Can You Still Be Healthy if You’re Overweight?

We are frequently reminded that Americans are getting fatter and fatter. How many times have you seen television footage of headless people walking down the street with the camera focused on the abdomens, thighs and buttocks of very overweight people? A former surgeon general of the United States believed obesity [...]

Negative Body Image? Our Own Worst Enemy!

Body image is the term used to describe how we feel about how our body looks. It is the way we see our own bodies from an internal perspective. What we see of ourselves may be quite different from the objective perspectives of how others view us. The thoughts and [...]

The “F” Word: Can You Eat It?

Seeing that I treat eating and weight issues, the “F” word I’m referring to is “FAT.” That’s the F word you thought I was referring to, right?! Well, how is fat defined these days? If we were to look it up in the latest edition of “Webster’s According to the [...]

Bathing Suits and Body Image

  Is there anything that creates more anxiety and discomfort for women than having to buy, put on, wear and be seen by others in a bathing suit? It’s that time of year and millions of women everywhere are fretting or simply refusing to partake in fun in the sun unless [...]

Genetic Risk Factors in Eating Disorders

In this article, I want to lay out what has been learned about the genetic predisposition for eating disorders and how this can help identify who may be at risk for developing an eating disorder. The first part of the article explains the background and basic science behind our current [...]

22 Things My Patients Say They Needed to Learn In Order To Recover

“What does recovery look like?” is a common question frequently asked by patients and families. Patients often fear being recovered just means gaining weight and still being unhappy. While the answer to this question may seem like it should be simple and succinct, it’s actually quite complex. It’s even a question [...]

Those Voices

We don’t hear much about them, but you know those voices -- the two that constantly compete for your attention from the time you get up until you go to sleep. Sometimes the voices may even get acted out in your dreams. It’s the healthy voice that says food isn’t [...]

Maintaining Recovery During The Holidays

Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations are underway and the media is flooding us with images that portray only positive, happy and warm interactions among family and friends as they eat and drink together. Probably everyone would like this to be true for them, but often it isn’t. Preparing for the holidays [...]

Dieting and Weight Loss Quiz

Answer “Yes” or “No” to the following questions: Do you think weight loss is a good way to improve your health? Do you ever feel hopeless about your weight? Are you careful with what you eat so you don’t have to exercise? Do you want to lose weight quick no [...]

Getting the Right Help for Eating Disorders

If you’re concerned about someone with an eating disorder, you’ve come to the right place! You need to get the right help and here’s why:    Eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia and binge eating are biologically-based disorders that can have deadly consequences. No one ever goes on a diet or [...]

Fatter Than Before: How Diets Cause Weight Gain

Diets “work”… Until They Don’t         Any radical change with eating or exercise will result in weight loss – for a while. Radical changes can be anything from cutting calories to clean eating to eliminating carbs to drinking shakes to taking supplements to hormone injections to body [...]

Inventory of Stress Symptoms

What is stress? Stress is the mental and/or physical tension or strain the body experiences in response to events happening in a person's life. Stress affects our internal organs, like the heart and stomach, and impedes our mental state, emotional reactions, relationships and spirituality. Medical problems, such as heart disease, [...]

Body Image: A Major Challenge During Recovery

One of the most challenging aspects of eating disorders treatment and recovery is dealing with body image.  A big reason for this is that the body image expectations depicted in every form of media give the clear message that NO body is acceptable the way it is.  So, if the [...]

Orthorexia Nervosa: Optimal Health Gone Wrong

“Orthorexia Nervosa” is an obsession with eating the “right” foods or the “healthiest” food for the purpose of optimal health. It begins with an enthusiastic interest in following a stringent dietary practice, such as vegetarianism or raw food veganism. It is not that these diets cause orthorexia. Rather, when these [...]

How Depression, Heart Disease and Diabetes are Interrelated

The body and mind are inevitably linked and the profound influence of one on the other is becoming much more accepted in the medical and lay communities. An unhealthy body can cause emotional disturbances just as psychiatric conditions can trigger or exacerbate diseases within the body. The stomach, liver and [...]

Type A Personality Increases Susceptibility to Heart Disease

We’ve all known someone who is extremely impatient, driven and who conducts business on the cell phone while rushing to her kid’s soccer game that started 30 minutes ago. While often hurrying herself and others, too busy for chit-chat and overly committed, she still looks successful and we wonder “how [...]

Despite Mental Health Parity Law, Gaps In Compliance, Enforcement Remain

Seven years after Congress passed the landmark law banning discrimination in the treatment of mentally ill people, many families and their advocates complain it stubbornly persists, largely because insurers are subverting the law in subtle ways and the government is not aggressivley enforcing it.

