Helping Women See the Truth

Helping Women See the Truth

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We’ve all seen an after-school special about a young girl who has taken her diet a little too far, and somewhere between the meeting with her guidance counselor, commercial breaks and the rolling of the credits, all of her problems are solved and tied up in a neat bow. This is not real life. Eating disorders are a serious mental health issue and cannot be cured overnight. At the Body Truth Center for Wellness there are real-life doctors and therapists who help real women on the road to recovery.


In January of 2008 Amy Belamah-Daniel, Cincinnatian and co-founder of the Body Truth Center for Wellness, opened the center located in Kenwood. This treatment facility is a safe haven for women suffering from eating disorders. Most of those participating in treatment are women in their mid- to late 20s. However, the center has treated people as young as 17 and as old as women in their 60s. Men are only about one percent of the eating disorder population, and out of the 45 people who have gone through the Body Truth Center’s treatment program, only two have been men.


Bellamah-Daniel, a registered nurse and dietician, has always been interested in treating those with nutritional and mental health issues. At the center she treats people with all types of disordered eating problems, not just those suffering from anorexia nervosa. The program also includes treatments for bulimia nervosa, compulsive eating and binge eating disorder.


Many patients struggle with dual-diagnosis with other mental illness, like severe depression, anxiety and mood disorders, so treatment can be a difficult and lengthy process, Bellamah-Daniel says. "On a day to day basis these women keep themselves on the path of recovery," she says. "Taking care of themselves mentally, spiritually and physically. It takes incredible strength and perseverance."

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The outpatient program consists of two phases: an intensive 10-week program where patients come to the center for 10 hours per week, followed by a second, six-month phase of weekly group therapy to help sustain recovery. The program is run by eating disorder specialists, clinical physiologists, a family therapist, and a personal trainer who teaches "movement-based expressive therapy."


Because of the outpatient nature of the program, patients are still able to live their lives outside of treatment, they can work or go to school and take care of their children, which isn’t possible with inpatient centers, Bellamah-Daniel says.


Previously she had worked at the Christ Hospital outpatient eating disorder center, but after it closed Bellamah-Daniel saw a lack of options for local women in need of treatment. "There was a strong need in the Cincinnati area for some kind of intensive outpatient program for eating disorders … [For treatment] you have to go several states away," she says.


For the duration of the 10-week program patients participate in a variety of therapies as to find the right blend of treatments to benefit them the most. The Body Truth Center offers general lectures, group therapy, a mind/body group (a combination of yoga and meditation), family group, art therapy, and a social eating component where patients eat meals together. The goal is to "help people move on a path of health and wellness," Bellamah-Daniel says.


For more information, visit the Body Truth Center for Wellness Web site or call (513) 794-0019.

PHOTO CREDITS
Photographer: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Model: Amy Belamah-Daniel
Hair and Makeup: Cura Bella Salon
Location: The McAlpin