Eating disorders are a serious illness that can affect both your emotional and physical health. If you are not sure if you have an eating disorder or what can be done to make changes, please read on to find out more. You can also watch this video with the criteria's for eating disorders. Counseling can help you gain freedom from your struggle with food, weight, poor body image and the roller coaster of disordered eating.
You don't have to have a full blow eating disorder to benefit from counseling.
Do you struggle with eating moderately, healthily, and mindfully?
At Wilson Counseling we subscribe to the Intuitive Eating model of eating.
What is intuitive eating?
Intuitive eating is a way of eating that is based on the idea that you can listen to your hunger and fullness cues to know when it's time to feed your body or time to stop eating.
The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating are:
Reject the diet mentality
Diets historically don't work, at least not for very long. Rid yourself of the idea that you are less than if you are not at your dream weight. Allow yourself to get off the yoyo diets and start eating more intuitively.
Honor your hunger
You can train your body to know when it is hungry and when it is full. Honor that hunger by feeding your body with food that give your energy and nutrition. Starving yourself or being overly restrictive will often be the reason people bing or over eat.
Make peace with food
You don't have to be at war with food. If you forbid yourself from eating certain foods, your sense of deprivation will kick in and make you want to eat those foods. No foods need to be completely off the table (unless you have allergic reactions to them), you may just need to learn to eat more mindfully.
Challenge the food police
Food is not your enemy. In fact food is life. If you can learn not to treat food as having traits that are morally good or bad, you can begin to have a more neutral perspective of it. This will free you to eat foods that feel good in your body and nurture you without good guilt and shame.
Discover the satisfaction factor
Allow yourself to enjoy food. If you truly let yourself eat and find pleasure in good, you are less likely to overeat.
Feel your fullness
You can learn the skill of feeling your fullness by slowing down and eating mindfully. You can trust that your body will tell you when it's time to stop eating.
Cope with your emotions with kindness
Life is hard. Sometimes we use food to numb the pain or help us feel more in control, but food is a poor substitute for what you actually need. Through counseling, you can learn to meet your real needs and cope with your emotions with kindness and not just with food.
Respect your body
Despite what the fashion magazines say, lots of different body types are beautiful, functional and endowed with inherent dignity. We each have a differnt genetic blueprint. Learn to love or at least accept your body.
Movement- feel the difference
You don't have to do a 5 am bootcamp 7 days a week to feel good in your body. However, your body does need movement to feel energized and healthy. If you don't have a regular time daily that you have moment, start small and work up. Even a brisk walk can make the difference.
Honor your health- gentle nutrition
Choose foods that honor your taste buds as well as those that are healthy. Eating ice cream one time is not going to change your weight. Focus on being healthy over the long haul.
To learn more about Intuive Eating , we recommend the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Triblole and Elyse Resch who pioneered this idea of Intuitive Eating, and who came up with these 10 principles.
Binge Eating Disorder
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (Arfid )
Characterized by individuals who persistently eat non-nutritive substances such as chalk, paper or soap for at least a month.
An eating disoder in which an individual, usually a child or infant, brings their food back up, re-chew and re-swallw, and it is not caused by a medical condition such as a gastrointestinal condition. It differs from Bulimia in that the individual does not appear to be brining the food up intentionally, nor do they appear upset or disgusted by it. This condition can lead to malnutrition.
Unlike bulimia nervosa, persons with compulsive overeating disorder do not purge them of excess calories following a binge episode.
Health Consequences of Anorexia Nervosa
In anorexia nervosa’s cycle of self-starvation, the body is denied the essential nutrients it needs to function normally. Thus, the body is forced to slow down all of its processes to conserve energy, resulting in serious medical consequences:
Health Consequences of Bulimia Nervosa
The recurrent binge-and-purge cycles of bulimia can affect the entire digestive system and can lead to electrolyte and chemical imbalances in the body that affect the heart and other major organ functions. Some of the health consequences of bulimia nervosa include:
Health Consequences of Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating disorder often results in many of the same health risks associated with clinical obesity. Some of the potential health consequences of binge eating disorder include:
Biology of Eating Disorders and Teens
Have you ever wondered why eating disorders are so prevalent in teen girls?
