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Self-Care Tips for When Your Schedule Changes

Self-Care Tips for When Your Schedule Changes

By Caroline Best, Dietetics Student Intern. Contributions by Alex Raymond, RD. Last week, I took my spring finals. I celebrated finishing my last exam with ice cream and a 2 hour nap and it was honestly a great afternoon. After finals, I was staying in town to watch my roommate graduate and I was excited about all of this new free time. However, a few days into my break I was really tired and confused about why. I was sleeping in. AND taking naps.  My time was spent mostly with friends. Compared to my past weeks of intense school commitments, my first week of summer was a breeze. I felt like I should be bursting with energy. However, once I considered my dramatic routine change my exhaustion made a lot of sense. Throughout the course of the semester I woke up around the same time. I ate my meals around the same time. I had pretty set routine of when I exercised, relaxed, and studied. Then summer started and with that came the physical and mental effects of changing up a schedule. Your body will most likely  “notice” when your routine shifts.  I was doing pretty much everything on a different schedule than what I was used to and my energy ended up a little wacky. I listened to what my body was trying to tell me and practiced a little self-care to help reestablish my energy. I specifically wanted to write about the fatigue that can accompany routine change because Summer tends to come with schedule shifts for many people. School lets out. Kids may be home for...
Basic Tips for Health Professionals Treating Eating Disorders

Basic Tips for Health Professionals Treating Eating Disorders

By Alex Raymond, RD, LD. Fun fact about me. I love public speaking. But I used to be completely terrified of it! I don’t know what possessed me to do this… But, it was my freshman year of college and I decided to sign up for this program where you gave health/wellness presentations to UMD students. I don’t think I realized that I would have to give these said presentations in front of 100+ lecture halls! It totally pushed me out of my comfort zone. And now, I actually enjoy speaking in front of large groups. I recently gave a presentation to therapists titled “Practical Approaches to Treating Eating Disorders.” As you may or may not know, eating disorder work is a very niche group. I love working with this population and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. But, it’s important to know that it’s not for everyone. For example, just as I love eating disorder work, working in the kidney disease population is not for me. I find it quite confusing and I have a ton of respect for dietitians who do that work! There are many therapists out there who do amazing work with their client and they don’t have adequate training in ED. Either they aren’t often exposed or they having gotten training.  I was appreciative of the therapists who came out to my training. Many of them had seen an influx in clients with eating disorder symptoms and they wanted to know how to best support their clients. Even if best supporting them meant referring out. 1. Ask yourself, is eating disorder work right for me?...
What to Do If You’re Concerned about Your Child’s Weight

What to Do If You’re Concerned about Your Child’s Weight

By Alex Raymond, RD, LD Picture this. You take your child into his or her yearly physical. Overall, your child is a happy and healthy young kid. You may or may not have any concerns about your child’s health, but of course, you are anxious to hear what the doctor has to say. It turns out that your pediatrician thinks your child “should lose some weight” or “should watch what he/she is eating.” You may or may not be surprised by this, but still, something stung deep inside. Worried about if your child is “overweight” or if they will start “gaining too much.” At that moment, maybe it makes sense to start cutting back on the sweets and to monitor your child’s portions. After all, you don’t want weight to be a “problem” for your child, so it’s important to start instilling those healthy habits at a young age. Stop. Take a breath. This type of scenario has been happening more and more in my office. And, I can certainly understand why parents may want to try to control what their kids are eating. Maybe you’re worried about your child’s weight because you don’t want them to grow up in a larger body. Maybe you had the experience of growing up in a larger body and remember being horribly teased and bullied. Which is terrible. Kids can be so mean. Maybe you are getting pressure from a pediatrician, other health care professionals or messages from the news or media. Maybe your child has expressed to you that he or she feels uncomfortable in his/her body and you just want to...
The Weight Inclusive Approach

