Supporting friends and family with eating disorders
Many individuals recovering from eating disorders, and families assisting their children and teens through recovery, receive little support and outreach during this difficult process. People tend to shy away from those with eating disorders and other mental illnesses because there isn’t a solid understanding of what the illnesses are and how seriously they can impact..
Perceived utility of genetic counseling for individuals with eating disorders
Opportunity to participate in research by Julianne Elizabeth Streukens Eating disorders are complex in how they are caused, developing from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. However, they are frequently perceived as being under the control of those individuals with them, resulting in public blame, dislike, and anger towards individuals with eating disorders..
Cultivating compassion for oneself through letter-writing: A welcome and helpful strategy for people with eating disorders
by Allison C. Kelly, Ph.D. and Sydney Waring, M.A. Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Canada Many people with Anorexia Nervosa (AN) and other eating disorders do not seek formal treatment. Some reasons for not seeking help are external to the individual – for example, a lack of available and accessible treatments – whereas others..
Is anorexia planning its revenge? The reality of recovery
I’m afraid of ruined teeth, bent back, and not able to have a child by Špela Kranjec I had anorexia nervosa. It’s no longer a secret. Even though I was ashamed and hid my condition for nine years, I can speak openly about it today. I even wrote a book about my experience. Initially because..
Feed, love and heal – the role for parents when their child develops an eating disorder
What to do When Your Teen Has An Eating Disorder by Lauren Muhlheim (Introduction by June Alexander) I wish my parents had access to Dr Lauren Muhlheim’s new book When Your Teen Has An Eating Disorder when I was a kid. Lauren takes family-based treatment by the hand into the family home, providing guidance and..
When a food binge can be helpful
“… bringing on, deliberately, what you fear most is an excellent way to increase self-belief” by June Alexander “I’ve been on a binge.” What does a binge mean to you? Is it something you carefully plan and prepare for, or does your bingeing “just happen?” Do you make a list of food that you plan..
Getting Better Bite by Bite – in English, German and now Korean
Meeting the need for universal eating disorder recovery guidance by June Alexander My granddaughters, aged eight and six, excitedly helped to unwrap a book that arrived this week. I was already excited, because I could see the book was from Seoul, Korea. The sender, Professor Youl-Ri Kim, has translated the Getting Better Bite by Bite,..
Secrets are an eating disorder’s best friend
There is no such thing as a good secret by June Alexander How do you cope with secrets in your family and within your own self? When you become aware of a secret, do you set about dismantling it, or do you ignore it, and pretend you “know nothing?” Secrets deeply shaped my early life...
Forget the scales, gaining weight as a person is the real marker in eating disorder recovery
‘Gaining weight in my life is giving me life’ By Karyn Braveheart Gaining weight is something l have struggled to do for a very long time. Now, after a lot of hard work and many hospital admissions, I am experiencing the positives in gaining weight. For sure, my everyday fear remains of clothing not fitting..
The home that really matters is the one I carry within
by June Alexander Feeling at home with self is the most important thing. Feeling this way enables us to feel at home anywhere. Wherever I am these days, I feel at home. For many years, however, feeling “settled” was impossible. I moved house more than 20 times. Eventually, I learned through self-healing that the home..
Is food the problem? How to support someone with Binge Eating Disorder (BED)
by Chanty Weedon Understanding how to support someone with Binge Eating Disorder (BED) when you have no experience can be challenging. This is the first hurdle that my family faced even before my diagnosis. They did not know what to do or say to help. I was very private about my BED and, even though..
The innovative “Plate-by-Plate Approach” offers guidance for parents nourishing their child through an eating disorder
By Wendy Sterling, MS, RD, CSSD and Casey Crosbie, RD, CSSD I wish this meal-time guidance provided by Wendy and Casey had been available when I was age 11 and an eating disorder was raging and embedding in my brain. Together with the support of Family-based Treatment, my parents would have felt confident and empowered..
My brother in Croatia has an eating disorder
By Hrvoje Petrovic * My brother is suffering from a long term eating disorder. Helping to care for him has affected my own health. For instance, witnessing my brother’s suffering led me to experience an episode of severe depression with appetite loss. However, now I am grateful for this, because I have greater empathy and understanding of..
Going about the daily business of reducing eating disorder shame
As we close on this year’s third annual World Eating Disorders Day, it provides us with time to reflect on those affected by an eating disorder, their families, and the medical and health professionals who support them. Although having a day dedicated to raising awareness is a grandiose initiative, it’s not a battle with..
