Fairhaven News & Updates

What Is an Eating Disorder?

November 10th, 2017

Eating Disorders

Most people think of an eating disorder as a lifestyle decision or a diet "gone too far." In fact, eating disorders are serious mental health conditions with life-threatening implications if left untreated. The mortality rate for people with eating disorders is the highest of all psychiatric illnesses, and more than 12 times higher than that for people without eating disorders.

The most common eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa (extreme restriction of food intake), Bulimia Nervosa (obsessive purging or intentional vomiting of food) and Binge Eating Disorder (uncontrollable eating of large amounts of food in a short time period).

Is an eating disorder an addiction?

Eating disorders and addictions often occur together, and there are many similarities in both risk factors and characteristics. Both disorders can be triggered by stress or are often related to histories of abuse and neglect. Additionally, both are chronic diseases with high relapse rates.

Recovery, however, can be quite different with each disorder. The substance abuser must abstain from the substance; the individual with an eating disorder cannot abstain from the food since it is needed to sustain life. Abstinence for those with eating disorders involves abstinence from its symptoms – starvation, rigid dieting, binge eating, purging and body loathing. Rather than ending the relationship with the substance, the individual with an eating disorder must work to form a healthy relationship with food, while the substance abuser traditionally severs the relationship with the substance(s) of abuse completely. 

What is the treatment standard for an eating disorder?

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends evidence-based treatment from a coordinated treatment team that specializes in Eating Disorders treatment and incudes these interventions:

  • Medical stabilization
  • Nutritional rehabilitation
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Psychosocial treatment

With any chronic and complex illness, early interventions typically have the best results. Too many eating disorders are under-recognized and under-treated, leading to preventable physical and emotional damage.

If you suspect that you or someone you care for has an eating disorder, take a courageous step and seek help from a physician, mental health counselor or dietitian that specializes in the treatment of EDs.

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Fairhaven Sponsors Memphis NEDA Walk 2016

April 1st, 2016

Every year across the nation, hundreds of cities round up and participate in the National Eating Disorder Organization by hosting walks in their city. The National Eating Disorders Association's vision is to eliminate eating disorders globally by promoting positive body image and self-esteem and by discouraging dieting behaviors, drive for thinness, and body dissatisfaction. NEDA is recognized and supported by sufferers, families, health care professionals and educators throughout the world.

Our staff at Fairhaven participated in a NEDA Walk Memphis, hosted by Rhodes College,  because we care about the cause and believe in NEDA's programs.  We, as a treatment center that specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, and the community as a whole, are able to spread the word about NEDA and eating disorders with the confidence that we will feel embraced by our loved ones.  This was a great community-building experience. Fairhaven was proud to participate and sponsor this event, bringing about awareness and education to our very own community.  Here are a few shots from the walk: luminaries created by Fairhaven clients that paved the path and Fairhaven mascot "Buddy" with his new Rhodes friend "Molly". Thank you so much for your support, and a BIG thank you to everyone that joined us and helped through fundraising...it was a very good day!

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Dr. Teri McCann, Founder of Fairhaven Treatment Center Earns Advanced Certification from The International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals Foundation​

March 29th, 2016

Memphis, TN – March 25, 2016– Dr. Teri McCann recently earned the Certified Eating Disorder Specialist designation from the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (iaedp) Foundation, after completing a rigorous set of criteria for the evaluation of education, training, knowledge and experience.

McCann joins an elite group of professionals committed to excellence in the treatment of eating disorders with this certification. “Certification as an iaedp eating disorder specialist is evidence that both McCann and iaedp are diligent in seeking advancement in training, education, research and competency to address the complexities involved in the treatment of eating disorders,” says Tammy Beasley, RDN, CEDRD, CSSD, Director of iaedp Certification Committee.

