Why Dieting May Be Bad For You

Sam Kwok

As the summer months roll around, the amount of social media posts of swimsuit bodies increase. Many people believe that summer is the time for dieting to achieve a perfect body that would be praised by others on social media. To help people lose weight and get into shape, many diet plans have been developed which typically restricts those following the plan from specific food groups. Some of the most common diets are:

  • Keto: low carb, high protein
  • Raw: uncooked food
  • Vegan: no foods that come from animals (ex. Dairy, meat, honey)
  • Paleo: no foods cavemen would not have eaten (ex. Pasta, dairy)
  • Atkins: low carbs
  • Weight Watchers: company meal plan, premade food

Research has shown that healthy lifestyles have been linked to better mental health. Those who eat a balanced diet and exercise daily tend to be happier. Though these diet plans seem to encourage people to make healthy decisions, many of these plans are in fact, the very opposite of healthy as they do not promote a balanced diet. The National Heart Organization recommends that individuals eat approximately 6 servings of grains a day. Those on an Atkins and Keto diet typically eat 0-2 servings. Those following the raw food diet also lack a lot of nutrients that exist in cooked food. Plants have an extra layer within their cells known as cell walls which are meant to help the plant in providing protection and structural support. Some animals like pandas have the ability to break through this cell wall, but humans, do not. The only way for us to break down this cell wall to absorb nutrients is through cooking our vegetables.

There have also been cases of individuals who develop obsessions with diet fads and eventually develop eating disorders. Some common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. These disorders not only take a huge toll on the body physically, but they also affect the mind psychologically. When trying to get into shape, one should eat a balanced diet and exercise daily, yet many diet plans fail to include such topics. Having a stable sleep schedule as well as maintaining social relationships can affect weight as well as an individual’s esteem and should be taken into consideration when one is attempting to lose weight. Remember, you are what you eat- so eat healthy.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from an eating disorder, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ for more information.

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Eating Disorders & OCD: Is There a Relationship?

Is There A Relationship between OCD & Eating Disorders?

By: Cassie Sieradzky

Eating disorders and OCD are highly comorbid. Statistics estimate that about two-thirds of those diagnosed with an eating disorder have also been diagnosed with another type of anxiety disorder, specifically, 41% of individuals with an eating disorder also meet criteria for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

OCD is characterized by recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or images that are intrusive and unwanted. Individuals with OCD attempt to ignore or suppress their thoughts, urges, or images by performing some behavior (compulsion).

Obsessive-compulsive behaviors are also frequently seen in eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. Some of the behaviors characterized by eating disorders can be considered compulsive and ritualistic, especially those performed in an attempt to remove the anxiety or discomfort associated with eating. Obsessions that could lead to compulsive behaviors include thoughts related to weight, eating, food, or body image.

Examples of compulsive behaviors commonly associated with eating disorders include excessive exercise, constant body checking, counting calories, frequent weighing, use of laxatives to reduce weight, and following particular “rules” or “rituals” when eating a meal.

Psychotherapy, medication, or both are typically successful in treating these disorders.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from OCD or an eating disorder, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Ekern, J., & Karges, C. (2014, March 31). OCD and Eating Disorders Often Occur Together. Retrieved April 16, 2018, from https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/treatment-for-eating-disorders/co-occurring-dual-diagnosis/ocd-obsessive-compulsive-disorder/ocd-and-eating-disorders-often-occur-together

BED: Symptoms, Statistics, and Risks

By: Cassie Sieradzky

Binge eating disorder is characterized by episodes of ingesting large quantities of food to the point of feeling sick, feeling a loss of control during the episodes, guilt and or shame following the binge, and a lack of compensatory behaviors, like purging. Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in America. The recurrent episodes of binging are done within a discrete period of time and can be associated with eating faster than usual, eating until uncomfortably full, eating when not hungry, eating in private due to shame, and feeling guilty and depressed following the binge. To merit a diagnosis, binging episodes must occur at least one a week for 3 months.

Binge eating disorder is 3x more common than anorexia and bulimia combined, with a lifetime prevalence of 3.5% for women and 2% for men. BED is most prevalent in the late teens or early 20s; however it is also reported in young children and adults. About 40% of individuals diagnosed with BED are male and 3 out of 10 individuals seeking weight loss treatments show signs of this disorder.