Explanation of normal and binge eating in eating disorder recovery
This explanation is drawn from Chapter 13, Confronting the Eating Challenge, in Anorexia Nervosa: A Recovery Guide for Sufferers, Families and Friends. Janet Treasure and June Alexander. 2nd edition: Routledge (London) 2013. FOOD COMES FIRST The journey towards a normal, healthy diet is best taken a step at a time. For the sufferer, reducing their..
Confronting binge eating in eating disorder recovery
by Diana Beaudet and June Alexander Shame and stigma can debilitate people experiencing an eating disorder, as the following exchange reveals: Dear June, I’m trying to look after myself, but I’ve been struggling in this last week and I don’t know why. After traveling with my family, I came back feeling really positive about recovery..
Intersectionality and eating disorders: Recognizing the impact on the LGBTQIA* community
by Sarah Wirth Eating disorders, like all mental illnesses, are intersectional. They affect people of all ethnicities, ages, sexualities and gender identities. Despite this, the historically based idea that eating disorders predominantly affect affluent, white, heterosexual women persists today. This sectional understanding of eating disorders is highly problematic. It results in the eating disorder experiences..
Stigma in eating disorders is a serious social justice issue
By Anna Scelzo, iaedp International Chapter Chair of Italy When we look up the meaning of the word stigma we read: “A mark of disgrace associated with particular circumstance, quality, or person” (Oxford Dictionary). And also: “A mark or spot on the skin.” Whatever we can find around the concept of stigma however, it is..
Listening to the many voices of experience and digging deep within holds key to reducing stigma
By Andrea LaMarre There is still significant stigma around eating disorders; they are framed as disorders of the young, white, vain, rich, and thin. But you have heard about that stereotype before. We repeat it time and again, and yet… very little is changing. We cry from the rooftops: “eating disorders can happen to anyone!”..
Breaking eating disorder stigma starts at home – let’s start by addressing the stereotypes
By Kelly Boaz One day, a man asked me what I do for a living. When I said I was a nutritionist specializing in eating disorders, he snorted and responded, “Well that’s easy. Just tell those girls to get over themselves and eat!” While this response was infuriating and wildly inaccurate, it wasn’t surprising. To..
Can you really have an eating disorder if you look healthy?
By Dr. Rosanna Mauro de Maya, MS, RD, CEDRD The Eating Disorder Truth #1 states ”many people with eating disorders look healthy, yet may be extremely ill.” This cornerstone statement makes us reflect on the fact that any person, regardless of their figure, shape or weight, could develop an eating disorder. Traditionally it was believed..
Breaking the eating disorder stigma: What’s white and skinny got to do with it?
by Merle (The Netherlands) Many people have an idea of what a person with an eating disorder looks like. Commonly they imagine this person is a skinny white girl who is starving herself and wants to be ultra-thin so she can be a model or ballerina. I have been that skinny white girl, but I..
Research call for voices of experience to forge patient-led recovery model for eating disorders in Victoria, Australia
By Rachel King, PhD candidate, Deakin University As a clinician working in the field of eating disorders, I’m often struck by how committed, dedicated and passionate many health professionals are to supporting people with eating disorders and their families. However, I’m also struck by how people with eating disorders are often unjustly excluded from mental health..
Sharing our story can be a powerful antidote to shame and insecurity
by Emily Johnson I believe in the healing power of sharing your story, especially when sitting with feelings of shame and insecurity. Throughout my journey with an eating disorder, I have found that feelings of shame, guilt and instability are the drivers behind most of my unhealthful behaviors. When I really dig deep, and am willing to see why I reacted a particular way or spiraled into..
How a diary can become your best friend when healing from an eating disorder
by Jane Cook Keeping a journal can be mentally healthy, but it can also heal physical wounds. In a fascinating study by the University of Auckland in New Zealand, a group of participants were asked to write about traumatic events they’d experienced, for 20 minutes a day, delving deeply into their real feelings and thoughts. A second..
The cycle of abuse and how I found my way out of it
by Amanda Englishby I am here to tell you that a survivor of abuse can live a happy life and have a strong and loving relationship with themselves and others. I am proof. Here I am at the innocent age of three. Full of fun and energy with a cheeky grin to warm anyone’s heart...
What being diagnosed with an “old woman” disease taught me about my eating disorder
by a “Healthy” Young Woman (Anon) You’re young, you’ll be fine. Your lab work is perfectly normal. You’re a healthy young woman. You’re not underweight. Are you sure it’s that bad? You don’t look “anorexic.” I’m not sick enough for treatment, it’s not like I’m on a feeding tube. Do these comments bring to mind..
