The way that you take care of your physical health is directly related to how you feel mentally. Things like diet, stress and exercise have a huge impact on the way we respond to life. The information that you’ll find here will give you advice on living a healthy life.
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What is self care
We’ve all heard or casually used the term “self – care,” but what does it really mean and how do we actually practice it?
“Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others.”
So, honest answer, do you do this? It’s easy to forget to take care of ourselves in the hustle and bustle of our everyday routine; we all manage to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom but we now know that self-care is a much bigger deal than we thought! With all the extra stress around us these days, it’s incredibly important to make sure that we are taking care of our physical health and our mental health.
Here are some easy reminders and tips that you and your family can do to practice healthy self-care:
What is self care
Take care of our bodies
- Drink plenty of water! Yes, we all thought there would be shortage of toilet paper, but now we know there is plenty to go around, SO DRINK UP!
- Make sure you eat right. It’s easy to skip meals, but doing just that or not eating the right foods can lead to fatigue, low energy levels, or headaches. A proper balance of carbs (yes, carbs!), protein, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats, can provide you with the balance your body needs to stay nourished and helps you stay energized and stabilizes your mood.
- Get plenty of zzzzzz’s. We’ve all joked that “sleep is overrated” but let’s be honest, sleep needs to be top rated! Getting plenty of rest (7 – 8 hours a night is recommended) allows your body to recover and rejuvenate and for your brain to refuel and repair itself, which creates less anxiety, balanced moods and better memory. And yes for many of us, it’s hard to turn off the day’s stressors; here are a few ideas to help unwind before you crawl into bed: meditate, setting a digital curfew or better yet leave the devices out of arms reach, avoid caffeine late in the day, no heavy meals before slumber, gentle stretching or light yoga.
- Exercise is a great way to keep our mind and body balanced and strong. Even though we may not be able to go to our favorite class at the gym, or attend yoga at our neighborhood shala, or hike along our favorite trail, there are still plenty of ways to stay active while at home. You know you have a stationary bike somewhere under that pile of clothes, a set of weights from your 2008 New Years resolution or you can just look to the internet, specifically YouTube, Facebook and Instagram LIVE, where you will find oodles of dance and exercise videos and/or classes to help you stay motivated and active right from your living room. So get out your leg warmers, pump up the jams and “Let’s Get Physical”
- You don’t have to be an adult, a yoga guru or be into any of that “fru fru” stuff to recognize the benefits of meditation and the role it plays in reducing stress and anxiety and returning our body, mind and soul to a more balanced state. But what is meditation really? “Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.” Seems easy enough! But if you don’t already practice this on your own … here are some great tips/apps to help you get started: 1) Meditation Exercises ….. 2) List of the “Best Meditation Apps” ….. 3) Techniques for Beginners
Make the new found extra time your best friend
- Take a bath, with bubbles!
- Give yourself and your loved ones a manicure or pedicure
- De-clutter! Time to tackle the closets, organize the junk drawer, create a filing system for the stack of paperwork on the counter in your kitchen, start a donation pile for all those toys your kids will never use (better yet, invite your kids to make a pile of the items they don’t want/need anymore and donate them to a worthy cause)
- Embrace a hobby (knitting, drawing, jewelry making, whittling, painting, writing, scrapbooking)
- Teach yourself to cook or bake. Include ALL the members of your family. Get creative and share recipes with friends.
- Have a 4pm dance party every day (even if you live alone!)
- Take up gardening
- Read a book
- Listen to a podcast
- Limit the murder mystery and depressing documentaries you watch and turn on the nature channel
- Step outside for at least 60 minutes a day
- ENGAGE WITH OTHER PEOPLE. It is really important to stay connected, even though we have to maintain social distancing … there are so many ways to keep in touch with those we love
- Journal. Keep a diary of your thoughts, feelings, be as reflective and honest as you can be with yourself
Be kind to yourself and those around you
- You are not alone in this. The whole world is in the same boat but everyone experiences and processes things a little bit different, it doesn’t mean we are not feeling something we may just show it in our own unique way
- Ask for help. Share your concern/fear/hope with others. Open your heart to those that struggle with articulating their feelings. Try not to minimize or dismiss other people’s feelings
- Check in on the younger ones in your house. Just because they are “kids” and may not feel the stress of being laid off, or the worry of where the next meal will come from, they absolutely FEEL the stress. Their worlds have been turned upside down too – and while they may not know HOW to express it, they definitely know something isn’t right. Be brave and have the hard conversations and remember, a good hug goes a long way! And don’t forget to help them with self-care too – make it a family thing!
