Body Image Issues, Eating Disorders, and our Teens with Kristin Nasman

Casey: Welcome to the Parenting Teens with Positive Discipline audio summit, I am your host, Casey O'Roarty, certified positive discipline trainer, coach and founder of Joyful Courage. This audio summit is designed to dig into the principles of holding the foundation of positive discipline while navigating the very real and messy experience of being a guide for our teenagers.

Special thank you to Jane Nelson and Lynn Lott, authors of Positive Discipline for Teenagers and the Positive Discipline Association whose mission it is to create a peaceful world by teaching Adlerian social and emotional life skills for respectful relationships. All the guests you will hear on this audio summit have extensive knowledge in positive discipline and have or are currently raising teenagers themselves. Thank you for listening and be sure to join us in the Joyful Courage Parents of Teens Facebook group for more discussion about this particular interview.  

My guest is Kristin Nasman. Kristin is a certified positive discipline trainer parent coach and has her masters degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Washington. She teaches parenting classes and teacher workshops on solution-focused discipline. She's an instructor at Bellevue College in the parent education department where she teaches parents of preschoolers in the creative development lab class along with positive discipline courses. Prior to coming to Bellevue college, she worked at Seattle Central Community College where she was a parent instructor in the toddler program and a co-op preschool. Kristin works one on one with parents to help them create the families they dream of. Teaching has always been a part of Kristin's life, from working as a tennis pro during and after college, teaching elementary school and working as a supervisor and mentor of student teachers at the UW in their teacher education program. Kristin was born and grew up in the Seattle area and her biggest learning has come from raising her own 3 teen kids.

Hi Kristin, thank you so much for being part of the Parenting Teens with P.D. Audio Summit.

Kirstin: Hi, Casey,  I am so excited to be here today, so thank you for having me.

Casey: Yay, can you tell the listeners a little bit about your experience with parenting through the teen years with positive discipline?

Kristin: Well, as you know, we've talked about this before, it's been quite the journey. So, you know, what I think is that I had this vision when I started positive discipline, it was about 8 years ago so my kids weren't super young, my youngest was quite young but that I would be able to prevent everything from happening that I didn't want to have happen and I thought that the teen years were going to be, I'll have it all handled, I'll know exactly what to do and those other people are going to have the problems, not me and you know what? It's been a journey.

It's been a rollercoaster journey but I have to say that when things hit, I feel like I'm able to navigate my way back quickly and I'm able to have a lot of self-awareness about what's happening and what I need to do to get things back on track, so I guess, you said one time, it was funny, I think we were having a conversation one time about how you felt like you're wearing fraud lights at the top of your head, you know, I felt like that many times because it's kind of public. This is what I do and this is the struggle I'm having and so it's not always been easy but you know, I think that positive discipline has helped me get through a lot that might not have gone as well as it has.

Casey: Yeah, I love that you mentioned that awareness piece, that leaning back into awareness and it's funny when I'm working with parents and they come back and they say " Oh man, you know, I really screwed up and this is how I responded to this challenge" and I always say like, "Hey, I am celebrating the fact that you know that you could have handled that better because that is, you know, that's a big, that's like the first big step is recognizing that there are better ways, or more helpful, useful ways of navigating what is, like, childhood."

Kristin: Absolutely.

Casey: So thank you for that. I love that piece about awareness. So, Kristin, today you and I are going to talk about body image and eating disorders which is a really hard conversation and a very important conversation and you have some firsthand knowledge around this so, will you talk a little bit about your story and then what the current statistics are for eating disorders?

Kristin: Sure, so my daughter is 15 now and about a little over 2 years ago I started noticing some things changing and she wasn't eating her lunch and seemed to not be hungry very often and she was having some headaches and tired a lot, cold a lot and I didn't really know what this was, we kind of went to the doctor and you know, I just was like thinking, she's going to that typical teen dieting kind of thing and so I wasn't too worried about it. It was actually my older daughter who went out to lunch with her and noticed that she was not eating the way that she normally did and she was more aware about eating disorders than I was and she actually told my daughter's therapist and the therapist said to me "I don't do eating disorders, you need to find somebody else, it's that complicated." And so we did and about a year later, even going through with some specialists that were trained in eating disorders, my daughter at the age of 14 which is a very typical age, developed a very bad case of anorexia even while going to experts.

