Dr. Gerry and Dr. Laura Cusumano discuss eating disorders.
Dr. Laura shares her struggle with anorexia that emerged in college and how she became obsessed with numbers (food and exercise) as a way to gain a sense of control. She describes how her extroverted personality started to change and her personality was “shrinking” and this was a sign that she was in an unhealthy place because she was losing her identity.
“Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (Colossians 3)
Dr. Laura notes that eating disorders don’t always have a physical appearance. Anorexia can occur to people who are average or overweight in appearance. It is concerning when all your activities revolve around food or avoiding food. There was also a loss of relationships. Dr. Laura also discusses the difference between the ongoing recovery model and the full recovery model.
Dr. Gerry discusses how food can be celebratory but also be a way to self soothe negative emotions. Dr. Laura mentions the dietician Ellyn Satter. “It is being able to choose food you enjoy and eat it and truly get enough of it – not just stop eating because you think you should. ... Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good.”
Dr. Laura explains how eating disorders don’t always “stay in one box”. She discusses binge eating disorder which is now in the DSM (manual for diagnosing mental health disorders).
Dr. Laura urges us to be gentle with ourselves. Halloween through New Years we get “assaulted” by unhealthy food. New Year’s resolutions can be a “twisted Lent” which is detached to God. Putting a moral judgment on food is often unhelpful. There is a difference between disordered eating versus an eating disorder. Give grace and gentleness and notice when we want to berate ourselves for being “bad”. We speak to ourselves with harsh and moral language which can lead to body related negativity which can lead to an eating disorder. We must learn how to manage our relationship with food in a healthy way rather than merely eliminating certain foods completely.
“For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork. Blessed shall you be, and favored” (Psalm 128)
Food in the proper order is beautiful and created in nature – just like sex in the proper context. Temperance doesn’t mean eliminating everything that is tempting but managing our relationship with things in healthy ways.
What is Be with the Word?
“Be With The Word” is a weekly podcast from Souls and Hearts with Dr. Peter Malinoski, clinical psychologist, and Dr. Gerry Crete, marriage and family therapist. The hosts delve into human and psychological issues that surface in the upcoming Sunday Mass readings.