801.361.8589 [email protected]
Fad Diets 101- What You Need To Know

Fad Diets 101- What You Need To Know

Fad Diets 101- What You Need To Know: 

It’s a conversation you can probably relate to: 

– “I’m doing [insert fad diet here], have you heard of it?”

– “I can’t have that, I’m on [some wonky food plan an influencer shared] Haven’t you heard? [Completely normal food item] is causing us all to ruin our gut health.”  

– “Ugh! I am starving, I’m doing [newest diet craze] and I can’t eat for another four hours.” 

Fad dieting is rampant in our day and age- leaving you faced with the temptation to follow popular diets that promise quick weight loss or other health benefits, yet are often based on shady scientific “evidence” or unsustainable eating patterns. While these diets may in fact yield quick results, they pose significant risk to your health.   

Here are a few risks to consider the next time your coworker or loved one starts up again and has you contemplating joining in on the latest fad diet:  

  • Nutrient deficiencies: Fad diets often restrict certain food groups or severely limit calorie intake, leading to potential nutrient deficiencies. Such imbalances can cause health problems, including weakness, fatigue, impaired immune function, and potential reproductive health complications.
  • Unsustainability: Fad diets are typically difficult to sustain over the long term due to their restrictive nature or the elimination of entire food groups. This can lead to feelings of deprivation, frustration, and a higher likelihood of binge-eating or rebound weight gain once the diet is discontinued.  The net result? Often it’s patterns of yo-yo weight adjustments as you deprive and then recover during dysfunctional dieting patterns.  
  • Muscle loss: Many fad diets focus primarily on rapid weight loss, which often includes a loss of muscle mass. Losing muscle can slow down your metabolism and make it challenging to maintain the new number on the scale in the long run.
  • Disordered eating patterns: Fad dieting practices contribute to the development of disordered eating patterns.  These conditions have serious physical and psychological consequences.
  • Lack of evidence-based research: Fad diets lack scientific evidence to support their claims. They often rely on anecdotal success stories or cherry-picked research, which can be misleading and potentially harmful.
  • Impact on mental health: Fad dieting can lead to an unhealthy preoccupation with food, body image issues, and a negative relationship with eating. This can contribute to increased stress, anxiety, and a reduced quality of life.

It’s important to remember that beyond fueling our bodies, food provides ways for us to connect with a loved one over a shared meal, bring joy into our lives in times of celebration, and offer comfort when we face hard days. Our overall health goals are best achieved through a balanced- not rigid or experimental– approach to nutrition and lifestyle. 

Social Media and Body Image: A Quick Checkup

Social Media and Body Image: A Quick Checkup

In today’s world, social media is a big part of connecting and communicating with others.  While it can be a helpful tool for those purposes, when left unchecked, social media can become problematic to our well-being.  Here are a few areas to quickly check-in and determine how healthy your relationship is with your social media platforms! 


Do you often find yourself thinking about how you compare or measure up to what you are viewing on social media?

Social media platforms often present an idealized and curated version of other people’s lives, including their appearance. This can create a sense of pressure to measure up to these standards, leading to negative feelings about your own body. Constantly comparing yourself to others on social media can create a wide range of challenges- from fostering feelings of envy, inadequacy, and low self-esteem to inspiring disordered eating. 

Filters and editing: 

Do you feel comfortable posting unedited, unfiltered images of yourself online? Why or why not?  

When viewing images of others, are you allowing yourself to consider how those images may have been edited and filtered? 

Social media provides access to numerous filters and editing tools that allow people to alter their appearance, often beyond recognition. Seeing others post photos that have been heavily edited or filtered can create unrealistic beauty standards and make people feel like they need to change their own appearance to be more attractive or desirable. 

Body shaming and criticism: 

Are the communities you are interacting with online full of kindness and support, or are they critical and aggressive? 

What is your reaction when you see comments shaming bodies? 