It is such a devastating disease and illness. It's a mental and physical illness and so we rode that roller coaster train for almost a year in treatment and we're heading up on a year of recovery and that's been amazing and she's doing really, really well and I'm really happy to be able to speak out about this because I think that awareness and learning about some of the signs can help people get treatment and help a lot earlier and that is the number one recovery tool is really being able to catch it early.

Casey:Yeah, what are the statistics? What are, what's currently happening in the world of eating disorders?

Kristin: Yes. So eating disorders, there's disordered eating and eating disorders and unfortunately, our culture, I think we were not even so aware of it how ubiquitous it is in our culture but disordered eating is really just using food in kind of a way, it might be for emotional eating or maybe over concern about our diet or about what we're eating and it's about the "bad" and the "good" and I should say the "I should" and "I shouldn'ts" and the diets and you know, all of this and we think about it, that's pretty much how it is, that is culturally how we are.

And so an eating disorder is sort of that idea on steroids. It's like everything in your body and mind are all about food and it's about, it takes over, it really takes over your mind and so that's kind of the distinction between an eating disorder and disordered eating and so while disordered eating is affecting probably over half of the girls and I'm not just speaking to girls, here, I'm speaking to all people. Boys are really affected by this as well, about 30 percent of patients are males and that's very surprising but it's increasing as well. So about, you know, the statistics are all different depending on who you ask and what year it is but probably about 6 percent of young people will get an eating disorder. And then I think about 20 million at some point their life Americans are going to have an eating disorder. It's quite widespread.

Casey: Well and you mentioned before we, you know, in your story that you shared  and before I hit record that somebody came to your daughter's school and talked about the signs and that often we don't know what it is that we're looking at, do we? Like just the unawareness parent-wise of what is happening and so, you know, we kind of brushed it off as not a big deal. So what are, what should we be looking at, what is happening because it's hard, it's hard to know, you know, I mean sometimes they're in a mood and they don't want to eat and, OK, that's fine and then I feel like there's so much, it's a continuum, right, it's a spectrum so how do we know what we're looking at? What was, what did you start to see after you got more information around eating disorders and warning signs?

Kristin: Right, so you know, I think you're right, it is kind of a spectrum and disordered eating can turn into an eating disorder, it doesn't always. But you know, what are some of the signs that I see? You know, my signs were very different from what somebody else might see and so it's very tricky actually to determine if there's a problem and I think that parents need to recognize that, listen to their gut, if you have a sense that something's not quite right or that it's just not the way it should be or it's not the way that it used to be and something doesn't quite feel right, parents know you know your children and listen to your gut because that is the best indicator, I think, of knowing whether you need to pursue something, even over pediatricians.

Sometimes, you know, the knowledge around what an eating disorder looks like and can be is a very slippery slope and sometimes I've heard of people getting passed off as well, let's just, you know, wait it out, that kind of thing and you know, ignoring it and so or not being aware of the signs. So as far as what some things you might look for, you know, dieting, the number one cause of eating disorders starts with dieting. It's often a trigger that starts it and it's not actually known exactly what it is that triggers it. It can be a confluence of a lot of different factors. It can be genetic factors that can lead to it. It can be anxiety. That's often a precursor. Most all people eating disorders have anxiety. And it can be, you know, it can be family history of that so and then the whole culture around body image is just such a huge thing that that is promoting eating disorders but the number one thing, I think, you can look at is dieting. That is a big precursor to an eating disorder.

So maybe that or social withdrawal. If you've noticed that your child is just not interested in even eating with their peers that is a big sign. Limiting their intake of foods, even things that they might used to have liked or feel like, "Gee, they've cut out a whole food group, they're no longer eating dairy or they become vegetarian," that's a big sign, they don't want to eat any more meat or they're eating very clean, so that's a tough one to really handle because you might be thinking "Oh that's so great," then all of a sudden they stop eating their junk food and now they just want to eat clean food, no fats, no meats, no, so that is a really huge sign of, and there's many different types of eating disorders as well.

