Shame and Resilience

Director of Embrace Dr. Karin Lawson initiates a discussion of shame and resilience, how this work has inspired a group within our Embrace programming, and shares an inspirational song serving as a reminder that we are all “human among humans.”


I have been a fan of Brené Brown, long before she became an Oprah staple. The fact that she has spoken, written, and TedTalked so openly and academically on the theme of shame drew me in the first time I heard her. She is focused on a significant theme that represents the idea of  keeping things securely hidden in the darkness where they fester and grow and eat us alive. By “things,” I am referring to our secrets, including experiences, choices, and/or victimization that we feel cannot bear the light of day. How amazing would it be to tackle the shame that often paralyzes us?

My passion for shame work (and subsequently self-compassion work) was the torch that burned and created space for us to offer a Shame Resilience group in Embrace. It is one of the most cherished groups of our clients and my favorite group to facilitate. One of the basic premises is that we are all going to experience shame; just like sadness, anxiety, and happiness. It is part of our experience. Yet the question is, how do we bounce back from such an intense emotion that makes us want to do nothing but crawl under a blanket? We do the opposite. (Hello DBT!) We share our experience of shame with a trusted person, so that we practice not hiding out, but letting others support us and shining a light on our human experience. This allows us to hear and know and feel that shame hits us ALL at some point … no matter how put together a person might appear. Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt often shares this Kohut quote which captures it nicely; being “human among humans.”

So instead of hiding out in shame and tucking away the things we assume need to be kept secret, I would like to share some inspiration with you in the form of a music video that our co-founder Vicki Kroviak shared with me this week. It features Mary Lambert singing “Secrets.”

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers and newly introduced Embrace, the binge eating recovery program at OPC please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

BMI Victory at EDC Lobby Day

We are pleased to share an update from the Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC) Lobby Day held on October 1st; resulting in changes of BMI measurements in schools as per the recommendations of the advocates. Outreach Manager Katherine Swain McClayton writes about her first hand experience.  


On October 1st, I attended my fifth Lobby Day organized by the Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC.) As a board member of the EDC, we work to carefully craft our efforts and initiatives to have maximum impact and change. The EDC has many irons in the fire, but at our most recent Lobby Day we asked Congressional offices to sign onto a Dear Colleague letter requesting the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) examine how BMI testing is administered in schools. The EDC also provided all members of Congress at their meetings a multi-organization fact sheet on the concerns with BMI collection. The ‘Dear Colleague’ letter was initiated by U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch of Florida and is addressed to CDC and the Department of Education.  

The goal of this letter is for guidelines to be put in place as to how to collect BMIs in schools with the concern of weight stigma and harm done inadvertently though this practice. BMI is proven to not be an ironclad indicator of health, and furthermore, the way in which this is currently carried out in schools has its share of horror stories. As one advocate told her story, students standing in a line in a gymnasium, and clapping for the person with the lowest BMI is misguided, irresponsible, and dangerous. The Academy of Eating Disorders (AED) issued suggested guidelines for childhood obesity prevention programs in order to avoid such situations in schools. 

On October 1st, EDC’s Lobby Day hosted the most advocates and meetings with Congressional offices in its history. The energy was even more palpable than usual. At the lunch hearing, four advocates told their stories as to why we need to alter legislation to change the way eating disorders are researched, seen in the public, and covered by insurance companies and received more standing ovations than ever.

Most importantly, we saw immediate action. The CDC agreed to immediately look at their recommendations for BMI measurements in schools. These updates by the CDC include making changes to the BMI measurement in schools information available on their Healthy Youth webpage; providing targeted webinars on this topic to school boards and other organizations, and adding cautionary, safeguard language to CDC’s BMI tool for school calculator webpage. 

Things in Washington, DC do not move at a very fast clip as of late. The Eating Disorders Coalition is proud and excited that the CDC is taking our voices seriously and looking at these changes in BMI screenings. Further victories lie ahead for eating disorders advocates. Yet, this immediate attention and action by our national government gives us hope, excitement, and strength that our work to help all those affected by eating disorders is being heard with louder voices and stronger tones. 

To find out what more you can do: visit the EDC’s website as well as this action alert.


For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers and newly introduced Embrace, a binge eating recovery program and Clementine, a residential program exclusively for adolescents girls please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram

Turning Down the “Noise” of Dieting

We are so pleased to feature a guest post on the importance of leaving the diet mentality behind from registered dietitian nutritionist Jenna Hollenstein. You can see her first guest post, Loving your perfect self before improving it, here. To read more from Jenna, visit her blog Eat to Love: redefining fullness, or join her on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. 


Letting go of the dieting mentality can feel like one of the hardest parts of embarking on the Intuitive Eating journey. Even as you learn to listen to your own internal signals of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction and to shift your allegiance in this direction, there is a lingering pull toward the seemingly never-ending barrage of eat this, not that; how to ensure that calories in are less than calories out; means of manipulating your metabolism; and whatever superfood or supplement will finally “fix” you.

Doing something that feels so far outside the mainstream can be disorienting at best, which is why one client’s straightforward approach to turning down the noise of dieting struck me as incredibly concrete and relatable. Here’s her 4-point plan with some commentary of my own:

1. “I choose not to consume”

One sure way to decrease the noise of dieting is to not engage with it. If you know that you are vulnerable to being drawn in by these things, reducing your exposure is important. This means not buying the diet books and dieting-focused magazines, not following weight-loss pins, Instagram accounts, Facebook pages, and tweets.

2. “I’m skeptical of what gets through”

No one can eliminate 100% of their exposure to the dieting and weight loss machine. But you can learn to recognize it when it gets through and to question its sources and intentions. Where do they get their information? Is it based in science or anecdote? What are their motives? To sell something? To create dependence on themselves, their program, or their product? To promote weight loss or to sustain health? Are they helping you to become the expert of you?

3. “I make decisions based on health, wellness, and pleasure rather than on what will make me skinny”

When you focus on your own internal signals of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction, you can start to make important connections. What works for you? What, when, and how much do you need to eat to feel content, vibrant, and sustained in your daily activities? What do you enjoy? And what makes you happy?

4. “I don’t participate in the dieting dialogue, food shaming, or fat shaming”

Not participating in diet speak in particular can make you feel like a salmon swimming upstream. At times it feels like everyone else is doing it! Many people, especially women, seem to bond over the commiseration about diet, weight, and their bodies. But taking the risk of doing something different will cut through these superficial connections and help to build real common ground: trust in yourself and a curiosity in others about this approach to true self-care!

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers and newly introduced Embrace, a binge eating recovery program and Clementine, a residential program exclusively for adolescents girls please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram