National Eating Disorders Association
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Recovery

Leon Silvers is a psychotherapist, founder, and director of Silvers Psychotherapy, a group therapy practice in NYC. He specializes in working with clients with eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma, and LGBT issues.

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I've noticed a tremendous inconsistency throughout my years of eating disorder treatment. When I was in treatment for anorexia nervosa purging type, one of the first parts of my recovery was weight restoration. I felt like before I even got into the work of dissecting how/where my eating disorder started, I was required to gain weight.

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The value of relationships cannot be understated. The relationship the patient has with their bodies and their health care providers are two of the most crucial. So many have felt isolated and ashamed and being able to step into a truly "judgment-free zone" with a provider can be life changing. When a patient leaves the office with an inclusive, engaging care plan, there is a visible lightness about them! With that lightness comes long-term positive changes in health. 

Here are four ways that you, as a provider, can create a safe space for patients: 

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From an early age, I knew that I loved deeply. I loved people in a way that felt like too much at times. I had names for every single one of my stuffed animals and I'd always buy them used because I felt like I had to save all of the orphans that were being given away. Growing up in a big family, I never felt alone. My three brothers and two sisters would keep me company and I always had someone to play with. It wasn't until the end of 5th grade when I learned how to play by myself—not because I didn't have friends, but because I felt safer being by myself.

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“Dear Melody” is a monthly advice column by Dr. Melody Moore, a clinical psychologist, yoga instructor and the founder of the Embody Love Movement Foundation. Her foundation is a non-profit whose mission is to empower girls and women to celebrate their inner beauty, commit to kindness, and contribute to meaningful change in the world. Dr. Moore is a social entrepreneur who trains facilitators on how to teach programs to prevent negative body image and remind girls and women of their inherent worth.

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When I was 18, my life (I believed) was a complete failure. I had just dropped out of college, was “let go” from a job, had barely any friends left from high school, and really no direction as to where my life was going.  After a month or so spent searching for a job, my mom came home excitingly telling me they were hiring at my local liquor store. I applied to the job, got a call a week later, and was offered a position all within a couple of months. 

Little did I know this would change my life forever.

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As a person who struggled with an eating disorder and a co-occurring substance abuse problem, I spent nearly a decade lying. 

I lied about how much I was eating, I lied about how often I was eating, and I lied about what I was doing after I was eating.

I lied about how much I was drinking, I lied about how often I was drinking, and I lied about my ability to stop once I started drinking. 

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I started research about job descriptions, work environments, and eating disorders after one friend asked for my opinion about a job position she was interested in applying for. She wrote: “If you were an employer looking for A+ candidates, would you say, after looking at my resume, that I was a perfect fit?” I knew my friend didn’t usually use a superlative like “perfect,” which made me curious and I simply assumed that as an active job seeker, she must have picked it from job descriptions.

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This week marks the annual Mental Illness Awareness Week. During this week, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and its supporters dedicate themselves to spreading awareness and understanding of mental illness across the country through support, education, and advocacy. 

Eating disorders are the deadliest mental illness, so taking a week to highlight the importance of mental illness awareness is necessary and vital. In honor of this week, here are some reasons why talking about mental illness is so important:

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“Dear Melody” is an advice column by Dr. Melody Moore, a clinical psychologist, yoga instructor, and the founder of the Embody Love Movement Foundation. Her foundation is a non-profit whose mission is to empower girls and women to celebrate their inner beauty, commit to kindness, and contribute to meaningful change in the world. Dr. Moore is a social entrepreneur who trains facilitators on how to teach programs to prevent negative body image and remind girls and women of their inherent worth.

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