Using Yoga and meditation to treat eating disorders

Using yoga and meditation to treat eating disorders incorporates a holistic mind-body approach and can be a powerful tool when used in conjunction with other therapies. Using yoga and meditation to treat eating disorders has been found to provide women with a calm and composed mind, which is then able to fight the tendency to fall into a negative behavior patterns. Eating disorders originate in the mind and are caused by various external factors including societal or peer pressure and can be triggered by and in combination with psychological, behavioral, social, or biological factors.

Using yoga and meditation to treat eating disorders helps in reducing negative body-image thoughts, provides relaxation of the mind and body, creates positive body awareness, and reduces stress. Recent studies have shown that individuals who regularly practice yoga and meditation improve body-image, and lessen their obsessions over their body-image and food. Studies also have shown that yoga and meditation have a positive effect on depression, self-esteem, anxiety, and anger. . Disordered eaters suppress and ignore the natural sensations of their bodies and adhere to the habits of their illnesses. Estranged from their suffering bodies, disordered eaters are ruled by compulsive thoughts and ideas. Using yoga and mediation in treating eating disorders also improves body-mind relationship, which teaches women to listen in healthy way to what their body is telling them, diminishing negative self talk.  Using yoga and meditation to treat eating disorders mentally and physically balances a person. Since eating disorders are associated with depression, yoga therapy can be have profound effects in restoring psychological balance and the associated sense of wellness. Physically, a regular yoga practice can help rebuild the strength, energy and bone density that is damaged and lost with Anorexia.

Many women struggling with an eating disorder have health problems that may limit physical activity or in the case of women who have used extreme exercise to limit weight gain have health issues. Using yoga and meditation is treating eating disorders offers a gentle form of exercise and breathing. Anorexics and bulimics, who often suffer from osteoporosis, can begin to build bone and muscle strength again. Using yoga and meditation in treating eating disorders improves overall fitness and boast the immune system, which is beneficial for those with anorexia, who may be experiencing lower energy levels Binge-eaters, who are often obese, and suffer from osteoarthritis can also benefit from increase bone and muscle strength. Yoga also improves circulation, flexibility, balance, and stamina. Individuals recovering from all kinds of eating disorders can benefit from these results.

Using yoga and meditation is treating eating disorders also gives women the ability to concentrate and focus on the inner aspects of their body mind and soul. Paying attention to their breathing and any inner sensations that they feel, which will help guide them to a state of calmness and elevate the awareness of ones self. This state will allow them to explore new concepts in your life, past the eating disorder. Enabling them to achieve goals that may have proved too difficult or problematic in the past.

Using yoga and meditation to treat eating disorders engages the mind and body in a direct collaborative relationship, encouraging women to always balance effort with reverence for the body. The goal of yoga is to hold each pose with grace, ease, and stillness of mind. This can be accomplished only by balancing the mind and body together.<br />In addition to being adaptable to any fitness level, different yogic poses can help address the specific attitudes of each eating disorder. Anorexics, who tend to be perfectionists and rigid, can learn psychological flexibility and openness by practicing poses which encourage physical flexibility and calm. Bulimics can benefit from poses which encourage self-containment and stability. Binge-eaters can practice poses which encourage locating sources of inner strength.

Women suffering from eating disorders are have difficulty dealing with life events and stress in healthy, positive manner. In order deny, ignore, stuff emotions or life situations these women practice behaviors that allow them to avoid negative emotions. Feelings of anger, anxiety, shame, depression, trauma, or frustration become triggers for these extreme behaviors. Using yoga and meditation to treat eating disorders provide techniques that can help disordered eaters learn to constructively meet, rather than evade, these emotions and to self-soothe. Yogic poses counteract negative self-image by providing immediate proof of the body’s grace and strength. Each yogic pose offers a way to engage the body and mind in a productive union, and to learn how to exert healthy control over body and mind. Each pose is a path to healthy self-exploration, both mental and physical.

