National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Guest Post Author:  JENNIFER LANE

While nearly everyone experiences some level of body dissatisfaction, our media saturated culture has caused consumers to develop complicated relationships with food, exercise and their appearance creating a rampant epidemic. More than 30 million Americans, men and women alike, will struggle with a clinically diagnosed eating disorder in their lifetime while millions more will battle food and body image issues that have untold negative impacts on their lives. This is not simply a teenage issue. Onset can occur at any age affecting both young and old. While body image often plays a role in the development of an eating disorder, deeper mental and emotional issues are often the driving force behind the behaviors. Eating disorders are serious, complex medical and mental health issues that need professional treatment to address the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual components. Educate yourself on the different types of eating disorders and warning signs and symptoms because early intervention aids in the recovery process.  Seek out professional help. 

 

No one ever sets out to have an eating disorder. It often starts out with a goal to lose some weight before an upcoming wedding or reunion, to eat healthier and get in shape. Before you know it, you’ve lost way more than your goal but are still forcing yourself to adhere to a strict diet and exercise regime for fear of gaining weight. Sometimes the pressure to be perfect stretches beyond your performance to your outward appearance causing you to resort to extremes to meet your definition of perfect. Sometimes a difficult season in your life where the emotional pain of grief, loneliness, or rejection causes you to turn to food to numb your emotional pain. The more you hurt, the more you eat and the more shame and guilt you feel—only making you want to eat more or resort to purging your intake as quickly as possible.  Maybe a destructive relationship has brought woundings so deep that you use the additional weight you carry as a sort of shield to protect yourself from being hurt again. 

Jennifer Lane NED Awareness

I never set out to have an eating disorder either, but a myriad of stressful life events caused me to seek refuge in the counterfeit arms of an eating disorder. What initially brought me comfort, turned out to be the worst kind of cheater and led to a 7-year battle leaving my life in the balance. I was embarrassed and ashamed by my struggle and worked diligently to hide it whenever possible. This only led to further isolation and loneliness putting me on an emotional island with few visitors. When I finally came out of denial and sought help, I realized I was not alone, and neither are you. If you’re struggling with eating and body image issues, I encourage you to reach out for help. I’m living proof that freedom is possible. Watch my freedom story here.

 

If you think you may be struggling with an eating disorder, take this online screening tool to determine whether or not its time to seek professional help. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/screening-tool

 

Main Types of Eating Disorders

  • Anorexia: characterized by extreme weight loss accompanied by an intense fear of gaining weight, food restriction, poor body image
  • Bulimia: characterized by a cycle of binge eating and compensatory behaviors to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating such as purging through self-induced vomiting, laxatives or compulsive exercise
  • Binge Eating Disorder: is the most common, characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food in a short amount of time with no regular compensatory measures to counter the binge; feels a loss of control during the binge and shame/guilt
  • Orthorexia: characterized by an obsession with “proper” or “healthy” eating

 

Warning Signs and Symptoms

Behavioral and Emotional

  • becoming emotionally distant, withdrawn, irritable, extreme moods, obsessive/compulsive behavior
  • preoccupation with weight, food, calories, dieting, cutting out food groups, refusing to eat, binge eating, overeating
  • skipping meals, going to the bathroom after eating, using laxatives, over-exercising
  • elaborate food rituals, uncomfortable eating with others, overly concerned with body size and shape, hiding weight loss with baggy clothing

Physical

  • noticeable fluctuations in weight both up and down
  • cramping, loss of period, fatigue, dizziness/fainting, is often cold, dry skin, brittle nails
  • Cuts/calluses on tops of fingers, discolored teeth or dental problems, sleep problems

 

For more in depth information, visit The National Eating Disorders Association website. (https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn)  

 

About the Author: Jennifer Smith Lane is the president and co-founder of the Michigan Eating Disorders Alliance whose mission is to provide education programs to prevent eating disorders. In addition to her non-profit work, she leads an eating and body image ministry walking alongside women on their recovery journey and empowering them to find freedom in Christ. Jennifer lives in Michigan where she enjoys most her role of mom to her three children.

