An Eating Disorder Specialty Team’s Journey into the Psychological Treatment of Eating & Weight Issues
For the past 25 years, our eating disorder team at A New Beginning has worked extensively with individuals of all ages, helping clients who struggle in their relationship with food to make peace with food, embrace their bodies, and to develop emotionally and nutritionally healthy eating behavior.
A specialty eating disorder facility, A New Beginning’s primary focus had historically been focused on the comprehensive care of individuals struggling to overcome “classic” eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
While our eating disordered clients have always come in different shapes, sizes and behavioral patterns, a notable trend began emerging in recent years. Specifically, clients struggling with binge eating behavior, emotional eating, night eating episodes, and consequential issues with weight began coming into our treatment center for help.
Many times, clients shared that they had had an extensive dieting history, oftentimes having been placed on restrictive diets starting in childhood. Other times, they shared that their chronic dieting behavior led to cycles of diet-overeat-diet-overeat problematic eating or binge eating episodes.
Clients oftentimes expressed their desire to lose weight, but were frustrated when they were repeatedly put on ineffective, depriving diets by their medical providers that only served to trigger new episodes of bingeing or overeating. Or, in other cases, when they were simply told to “love your body” with no answer for how to safely reverse fatty liver disease or lose enough weight to fulfill their heart’s dream of going skydiving on their 50th birthday.
These otherwise strong and capable clients expressed feeling “weak” and “ashamed” of themselves due to the fact that they could not stay on a diet for longer than a few days without lapsing into overeating behavior.
As eating disorder specialists, we knew that these clients were not “failing” as they believed. We knew that dieting for anybody is a grossly ineffective means of managing food and weight issues and that dieting oftentimes leads to the development of binge eating, and the creation of the very weight issues that they were, ironically, trying to change.
And we knew that we needed to help.
Dieting to Obesity
As our nation continues to become increasingly more consumed with issues of weight and our growing “obesity epidemic,” our country’s dieting culture has continued to grow as a means to respond to the emotional and physical concerns associated with being overweight. Unfortunately, research continues to show that diets are 95% ineffective for long-term weight loss and/or behavioral change, with the vast majority of people who diet regaining all of the weight they lost within 2-5 years, and an additional 87% of people going on to gain even MORE weight following every diet cycle.
In other words, our nation is “Dieting to Obesity,” a phenomenon our TheHealthyWeighOut team feels needs to change.
There ARE reasons why you overeat: An Emotional Component to Chronic Overeating
As eating disorder specialists, we know that there is a very real emotional component that frequently drives people to reach for food, even when they are not physically hungry and/or do not want to overeat. This “emotional component” is different across people, but is typically related to having learned to turn to food as a primary means to cope with normal, albeit difficult, stressors of life. Oftentimes, it is this emotional component that “sabotages” your ability to eat in a moderate manner, despite your desire and valiant efforts to do so!
Created Especially for Emotional Eaters and Binge Eaters
TheHealthyWeighOut is a groundbreaking, comprehensive program created specifically for individuals who struggle with overeating due to emotional eating, binge eating behavior, and/or chronic dieting.
As eating disorder specialists, we know that to be successful at achieving long-term, sustainable behavioral change and associated effective weight management, our clients need to look at their emotional relationship with food, and to learn how to respond to their emotional feelings and needs in a manner that does not involve food. In other words, to learn how to eat for nutritional need, not emotional fulfillment.
Additionally, for successful behavioral change, we know that it is imperative to learn a healthy, sustainable alternative to dieting that does not trigger feelings of deprivation and teaches you how to eat all foods in healthy moderation without restrictive practices that backfire into binge eating.
This “Intuitive Eating” approach is what allows you to eventually eat in response to true feelings of physical hunger and to stop based on true feelings of physical fullness, allowing your body’s innate ability to direct healthy weight management and the ability to live within a body that settles into a natural and consistent weight range.
Lastly, our Registered Dietitians know that in our sedentary culture, successful weight management must include some form of enjoyable movement, what our The HealthyWeighOut team calls, “Intuitive Exercise”
In other words, TheHealthyWeighOut is born!
A Truly INNOVATIVE Emotional & Binge Eating Program
Perhaps the first outpatient treatment program in the nation to combine the treatment of Emotional Eating and Binge Eating Disorder with an emotionally healthy approach to weight issues, our program is truly blazing a new path by integrating the necessary, interrelated areas of Emotional, Nutritional, and Movement health with a healthy “no-diet” approach for long-term, sustainable behavioral change that will forever change the way you approach food, your body and your Self!