- Be patient, be compassionate, be honest (age appropriate), find the humor, find the silver lining.
What is self care
It is really easy to isolate during uncertain times … part of self-care is also recognizing our triggers and where we are vulnerable, and when we need help. The hard part is asking for it. If you find yourself struggling, try and reach out to someone close to you (or to us here at the Youth Project) and let others be of service. Maybe create a code word or code emoji with someone that you trust, that you can text if you need an extra bit of love one day without having to say the words out loud.
And don’t forget to check in your friends and loved ones; we can’t always assume that when others are hurting that they feel strong enough to ask for support, we have to be willing to put ourselves out there too. Social distancing really means, physical distancing; STAY ENGAGED!
There is no right or wrong way to practice “safer at home” – but we need to help one another stay afloat, stay connected, to help reduce anxiety and panic, and to spread love and toilet paper to everyone we know.
Deep breaths and baby steps.
We got this.
We got you.
We got each other.
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People with eating disorders use food to deal with uncomfortable, stressful or painful emotions. Some restrict food intake to feel in control, others may overeat as a temporary solution to soothe sadness, anger, or loneliness and purging is used to combat feelings of helplessness and self-loathing. Over time, people with eating disorders lose the ability to see themselves objectively and obsessions over food and weight come to dominate everything else in life. It’s these negative thoughts and feelings that fuel the damaging behaviors. So you can see, it is far more complicated than just talking about dietary habits.
Millions of people across the country suffer from eating disorders, but by increasing awareness and access to resources, we can encourage early detection and intervention. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder, so early intervention can mean saving lives. (Click here to get screened)
Understanding Common Myths about Eating Disorders:
Myth #1: You have to be underweight to have an eating disorder.
People with eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes. Many individuals with eating disorders are of average weight or are overweight.
Myth #2: Only teenage girls and young women are affected by eating disorders.
While eating disorders are most common in young women in their teens and early twenties, they are found in men and women of all ages.
Myth #3: People with eating disorders are vain.
It’s not vanity that drives people with eating disorders to follow extreme diets and obsess over their bodies, but rather an attempt to deal with feelings of shame, anxiety, and powerlessness.
Myth #4: Eating disorders aren’t really that dangerous.
All eating disorders can lead to irreversible and even life-threatening health problems, such as heart disease, bone loss, stunted growth, infertility, and kidney damage.
Types of eating disorders:
The most common eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder.
- Anorexia – People with anorexia starve themselves out of an intense fear of becoming fat. Despite being underweight or even emaciated, they never believe they’re thin enough. In addition to restricting calories, people with anorexia may also control their weight with exercise, diet pills, or purging.
- Bulimia – Bulimia involves a destructive cycle of bingeing and purging. Following an episode of out-of-control binge eating, people with bulimia take drastic steps to purge themselves of the extra calories. In order to avoid weight gain they vomit, exercise, fast, or take laxatives.
- Binge Eating Disorder – People with binge eating disorder compulsively overeat, rapidly consuming thousands of calories in a short period of time. Despite feelings of guilt and shame over these secret binges, they feel unable to control their behavior or stop eating even when uncomfortably full.
Common eating disorder warning signs:
- Preoccupation with body or weight
- Obsession with calories, food, or nutrition
- Constant dieting, even when thin
- Rapid, unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Taking laxatives or diet pills
- Compulsive exercising
- Making excuses to get out of eating
- Avoiding social situations that involve food
- Going to the bathroom right after meals
- Eating alone, at night, or in secret
- Hoarding high-calorie food
What parents can do:
- If there is a concern that a child may be restricting certain foods, food groups or portion sizes, it is wise to first consult a medical doctor to rule out physiological problems.
