The Fight Continues

imageEating Disorders Awareness Week may be ending, but the fight for overcoming Eating Disorders will continue.  If you have a loved one who is struggling with an Eating Disorder, voice your concern, and gather all the resources you can in order to help them seek professional help.  Contact the Special Programs team at the Ben Gordon Center at 815-756-4875.

The Special Programs team would like to thank you for your support of Eating Disorder Awareness! We appreciate the stories we’ve heard this week of clients who have opened up about their concerns with food and body image, after seeing the Eating Disorders table.

“No one can make you get better.

The battle for recovery is not between you and me.

It’s not between your ED and anyone else.

The battle you have to fight to get better is inside of you.

The battle you have to fight is between your healthy self and your eating disorder self.”
~therapist to client at the beginning of therapy~

Approximately 10 million males will suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life.

infographic Male Eating Disorder

Statistics on Males and Eating Disorders

Prevalence in Men

  • The rate of eating disorders among college men ranges from 4-10%. A recent study on a large university campus found that the female-to-male ratio of positive screens for eating disorder symptoms was 3-to-1 (Eisenburg, Nicklett, Roeder, & Kirz, 2011).
  • Large scale surveys concluded that male body image concerns have dramatically increased over the past three decades from 15% to 43% of men being dissatisfied with their bodies; rates that are comparable to those found in women (Garner, 1997; Goldfield, Blouin, & Woodside, 2006; Schooler & Ward, 2006).
  • In adolescent and college samples, between 28% and 68% of normal-weight males perceive themselves as underweight and report a desire to increase their muscle mass through dieting and strength training (McCabe & Ricciardelli, 2004; McCreary & Sadava, 2001).
  • In a 2011 study looking at how men are affected by binge eating, researchers found 37.1% of men who did binge eat experienced depression compared to only 12.6% of men who did not binge. Striegel, R. Bedrosioan, R. Wang, C. Schwartz, S. (Int J Eat Disord 2011)

Less Likely to Seek Help

  • Men with eating disorders are less likely to seek professional help than women. Higher levels of gender role conflict and traditional masculine ideals  are associated with negative attitudes toward seeking psychological help (Berger, Levant, McMillan, Kelleher, & Sellers, 2005)
  • Although the prevalence of binge eating is the same among men and women, the number of studies that include men is far fewer and the number of men who receive treatment is well below the number of women who get treatment.  Striegel, R. Bedrosioan, R. Wang, C. Schwartz, S. (Int J Eat Disord 2011)

 Media, Body Image Ideals and Eating Disorder Behaviors among Men

  • Men, while also influenced by our culture’s over-valuing of thinness, are often more concerned with a combination of issues related to weight, body shape and function (e.g. strength).  Generally, men believe they need to be both lean and muscular to meet perceived societal expectations. 
  • Media exposure to male body ideals as well as comparison of oneself to these ideals are positively correlated with the drive for muscularity in men (Leit, Gray, & Pope, 2002; Morrison, Morrison, & Hopkins, 2003).
  • The muscularity of ideal male body representations has increased from the 1970s to 1990s (Labre, 2005). These portrayals present an extremely, and largely unattainable, muscular ideal male body type (Lever, Frederick, & Peplau, 2006; Schooler & Ward, 2006), which is equivalent to the unattainable thin female ideal perpetuated by Barbie dolls (Olivardia, Pope, Borowiecki, & Cohane, 2004).
  • The increase in the sexual objectification of men in media images is documented (Rolhinger, 2002) and found to be related to body dissatisfaction in men (Arbour & Martin Ginis, 2006).
  • If an individual is taking performance-enhancing supplements to become more muscular and then engages in weight lifting, they are at increased risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. 

