December 18, 2016

Episode 3: What if there were an expert parent at every table? - New Plates Podcast

Meet Belinda Caldwell, a Carer Consultant in Victoria, Australia. Learn about CEED, holiday tips for families facing eating disorders, update on news in the eating disorder world.

Full show notes at:

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December 14, 2016

Reach out and Recover: new online tool in Australia

It always interests me how we talk about eating and weight concerns across cultures. I am in contact every day with Canadians and Australians and people in the UK and elsewhere and find the way we Americans think of and use the English language to describe them both differ and contrast.

Anyway, I am tickled to share a new website in Australia with you, and even if you are not in Australia and not an adult with weight or eating concerns, you will enjoy exploring the innovative ways this site approaches the questions and the information. The site was created by the Victorian Centre of Excellence in Eating Disorders (CEED).

Called ROAR, which stands for Reach Out And Recover, the site offers not only helpful tools but some really important messages that we ALL need to remind ourselves and say to others:
  • Dieting is risky (and doesn't change your weight)
  • Body dissatisfaction is common, but not trivial
  • Too much exercise can be harmful
And the site has marvelous and moving videos:

George's Story from on Vimeo.

Tara's Story from on Vimeo.

"I got my life back." That's the point.

December 9, 2016

Force-feeding, or life-saving?

It is a week of well earned congratulations and disappointment, and both around the law.

Congratulations are due each and every but especially a few for the passage of The 21st Century Cures and Mental Health Reform Package in the US Congress. Oh, the people, the work, the patience, the skill, the strategic wisdom, and the WORK that went into getting eating disorders included in that bill, and passed. I've been watching and at times involved with the work and anyone who cares about eating disorders owes an enormous debt to those who did not give up, did not lose sight of the goals. Those who suffered any number of setbacks and disappointments and KEPT GOING. And it matters. It really matters. Thank you to the organizations, especially the Eating Disorders Coalition, which itself represents organizations -- like F.E.A.S.T. -- who stood for all of us and got this done. It's a good week for mental health, and we needed it.

Another story which may seem to be about one person is actually important to countless others. A woman in New Jersey suffering from mental illness expressed the desire to stop being saved. It isn't uncommon to hear this, and countless families and treatment teams have been faced with the question of whether continuing to distress the patient is compassionate or irresponsible. So the decision by a judge to agree with the petition not to be "force-fed" is hitting many in the eating disorder world hard. Because we all know how agonizing treatment can be. And we all want to offer solace. And sometimes mental illness can seem so intractable and the medical effects so dire.

But many of us see this decision as a grave misunderstanding of what anorexia nervosa is, what treatment is, and what our role as loved ones as treatment providers can be. I wrote about this in a Huffington Post piece this week, and talk about it in the latest episode of New Plates. If you, too, care about this, make sure to be a voice saying so.

I hear many people say "no one cares about eating disorders." Well the success in the US Congress is a triumph for our voices being heard. The case in New Jersey is one where we can choose to speak or be part of the silent assent.

Listen now:

December 4, 2016

Episode 2: History of Including Parents in Treatment - New Plates Podcast

Why have parents been kept out of treatment, and how has it changed? Host Laura Collins Lyster-Mensh as she asks experts from around the world why including parents during eating disorder treatment was once controversial. Also: eating disorder news, and Laura’s favorite word of the week, “anosognosia.”
Details and show notes at:

Check out this episode!