podcasts

Understanding Disordered Eating – Podcast

By Jason Clayden on February 22, 2023

Whether you are personally affected by disordered eating, know someone who is, or simply want to learn more, join us as we shed light on this important topic and work to promote healing and recovery for all.

During this interview with Jill Haber, LMHC, we aim to provide a compassionate and informative discussion about the challenges of navigating this illness, increase awareness and understanding of disordered eating, as well as provide practical advice for those who may be struggling.

Listen and Subscribe Here

Nicholette Leanza:

Welcome to Convos from the Couch By LifeStance Health. We leading little health professionals help guide you on your journey to a healthier, more fulfilling life. Hello, everyone, and welcome to Convos from the Couch by LifeStance Health. I’m Nicholette Leanza, and on this episode, I’ll be talking with Jill Haber, a clinician from one of our New York City offices. She’ll be helping us understand what is disordered eating? Welcome, Jill. Great to have you on.

Jill Haber:

Hey Nikki, thanks for having me. Hi, everyone.

Nicholette Leanza:

My gosh, I love your enthusiasm. We’re going to have a great conversation about this topic because so many people, I believe, get very confused between eating disorders and what is disordered eating. I know you’ll do a great job really helping parse that out and helping us clarify the difference between the two, and also giving tips and how to build a better relationship with food. Thank you again, Jill, for being on.

Jill Haber:

Great. My pleasure.

Nicholette Leanza:

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jill Haber:

Hello, my name is Jill. I am a licensed mental health counselor in New York City. I’m doing individual therapy with adults, and what some call emerging adults, through life stance. Just a quick explanation of what that term emerging adult means, it’s a very kind of new phrase and not a lot of people use it. Eric Erickson, just to get some background, he was this psychologist who developed the stages of psychosocial development, and it goes from childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, and it goes into the struggles of development and self exploration into the stages.

Then in 2000, the psychologist named Jeffrey Arnette, explored that there seemed to be a stage of development in between adolescence and early adulthood, and we are calling those emerging adults. This is between the ages of 18 and 29 years old, where a person might not necessarily be ready to get married and have a family, still exploring what they want for their career, what even makes sense to them as like, what do I want as a partner? Who even am I? They’re more developed socially and intellectually than an adolescent.

This is the population, just to know a bit about me and why we’ve been talking about that, this is the population that I really like working with as a therapist. I just think it’s super interesting how our culture seemed to change human psychosocial development. That in the fifties, when Erickson developed those stages, it was normal and logical to feel ready to start families in your early twenties, whereas now due to proudly changes in the economy, attitudes towards careers and education, the roles of women in these areas, people are now taking more time to figure out who they are, where they fit in. Yes.

Nicholette Leanza:

Sorry. That’s great. No, Jill that sounds like to me we’re going to have to have you back on to talk about emerging adulthood. That sounds like a whole other episode too.

Jill Haber:

I know.

Nicholette Leanza:

Appreciate that background. Go ahead and continue telling us about yourself.

Jill Haber:

Yeah, no, yeah, thank you. I would love to. I think it’s just so interesting that just to explore with people, there’s life transitions and their identity. Just a brief overview, more of me and my sort of journey, I began my career working with high school age young people as a school counselor, and then spent a few years as a counselor focused on reproductive health, in healthcare facilities in different boroughs in New York City.

I think this started a real interest for me in regards to working with people on their connectedness to their bodies, which will bring us to what we’re here to talk about today. I eventually spent a lot of time in my career in eating disorder treatment. I’ve done meal support, recovery coaching, and in terms as a therapist, in the partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient levels of treatment.

Currently, in my role as individual therapist, my focus is on body image and disordered eating, as opposed to diagnosable eating disorders. We will very much get into what that all means in a few minutes.

Nicholette Leanza:

Great, Jill. You come with a lot of experience talking about this topic, so I really appreciate that. As we jump in, can you tell us more about what is disordered eating?