- Create a healthy eating lifestyle at home and expect your child to comply with the family’s eating patterns. Offer your child healthy foods, prepare or oversee at least three nourishing meals a day, and be sure to eat those meals together with your child and family as often as possible. Your child learns by imitating your behaviors. As nourishing as a family dinner is the sharing and comradery that accompanies it.
- Never skip meals. Remember that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Know what healthy eating is, that it involves eating three meals daily… diverse, balanced and nutritious meals, consisting of all the food groups and consumed without fear. Healthy eating is not fat-free eating.
- Keep your own lifestyle active and expect your child to do the same. If children are too sedentary, turn off the television and encourage a walk with the dog or biking to the library.
- Spend quality time with your child. Listen to what they say and to how they feel. Know what their concerns are.
- Encourage your child to become aware of her feelings and to express them freely. Communicating through the use of words diminishes the odds that anxious feelings will be expressed through food-abusing behaviors.
- Be aware that girls typically reach puberty as young as age 9. Explain to them that it is normal (and essential) that they gain weight at the onset of puberty in order to stimulate a healthfully functioning reproductive system that will allow them to bear their own children one day.
- Become aware of your own personal attitudes about eating, body image, and weight control. Do you encourage your son to eat so that he can grow big and strong, yet caution your daughter against becoming fat?
- Never force your child to “clean her plate,” giving her a sense of not being in control of her own food. The parent should determine the menu and the child should determine the amounts of food consumed.
- Do not criticize your own or your child’s weight, shape or size.
- Don’t tolerate casual derogatory comments about other people’s weight and physical appearance. Children take to heart and personalize what you say.
- Remember that too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing. Don’t allow your child to overdo athletics or dance activities; to shop too much or to watch TV or Facebook too much; to talk on the phone or play video games too much; to eat too much or too little, to study too much or too little, to sleep too much or too little, etc. Moderation and balance in life reflects a healthy lifestyle.
If you are a teen with an eating disorder:
Eating disorders are complicated diseases that can leave you stuck in a trap of hopelessness and despair. When you are living in an eating disorder, it is easy to believe that you are okay without help or that you can make it alone. The reality is much darker though, and the truth of the matter is that you will need the help and support from your parents to pull you away from the death grip of your disorder. By confiding in them, you are taking the most essential step towards pursuing recovery and receiving the care you need to get your life back.
How exactly can you talk to your parents about an eating disorder? Here are some helpful tips for communicating with your parents:
- Arrange a time and place to talk: Having their undivided attention in a comfortable setting will help you feel at ease when speaking with them. Choose a place that is calm and quiet and where you can have a discussion without interruptions.
- Share your concerns and needs: Be open and honest in communicating what you are feeling, what you may be worried about, or what you might need from them. Phrases that might be helpful to share with them include, “I feel sad and scared about a health problem I am struggling with”, or “I have tried to overcome this on my own but feel that I need help”, or even “I am struggling with an eating disorder and would like your support and guidance to find treatment and overcome this challenge. Will you please help me?”
- Be receptive of their response: Understand that your parents may have an emotional response to what you share with them. They may feel shocked, frightened, or confused by your openness of your struggle with an eating disorder, but know that you are not responsible for their emotional state. Give yourself positive reinforcement by reminding yourself of the courage you have to take these important steps towards getting well.
If you are concerned about yourself or someone you know, you can take a 3 minute confidential survey. Click here
To find an eating disorder treatment specialist in your area:
- Ask your primary care doctor for a referral.
- Check with local hospitals or medical centers.
- Ask your school counselor or nurse.
- Call the National Eating Disorders Association’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-931-2237 (Mon–Fri, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. PST).
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A. I believe I have the right to say “no” to others without feeling guilty.
