Friday, November 18, 2011

Weekend & Self-Care

garden flowers

 So as the weekend is upon us, I wanted to remind you all to take a time-out for yourself. Create a little ritual - something you do every weekend and you do it only for yourself.

I know you are already asking: Where do I have time for a 'time-out'?

There is no set-time for a time-out. It can be 10 minutes, it can be an hour.
My time-out is waking up early (yes early!) getting up, walking down the street, and taking the subway to get a coffee downtown and do some writing. Sometimes, my time to do this limited, but these moments are helpful to ourselves and I commit to it (even if laundry is behind).

Have a great weekend.

Eat, Breath, Pause: Mindful Eating


During the week, EDOYR had the opportunity to listen to a webinar (online lecture) about 'Mindful Eating', which was presented by Ryann Smith, registered dietician from the Renfrew Center (treatment centres across the U. S.). They provided this brief handout that may be of some interest to you.
For further questions, feel free to email:

                                      Eat, Breath, Pause: Mindful Eating and Treatment

Ryann Smith, RD, LD/N

What is Mindful eating (ME)? 

ME is ... 

• About being conscious of why you are hungry
• About developing a close relationship with your mind and body
• Knowing the exact moment you’re satisfied (not stuffed or starving)
• About being open to eating foods
• Developing a new relationship with food
• Overcoming predetermined thoughts
• NOT about the type of food, because food is neutral
• About the process of eating

ME Practices: 

> Observant
> Non-Judgmental
> Aware
> Present
> Let it go already!
> Acceptance
> Compassionate

ME tips to try: 

• Plate your food, sit and eat
• Spooning- its not what you think
• Switch it up- 1st 2 bites are best
• Pacing
• Catch your Z’s
• Shift your routine

                                 Mindful Eating Experience- try it at home with your loved ones! 

• Choose a food item

• Examine the shape, color, and texture

• Unwrap the food item if necessary

• Smell the food item, notice the aroma

• Is there any anticipatory salivation?

• Notice the taste, texture and temperature

• Notice the texture changes as you chew and swallow

• Be aware of feelings, sensation or memories

• Imagine the chocolate in your stomach

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Voice versus Theirs



Some very interesting things have happened in the last week or so with regards to public perceptions of eating disorders.

Now,  I cannot deny the fact that I exercise a very critical perspective to political and media-based outlets of information that is dished out to us every second due to the increased accessibility of internet, wi-fi, and web-based entertainment. Our ideas, thoughts, and souls are essentially plastered up against ideals set before us by these figures.  What do we do when a public figure says something that bothers us? How do we feel? Do we let it go?  I want to share my own process whereby I was forced to hear something that bothered me and henceforth, feel restricted to even do anything about how I felt.

Last week, singer and reality star Jessica Simpson, was being interviewed by the magazine, "Lucky." When asked about her clothing designs and how these designs were sized for 'average women' she was asked to further explain her choice to be inclusive of larger sized clothing. However, she reacted by saying the following:

                         “I got so much scrutiny for putting on extra pounds, but I think that the decision not to make myself anorexic was actually great for branding,” she says. “Because when you’re really, really skinny, not everybody can relate to you."  (Lucky, November, 2011).

Upon reading these words, I felt myself become enraged. To hear a public figure state that "eating disorders are a choice" was difficult but also painful. Even though I knew she was incorrect about her statement, I felt defeated. If someone with millions of dollars could use such words haphazardly and have these words published and read by thousands and thousands of people, what hope did I have to change the way things were? To change the current perceptions of eating disorders?
In addition to this naive assertion, she continued to rub salt in the wound by saying those with Anorexia Nervosa have a lonely life simply because no one can relate to 'them.'

I reacted strongly. I ranted to my office-mates and wanted to erase every part of this interview for fear that it would perpetuate further misunderstandings about Anorexia. As a result, I went directly on to Twitter and tweeted her information about EDOYR and told her (very kindly) that Eating Disorders were by no means a choice. I stated that her words might be hurtful to not just those who were suffering but also the friends, families, and companions of those who are struggling to overcome an eating disorder.  As time passed, I waited and wanted a response. Seething, waiting, ready to go, I wanted to talk this out with this person, say it as it was, and hopefully reach some plateau of understanding.

However, it never came.  Within 20 minutes, Jessica Simpson tweeted not that she was sorry for her comments that may have affected people who were struggling, but that she was farting 15 times more than an average woman per day.