Finding my “healthy me” voice: A story of hope and recovery from an eating disorder
by Amanda Englishby (Part Two) So here I am, my first meeting with the Eating Disorder group. Sitting in the waiting room I look around at the posters for help/support on the walls, and the display of inspirational quotes, and roll my eyes a little. I feel guilty for wasting their time. To me, I..
So you feel normal and in control? Beware of the mask of an eating disorder
By Amanda Englishby My normality. Yes I had a challenging background, though who hasn’t? I would pride myself on the fact that I had not let my adversities change me into a bitter person or stop me from living my dreams. At the age of 22 I had managed to gain decent grades in education,..
Why self-care must come first when caring for a person with an eating disorder – and how writing can help
by Bharati Lall “You are depleted,” my therapist said “and you are no use to anyone in the condition you are in.” I did not know whether to walk out of the therapy session right then or surrender to the realization that the therapist was speaking the truth and I desperately needed to find ways..
Inside Family Based Treatment for eating disorders: One mother’s experience
By Diana Beaudet I’ve written before about my own eating disorder experience – realizing in mid-life that I had spent decades living with anorexia, confronting the realities of recovery as a working mother, and pushing away my feelings of shame by slowly sharing my story with family, friends, and a wider eating disorder community found..
The tale of two mothers and the illness that starves children and families
“With mental health I’m so worried for my daughter’s future … I feel we are all drowning in rough seas in the dark with no idea where land is or which way to go for a life jacket.” – Mother of young adult woman with anorexia by June Alexander Mothers Ann and Judy, from Australia..
Our lives have many stories…which can give hope
By Kristina Lainson, PhD candidate We know that living with anorexia can be really hard. What we know less about, is how people cope in that situation. This is the question posed by my PhD research project. I am asking how adults living with anorexia over a number of years cope. What do people do..
Hope Night at New Zealand Eating Disorders Clinic – Thursday, December 12, 2017
New Zealand Eating Disorders Clinic (NZEDC) Presents: Hope Night Inspiring Hope and Advocating that Recovery is Possible NZEDC is hosting a ‘Hope Night’ for people who are struggling with eating disorders and their families. The purpose of the night is to ‘inspire hope and advocate that recovery is possible.’ It is an opportunity for..
New research in exercise and eating disorders
by Alanah Dobinson, Accredited Exercise Physiologist Exercise serves a different purpose for everyone. What is your purpose when you exercise? Some of us use exercise to de-stress; some of us use it to improve our health. However, some people utilize exercise for punishment, or are reliant on it to regulate their emotions. Others continue to..
Toxic training: How to recognize the signs of an athlete in trouble
How to know when ‘healthy’ becomes dangerous by Kim Travis, Healthcare Advocate Rachael Steil was a cross country and track runner who found a small correlation between losing weight and running faster. She took that discovery and ran with it: “I went from eating normal, regular, healthy meals to very regimented, restricted meals that left..
Research into Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa
Research seeking participants who are at least 18 years of age and have experienced Anorexia Nervosa for a period of seven years or more. This project is investigating the experience of severe and enduring anorexia nervosa, and will involve participants photographing 10 images that capture their experience with the eating disorder and discussing this in..
When personal loss opens the door to an eating disorder
A recovery story by Diana Beaudet The tipping point for the onset or relapse of an eating disorder is not always evident. Sometimes, the experience of personal loss can be the trigger. Whether it is the loss of family or friend, the loss of or disconnection from self at pivotal stages in life (adolescence, marriage, parenthood,..
NARRATIVE WORKSHOP SERIES: Using the diary as a self-help power tool
October 9-10, 2017 in Perth, Australia This is a separate workshop series provided to patients, caregivers, and health practitioners. Detailed information: June Alexander Workshops (002) Also, for more information about June’s workshops, including testimonials from organizer’s of recent presentations, please visit our Workshops & Courses page.
Bringing the voice of eating disorder experience to the clinicians’ table
By June Alexander, Shannon Calvert, and Dr. Anthea Fursland “I took a deep breath and hit ‘send.’ I had promised myself that in recovery I would choose courage every day of my life, for my life.” – Shannon Calvert In the past, Shannon felt ready to die from her eating disorder. Today, she serves as..
Family conflict in eating disorders and recovery
By Diana Beaudet and Heather T, Ph.D., FAED For some of us, an eating disorder emerges after family conflict, while for others it can be the cause of conflict – either way resolution can be challenging yet healing. But for many, reaching a place of resolution with their family or family member may be impossible..
Recovery from SEAN – Video of Lecture by Dr. Rachel Bachner-Melman (with Hebrew subtitles)
In June 2017, Clinical psychologist Dr. Rachel Bachner-Melman, from the Ruppin Academic Center and Hebrew University of Jerusalem, concluded a keynote lecture to Israeli eating disorder professionals on Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa (SEAN) with this three minute video in which June Alexander describes her story in brief, and what aspects of therapy she found useful in her healing and recovery process..