B. I am a demanding person
C. I have trouble turning down people’s requests
A. I do not have difficulty making eye contact
B. I stare people down
C. I have difficulty maintaining eye contact
A. I let people know when I disagree with them
B. When others annoy me, I say nothing, but I show my displeasure through my body language
C. When people don’t keep their commitments I am reluctant to tell them I am upset
A. I don’t mind asking for help when I feel I need it
B. I believe you must show others your strength regardless of the situation if you want to command their respect.
C. I’m afraid to admit that I don’t know how to do something
A. I am able to express my feelings honestly and directly
B. I point my finger or use other gestures to add emphasis to my assertions
C. When I am angry I keep my feelings to myself
- Mostly A’s — You exhibit an assertive communication style
- Mostly B’s — You exhibit an aggressive communication style
- Mostly C’s — You exhibit a passive communication style
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“E-cigarette use more than doubles among U.S. middle and high school students from 2011-2012”
Smoking tobacco and chewing tobacco have been a constant cause for concern among middle and school students because of the health risks that are involved. However, a new type of smoking has reached students; “vaping”, or smoking electronic cigarettes, has become increasingly popular among teens in the past year. E-cigarette stores have begun opening throughout the city, and their carts can be seen in the mall.
What are e-cigarettes? And what health concerns are associated with this new trend?
E-cigarettes came on the scene in 2007, and are called the “smoking alternative”, because instead of the 4,000 chemicals found in regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes only contain “nicotine dissolved in propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin” and one of many flavors such as bubble gum and root beer. Since e-cigarettes have less chemicals, it been called a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, and many smokers use it as a quitting aid to finally get them off of traditional cigarettes. However, there is no proof that e-cigarettes are in fact safer, and since the product is still relatively new, there is no way to see what the long-term effects are for vaping. Since e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, they are not subject to the same regulations as cigarettes, and they can legally be purchased by people of any age.
In one study, the Los Angeles Times reported “one out of 10 American high school students used electronic cigarettes in 2012, along with nearly 3% of middle school students, according to a new federal report”. This number has increased dramatically in recent years; and many believe that e-cigarettes are being marketed directly to teens because of the flavors of the vapor and the branding of the product. The FDA warns, “e-cigarettes can increase nicotine addiction among young people and may lead kids to try other tobacco products.”
Interesting fact regarding Nicotine/E-Cigs from: How Stuff Works “An electronic cigarette can contain as much nicotine as a regular cigarette — or more. The amount of nicotine an electronic cigarette delivers depends on the content of the liquid-nicotine cartridge installed in it. Customers can choose cartridges containing nicotine in a range of strengths. Some are comparable to the amount of nicotine in a regular tobacco cigarette; others are closer to that of a light or ultralight cigarette. There are also cartridges that contain liquid without nicotine, for users who want the sensory experience of smoking without its effect.”
What can we do to prevent teens from smoking e-cigarettes?
Education and Communication.
Parents, get involved and talk to your teens. Ask them what they know about cigarettes and e-cigarettes; explain the differences between the two types but that they are share one major similarity: Nicotine. Inquire with your child’s school what kinds of anti-smoking information they disseminate and whether or not it includes “vaping”.
For more information on e-cigarettes and teens, visit:
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As obesity continues to be a hot topic in America, healthy eating has become increasingly important in American culture, and that has impacted the way we eat. And especially during the teenage pubescent years, proper nutrition is crucial to this process; it is imperative to remember that teens have different nutritional needs than adults while their bodies are going through so many changes that impact their physical and emotional well being.
Nutrition in many schools has been completely changed to encourage better eating habits among students by providing more nutritious lunch options and in some cases, also providing nutrition education as part of the curriculum. As a result of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, schools made changes to nutrition programs and began serving “smart snacks” on school campuses, and created “standards for competitive foods and beverages sold outside of the federal reimbursable school meals program during the school day.” New standards were set on what snacks the school could provide, getting rid of items like donuts and regular soda, in favor of smarter options such as granola bars, fruit and milk.