Jill Haber:

Absolutely. It’s a really complicated question, because when it comes to food and the relationship with our bodies, we live in an extremely, extremely disordered world. I think it might be helpful to sort of further examine this, as if we first understand and explore what does a non-disordered relationship with one’s body and food look like?

Nicholette Leanza:

That’s a good place to start. Yeah.

Jill Haber:

Just imagine this person, they would plain and simple, eat when they’re hungry, stop when they’re full. When I say that, I’m making the words hungry and full sound very black and white and just very all or nothing. It’s not. There’s a lot of nuances there. Just know more about that, there’s this measurement tool we use, it’s called the Hunger Fullness Scale, that works help people navigate the nuances of the different levels of hunger and different levels of full.

It goes from one to 10. I really highly recommend people, if they’re looking to explore their lanes with their bodies, and choices around food to kind of look this up online, the Hunger Fullness Scale to kind of explore for themselves. Just to get an overview, a one on this scale would be, “I am so hungry, I am now physically ill, I might faint.” Then the other extreme, we have a 10, which is, “I am now eating so much that I might be sick. I’m feeling not well whatsoever.” Then we have the levels in between, which is where a non-disordered person might be spending most of their time.

A three would be, “Okay, so I’m getting hungry, maybe I’m feeling a bit of growling in my stomach. Maybe I’m noticing some other physical sensations of hunger. I’m feeling a little tired.” A seven would be, “I’ve eaten enough that I’m feeling pretty comfortable. If I continued to eat, I could see myself starting to no longer feel comfortable.” Now, using this scale, a person with a non-disordered relationship with food probably would not get to the very highs or very lows often at all. Now, life happens, and they might once in a while, but in their daily lives, they stay pretty much in that three to seven zone, which again, means, “I can tell what my body is eating, and I can tell when my body needs to stop eating, and I’m going to respond that way.”

Another factor for someone who’s non-disordered around food is flexibility. Now there are reasons we eat that are not specific to being hungry, and that is okay, just an example, this kind of reminds me. My mom is a retired teacher in New York City Public Schools. I don’t know what public schools are like in the Midwest, Nikki, but in New York City, it is known for being really crowded. Only so many students can fit in the cafeteria at a given time. The way they would schedule lunchtime for these students is some students are eating lunch at 10:00 AM, because that’s the way that they had to work that schedule.

Nicholette Leanza:

That’s still like breakfast.

Jill Haber:

Yes, exactly.

Nicholette Leanza:

It’s fine. Yeah.

Jill Haber:

It’s not ideal, but my point being that sometimes the opportunity to eat is not the conditions you’d like, either the timing, or the food options available, but you still have to eat. When it comes to being non-disordered, I just think of a lot of flexibility, a lot of awareness around what your body needs. When I think of disordered eating, I’m hit with words like rigidity, guilt, extremes, a hyper focus on weight loss, and just consistent body dissatisfaction as the primary reasoning behind one’s choices.

Concerns around the individual and social judgment regarding one’s body and one’s choices around food could be a huge factor for how someone with a disordered relationship with food operates. Just this anxiety around, what will people think of me if I’m eating this? What do people think of me in the body I inhabit?

Nicholette Leanza:

Wow. Okay. Very thorough response to what is disordered eating. Can you give us more specific examples of it?

Jill Haber:

I’m very happy to. To go into that, it’s important to kind of explore what is really confusing about all this is that with everything I’m about to talk about as examples, some of these may seem like behaviors you see every day when people around you that don’t necessarily raise an alarm for you, or it could feel like that could get to a place of being a real mental health concern. If a person’s functioning is impacted or they’re distressed enough that there’s an impairment in their social connectivity, physical health, academic career, or family life, we’re now very possibly crossing the line to meeting diagnostic criteria for a full blown eating disorder.

The way I think of it is this: eating disorders are going to encompass disordered eating, but not all individuals who experience disordered eating are going to be diagnosable for an eating disorder.

