Monday, September 07, 2015

Enough with the "New Skinny"

"Strong is the new skinny."

"Healthy is the new skinny."

"Curvy is the new skinny."

Everything is the new skinny.

These slogans, presumably constructed to promote body acceptance and offer an alternative to the thin ideal, still posit a common end-goal. We're still striving for some iteration of skinny and continuing to promote thinness as the gold standard of success.

So let's step away from skinny as the solution - and focus on strength, health, curves, or whatever else we value without a tired target diluting our intention.

We don't need another skinny.

You can find Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation's Fixation with Food and Weight on Amazon (as a paperback and Kindle) and at

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Misinterpreting Intuitive Eating

As a proponent of intuitive eating, I'm often presented with challenges to the model that seem to misinterpret its basic premise. I've heard some interpret intuitive eating to mean that we're advocating that people eat cake each and every time they're hungry.

But that's really missing the point. Intuitive eating is a flexible practice that encourages you to trust your body - but it encourages you to be mindful of the signals your body is sending before, during, and after you eat.

In her piece, "Why I'm Not an Intuitive Eating Coach," Isabel Foxen Duke offers some additional misconceptions around the practice of intuitive eating. While she's right - that many will turn intuitive eating into a diet - the premise of intuitive eating is based on rejecting the diet mentality, so if you're turning it into a diet, you're not doing intuitive eating. If you're creating rules related to intuitive eating, then you're still interacting with the food police.

Intuitive eating, as discussed by Tribole and Resch, offers a set of 10 practices that are just that - practices. They aren't rules, rigid guidelines, or anything else so structured as to invite rebellion and dissent.

That said, they offer a decent blueprint for developing a healthy relationship with food. Note that only two of the ten practices involve how people normally define intuitive eating - eating when you're hungry and stopping when you're full - "Honor Your Hunger" and "Respect Your Fullness." When someone turns intuitive eating into a diet, she's really ignoring the rest of the principles and overly, rigidly focusing on these two.

What's more, intuitive eating, in my understanding, was developed as a compassionate approach toward healing disordered eating. If people eat past fullness or use food to cope with feelings, they aren't shamed or berated by their counselors; rather, the information is used as a learning opportunity. The spirit is of collaboration and compassion, diametrically opposed to the diet mentality.

Intuitive eating promotes eating for nourishment and pleasure, a balance, which, as a delicate dance, is fluid, evolving, and forgiving.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Dear People. . .

Dear People Magazine,

I recently happened upon your exclusive video, Kendra Wilkinson on Why She Can't Really Have a Six-Pack Right Now, and I wanted to share a few thoughts.

Kendra's six-pack, or lack thereof, isn't news. Some may argue that all celebrity gossip lacks journalistic integrity, but this item is particularly insignificant.

More, Kendra shouldn't have to defend the fact that her abs currently lack chiseling. No excuses are necessary for her body shape or size. And suggesting that she doesn't have a six-pack "right now" implies a promise of abdominal contouring to come. People readers don't need a guarantee.

Women's bodies - their weight gains and losses, their cellulite, their "problem areas" - need not fill your pages. You could publish an entire year's worth of magazines without a single feature, or even comment, on a celebrity body - and in doing so, you would contribute to a growing culture of positive body image promotion and self-acceptance. Imagine how newsworthy that would be!

You can find Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation's Fixation with Food and Weight on Amazon (as a paperback and Kindle) and at

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Happy Bookiversary and Another Book Giveaway!

In honor of the one-year anniversary of the publication of Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation's Fixation with Food and Weight, I'm hosting another book giveaway!

To enter the contest, either email me privately (drstaceyny at gmail dot com) or comment below on the topic of: "What Recovery Means to Me."

The deadline for entries is 6/29/15. Two winners will be selected at random that week, and the books should arrive around Independence Day.

Fine print: Please enter the contest only once. For those who submit via email, please include your mailing address to receive a book if you win. If you submit via comment, be sure to send me a follow-up email with your mailing address. By submitting an entry, you authorize DEWHAED to post your anonymous response. Winners will be selected by drawing so as to preserve response integrity. Prior contest winners are ineligible to win this contest.

You can find Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation's Fixation with Food and Weight on Amazon (as a paperback and Kindle) and at

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Love Letter to My Patients in Early Recovery from Anorexia

You recently accused me of wanting you to be fat. Here's what I've been thinking. . . . Long after we part ways, I'll remember the sound of your voice, the tender and emotional moments we shared, those times we burst out laughing together. I'll have little memory of what you weighed.