Jennifer’s new book, Transformed: Eating and Body Image Renewal God’s Way, helps women identify the underlying spiritual issues that keep them stuck in eating and body image issues, studies what Scripture has to say about them through inductive Bible study techniques and teaches tools to turn to God for rescue through the spiritual disciplines. Read more at jennifersmithlane.com

Tips to Feel More Prepared Before Surgery

Countless types of medical and cosmetic surgical procedures exist today. Surgeries for everything from liposuctions, tooth extractions, nose jobs, and open-heart surgeries are a part of doctor’s daily schedules. Despite the differences, the one similarity in all surgeries is that patients must do their part to prepare. Here are the most effective ways to prepare yourself for a major procedure.

Educate Yourself

Your doctor should teach you how to be prepare and give you information about the procedure. During the consultation, you should receive some type of pamphlet that tells you everything you need to know. In addition, you can access online patient education resources and materials to learn more.

In fact, online sources, which include videos, blogs, and images, often provide more information to help patients than doctors do. The online method of learning is better if you don’t want to ask your doctor certain questions. Learn as much as you want and on your own schedule.

 

Refrain from a Normal Diet

Most surgeons advise their patients to avoid eating at least seven hours before any surgery. You are allowed to eat dinner but are typically advised not to eat anything in the morning on the day of. This is also why many surgeries are scheduled early in the morning.

Fasting is necessary because food may interfere with the anesthesia and cause aspiration. A surgery that takes place in the stomach, which contains food and bacteria, could lead to an infection. Before any surgery, it’s ideal that you avoid consuming your normal diet.

 

Avoid Strenuous Activities

Exercising is less of an issue before an operation. However, it’s possible for your body to become too sore and rigid for surgery. You could also have an injury that causes bleeding or swelling in the area that needs the operation. Ideally, avoid engaging in strenuous physical activities before that day.

 

Know What to Expect Afterwards

Once you know what to do before the operation, know what is required afterwards. This way, you have no surprises during healing and increase your chance of having a successful recovery. Take time to learn about the medications you might take afterwards and the types of activities you cannot do. When you are prepared, have total peace of mind knowing that you are certain to recover fully.

 

No matter how big or small the surgery is, it’s still a major task for your body. Today there are many more minimally invasive surgeries that don’t involve a lot of surgery or recovery time. See what your hospital, clinic, or doctor can recommend for your situation. That still does not mean you should not be physically prepared. Anything could go wrong during a medical procedure, so reduce the risks and increase the successful outcome by learning all you can.

Drug Choices for Chronic Pain Management

Many conditions can cause chronic pain. Just a few of the most well-known are rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, herniated discs, lupus, and migraines. All such conditions demand relief for the people who suffer from them. Fighting pain day after day is exhausting but knowing the best pain treatments can help. Some of the best types of medicines for these chronic pains are the following.

Anti-Inflammatory Pills

Anti-inflammatory pills are sometimes the first line of defense for the previously mentioned ailments. Some of them work by blocking certain enzymes and thus preventing inflammation from occurring. The affected person usually feels a great sense of relief once the inflammation or swelling declines. Examples of anti-inflammatory drugs are items such as Celebrex, Lodine, Naproxen, and Feldene (https://www.hopkinsarthritis.org/ask-the-expert/do-nsaids-help-fibromyalgia/). An anti-inflammatory diet can be a great addition to help with these kinds of issues as well. Leafy greens and green vegetables are a great source of valuable nutrition and vitamins. Foods like broccoli, spinach, celery, bok choy, and beets can help lower inflammation and are a good source of antioxidants.

 

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids work by slowing down the activity that the immune system does. They can be highly helpful in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and SLE, which are the auto-immune diseases. Slowing the immune system down can stop a lot of the inflammation that occurs. Examples of corticosteroids are prednisone, methylprednisolone, betamethasone, and so on. Someone who takes these items may not see results for a week or two (https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/corticosteroid-use-pain-management). Like many anti-inflammatory alternatives, natural takes on corticosteroids would be things like an antioxidant-rich diet. You could also include supplements like vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Tumeric has also been shown to have some good anti-inflammatory properties.

