Christy Harrison's podcasts challenging diet culture are inspiring.

Think about what helps you stay balanced in your relationship with food and body. What was the last thing you've seen that gave you a sense of inspiration and hope in this area?


What Does Purging Do To You?

So first let me be clear- although ambivalence about behavioral change is something I encounter on a regular basis in my work with clients- I really don't see clients who are unwilling to actively work on their eating disorder. It may arise that a client presents with other issues and then I discover that they have an active eating disorder and I begin to address the dialectical dilemma of working on what they originally presented with while discovering this piece of information that from my perspective is absolutely vital to their ability to lead a satisfied life. But I digress- when I see clients who struggle with purge behavior I don't see my role as "scare tactitian"- I see my role as coach, guide, teacher, B-S caller outer, and above all, cheerleader. I present some info here that I would use in my "teacher" role. Having information about the consequences of behavior can be a key factor in instilling internal motivation to change a behavior. What is not specified here is that several of these complications can be fatal, chronic inflammation of the esophagus can lead to cancer which may or may not kill you, "dental cavities" is grossly under-stated- prepare for full dentures if you chronically purge, and "abdominal pain" can mean not have a regular bowel movement again for a very long time- possibly ever.

So here's some info from:

Frequent self-induced vomiting causes dehydration, which can influence blood pressure and alter heart rate, specifically contributing to low blood pressure (hypotension) and causing a slower pulse rate (bradycardia) or an irregular heart rate (arrhythmia). In addition, self-induced vomiting contributes to electrolyte imbalances. The loss of stomach acid while vomiting contributes to abnormally low potassium levels in the blood (hypokalemia).  Stomach acid can also contribute to dental cavities by eroding tooth enamel, lead to frequent heartburn, and abdominal pain or nausea. Frequent vomiting may cause a tear in the lining of the esophagus close to the stomach (a Mallory-Weiss tear) that may produce blood in vomit (hematemesis). The use of instruments or fingers to trigger gagging can lead to tears in the back of the throat, sore throat and frequent infections, and calluses may form on the back of the hand and knuckles (Russell’s sign) used to trigger gagging from frequent scraping against upper teeth.  Patients who use self-induced vomiting can also experience more frequent upper respiratory infections if they accidentally inhale vomitus.  Patients who vomit after taking medication, such as antidepressants, may not achieve therapeutic doses.  The repeated use of self-induced vomiting can weaken the muscle at the base of the esophagus and contribute to the development of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) as a complication.   Finally, some patients develop swelling around their cheeks and jawline due to swelling of salivary glands (parotid glands). Taken together, vomiting can lead to a vicious cycle in which its physical consequences (“chipmunk cheeks,” abdominal bloating, and weakened muscles at the base of the esophagus) contribute to more frequent vomiting which increase severity of medical consequences.



A Balanced Relationship with Food!
Great article in NY Magazine
Article on Balanced Eating NY Mag 2018.p
Adobe Acrobat Document 7.0 MB

In my work helping clients with their relationships with food I often hear about the latest diet trends raging at the time. I tell people what we know about diets (they work!! For a minute!! Then you feel worse!!!) in general- that a healthy relationship with one's self and with food is not about a trend, a fad, a diet- it's about finding balance- something that works for you long-term, that promotes your mental and physical health and is more than getting to a number on a scale or sewn into pants. While recognizing that some people do feel better when they avoid certain foods, my general stance towards nutrition is to have a place for all foods, emphasizing whole food nutrients as much as possible. I love the way almonds and avocadoes and whole oats makes me feel and I love the way a cheap hotdog on a hot July day tastes- so I don't exclude the latter. I do value ethical treatment of farm animals and workers so as much as I can I buy local and organic, but I don't stress about eating fast food when I deem it part of living flexibly or what I need to survive in the moment. I like this article for it's straight-forward facts about balanced nutrition.