Workshop Presentations in Bournemouth, UK – June 28, 2017
“The chatter today has been about how good your workshop was and how we can make use of the diary and the skills… so you have left us all with good memories and lots of tools to support our work people who use the service. And, some weeks later I discovered that one of our patient..
In honor of World Eating Disorders Day June 2, 2017
We proudly celebrate and advocate World Eating Disorders Day today! To commemorate this important mission, we have posted a seven week series of Dear Diary posts focused on this year’s World Eating Disorders Day relationships theme. In addition, June participated in an special interview June Alexander: My Diary and Me, with Routledge Mental Health in..
June Alexander: My Diary and Me
In honor of World Eating Disorders Action Day, Routledge Mental Health asked June Alexander how her diary has helped with her recovery from an eating disorder. Read her inspiring article, My Diary and Me: A Writing Partnership that Fought ED and Won. June also participated in a full interview, Using Writing as a Therapy for Eating..
Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa – What are our goals and should we ever give up?
ANZAED 2017 Conference Workshop Presentation by Anthea Fursland, Stephen Touyz, and June Alexander This workshop will attempt to address some extremely difficult, challenging and important questions, such as: What are the criteria for Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa (SEAN)? Should we tailor treatments for SEAN? Should we give up on full recovery and aim for..
The Diary is Gaining Recognition
June Alexander’s submission, Using Diary Writing as a Power Tool to Reveal Fresh Perspectives and Achieve Shared Goals, has been accepted for a 15 minute oral presentation at the 2017 Australia & New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders (ANZAED) Creating Connections Harboring Knowledge Conference taking place in Sydney on 1-2 September. More information can be found at the..
Sharing my eating disorder story with my children
After realizing that many years of what felt like ‘normal’ behavior was really a life deeply rooted in an eating disorder, the realities of the disorder and recovery started to quickly take shape. Initially, I was extremely secretive of my eating disorder and recovery. Shame, guilt, and fear of judgment and misconception were all consuming,..
World Eating Disorder Day June 2, 2017
This year’s theme #WeDoActTogether is about the important partnerships that move the field forward; affected people, carers, clinicians, and researchers are all vital to this process. This year we want to recognize and drive those important engagements and we need your help to do it. Please follow us on our social media platforms: Website: World Eating Disorders..
Connecting the Dots: Making Sense of Eating Disorders May 19-20, 2017
An event for carers, people with lived experience, and professionals Institute of Management, Wembley, Perth WA In Conference Presentations and Workshops on: The role of Neuroscience in Eatng Disorders New Therapies for Eatng Disorders including MANTRA and Multple Family Therapy Groups Collaboratve Care Giving and Carer Skills Self Help and Online Resources Helping Siblings and..
Wellness & Wellbeing Workshop April 9, 2017
June Alexander was the lead presenter at the University of Rochester Medical Center/Western New York Comprehensive Care Center for Eating Disorders Wellness & Wellbeing Workshop for caregivers, focused on diary writing as a tool for eating disorder therapy and recovery. More information about workshop presentations for caregivers and patients can be found here. “I am..
The powerful role of advocacy and community in eating disorder recovery
At age 41, I discovered that I had an eating disorder. I was a wife and mother, active in our community, with a demanding career and yet, somehow, I had no idea that most of my life had been consumed in a struggle with anorexia nervosa. Why didn’t I notice the symptoms sooner? Eating..
Listen to June Alexander speak about writing on the Creating Space Project podcast
To hear how diary writing has helped June to heal from an eating disorder, listen here as she speaks to Ruth Nelson on the Creating Space Project podcast series. In this podcast series, Ruth interviews women and asks them for a personal story. By exploring this way of using her skills as a psychologist to help reduce prejudice in the community,..
Sock It to Eating Disorders – March 3, 2017
On Friday 3 March, join thousands of supporters across the UK and don your silly socks, take a #SockItSelfie, and raise vital funds for Beat. Wear your silliest socks to school, work and university and donate to Beat. Every donation, big or small, and every silly sock worn, will help more people to access Beat’s helplines and online..
NEDA Awareness Week, February 26-March 4, 2017
Spearheaded by the National Eating Disorders Association, the goal of National Eating Disorders Awareness (#NEDAwareness) Week is to shine the spotlight on eating disorders and put life-saving resources into the hands of those in need. This year’s theme is It’s Time to Talk About It and we’re encouraging everyone to get screened. It’s time we..