There are many factors that play into this, but one that a lot of people don't know about is biological. Puberty makes teens girls vulnerable because of changes in their body mass composition.
For females, the percentage of fat increases by 17-25% of their body weight. This results in a change in their set point (their preset weight that is hardwired into their DNA). This does not occur in males. Girls at age 19 eat 12% less than at age 10 but gain more fat stores. By comparison, boys at 19 eat 20% more than at age 10 but don't gain fat stores. Biology does not affect boys and girls in the same way when it comes to body mass composition and weight.
These changes in their bodies are all happening at a time when a sense of body image and identity are at the forefront. Adolescence is also a time when both boys and girls are desperately seeking approval from their peers, and a time they are evaluating their body's ability to attract a partner. They also can't escape living in a world that idealized thin bodies. We all feel that pressure. These factors make adolescent girls particularly vulnerable to eating disorders.
Unfortunately, that does not mean boys are not affected by eating disorders. About one in three people dealing with disordered eating are male. In the United States, eating disorders will affect 10 million males at some point during their lives.
Therapy can help adolescents as they are beginning to form their sense of identity to feel secure, and have a stronger self of esteem. It can also help if they have already started to form a poor self-image or a difficult relationship with good. If they have a full-blown eating disorder, please contact us to get help right away. There can be serious health consequences associated with eating disorders.
Are you worried you have an eating disorder? Take this Eating Disorder quiz to see if you meet criteria for an eating disorder.
Then you might have an Eating Disorder. An estimated 5-10 million Americans are affected by eating disorders. I have worked with hundreds of people who are struggling with these same issues.
In a comfortable, supportive environment, we can work together to help you gain control of your life, your body and your self image. Treatment is tailored to meet your individual needs. Nancy often works in conjunction with the licensed dietitians who specialize in working with people who struggle with anorexia, bulimia, food addictions, binge eating disorder, obesity, compulsive exercising and compulsive overeating.
Working in a treatment team with a therapist and a dietitian will give you the greatest success in overcoming your eating disorder. Contact Wilson Counseling today to discuss your needs and to see how eating disorder counseling in Houston, Tx can help you. You can also reach us via email nancy@wilsoncounseling .org or by phone @ 713 - 591- 3612.
"For years, I struggled with overeating. I never felt comfortable in my own skin. Nancy helped me understand what I was trying to feed. Now I feel better than I ever have. I can finally say that food no longer controls me."
"I felt really ambivalent about my life until I came to therapy. Now I see the potential to be happy. Coming to see you has changed my life!"
"I spent so much time trying to change my body. So many hours wasted feeling bad about myself and obsessing about what I was eating. Through counseling, I have learned to love my curves. I just wish I had done this sooner"
Malnutrition - caused by undereating or overeating. The word malnutrition indicates deficiency for energy, protein and micronutrients (e.g. vitamin A, iodine and iron) either singularly or in combination. It can cause severe health risks including (but not limited to) respiratory infections, kidney failure, blindness, heart attack and death. Links: NutriQuest -- Body of Evidence Malnutrition Defined
Dehydration - caused by the depletion or lack of intake of fluids in the body, or by restriction of carbohydrates and fat. Restriction/Starvation, vomiting and laxative abuse are the primary causes in sufferers of Eating Disorders. Symptoms include dizziness, weakness, or darkening of urine. It can lead to kidney failure, heart failure, seizures, brain damage and death. Links: Dehydration Dehydration Defined
Electrolyte Imbalances - electrolyte are essential to the production of the body's "natural electricity" that ensures healthy teeth, joints and bones, nerve and muscle impulses, kidneys and heart, blood sugar levels and the delivery of oxygen to the cells. Links: The Minerals That Make Up Electrolytes
Hyponatremia (related to "water-loading") - as stated above, electrolytes are essential to proper body functioning. Drinking too much water (more than eight, eight-ounce glasses in less than twelve hours), can cause Hyponatremia (not enough sodium in the blood), especially in someone already malnourished or dehydrated. Hyponatremia can cause fluid in the lungs, the brain to swell, nausea, vomiting, confusion and even death.