The William S. Hart School District follows strict guidelines which are in place to provide students with nutritious meals that are balanced and aim to limit the calorie, sodium, fat, and sugar intake. Students need proper nutrition not only to live more healthy lives, but also be more productive in school. For example, the Center for Disease Control found that “eating a healthy breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function (especially memory), reduced absenteeism, and improved mood.” Additionally, providing students with well balanced nutrition has been shown to also improve test scores. Teaching teens that having proper nutrition, is vital to their success, well-bring, growth and development is an absolute must. Supporting healthy eating habits at home is an important component for teaching teens how to get proper nutrition, and encourages them to maintain good eating habits when they go out with friends. Teaching these lessons at an early age, sets the stage for a healthier adulthood.
How can families promote good eating habits and nutrition for teens at home? First and foremost, LEAD BY EXAMPLE.
Kids learn from their parents, both good and bad behaviors; it is your responsibility to make good choices for them to model, so you too, have to be ready to drink one less soda, especially if you are asking for your child to do it.
Deciding as a family to incorporate more exercise and better eating habits is a great tool to get everyone involved from the beginning; allow your teen to participate in the process and help design a “new plan” for a healthy future.
Here are some tips:
- Having family meals has been proven to promote healthy eating habits. It is also proven to improve a child’s vocabulary and reading skills, as well as lead to higher grades and academic achievement. (Incorporate some our conversation starters at dinner, and have great talks while enjoying a delicious meal.)
- Eat breakfast every morning. People that eat breakfast every morning are less likely to snack throughout the day, and get more vitamins and nutrients over the course of the day. Starting out the day with a healthy breakfast, allows kids to stay focused in class, rather than listening to their stomach growl!
- Incorporate more fruits and veggies into your teen’s diet. Homemade smoothies are a great way to sneak in a few extra fruit and dairy products, that your teen might otherwise shy away from.
- Serve appropriate portions at meals, and include fruits, veggies, grains, dairy and protein in every meal. Choose My Plate is a great resource that teaches you about healthy portions of different food groups, and other tips for eating right.
- Encourage your teen to be active. Children and teens should be getting at least 60 minutes of exercise a day.
- Have healthy snacks around the house, and limit processed foods. Instead of chips and candy, give your teens fruits, veggies and whole grains.
- Cook at home, and get your teen involved. Home cooked meals have less calories than meals eaten outside of the house. Cooking with your teens will help them learn about well-balanced nutrition, as well develop their pallet for different types of foods. Maybe suggest themed dinners; create some trivia about Spain and then cook a authentic Spanish meal? Educational and healthy!
- Drink more water instead of sugary drinks like soda. Invest in reusable water bottles, and always keep them full!
- Fast food restaurants are offering “healthier options”, so if you need a quick bite, you don’t have to deviate from nutrition. And if you decide to get a burger and fries, opt out of the “super size”, which only add extra calories.
- Read food labels and learn what is in the food you eat. A great resource is www.eatright.org/nutritiontipsheets
For more information on nutrition and teenagers visit
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Finally, it’s Winter Break!
While the holidays can be filled with joy, love and happiness, for many of us it also brings stress, frustration and sadness.
The household can become very crowded this time of year with kids home from school, parents off work and extended family coming to visit. That many personalities under one roof can cause tension, but here are a few simple things we can all remember to do to help decrease the angst and increase the enjoyment.
- Set aside differences. Every family has their “hot button” topics that invariably cause disagreements and arguments. Try to set those differences aside for a few weeks and accept others the way they are. Take the time to address the issues privately, at a more appropriate time.
- Make time for the simple things. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season; planning parties, get togethers and extravagant vacations. While those can all be wonderful, a simple walk with a loved one can be just as rewarding. Make time for the small things like playing tag or hide and seek outdoors with your kids, decorate cookies by the fire, have a dance party in your living room. It’s these small things that will make the fondest memories.
