Publications by Jessica Schulman. (Available through all major book sellers on-line and by request at your initial visit.)
Does milk make mucus? Should I starve a fever? What is a functional food? How can you tell the difference between quality nutrition science and “pseudoscience”? How does nutrition affect my immune system? What is a probiotic? Should I be concerned if my child is not eating well? What are dietary needs of older adults? This book answers all of these questions and many more in a clear, concise, and fun to read way. Dr. Jessica Schulman has reviewed the scientific literature and worked with experts to translate cutting edge scientific findings into practical tips for everyday living. Each chapter provides information and up-to-date resources to help patients, caregivers, and the public maintain health and improve quality of life. Ask your doctor how you can use this information to complement your treatment plan and achieve your personal health goals.
Why do people seek wellness but eat poorly or behave in ways that cause the very health problems they are trying to avoid? Why do people use comfort foods to cope with loneliness? What is the relationship between food and drug addiction? How is food used as a transitional object? How do families contribute to the formation of eating disorders? How do broken attachments with caregivers contribute to eating problems? Why did the “one child per nurse” rule reduce the death rate in hospitals? Should babies be put to sleep with bottles and pacifiers? This book answers these questions and addresses underlying reasons for food behaviors that compromise health and wellness. The author distills and translates important concepts into an easy to read and concise manner. Anyone with interest in nutrition and relationships (or attachment theory) can learn and apply the concepts. Practical applications and tips for caregivers, couples, families, and the public are discussed.
Relational Nutrition — Now Accepting Clients in the Los Angeles Area
Why do people seek wellness but behave in ways that sabotage their health or negatively impact their quality of life? To answer this question, we must address underlying reasons for behaviors that compromise health and wellness. Food behavior is merely one of many examples that I use to illustrate how love-attachment relationships impact wellness. I draw from theory, which is grounded in science, to help clients understand how attachment relationships drive food behaviors.
What’s the bottom line? Attachment relationships early in life influence health status in later adulthood. When ruptured attachments occur, as a child or in adult relationships, certain individuals will develop dysfunctional relationships with food. Also, simply being around others with harmful, or helpful, food behaviors will impact your personal health. Therefore, it stands to reason that underlying attachment issues must be addressed when people are trying to improve their dietary behaviors. Knowledge of nutrition is necessary but not sufficient to change food behavior. What makes me different from other dietitians? I was trained in the social and biological sciences, so I see a whole body/mind picture and can address core issues surrounding: (1) food behavior + (2) psychology + (3) nutrition.
Whether it is a celebration such as a wedding, reunion, going off to college or other life transitions such as pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, weight gain during marriage, separation and divorce, there are always reasons why people zoom in on their physical appearance and weight. Among my clients, weight concerns are always associated with relationships. I work with individuals or couples to work through nutrition, weight, and psychological concerns in an emotionally safe environment.
We all have stories of loved ones, or ourselves, whose relationship with food was lethal. This is mine…
My beloved stepfather, Norman, struggled to keep his weight down for most of his life. By his mid-forties, he was diagnosed with high blood pressure, severe neuropathic pain, and type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, Norman had everything he needed to manage his condition. He was knowledgeable about nutrition, enjoyed his job as a news producer for NBC, had excellent medical insurance, used top-notch physicians, and was adored and cared for by his family and friends.
And yet, Norman was unable to change his lifestyle and, as a result, his health condition deteriorated. Norman tried almost every diet imaginable. I accompanied him to the Pritikin Longevity Institute and Dr. Dean Ornish’s Preventive Medicine Research Institute. There my budding interest in nutrition and healing flourished. Still, nothing worked for Norman. His weight continued to yo-yo up and down and his blood glucose levels were out of control. He was slowly killing himself.
Even as a registered dietitian and nutritionist, with a master’s degree in public health, I was frustrated and felt helpless to improve my stepfather’s failing health. I puzzled over this for years and noticed similar self-defeating health behaviors in my clients. It wasn’t that they lacked nutrition knowledge – but they all seemed to have psychological or emotional problems that got in the way of their wellness goals. For these reasons, I decided to pursue a doctorate in health behavior and masters in clinical psychology.
While completing my PhD in health behavior, and starting to connect the dots, Norman died in hospice care. I was by his side as he suffered a tragic and premature death due to diabetes related complications. This is an extreme example of how one’s failure to make sustainable lifestyle changes can cause long-term health problems and mortality. However, I have found that there are a spectrum of eating problems, from mild weight gain to severely disordered eating, that can be better addressed by professionals who understand the interplay between relationships, psychology, biology, nutrition, and the human spirit.
I have seen my own clients modify their lifestyle, improve their health, and reverse disease progression. What they all seem to have in common is that they reflect on their upbringing and vital relationships along the way. They have created their own coherent narrative and are mindful of how they may grow from their past.
In Norman’s case, he was haunted by the traumatic loss of his mother as a young child, failure of a secure home base, and abandonment when he was sent off to boarding school. There was no diet, technology, or amount of insulin that could overcome his pain. What he needed was something different.
My writings and nutrition counseling sessions on this topic will serve their purpose if it awakens you to looking at food behavior and relationships in a different way. There is accumulated knowledge in the field of psychology – particularly attachment theory – that may prove to be as important to our health as the diet itself.
To read more, go to: Relational Nutrition: The Psychology of Attachment and Eating Behavior.
Available in print and audio.
Do you have personal story share? Please contact Dr. Schulman.