Nicholette Leanza:

Oh, interesting. Okay. Tell us more about that. Keep going. Yeah.

Jill Haber:

Oh, sure. To explain this a bit further, if you take a look at the diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder in the DSM, and just to clarify for people, the DSM is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which lists all the mental disorders that can be diagnosable, and what criteria is involved to meet those standards to be diagnosed. There’s going to be specific disordered eating behaviors listed when it comes to an eating disorder. For example, binge-eating disorder. One vital requirement, obviously, is recurrent episodes of binge-eating.

Just to clarify for everyone, because I feel like this is a word bounced around a lot, it can be really helpful to just explain what it really means. Binging encompasses eating in a specific period of time, an amount of food that is definitely larger than what most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances. The person experiences a lack of control over their eating during this episode. Now, to be diagnosed with a binge-eating disorder, a person would need to be doing this at least once a week for at least three months.

It’s also helpful to note if someone is not meeting that specific timeframe criteria for binge-eating disorder, but they’re still binging, they could still be diagnosable with what we call unspecified feeding or eating disorder. The key factor when a person is experiencing disordered eating but doesn’t meet those other eating disorder requirements like the timeframe for binging disorder, or the low weight requirement for having anorexia nervosa, are those behaviors causing significant distress and impacting their functioning?

That’s something a person really has to ask themselves. Is my relationship with food and my body getting in the way of living my life? Is this an obsession that’s causing me distress? Disordered eating toes this very confusing line between, is there something going on here? Does this person need help? The other side of things, okay. Sometimes people take measures to lose weight, and it’s not problematic because it’s knocking the way of their overall functioning, and they don’t seem to be obsessing about it, but it still may be uncomfortable to see.

Just to an example of the nuances, and this is one that doesn’t feel problematic. I’m rewatching the show, Schitt’s Creek. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the show, Nikki?

Nicholette Leanza:

Yes, of course.

Jill Haber:

I’m a big fan. There’s a scene where they’re at a party and Dan Levy is in a cake or something by himself in the corner and he says, “I’m shame eating in private.” It’s funny because it’s Dan Levy and he’s awesome, his facial expressions, and how he delivers the line, but also because we get what that is. We get what shame eating in private is. I think the fact that the line is funny is because people can understand and relate to it.

It’s sort of underlines that a disordered mindset is common enough in our culture, which we can throw a throwaway line that do just exist in comedies. Just give an overview, I think some common example of disordered eating would be some fad dieting, yo-yo dieting, cutting out a main food group, skipping meals, and like my Schitt’s Creek reference, the need to eat private and associate judgment to the active eating or certain foods, any element of under or overeating what your body actually needs, having food rules that do not have to do with allergies or personal preferences.

I think that’s a really important thing to point out. If you’re not eating wheat because you’ve got a gluten allergy, that is different from what I’m talking about here.

Nicholette Leanza:

Right, right.

Jill Haber:

Having food rules, and those rules are fixated on weight loss, behaviors to trick ourselves into eating less, the need to earn eating or certain foods by restricting or exercising as its compensatory measure. To just further contextualize this, imagine there’s a group of friends, meaning for brunch. Brunch is big and new, so meeting for brunch. Someone who struggles with disordered eating is going to experience this event that’s supposed to be fun, social, just an enjoyable time catching up with people, as potentially a minefield of rules and restrictions.

Some of the options on the menu are going to feel like not options for them, because that’s too many calories, or I already ate carbs early today. They might struggle with thoughts around what will my friends think of me existing in my body If I were to choose to eat that in front of them? They might feel the need to make remarks around, “Oh, it’s okay if I eat this because I just went to spin class this morning.” Because of all that anxiety and judgment they feel around this, they might order something that is going to be not as nutritionally dense as what they’re actually needing or hungry for, and will possibly binge later in private.

