Guest Blog Post– Center for Change

How to Help a Friend with an Eating Disorder

The truth is that there is no single right or wrong way to talk to a friend who you believe may have an eating disorder. You just need to be prepared to be supportive and find the approach that works the best in their specific situation.

This is rarely an easy thing to do, and many people are hesitant to say anything for fear that they may have read the signs wrong or that if they say the wrong thing they might offend or alienate the person they’re trying to help.

It may be hard, but their health has to take priority over an uncomfortable situation.

There is also every chance that your friends know they have a disorder, and they’re struggling to find a way to break the cycle. Some of them may be desperate to talk about it with someone but don’t know how to approach the subject because of their own self-conscious thoughts.

And yes, it is always possible that they may respond to your attempts with anger or denial, but you can’t let that stop you either.

Eating disorders cause a lot of physical and emotional damage, so no matter how delicate the subject may seem, you shouldn’t let that stop you from voicing your legitimate concerns. Be honest and caring. Be a role model, and learn as much about the situation as you can so you will know the difference between the facts and the myths about weight, nutrition and eating disorders. Then you’ll be ready to give them the support they need.

Know the Warning Signs

It can be difficult to know for certain whether your friend really has an eating disorder or is just exhibiting some similar behaviors that are related to something else. You may tell yourself that they’re just hitting a diet really hard this month, or that they’re just acting a little extra self-conscious.

It can be even harder to spot the warning signs when your friend is doing everything possible to keep them hidden from everyone. Still, there are some thing you can look for that will help you know when your friend really needs your help and support. The most common warning signs include:

  • Binging
  • Purging
  • Sudden and significant weight gain or loss
  • Preoccupation with body weight
  • Restricting food or making excuses to avoid eating
  • Eating in secret
  • Obsessed with calories, food, or nutrition
  • Taking laxatives or diet pills
  • Hoarding high calorie foods
  • Going to the bathroom right after meals
  • Obsessive exercising
  • Avoiding situations that would require eating

You, your friends, and family can use this questionnaire to help decide if they have an eating disorder.

How to Approach the Subject

When you’re ready to approach the subject, remember this one thing: it’s about communication, not confrontation.

Don’t try and be the therapist, but don’t let your discomfort or fear of upsetting them prevent you from having the necessary conversations. Speak to them in private and explain your concerns. Be positive, calm, respectful, and firm.

If your friend becomes angry or defensive, you don’t want to get drawn into arguments and all the frustrations that includes. If they deny the problem, you don’t want to get into a “do not do so” circular argument.

You need to understand that you can’t ever force someone to change. They have to make their own decisions and you need to approach them as someone who will be there for them as they come to the realization that they need help.

Talking About It

When your friend is finally ready to talk, there are some definite things you should say and some things you should avoid saying. (And sometimes it’s not just what you say, but how you say it.)

  • Avoid critical statements and make no accusations
  • Discuss specific behaviors that worry you
  • Focus on feelings and relationships, not food and behavior
  • Share pleasant memories that are the basis for your concerns
  • Do not say that your concerns come from how they look because that still puts the focus on body image
  • Don’t try to trick or manipulate them into eating something
  • Don’t imply they’re doing something wrong
  • Don’t blame anyone: “If you’d just…” “Why can’t you see…” “You need to…” are all very accusatory sentences and can be more harmful than helpful
  • Don’t try to make them bad or threaten them with personal consequences if they don’t change

When you express yourself, use “I” statements, such as: “I’m concerned about you.”

If they are willing to talk about their fears, don’t just deny it and try to convince them that they’re fine. Use this opportunity to look closer at their fears and what they think losing weight will change and why they think it will change.

Just remember that one of the most crucial parts of “talking about it” is, in fact, not talking at all. You need to take the time to listen to everything they say so you can really understand their concerns and fears. Even their excuses – listen to them, but don’t be manipulated by them.

Getting Help

You can offer help and support, but always encourage your friends to seek real eating disorder treatment. Until they’re willing to take that step, it’s unlikely they’ll be willing to make the change on their own.

More than that, the longer they go without help or treatment, the more problems an eating disorder can cause for the body, and the more difficult it will be to overcome it later. Urge them to see a professional who can make the proper diagnosis and find any medical problems that could be tied to the eating disorder.

There are no quick fixes here. One doesn’t just “get over it.” It’s going to take time, and that time may not be on your timetable, but stick with it and help them get through these difficult times.

For more information about Eating Disorders contact us today by clicking here.

Guest Blog Post- Millie

Please help us thank Millie for writing a guest blog post by leaving a comment, sharing, or like! Enjoy.

You Are the Secret

You want to know a secret? You have all the answers to your life. You can sit in silence and speak to your higher self asking for guidance. I get folks calling, texting, and emailing me for answers to what is already fully available in them. I am not giving them anything they don’t already know. Sometimes people just want permission from another to go through a change. At other times the crude reality of difficult decisions is too much to handle alone. BUT…but…YOU hold all the answers to your present situation. You get to mold your future.  

