Monthly Archives: September 2020

Compulsive Shopping, Skin Picking and Disordered Eating…

Several people have emailed me to ask about why they seem to have some issues with compulsive shopping since the shelter-in-place has begun.

The Eating Disorder brain is multi-faceted, but in my many years of treating people with many different kinds of disordered eating patterns, I’ve noticed a consistent set of traits across the board. Those traits are:

#1. A brain that doesn’t stop moving, thinks too much, moves too quickly and tends to obsess.

#2. A deep seated belief that you are not good enough.

The belief then seeks to “fix” itself. The racing brain, that smart problem solver wants to undo the feeling of not being good enough, so she does whatever she can to remedy that. It could be dieting to make herself thinner, buying clothes or makeup or skincare treatments to make her look prettier, picking on her skin to make it perfect, obsessing on everything she must have done wrong in her last relationship to make him leave her… any of those things. And more things.

The eating disorder brain believes that it can cure itself by curing what it believes is wrong with it rather than just looking at the belief that something is wrong with it. It believes that it needs to “fit in” in order to be loved. And the problem is, most people don’t really believe that they fit in. They are desperately trying to change that by fixing themselves. The need to fix becomes the obsession.

The truth is though that you don’t need to fix yourself, you just need to allow yourself to naturally unfold into who you are. All human beings are inherently worthy of love. Especially for our quirks, especially for what makes us unique and different and especially for what makes us US. When we try too hard to fit in, we lose ourselves. And then everyone is wearing the same clothes, has the same eyebrows, the same body and no one is happy because they are holding on too tight. Watch the video below where I address this question.

Can We Please Stop Talking about Coronavirus and Weight Gain???

In a Global Pandemic, you don’t have to stress yourself out more over weight gain

Many, many people are finding that in addition to everything they are scared of right now (a global pandemic, the demise of our economy, loss, etc…) they are really, really, really scared of gaining weight during this lockdown.

It says something about diet culture and society’s expectations and pressure on women to be thin that in the midst of this whole world crisis, women are terrified of weight gain. Diet culture is so pervasive and insidious it just creeps right in there, doesn’t it…

Weight gain in times of stress and crisis is a survival mechanism. In fact, much of the literature shows that people who have BMI’s that are in the “overweight” range tend to have better outcomes and survival rates in severe illnesses.


I have seen this first hand with both my mom and stepmom. I watched them both die very young and very skinny. And when they were sick, because they had so little body fat reserves to feed off of, they went down quickly when they were ill.

My grandmother on the other hand, who was more robust outlived her own daughter by ten years. She was just sturdy and hearty. Now, I’m not saying go out and gain tons of weight on purpose, what I am insinuating is though, that if you were to get ill from the virus, your outcome and healing might benefit from some weight on your body if you happen to be someone who is very thin.

I know that for me I’m not getting much activity and I’m snacking more during the day. And that’s okay. I don’t weigh myself but I’m assuming that I’ll put on some weight and that is fine. Right now, no one has to be a weight loss hero – we just have to care for ourselves and the people we love the best we can.

I want to put your mind at ease that a bit of weight gain during this time is really NOT A BIG DEAL and even could possibly really help you.

Here are a couple of articles that confirm this fact:

I hope that this is calming to some people around this fear of weight gain.

On another note, I decided to continue offering a big discount for those who are having financial issues due to the pandemic. I am maintaining this discount for the rest of 2020. I know that many people could use both the support and the structure. Just go to for details and discounts.

Friday Q&A – Can I Recover from Binge Eating Without Gaining Weight?

Midsection of mid adult Asian woman adjusting balance weight scale

Dear Leora,

Is it possible to recover from binge eating without putting on too much weight. If you’ve starved yourself for a while and lost weight but now bingeing and slowly starting to put it back on, how can I stop the binge cycle without putting on all the hard work I’ve lost?

Dieting in Denver

Dear Dieting,

I understand why you are confused. On one hand, the whole world is encouraging all different kinds of diets and telling you that you constantly HAVE TO WORK HARD TO CHANGE WHO YOU ARE SO THAT YOU CAN BE BETTER! Yet, the ED recovery world, which is a small contingent of us, are telling you not to diet.

Your body is certainly a valuable possession but it’s not what makes you valuable. But because it contains the value that is you, it’s great self-care to care for it and love it and keep it safe and healthy within your ability to… This doesn’t mean stressing yourelf out to keep your body “healthy” stress for health cancels it out. It doesn’t mean spending hours each day working our or counting every calorie or spending money on plastic surgery or botox or liposuction desperately trying to change what you have. This is about embracing what you already and have and taking great care of it. It’s like, if somehow you had possession of an original Picasso, would you paint over it to make it look like an Andy Warhol? Or would you make sure to get it insured, keep it out of sunlight, store it in a climate controlled environment, and really truly allow yourself to enjoy it? Taking care of it will keep it beautiful for a very long time, despite how much it ages. In fact, age enhances its beauty. It’s the same thing with your body. Rather than trying to change it into something different, rather than disliking it the way it currently is, let yourself love it, no matter what size and shape it is. Your body deserves love no matter what it looks like. It’s your body, the only one you got. So take care of it. Feed it healthy food, don’t feed it too much and don’t feed it too little. Give it healthy amounts of food that you love. Move it with love and care, stretch it, wash it, floss your teeth, drink your water, be kind to it, rest it, give it adequate amounts of sleep, take it outdoors to get fresh air and sunlight, bring it into nature, be grateful to it for whatever it gives to you, limit alcohol, tobacco, diet sodas, and other chemically laden substances… but don’t freak out if you eat them every once in a while, relax your mind, listen to music, dance, be kind to yourself and to others. Rather than going on a diet and actively trying to lose weight, go toward health. When you do, you will find more peace and happiness than you will when you are actively looking for it from a scale. When you take care of your body and your mind in a deliberate and loving way, you will find that your body weight naturally finds its right place. This isn’t a diet, this is thinking about the rest of your life and your body in a positive way. Strengthening it for the long haul!

So, in a nutshell, my answer is- try not to focus on the weight loss, it’s hard to focus on losing something. Change your focus to self-care and self-love to gain a balanced and healthy mind and body, it’s much easier to gain something, in this case being health and well being.

I hope this was helpful!