Refeeding Syndrome (related to treatment) - Starved or severely malnourished patients can undergo life-threatening fluid and electrolyte shifts following the initiation of aggressive nutritional support therapies. This phenomenon is known as "refeeding syndrome" and can occur in patients receiving either enteral (tube feeding) or parenteral (intravenous feeding) nutritional support. To avoid the development of the refeeding syndrome, nutrition support in patients at risk should be increased slowly while assuring adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. Organ function, fluid balance and serum electrolytes (especially phosphorus, potassium and magnesium) need to be monitored daily during the first week and less often thereafter. Links: Refeeding Syndrome Monitoring Nutrition Therapy
Lanugo - (soft downy hair on face, back and arms). This is caused due to a protective mechanism built-in to the body to help keep a person warm during periods of starvation and malnutrition, and the hormonal imbalances that result.
Edema - swelling of the soft tissues as a result of excess water accumulation. It is most common in the legs and feet of Compulsive Overeaters and in the abdominal area of Anorexics and/or Bulimics (can be caused by Laxative and Diuretic use).
Muscle Atrophy - wasting away of muscle and decrease in muscle mass due to the body feeding off of itself.
Paralysis - transient (or temporary) paralysis -- extreme weakness of muscles or not being able to move at all -- Caused by low levels of potassium, and/or the degeneration of nerve cells, in the spinal cord or in the brain, which have been deprived of essential nutrients. Left untreated, periods of paralysis may happen more frequently and more severely, lead to permanent muscle weakness, and even result in death.
Tearing of Esophagus - caused by self-induced vomiting
Mallory-Weiss tear - associate with vomiting, a tear of the gastroesophageal junction
Gastric Rupture - spontaneous stomach erosion, perforation or rupture.
Gastrointestinal Bleeding - bleeding into the digestive tract. Links: Gastrointestinal Bleeding Information
Esophageal Reflux - Acid Reflux Disorders - partially digested items in the stomach, mixed with acid and enzymes, regurgitates back into the esophagus. This can lead to damage to the esophagus, larynx and lungs and increases the chances of developing cancer of the esophagus and voice box. Reflux can sometimes become severe enough that food cannot be kept down at all and medical attention should be sought immediately.
Barrett's Esophagus - associated with Cancer of the esophagus and caused by Esophageal Reflux, this is a change in the cells within the esophagus. Links: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Barrett's esophagus
Cancer - of the throat and voice box (Larynx) due to acid reflux disorders. Links: Cancer of the Larynx
Insomnia - having problems falling and/or staying asleep.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - continuous and crippling fatigue related to a weakened immune system. Links: The CFIDS Association
Hyperactivity - manic bouts of not being able to sit still.
Swelling - in face and cheeks (following self-induced vomiting).
Callused or bruised fingers - this is caused by repeatedly using the fingers to induce vomiting.
Dry Skin and Hair, Brittle Hair and Nails, Hair Loss - cause by Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies, malnutrition and dehydration.
Low Blood Pressure, Hypotension (more common in those with Anorexia and/or Bulimia) - cause by lowered body temperature, malnutrition and dehydration. Can cause heart arrhythmias, shock or myocardial infarction. Links: Low Blood Pressure
Orthostatic Hypotension - sudden drop in blood pressure upon sitting up or standing. Symptoms include dizziness, blurred vision, passing out, heart pounding and headaches. Links: Orthostatic Hypotension
High Blood Pressure, Hypertension (more common in those with Compulsive Overeating and/or Binge Eating Disorder) - elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90. Can cause: blood vessel changes in the back of the eye creating vision impairment; abnormal thickening of the heart muscle; kidney failure; and brain damage. Links: Hypertension
Low Platelet Count or Thrombocytopenia - Caused by low levels of vitamin B12 and Folic Acid, and/or by excessive alcohol. It may also be an indication of a suppressed immune system or immune dysfunction. Links: Thrombocytopenia
Disruptions in Blood Sugar Levels - Low Blood Sugar/Hypoglycemia: can indicate problems with the liver or kidneys and can lead to neurological and mental deterioration. Links: Reactive Hypoglycemia Homepage
Elevated Blood Sugar/Hyperglycemia - can lead to diabetes, liver and kidney shut down, circulatory and immune system problems.