 

Natural Painkillers

Narcotic painkillers are effective for pain management because they bind to the opioid receptors and make it impossible for the person who takes them to feel pain for a certain amount of time. They are probably the most effective regarding quick and solid relief, but they are the riskiest because of the chance that a physical addiction will develop over time (https://www.morethanrecovery.com/soberlink.html). If you want to avoid the risks that can come with narcotic drugs but reap their pain-blocking benefits, try some plant-based options with similar ingredients. Blue lotus has historically been used to successfully treat muscle spasms, cramps, and migraines. It can be made into a tea or even wine (http://naturalsociety.com/4-natural-legal-herbs-for-pain-relief-you-dont-know-about/). Wild opium lettuce looks like an ordinary weed to most of us but has opioid properties that can be used in pain relief. Kava kava is most often used in Polynesia and has been used to reduce anxiety and to achieve a euphoric-like feeling.

 

Anticonvulsants and Antidepressants

Some specialists prescribe anticonvulsants or antidepressants for people who have chronic pain. Their line of thinking is that the drugs will affect their serotonin and dopamine levels. Both of those chemicals can change the way a person experiences pain. Some patients have had relief, while others have not experienced any positive changes. Examples of anticonvulsants that doctors sometimes use in pain management are Lyrica and Savella (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26491936). Examples of antidepressants that specialists use in chronic pain treatment regimens are elements such as Cymbalta and Elavil.

 

Those are just a few of the medicines that one can take for chronic pain. Each case is different, so a treatment that works for one person may not necessarily work for the next. The list should give interested persons a clue as to where to look, however. They can ask their doctor to consider prescribing one of these elements for the pain.

Journey Through the Heart

On Thursday, February 1, 2018, Christian Healthcare Centers had the privilege of sharing the intricacies and beauty of the heart with over 400 friends and family members.  It was a day full of fun and learning and we thank all those who joined us for the journey.  As a quick recap:

Dr. Becca Huizen taught about blood cells, the heart’s functions and how oxygen is transported throughout the body. Dr. Jeffery Woo and Lauren displayed a cow’s heart and a pig’s heart and lungs for students to examine and explore.     Alex Corcoran, PA-C and Brianna discussed the electrical movements of the heart and gave students explanations on how x-rays, ultrasounds and EKGs are helpful in making a diagnoses for the heart.  Jody, Courtney and Marisa taught students the importance of monitoring blood pressures and gave opportunity to count the pulse, check blood pressures and even see how much oxygen is in the blood.   Lisa Bowman, counselor and Judy led the discussion about the importance of being spiritually healthy.

Enjoy the video!  And as you watch remember all you learned and keep making healthy choices so that you can be both spiritually and physically healthy.

– Your Friends at CHC

 

Spiritual Renewal for the New Year

Happy New Year! 

Those words bring about feelings of hope and resolve at the beginning of each new year.  Many of us resolve to make better decisions, eat better (and less) food, to exercise more, to spend our time doing more meaningful things, to love more deeply, and to work more efficiently.  Interestingly, many of us who profess the name of Christ do not spend a great deal of time even thinking about our deepest need for real, quantifiable spiritual growth.  This brief post hopes to relate some thoughts on that very important piece to our wholeness and wellness for 2018.

First, let me clearly state that I am talking about Spiritual renewal with a capital S.  While our inner personal spirit is certainly renewed through the following exercises, this post seeks to address our personal spirit being renewed by the Holy Spirit.  If you are truly a follower of Christ who embraces him as Savior and Lord, this is uniquely for you because you have been given a new life and new orientation for life by this life-giving Holy Spirit.  Given our new life in Christ applied by the Holy Spirit, let’s take a brief spiritual check-up so we might then offer a brief spiritual prescription for the new year.

Spiritual Check-up (Examine yourself in these areas)

  • Attitudes—would my attitude toward people or circumstances be observed as…
    • Grateful or Ungrateful
    • Loving or Unloving
    • Forgiving or Vengeful
    • Self-centered or Other-focused
    • Prideful or Humble
    • Being about my name, my kingdom, and my will or centrally about God’s?
  • Motives—what moves me to act, feel, and do what I do?
    • Self-serving motives (all or mostly about me)
    • Duty (I do things only because I’m expected to or have some obligation to)
    • Love (Am I motivated by love for God and others?)
    • Gratitude (So thankful for God’s grace that I respond with gratitude)
  • Affections—my general heart orientation and emotion
    • My heart orientation is directed from…what?
    • My heart orientation in directed toward…what?
  • Actions—what do I actually do…what life decisions do I actually make?
    • How do I spend my time?—look at your calendar and find our your central value
    • How do I spend my money?—look at your checkbook and find your central value
    • What relationships do I foster?
    • With whom do I communicate (both listening and speaking)?
    • What is the nature of my communication?—the content of your language will reveal the content of your heart and mind
  • So…how did we do in our brief check-up? We should have found answers to the following questions:
    • Whom do I truly serve?
    • Whom do I truly love?
    • What is my standard for successful Spiritual living?

