Eating Disorders, Disordered Eating & Body Image

NLCAHR welcomes anyone interested in this subject area to join our Research Exchange Group on the spectrum of eating concerns/body image. The Research Exchange Group gave itself the acronym EDDEBI (Eating Disorders, Disordered Eating, Body Image) to reflect the range and inter-connectedness of issues under study.  The group includes a range of researchers, front-line workers, clinicians and decision makers whose work intersects with this important area of applied health research. The primary function of the group is to promote research and knowledge transfer in the area of eating disorders, disordered eating and body image.  Activities of the group include:

  • holding regular meetings during the academic year;
  • maintaining a list of research projects both envisioned and underway in this area;
  • tracking the status of research projects in progress;
  • utilizing the expertise of each group member in obtaining funding, developing and implementing research projects and publicizing the results;
  • developing a supportive structure in which graduate students can discuss their own research projects and get involved with other projects being conducted by fellow group members.


October 29, 2020 12:30pm NST | Moving Data: Exploring women runners embodied experiences and understanding of body ideals, health, and self-care practices with  Holly Foley, Doctoral Candidate, Division of Community Health and Humanities, Faculty of Medicine| The purpose of this research is to explore the ways that a regular running practice may facilitate agency for resisting or negotiating dominant cultural norms of the female body. The researcher has utilized a moving methodology to “engage the force of the moving active body” (Markula, 2014, p. 283) to explore how women runners experience their bodies through movement and how this may shape women’s experiences and meaning making of their body, health, and self-care practices. This presentation will provide an overview of her doctoral research to date, with a focus on moving methodology and embodied reflexivity.

February 20, 2020 | An Experimental Examination of Binge Eating Disorder Stigma with Kayla HollettBinge eating disorder (BED) is a mental health disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of eating an abnormally large amount of food in a short period of time while experiencing a sense of loss of control. Previous findings suggest that individuals who engage in binge eating are perceived as lacking self-discipline and at-fault for their eating behaviour. However, these studies have failed to distinguish binge eating stigma from weight stigma, often characterizing individuals with BED as ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’. Given that body size is a highly stigmatized trait, the use of weight-based descriptors to characterize individuals with BED represents a confound when attempting to examine the stigma associated with binge eating behaviour. To address this gap in the literature, the current study was designed to examine BED stigma while controlling for weight stigma. Furthermore, given the intersectional nature of stigma, the current study sought to examine the intersection of stigmas associated with binge eating and having a larger body. The results of this research will be presented along with implications for individuals facing stigma surrounding binge eating behaviour. Kayla Hollett completed her undergraduate degree at Memorial and is now completing her master’s thesis research as a member of the MUN Eating Behaviours Lab under the supervision of Dr. Jacqueline Carter-Major. Her current research interests surround eating disorders and stigma, behavioural addictions, and emotion regulation. The project presented today has been funded by a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship (Master’s).

October 24 2019: Rethinking Fat Bodies in Counselling Education Bahar Haghighat, Ph.D. Candidate, Education,  discussed how counselling education must address weight bias, and how body inclusiveness is important. In doing so, she drew on her experiences teaching a course on diversity in counselling that focused on training culturally-competent counsellors in which she incorporated readings on weight-stigma and fat-phobia. Based on the feedback she received and the conversations she had, she will conclude how a “body-becoming” pedagogy can open possibilities for teacher education and counselling education.

April 18, 2019 | 12:30pm- 2:00pm NST| Amy Sheppard on Deviant Bodies: A content comparison of pro-ana and weight loss blogs | Although anorexia is framed as a mental health disorder and weight loss is framed as a health initiative, Amy Sheppard argues that both involve the same body project – one that encourages thinness as a marker of health and good bio-citizenry. Using content analysis to compare online blogs written by individuals engaged in weight loss and individuals who identify as pro anorexia (pro-ana), this study argues that both groups are engaging in similar behaviours in their attempts to manage their bodies. Weight loss bloggers and pro-ana bloggers demonstrate comparable conduct in the online diaries that detail their experiences of weight loss. Thus, weight loss and anorexia exist on the same spectrum of responsible bio-citizenry, with thinness as an ideal.

Amy Sheppard is a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Sociology at Memorial University of Newfound and Labrador. She is a practicing Social Worker at a non-profit working with women in the criminal justice system. Her research and clinical interests focus on gender, criminalized women, trauma-informed practice as well as critical obesity/fat studies. Amy is an avid (amateur) dancer who dabbles in backyard homesteading

February 7, 2019| 12:30pm - 2:00pm NST | Megan Van Wijk of Memorial University on an eating disorders research study: "Examining the Relationship Between Insomnia Symptoms and DBT Treatment Outcome in Binge Eating Disorder."

February 6, 2018|Increasing Supportive Caregiver Involvement and Decreasing Obstructive Behaviours: Lessons Learned from Emotion-Focused Family Therapy | Adele Lafrance, PhD, C.Psych., Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at Laurentian University

November 29, 2017 | Dr. Pamela Ward on Shifting Paradigms: Adopting a Health not Weight Approach

March 23, 2017 | Chris Borduas: A Critical Examination of Masculine Embodiment in Middle School Males

January 26, 2017 | Amy Sheppard : Making up our own moves: Using dance to explore experiences of the body with women incarcerated at Newfoundland and Labrador Correctional Centre for Women (NLCCW) 

November 10, 2016 | Holly Foley and Erin Cameron: Competing Bodies: Promoting Body Positive Approaches in Sport and Recreation

June 23, 2016 | Erin Cameron and Pamela Ward: "Across the Lifespan: Examining critical approaches to weight, body image, and health in diverse populations

February 25, 2016 | Eating Disorder Foundation of NL: Patricia Nash, Counsellor and Program Facilitator of EDFNL on Emotion Focused Family Therapy and the results of the National Research study into the use of EFFT as a workshop for carers. 

February 25, 2016 | Overview from Cathy Skinner, Education Facilitator of EDFNL, about EDFNL's programs and services for people with eating disorders and their carers.

November 24, 2015 |  Michael Bartellas on Access to Mental Health Services for Youth with Eating Disorders. 

EDDEBI Members in the News

Demand for Services Dr. Olga Heath, Co-convener of EDDEBI, was featured in this article on CBC News:

Winners of Dr. Wallace Ingram Award

NLCAHR and EDDEBI congratulate EDDEBI co-convener Dr. Natalie Beausoleil on winning the Dr. Wallace Ingram Award.  The award was presented to Dr. Beausoleil, an Associate Professor of Social Science and Health in the Division of Community Health and Humanities, to fund a project to promote artistic activities and explore the possibility of integrating an arts program in the Faculty of Medicine.  Read the full story here.

Research Talks

Dr. Jacqui Gingras of Ryerson University's School of Nutrition was invited by our EDDEBI Research Exchange Group to share her research on critical dietetics. Read her presentation here:

"Don't Panic: Measured Responses to the Obesity Epidemic in NL"


Newfoundland & Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000