 Muscle Dysmorphia

  • Muscle dysmorphia, a subtype of body dysmorphic disorder, is an emerging condition that primarily affects male bodybuilders. Such individuals obsess about being inadequately muscular. Compulsions include spending hours in the gym, squandering excessive amounts of money on ineffectual sports supplements, abnormal eating patterns or even substance abuse. (Published online 1 September 2008 in Wiley InterScience ( DOI: 10.1002/erv.897)

Eating Disorders Awareness Week Tip

Exercising regularly has numerous benefits for both your body and your mind.  But where do you do draw the line between being healthy and over-exercising? There are many telling signs that you have unhealthy exercise habits, including:

  • You exercise for the wrong reasons. You ate a huge meal and feel guilty about it and the only way you can reconcile it in your mind is to hit the pavement and spend a few hours burning off the calories you ate.
  • Exercise becomes a compulsive behavior. You are often driven by body dissatisfaction or obsessions about your weight.
  • Your desire to exercise completely trumps your other commitments which can result in canceled plans with friends or even exercising when you are ill.
  • You feel extreme guilt when you miss a workout. You double your efforts to make up for it the next time you exercise.


If you think that you may have an unhealthy relationship with food, your body, or exercise, consider taking Ben Gordon Center’s free, anonymous online screening at or click the online mental health screening button on the right.  You can also call to speak with one of the experts of the Ben Gordon Center Special Programs team at 815-756-4875.

EDAW – Eating Disorders Awareness Week

downloadOvercoming an Eating Disorder requires more than giving up unhealthy eating behaviors.  It requires specific intervention in order to learn how to properly cope, identify, and manage emotions.  But most importantly, it is also about rediscovering who you are beyond your eating habits, weight, and body image.  Ben Gordon Center follows a multidisciplinary model that offers a variety of treatment options to tackle the problems of eating disorders, including:

  • Individual Therapy
  • Group Therapy:
    • Eating Disorder/Body Image
    • Emotional Eating
    • Family Support for Eating Disorders and Self Injury
    • Free Therapy
    • Nutritional Assessment & Counseling
    • Intensive Case Management
    • Return to Daily Living – an intensive treatment track for our patients being discharged from inpatient or IOP treatment, and transiting back into their daily lives; also used for those who are experiencing symptoms of relapse. 

For more information on the Eating Disorders program at the Ben Gordon Center, call 815-756-4875 and ask to speak to Fran Tierney or please go to

Be A Voice, Not An Echo

tumblr_mje8lthbmw1r97vsno1_500As we get closer to Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Ben Gordon Center encourages that you share your concern to your loved one who you think might have an eating disorder.  When you confront someone with an eating disorder, you begin to break down the walls of denial and secrecy and allow the person to accept help.  Be a voice, not an echo, to the person who needs you the most. 

Be honest and straight forward, and make sure you are not accusing them of doing something wrong.  Look into possible treatment options so you can provide them with the information and offer to help them make that first phone call.  

Brief Video on Body Image and Media

From Danessa Carter, BGC special programs team clinician – please take a moment to view the brief video on body image and media messaging!    Don’t forget the Special Programs team has several groups and programs specific to eating disorders, NSSI and anxiety.  For more information please call the Ben Gordon Center at 815-756-4875.



Holiday Sweet Treat Time

Sugar Cravings

How sugar cravings sabotage your health, hormone balance & weight loss
Published on November 11, 2013 by Nicole Avena, Ph.D. in Food Junkie
This is a guest post by New York Times best-selling author, speaker and physician, Sara Gottfried, M.D. Read on to hear her take on how sugar cravings interact with hormone balance and how you can reduce their effects.

 It’s officially the start of “sugar season” when cooler weather and holiday fun (or stress) make most of us turn to our favorite sugary indulgences and comfort foods.


First it’s the leftover candy you have from the trick-or-treat bowl (just ONE piece won’t hurt, right?). Then, before you know it, you’re enjoying a slice of pumpkin pie here, a peppermint latte there, and sugar cravings have you firmly in their grasp for months . . . until your New Year’s resolutions (hopefully) get you back on track again.

