Monthly Archives: February 2011

For Clinicians

Some of my colleagues have been curious about the various resources around the area that treat eating disorders.  In the spirit of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I thought it might be useful to compile a list here.

1. Multiservice Eating Disorder Association (MEDA)

Do you have a client who needs a simple, once-a-week outpatient group that connects her or him to others struggling with an eating disorder?  MEDA provides two groups for adults 18 and older, and a teen group for younger clients.  In addition, MEDA provides a drop-in group for those who support individuals with an eating disorder.  This organization goes far beyond the group therapy level, however – they offer private coaching sessions for concerned supports, host conferences, and have a monthly speaker who has recovered from an eating disorder herself.  MEDA can also provide your client with a psychiatrist or PCP who specializes in eating disorders.  MEDA is located/can be reached at:

92 Pearl Street, Newton, MA

617.558.1881

 info@medainc.org

2. Walden Behavioral Care

Walden Behavioral Care provides services to eating disordered clients at all functioning levels: Walden has inpatient, residential, partial, and intensive outpatient programs.  The intensive outpatient program runs in the evening, which typically tends to be a warning time for eating disordered behaviors, and includes a meal.  Walden also offers an adolescent intensive outpatient program and a Binge and Night Eating Program.  Walden has an additional campus in Northampton.  Walden is located/can be reached at:

9 Hope Avenue, Suite 500, Waltham, MA

781.647.6727

Info@waldenbehavioralcare.com

3. Cambridge Eating Disorder Center

Located in Harvard Square, CEDC also offers residential, partial and intensive outpatient programs.  CEDC’s other services include family/couples therapy, nutrition counseling, and a monthly family and support group.  To refer a client, call  (617) 547-2255 ext. 222.

4. Klarman Center for Eating Disorders, McLean Hospital

Klarman provides services for those aged 13-23, and provides both residential and partial programs.  Expressive Therapy, DBT/CBT, body image work, and nutritional counseling are just a piece of the work done here.  Call 617.855.3410, or e-mail Klarmancenter@mclean.harvard.edu.

5.  Laurel Hill Inn

LHI is located in a residential neighborhood in Medford, MA and is private (read: only takes certain insurances).  LHI provides residential, partial, and evening programs.  At this facility, clients participate in realistic, everyday rituals with food (clients take cooking lessons, go shopping for food, go on dinner outings when deemed appropriate and safe).  For more information, call (781) 396-1116 or send email to lhi@laurelhillinn.com.

“I Feel Fat!”

“Oh, God, I ate all of that.  I just feel so fat!”

Fat is not a feeling.

And I’m so fucking sick of hearing people claim that it is!

Think about it.  We have sadness, happiness, joy, fear, anger, rage, confusion, agitation, despair, jubilance, anguish, compassion, defeat, glee, foolishness, hatred, insanity, misery, loving, panic, optimism, regret, shame, and thousands of other beautiful words in the English language one can use to describe how they’re feeling.  However, most individuals at some point or another have appointed “fat” –  a greasy, porous substance  – as a feeling word.  And it’s simply not.

Eckhart Tolle talks about unconsciousness causing suffering and pain in an individual.  Well, I believe the expression “I feel fat” is one of the most unconscious, trance-like utterings on the face of this earth.  Repeated over and over, it is used by many to a) cover up how they’re really feeling about consuming food and feeding themselves and b) fit in with an image-obsessed culture, which isn’t really cool to begin with. 

So what are you really avoiding when you say it?  Are you feeling physical discomfort?  Are you feeling guilty because you ate more than is socially acceptable?  Are you fearful of judgment by your waiter or dining companion?  Or is it deeper issue?  Do you feel like it says something about your character?  That you are inherently sloth-like or lazy?  Is it indicative of something you are too afraid to go near?

Sadly, most people will never approach this kind of mindfulness.  But it is this kind of tuning-in that facilitates growth about both physical and emotional appetites. 

When I was stuck in this trance, when I was sick with an eating disorder, it was about the fear of being “too much” in general.  Anyone who truly knows me knows that my emotions naturally run high and I tend to be passionate about causes and people.  And I feared that was too much for others.  So my eating behaviors were indicative of such: I starved myself to have no emotions, no passion, no space to take up.  Starvation numbed the “too-much” ness I feared.  But it was a lot easier to just say, “I feel fat.”

Do me a favor.  As this week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, take a second after your next hearty meal and ask yourself what you’re feeling.   Don’t use food as a way to check out or disconnect.  Tune into yourself and be ok with whatever you carry with you.  Cause guess what?  You’re not feeling fat.

(Image provided by Google Images.)