Ironically, when people do this, choose to restrict during a meal because of all these rules, it’s likely that the amount they eat later it’s going to be much more than the amount they would’ve just eaten at brunch if they had just let themselves eat mindfully without the judgment.

Nicholette Leanza:

Got you, got you. Wow. Great example there for sure. Jill, how does someone develop an issue with disordered eating?

Jill Haber:

This is really complicated. There’s many ways. Disordered eating is often formed as a maladaptive coping response to pain of some kind. There is a message at some point, either through a trauma, depressive or anxious state, or just difficult time period that leads you to just not feel okay as you are and with who you are. The adversarial relationship with your body and with food is response to that.

The way I find helpful to further sort of explain this is to speak to a story, it’s called The Log. It’s from a book by Dr. Anita Johnston that’s a clinical psychologist. This book is called Eating the Light of the Moon. I really recommend it because it’s for people struggling, and it uses myths and folk tales as metaphors to explore our relationship with our bodies. Just paraphrase the story, The Log. It starts out with imagine yourself drowning in like a raging river. You are flailing, and there’s no means of helping yourself.

Then a log appears, and you latch on and hold on for dear life. The log is keeping you afloat in a time when you need it to. Eventually, people are calling out to you on the shore with instructions on how to help you to get off this log and swim safely. They’re yelling at you, begging you to let go of the log and move forward, but you can’t, because that’s terrifying. You’ve been depending on this log for so long, and it’s really hard to treasure yourself without it.

A metaphor here is that a trauma or an overall difficult period is this raging river, and the disordered relationship with your body gave you the sense of purpose like that log, it kept you afloat. It’s just unimaginably difficult to imagine yourself without it, and that’s why it was developed. Yeah, so that being said, I’m talking about one side of things, a trauma response. On the other hand, there are people who experience disordered eating who would not necessarily be able to point to anything as a root cause, or like a raging river sort of trauma, if you will.

A person goes on a diet to lose weight for their wedding, and it just goes overboard because it becomes difficult to stop, the sense of accomplishment that they feel as they see the numbers on the scale go down, or find a sense of control when having a strict eating philosophy just becomes encompassing. I also just think we’re surrounded by disordered food messages and behaviors around us. If you look around in the media and just how people talk about this topic, the plethora of diet plants everywhere, with contrasting rules about food consumption, people are excited about and proud of weight loss.

There’s a confusing moral supremacy and misconception that thinner inherently means healthier. You also observe or experience positive reinforcement when someone’s eating less than others, or the way that you used to. It can be incredibly difficult, especially at a young age to tell yourself, “Okay, I do not need to internalize this particular message for me.” I’m not a neuroscientist, but I don’t think most adolescents’ brain are able to, without guidance education, to see this through the constant barrage of reinforcement that they receive that state in varying ways, that to be thin is to be better, and to eat less is something be proud of.

That’s why I heavily believe education around range of their bodies and the media we intake is so important, especially for teens.

Nicholette Leanza:

Jill, I want to jump in and say I also think disordered eating, you gave many examples of how one can develop it. I’m also thinking of if it’s role modeled to you by your parents.

Jill Haber:

Oh, absolutely.

Nicholette Leanza:

… By one of your parents, if that’s one of the ways that your own parents or those close to you might try to navigate their own weight or weight loss, but that’s going to set it as an example. Is that how you’ve come to understand it as well?

Jill Haber:

Oh goodness, yes. Another huge factor that could lead a potential lifelong problem is how was food experienced around your family?

Nicholette Leanza:

Got you.

Jill Haber:

If you had a parent that was constantly dieting or speaking in a negative way about their own body, it could potentially be very difficult to not inhabit that same language or mentality about yourself. To get even deeper about it, a mother’s body is what gives you life. Potentially being breastfed from her body was one of the first experiences we have of comfort and nurture and warmth. Just think about everything one’s mom represents to a person.