It has been proven that using yoga and meditation is treating eating disorders can reduce depression, restoring a state of balance and well being in the individual. Also, there are different yoga practices, which encourage heightened levels of self esteem, and promote a positive view of the body. These are crucial factors with eating disorders, and it has been shown that the application of yoga and meditation can significantly increase recuperation and healing. Through the elimination of self-judgment, yoga establishes a strong connection between mind and body. This, of course, is the natural state of wellness. By re-establishing this strong connection, mind and body will work in harmony to repair the damage.

Because the mental state has an important role in eating disorders, using yoga and meditation to treat eating disorders can be used successfully to reduce negative and harmful thoughts and feelings. An active, well targeted, meditation practice should prove to be very effective. The yoga poses work best when external factors are shut out, and concentration is allowed to focus on your inner self. Giving special attention to breathing, and also to inner sensations, will transport you to a state of greater awareness and calmness. This new state will allow you to go on further to explore new concepts, and hopefully pursue new goals that may have been impossible before.

Yoga and mediation should not be viewed as a cure for eating disorders in and of itself. A holistic approach in the treatment of eating disorders includes working with a team of professionals who collaborate to create a treatment plan for the individual so that healing and recovery can begin and be sustained.

Causes of Eating Disorders

Our culture, with its fascination with skinniness and achieving the perfect body, has cultivated the progression and causes of eating disorders. An eating disorder is a constant disease where an individual refuses to eat food in order to gratify a physic need and not a physical requirement. The development and causes eating disorders can lead to severe medical condition and can sometimes lead to death.

Many women suffer from eating disorders although many remain undiagnosed as the result of unreported cases, secrecy and the ease of deniability associated with eating disorders. In many studies it shows that women suffer mostly from eating disorders, although there are many men that also suffer. The causes of eating disorders are common problems faced by many men and women in every society.

An eating disorder can be life threatening and is a neurotic condition distinguished by abnormal eating habits and patterns. Eating disorder behaviors are most often derived from some unresolved emotional conflicts turned into altered food consumption, unlike typical dieters. The causes of eating disorders in women can stem from women who may have medical or psychological problems that can then cause abnormalities in eating practices. An eating disorder is an illness, not a form of dieting, and the causes of eating disorders are mostly due to the obsession with appearance and shame of their body. An illness such as an eating disorder is multi-dimensional with conditions that indicate a woman’s difficulty with identity, concept of self and self-esteem. Many of the causes of eating disorders can be related to how a person handles pressure and stress and are classified to start at the early age of 14. The causes of eating disorders do not rotate around food, but leans more towards the mental and emotional aspect as a woman may develop nonstandard eating habits as a way to cope with depression, anxiety, and problems.

The precise causes of eating disorders in women have yet to be accurately determined, but there are some characteristics that have a huge influence in their development. The causes of eating disorders are complex conditions caused by combinations of interpersonal, socio-cultural, genetic, and individual factors. The eating behaviors in all types of eating disorders are usually practiced as a way for a woman to overcome stress and other pressures she may be feeling, real or imagined. The causes of eating disorder are often surrounded by feelings of low self-worth and self-esteem, depression and lack of control.

A woman’s social surroundings, consisting of their family, friends and the media, can give emphasis to the importance of skinniness and weight control. The discussion of weight and dieting occurs on an abnormally regular basis in our society which could push a woman to be influenced to start dieting and could even normalize their perception to be thin. As well, the causes of eating disorders are prominent with women who are associated with families that have poor communication and support and lack of emotional bonding may suffer an eating disorder as a way to manage stress and depression. Women that are connected with family, friends or groups that highlight the importance of appearance also have a high chance of developing the illness of an eating disorder. Another cause of eating disorders are if a woman’s parents or guardian figures have a dysfunctional body image or dieting behavior, the woman could follow.

The glorification of skinniness has lead to a distorted body image and an impractical measure of beauty and success, a major cause of eating disorders in women. Magazines, televisions, movies and other influences of culture and media have severely increased the importance of a woman’s appearance and skinniness all leading to societies where body image and appearance are the main concerns. The beliefs of an adolescent girl and her self-esteem can being to consist largely, then, on their physical appearance, which can cause and eating disorder. Biology and genetics can also play a vital role in the causes of eating disorders although the strength of the causes is usually on the psychological aspects.