I still don't know whether to laugh at that (which I do sometimes) or to continue to feel upset. However, by reading her response, I felt upset not for me, or her, but the larger issue and the larger structures that have failed to inform this individual about disabilities, disorders, and exercising a compassionate heart around these issues.
I don't think she is evil, but just as every person, whether you are a politician, famous singer, or a struggling student like myself, we have a voice and we also have responsibility. We have responsibility to inform ourselves, and learn from others. We have responsibility to disagree gently. We also have responsibility to be aware not just for ourselves, but our community.

I might not have caught the attention from a public figure in trying to change a public perception, but one thing in which I am grateful for was the ability to be able to type the words I typed and post them on her forum. Did she see them? or Why didn't she respond? are irrelevant questions. What is relevant is the focus on our action to do something about it -- that is the key. The spark that forced us to voice our opinion and defend ourselves amidst oppressive comments such as those from Ms. Simpson.

You have a voice. Use it. You will be very surprised by what you see.

Have a wonderful evening.


Fundraiser Updates

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the delay!  It has been busy here at EDOYR as we are preparing for our annual fundraiser that is to take place on November 26, 2011 at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts.
Tickets will likely be gone by the 26th so get yours now!

There will be many silent auction items up for bid and every little bit helps!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011


This is just a friendly reminder to get your tickets for 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat' performed by Richmond Hill's Steppin' Out. Proceeds go to Eating Disorders of York Region and helping us fund group sessions and provide many other FREE services in York Region and beyond.

Tickets can be purchased at: 905-886-6632!
If you cannot make it, feel free to make a donation at:


Monday, November 7, 2011

The 'Culture of Cutting Back'

This week, I was given my sister’s ‘old’ iPhone. Being without a phone for a month was quite the feat but I wash happy to have access again to those who live far and near me.
Enamoured and fascinated by these different applications, games, time-wasters that come with the iPhone, I truly got lost in every little game and feature I could simply download in a matter of seconds.
Excitedly, I came across a category entitled: “Health & Wellness” apps. Assuming I would be able to download some nifty ‘meditation-on-the-go’ apps or positive quotes.  Although these options were indeed available, I came across some other apps. Calorie counters, ‘Cutting is back,’ ‘Losing it’ and the list could go on.  These apps were free, accessible, and had an otherwise, were marketed in a way that put a ‘positive’ and ‘productive’ spin on controlling one’s weight.  There was a notable absence on apps that encouraged personal well-being, acceptance, and personal development.

How is it that in such a materialized culture, we are encouraged to live big and own these elaborate devices, yet when it comes to our bodies, we must ‘cut back’?
Is this simply an expression of an increased value of our external surroundings over our own health, body, and happiness? 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Allow me to introduce myself...

Hi everyone!

My name is Alyson I am here simply to introduce myself as a placement student at Eating Disorders of York Region.

After some discussions with my supervisor and executive director, Janice Morgante, I have decided to use this space to share my thoughts with you and for you also to share yours with mine. As you know, the internet has become a limitless forum for exploring ideas, reactions, responses, and in essence, is a vast turf for self-expression. As a result, I want to use this space to do exactly that. Share.

What will I be talking about?
Well, that is very much dependent on the week. As I see it now, I think it would be great to discuss an important theme or idea that I feel has come up throughout the week. These themes can range from self-care, recovery, personal development, challenges, and healing. Life is changing everyday and we are constantly learning new things and finding ourselves bending and adapting to our surroundings.  Life is teaching us everyday and showing us more about ourselves in how we feel, react, and understand our world.  I want to use this blog as a way to understand these changes that we all encounter.

I want to highlight that I want to be very inclusive of readers and their struggles. No one experiences the same difficulties, nor do we trudge through the same challenges as one another. But one thing in which we can find unison is that at our basic human level, we simply do struggle.  Even thoug this blog will actively acknowledge these struggles, whether they be addiction, an eating disorder(s), depression, I  do hope that this space becomes a place of support, optimism, growth, and a hand to hold.

Although I won’t be able to hold your hand, physically, I want my words to be some support to you, as I have found a hand to hold through people’s words even though I never knew him or her.

I look forward to connecting with you or just simply offering another perspective.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Beautiful Butterfly Pendant Gift

Touch someone's heart today with your support and receive this beautiful sterling silver and crystal double-heart butterfly pendant as our gift with your donation of $50.00 or more.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Eating Disorders 101

This very informative film was made by NORMAL, a non-profit organization that educates about eating disorders in the United States.