Mental Healthcare Could Be More Productive With The Help Of A Smart App That Serves As A Real-Time Diary

A smartphone application has been developed that allows patients to input information about their daily symptoms, almost like a digital diary, and then share that with their psychiatrist for more effective treatment.

When To Suspect An Eating Disorder

When To Suspect An Eating Disorder No one ever sets a goal to develop an eating disorder. Eating disorders are typically the result of attempts to be “healthy” that have gone awry. There is also no clear cut delineation between trying to be healthy and the onset of an eating [...]

New Year’s Resolutions to Live By

The new year is almost upon us and, of course, we are being inundated with commercials for diet and weight loss products.  ‘Start this program’ or ‘take this pill’ are old and uninspiring messages from companies that survive off of the failure of their products – there is something really [...]

Binge Eating Disorder

  Binge Eating Disorder (BED) was recognized as a diagnosable eating disorder in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the guide to all psychiatric diagnoses, published in May 2013.  Prior to this, BED was frequently referred to as ‘compulsive overeating’ or ‘emotional overeating’ and was not recognized [...]

Rescuing the Brain: A Critical Part of Recovery

Recovering from an eating disorder is a complicated endeavor because of the interplay between genetic predisposition, symptom severity, environmental/lifestyle factors and often, the patient’s ambivalence about changing behaviors they both ‘want’ and hate. I have attended several presentations by Ovidio Bermudez, MD, the Medical Director of Child and Adolescent Services [...]

The Role of Temperament in Eating Disorders

Prior to the understanding we now have about the genetic influence of eating disorders, the impact of sociocultural factors, such as drive for thinness and dieting behavior, were thought to be primary contributors to the development of anorexia and bulimia. We now have a greater understanding that eating disorders are [...]

The Effects of Stress on Heart Health

Most people are aware that there is a connection between stress and heart disease. “Stress” refers to excessive pressures or demands that are placed upon us or that we place upon ourselves. In our fast paced, technology-driven, do-things-to-the-extreme culture, persistently increasing pressures and demands are part of everyday life. Unfortunately, [...]

Evidence-Based Treatment: Is It The Answer To Treating Eating Disorders?

Evidence-based treatment (EBT) has become a hot topic in the field of eating disorders as well as healthcare in general. EBT is defined as interventions, treatments or psychotherapeutic techniques that have been shown to produce therapeutic change when studied in controlled research trials. While the purpose of this article is [...]

Type D Personality

Most people are familiar with the Type A – intense, overachieving, perfectionistic – and Type B – noncompetitive, relaxed – personalities and the link between Type A personality and heart disease. But now, Type D personality seems to be an even stronger predictor of cardiovascular health. Psychologist Johan Denollet, a [...]

“Relax – I Don’t Have Time To Relax!”

“Look, I own a business. I work 65 to 80 hours a week and I’m barely making it. I race around constantly just to keep the customers I have.” “No, I don’t really have a social life anymore. I have one friend and he’s a great guy, but he’s not [...]

Is the ‘Obesity Epidemic’ Overrated?

We are frequently reminded that Americans are getting fatter and fatter. How many times have you seen television footage of headless people walking down the street with the camera focused on their excessive abdomens, thighs and buttocks? The surgeon general believes obesity is a greater threat than terrorism. Public health [...]

Low Cholesterol May Affect Your Mood

The link between high cholesterol and heart disease has been well established. The cholesterol problem we hear about most often is high cholesterol and most people are working on lowering cholesterol levels with medication, exercise and healthy eating. But did you know that if cholesterol levels get too low, depression [...]

I Hate Exercise

“I hate exercise.“ This was the first thing a 78 year old woman said to me at our initial appointment when I was reviewing the reasons her cardiologist referred her to me. The doctor wanted her to increase her activity level and lose weight. The woman had some, but not [...]

How Do Psychologists Treat Heart Disease?

Behavioral medicine is a specialty area within the profession of psychology that focuses on treating patients with medical conditions. Many medical problems, including digestive disorders, chronic pain, asthma, diabetes, obesity and heart disease, are often linked with behavioral and psychological factors that affect the onset, course and recovery of these [...]

Heart Disease Risk Factor Assessment

The way we live our lives has a lot to do with whether we develop heart disease. Knowing your risk factors for heart disease gives you the opportunity to make the long-term changes necessary to eliminate or reduce your chance of developing heart problems. By making lifestyle changes after a [...]