So, again, these are these, you may see some of these signs or several of them and that's why it's a little bit tricky to actually to diagnose this. You might see food rituals, like cutting up the food extremely small or chewing excessively or separating all the food out on the plate. You know, body checking, constantly talking about body or body weight, clothing, clothing sizes, talking about, you know, figures of other people and really honing in on  what other girls and people are looking like in the magazines or on T.V. So sort of an over, you know, an over concentration on body image. A real fear of weight gain might be a sign.

Casey: So, oh my gosh. It makes my whole body go like "Oh God." I mean it and I appreciate that you keep saying, like, that's why this is so slippery.

Kristin: it is slippery and you know, too and then there's other things, like the whole thing about teens wanting secrecy or kind of privacy at that age, that's really a typical teen development task and at the same time, that's also something that protects the eating disorder. So eating in secret, not wanting you to come into the room, you know, the things that you don't want to pry because you don't, you want to, you know, you want to honor their privacy is actually something that can keep the disorder alive. You know, not wanting to talk about things. That kind of thing and especially, I think, you know, going to the bathroom after meals is a huge sign, that was one that, you know, pretty obvious but that one is, you know, a pretty obvious sign.

Casey: So but but gosh, I keep finding myself like "Yeah, but, don't you like, isn't it good to poop after you eat?" You know, like, I'm like "Wow", you know, just, I think that just illustrates how complicated it all is and it's interesting too because I can feel my fear triggers being poked at just listening to you and so again that spectrum, that continuum and listening to the gut, I really appreciate that you said that and so, you know, is this something that we can kind of, you know, we've talked I've talked on the summit, I talk in the podcast, we talk about this in positive discipline that iceberg metaphor, so if eating disorder, and you said there were many, like, I'm thinking specifically of anorexic, bulimic, what else is there? Overeating?

Kristin: Yeah, so I think now, I mean, it kind of depends what the D.S.M. manual says, but I think that that they've actually identified like 9 different types of eating disorder. They aren't all under the D.S.M. 5 manual but they all range from like orthorexia, which would be one many people haven't heard of but that's extreme clean eating and so on the surface it might look like an athlete who trains really hard and works really hard and then they want to eat really clean but it becomes where they become ritualized around it.

Casey: Obsessed.

Kristin: Obsessed and there's rules and can'ts and shouldn'ts. So it's not just this where, "I feel like eating something" it's like, "No I can't do it until like maybe 3 o'clock. I can only have this for breakfast. I can only have this for lunch" and it might be a very small amount of food and then there's a lot of guilt around food so that might be like orthorexia where that would show up. On the surface it might look really good, the parent might be really pleased at the beginning but underneath the iceberg, right, there's all this all this other stuff happening.

Casey: Right.

Kristin: For guys, you know, it comes up as body image. And their whole thing is, in fact, the spokesperson now is, he was a former Mariners and he's now become a spokesperson for NEDA because he went really obsessive. It's often people who can be very perfectionistic end up with eating disorders, very high achievers and very sensitive kind of super feeler type of people. And so, that would be something where for guys, they would, you know, really be obsessed about their muscles showing, and so they would want to lose weight and they might want to work out in order to kind of get that 6 pack look. So that might be something that would show up for males.

Then there's some where it's just about taste and texture and maybe they've had experiences with some trauma around choking before and so they just will, just do not want to eat and that's a different type and then there's there's all different variations of the bulimia and anorexia and binge and purge disorder and so there's a lot of different variations and each one of them is a little bit different and can, but they don't really know why, what triggers, there's usually a kind of a confluence of aligning of the stars that show up. And it's a little bit, you know, like I said, hereditary, could be but the cultural factors are so important about what's happening and stress or trauma those kinds of things could be underlying as well.

Casey: Well and I'm just thinking about, you know, everything we talk about in PD around power struggles, right and especially in the younger years, the books that we've read or share with parents, you know, around pottying, eating and sleeping, you can't make them do it, right and so, as you know, now we're looking at teenagers and I know in my own experience I've had plenty of conversations and places where I need to just back off and not be so micromanaging around food. And you know, so like, I'm thinking to myself is that, you know, how, I mean, God, Kristin? Right, it's a place that's ripe for power struggle, anyway, right.

Kristin: Absolutely.

