March 25th, 2013
Spring has been in the air at Mirasol and we have been out and about this past month!
Enjoy a peek from our booth at the Love Your Body Fair at University of Arizona here in Tucson, AZ, one of our National Eating Disorder Awareness Week outreach events. We were so impressed with the experiential opportunities to practice body and self-appreciation thanks to the brilliant creativity and enthusiasm of the student groups who tabled.
This year, the Campus Health Service actually hosted Love Your Body Week, a rather ambitious and encouraging expansion from previous one day events. It is always exciting to see attention being devoted to topics such as body image, which is a highly sensitive and yet a very relatable concern, especially in college. Most women have some level of concern with their appetites, eating, and bodies and we know more and more men are sharing these pressures, too. Body image screening tents were set up throughout campus to help individuals identify potential concerns that may need addressing.
Media literacy was provided by showing the documentary, Miss Representation. “The film explores how the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.”
Later in the week, Dr. Jean Kilbourne, who has studied body image for nearly 50 years, presented her lecture, The Naked Truth: Advertising’s Image of Women. Dr. Kilbourne also provided a low cost training for professionals.
Congratulations to Campus Health Service for presenting such an impressive array of events! If you are a student of UA, you may be interested in learning more about their wonderful Love Your Body Program, a small group, peer training program designed to promote body acceptance that runs each semester.
BINGE EATING DISORDER ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE: March 8-10, 2013 (Bethesda, MD)
With more than 8 million men and women suffering with Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and the upcoming DSM 5 ( Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ) recognizing BED as an official diagnosis, we were very excited to attend the BEDA Conference this year. The conference was very well rounded, offering tracks for mental health providers, dietetic and nutrition providers, and individuals and family touched by BED.
Here are some of the most memorable highlights:
1. Insurance protocols and reimbursement tips. Though these sorts of discussions aren’t necessarily “fun”, we learned some excellent information from Lisa Kantor, attorney at law, who specializes in getting coverage for eating disorders treatment approved when admission or claims are denied. Make sure you document every single conversation you have with your insurance company. Make sure you have a copy of the actual terms of your insurance benefit contract, too. Finally, if you feel you are stuck with getting coverage approved, inquire about whether any co-occurring conditions (i.e. depression) would merit the coverage you need.
2. Eating Disorder as a metaphor for communication. It is not a new concept to consider that those suffering with eating disorders are using food and weight to creatively communicate inner dilemmas, but it is a great reminder that opens the door for compassion. Perhaps this quote will frame it directly, “Every time a person goes on a diet, they are telling themselves that they’re not good enough.” If you feel like you are in a plateau with talk therapy, try drawing upon your creativity as a recovery tool! By approaching expressive arts activities as opportunities for dialogue rather than something that needs interpretation, you could learn a lot about what you truly wish to communicate with the world around you! Use your voice, not your body, to speak!
3. Neuroscience research points to mindfulness techniques. There is a lot of very exciting data coming out of the neuroscience field that offers hope. It appears that some body image distortion can be linked to defective neural processing and multisensory deficits, where the brain locks into a mode of misinterpretation. Mindfulness techniques can be used to increase interoceptive awareness or feeling states in the body. The wonderful thing about this is that anyone can learn mindfulness and it is a portable tool that can be tapped into almost anywhere you go! It requires a consistent discipline to re-pattern the brain, but with 20 min. a day dedicated to this practice, amazing outcomes are possible in the course of just a few short months, eradicating years and years (or even decades) of powerlessness and hopelessness.
4. Our new favorite phrase: weight neutral. It is especially imperative for treatment providers to be aware of their attitudes around weight. Personal biases and weight stigma are harmful enough in their own right. However, imagine opening up your deepest wounds and entrusting your life story only to be faced with someone else’s unresolved issues around weight stigma! We want to strive for weight-neutral care, where the size and shape of a client’s body do not make a difference in regards to the attention, compassion, and quality of care they will receive! In many ways, Binge Eating Disorder has been overlooked, partially due a lack of research and it’s exclusion in the DSM. With its inclusion in the upcoming DSM V, there will be many people coming out of the shadows to seek help. Let us meet this new demand with our whole hearts, so that anyone suffering with an eating disorder feels safe to seek the support they need to be well.