Most inspiring stories have unlikely beginnings. This is true when you look at the running career of Danielle Hastings. This avid runner, also known as The T-Rex Runner, is a distinguished member of the Marathon Maniacs and is completing her goal of running a marathon in all 50 states. “I have finished 34 states and plan on completing all 50 states by June 2015.”
Hard to believe this is the same runner who quit the soccer team on the first day of practice because the coach made her run a lap. The sport has lead Hastings to and through so many places.
Hastings quit the soccer team when she was seven and remained a non-runner until after college. She shamelessly admits she gave running a try after seeing others running down the street and thinking they “looked really cool.” She further admits she got serious about running a few months after she married and it began to fall apart. “It got me out of the house during a rough time,” said Hastings.
The running pretty much won out, and she told us how running serves as her continued outlet for life’s struggles.
“I would say the biggest obstacle that I have (almost) overcome is my 11-year struggle with anorexia and bulimia,” she admitted. Running has helped her deal with the eating disorders that she has battled since age 16. Unlike many, running is not a trigger for the disorder in Hastings’ case.
“Running has been an outlet for my stress and anxiety and has helped me change the way I view food,” something is no longer Hastings’ enemy. She’s continually learning to see food as fuel. Admittedly, she explains it’s still a daily battle, but one she’s winning thanks to running. (more…)
Researchers at Recovery Record have announced the creation of the first mobile app designed to facilitate the management of eating disorders in real time. Patients and doctors connect through a secure app to co-manage care, monitor goals, track progression, and even communicate.
This comprehensive platform, out today and available for iPhone and iPad, is not intended to take the place of in-person therapy sessions, but doctors hope the new technology will appeal to their core patients, the gadget-centric group aged 12-25.
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology, 10 in 100 young women will be diagnosed with an eating disorder this year. Many more will go undiagnosed because of the perceived stigma attached to sufferers and because some are simply too scared to ask for help. Those who battle anorexia nervosa or bulimia have the highest mortality rate of any mental health condition, yet only one in 10 sufferers receive treatment.
These are the shocking statistics that led researchers to create a better way to help patients feel more in control of their recovery, and also to convince those who have been suffering in silence to seek help.
An alarming new trend has come to light following the release of an article in the October issue of Pediatrics. According to researchers from the Mayo Clinic, teens who have a history of obesity of being overweight are at a higher risk of developing eating disorders as they undergo treatment for their weight problems.
The study looked at two cases where teens were brought to their doctors by concerned parents. Though the teens’ symptoms matched those of eating disorders, the doctors were hesitant to diagnose the teens with disordered eating. Instead, both were originally diagnosed with much rarer conditions. The study further states that this may have happened due to the fact that the teens were at healthy Body Mass Indices (BMI).
In the new book Almost Anorexic: Is My (or My Loved One’s) Relationship with Food a Problem, Dr. Jennifer Thomas (Director of the Eating Disorders Clinical Research program at Massachusetts General) and best selling author Jenni Schaefer explore a new definition of anorexic behavior, the “almost effect.”
Almost Anorexic is one in a series of books about The Almost Effect, written by faculty members of Harvard Medical School and other experts. This book, and others in the series, suggest that behaviors often fall short of meeting the criteria of receiving a particular diagnosis, but still fall outside of normal behavior. These are the people who often slip through the cracks and whose behaviors often develop into a full-blown condition.
Recently, I spoke with the bubbly co-authors about their collaboration. “When Harvard Health Publications approached me about the book, they encouraged me to work with a writer,” Dr. Thomas explained. “The first person I considered was author Jenni Schaefer. She added a great layer to the book.” Not only has Jenni penned numerous books about eating disorders, she knows about the disease firsthand.
Remember the last time you ate so much that you felt sick, and with dried marinara on your chin you decried, “I’m in a food coma!”? You had been binge eating, and you could be mentally ill.
On May 18, the American Psychiatric Association released the DSM-5, the most recent update to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. For the first time in the manual’s 60-year history, binge eating was included. For mental health professionals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical corporations, and the legal system, this handbook acts as the official and standard criteria for classifying mental disorders. Since everyone occasionally overeats, the designation of binge eating as a legitimate mental illness almost seems imprecise and excessive, but binging is associated with seriously negative psychological symptoms.
The inclusion of binge eating in the DSM-5 is a contentious issue in the mental health community, because some feel it will be over-applied or linked to common problems with overeating.
To illustrate my point, let’s go back to that food coma. After you’ve overeaten, you didn’t feel well, and you were bummed out, confused as to why you thought six slices of pizza and a two liter of soda was a good idea, and you probably wanted to turn back time and eat a salad. Those feelings are light-hearted representations of depression, guilt, and lack of self control, which are all manifestations of a mental illness. (more…)