Casey: Because we want them to eat vegetables and, you know, we want them to eat their lunch because "Gosh darn it, I went to the store and I bought you good food, you know, so I don't understand how you don't want to eat it, right?" Where it's like not even about what's happening for them. It's this power struggle or fear creeps in and then it becomes, you know, and I'm guessing, is there this underlying control conversation for people who struggle with eating disorders, am I?

Kristin: Yeah, actually that's one of the reasons that an eating disorder can start and what can kind of be underneath is the anxiety is often so profound that feeling like you can control something like food gives them a sense of control and that can be another place that and so as a parent, yes, it's extremely difficult because even I try and you know, I try not to be controlling about food and I, actually, my daughter always had great eating habits. We never had battles over food which is interesting. We never did. It was actually my best little eater, she would like lots of different things and even when she was hungry and had very good intuitive eating so it's actually interesting that they didn't start when she was young or anything.

So this whole control thing and you're right about that whole idea of flipping your lid, like I didn't even know what it was to feel like I was flipping my lid until this situation. You know, watching your child lose weight and know that food is the answer to not be able to say to eat your food in a way that, it was, it's very hard. It took so much self-control and that's one of the things that I have learned as a parent, as an educator, about this is, about learning to step back and detach from that sense of control. I mean, it's extremely, I mean, the one thing you want to do is what you really can't do.

Casey: Yeah, yeah and so, oh my gosh, right and so then, so has your daughter, you know, because I'm thinking, you know, one of the things that I invite parents into when they are getting that gut instinct is to just go in for some really transparent, authentic, curious conversation so, you know, when we go to our kids and you can speak from your experience or what you've learned and say, you know, I'm really concerned about, you know, what's going on with you, and food, can you tell me a little bit about it. Did you find that your daughter was wanting to talk or was this something that was off limits, like what did you, what was your experience and what are, what's the typical, is this a secret thing? I mean, I know it is a secret thing but I imagine having that like secret world of obsession around food and body feels really lonely and so having an opening might be something that teens would want to step into or is it too scary?

Kristin: I think, you know, you're absolutely right and I love the way that you are holding that kind of curiosity and kind of, "let's talk about this" because you were saying before, you want to, you want to fix it, I want to fix it, I want to, I know what you need, here, just eat this, you know but the thing is once somebody has gone into an eating disorder, they actually do isolate themselves and they don't want to talk to anybody. So although my daughter was going to a therapist, she was making no progress because she was not willing.

The eating disorder wants to take over the person. It takes over their mind and their body, their actions, it's not something they can change, it's so powerful, it's an addiction. And so really all the tools that I knew from positive discipline. once she was in her disorder, it was like they didn't work. Now that she's in recovery, I'm finding that the positive discipline tools of encouragement and listening and the validation and the being able to stay calm are what's really helping her to recover and to, you know, it's really helping.

In the disorder I was so frustrated because the things that I knew just didn't seem to do it and you know, but, that being said, I think that had I used tools, I mean, had I not been more self-aware, I could have made it worse, definitely.

Casey: So are there early, I mean, I feel like we've talked about a lot but are there early indicators that our kids might be moving in the direction of an eating disorder?

Kristin: You know, um, yes and I think that those things that we mentioned before are real good indicators. However, I think, you know this, this isn't just for parents of teens, especially not just of girls, yeah, I mean, that this body image distortion starts about the age of around 6.

Casey: That's sad.

Kristin: I think between the ages of 6 and 12 about 50 percent of kids are concerned about their body weight already and so I think that, you know, the prevention piece that I would really want to see happen is that we're talking to our young girls, first of all, about social media and about images and about the messaging that's out there and that we help them to be critical thinkers of that media, about who are they trying to sell it to and you know, what are they trying to promote here and about how these girls are really oftentimes, you know, they are airbrushed, you know, to be perfect and so that helping them to be discriminating consumers early on I think is really important.

And then, you know, recognizing the signs that, you know, no, we're not going to be dieting here, these things early on about making food groups smaller, I mean, there is some bit of just this recognition and of helping kids to have good eating habits early on, eating with them and again, I think with parents, the modeling is so powerful, what we are saying as parents, Casey, what we're showing them, I mean, disordered eating is throughout our culture, it is just, it's everywhere and I really had to take a look at myself and what it was I doing and thinking about food and about diet and about my body.