Diabetes - high blood sugar as a result of low production of insulin. This can be caused by hormonal imbalances, hyperglycemia, or chronic pancreatitis. Links: Eating Disorders and Diabetes
Ketoacidosis - high levels of acids that build up in the blood (known as ketones) caused by the body burning fat (instead of sugar and carbohydrates) to get energy. It can be a result of starvation, excessive purging, dehydration, hyperglycemia and/or alcohol abuse (it can also be a result of uncontrolled or untreated diabetes). It can lead to coma and death. Links: Diabetic ketoacidosis Alcohol Ketoacidosis*You do not need to be diabetic or alcoholic to end up with Ketoacidosis!
Iron Deficiency, Anemia - this makes the oxygen transporting units within the blood useless and can lead to fatigue, shortness of breath, increased infections, and heart palpitations. Links: Anemia Anemia
Kidney Infection and Failure - your kidneys "clean" the poisons from your body, regulate acid concentration and maintain water balance. Vitamin Deficiencies, dehydration, infection and low blood pressure increase the risks of and associated with kidney infection thus making permanent kidney damage and kidney failure more likely.
Osteoporosis - Thinning of the bones with reduction in bone mass due to depletion of calcium and bone protein, predisposing to fractures.
Osteopenia - Below normal bone mass indicating a calcium and/or vitamin D deficiency and leading to Osteoporosis. * Hormone imbalance/deficiencies associated with the loss of the menstrual cycle can also increase your risks of Osteoporosis and Osteopenia.
Arthritis (degenerative) - can be caused by hormonal imbalances and vitamin deficiencies as well as increased stress on the joints in individuals who suffering Compulsive Overeating.
TMJ "Syndrome" and Related TMJ Problems - degenerative arthritis within the tempero-mandibular joint in the jaw (where the lower jaw hinges to the skull) creating pain in the joint area, headaches, and problems chewing and opening/closing the mouth. Vitamin deficiencies and teeth grinding (often related to stress) can both be causes. Links: Toothaches and TMJ Syndrome The TMJ Association
Amenorrhea - Loss of Menstrual Cycle (due to lack of secreting hormone, Oestrogen, by the ovaries). Loss of the menstrual cycle can also lead to Osteopenia and Osteoporosis. Links: Secondary Amenorrhea
Easily Bruising Skin - Vitamin Deficiencies that decrease the body's ability to heal itself, low blood pressure, low platelets count and/or extreme weight loss will all lead to easily bruised skin that can take a long time to heal.
Dental Problems, Decalcification of teeth, erosion of tooth enamel, severe decay, Gum Disease - will be caused by stomach acids and enzymes (from vomiting); vitamin D and calcium deficiencies, and hormonal imbalance. Can also be due to the lack of exercise the teeth can get from the process of eating certain foods. Dental problems can sometime indicate problems with the heart. Links: Toothaches and TMJ Syndrome Dental Erosion
Liver Failure - the liver aids in removing waste from cells, and aids in digestion. You cannot live without your Liver. Fasting and taking acetaminophen (drug found in over-the-counter pain killers) increases your risks for Liver damage and failure. Loss of menstruation and dehydration (putting women at risk for too much iron in their system), and chronic heart failure can lead to liver damage or failure.
Bad Circulation, Slowed or Irregular Heartbeat, Arrhythmias, Angina, Heart Attack - There are many factors associated with having an Eating Disorder that can lead to heart problems or a heart attack. Sudden cardiac arrest can cause permanent damage to the heart, or instant death... electrolyte imbalances (especially potassium deficiency), dehydration, malnutrition, low blood pressure, extreme orthostatic hypotension, abnormally slow heart rate, electrolyte imbalances, and hormonal imbalances can all cause serious problems with the heart, high blood pressure, accumulation of fat deposits around the heart muscle, high cholesterol, decreased exercise due to lack of mobility, diabetes and hormonal imbalances can all lead to serious problems with the heart.
