Viewing blog posts categorized under "Recovery"

The Surprising Similarities Between Anorexia and Obesity

posted by Julie O'Toole on January 28, 2015 at 10:14am

One thing I've observed over the years is that those readers who are interested in anorexia nervosa seem to have little interest in obesity, which they often seem regard as an lifestyle choice irrelevant to them, while those who study obesity often ask themselves what this rare condition (AN) has to do with their vastly more prevalent (read: important) condition of obesity (OB)? Quite a lot, as it turns out. And by the way, it’s worth repeating at the outset, neither condition is one…

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Tough Calls Parents Have To Make

posted by Julie O'Toole on January 21, 2015 at 9:17am

For people who are high achieving and successful, patience is typically not one of their long suits, especially when “patience” involves rest and restraint.

It’s not enough that our patients are often self-driven high achievers, but as this temperament trait is also highly heritable, many of our parents are as well.  It is not unusual for our kids to be valedictorians, salutatorians, the lead in the school play, talented musicians, or competitive dancers or athletes, whose efforts…

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Game Plan For The Holidays

posted by Julie O'Toole on December 18, 2014 at 8:05am
Christmas is not just one single holiday at Kartini Clinic, it is several. In fact it’s a season involving many celebrations and special events. Some of our patients’ families do not celebrate Christmas as such, of course, but for those who do, some “highlights”: Baking… baking… baking. It’s a problem in many ways. And the truth is, no matter how appealing the picture of doing so may be, or how often it’s been done before in your family, probably not everyone should… Read More

When The Smile Comes Back

posted by Julie O'Toole on December 3, 2014 at 8:29am
Re-feeding has its own rewards, though there can be misery and challenge to get there.  I know that some of you who have been through this, either at home or with a team not at home, will be able to relate to what I am talking about.  It’s when the smile comes back. It’s hard to predict when the tipping point will come.  For some it’s within the first 48 hours of beginning to eat: the circulation improves, the cheeks fill with more color, the eyes brighten and they just feel… Read More

Taking A Moment To Vent

posted by Julie O'Toole on November 19, 2014 at 9:27am
My good friend and colleague Therese Waterhous, a PhD, RD eating disorder specialist and board member of the parent organization F.E.A.S.T., called me the other day.  She needed to vent, and now, apparently, I do too. It’s not that her annoying experience was rare or new, it’s just the fact that such ignorance persists and that at this point -- given the avalanche of new information about pediatric eating disorders --  such ignorance seems willful. You can update your database.… Read More

Can I speak to the chef, please?

posted by Julie O'Toole on October 22, 2014 at 7:33am
It’s not very common for me to hear things out of the mouths of our patients that I have not heard before—I have heard most things many, many times. For example: “exercise (insert dance, soccer, cheer, ballet, etc) is my only social life, I don’t have any friends without it,” or “school is the most important thing to me. I can’t get behind because of treatment,” or “I don’t care abut how much weight I gain, as long as it’s muscle,” or “I don’t tolerate… Read More

You Will See the Doctor Now

posted by Julie O'Toole on October 2, 2014 at 1:32am

I was born in 1949, the second World War had been over for a mere four years.  As a girl raised in the 50’s and 60’s I was taught to read books, wear dresses, skirts and pinafores, and to sit still.  As long as I had a book the sitting still was no problem.  And I always had a book.  At sixteen I participated in the American ritual of learning to drive a car, and never looked back. At eighteen I went to college and sat in class with everyone else, my class choices limited by what was…

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The Promise of Personalized Medicine

posted by Julie O'Toole on September 3, 2014 at 8:15pm

Advances in medicine come in all shapes and sizes: vaccines, antibiotics, anti-virals, immune system boosters and reducers, technological changes and recently, the hope that faster, cheaper and more accurate genetic analysis can bring us the new approach to medicine and medications: personalized medicine.

As I have mentioned in a previous blog, a leading proponent of personalized medicine has been Dr Eric Topol, editor-in-chief of Medscape and director the Scripps Translational…

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Save Yourself First

posted by Julie O'Toole on August 28, 2014 at 1:18am

It has become almost trite to advise parents struggling with the “severe pushback” of doing battle with their child’s eating disorder to remember that flight attendants caution parents travelling with small children to “first place the oxygen mask on yourself (really counter-intuitive for parents) and then place it on your child.” When I first heard this advice on a plane (astonishingly not what would have come naturally to me) I thought “of course! If I am unconscious then my…

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Parental Supervision

posted by Julie O'Toole on August 7, 2014 at 1:45am

Eating disorders strike children at virtually all stages of development. Sometimes we think it’s most difficult when they strike a very young child, sometimes it seems the most difficult when a “child” is about to go off to college, or a student exchange program, or start a new school. Personally I think mid adolescence is one of the most difficult times for an eating disorder to strike a child.

Childhood and early adolescence are characterized by learning new skills, but also by…

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