I mean, here I am, you know, a middle age women in my body is changing and so I was noticing a big change in my body I was probably talking about that out loud which, for somebody who is, you know, on a slippery slope that can be a trigger. Right and you know done that so I think you know we can watch ourselves and we can also be observant of what's happening with our kids and their meals and really just starting to notice and be paying attention if something is shifting and then again, that gut feeling, is there something maybe not quite right here.

Casey: Yeah.

Kristin: Most kids are not going to slip into an eating disorder but you know, with our culture I think, today, anxiety is increasing and we've got the social media pressures and you know, I think that we're going to see more of it, unfortunately.

Casey: Yeah, I have this great list that I pulled off of the National Eating Disorder Association website and anyone who's listening, I'll make sure that the link to this is available in the write up of this interview but I'd love to just go through it and kind of look at it through a positive discipline lens, can we do that? Are you up for it?

Kristin: Yes.

Casey: OK, so the very first thing on this list is the invitation to appreciate all that your body can do and I love this, I feel like it fits in really nicely with our encouragement model because it's less of, you know, checking ourselves when we are making those kind of blanket, I mean, praise, I guess, like, "You're so cute, you're so pretty" and instead, you know, as the parents but also encouraging our kids to do the same, we can be appreciating like "Wow, you're so, you know, look at what you did, you're so strong, you were able to, you know, do whatever they were able to do." And inviting them to, yeah and celebrate like "Wow, you just ran a mile, that's not easy to go and your body was able to do it."

And again, listeners, encouragement is really a lot more process oriented and I think that when we're looking at it through this context, it's a lot more descriptive than just "Hey your butt looks great." Which I can't imagine any parent saying to their child but, you know ,there's different ways that we can, that we even just, "Hey, you look great" you know, like, really, I mean not becoming obsessed ourselves but looking at the ways that we're using language with our kids.

Kristin: Yeah I think that being really intentional about that is really important, I mean, I'm thinking about this comment here, you know, appreciating all your body can do and really thinking about, you know, that gratitude that we can have for a body that works. Not how our body looks but how a body works, that it gets us somewhere, that we can run somewhere, that we can feel the air on our skin, you know, these kinds of things that we often bypass in lieu of looking good, right, so.

Casey: Yeah, yeah, definitely and the second thing on the list is "Keep a top 10 list of things you like about yourself." I, you know, when I read that I was thinking about how we'll often encourage parents to talk about mistakes at the dinner table. Or when we do family meetings, we will do compliment circles and there's always an invitation to compliment everyone at the table including ourselves. I think that this often, this is something that kind of fits in with that that top 10 list of things you like about yourself and I love that it also says "read your list often". We can all do this, right.

Kristin: Yes and, you know, that reminds me that self-esteem is kind of a core part of this whole of an eating disorder, low self-esteem and so I love this about helping kids to acknowledge themselves. They often can't see what other people see when they have this disorder and so, you know, starting that kind of thing as a prevention tool when kids are, like, younger.

Casey: Yeah and I think that even the grownups who we might not have any, well we might have some disordered eating and thinking about the whole 30 that I just did with my husband, I felt really good about it, Kristin, now I'm like "Oh God, why did I make such a big deal?" But you know, I think that it's interesting too to talk to people about how they receive how they receive compliments, you know, even just this morning I was talking to my trainer who has, you know, been through chemo and is this fighter, she's this amazing human and she said that she ran into somebody and they told her that she inspired them and I felt so uncomfortable and I just said to her like, wow, what would it be like to just allow somebody to feel inspired by you and to receive that, instead of like "No, no, no," you know, we're so quick to push things away, so I really like this top ten list of things, this invitation and permission to have 10 things that you like about yourself, right.

Kristin: That's right and I think, you know, teens can be real tough on themselves. So, you know, they do need to kind of, but again, it's an authentic encouragement, really, it's not the superficial, the physical things, it's about who they are and I think focusing on that is a great prevention tool.