I believe there’s something extremely meaningful about how a mother’s existence in their body is so important to us, and the impact it holds to observe them eating less than everyone else, and making comments about not accepting themselves. I think there’s something profound that happens to us on a subconscious level that says, “Well, what should that mean about me and my body, and how I exist, if this is how the person that means so much to me treats themselves?” We all …

Nicholette Leanza:

Yeah, I was going to say exactly. I’m agreeing, I’m definitely agreeing.

Jill Haber:

We also have the more overt messaging in families around food choices and weight loss. I’m not saying this to [inaudible 00:20:03] parents at all. I do not think anyone is consciously saying to themselves, “Let’s cause my child a lifelong harmful range with my bodies.” I don’t think anyone says that. I just believe that vast majority of parents are just doing the best they can with what skills they have. Parents are people. They’re themselves existing in a disordered world, and they’ve gotten their own messages about what’s okay.

We live in a culture where to be thin is to be privileged and more accepted in more spaces. What parent wouldn’t want their child to feel accepted, and have it as easy as possible? What’s ironic and saddening is that when parents are pushing food rules and weight loss, and just encouraging continued weight loss, it’s actually very counterproductive for the goal of I want life to be easy for you. I want existing in your body to be easy for you.

I think the message children should be hearing from their parents is more along the lines of, “Because you are loved and accepted unconditionally, and your body is the vessel that you exist in, your body which is going to and is supposed to grow and change in a myriad of ways, is also loved and accepted unconditionally.” Your responsibility is to take care of it by responding to what it needs with food and movement, and not to pick it apart, to meet some arbitrary standards for other people might be attracted to or believes acceptable.

Also, parents be reinforcing that different body types exist and have every right to exist.

Nicholette Leanza:

Jill, yeah, I think you’re emphasizing the point of being able to nurture self-worth, despite believing what we think our bodies should look like. I think it’s a really important part of separating our self-worth from what we think our bodies should look like. I think you just emphasized that, for sure.

Jill Haber:

Yeah, absolutely.

Nicholette Leanza:

Well, how do you help people struggling with disordered eating change their negative beliefs about food and their body?

Jill Haber:

Sure. Something I really find helpful is to have people observe themselves and what choices they’re making, and just consider why, where this came from, what is it serving them or not serving them? I ask them to complete compile a list of their food rules. Food rules are guidelines a person follows concerning conditions in which they may or may not eat, or eat in a very specific way. In therapy, we want to select which food rule you are acknowledging is unhelpful and worthy of change, and set out a reasonable plan to challenge that.

For example, if a food rule involves not allowing yourself above a certain amount of calories for a meal, the plan can entail stop looking at the data in the food you’re eating. Take a Sharpie and just black it out, or try eating foods you don’t know the calories of. If there’s a loud voice telling you that you need this rule, then talk back to the voice. Have a conversation with it. Have a dialogue between the you that is still holding onto this behavior, because it did serve a particular purpose, and the you that is wanting to move forward and change. Sometimes …

Nicholette Leanza:

It sounds like you’re challenging the voice. Is that it? Trying …

Jill Haber:

Absolutely.

Nicholette Leanza:

Challenging that inner critic in your mind?

Jill Haber:

Absolutely, because there’s two of you at that moment. There’s the you that’s resistant to change, and the you that’s acknowledging, “This is not working for me anymore.” It sometimes is an ongoing back and forth. Sometimes, people can distract themselves from the disordered voice, but sometimes distracting yourself is like saying, “Don’t think about the pink elephant,” and so it just becomes louder and louder.

That’s why I believe heavily in practicing, practicing, practicing on going back and forth with both voices in our heads, sometimes on paper, writing out point, counterpoint, point, counterpoint, until the person in the driver’s seat is the you that’s wanting to change. The you that’s still holding onto the behavior has now run out of excuses. It’s just important to know that this is really hard. Some of these behaviors are so ingrained that this is going to take a lot of practice to really make a change.