Prescription for the New Year—

  • We want to live rightly, but let’s be honest…we struggle to do so! Most of us probably found that we are wrestling to determine what our standard for successful Spiritual living is to be.  We want to be governed by the Holy Spirit, to choose according to the standard of the Holy Spirit, yet we aren’t quite sure what that entails.  Let God give you a brief prescription for the New Year for better understanding and growth from the biblical book of Galatians chapter 5.
  • Galatians chapter 5
    • Verse 17—this states our problem. There is the standard of the flesh (we have always been free to choose according to this standard) and there is the standard of the Spirit (only those who are embracing Jesus as Savior and Lord have been freed to choose according to this standard) and these two standards are contrary (diametrically opposed) the one to the other, so we don’t do what we really want to do as followers of Christ.
    • Verse 16—this states the solution. Walk in the Spirit and you won’t fulfill the desires of the flesh (in attitude, motive, affection, and action).  GREAT!  The only problem is that this sounds like nice religious language that I can’t get a handle on!  OK, I agree.  So let’s see if the biblical text gives us some handles for understanding and practice.
    • PLEASE take the time to do this brief exercise. Take a sheet of paper and on one side, from top to bottom, list the terms that you find in verses 19-21.  Verses 19-21 provide a briefly stated Standard of the flesh, so list that as your heading above your list of words on the left of your page.  Now, on the right side of the page, list the terms you find in verses 22-23.  Verses 22-23 provide a briefly stated Standard of the Spirit, so list that as your heading above your list of words on the right of your page.  Now comes an important piece.  I want you to clearly think through the reality that each item on the left side (the standard of the flesh) is actually the absence of an item (or multiple items) from the items on the right (the standard of the Spirit).  Draw a line from the first item on the left side (standard of the flesh) to each item on the right side (standard of the Spirit) which is completely antithetical to that “flesh” term.  For instance, I would be drawing a line from “sexual immorality” to “love” since sexual immorality is the absence of love.  I would also be drawing a line from “sexual immorality” to joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control since “sexual immorality” is the absence of all of these things as well.  Now go to the next term on the left side and draw lines to those items on the right where the “flesh” term is the absence of the “Spirit” term.  Take the time to go through each term.  By the time you have completed this exercise, you will probably find a visual display of Galatians 5:17.  These two standards are diametrically opposed the one to the other.  We are choosing to live a life, at times, that is the very absence of the standard of the Holy Spirit.  That is our problem.  We must continually and consciously choose to live according to the standard of the Spirit.
    • Verse 24—reminds us of our true identity in Christ. We have been crucified with Christ.  We are freed from our bondage to the standard of the flesh and we are freed to live according to the standard of the Spirit because of the indwelling of that very Holy Spirit!  We have already been given everything that is necessary for spiritual renewal in Christ through the Holy Spirit.  So, let’s choose to live according to the Holy Spirit!
    • Verse 25—provides the necessary encouragement for the journey. If indeed we have been graced by God with salvation and have made the big decision to receive Christ and be given life in the Spirit, then our individual and ongoing decisions should reflect that new life.  We must keep in step with the Spirit—day by day—choice by choice—one decision at a time.

My friends, most of life happens to us one decision at a time.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the large call of the Christian life…just make one good, godly, Spirit-directed decision at a time.  That is what we are called to do.  And let me offer one warning for those who choose to take this journey with me…we will eventually default to what we know best.  We always do.  We must study and pray so that the standard of the Spirit becomes that which we know best so it becomes the standard according to which we default and make our life decisions.  Perhaps next time, we will consider the actual spiritual disciplines that will help us along this journey of spiritual renewal and growth.  Until then, consistently dwell upon and choose according to the Standard of the Spirit for the glory of God and the flourishing of his people.

Dr. Jeffrey D. Halsted-Pastor/Professor