Casey: Yeah and I think that has come up a lot in these conversations, Kristin, is that, and like I wonder, I'm curious because for me, when I speak about authenticity, it's kind of second nature. I don't know how else to be and I have to take a step back and realize that not everybody, that's not the story for everybody so, you know, if you're out there and you're listening and you're thinking like "Wow, I really, this is speaking to me and I'm going to up my authenticity" and it feels uncomfortable or it feel like, especially considering our teens have such great B.S. radars, you know, if we come at this with this big agenda, I'm going to build up your self-esteem or I'm going to expand your thinking about yourself and that's what I'm coming in to do, they're going to feel that under the surface agenda and just, you know, be in real conversation and they're just, they're humans, they're fellow humans, right, we can be in real conversation with them.

Kristin: Yeah, you know, Casey, I think that's a really important thing because, you know, just being able to listen to a teenager, they say things sometimes, as you know, that just sort of rattle you and you know, my lid wants to get flipped and I want to fix or I want to problem solve it or I want to say, you know, "No, that's not right" or you know, "You shouldn't think that way" and all of that is so disturbing of these young girls and they don't want to be fixed, they don't want to have the problem solved, they just want somebody to listen without judgment and listen with curiosity.

Casey: They all do, that's for sure, that it is for sure and you know, for some of us that is a lifelong struggle, how to listen without judgment, I think. So what a great opportunity having teenagers is to practice that for sure.

Kristin: Yeah, I actually do this-

Casey: Because we know. We know all the answers.

Kristin: But you know, I also realized and learned that I think-

Casey: Right, we know how you feel. Oh my gosh, they hate that. That's exactly the experience that I've had especially, you know, as I've been really open about my own daughter's navigating anxiety, specifically but also depression and I mean, I have never, that has never been an issue for me and so to be able to be with her and support her and love her through it, not make her feel like she's, you know, less than or that there's something wrong with her, that's really, because not, you know, it doesn't always show up in my language. It might, you know, it's sometimes, it's more of a hidden message that I'm delivering and so really recognizing I don't know and being, like, surrendering to that and and being with her inside of her experience and letting her teach me, you know, has been really powerful, really powerful.

Kristin: Right.

Casey: Another thing on your, on this list, that I really love is the invitation to look at yourself as a whole person and the little, you know, write up is, when you see yourself in the mirror or in your mind, choose not to focus on specific body parts, see yourself as you want others to see you, as a whole person. What do you think about that?

Kristin: Well and that's exactly opposite of what happens in an eating disorder. They only see their physical body and it's very, you know, it's warped, obviously, body dysmorphia, they can't even see anything, they don't see the body the way that you see their body so I think, you know ,focusing on the whole person is so important. You know, because girls are getting messages everywhere social networking, on movies, the magazines, the television that tell them that thinness is the most important thing and so we have to counteract those messages they're getting everywhere.

Casey: Yeah.

Kristin: They're inundated with it and so we have to step up as parents and really focus on them as whole people.

Casey: Yeah, well, I'm thinking too of my own experience because I know when I get out and I know right where my eyes always go.

Kristin: Yeah.

Casey: Yeah, my little area, always right to the belly and really practicing pulling back from that is a practice. So do you think, if, you know, do you think that it is because I'm loving this, I really like this list, I like it for me, as well as for, you know, teens for the person that's that's needing this support. Can we use this as a talking, like as an opening, would you think that this would this list would be a good tool as it's kind of a neutral opening to conversation?

Kristin: Yeah and I think regular conversations around this are really important because that recognition, you know, having this ongoing conversations I don't think, I don't think that we can stress that enough, is just having that open dialogue and the open dialogue again comes from that being curious and not being judgemental and so they feel that from, I think, from parents, kids are more likely to open up and talk to them about these kinds of issues.

Casey: Yeah, I really like that you said frequent. I think that sometimes, just like some of the other conversations that are important to be having around sex and other risky behavior, like short and sweet and frequent, like we have to come back to it and I think that it, I mean, I'm guessing that listeners can even hear in my voice in this conversation how uncomfortable, you know, this conversation is and and I think that sometimes we humans, we want to believe that everything's OK and so there's a little bit of of head in the sand. So full permission, everybody, and like, you know, I mean, some people will say "Oh well, we talk about safe sex then all the kids want to have sex" you know, versus, and I'm wondering, is there any kind of conversation around, like, well if you talk about food and body then it's just going to promote more of a obsession around food and body but I'm guessing that's not true.

