadness would be made worse by the deep grief that my parents - with whom I spent many loving and joyful family holidays with - are dead and gone and never coming back."

The Clitoris: Sexual Hunger

Mother Nature has been most generous in bestowing females with the clitoris. No other part of human anatomy is designed solely to produce delight in its owner. Penises, of course, provide a lot of pleasure for men, but they are multipurpose for peeing and ejaculating sperm. The clitoris is the only organ of the body created exclusively for pleasure! [1]

The Power of Hope in Eating Disorder Recovery

The most important word in the English language is hope.  – Eleanor Roosevelt

Are you hungry for hope? If you have battled your weight for a very long time, you may feel discouraged at ever sustaining positive changes. If you cannot stop throwing up after you binge, you may worry you will never get better. And if you look at yourself in the mirror and are convinced you could never like your body, you probably feel despondent. So, how do we inject hope into what feels like a hopeless situation? How do we move from hopeless to hope, to healing, to wholeness?


People are getting addicted to cleanses for emotional reasons, by Sheila Buff (interview with Mary Anne for MindBodyGreen)

Boost your energy, recharge your batteries, rev up your metabolism, rejuvenate your spirit, silence unhealthy cravings—nutritional cleanses supposedly do it all. Celebrities such as Salma Hayek and Anne Hathaway attribute their lithesome glow to regular cleanses, and the juice business is now a multi-billion dollar industry. So they must be good for us, right? Not necessarily. Although they’re meant to serve as an antidote to the excesses of modern life, cleanses can sometimes end up becoming an addiction themselves.

Childhood Eating Disorders and How to Prevent Them

When I was growing up, my mother decided I was getting chubby. So she came up with what she considered to be a good solution – she began hiding food from me. And when it dawned on me what she was doing, I became very compelled to play out this unspoken game of hide and seek. I secretly tracked down every imaginable hiding place and would “steal” the food whether or not I was hungry for it. Her hiding food made me very anxious by sending me the following messages:

Girls and Eating Disorders

"Eat your broccoli or you're gonna get fat."  --Rap song invented by two 9-year old girls

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, approximately a half million teenagers struggle with eating disorders or unhealthy eating patterns. The Archives of General Psychiatry states that nearly one in 60 adolescents qualifies for a diagnosis of anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder. Ninety percent of young women who develop an eating disorder are between ages 12 and 15. And one-half of 4th grade girls are on a diet.

Grief and Emotional Eating: Frozen Grief and Addiction Recovery

Patty was an obese binge eater who came to therapy to resolve her eating disorder. As we discussed what triggered her history of overeating and about her life experiences, she mentioned in a most casual that her father had died when she was four years old.

Her family told her, “Daddy went to Heaven. He is in a better place.” Daddy was never spoken about again.

“Tell me about him,” I asked. “There’s nothing to tell,” Patty replied. And with that, she began to cry as the accumulation of 32 years of stifled tears came surging up in a tidal wave of pain.

Lasagna for Lunch: An Interview by Mary Anne Cohen

1. Early in your book, Lasagna for Lunch Declaring Peace with Emotional Eating, you write, "A person's eating disorder is a creative solution to inner turmoil." Can you please tell us more about this?

In 1982, I coined the term "emotional eating" to describe the varied and conflicted, fluctuating and frustrating relationship many people have with food. When you use eating to detour, distract, or deny your inner emotions, you are seeking a way to make yourself feel better. And it is a healthy and creative act to try to make yourself feel better! Unfortunately eating disorders do not provide a lasting solution to resolve inner turmoil.

How to Get Motivated to Solve Your Eating Problems

“I’m willing to do ANYTHING to lose weight,” announces Julie, a new client of mine.

She pauses. I wait expectantly.

“Except eat right and exercise,” she adds.

We laugh with the shared recognition that the effort to lose weight is much easier said than done. (Names and identifying data have been changed for confidentiality).

Julie’s candid admission touches on an intriguing aspect of weight loss – the role of motivation. What is motivation? How do you get it? How do you sustain it?

Perfectionism and Eating Disorders

When I was a young girl growing up, a disc jockey on the radio began each show with, "Good morning, everybody. Especially you, size nine!" I remember feeling vaguely bewildered as to why only one size got this extra, affectionate greeting from him, and I felt left out and somewhat envious of that prettier and perfect group of girls. And I was only a size 11. This hardly constitutes a traumatic event in my life and yet, almost half a century later, I still remember Cousin Brucie's preference and how I didn't fit in. (Fortunately, perfectionism is not one of my issues so I didn't take his message too much to heart!).  I now have to laugh at the idea that if he were a disc jockey today his greeting would probably be, "Good morning everybody.