There’s Nothing Sweet About Sugar Cravings

People joke about being addicted to sugar or having a “sweet tooth,” but I can tell you that it’s a very real phenomenon—and a dangerous one. You probably already know that a diet high in sugar can contribute to the onset of type 2 diabetes. But did you know that “diabesity,” which is pre-diabetes, affects over 1.7 billion people worldwide? According to Dr. Mark Hyman, 1 in 2 Americans will be affected by diabesity by 2020, and 90 percent of them will not be diagnosed.

Excess sugar intake is also linked to rising obesity rates, chronic yeast infections, leaky gut syndrome, and a whole host of other undesirable conditions.

How Can Something Taste So Good—Yet Be So Bad For You?

If you have a sticky relationship with sugar—including honey, refined carbs, or other foods that get processed as sugar in your body—it’s important to understand WHY you’re experiencing these cravings, and what’s really happening in your body, so that you can take steps to break free of unhealthy cravings once and for all.  

While every individual is unique—meaning that the reason for your cravings may have to do with biological factors that are different than the person’s sitting next to you—cravings for sweets follow a pretty basic formula, which goes like this:

  1. You eat something high in refined sugar, and your blood glucose levels skyrocket.
  2. Soon after, your blood glucose levels come down from the high, and they crash.
  3. Your body, which is irritated at having low blood sugar, craves more sugar to boost your blood glucose levels back up.
  4. You give in to the craving and eat more sugar, which starts the process all over again.

It truly is a vicious cycle.

Over time, insulin resistance can set in, which means that your cells become numb to the hormone (insulin) that is supposed to help you control the amount of sugar circulating in your blood.

Even mild insulin resistance can contribute to high blood pressure, inflammation, and that pesky weight gain right around your abdomen (which, by the way, no amount of crunches can fix if it’s related to your diet). 

The good news?

Sugar cravings can be managed, and studies show that insulin resistance can be reversed in as little as 48 hours. Here are five tips for stabilizing your blood sugar, and getting cravings under control.

5 Ways to Kick The Cravings

  1. Eat regularly. A meal or a snack every 4 to 6 hours will help keep your blood sugar balanced.
  2. Get enough fiber. Aim for 35-45 grams per dayof dietary fiber for women, and 40-50 grams per day for men. In addition to stabilizing blood glucose levels, fiber keeps you feeling full longer. A note of caution: work up to these levels slowly, or you risk experience bloating, gas, or even constipation.
  3. Eat real, whole foods. Packaged foods are notorious for including not only added sugars, salt and chemicals, but also high-fructose corn syrup. As much as possible, eat foods that are organic, from the ground, and in their whole form.
  4. Spice it up. Several studies have shown that cinnamon has the ability to balance blood sugar levels. Add a pinch to your tea or sprinkle it on oatmeal in the morning.
  5. Get enough Zzz’s. Good sleep is like the Holy Grail of total body health, and blood sugar is no exception. Hit the hay before midnight whenever possible.

Lastly, if you need more support, my “I Crave Sugar” hormone balance kit is a great way to achieve healthy blood glucose levels and kick cravings to the curb.

Sara Gottfried, M.D. teaches women how to balance their hormones naturally so they can rock their mission. She is a Harvard-educated physician, speaker and New York Times bestselling author of The Hormone Cure (Simon & Schuster, 2013). She is board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and is regularly featured in magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Redbook, O Magazine, and Yoga Journal, and TV including The Ricki Lake Show and 20/20.

Known for effortlessly blending the seriousness of women’s health with playfulness and humor, Dr. Sara’s mission is to help women lose weight, feel great and vital from their cells to their soul. Learn more 

Today is Love Your Body Day!

Our Ben Gordon Center Special Programs team is celebrating Love Your Body Day!  Check out their table at our Central Office at 12 Health Services Drive.


Every day, in so many ways, the beauty industry (and the media in general) tell women and girls that being admired, envied and desired based on their looks is a primary function of true womanhood. The beauty template women are expected to follow is extremely narrow, unrealistic and frequently hazardous to their health. The Love Your Body campaign challenges the message that a woman’s value is best measured through her willingness and ability to embody current beauty standards.