Infertility - the inability to have children. Caused by loss of menstrual cycle, and hormonal imbalances. Malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies can also make it impossible to succeed with a full-term pregnancy, and can increase the chances significantly of a baby born with birth defects.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome - a study a few years ago suggested that people with Eating
Disorders were at an increased risk for developing Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCO), and that recovery from the Eating Disorder should be part of treatment for PCO. Links: International Council on Infertility
Problems during pregnancy - including potential for high risk pregnancies, miscarriage, still born babies and death or chronic illness from minor to severe, in children born (all due to malnutrition, dehydration, vitamin and hormone deficiencies). Links: Eating Disorders and Pregnancy
Depression - mood swings and depression can be cause by physiological factors such as electrolyte imbalances, hormone and vitamin deficiencies, malnutrition and dehydration. Living with the Eating Disorder behaviors themselves will cause depression. Depression can also lead the sufferer back into the cycle of the Eating Disorder (or may have initially been the problem before the onset of the ED). Stress within family, job and relationships can all be causes. There are also a percentage of people born with a pre-disposition to depression, based on family history. Can lead to Suicide
Also see: Associations and Addictions
Lowered body temperature - Temperature Sensitivity - caused by loss of healthy insulating layer of fat and lowered blood pressure.
Cramps, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, incontinence - increased or decreased bowel activity. Also see: dangerous methods
Peptic Ulcers - aggravated or made more severe by increased stomach acids, cigarette smoking, high consumption of caffeine or alcohol Links: Peptic Ulcer Info
Pancreatitis - this is when the digestive enzymes attack the pancreas. It can be caused by repeated stomach trauma (such as with vomiting), alcohol consumption or the excessive use of laxatives or diet pills. Links: Pancreatitis
Digestive Difficulties - a deficiency in digestive enzymes will lead to the bodies inability to properly digest food and absorb nutrients. This can lead to malabsorption problems, malnutrition and electrolyte imbalances. Diseases that may be triggered by a history of an Eating Disorder include: Celiac Disease (gluten sensitivity), and Crohn's Disease Links: Celiac.com The Connection Gastrointestinal Disorder DigestInfo.com
Weakness and Fatigue - caused by generalized poor eating habits, electrolyte imbalances, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, depression, malnutrition, heart problems.
Seizures - the increased risk of seizures in Anorexic and Bulimic individuals may be caused by dehydration, hyperglycemia or ketoacidosis. It is also possible that lesions on the brain caused by long-term malnutrition and lack of oxygen-carrying cells to the brain may play a role. SOME type of antidepressants can increase the risk of seizure and usually carry a warning against prescribing them to people with Eating Disorders, unless the benefits significantly outweigh the risks.
Death caused by any of the following or any combination of the following: heart attack or heart failure; lung collapse; internal bleeding, stroke, kidney failure, liver failure; pancreatitis, gastric rupture, perforated ulcer, depression and suicide.
You will learn the steps to eat more mindfully. Learning to slow down, enjoy and be present when you eat has so many benefits. Food will taste better, you will enjoy the process more and likely eat less. This is helpful for everyone, but especially if you dealt with disordered eating, emotional eating, binge eating, mindless eating, etc. It is also great if you just want to learn to be mindful in all areas of your life.
Learn how to stop emotional eating and get your real needs met. Do you eat when you are sad, happy, angry, frustrated? You may be eating emotionally. This kind of eating just serves to distract you temporarily from your feelings, but doesn't offer real solutions. In this video, you will learn to combat emotional eating so you can actually recognize and meet needs such as loneliness and boredom. Check out the Wilson Counseling youtube channel for other great videos like this one.
Please contact us with questions or to schedule an appointment. We offer counseling in person in Houston as well as virtually in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Austin, El Paso and throughout Texas.
5909 West Loop South, Bellaire, TX 77401 #670 - Please contact us with questions or to schedule an appointment with an anxiety therapist on Houston or thought out Texas. We offer counseling in person in Houston as well as virtually in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Austin, El Paso and throughout Texas.