We go to counselors, therapists, fortune tellers, religious leaders, gurus, and any one out there with a spec of hope. We give another person the right to tell us what we need to do. We give them our power while diminishing our own guidance. YOU HOLD THE SECRET TO YOUR LIFE. No one else can tell you what needs to happen. We do want confirmation. We do want to know that we are acknowledged and understood. We do want to know that we are not alone on this journey. This is the best part of a support system, but ultimately YOU HOLD THE POWER to your story.

If you continue listening to others’ opinions you might be directed in the wrong path. Listen to your gut. Pay attention to your intuition. If it feels wrong…IT IS! If it feels great follow that. You don’t need me or anyone else telling you what to do.

I am here to listen when I can. I am here to allow you to go through the process of figuring things out…but DO NOT expect answers that you know deep within. I will not tell you what you should do because it isn’t my business to do so. I can give you suggestions, examples of how I’ve lived through similar events, but you can’t hold me responsible for your decision making. I don’t know anything but my own guidance for me.  YOU HOLD THE KEY to everything in your life. Use that key to find the right lock and discover your authentic power. You got this!

Millie Mestril has her own blog called Moments with Millie.

How Forth Chicago Is Fostering a Creative Community for Women and Ideas

Date: 13-July-201t


“Pick a season and this is where you might find the creative community of women changing Chicago: in the sunlit industrial space of a renovated firehouse or creative studio, surrounded by the season’s first blooms of magenta and green, snacking on hors d’oeuvres with flutes of Prosecco in hand.

United by their passions, formally they are brought together by Forth Chicago, a quarterly salon designed to create space for bright ideas curated around a central theme. The samplings of women entrepreneurs come from all corners, ranging from graphic designers to strategists, Etsy shop owners and lawyers. No networking, no skills-trading, no pretense: They are gathered intimately, in groups of ten at a time, and come to meet other like-minded women, learn from each other’s wisdom, and simply talk.

The three founders, Lisa Guillot, Julie Schumacher, and Kelly Allison believe there is a beautiful enough reason to simply prioritize ideas and the women behind them. And when it becomes authentically about the people, friendships are formed, community is made, and the benefits of finding business partners naturally follow.

“I think for so long, women hid behind the book club,” Schumacher said. “That’s where you got together but you don’t talk about the book, you talk about your marriage. Forth is the business equivalent of saying ‘You’re welcome here, let’s just talk.’ And it works.”

Past themes of Forth, a playful nod to the quarterly aspect of the salon that implies momentum, include dealing with change (accented with ombre flowers and food), passion projects (where everything is served “on the side” in side carts), to letting go (complete with a bundle of balloons and wish papers that disappear when lit up). A fall salon with the theme “owning your awesome” featured boastful peacock feathers and a jewel-toned, Moroccan theme.

Forth Founders Kelly Allison, Julie Schumacher, and Lisa Guillot

Forth Founders Kelly Allison, Julie Schumacher, and Lisa Guillot

Unlike the women-specific groups created by all-male trustee boards, usually in reaction to societal pressures rather than authentically-intentioned, Forth has given women a chance to champion for themselves.

“They talk a lot about how women are more prone to the impostor syndrome, and whether it’s us feeling like we can charge the rates we think we’re worth, or calling out someone who’s using language that isn’t acceptable in a meeting, knowing you have a community of women who have your back is so critical to being able to survive,” Schumacher said.

The co-founders of Forth Chicago, a designer, writer, and photographer who call themselves the “three fourths,” get along almost too-harmoniously. Unlike the often-catty, love-hate Instagram competition present amongst the most glamorous lifestyle—something that Guillot admits once being incredibly envious of—they are also surprisingly supportive, down-to-earth, and full of grace.

Forth Chicago started with Guillot, who heads a boutique brand design studio named Step Brightly during her daytime job (“Her spirit animal is Kate Spade,” Schumacher said of her)—during our interview, she quite literally lit up the room, aptly donning a sunflower-yellow peacoat inside a minimalist café. Back in 2012, she had been inspired by an article she read in the New York Times Style section (“Where I find all of my ideas,” she exudes) about the two men behind The Fat Radish, who biked around New York City delivering farm-to-table lunches in hopes of growing their catering service.

They started off going door-to-door, but slowly grew and began catering high-end salons, New York Fashion Week, “and all these magical things kept happening to them” before expanding into a restaurant, Guillot said. It turns out, the chefs were also in relationships with well-connected women—model-actress Dree Hemingway, and a fashion editor—both of whom used their industry connections to help their partners’ business gain momentum.

“It was really the women who created the synergy for this project.” Guillot said. “I kept thinking ‘Wow, that’s so exciting!’ I want to make beautifully styled wonderful things, and invite creative women to join us.”