Monday, October 24, 2011

An Inspiring Campaign

This is a campaign launched by a Spanish organization Action Against Hunger - “In a world which has the capacity to feed twice its population, 3.5 million children still die of starvation every year. We should learn.”
They launched this experiment named Experiment Comparte (The Share Experiment) to study the behavior of children when faced with an uneven reality. To share or not to share? The answer for children comes naturally: out of 20 kids who participated, all of them decided to share.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Very Successful Book Sale

Thank you to Necha, Jan and EDOYR supporters - Sunday's book sale was a great success raising $426.00!  Thank you to students from Thornlea High School for volunteering!

Some people bought books - some made a donation - some bought books and made donation. 
Funds raised will enable EDOYR to continue to provide support groups, a telephone help line and community out reach. 
On behalf of the Board, thank you to all who supported a wonderful Friend Raising and Fund Raising event!  

Thornhill Village Festival!

On a warm, sunny day on the 3rd Saturday of September, EDOYR took part in the Thornhill Village Festival! Thank you everyone who came out to support EDOYR! A special thank you to Bob from Steppin' Out Productions for sharing their table with us, Tara for helping, and Nisha for being our photographer for the day! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Look for us at your next local community event!

Eating Disorders of York Region has recently attended two local events - the Five Senses Festival and the Markham Jazz Festival. Here is Janice and Natalia with Bob of Steppin' Out Productions at the Five Senses Festival on the sunny Saturday, August 13th, 2011. 
Look for us at the Thornhill Village Festival next on September 17th!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Help and Hope!

We at Eating Disorders of York Region never stop thinking about ways to help and inspire hope. Here is a look at past accomplishments and events:

 These pictures were taken at the Eating Disorders Awareness Week this past February, when EDOYR hosted our own "Help and Hope" event. The free informational session was presented by EDOYR facilitator and Psychotherapist Jane Alway (left) and Psychologist, Dr. Tiffany Rush-Wilson (right). Janice Morgante, the Executive Director of EDOYR, is pictured in the middle. The presentation took place at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts for anyone interested in the subject of Eating Disorders.

EDOYR receives $5,000! Presenting the cheque are students Taylor McDowall, Colin Davies, and Alec Steirman from Newmarket Pickering College. Through the Toskan Casale Foundation’s Youth & Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) students are given the opportunity to learn more about the work and accomplishments of a charity of their choice. Each year, the Initiative makes it possible for students to present their research findings to their classmates and win a $5,000.00 cheque for the charity of their choice by creating the best presentation in their school year. A big thank you to Taylor, Colin and Alex for their hard work and creativity through which they were able to present EDOYR with a $5,000.00 cheque to help us continue to support the community. THANK YOU!

Here is EDOYR's own Sea of Hope! With, then co-op students, Natalia (now admin assistant), Elyiecia, and Janice! Preparing gift guest bags for the annual fund raising event.

EDOYR relies on your help to keep providing help and hope! Help us out with a fun friend-raising event! Ask us how at or call 905-886-6632.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fighting Back!

Although the eating disorders battle is an uphill one, it is not helpless nor is it as hidden as it was in the past. More and more campaigns are brought forth in order to raise awareness, change the way the media alters images, and change the way people think about body image. NEDIC’s campaign “Cast responsibly. Retouch minimally” encouraged the fashion industry to pay attention to what kind of messaging they are sending out into the world. Read about it more here:

Another campaign is by Dove – Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty is a huge project dedicated to build confidence and sending out a message to embrace all definitions of beauty. The Dove Self-Esteem Fund has reached 7 million so far, and they’re going for more. Check it out here:

EDOYR’s own efforts include school presentations and this very blog! Through our school presentations we hope to raise awareness, decrease stigma, and prevent eating disorders by encouraging a discussion around healthy body image and teaching about media literacy. It is important for kids to learn from an early age to embrace their true selves and continue showing their true colours throughout their whole life! This includes being on alert for distorted images and messaging from media and society. Our blog is here to converse with anyone who is interested in EDOYR and wants to support us!