Kristin: I don't think so, right, I think, you know, again in positive discipline we talk a lot about modeling and you know, what are we, what, how do we view our own bodies as parents, how do we view our food, is it something that is our is to give us nutrition to get us through the day or are we obsessed with it, are we having our own issues with it? So I think it's important to start looking inside of ourselves and finding out, you know, what's there and what are our kids seeing? What messages are we giving? Because we can talk about them but if we're not modeling that then they're getting two messages.

Casey: That just exists in so many domains, doesn't it?

Kristin: It does and it's really, I've become so aware, it's hard to even go to a social event where food doesn't come up and it's a negative thing, you know, "I shouldn't eat this, oh it's so good but it's just so naughty for me" or you know like that kind of talk, it's really, one woman I know, she's from another country and she said, she commented on it that we don't how these conversations, we sit down and we might enjoy a pastry in the afternoon and nobody's feeling guilty about it and that's, you know, the kind of intuitive eating that we want to be after but we're really on the wrong track in this country as far as using food as serving so many other purposes and it's such a negative thing and it's proven that diets don't work so, you know, we need to just move our whole attitude and viewpoint towards food in a whole different direction.

Casey: And so if there are people listening right now who are thinking that, are feeling as though they have teens that that might be in the throes of eating disorder, what are some steps that they could take? What are some what are first steps for them to be taking to follow that gut hit that they're getting as they listen to us talk?

Kristin: Well, the one great thing about eating disorder treatment is that it's so much better today than it used to be, they're learning so much more about this illness and that real help is there. It might not be in your local community if you don't live near a big city, you may have to, you know, you may have to seek out somebody that's very specialized and good but the treatment is really good and the recovery rate, especially for people who catch it early, that is one of the the best things you can do is actually catch it early because it hasn't had as much time to take hold, is the recovery is very possible and so I would say to seek out information, go to the NEDA website, National Eating Disorder Association.

They have an excellent website that covers all of this and more and they do a screening tool on there and you can find out if there is a problem or where you kind of fit on that spectrum, that Eating Recovery Center is a great tool or place to go for resources information, their website they have a you can call and you can talk to a person online and they'll help you, somebody who's a specialist, to determine where you are and I would highly recommend, it's non-threatening, I would highly recommend anybody who just concerns about it or questions or feels that gut feeling a little bit, like, because again, catching it early is the first and best prevention tool.

Casey: And now are these surveys, like I can fill it out for my child, like what I'm seeing for my child or are these surveys that we would encourage our teens to fill out for themselves or both?

Kristin: You know, when I called I spoke with a person and it was me that called and then then it did look as if that we needed to get more support and so we did then go in and in person I think for the  first thing is just to go to the websites and find out information, give them a call. Don't wait.

Casey: Yeah and it's a very user friendly website and so everybody that's listening and wants to check it out, don't be intimidated by that. It has, I mean, so much, so much information, really supportive and easy to consume. So, Kristin, do you have any last thoughts about body image, eating disorder before we close out? I mean other than the 5 extra hours that we could talk about this.

Kristin: I know, just touching the iceberg here, you know, just that, Casey, is this is such a devastating disease, it really can affect whole families for years on and it's a very, very serious illness. It's not something to wait on, it's not something to ignore, it's something that if you see a sign, know that some, there's a reason, again, under that iceberg there is something else going on and we don't want to just let the "Well, this too shall pass," that is not helpful in this case.

Typically I would say that for other things but in this case, I would say that's an indication that, you know, it doesn't mean that there's an eating disorder, it just means that there might be needing to be some attention paid to it and educate yourself, I think, having the education is power, that knowledge is power.

Casey: Thank you so much for coming on and contributing to the summit.

Kristin: Thank you so much.

Casey: I appreciate you. If there's parents listening who would like to get in touch with you, where could they find you?

Kristin: Right now at my email, so it's

Casey: Great, I'll make sure there's a link to that in the write up of the interview and I just really appreciate you. Thank you so much.

Kirstin: Thank you.