- Don’t create grand expectations. When thinking of the holidays, we often have high expectations; a big holiday feast, the perfect gifts, the perfect get together. These expectations can be restricting and can lead to disappointment if things don’t work out exactly as planned. Try to remember that sometimes the greatest things are the things we are not expecting.
- Don’t overspend. The holiday season can create a great deal of financial stress; we want to buy those we love something wonderful to show them just how much we truly care about them. It is easy to forget that a simple thought of kindness can show more love than that expensive gadget they have been wanting. Be creative with your gifts and stick to a budget.
If you find yourself alone during the holidays or feeling lonely, that’s perfectly normal, especially if it’s a painful time in your life (loss of a loved one, divorce, unemployment, etc.). Take time to process your feelings and find healthy ways to cope – pretending those feelings don’t exist, can only make it worse.
- Give yourself the gift of YOU. Don’t forget to breathe, eat healthy, drink moderately, exercise and be kind to yourself. Go for a run, grab a notepad and journal what you feel, take a yoga class, be with nature.
- Ask for help. Reach out to friends, family, spiritual advisors for guidance and support. There is no shame in asking for help.
- Volunteer. Sometimes being of service to others in need, can help with our own feelings of despair. Call a local homeless shelter, food pantry, hospital, community center and ask if they need an extra pair of hands.
Remembering these few little things can make a big difference in keeping the holidays joyful and manageable. Take time to relax and reflect on the memories you have shared with those around you, and create new ones to reflect upon next year.
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In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Youth Project is talking to kids about Healthy and Safe Relationships.
Did you know?
- 1 in 3 adolescents in the US is a victim of verbal, emotional, sexual and physical abuse by a dating partner
- Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend had threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a break-up
- Only half of all tweens (age 11-14) claim to know the warning signs of a bad/hurtful relationship
- Twenty-four percent of 14 to 17-year-olds know at least one student who has been the victim of dating violence, yet 81% of parents either believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it is an issue
- Less than 25% of teens say they have discussed dating violence with their parents
- Nearly 80% of girls who have been physically abused in their intimate relationships continue to date their abuser
Violence is related to certain risk factors. Risks of having unhealthy relationships increase for teens who:
- Use alcohol or drugs.
- Can’t manage anger or frustration.
- Hang out with violent peers.
- Have multiple sexual partners.
- Have a friend involved in dating violence.
- Are depressed or anxious.
- Have learning difficulties and other problems at school.
- Don’t have parental supervision and support.
- Witness violence at home or in the community.
- Have a history of aggressive behavior or bullying.
Victims of teen dating violence are more likely to do poorly in school, and report binge drinking, suicide attempts, and physical fighting. Victims may also carry the patterns of violence into future relationships. However, dating violence can be prevented when teens, families, organizations, and communities work together to implement effective prevention strategies.
Red Flags and Warning Signs: (From www.safeyouth.org)
Teenagers generally do not tell people when they are involved in a violent relationship, so it is important for adults to be alert for signs that a teen may be involved in a relationship that is, or has the potential to become, abusive. Some of the following signs are just part of being a teenager. But, when these changes happen suddenly, or without an explanation, there may be cause for concern.
- Does the individual have unexplained bruises, scratches, or injuries?
- Do you see signs that the individual is afraid of his/her boyfriend or girlfriend?
- Does the boyfriend or girlfriend seem to try to control the individual’s behavior, making all of the decisions, checking up on his/her behavior, demanding to know who the individual has been with, and acting jealous and possessive?
- Does the boyfriend or girlfriend lash out, criticize, or insult the individual?
- Does the individual apologize for the boyfriend or girlfriend’s behavior to you and others? Has the individual casually mentioned the boyfriend or girlfriend’s temper or violent behavior, but then laughed it off as a joke?
- Have you seen the boyfriend or girlfriend be abusive towards other people or things?
- Does the individual seem to have lost interest or to be giving up things that were once important? Has he/she lost interest in school or other activities?
- Has the individual’s appearance or behavior suddenly changed?
- Has the individual stopped spending time with friends and family?
- Have you seen sudden changes in the individual’s mood or personality?