She recruited Allison, a lifestyle photographer and previous Paper Source coworker, and Schumacher, a writer and friend she met at a Jill Salzman book opening. Together, they launched the inaugural salon in the spring of 2013, based on “starting stories.”

Image via Kelly Allison

Two years later, Forth is thoughtfully scaling the initiative to bring together creative women through public events like workshops on speed mentoring and running an Etsy shop. It has grown to over 100 people, and between salons, the Forth community has stayed close-knit through a private Facebook group, where new friends find business partners, bridesmaids, and after-work cocktail buddies in the mix. Fittingly, Forth’s most recent spring salon in March was about planning the ‘next’ while loving the ‘now,’ which is exactly the crossroads it finds itself at.

But the key to such an organic community is exactly that: organic. Guillot harps on the idea of growing responsibly and being thoughtful about the things that go into each salon, which keeps the community authentic. Forth is anything but networking in the big and corporate sense.

“In part, it’s because we’re all trying to figure out how to enjoy the place we’re at—at Forth we’re all successful and all busy, but we’re also definitely peeking down the block and seeing where we could take this,” Schumacher said. “Figuring out how to be content and hungry at the same time, and staying present and positive is really hard.”

While Forth remains active on its Twitter, sends out regular newsletters, and frequently updates itsblog with features of Forth community members, recipes from past salons, and food for thought, the analog salon experience is one of a kind in Chicago. Still, the founders know that ultimately trust within builds the community at-large.

“It’s that inch-by-inch growth I’d love to be protect of,” Guillot says. “There’s obviously a need here in Chicago that people want to meet and greet, but there’s a lot more heart to it.””

This story was brought to you by, the positive social network. Sign up today for free!

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

It’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

We are honored to be working with Proud2BMe and the National Eating Disorders Association to raise global awareness about eating disorders. Please consider sharing this infographic via Facebook and Twitter. We want to reach as many people as we can! Thank you:)


Guest Blog Post- T James


I struggle with this emotion all the time, but how do we deal with how we feel when things don’t always work out the way we want them to?

Being a father for the last 28 years, I have lived through my own disappointment, as well as being witness to the disappointment of others, and seeing how each person deals with the disappointment in their own way. I have seen abandonment of ideas, changing of mind, tears and most of the time anger. All these are ways to deal with the disappointment, but are they the most positive ways to deal with this emotion?

I saw this emotion bubble up in my daughter’s eyes many times, but the one that broke my heart was when she and her twin took a test for an advanced school. Both of the children were musically inclined, and smart, however, my daughter did not get into the school because she doesn’t take test well, but her brother did. He got the advantage of working with a top rated band teacher, and my daughter was saddled with a third rate music teacher that could not teach if her life depended on it. She not only had tears, but she abandoned her saxophone and all music.

Was that the best reaction?

As a person that has applied for many jobs, I know the feelings that arise with rejection and with disappointment. Trust me I am not perfect, just practiced at dealing with this emotion.

Several years ago, I wanted to work for the state. I wanted the benefits, the pay, the security and the bragging rights that I had a state job. I applied for every job I could, and for five years received rejection after rejection. I happened to land a job as a temporary worker for the state and worked in that role for two years, which landed me a full time job at the state. Unfortunately, when the “Great Recession” hit, I lost my job along with thousands of other state employees: looking back, I was persistent and I got the job.

Sometimes persistence is the only thing we can do to battle disappointment. We need to hang in there, and fight for what we want.

Guest Blog Post- Maria

My name is Maria Camelo and I am a on mission to spread gratitude, kindness and compassion wherever I go. Until a year ago I was a lost soul, depressed, clueless, ungrateful, and constantly negative. I am grateful to say that is NOT the person I am anymore! The power of gratitude, positive thinking,  and rediscovering my faith has changed my life in less than a year. I started my blog to share my stories with anyone else who might be going through something I’ve been through, and inspire others to not give up no matter how hard life seems to be. I write a lot about my childhood expierences and how they affect me now or how they shaped me to think / act the way I do now. I try to inspire others to be the best they can be, and to follow their own path, and create their own molds. I believe everyone has a purpose and has been put here for a reason. I struggled with figuring out what my purpose was most of my life, but after opening my heart and soul, I am getting a much better idea of my purpose. It took me awhile to realize everything I went through my entire life was to prepare me for my adult life, all the dark paths I took and the lessons I learned, were to be able to help others going through the same thing. I grew up in a small town, in a catholic school with a gay parent, that was not easy! I was bullied and picked on most of my youth. I am a survivor of sexual assult, took me awhile to be able to say that, I have yet to write about it. I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. If I can inspire one person to live a happier, more grateful life I will feel like I’ve done my “job”. I am beyond blessed and grateful for my life turn around and can’t wait to see what I bring to the future!