Eating disorders can be healed, and they can be prevented. Every little bit helps. Just changing the dialogue around us, stopping people from discussing negative body narratives, and staying true to yourself are some of the ways individuals can help!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Looking Beyond the Mirror

The media is huge issue and a huge contributing factor for eating disorders, because what people see is not reality. The extremely thin people they see on the billboards are a. airbrushed and b. are not leading a healthy lifestyle. The National Eating Disorder Information Centre informs us that 1.5% of Canadian women aged 15-24 had eating disorders in 2002. That number has not gone down, if anything, it has been climbing. That is not counting unreported cases – which is common, due to the still prevalent stigma associated with eating disorders. It is sad to see the magazine covers and realize that girls are striving to be something unrealistic. That is why it is refreshing to see something like this Newsweek report on “Unattainable Beauty” – where they reveal all the photoshopping and editing that goes into making a magazine or a billboard. Sometimes the celebrity/model is not even aware that they are going to be airbrushed into an impossible ideal.

Eating disorders affect both men and women, and make them inclined to go to extreme measures in order to attain the unattainable. Who defines what is beautiful? The media has the most power, because when we are exposed to hundreds of ads each day, we are taking in subliminal messaging about what we should look like, what we should eat, what we should buy. If you are a beautiful person inside, you are a beautiful person outside as well. Looks are not everything, but this value is one that is not taught in school. It is up to parents to make sure their children are not pulled into the darkness of this shallow, shadow world that is shaped by television and Internet images of unattainable “beauty” standards. 
Jean Kilbourne is a sociologist who has made 4 movies up to date, “Killing Us Softly” being the first one. Her insight into society and media explains for women are portrayed and what that does to how women treat themselves, and how they are treated by everyone around them. It is an eye-opening and shocking movie, but we must remember that despite what the imaging does, we can still fight back. Campaigns such as Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty (View a model’s make up video here – also eye-opening are an inspiration and a relief that all is not lost, and if perhaps, more companies took on this approach, we could change the way the media portrays beauty.
Please find the “Killing Us Softly” video on YouTube below:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Joanne Shinwell,  co-ordinator of  this year's Cedar  Brae Ladies '  Member/Guest Day ,   presenting Janice Morgante, Executive Director of Eating Disorders of York Region (EDOYR) , with a cheque for $525.00 raised  through the sale of mulligans.  Thank you to our Friends and Friend-Raisers for your support!!! 

Friday, June 24, 2011


A few weeks ago we came up with a new word for fund raising - friend-raising!

The great thing about "friend-raising" is anyone and everyone can participate. It is not only about raising funds - it is about raising awareness and being an ambassador of EDOYR! By participating in friend-raising you could help us lessen the stigma associated with eating disorders. It could be as simple as creating a positive environment at school by discouraging conversations that focus around negative body image. Individuals and groups could organize events to help support EDOYR - yard sales, open mics, karaoke nights, book sales, or even a pet parade! Friend-raising gives volunteers a chance to use their own creative genius! Contact us with your ideas and initiatives at! If you would like to become an ambassador for EDOYR or plan an event - take pictures and we will be delighted to post them on our website and Facebook page!

Hope is part of our vision, it is a vital component of the healing process. Our hope is to have an intervention-assessment center. This, in turn, will give hope to thousands who are affected by eating disorders.
Please keep us in your good thoughts!

Eating Disorders of York Region provides free support programs for the community and has been doing so for seven years. We are not a government agency. We rely on your support to serve the needs of the community.
We appreciate your support! Every dollar makes a difference!

Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.” - George Iles

Monday, June 20, 2011

Media Literacy

The importance of media literacy is growing exponentially, as we are bombarded by negative body image messaging every day. Critically examining the world around us helps us keep true to our own bodies. Examples such as these are eye-opening and thought-provoking.

This is a revealing blog entry from The Centre for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt that displays two ads found in Men’s Health fitness magazine. An advertisement for almonds has two different approaches on how to target men and women. Read about it below:

The following image speaks for itself – ALDO’s model is evidently photoshopped here as seen by the absence of his torso:

"The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides."  -Audrey Hepburn

Friday, June 17, 2011

A little bit about EDOYR

Eating Disorders of York Region is a registered non-profit charity organization that strives to deliver support and hope to individuals and families affected by eating disorders. We hope that this blog serves as the start of a hopeful and inspirational conversation.
EDOYR started as a group of concerned parents who saw the lack of support available for eating disorders, particularly in York Region. Today, we are providing resources and support programs to men and women over 16, hoping to expand our outreach and services.
We hope that you will find our blog informative as well as a place for hope and inspiration!

"Hope is the dream of the waking man"
 - French Proverb