If a person has been engaging in a behavior for a really long time, then I think of it as this concrete five lane highway in your brain. It’s well established, you’ve been using it for years. There’s toll booths. It just goes directly from A to B. That’s what you’ve been doing for years. When we challenge these long held behaviors, it starts out just with us in a shovel and a dirt road, trying to compete with this five lane highway. It’s really hard.

The more and more we spend time with that shovel, digging that new road, the more established that’s going to be. At first, it’s going to be really hard for a dirt road to even compete with your highway. Patience and persistence is just so crucial.

Nicholette Leanza:

I think that’s the key, being patient with yourself.

Jill Haber:

Yeah.

Nicholette Leanza:

I love that analogy of the five lane highway.

Jill Haber:

Yeah.

Nicholette Leanza:

That’s great. That’s great. How do you help people build a better relationship with food?

Jill Haber:

The other thing I just want to go into is it’s also important to work on what we call self talk.

Nicholette Leanza:

Oh, yes.

Jill Haber:

The words we use in our heads about ourselves are extremely powerful to our overall self-esteem. Honestly, it took a while to really get into this particular tools as a therapist, but I think that for starters, daily affirmations can make a difference in the way we speak to ourselves. For example, I’m doing the best I can, and I’m going to keep learning, or I deserve and have every right to take up space. Find something that feels relevant to you and keep repeating it, and it really does make a difference.

Nicholette Leanza:

You’re saying like these affirmations you gave an example of?

Jill Haber:

Yeah.

Nicholette Leanza:

Got you.

Jill Haber:

When it comes with our physical bodies, there’s a lot to be said about how difficult that can be. There’s interventions around constant body checking or body avoiding, meaning avoiding look yourself in the mirror, or the compulsion to compare yourself to other people. In the interest of time, I’ll speak to what I find to be particularly meaningful, to guide clients to try to focus on gratitude on the things that your body does for you that deserve attention. People come up with some really important points.

Someone can say, “I love the feeling of running, and the fact that the muscles in my leg are strong enough to make this much of an outlet for me,” or someone can say they appreciate their arms, because that’s where they hold their baby, and the feeling of the skin to skin contact and that connection. Someone could also point to, “Wow, my breathing is getting back to normal after a terrible bout with COVID. I’m so grateful for the power of my lungs right now.”

When we focus on the appreciation we have towards our body, it feels so much more meaningful than I don’t weigh what I want to weigh. I think it’s just an important place to at least start in changing our attitudes, the way we talk about our body, the way that we focus our attention when it comes to our bodies.

Nicholette Leanza:

Well, why don’t we jump to looking at helping people identify and avoid their triggers that can make episodes of disordered eating?

Jill Haber:

I find the constant triggers to be really interesting. For the listeners, I just want to explore what that word means in the context of what we are talking about here, just because I feel that in pop culture, we hear the word trigger all the time, and I think it’s often more alluding to just a dislike or discomfort surrounding a certain stimuli, and it’s a bit more involved than that. Stimuli means a thing or event that elicits some sort of response. When I think of someone being triggered in the context of there being a disordered body or food response to a stimuli, what I find really interesting is that to the outside observer, this is very often a response that feels out of proportion for something relatively mundane.

By definition, a trigger is a painful memory resurfacing due to some reminder of that difficult experience. A trigger can be a smell, physical feeling, a sound, a holiday. We are in a certain situation that feels reminiscent of the experience for some intangible reason, potentially. The list goes on to what could elicit a certain response. A really common trigger, I think, is being in a situation where there’s expectation of eating in public, or eating foods one might deem unhealthy in public.

I just want to give a side note here that I’m using air quotes when I say the word healthy, or unhealthy. I think these words are just super problematic. All foods have some form of nutrients in it. Demonizing something that unhealthy places this cognitive distortion of all or nothing thinking around eating that only accentuates a disordered relationship with food. For a lot of people who struggle with disordered relationship with food or their bodies, eating in public could be very difficult due to a fear of judgment. That could have been from all sorts of messages and experiences a person could have had growing up when it comes to food and their relationship with other people and eating.