I have no investment in wanting you, according to your eating disorder, to be fat. What I care about is your brain, that it's nourished sufficiently for you to think clearly and be yourself again. I'd like to see you return to the you you were before this ugly illness hijacked your anatomy and convinced you to accept this as your new normal.

I want you to be healthy - yes, I know you hate this word right now - but, I do. I want you to be able to swim in the ocean, sit comfortably in class, breathe in the mountain air, sleep like a baby, and have a baby (if you're a woman and that's what you want).

I want your bones to be strong enough to remain fracture-free, to support you on the dance floor and through old age. Hopefully, you'll live long and hard in recovery.

I want your hair to return to its previous fullness and luster.

I want your organs to function efficiently, as if to shout, for example, "This is what it looks like to be a working kidney!"

I want your heart to beat at a normal rate and rhythm. I want your most precious muscle to be stable and strong.

I want you to experience less depression and anxiety, for you to rest comfortably through the night, and for those frightening suicidal thoughts, that never plagued you before, to fade into the darkness.

I want you to feel energized, strong, and capable.

You're so immersed in this illness that you don't think anything's wrong. But there is. And I know that the core you, the real you, is terrified and pleading for help.

I don't want you to be fat. I just want you, in multiple definitions of the word, to live.

You can find Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation's Fixation with Food and Weight on Amazon (as a paperback and Kindle) and at

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Two Awards this Week!

This blog was the lucky recipient of not one, but two awards in the blogosphere this week!
Best of the Web - Blog

The first came from Psych Central, which named DEWHAED one of the Top 10 Eating Disorder Blogs of 2015.
The second award came courtesy of Healthline, awarding DEWHAED one of the Best Eating Disorder Blogs of 2015.

Many thanks to these sites for recognizing my nine years(!) of blogging dedication. I encourage my readers to check out my great company on both lists for additional reading suggestions. 

You can find Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation's Fixation with Food and Weight on Amazon (as a paperback and Kindle) and at

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Helping Patients with Binge Eating Disorder Drop the Weight (Mentality)

A woman, who reported she struggles with Binge Eating Disorder, contacted me recently online. She was scheduled to participate in a medical weight-loss program but wondered if she should address her BED first. Unfortunately, this woman is not the only person with BED who has fallen prey to the weight-loss industry.

One of the most challenging things in my work with patients with BED is disavowing them of the diet and weight mentality. Most patients come in with a significant diet history and, despite many failed diet attempts, are intent on losing weight in treatment via the latest diet trends.

I've found through the years that with some patients, getting them to commit to working on their binges, rather than focusing on weight, is a relatively easy switch, while others remain firmly entrenched in a weight-centric mentality. With these patients, I see little-to-no progress. They're they ones that drop out of treatment prematurely when I tell them that their most recent return to Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig is contraindicated with our work. It's a major paradigm shift that's required, and my experience is that patients who are able to think outside the box have an easier time catching on. 

Here are 10 treatment factors I've found that can help bring many patients with BED around to more of a focus on their relationship with food than the current number on the scale.

1) Refuse to set a weight loss goal. Instead, set goals around reducing binge eating and improving the patient's relationship to food.
2) Provide information on the relationship between food restriction and binge eating  (e.g., the diet/binge cycle, the Minnesota Starvation Experiment). Create a timeline of the patient's diet/weight history, noting weight losses followed by inevitable gains. 
3) Do not support the patient's participation in eating trends, cleanses, jumpstarts, etc. Focus on what the patient can add to his current "diet," rather than take away.
4) Operate from an intuitive eating perspective and encourage the patient to legalize off-limits foods in a mindful way.
5) Explore the emotional function of binge eating, as well as how an attachment to the diet mentality may trigger binge emotions. 
6) Provide information on the "Health at Every Size" movement, as well as on the media's inflated damages of obesity; cite meta-analytic studies suggesting that those who are overweight or low-level obese are just as healthy as their "normal"-weight peers.
7) Educate the patient on societal and internalized weight stigma and the toll these experiences can take on her physical and mental health.
8) Work with the patient on acceptance and self-care of his body as-is.
9) Encourage a relationship with movement that is joyful and reinforcing and thus more likely to persist beyond sporadic, diet-centric efforts.
10) Recognize that healing from an eating disorder might be a bumpy road but that, with persistence and attention to the above factors, recovery is entirely possible.

You can find Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation's Fixation with Food and Weight on Amazon (as a paperback and Kindle) and at