Lynda Murray

The Dietitian Magician®

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Debunk Disordered Eating

February is a time when thoughts turn to hearts and sometimes vows to eat a little bit more heart healthy.  Or the daylight starts to extend and we worry about upcoming short season and embark on an exercise regimen. But when does a commitment to health and fitness go “over the edge”, to the “dark side” and turn into a potentially deadly eating disorder?

Dare to become Aware

“I had no idea my quest for health was making me sick,” is the theme for This year's National Eating Disorder Awareness Week campaign, "I Had No Idea..." aims to promote public and media attention to the seriousness of eating disorders and improve education about the biological and environmental triggers, warning signs and how to help those struggling. The hope is that education can lead to earlier detection, intervention, and help-seeking behaviors, all which will ultimately improve the likelihood of a full recovery.

Who is at risk?

Eating disorders – such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder – are serious, potentially life-threatening conditions that affect both a person’s emotional and physical health.

When eating makes you feel bad about yourself

Binge Eating Disorder is officially getting the respect it deserves. It is the most commonly identified eating disorder among adults- affecting over three million. It is defined as recurring episodes (more than once a week for three months of more) of consuming a large amount of food in a short time, as compared with others. It is a vicious cycle of binge, distress and repeat. Sufferers often feel a lack of control with their eating, distress, shame and guilt. They may hide or conceal their symptoms even from loved ones. Identification and professional diagnosis is the first step towards turning the corner towards recovery. Tell your doctor about your eating.

In the United States alone, 30 million people will be impacted by an eating disorder at some point in their lifetime. Eating disorders encompass emotional upheaval, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. These conditions affect all kinds of people and don’t discriminate by race, age, sex, age or size. There are toddlers practicing bulimia, and seniors restricting food intake, along with men who may demonstrate these and other compensatory behaviors such as unrealistic exercise. 

Diets be damned

Americans get many mixed messages about health—and many of those messages are far from healthy. We hear about the virtues of "good" foods and the evils of the “bad” ones. Our national fixation on weight loss has resulted in $60 billion in profits for the diet industry – an industry whose products and weight loss plans are often the catalyst to an eating disorder.

No such thing as an “innocent” diet

Research shows that 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting and of those, 20-25% continue on to develop partial or full-syndrome eating disorders.  From TV commercials to bestselling books, there are countless ideas about what we should be eating and how we should be exercising. But this focus on food and weight in the name of “health” can become a dangerous and disruptive preoccupation for some.

All too often, the drive for thinness begins early in a person’s life. Forty-six percent of 9-11 year-olds are “sometimes” or “very often” dieting with 35-57% of adolescent girls engage in crash dieting, fasting, self-induced vomiting, diet pills, or laxatives.

Recovery is possible

While someone trapped in the trenches of disordered eating may feel powerless, and that happiness will never be achieved, there is light at the end of a seemingly endless tunnel.  Relapse is likely but recovery is achievable. Get help, you don’t have to keep hurting.

The most effective treatment for an eating disorder is psychotherapy or psychological counseling, coupled with careful attention to medical and nutritional needs.  This treatment should be tailored to the individual and will vary according to both the severities of the disorder and their problems, needs, and strengths.

Local resources

Food Fairy Tales - Obesity and eating disorders are considered opposites, yet their causes are mostly the same. Our weight loss at any cost mentality causes secret binge eating, substance abuse, bullying, chronic illness, and crippling shame. Learn how to change - both personally and professionally – to allow our culture to heal from both.

Words that Hurt, Words that Heal - Overweight children and teens are at high risk of eating disorders in their quest to lose weight at any cost. Children of every size are cautioned to “watch” their weight diet, and mildly underweight teens are suspected of needing treatment for eating disorders. Learn how to modify what you say to help drive this disorder out of your children’s future.  

Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa - Edciowa.org. Resources offering hope, acceptance, understanding and healing for all impacted by eating disorders.

Five Reasons I love you bars

These layered bars taste like Take Five candy bars.  This oooie gooey, chocolaty, peanuty, melt- in-your- mouth caramel recipe is perfect to make your honey for Valentine’s day. Remember, all foods can fit. You are not a bad person because you eat an occasional treat.  Remember the 80/20 rule. Select wise choices most of the time, then spurge a little. Have some chocolate, forget about it and move on with your day. Can freeze these bars to save some for another day.

Makes 24 bars

All you need

Bottom Chocolate Layer:

1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

Peanut Butter & Pretzel Layers:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2 cups mini pretzels

Caramel & Peanut Layers:

1 14-oz bag caramels, unwrapped

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup salted peanuts

Top Chocolate Layer:

1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

All you do:

  1. ‍To make the bottom layer, set a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Melt the milk chocolate and peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and spread into a 9x13-inch pan lined with greased foil. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. To make the peanut butter layer, beat the butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar in a stand mixer or with a hand-held mixer until smooth and creamy. Spread over the bottom chocolate layer. Cover with the pretzels.
  3. To make the caramel layer, place the caramels and heavy cream in a small saucepan and set over medium low heat. Heat until caramels melt and mixture is smooth, stirring frequently. Immediately spread on top of the pretzels, then top with the peanuts. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. To make the top chocolate layer, set a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Melt the milk chocolate and peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Pour on top of the bars and return to the fridge for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
  5. Bars will become soft if left at room temperature, store in the fridge.
Lynda Murray

Lynda is an award winning dietitian and a leading advocate for nutritional health and wellness.

Lynda Murray

Lynda is an award winning dietitian and a leading advocate for nutritional health and wellness.