Psychotherapy is an important part of the treatment. Psychotherapy helps the individual address and work through the emotional problems associated with BED. Individuals with this disorder are at an increased risk of developing another psychiatric disorder such as substance abuse, bulimia, or anorexia. People with BED are also at risk of engaging in self-injurious behavior, suicidal thoughts, and suicidal actions. Along with the emotional problems associated with BED, individuals with this disorder are at an increased risk for developing diabetes, abnormal cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from binge-eating disorder, licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Dryden-Edwards, M. R. (n.d.). Binge Eating Disorder Treatment, Symptoms & Causes. Retrieved January
23, 2018, from https://www.medicinenet.com/binge_eating_disorder/article.htm
Overview and Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved January 23, 2018, from
https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/binge-eating-disorder

Anxiety: Exposure Therapy Helping Teens Combat Anxiety

By Hannah Pierce

Exposure therapy is a cognitive-behavioral therapy technique in which a person is exposed to a feared object or situation to overcome their anxiety. A majority of researchers and clinicians believe that exposure therapy is the most effective treatment for many anxiety disorders. One study even found that people improved more using this technique than taking antidepressants.

Although exposure therapy is proven to be very effective, it is not frequently used with teens. Many teens suffering with anxiety are prescribed medication rather than receiving therapy. It is difficult for people to consent to exposure therapy because they do not want to do something that will make them feel even more anxious.

One article documented teens’ experiences with exposure therapy. A 14-year-old suffering from social anxiety, depression, OCD, and binge-eating agreed to tackle his social anxiety through exposure therapy. On a busy college campus he sat on a bench next to a stranger and initiated a conversation. To some people this may seem simple but to a teen suffering from social anxiety, the task is very daunting. He sat on the bench and tried to talk to the stranger but the stranger just kept texting and playing with his phone. Although the exchange did not turn into a conversation, at least the teen faced his fear and realized it wasn’t that bad.

Another teen’s exposure involved him holding a sign that read “I’ve been bullied. Ask me.” Thomas hoped to combat his anxiety while also educating people on bullying. Most students on the campus walked by him without giving him a second glance. After a while, a couple stopped to talk to Thomas. The man empathized with him, sharing that he had been bullied as well and the woman applauded Thomas for his bravery.  After the exchange Thomas was very pleasantly surprised and realized he did not have much to be so anxious about.

If you or someone you know may be experiencing anxiety, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Please contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment, or visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com for more information.

Source: “The Kids Who Can’t” by Benoit Denizet-Lewis

Binge Eating Disorder vs Bulimia

Binge-Eating Disorder vs. Bulimia

Author: Christina Mesa

Binge-eating disorder is characterized by recurrent consumption of unusually large amounts of food during which a person feels loss of control over his or her eating. People may experience guilt, shame or distress associated with their binge-eating, which could lead to more binge-eating.  Bulimia Nervosa however, consists of binge-eating as well as a compensation behavior for this overeating, such as purging, excessive exercise, and fasting or use of laxatives or diuretics.  People suffering from binge-eating disorder are often overweight or obese and are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure while people suffering from bulimia may maintain a relatively normal weight.

Symptoms of Binge-eating disorder include:

  • Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time
  • Eating fast during binge episodes
  • Eating until uncomfortably full or when not hungry at all
  • Eating alone or in secret to avoid embarrassment

Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa include:

  • Chronically inflamed and sore throat
  • Worn tooth enamel and decaying teeth due to exposure to stomach acid
  • Acid reflux disorder and other gastrointestinal problems
  • Intestinal distress and irritation from laxative abuse
  • Severe dehydration from purging of fluids

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from binge-eating disorder or bulimia nervosa, licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.  For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

 

Weight Gain/Loss: It’s All in Your Head

It seems as though there are always new weight loss ads, pills, and detoxes surfacing. Even with all of these new tips and tricks, people are continuing to complain that they cannot lose weight. Furthermore, even if people do lose weight, they regain that same weight soon after. How could this be? Perhaps this may happen because losing/gaining weight is more than just the food you consume, but actually is based upon how you perceive yourself and how you address your eating habits.