- Is the individual becoming anxious or depressed, acting out, or being secretive? Is the individual avoiding eye contact, having ‘crying jags’ or getting ‘hysterical?’
- Has the individual recently started using alcohol or drugs?
If you suspect or know that your child is being abused by a partner, you have resources:
- Call law enforcement or 911
- Call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE (7233)
- Make a safety plan with your child
- Stay in communication with your teen; let them know they can open up to you no matter what.
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If you need more information ….
Health and Wellness
- Nutrition.gov is a USDA-sponsored website that offers credible information to help you make healthful eating choices. It serves as a gateway to reliable information on nutrition, healthy eating, physical activity, and food safety for consumers.
- The Go Ask Alice! site is supported by a team of Columbia University health promotion specialists, health care providers, and other health professionals, along with a staff of information and research specialists and writers. Our team members have advanced degrees in public health, health education, medicine, counseling, and a number of other relevant fields.
- Kids Health is a nonprofit children’s health system. “Our goal is to help parents, kids, and teens take charge of their health. We aim to give families the tools and confidence to make the best health choices.”
- Eat Right Academy represents more than 100,000 credentialed practitioners — registered dietitian nutritionists, dietetic technicians, registered, and other dietetics and nutrition professionalss holding undergraduate and advanced degrees in nutrition and dietetics, and students — and is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.
- Nationwide Nutrition Hotline (800-366-1655)
- American Anorexic and Bulimia Association
- National Association of Anorexia Nervosa
- Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention (800-931-2237)
- Eating Disorders Center
- Eating Disorders Referral and Information Center
- Mirror Mirror
- UCLA Eating Disorders (310-825-0511)
- Overeaters Anonymous
Family Health Care
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What is an eating disorder?
An eating disorder is an obsession with food and weight that harms a person’s well-being. Although we all worry about our weight sometimes, people who have an eating disorder go to extremes to keep from gaining weight. There are 2 main eating disorders: anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
What are the differences between anorexia and bulimia?
Anorexia: People who have anorexia are obsessed with being thin. They don’t want to eat, and they are afraid of gaining weight. They may constantly worry about how many calories they take in or how much fat is in their food. They may take diet pills, laxatives or water pills to lose weight. They may exercise too much. People who have anorexia usually think they’re fat even though they’re very thin. They may get so thin that they look like they’re sick.
Bulimia: Bulimia is eating a lot of food at once (called bingeing), and then throwing up or using laxatives to remove the food from the body (called purging). After a binge, some bulimics fast (don’t eat) or overexercise to keep from gaining weight. People who have bulimia may also use water pills, laxatives or diet pills to “control” their weight. People who have bulimia often try to hide their bingeing and purging. They may hide food for binges. People who have bulimia are usually close to normal weight, but their weight may go up and down.
What are some warning signs:
The following are possible warning signs of anorexia and bulimia:
- Unnatural concern about body weight (even if the person is not overweight)
- Obsession with calories, fat grams and food
- Use of any medicines to keep from gaining weight (diet pills, laxatives, water pills)
More serious warning signs may be harder to notice because people who have an eating disorder try to keep it secret. Watch for these signs:
- Throwing up after meals
- Refusing to eat or lying about how much was eaten
- Not having periods
- Increased anxiety about weight
- Calluses or scars on the knuckle (from forced throwing up)
- Denying that there is anything wrong
Can eating disorders be treated?
Yes. For people who have anorexia, the first step is getting back to a normal weight. If you’re malnourished or very thin, you may be put in the hospital. Your doctor will probably want you to see a dietitian to learn how to pick healthy foods and eat at regular times. For both people who have anorexia and bulimia, family and individual counseling (talking about your feelings about your weight and problems in your life) is helpful.
Statistics on Eating Disorders:
- Nationwide, 12.3% of high school students had gone without eating for 24 hours or more to lose weight or to keep from gaining weight during the last 30 days.
2005 CDC Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance
- During the last 30 days, 6.3% of students nationwide had taken diet pills, powders, or liquids without a doctor’s advice to lose weight or to keep from gaining weight.