In my very winded way to answer your question about triggers, the triggers often stimuli from pretty common occurrence in life, and it is impossible to completely avoid them. This particular example, I would not recommend someone completely avoid eating in public, because they associate as something as scary. When it comes to triggers, a message I like to reinforce is that just because something is scary doesn’t mean it’s dangerous. It doesn’t mean you are in danger. Just because something is scary, it doesn’t mean you can’t handle it. You can do hard things.

Nicholette Leanza:

I love that, you could do hard things. I like how you’re phrasing all that.

Jill Haber:

Yeah. I just think it’s important to also validate, okay, this is hard for you. This is hard for you. Let’s not be mad at you or judge you or shame you. The fact that this is hard for you, there are reasons this is hard for you. Avoiding it completely or assuming you have to avoid it is going to keep it in the box of, “This is too scary to even be an option for me,” and my goal is to change that. I often recommend a bit of exposure therapy around this. How that is going to look depends on the person’s particular anxiety.

For someone, it might mean their first step is to go to a cafe with someone they’re comfortable with, like a close friend or a sibling, and just order a beverage. Maybe do that a few times. Then move up a level. Does going out for a beverage with a group of people make sense as the next step? After that, let’s try a snack during this outing. With exposure therapy, you sort of keep going up a level to do increasingly uncomfortable activities around eating in public, and it becomes more normal to you.

Nicholette Leanza:

It normalizes it. By exposing yourself to it, the very thing that is usually difficult for you or it causes a challenge to you, your body will get used to it. You’ll be able to deal with anxiety surrounding it and things like that.

Jill Haber:

Absolutely, yes. It becomes a everyday thing for you because you’ve been doing it so often. Yes.

Nicholette Leanza:

Right, right, right. How can social media or even just media in general, perpetuate disordered eating?

Jill Haber:

There’s really a lot to talk about here. Going back to what I was saying before about how the adolescent brain takes in information, without guidance and education, the messages that can be thrown at them could be harmful. Something that I wish was reinforced for young people is that just because you perceive another person as attractive or successful does not take away from you being attractive or successful.

I think more education could help young people really understand how highly curated others make their personas on the internet. You’re comparing the reality of your day-to-day life to flattering highlights someone’s picking and choosing to showcase for the world. I think a lot about this what in the day trend, where people just sort of show what they eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and then another person is dissecting, thinking, is that what I should be doing? I’m not a dietician, so it’s never my role to say this person’s making bad or good food choices.

I do think there’s something to be said about how one person might need in a day based on their body, their hunger, their preferences, is going to be different from someone else, and that’s okay. Another interesting factor is, because different bodies work differently for a number of reasons, genetics, your natural body type, whatever, you could eat the same food someone else eats, and you’re not going to have that same body. I think it’s important that adolescents gain education around this as soon as possible, so they gain acceptance of this.

Nicholette Leanza:

Right, right. I agree. Any other takeaways you’d like to share on this topic?

Jill Haber:

Think there are a few weight things as conducive to perpetuating an eating disorder as the toxic marriage of isolation and shame. I just truly hope that if someone is struggling and heard this today, their take home message was, “Goodness, I’m not alone in this,” to the extent that these experiences have been studied, and different interventions have been researched, and very smart people have a couple ways to help me.

Not every treatment or therapist or technique is going to work for every person, but the first step is finding out what’s out there and trying, because you’re worth the effort, and having a full life is worth the effort.

Nicholette Leanza:

Thank you, Jill. Thank you for everything you’ve shared on this very interesting topic. I think you did a great job helping us understand what exactly is disordered eating, and how to help navigate it to improve your eating habits. Thank you again.

Jill Haber:

My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Nicholette Leanza:

I’d also like to thank team behind the podcast, Juliana Whidden, Chris Kelman, and Jason Clayden. Thank you.