The Weight Inclusive Approach

By Alex Raymond, Rd, LD and Caroline Best, student intern As a junior in a dietetics programs, I’ve started to move into taking more nutrition education courses. After your first year or two in the program filled with science and nutrition classes, courses that teach you how to best interact and educate nutrition patients are integrated into your schedule.  A patient approach we’ve spent time learning about is the weight inclusive approach.   So what exactly is the weight-inclusive approach? It is the belief that when provided with access to health care that is non-stigmatizing.  Each individual does have the ability to maintain a healthy body. And achieve a state of well-being independent of their weight.   The approach moves away from placing blame on the individual for being unable to lose weight, and it instead blames the weight loss process. It  allows for a decrease in weight stigma and body shaming. The focus is on an overall improvement to psychological well-being.  The weight-inclusive approach does not just apply to those who work as dietitians or in the nutrition field.  It applies to everyone within the health care community including therapists, MDs, PAs, and everyone else. So why is the weight inclusive approach being taught as the standard for patient care?   The big reason is that it decreases body shaming. The goal is to reduce negative self-image in patients. Weight can be impacted by involuntary and genetic environmental conditions. These conditions can outweigh voluntary lifestyle choices. Therefore, promoting the public health message of “maintaining a healthy weight” causes these individuals who are unable to reach their weight loss goals...
Sleep Help: What to do if Anxiety is Keeping You Awake at Night

Sleep Help: What to do if Anxiety is Keeping You Awake at Night

By Sarah Johnson, guest writer and expert on sleep at Tuck. Anxiety can make it difficult to sleep at night.When you’re anxious, you may feel too alert to rest, or stay up late tossing while preoccupied with worries. Unfortunately, losing sleep to anxiety only makes anxiety worse. When you’re sleep deprived, you may feel more anxious, making it even more difficult to get to sleep at night. Although anxiety can be tough to shake off, especially before bed, promoting relaxation and calming before it’s time to go to sleep can help you get the rest you need. How You Can Alleviate Anxiety Before Bed Creating healthy sleep habits can help alleviate your anxiety, as a regular bedtime schedule, bedtime routine, and good sleep  can be reassuring. Additionally, incorporating relaxing habits before bed, such as yoga and meditation, can help you shift your focus to rest and relaxation so you feel less stressed. Go to sleep at the same time each night. Maintaining a regular schedule can help you feel more calm, as your body knows what to expect each night at the same time. Create a healthy sleep environment. A healthy sleep environment can help alleviate anxiety. An unhealthy one may exacerbate it. Your sleep environment should be cool, dark, quiet, and comfortable. Choose a mattress that is appropriate for your needs, along with comfortable bedding so you feel cozy in your bed, not anxious about itchy sheets or a too firm or too soft mattress. Keep decor minimal, avoiding bold, loud colors and clutter that can induce feelings of anxiety. Practice a regular bedtime routine. A regular bedtime...
Self Care Inspiration For Eating Disorder Recovery

Self Care Inspiration For Eating Disorder Recovery

By Rebecca Bitzer, RD Self-care often seems like new concept to so many of our clients. What is self-care? At Empowered Eating, we think of self-care as anything that you do to intentionally “nourish” mental, physical and emotional health. This is where personal and professional recommendations meet. What is excellent self-care for one person may be completely different for another person. The key is really trying new and different things and asking yourself, did that activity help restore me or somehow nourish me? Our team of eating disorder dietitians are often inspiring each other to practice new forms of self-care. We look at self-care as a lifelong priority which is sometimes difficult to do when life gets busy so it is helpful to have a variety of self-care tools, concepts, inspiration and systems in place to foster self-care. To start the new year, we thought it would be helpful for each of us to share a quick list of our current inspiration. Here is what our team is doing for self-care this month: Rebecca Bitzer shares: 1) Brene Brown’s new book Braving the Wilderness: The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone. The part of the book that stood out most for me was her Daring Way team mission “making the world a braver place by doing work we love with people who we care about in a way that is aligned with our values.” I believe we do this with our empowered eating team. 2) My new puppy. This month, we will be bringing home Ziggy, an Australian labradoodle puppy. 3) Participating in our office...

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