Unfortunately, social media can also be a breeding ground for negative comments about people’s bodies. This can come in the form of direct criticism, such as fat shaming or body shaming, or more subtle comments that still perpetuate harmful beauty standards. These comments can be hurtful and contribute to negative feelings about your own body.


After you have been online for a little bit, bring your awareness to how judgemental you are feeling about yourself.  Do you find yourself feeling inadequate? Like you are not good enough? 

Have you noticed an increase in perfectionistic tendencies as your time on social media increases? 

Social media can also promote a culture of perfectionism, where people feel like they need to present a flawless version of themselves to the world. This can lead to a focus on appearance as a key part of your identity and self-worth, which can be damaging to your relationship with their body.

It’s important to be mindful of how social media affects your own relationship with your body and to take steps to protect your mental health and well-being.

Eating Disorders in Older Populations

Eating Disorders in Older Populations

Surprising research shared by Harvard Medical School is highlighting the risk for eating disorders over a lifespan.  While eating concerns were once considered something impacting a more youthful demographic, research continues to shine a light on the impact of eating concerns in those middle aged and older.  

But what would drive an eating disorder to reemerge or even begin as a person ages?

“The importance of body image seems to be a key feature that makes women either return to or start an eating disorder,” says Dr. Bettina Bentley, a primary care physician at Harvard University Health Services. “With aging, many women are also disturbed by the lack of control over the ways their body is changing.”

As we age, our bodies undergo changes that we may find difficulty coping with.  Aging can also bring up unresolved or even new issues surrounding body image. During menopause, women often gain weight, and these changes might make you feel like your body is working against you or is uncomfortably out of your control.   

Interestingly, some researchers are noticing that eating disorders peak for women during critical periods of reproductive hormone change, like puberty, post pregnancy, or menopause.  These fluctuations in hormones, combined with the unique social pressures women face during each of these times of transition, can create a prime environment for an eating disorder to develop in.

While an eating disorder brings immense risk at any age, there are special concerns in older populations.  Women with anorexia are seven times more at risk of a bone fracture than the general population, for example.  Middle aged populations are also more likely to be on medication for chronic conditions, which increases the risk of complications when engaging in disordered eating.  Other unique concerns to this population include an increased risk of pneumonia for those who force themselves to vomit and poor wound healing due to improper nutrition. 

If you find yourself beginning to fixate or feel intrusive thoughts about body image or eating concerns as you age, know that you aren’t the only one!  You are worthy of care at any age, stage, or phase.  If you find your body is changing, you are capable of changing with it, and learning healthy ways to respond to your new needs.  



Coping With Mortal Bodies

Coping With Mortal Bodies

Coping with mortal bodies

We all live in bodies that will die someday.  (Nothing like starting off this blog post on a high like that, right?!)  

I tend towards a natural disposition of optimism, and as part of that, I shy away from more realistic or pessimistic points of view.  However, when it comes to my body- I find myself leaning into the very certain realities that my body will one day fail.  I will die.  Nothing within my power to control can change that reality.   

I was delighted the other day to stumble upon an article where elderly persons were asked what advice they would give to their younger selves.  Predictably, much of the advice centered around cherishing relationships, straightening out priorities, and the pursuit of education.  None of the advice touched on things I frequently work through with my clients in therapy- themes of needing control over their bodies and appearances, many times, at the detriment to the other priorities in their lives.

While being realistic on what the certain end to our mortal journey will be, I find there is a lot of freedom in the perspective that controlling my body is not the central task of my personhood.  I am a whole person, with a mind that needs enlightening, relationships that need looking after and delighting in, and responsibilities that need attention.  My body is a part of who I am, but in the end, I will likely not be remembered- for better or for worse- by my body.  And I will likely not come to the end of my life wishing I had spent less time in work I was fulfilled by or with people I love and more time obsessing over my calorie count, pant size, or outward appearance. 

Illusions of control

An eating disorder so often can take over your thinking, causing you to grow numb to the reality that your body will be ever changing and fragile, even as you do all in your power to control it.  As part of being human, we are subject to frailties.  The thought that engaging in the strict control an eating disorder will have over your body will not exempt you from this reality.  The feeling of control an eating disorder can provide is in actuality just an illusion.  