There are ways to treat the causes of eating disorders. The specific needs of the woman suffering from an eating disorder must be addressed in any treatment plan. The medical problems should first be addressed in the treatment of an eating disorder and then the client’s weight gain while addressing the potential mental, emotional, and psychological causes of their eating disorder. The main goal of any treatment for eating disorders is to eliminate any complications the patient may have, gradually having their weight gained to a healthy level and eliminating all inappropriate weight control behaviors. The treatment should also include individual counseling and psychotherapy in addition to working with a nutritionist. Treatment for eating disorders should provide a safe place to identify problems and learn new behaviors to help overcome their problems. Different types of individual therapy can help the patient develop healthy ways of thinking and patterns of eating behaviors as well as coping with stress, anxiety, and depression.

Family therapy is also very important to treat the causes of eating disorders in women. Family therapy is useful in terms of providing information about the affected person’s eating disorder, assess the impact of the disorder on the family and help family members overcome any associated guilt. This can also improve communications and overall strengthens the families involved. Marital therapy is also important, if applicable. The objectives of marital therapy are to strengthen the relationship and help identify and resolve communication issues that might be going on. Group therapy is another effective tool and type of therapy which can play a role in the treatment of a woman with an eating disorder in any sort of treatment facility, such as Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women located in Southern California. Safe Harbor offers different treatment groups with different goals and orientations. Some of Safe Harbor’s groups focus on food, eating, body image, and interpersonal skills while other groups are aimed at addictions and psychological factors.

Women with Eating Disorders

Women with Eating disorders are a big health care problem in the United States. Becoming a woman is filled with many challenges, especially in this day and age. We are often faced juggling school, family, friends, work, financial challenges, and, to top it all off, our own personal struggles within. All of the daily stressors are compounded by internal feelings of inadequacy, control, self-esteem while the world seems to dictate to us how we should look, act and respond to stress.

We live in a society (peers, school, religious group, work, doctors and the media) that tells the world that the ideal woman’s body should be rail-thin, even though very few women fit this “representation”. How can women with eating disorders escape these images and messages without having women shape their own perceptions of how every woman should look? The world seems to think that women can completely control their own body size and it is in a woman’s power to achieve this ideal body image. It is normal for some women to have feelings of inadequacy and not feel completely confident with our bodies. To some, though, these thoughts can become invasive and obsessive leading to low self-esteem for women with eating disorders.

Women with Eating Disorders take many forms, anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and compulsive overeating. Women with eating disorders who suffer from anorexia restrict their food intake and may regularly engage in binge-eating or purging behavior (i.e. self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas). Women with eating disorders who suffer from bulimia have recurrent episodes of eating a larger quantity of food than most people in a given amount of time and feeling a sense of lack of control during these episodes. Women who suffer from compulsive overeating have recurrent episodes of eating a larger quantity of food than most people in a given amount of time and feeling a sense of lack of control during these episodes.

Women with eating disorders have the obsession with food and gaining weight can take over their life. Their thoughts and life controlled by feelings of a need to control their body image and control their intake of food.

What would seem to be normal everyday experiences for women become challenges for women with eating disorders: How can I eat out with friends and family? How can I restrain what I eat today? Where can I hide my food? How do I hide purging from everyone? This is all compounded by feelings of guilt, being less than, and isolation. These diseases can be overwhelming for the individual and seem impossible to understand by the outside world. The severity of this disease can lead to long-term health problems, mental deficiencies and even death. The difficult part of this disease is that despite knowing these consequences of the behavior, it seems impossible to change the relationship with food and body image.

Women with eating disorders have become an epidemic, especially among teenage girls. Fueled in large part by the media’s promotion of thinness as a physical ideal for young women, experts say that the problem of women with eating disorders has escalated over the past few decades. Girls are beginning to diet in elementary school and may be binging, purging, or starving before they are ten years old. This is one reason why some schools assign teachers breakfast and lunch duty; to make sure those students- not just little girls- are eating what they should be. Because women with eating disorders reflect complex psychological issues, there is no clear cause or solution to the problem. However, experts do agree that there are clear connections between women with eating disorders and media influence.

