Disordered patterns of eating are often accompanied by distressing feelings and thoughts.
Have you noticed you have an intense fear of gaining weight? Maybe you often feel anxious, disgusted, or guilty after eating? Do you often spend a lot of time thinking about how you can eat in a “healthy” or “perfect” way? Do your eating patterns and thoughts about food interfere with your relationships, making plans, or focusing on other aspects of your daily life?
If you are struggling with one or more of the experiences listed above, you may be experiencing symptoms of an Eating Disorder or other disordered eating or body image issues.
Eating Disorders are a common experience
Eating disorders do not discriminate. Disordered eating and body image issues affect people of every age, weight, race, ethnicity, culture, sexuality, gender, and socioeconomic status. People struggling with eating disorders come in all different body shapes and sizes, and a person cannot tell how much someone else is struggling based on their weight or appearance. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, national surveys estimate that 20 million women and 10 million men in America will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives.
Struggling with an eating disorder often prompts feelings of shame, anxiety, and hopelessness. Those feelings, as well as the eating disorder behaviors themselves, can be difficult to talk about, which can lead us to feel alone, or that we must keep our experiences a secret. However, if you are one of the many people experiencing an eating disorder and/or body image issues, the good news is that there are tried and true evidence-based methods that can help you (or your family member) decrease the experience of feeling trapped by eating patterns and weight expectations. It is possible for you to experience a more peaceful relationship with food and your body. By tapping into your strengths and teaching you useful techniques and skills, MindWell NYC eating disorder therapists are expertly equipped to help you manage and overcome your eating disorder.
MindWell NYC clinicians can provide you with the knowledge to better understand what is maintaining your eating disorder and give you the tools to cope with it more effectively. Eating disorders themselves are often coping strategies for underlying issues which may include anxiety, depression, perfectionism, the impact of trauma, and relationship challenges. These underlying issues can also be addressed with your MindWell NYC therapist so that you no longer need the eating disorder as a way to cope with other challenges you may be experiencing.
Treatment for an eating disorder can help you heal and move forward with life.
You and your MindWell NYC therapist will come up with a goal-oriented plan based on your past experiences, current symptoms, and future goals. Part of this work is to identify strengths and skills you already use in your daily life and to incorporate these into your therapy plan. For example, you may already have some self-encouraging statements or a calming routine that has been useful to you. By using these tools, in combination with new skills you will learn in therapy, we can help you take concrete steps towards improving your relationship with food, your body, and ultimately yourself.
Eating Disorder Therapy
During your sessions, we will collaboratively help you start to identify patterns of your eating disorder and to find situations that tend to prompt these feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Next, we identify what may be maintaining the eating disorder so we can target it effectively. We might also look at what has gotten in the way of moving forward in the past (e.g., fear of gaining weight) and start to work towards removing those barriers. We will help you evaluate your eating disorder-related thoughts and beliefs to determine how helpful and accurate they are for you and what thoughts may better serve you in the present. Given the often unrelenting nature of these eating disorder thoughts and behavior patterns, it can be hard to identify and change them on your own. We are here to help.
Using evidence-based treatment methods in a supportive and non-judgmental environment we may also, over time, help you to expose yourself to situations that might be hard for you right now. This process is a collaborative effort and is engaged in thoughtfully after you have learned strategies to relax your body and manage intense emotion-related thoughts more effectively.
To help you better connect with your identity outside of your eating disorder, we will help you in identifying and working towards your values, as well as building skills in emotional tolerance and self-compassion. We will help you celebrate your successes along the way by highlighting the progress that you have made and by celebrating the skills you are starting to incorporate into your daily routine. We know that people with eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes and we apply a Health At Every Size (HAES) approach to our work.
Given the mental and physical nature of eating disorders, we believe a collaborative approach towards treatment is helpful for many individuals and we are happy to work with your existing treatment team. We will also gladly help you establish a treatment team (i.e., physician, dietician, psychiatrist, etc.) if you and your therapist agree that it would be beneficial to your healing process.
Many people have questions about what treatment for an eating disorder will be like.
Will you make me do something I don’t want to do?
This is a common question from those seeking help for their eating disorder. It is important for you to know that everything we do in treatment is a collaboration between you and your therapist. It is typical in eating disorder therapy to gradually build up tolerance for difficult situations over time. We start by learning how to manage challenges that are the least anxiety-provoking. Over time, we teach you new skills and techniques, including distress tolerance and relaxation methods, which can help you to manage challenges that are more difficult. Your eating disorder therapy plan is based on your goals and what you would like to get out of the work you are doing.
Can I take my medication when I am in therapy?
This is another commonly asked question for individuals who are considering participating in eating disorder therapy. We will work with you and your prescriber, if you have one, to determine the plan that we believe will help you to be most successful in managing your eating disorder symptoms. It is your choice as to whether or not you would like to stay on medication while in eating disorder therapy.
How long will it take for me to feel free of my eating disorder?
It makes sense that you are trying to get a sense of timing and how long it will take you to feel better. People often notice positive changes after the first few weeks of eating disorder therapy, although the treatment itself often takes several months depending on the type of eating disorder. It is also very normal for motivation to wax and wane during a course of treatment! Your therapist will be there with you to encourage, guide, and help you take small steps that will help you to develop a healthy relationship with food and your body over time. You can feel less controlled by the eating disorder, and more free and joyful again.
The qualified providers at MindWell NYC are dedicated to your healing. We understand how brave it is to seek therapy for an Eating Disorder, and other eating and body-related disorders, and will assist you in reaching your goals using the latest and most researched treatment interventions available. We offer therapy and meal support services. Inquire today!