McCann currently serves as the Founder and Clinical Director of Fairhaven Treatment Center for Eating Disorders, located just outside of Memphis, TN.  McCann has specialized in the treatment of eating disorders, trauma and attachment disorders for nearly 30 years.  With a passion to treat such a delicate population, McCann diligently worked to open the doors of Fairhaven in April of 2014.  Fairhaven has both a Residential and Outpatient Facility offering residential, PHP, IOP, individual services and transitional living to older adolescent and adult females recovering from the depths of eating disorders and trauma. This certification allows McCann to offer clients and patients the assurance and confidence that the highest standards of care will be provided throughout all stages of treatment.

Established in 1985, iaedp (http://www.iaedp.com) provides educational programs and training standards for eating disorder specialists and other medical professionals caring for those suffering from the full spectrum of disordered eating. The group offers the most widely respected certification process for specializing in eating disorder treatment.

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Intuitive Eating: A Mindfulness Practice Worth Practicing

February 29th, 2016

By Leslie Carr, RD, LDN

Intuitive. I love the word. Webster defines it this way:  having the ability to understand or know something without any direct evidence or reasoning process. Sounds like a good thing – right? When we use our intuition, we follow an inner knowing. At the treatment center where I work as a dietitian, we encourage the kind of listening that enables us to “hear” this inner knowing. We believe that learning to listen to ourselves in this way is central to recovery from eating disorders and the many often co-occurring complications that accompany them. Since my job is dietitian or Chief Food Police (as I am affectionately known), I am most interested in intuition when it applies to food.

Intuitive eating is a nutrition philosophy based on the premise that becoming more attuned to the body's natural hunger signals is a more effective way to attain a healthy weight, rather than counting calories, fat grams, carbs, etc. Don’t we really know this already? Dieting is such a short term strategy. Most of us have found this out for ourselves. Depriving ourselves of nutrition and the healthy pleasure that eating offers us is no way to live. I frequently remind the women at Fairhaven Treatment Center that “food is fuel” and it is. Planning and preparing good, fresh food is also a creative process. Learning to enjoy food is, for many of my clients, a part of the recovery process. Paying attention to what we eat, when we eat it is definitely a mindfulness practice. My new slogan at work is “savor the flavor”! I want to help my clients heal and recover from their eating disorders and I want to plant the seeds of intuitive eating in their minds and hearts – so that their bodies don’t keep paying the price that a long term eating disorder exacts on their system and their lives.

Here are ten golden tips from the book Intuitive Eating that I hope to foster at my workplace and in my own life. I truly believe that this philosophy and practice can liberate women and men everywhere who struggle with food.  

Intuitive Eating Principles

Reject the Diet Mentality. Stop the fad dieting!  Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back the pounds that you lost initially.

Honor Your Hunger. Keep your body fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Learning to listen to your body and recognize hunger cues lays a foundation of trust within your system.

Make Peace with Food. Make peace with your body. It is okay to eat! Excessive food rules set you up for failure. If you tell yourself that you can't or shouldn't have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing.

Challenge the Food Police. Join me and say "NO" to autopilot thoughts in your head that declare you're "good" for restricting calories or "bad" because you ate bread. It’s important to start challenging these unhelpful beliefs. Just because we think something doesn’t mean it’s true!

Respect Your Fullness. Observe the signals from your body that show that you're comfortably full. Pause in the middle of a meal or food and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what is your current fullness level? This can be tricky if you’ve been undereating for a long time – but it is a part of a healthy eating lifestyle.

Discover the Satisfaction Factor. I love it that the Japanese promote pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living. In our part of the world, we often overlook the sensory pleasure of a good meal. For too long, as a culture we have placed far too much value on thinness.  Ironically, when you eat what you really want, you will be less prone to overeat.

Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food. Find ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your “stuff” without using food. We all know about challenging emotions. Everyone experiences their own triggers for anxiety, irritation, and loneliness. We all know that food won’t fix anything. In the end, restricting food intake or binging will only make you feel worse.  

Respect Your Body. Who said all women need to be a size 6 or a size 0, for Pete’s sake? Body image is a huge component of treatment for eating disorders. I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t criticize some aspect of how they look. This doesn’t make it okay – it just shows us that we aren’t alone!