The media is often quoted as a scapegoat for the increase in women with eating disorders. In Catherine Oxenberg’s opinion: “Women (with eating disorders) don’t set out to become anorexic, they begin by thinking they’re too fat because everywhere they go, the media is telling them that they are right” ( This assumes that the causes of women with eating disorders are simply triggered by an individual feeling overweight, which is not the case. Women with eating disorders have many causes; some evidence suggests that eating disorders can exist without this pathological fear of being overweight. If these effects of the media are obvious, then why is it that only 1-3 percent of women suffer from an eating disorder? Or, are women with eating disorders a part of something deeper, a bigger problem?

Some experts do agree that women with eating disorders tend to be the symptom of larger psychological distress, and they are often accompanied by severe depression, self-mutilation (as in “cutting” practices), and other addictions. While many teenage girls eventually recover from their eating disorders to live a healthy lifestyle, many others continue their disordered eating habits. Some, up to 15 percent, will die. While women with eating disorders affect a large portion of the population, especially in the United States, most sufferers are, indeed, adolescent women. Again, due to a variety of factors, including peer pressure and exposure to mainstream fashion magazines, teenage girls seem uniquely susceptible to developing one of the manifestations of disordered eating. But remember the research; only 1-3 percent. Just as there is no agreed upon single cause for women with eating disorders, there is no exclusive cure for anorexia, bulimia, or compulsive overeating, but treatment usually includes some form of psychotherapy. Psychological treatment helps to align the mind back to what we refer to as “normal”.

For women with eating disorders, binge eating used to be thought of as gluttony; eating just because there was food to eat. Unlike binge drinking, binge eating is also classified as a psychological disorder. A binge eater eats for comfort, according to some sources. Other experts explain that binge eating begins when a person eats until they’re full. After a while, women with eating disorders feel that they require more food to become full. This feeling is not entirely psychological, as the physiology of the stomach expanding assists the person to fall deeper into binge eating, which sometimes leads to obesity. Binge eating can also lead to bulimia, as the afflicted person will recognize that they are eating too much but do not wish to gain weight. It is not uncommon to diagnose a person with more than one eating disorder (

For women with eating disorders to recover, a woman needs to make a decision to do whatever it takes to change her relationship with her eating disorder including eating healthfully, attending meetings and finding a support group. At Safe Harbor Treatment Center for women, which specializes in dual-diagnosis and co-occuring addictions, we realize that this is a difficult task, and we do not ask that you do this alone. We understand the pain and frustration that can come with recovery and know that recovery itself can seem impossible. The women at Safe Harbor are here to help you and guide women with eating disorders through the recovery process and help you sustain a health lifestyle and body image. We are here to help women with eating disorders make a true commitment to health and move women along some of those difficult recovery roads.

We at Safe Harbor will help guide you from morning until night starting with a health breakfast and creating a food plan. We understand that eating properly can be the most difficult part of recovery for women with women with eating disorders, so we offer other aspects to help such as individual sessions and group therapy with women with eating disorders who are walking through the same difficulties and trained staff. Our clinical staff is trained to work with young women who suffer with eating disorders and work with their clients on the underlying issues so that clients are able to break free from their disordered eating. We are here to help women with eating disorders get on a good cycle with food and yourself.

Help is just one phone call away.

Help for Eating Disorders

Help for eating disorders is offered in many different facets. Women and men can suffer from eating disorders should understand that they are not alone in their illness and there is support in every community with resources and specialists that can provide help for eating disorders. An eating disorder can be defined as an unnatural intake of food and a fear associated with gaining weight. The causes of eating disorders can be both psychological (mental and emotional) and being genetically predisposed to the illness in addition to sociological pressures.