First and foremost, your perception of what your body is (or what you want it to be) should be realistic. To be beautiful you do not have to be tall and lengthy or curvy at every inch of your body.  A body mass index (BMI) calculator is a simple way to determine relatively how healthy/unhealthy you are. If you aren’t at your ideal weight, don’t fret! With some minor behavioral changes, you will start becoming a healthier version of yourself. A healthier lifestyle isn’t only made up of physical improvements, but mental ones as well.

Converting from a distracted eater to a mindful one is no easy task. Distracted eaters often have less satisfactory experiences when eating. Realistically, we’ve all eaten while distracted (walking, texting, or even driving), but how often do you really savor your food when doing so? A mindful eater is able to focus on what they are consuming, savoring every bite. They focus on their senses, analyzing the various textures, tastes, colors, and smells of their food. In turn, you may eat fewer calories and become full more quickly, whereas a distracted eater doesn’t focus on the amount of consumption ultimately increasing their caloric intake. So the next time you go to eat a meal or even a snack, remember to choose the healthy option and, most importantly take the time to sit down and enjoy your food.

If you believe that you or a loved one is struggling with weight gain/loss, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Source: Avena, Nicole, Ph.D. “Are Your Cognitive Behaviors Hurting Your Health?” Psychology Today, 2016 April 18. Web.

By: Alexis Ferguson

Barbie’s New Proportions: Will They Measure Up?

     Only recently did Mattel release a statement that declared they would be coming out with a line of three new Barbie dolls. For the first time in 57 years, the dolls would be getting new body shapes: curvy, tall, and petite. At first glance, one might be excited that Mattel is finally recognizing that 5’9” and 110 lbs. (original Barbie’s estimated proportions if she were real) reflects an extremely low percentage of women’s figures. While this may indeed reflect a response to feminism and/or a cultural shift, are these changes enough or are they merely superficial?

     The “curvy” Barbie doll by far has the most changes compared to the original Barbie. To start, her face is visibly fuller which actually looks more like what the average person has. Her stomach and backside are wider, but her empire waist top clearly accentuates an hourglass shape. “Naked”, curvy Barbie displays wider calves, thighs, and hips. Mattel notes that she will not be able to fit in many of the original clothes and will therefore have a “special” clothing line to herself. Another change in appearance includes larger feet, though they hardly look that way from the “sneak-peak” pictures Mattel released. Lastly, and perhaps the most striking, is the fact that this doll possesses long blue locks of hair.

     Mattel has come a long way with the marketing of the dolls since Barbie’s “birth” in 1959. In 1963, the Barbie Baby-Sits doll came equipped with a booklet with the title “How to Lose Weight.” It’s advice inside? “Don’t eat.” Just ten years later, the first surgeon Barbie was released- a time when only 9% of all doctors were female. In 1980, multicultural versions were released… with “Caucasian features”, critics voiced. Later during 1992, Mattel got themselves in hot water again after a doll was released that uttered the phrase “Math class is tough!” Lastly in 2015, a huge expansion of the line included 23 new dolls with a variety of skin tones, hair colors and styles, eye colors, and facial features.

While some are excited about what seems to be Mattel embracing diversity, others wonder if this is a means to capitalize off of empowerment and the expansion of their product line (which now includes four times the accessories and clothes). In 2012, Barbie sales across the world dropped 3%, another 6% in 2013, and 16% in 2014. In addition, the Disney Princess line which the company lost in 2015 took away another half a billion dollars per year.

Do these three new Barbie dolls do enough to address the problems of body image and self-empowerment consumers have been worried about, or are these changes only superficial?

If you believe that yourself or a loved one has or may have issues with body image, self-esteem, or an eating disorder, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.

Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Sources: Dockterman, Eliana. “A Barbie for Every Body.” Time 8 Feb. 2016: 44-51. Print.

By: Scout H

“Depression and Obesity: The Double Epidemic”

By: Chana Kaufman

Depression and obesity seem to be phenomena that occur together, however, akin to the case of the chicken and the egg, it is unclear which precedes or causes the other. Studies have established that there definitely is a link between the two, and many patients within these spectrums often exhibit symptoms for both. According to Marina Williams, LMHC, “In fact, the two conditions are so intertwined that some are calling obesity and depression a double epidemic.” Furthermore, Williams establishes that, “Studies have found that 66 percent of those seeking bariatric, (weight loss) surgery have had a history of at least one mental health disorder.”

