Monday, January 30, 2012

New CFDA Guidelines for Runway Models

It's clear that the fashion industry plays a major role in conveying distorted messages of ideal body type to the masses. Recognizing the connection between the issues of age and body image, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) have released new health guidelines for runway models. Read more about the updated guidelines.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Are School Obesity Programs Causing Disordered Eating Habits in Children?

As the fight to combat childhood obesity enters full swing, many parents are left wondering if school-related programs promote questionable eating behaviors and physical activities in their children. Science Daily explores this issue, and, citing a recent poll, finds that even the most well-intentioned efforts to decrease childhood obesity could create a most unintentioned outcome.   

*The article below, in its entirety, courtesy of 

School Obesity Programs May Promote Worrisome Eating Behaviors and Physical Activities in Kids

In a new poll, 30% of parents report at least one worrisome behavior in their children that could be associated withthe development of eating disorders.
A new report from the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health examines the possible association between school-based childhood obesity prevention programs and an increase in eating disorders among young children and adolescents.
The poll asked parents about obesity prevention programs in their children's schools and about food-related behaviors and activity that may be worrisome.
Overall, 82 percent of parents of children age 6-14 report at least one school-based childhood obesity intervention program taking place in their child's school. Among these programs are nutrition education, limits on sweets or "junk food" in the classroom, height and weight measurements, and incentives for physical activity.
Additionally, 7 percent of parents report that their children have been made to feel bad at school about what or how much they were eating.
This same group of parents was also asked about their children's eating behaviors. Thirty percent of parents of 6-14 year-olds report least one behavior in their children that could be associated with the development of an eating disorder. These behaviors include inappropriate dieting, excessive worry about fat in foods, being preoccupied with food content or labels, refusing family meals, and having too much physical activity.
"The issue of childhood obesity is a serious problem. In order to intervene in what seems like an epidemic of childhood obesity, everyone needs to be involved," says David Rosen, M.D., M.P.H., Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, and Psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School and Chief of Teenage and Young Adult Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics.
However, Rosen says, "When obesity interventions are put in place without understanding how they work and what the risks are, there can be unintended consequences. Well-intentioned efforts can go awry when children misinterpret the information they're given.
"Many of these behaviors are often dismissed as a phase," says Rosen, "But given what we know about the association of these behaviors with the development of eating disorders and knowing that eating disorders are increasing in prevalence, they should be taken very seriously."
Parents that report incentive programs at their children's school to increase physical activity are more likely to say their children are "too physically active" (11%) compared with parents who do not report incentives for physical activity at their child's school (4%). Otherwise, the poll did not find an association between school-based obesity prevention programs and other worrisome eating behaviors among children.
The fact that 30% of parents report at least one worrisome eating behavior in their children is concerning.
"It's much better and safer for parents to respond to worrisome eating behaviors early -- even if there turns out to be no problem -- than to wait until there is obviously a big problem,' Rosen says. "It is much easier to prevent an eating disorder than it is to treat an eating disorder."
Rosen offers these suggestions for parents:
1. Be attentive to your children's eating habits. If you see behaviors that are worrisome to you, talk to your children about them. If the behaviors escalate, involve your child's doctor.
2. Find out what your children's schools are doing to prevent childhood obesity. Be involved and engaged in that process.
3. Ask your children if they're being teased at school about their food choices or their weight. If they are, go to the school 

University of Michigan Health System (2012, January 24). School obesity programs may promote worrisome eating behaviors and physical activity in kids. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2012, from­

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Country Obsessed with Being Thin

As an eating disorder therapist at McCallum Place, Travis Stewart has been intrigued by the idea that we live in a country that simultaneously has more available food than any other country, yet is obsessed with being thin. Read about some powerful insights into how other cultures view food, diet and hunger.

Friday, January 20, 2012

What Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Assumes About You

That’s right, we don’t even know you and already we are jumping to conclusions. But before you dismiss this post, please read on. Individuals with eating disorders have often experienced many different treatments across different levels of care, which may lead to feelings of hopelessness and self-blame. Thoughts such as “I’m never going to get better” or “something must be wrong with me” are common. Sometimes even those that are in a position to be helpful and supportive, like family, friends, or even treatment providers, give in to the notion that the individual “isn’t trying,” “doesn’t want to get better,” or “is destined to be sick for the rest of his or her life.” Not only are these ideas incorrect, but they are harmful and prevent those who are suffering from getting the help they need and deserve.

In Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), we explicitly commit to the following assumptions about our clients, their families, other treatment providers and ourselves.  Why? It works. It’s effective in helping us achieve our goals. It allows us to come from a place of acceptance and compassion and to maintain hope and certainty that recovery is possible for everyone. It is a commitment to provide the best treatment possible.  So what are these assumptions we speak so fondly of?
  1. You are doing the best that you can. In any given moment or situation, no matter what the behavior or outcome, DBT firmly believes you are doing your very best. If you could do better, you would. Yesterday’s binge was not an attempt to cause difficulties or make things worse; it was an attempt at survival and the best you could do in that moment.
  2. You want to improve. While imaging life without your eating disorder may be scary, DBT believes that all those suffering truly do desire to recover. No one chooses to have an eating disorder. No one chooses to experience emotional pain, tormenting thoughts and self-hatred on a regular basis. There are likely many things that contribute to lack of improvement, such as environmental factors or faulty beliefs, but lack of intent or desire is not one of them.
  3. You must learn new behaviors both in therapy and in the context of your day-to-day life. Wanting to recover is not enough. You must actively participate in learning new behaviors and be willing to try new things, even if you’re skeptical or fearful of failure. So yes, you must give self-soothing skills, mindfulness and distracting activities a chance. And not just in the therapy room, but in your regular life where it really matters. Don’t worry, you’re not on your own. DBT skills group is specifically designed to teach you new skills to try!
  4. You cannot fail in DBT. If a cancer patient received chemotherapy and the cancer continued to spread, we would not tell the patient they failed chemotherapy. We would say the chemotherapy failed them. The same goes for DBT. If you participate in treatment and do not improve, the treatment failed you. Maybe it was not implemented effectively or maybe DBT was not the right treatment for you in the first place or at that particular time in your life. Bottom line, you did not fail.
  5. You may not have caused all of your problems, but you have to solve them anyway. While it may seem unfair, it is reality. Assigning blame to yourself or others, or waiting for others to fix your problems for you is not effective.  It does not bring you any closer to building the life that you want. It is effective to identify these problems, solve those that can be solved, and learn to accept those realities that cannot be changed.
  6. You need to do better, try harder and be more motivated to change. While DBT firmly believes you are doing your very best, you must also keep trying harder. Life and recovery are all about continuing to learn and grow, which takes an extraordinary amount of effort and hard work. This means continuing to experiment with new ways of coping, allowing others to help you, facing your fears head on, and being gentle with yourself in the process.  To commit to this journey, you must have something to work towards that is meaningful for you personally, such as graduating college, building relationships, bringing joy back to your life, or being present for your family.
  7. Your life is unbearable as it is currently being lived. Life with an eating disorder is miserable. The physical, emotional, cognitive, interpersonal and spiritual suffering can be so unbearable that self-destructive behaviors may be the only way you’ve survived. While this is completely understandable, it is not okay. Settling is not okay. You deserve to build a life you truly want to live… and you can. 
What assumptions do you make about yourself? Are they effective? Do they move you closer to or further away from your goals?
Stay tuned… more to come on DBT in future posts! If you have any questions you would like answered, please send them to me at Thanks!
Our DBT team at Webster Wellness Professionals is the only team specializing in eating disorder recovery in the state of Missouri , and one of few teams overall to be certified by the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

If you would like to learn more about our DBT services, please visit our website or schedule an intake with one of our DBT therapists at (314) 737-4070.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dr. McCallum to Speak at St. Luke's Hospital's FREE Girl Talk Event

Dr. McCallum, MD, CEDS (certified eating disorders specialist) will speak at St. Luke's Hospital's Girl Talk event, which is a FREE event for mothers and daughters ages 11 and older. Mothers will experience a fun and inspiring afternoon connecting with their daughters while they learn to connect the pieces of good health - from their physical health and body image to their social/emotional health and self-esteem. Click here to view the event flyer!

Saturday, January 21 from 1 to 4 p.m.
St. Luke's Hospital
The event is FREE, but registration is required. Call 314-542-4848.


Kimberli McCallum, MD, CEDS (certified eating disorders specialist) has been recognized by her peers as being among one of "America's Top Doctors®." The list, researched and published by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., features highly regarded doctors who are considered the best in their area of specialty. 
Dr. McCallum is the founder of McCallum Place Residential and Partial Hospital Programs offering intensive comprehensive specialty care for those struggling with Eating Disorders and of Webster Wellness Professionals offering consultation, evaluation and outpatient treatment for Eating Disorders and Obesity. Dr. McCallum is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis. She is board-certified in Child and Adolescent psychiatry and in Adult General Psychiatry. She received her medical degree from Yale School of Medicine, her training in General Psychiatry at the UCLA Neuropsychiatry Institute, and her Child Psychiatry Fellowship at Washington University, and psychoanalytic training at the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute. She is a member of the board of directors of the National Eating Disorders Association NEDA and of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals IAEDP.

Dr. McCallum has been working with patients with eating disorders for over 20 years. In addition to teaching, psychiatric care and program development, Dr McCallum is a psychotherapist with a broad range of skills including family based treatment, CBT, DBT, mindfulness meditation and psychodynamic psychotherapy. Her goal is to help patients develop skills for self regulation and self acceptance so that they might live fuller, balanced lives. Her programs integrate focused psychotherapies, nutritional coaching, meal support, and exercise, medical and psychiatric care.