One of my favorite routines after getting out of bed in the morning involves making a steaming hot cup of coffee and taking a moment before taking my first sip to pause, gaze out my kitchen window, and set an intention for my day ahead. This ritual started a couple of years ago as I began to realize how busy the days can be and how easy it is to fill the waking hours to the brim without taking the time to slow down and check in. I found myself talking with clients and friends about the importance of mindfulness, self inquiry, and pausing, but realized that I too needed to hear that message and bring focused attention to sloooowwwwwwwwwingggg down.
Sometimes setting an intention to set an intention is the hardest part
At first, I had to remind myself to take that moment or would chide myself with self-criticism if I'd rushed around after waking up too late/hitting snooze and had forgotten about the intention to set an intention altogether. Just like any type of habit change, however, with enough practice and repetition, the new ritual stuck and now it's the part of my morning I look forward to most. This “mindfulness moment” allows me the opportunity to assess how I'm feeling, what I'm grateful for, what I'm worried about, and what I'd like to practice for the day ahead. Solidifying this habit in the morning has also helped to make it much more natural to return to this practice throughout the day.
Even the fullest days can hold mindful moments
Maybe it's taking a moment to check in while waiting in line at the grocery store, sitting down to eat lunch, or washing dishes at the end of a long day – wherever it may be, the realization that there IS time to take time throughout a busy day has been a huge change for me. We all have the ability to slow down and check in with ourselves, no matter how full our time may seem.
This past Christmas, I received the perfect gift to accompany this morning ritual - “Journey to the Heart” by Melody Beattie. This book has a daily reading for each day of the year and always seems to deliver just the message I need to hear. There was a reading a few weeks ago that gave me pause for thought and it felt important to share. It's entitled “Look at What's Right” - a reflection about how we can spend so much time looking for flaws in ourselves, even in the name of self improvement,”that we often forget to stop and take stock of what is going well or what we value within ourselves. Here's the reading:
“Take time to notice what's right in ourselves, in others, and in the world around us. We may become so concerned with correcting ourselves we become habituated to seeing what's wrong. Not just seeing it – constantly looking for it. The question itself – What's wrong? – is enough to keep us on edge.
"There are times to take stock, do an inventory. Times to learn and grow. But spirituality and joy do not stem from trudging around in the muck of what's wrong with others, ourselves, and life. We do not have to seek out mistakes and errors, poking and picking at ourselves to continue our growth. Poking and picking hurts. Our lessons will be revealed to us, and they will present themselves naturally. Growth will occur.
"Give yourself a break. Ask yourself what's right, what's good, what's true, what's beautiful. Sometimes the lesson isn't in discovering what's wrong. Sometimes the lesson is discovering that the world is all right – and so are you.”
So, with that, I'd challenge all of you to practice taking a pause today (and maybe eventually every day) to acknowledge what's right. Give yourself the
gift of self compassion, give yourself some space from that internal critic, and call out a strength you possess – even if it seems tiny or insignificant.
With practice and persistence, everything gets easier.
The Need for Well-Trained Clinicians
This blog post was originally posted on the Binge Eating Disorder Awareness Blog. I've reposted it here to spread the word!
Binge eating disorder (BED) may seem new since it was just added to the official list of mental health diagnoses. But the truth is that using food to manage difficult internal experiences and emotions has been around a long time! While it’s official status is “young” in the eating disorder (ED) world, well-trained clinicians are desperately needed! The problem being that many clinicians haven’t been properly trained on how to treat BED, which is distinctly different than treating weight. Often, clinicians conflate the two and unintentionally create a whole host of problems!
While the ED field has a long way to go in developing substantive research to guide our treatment protocols for BED, we must borrow from related fields of research to guide our way.
The first area of research ED clinicians need to become familiar with is weight stigma. Similar to other oppressive forces in our culture, weight stigma infiltrates all of our lives in sneaky and insidious ways. And sadly, even ED clinicians are top offenders when it comes to bias and stigma relating to weight.
What is Weight Stigma?
Check out this succinct PDF on weight stigma developed by BEDA. In short, weight stigma is negative judgment, bias, assumptions, attitudes, and treatment based on a person’s size. Most importantly, when a person experiences weight stigma it makes them vulnerable for WORSE health outcomes. This means that when people are stigmatized they are less likely to get proper care and are less likely to improve in any health parameters. This is why a weight neutral approach to improving health of people suffering with BED.