The two foremost eating disorders are identified as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Although they may differ slightly, both anorexia and bulimia are similar in concept. Both illnesses are centered on food and weight control, but the causes and interpretation can be either psychological, genetic or both. Weight control and weight loss are the main objectives in all types of eating disorders, but methods may vary upon the type of disorder and thus the help for eating disorders. Anorexics use starvation as a way to reduce and maintain an unusually low weight as their fears are centered on weight gain. With anorexia there may be habits of induced vomiting, but it is not as frequent as it is for those who are suffering from bulimia nervosa. Women who are suffering from anorexia nervosa usually resemble the consequences and symptoms of those of starvation whereas bulimics are more difficult to spot. Women suffering from bulimia may be underweight, overweight or they may have a “normal” body weight.

Most of these eating disorders are ways for women to cope with their life problems which include stress, anxiety and depression as well as society pressures to look a certain way. Help for eating disorders is essential as these illnesses are all very dangerous and can be risky as they can cause major damage and pressure on the body. Any type of eating disorder can cause malnutrition and the severe dysfunction of the body’s major organs. Problems with metabolism, blood, kidneys, brain and even the heart can all be caused by an eating disorder. The stop in a woman’s menstrual cycle may stop when a woman is active in her eating disorder, which would result in massive losses of calcium for her body, which could lead to a condition called osteoporosis, which is a long-term prognosis. The effects of an eating disorder on the heart can include fluttering of the heart and weakening of the hear muscle which could eventually lead to heart failure. For the medical reasons alone it is essential for those suffering from this illness find help for eating disorders.

An eating disorder is a serious condition which requires the attention and help of trained specialists, therapists, nutritionists and doctors, all of which Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women, located in Southern California, provides. Help for eating disorders and treatment should always include the help of professionals and guidance of medical doctors as an eating disorder involves the body and the mind. Without the proper help for eating disorders, the condition could very seriously lead to death.

Professional recommendations when providing help for eating disorders emphasize that at a young age, parents, teachers and mentors should help to model healthy eating and proper exercise habits at school and at home. Eating disorders are often the result of low self-esteem ad low self-confidence in the suffering woman. To prevent low self-esteem and low self-confidence in their child, parents should practice accepting their child for who they are and not how they should look. Parents, mentors and friends that are encouraging their loved one to loose weight should be very cautious and educated with their approach as it is an extremely sensitive issue even for those who are not suffering from the disease. An open and comfortable environment should be created by healthy communication and relationships within the family and the child’s immediate community.

Support is also essential and crucial for those who need help for eating disorders. This disease can feel lonely and support and understanding from parents, friends and family is essential to diminish these feelings and guide their loved one towards recovery.

Parents should try to set realistic expectations for their children and should not magnify the importance of appearance and skinniness. Parents should also be aware of their peers or social groups that may be pressuring their child to be thin or diet to fit in. Avoiding those kinds of people and surrounding a child with people who are less judgmental on appearance is usually the best way to prevent the development of an eating disorder as well as help those who are currently suffering from an eating disorder. Beginning at a young age, an active lifestyle is suggested as the best way to prevent body concerns and possible psychological disorders. It is important for young adults to be active in extra curricular activities that help to create a healthy social life and can boost self-esteem and self-confidence. Activities such as sports can help to provide proper exercise for a young adult resulting in a healthy body and proper weight.

Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women located in Southern California offers 90-day treatment for women who need help for eating disorders. It has been studied that although medication is a part of finding help for eating disorders, it is not effective alone. Prescribing medication without professional and communal support from a treatment facility is often found not to work. Medication is usually prescribed to treat the causes and symptoms of an eating disorder, such as anxiety, depression, obsessive thoughts or gastric discomfort. Short-term hospitalization is insufficient for finding help for an eating disorders and its treatment, although it may help interrupt vomiting and bingeing temporarily. It is important to understand, though, that a key strategy when treating someone suffering from an eating disorder, the following should be provided: Education and understanding about their disease, Hospitalization in order to prevent death, suicide and medical crisis and Weight restoration to improve health, mood and cognitive functioning. At Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women, the 24-7 staff is educated and specializes in helping and treating women who suffer from all types of eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

Call us today. We are here to help.