The question begs, why do depression and obesity fit so neatly and often occur simultaneously? In her article on this topic, Williams offers a simple explanation for the correlation between the two. Depression makes one lose willpower in life, resulting in decisions such as healthy eating or exercise to be sidelined or eliminated completely. Additionally, certain foods, mostly unhealthy choices, are what we associate with as comfort food and often resort to when feeling kind of blue. According to Williams, “Eating something unhealthy is much easier than fixing the problem or dealing with what’s causing us to feel unhappy”. Williams emphasizes that seeking help and learning how to deal with issues such as depression and sadness will oftentimes lead to an overall healthier lifestyle, and positively affect the issue of obesity as well.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have depression, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Please contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment, or visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Source: http://psychcentral.com/lib/obesity-genetics-depression-and-weight-loss/

Holiday Depression

downloadHoliday Depression

by Fabienne Turenne

As we are in the midst of the holiday season, there are many festivities occurring. We see Christmas decorations, tree lightings, holiday sale commercials, and Christmas music playing on the radio in almost every store we enter. These are all meant to promote the common themes of the holidays such as joy, cheer, happiness and giving. While for most people the holiday season is a time of joy and happiness, many suffer from holiday depression, stress, anxiety, and overeating.

About 10% percent of the population suffers from holiday depression due to many different factors.  The holidays tend to remind us of a happier time in our lives such as memories of past holidays with a loved one who is no longer with us. It may also depress us to see others sharing the season with their loved ones while we feel alone and isolated.

Stress is also increased during the holiday season. We often reunite with family members we haven’t seen in a while which can cause old arguments to reignite. As holiday sales start and everyone starts to go shopping for presents, shopping lines increase tremendously and parking spaces become impossible to find. More money is spent during this season which can also be stressful for many. Those who suffer from holiday depression and stress may use overeating as a way of coping due to the abundance of food available at family gatherings.

Holiday depression, anxiety, stress, and overeating may be due to any one of the factors listed above however, it could also be a combination of these things as well as an ongoing depression or anxiety. A mental disorder such as depression or anxiety can be worsened by holiday stresses. If you find yourself becoming depressed during this season or if you are someone who already suffers from a mental disorder that is becoming worse due to the holiday season, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our therapists. Arista Counseling & Psychological Services (212) 722–1920 or (201) 368-3700.

Source:

http://psychcentral.com/lib/helpful-hints-for-navigating-the-holidays/0002632

Drug Addiction and Alcohol Abuse: False Promises – Bergen County, NJ

By: Davine Holness

alcoholism addiction

Alcoholism is one of many addictions from which people suffer

With the ever-increasing number of resources available, there have been numerous success stories for recovering from addictions such as alcoholism. However, even after decades of sobriety, every day can still be a fight against temptation. This temptation is not so much about the substance or activity to which one is addicted; it’s more about the lies the object tells: the promises to fill a hole in the addict’s soul. Resisting addiction is about learning to identify these promises as what they are: false.

 

While the media has given much publicity to alcoholism and substance abuse, people also suffer from addiction to anything from gambling or shopping, to food, sex, or even video games. Recent research has found that sweet, salty, or fatty processed foods cause the same physiological process in the mind of a food addict as crack produces in a cocaine addict (Peeke). However, with help and lifestyle changes, it is possible to overcome addiction and live a sober life.

 

If you are struggling with any kind of addiction, the psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists at Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services can help. Contact the Bergen County, New Jersey or Manhattan offices at 201-368-3700 or 212-722-1920. Visit www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

 

Sources:

Nakken, C. (1996). The addictive personality: understanding the addictive process and compulsive behavior (2nd ed.). Center City, Minn.: Hazelden.

On Rejecting the False Promise, 25 Years Later – World of Psychology. (n.d). PsychCentral.com. Retrieved May 14, 2012

Peeke, P. & Aalst, M. v. (2012). The hunger fix: the three-stage solution to free yourself from your food addictions for life. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Books.