Acceptance of what we can’t change

We can’t change the reality that our bodies are meant to age with the passage of time- no amount of botox can stop the process.  I often have clients ask me, “Why would I accept what I can’t change?”  This concept feels like relinquishing control or giving up entirely.  But I have found there is great freedom in the act of acceptance of things we can not change. 

Freedom in acceptance 

It can be helpful in understanding this concept to think first about what the opposite of acceptance is- denial.  When we are denying reality, we stay locked up in the pain and struggle within ourselves.  The ability to look reality squarely in the eye and move forward with acceptance is actually such a radical act of courage. 

Psychologist Christopher Germer suggests that arriving at  true acceptance is a process. He theorized the path to acceptance often happens in this way:

“Step 1: Aversion: We instinctively respond to uncomfortable feelings with resistance, avoidance, or rumination (repetitively reviewing a problem to solve it). You’ll do anything to escape the feelings or situation, or you lay awake at night going over and over it in our mind, without coming to any solutions.

Stage 2: Curiosity:  When aversion and avoidance doesn’t work, you may become curious about your problem. You are very gradually starting to see the issue with more objectivity and clarity. You want to learn more about it; even though you may not like it and you feel anxious. However, when you become curious, you may find your anxiety decreases. You are starting to try to find meaning and learn from the experience.

Stage 3: Tolerance:  In this stage, you begin to be able to tolerate and endure the pain you feel about a situation, even though you still wish it would disappear.  Tolerating means staying with the feeling or situation, rather than avoiding and resisting reality.

Stage 4: Allowing: As your resistance begins to disappear, you can begin letting feelings come and go—much like the tides come in and go out again.  You realize that no feeling lasts forever and you’re able to acknowledge feelings and really feel them.  You allow reality into your awareness, without pushing it away.

Stage 5: Friendship:  In this stage, you value and appreciate your feelings.  They are not something to be avoided anymore. It’s not that you want to feel upset or sad, but you can be grateful for the benefits that a situation brings to your life. Until you reach this stage, it can be very hard to see any benefit to a painful situation” (Germer, 2009). 

As we move away from the denial of the natural changes our bodies will go through and move towards acceptance, there is a very real peace to be found.  And as we make peace with our bodies, we are freed up to pursue lives full of meaning- meaning that we get to be very selective and intentional about!  


Germer, C. K. (2009). The mindful path to self-compassion: Freeing yourself from destructive thoughts and emotions. New York:Guilford Press.


“Sick Enough” Is a Lie

“Sick Enough” Is a Lie

Recently, I have been reading about the disparity in medical responses based on gender. One study*, published in Academic Emergency Medicine, found that women who went to the emergency room with severe stomach pain had to wait almost 33% longer than men with the same symptoms. Research has shown that women’s pain and health concerns are often routinely underestimated and downplayed by medical providers. 

A different study focused on another alarming role doctors are playing in the treatment of eating disorders- people in larger bodies are reporting being largely overlooked by their providers, even being told they couldn’t have an eating disorder due to their size.** Even when eating concerns are causing significant health concerns and distress, the idea of someone in a larger body having an eating disorder is dismissed prematurely in evaluation. 

I hear anecdotal evidence of this all of the time in my office- oftentimes, concerns about eating have been downplayed by well-meaning healthcare providers. It can be hard to move forward in seeking treatment when you have been told your weight is “healthy” or that you don’t “look” like you have an eating disorder.  

And yet, inner wisdom may still be pointing you towards seeking additional help, realizing the intrusive thoughts about your body and food can’t possibly be healthy and wondering how to even hope for some freedom from the distress it causes.  

If this struggle sounds familiar to you- you have come to the right place! Working with providers who are trained and skilled at treating eating concerns can be an incredibly validating experience. Your body does not have to reach a “sick enough” status in order to be worthy of care. If you struggle with body or eating concerns, you are worthy of being taken seriously, heard, and helped.