2005 CDC Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance
- Nationwide, 4.5% of students had vomited or taken laxatives to lose weight or to keep from gaining weight during the last 30 days. Overall the prevalence of having vomited or taken laxatives to lose weight or to keep from gaining weight was higher among female (6.2%) than male (2.8%) students.
2005 CDC Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance
- Approximately 1-2% of late adolescent or adult women suffer from bulimia.
Academy for Eating Disorders
- One percent (1%) of female adolescents suffer from anorexia. In other words, 1 out of every 100 young women between 10-20 years old is starving herself, sometimes to death.
Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders
- Four percent (4%), or 4 out of 100, college-age women have bulimia.
Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders
- About 50% of people who have been anorexic develop bulimia or bulimic patterns.
Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders
- About 31% of American teenage girls and 28% of boys are somewhat overweight.
Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders
- An additional 15% of American teen girls and nearly 14% of teen boys are obese.
Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders
- Read more
Acne, commonly known as zits or blemishes, refers to plugged pores (either blackheads or whiteheads), pimples and deeper lumps (such as cysts or nodules) that can form on all areas of the upper body. Most teenagers suffer from this skin condition, but the disease is not limited by age. Adults up to their 40s may still have acne breakouts. The effects of acne are not threatening, but permanent scarring can occur.
Treatment of light acne
If you get an occasional zit or two, do not worry; it’s nothing serious. However, to prevent such mild breakouts, lightly wash your face twice a day with soap and water. Over-the-counter treatment products can be effective in quickly eliminating light cases of acne. They can be found at any drug store.
Warning signs for severe cases
If you develop a case of ache that meets any of the following criteria, you may wish to consult a dermatologist:
- Nonprescription treatment products fail to cure the acne
- Acne causes problems in your social life
- Scarring occurs
- Your acne causes you physical pain
- If you are a dark skinned person, your acne cases dark patches to appear
Causes of Acne
- Extreme stress and some stress medications
- Skin bacteria (scientifically known as P. acnes)
- Dead skin
- Dermatologist (to locate a dermatologist near you, click here: http://www.aad.org/findaderm_intro.html
- Comedo Extraction: Comedo is the medical term for blackheads and whiteheads. Extraction of comedos should be performed only by a doctor under sterile conditions when other treatments have failed. You should not attempt to extract your comedos by popping or picking.
- Light Chemical Peels: a dermatologist may use glycolic acid and other chemicals to attempt to loosen blackheads and decrease acne.
Myths about Acne
- Sun tanning cures acne. Exposure to ultraviolet light may hide blemishes, but tanning increases the risk of more serious skin conditions, such as melanoma.
- Poor hygiene causes acne. Dirt and surface oils do not cause acne. In fact, the irritation caused by excessive scrubbing can result in breakouts. Instead, gentle face washes twice a day are recommended.
- A bad diet results in acne. Pizza, French fries, chocolate and all the other greasy foods we love to eat are not related to acne in any way. However, eating healthy is always a good thing to do, regardless.
- Acne is just a cosmetic disease. No one has ever died of acne; that is true. However, the effects of acne can be experienced in more ways than merely your physical appearance. Self-esteem can be greatly diminished because of acne, social withdrawal may occur and can even result in anger and depression.
- Information about acne geared toward teens: Kidshealth
The Youth Project prides itself on creating a safe, non-judgmental and confidential setting in which students speak freely and can be assured that the stories they share remain private. However, all students are informed that we are a mandated reporting agency, meaning: if we have reasonable suspicion that a child (under the age of 18) has been mistreated, we are required to file a report with the necessary agencies.
We will report when a student shares information on:
Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Harm to Themselves, Sexual Abuse, Neglect, Harm to Others
All sessions are confidential. However, we are a mandated reporting agency and if a student expresses a desire to harm himself or others or if there is reason to suspect child abuse or neglect, we are obligated to report to the appropriate agency. ALL STUDENTS are reminded of this before every session.***