Exercise--Feel the Difference. Shift your focus from burning calories to how it feels to move your body. This is another way of listening to yourself. At Fairhaven, we encourage yoga and other types of mindful movement.

Honor Your Health--Gentle Nutrition. Remember that you don't have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. (You don’t have to do anything perfectly!) I serve my clients special snacks each week that they sometimes call “challenges” but I like to think of movie popcorn, ice cream sandwiches, and banana bread as treats that we have a right to enjoy. Being overly fixated on gaining weight from one meal or one dessert is a waste of time – and unnecessary. It's what you eat consistently over time that matters.

Intuitive eating is an important aspect of being fully alive and enjoying the ride. My wish for all of us is that we can listen better to ourselves and each other – and trust the process!


Leslie Carr received her Bachelors Degree and Internship for Nutrition and Dietetics from Mississippi State University.  She is a Registered Dietitian, LDN.  She is currently working towards her Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDRD) through IAEDP.  Her knowledge and experience, combined with her desire to truly create a change in realtionships towards food in the hearts and minds of those she helps, makes her an outstanding dietitian. 

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Fairhaven Wins 'Professionals Choice' Award for IAEDP Mannequin Art Contest

February 24th, 2016

For the first year since opening our doors nearly two years ago, Fairhaven Treatment Center participated in the 2016 IAEDP Annual Conference as an exhibitor.  In addition to attending, we also participated in the IAEDP Annual Mannequin Art Contest, themed 'Imagine Me What You See'.  For this contest, art therapists work with clients in treatment through decorating a mannequin of any shape and size, using mixed media, to explore feelings and express creativity as it relates to eating disorders.  Each mannequin has been uniquely named, and all submissions must include a written descripition and inspiration for the artwork, coupled with a biography of the artists and clients that participated.  Many treament centers across the country take part in IAEDP's annual body image art competition, in hopes of promoting a healthy awareness and acceptance of body issues.  

Our mannequin was constructed using cardboard, clay, fabric, feathers, ink, marbles, metal, paint, paper, plaster, plastic, wire, wood, and wool. Her production was a collective effort of creative visions, artistic talent and hard work.  Her description reads:

"Vulnerable, determined, creative and inspired, she yearns to break the mold of what women believe their bodies should be. She challenges the world to imagine her beyond what they see by outwardly displaying internal aspects of her self. Her internal parts describe what she is beyond her eating disorder, and goals that she possesses.  She stands tall and winged, holding the tools to conquer her eating disorder. Her face looks as though it has once experienced defeat, but is now expressive of mindful determination, with gently closed eyes, concentrating her energy into an opened third eye. Her colorful hair made of wool balls represents thoughts, none perfect or the same, but all treasured. Written across her bound torso are messages associated with overcoming negative body image, such as “suck it up” and “be pretty,” but emerging from her inner core are words, phrases and images that express internal hope. She is decorated with a sparkling heart filled with compassion, longing for love and attachment. She is marked with interwoven zentangles that symbolize her creativity, diversity and strength. She bears a red, mirrored stripe across her arm, representative of the emotional and physical hardships of self-harm. She holds an unlocked box of defenses that echo her inner core. In her outstretched arm she holds a mobile made of manipulated silverware, seeking eyes, and a Hamsa to help guard against the ills of eating disorders. Standing upon chains that once held her down, her legs are covered in inspirational messages that describe overcoming obstacles and promote recovery. She stands confidently and walks with caution because she knows she is valuable."

Fairhaven was proud to receive the 'Professionals Choice' award for our mannequin named 'Nothing Into Something', out of 15 total mannequin submissions from other treatment centers, nationwide.  We want to say thank you to all who voted for our mannequin, with a big heartfelt congratulations to all, especially to the staff and clients who diligently and passionately worked on this beautiful artwork. We look forward to participating next year!


Pictured Above:
Tom and Teri McCann, Founders of Fairhaven
Angela Quadrani, Community Outreach

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