The Link Between Depression and Heart Disease

There is substantial research evidence showing a strong connection between depression and heart disease. The notion that depression is typical in patients with heart disease, nothing to worry about and will go away on its own is inaccurate and dangerous. Many patients already have heart disease and depression and there [...]

Heart Attack or Anxiety Attack: Common Symptoms Can Cause Distress

Anxiety is an emotional reaction that occurs in response to a threat or to fear. Anxiety commonly results in feelings of nervousness, apprehension, restlessness and internal shakiness (the “butterflies”). Anxiety can cause worrying, poor concentration, tension, difficulty making decisions and sleep problems. Physical signs of anxiety include an uneasy stomach, [...]

Foods For Healthy Living

The following foods have been found to be health-promoting. This is not an exhaustive list, nor are these the only foods you should eat. It is important to maintain balanced eating that includes the three main nutrients we require everyday -- carbohydrate, protein and fat. This list is meant to [...]

Emotional Factors Affecting Heart Disease in Women

It has always been thought that heart disease is a man’s problem, but it kills a half million women every year and the number is growing. Heart disease kills more women than men and women are more likely to have a second heart attack within a year of their first [...]

ED is in My Car – A Recovery Metaphor

The following is a metaphor one of my patients has been using to understand why she can’t let go of her eating disorder. Carrie is in her mid-twenties, has a master’s degree, a good career and has suffered from anorexia for about six years. She has been in treatment for [...]

Depression Risk Assessment

            Children, adolescents and adults can get depression. Depression can be triggered by an event or by chronic stress. It can also come on out of the blue and be the result of genetic or biological factors that the person cannot control. Do you feel [...]

Depression – Is It Really Just All In My Head?

There have been several controversies in the media lately about depression that have focused on the “ability” to overcome it. Some believe there is no need for psychiatric treatment and that with enough motivation, faith or incentive depression can be beaten. Others support the need for treatment, including psychotherapy and/or [...]

Benefits of Relaxation Therapy with Cardiac Patients

All of us experience anxiety at one time or another, but for those facing cardiac disease, anxiety, worry and stress can accelerate the progression of heart disease and/or interfere with recovery. Continual emotional distress, whether it is recognized or not, affects overall quality of life. Do you feel anxious? Some [...]

Anxiety Quiz

Children, adolescents and adults can experience anxiety. Anxiety can be triggered by an event or by chronic stress. It can also happen without explanation and be the result of genetic or biological factors that the person has no ability to prevent.           Do you spend a [...]

A Glimpse Inside an Eating Disorder

An eating disorder becomes a very powerful thing in a person’s life. As much as they need it, they hate it and as much as they hate it, they still can’t let it go. Not only is it frustrating to watch someone who has an eating disorder, it’s incredibly maddening [...]

Eating Disorder Quiz

Could you or someone you know have an eating disorder? Take this quiz and find out: Click here for downloadable Risk Assessment Have you developed fears or beliefs about food you never had before? Do you think losing weight would make your life better? Are other people concerned about your [...]

What To Expect From Treatment

Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are serious psychological conditions that require specialized treatment. If an eating disorder is suspected, it is important to seek the appropriate treatment immediately. The longer a person engages in eating disorder behavior without treatment, the more difficult it can for the person to [...]

Finding an Eating Disorder Specialist

  Anorexia and bulimia require treatment by a psychologist or psychotherapist who has specialized knowledge and training in eating disorders.       These are questions you can ask a therapist to determine if they are an eating disorder specialist: Have you had specialized training specifically in eating disorders? What [...]

Desperately Thin Housewives

“Desperate Housewives” was a very popular television show from 2004-2012 and is making a resurgence on streaming services.  If you’re a fan of the happenings on Wisteria Lane, it would be hard not to notice how desperately thin the female characters are. Is it really normal for women over 30 [...]

Basic Nutrition

Regardless of what kind of eating disorder a person may have, treatment should include education on basic nutrition and meal planning. Working with a registered dietician who understands eating disorders is an essential part of recovery. Most people with eating disorders are more than aware of the calorie and fat [...]

Does Weight Loss Always Result in Improved Heart Health?

We always hear that weight loss is necessary for the prevention and treatment of heart disease and diabetes.  But is this widely accepted belief really accurate? While carrying around an excess of weight does not cause, but can contribute to heart disease and diabetes, weight loss as the standard treatment [...]

Internet Sites for Information on Senior Health Issues

Several websites that provide medical information specifically for older adults are now available.  These resources can be used to help you learn more about the medical issues you may be experiencing. Understanding your diagnoses, treatments and expected outcomes of treatment is especially important for your health.  Many people don’t follow [...]

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