Why A Weight Neutral Approach
A weight neutral approach makes no assumptions about a person’s health or habits based on appearance. And it deems every individual deserving of health enhancing interventions regardless of whether it produces a change on the scale. Two important philosophies, Health at Every Size (HAES) and Intuitive Eating (IE), provide the scaffolding and guidance for clinicians to generate interventions that will improve the health of clients without interjecting harmful weight stigma. Integrating these philosophies into the backbone of BED treatment is critical to helping without harming.
Seeking Additional Treatment
It is imperative that ED clinicians seek additional training in weight stigma, HAES, and IE. I have developed an online training for ED clinicians that is focused on how to provide nutrition specific counseling that is HAES informed, weight neutral, and grounded in research. I developed it because I am passionate about reducing weight stigma and improving treatment for people with EDs. There are relatively few resources for clinicians so I created am online training that is affordable and accessible from your own home. You can learn more about my online training for dietitians interested in eating disorder work here.
Additionally, here are some other resources I recommend:
- Become a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor
- Attend the BEDA Conference; Attend The Association for Size Diversity Conference
- Familiarize yourself with weight stigma research
Let’s elevate the field of ED treatment and provide our clients with BED with the best possible care.
Marci RD Nutrition is offering a 5-week meal support series with
eating disorder and Intuitive Eating expert Sarah Patten. Details below!
Who should consider participating?
Anyone actively working on their eating disorder recovery as well as those focused on improving their relationship with food, re-learning their body's hunger and fullness cues, and developing self-trust around consuming challenging or “forbidden” foods. Participants must be appropriate for an outpatient level of care and must be working with an individual therapist and dietitian.
What we offer:
A five-week meal support series focused on consuming adequate and challenging meals in a supportive group environment.
Our first group will consist of introductions, an orientation to the keys of effective exposures, as well as personalized goal setting. YOU decide how to best utilize exposures in the groups to follow. The remaining four weeks will consist of mindfulness based eating exercises, dining together as a group, and post-meal processing.
When will the group be held?
Tuesday evenings from 7-8:15pm; 1/24, 1/31, 2/7, 2/21 and 2/28 (we will skip Tuesday, 2/14)
Where we will meet:
Marci RD Nutrition Counseling Office
22 Hilliard St., Cambridge, MA 02138
1st floor, door on the right
Why join our group?
Exposure to challenging meals in a supportive environment fosters greater self-trust while decreasing fear and anxiety over time. Food avoidance is a big risk factor for relapse and can hold one back from making peace with food once and for all. This group will help you to become more confident in your ability to feed yourself in an adequate, varied, and enjoyable way.
Important registration information:
Group size is limited to 6 participants. Contact Sarah at Sarah@MarciRD.com to reserve your spot. Your spot will be officially reserved once payment is received in full. Registering for the full series is required. We will not accept partial registration.
I originally wrote this video blog for Recovery Warriors which is a phenomenal community and resource for anyone looking for additional support in their eating disorder recovery. But you don't have to have an eating disorder to have crappy body image. So if you'd like to feel better about your body, this one's for you.
Key Point: You cannot talk your way to better body image. If you treat yourself with hate you will continue to feel hate towards your body. In this video blog I share with you the why and the how to improve your body image through actionable steps.
After you view this video blog, I hope you will share what you plan to start doing that feels good to your body. What action step or steps will you start making today?
10% off until August 1st!
I am incredibly excited to announce the launch of my Eating Disorders Online Training today!
Whether you’ve been practicing for 20 years, or you’re a dietetic student or intern, the chances are high that you’ve received zero training on how to counsel people with eating disorders. Given that nearly 10% of the US populations falls along the ED spectrum (not to mention subclinical EDs) this is a huge problem!
I am Certified Eating Disorder Dietitian and IAEDP Approved Supervisor. I developed this 5 part series because I know that clients with eating disorders NEED a skilled, confident, and capable dietitian. And the purpose of this 5 part series is to lay the groundwork for you to start to develop the necessary skills to begin working with this population.
You’ll get 7.5 CEUS in this 5 part series during which I’ll cover topics including:
- Integrating therapeutic techniques appropriately into nutrition counseling
- How to effectively communicate and assert yourself within the context of a treatment team
- Developing a nutrition prescription and food plan
- Dealing with co-occurring medical and mental health diagnoses
- Food exposures
- Body Image
- And so much more!
Don’t have time to watch all 5 training videos sequentially? No problem--you can also pick one specific topic you want to focus on, rather than purchasing the entire series. You can also choose whether you want to rent or buy each video for future reference.
My hope is that you will find the training as helpful as the other dietitians who have already taken my online and live courses. My goal is that you walk away feeling more confident, more capable, and more empowered to treat people suffering from eating disorders.
You can learn more about my online training by visiting my site: https://marcird.pivotshare.com/