'Freaky Eaters' expert on Chelsea Handler, MTV Video Music Awards

dr-mike-dow-freaky-eaters.jpgPsychotherapist Dr. Mike Dow is guest-blogging at Zap2it on a myriad of topics. In addition, Dow will serve from time to time as our go-to expert, weighing in on various celebrity addiction stories. (Think our resident Dr. Drew). Readers may also be familiar with Dow from his regular contributions on Huffingtonpost. In this edition, Dr. Dow talks Chelsea Handler and the MTV Video Music Awards:

Chelsea, you have a hit show on "E!" You're a best-selling author. You have columns in Cosmopolitan and OK. You produce and write for your own show and produced episodes of "Pretty Wild." And, you're starring in a new film, "Hop" (2011). Now you're the first solo female to host the MTV Video Music Awards since Roseanne in 1994! 
 
That doesn't worry me. Busy is good -- especially in your business. Just because Roseanne's show started to slip in 1994 creatively, well, I'm not saying the two are related.
 
What I am a little concerned about, Chelsea, is the Belvedere you like so much that you wrote a book about it ("Hey Vodka, It's Me Chelsea"). I don't want you to end up on my show "Freaky Eaters" (episode 12: "Addicted to Doritos," since you report loving those as much as vodka) or any rehab shows, the ones hosted by Dr Drew, well, the less said the better (Celebrity or Sex Rehab). 
 
As you take on a lot of new responsibilities, let's talk about priorities and balanced living.

The guys on "Jersey Shore" have their daily priorities summed up in a little saying: GTL (gym, tan, laundry). Chelsea, it sounds like your priorities are remarkably similar. Gym? Check. Tan? We've all seen your bikini-clad cover for Shape. You just have to substitute L with V/D: vodka, Doritos.

It may sound unusual, but for women who are on the go, one need look no further than Lady Gaga. After fainting at a concert earlier this year, Gaga's choreographer reports that her diet now consists of "salsa with grain chips, tofu, turkey slices, hummus and coconut water." As for booze, Gaga does indulge in a little white wine in a pre-show ritual. 
 
When you look at her diet in context, sounds pretty good. Protein, whole grains and hydration (PGH). Not a bad start. Work in some vegetables, fruit and maybe vitamin supplement and we have the basis of a healthy regimen for a busy woman, such as yourself.

After seeing your physique grace the cover of Shape magazine, it's clear that you make exercise a non-negotiable part of your life. That's a good thing. Hydration and limited alcohol are cornerstones of any good fitness routine.
 
But since you've self-reported a history of yo-yo dieting in your past, and as former beauty pageant queen you may have developed some behaviors, such as over-evaluation of your weight and beauty. You should be aware that these are some major risk factors for developing an eating disorder. Remember, anorexia is the most lethal of any psychiatric illness. Being a female star in Hollywood will put even greater pressure on you in terms of body image. 

I don't want to give you a diet, Chelsea, since the overwhelming majority of diets fail. I want to give you some ways to sustainably maintain a healthier relationship to eating and emotions in your life.

First, when I treat addiction and eating disorders, I focus on what we add to the patient's life, not what we take away. As an incredibly successful, busy, and single woman with a family on the east coast, decrease underlying feelings of loneliness or isolation by increasing feelings of connection to others. Kill two birds with one stone: swap the solo pilates session for yoga with good friends. You'll not only feel connected to others, but you'll decrease your anxiety by cultivating a meditative state while burning calories. You'll still get a hefty dose of feel-good dopamine but in a healthier way. After class, I'd guess you'll need one shot less of Belvedere.  Less alcohol equals better sleep. Better sleep equals you look better. Win-win.

Second, if you're going to graze the craft services table, graze healthy. If you like the bite, the crunch, the salt, the hot that is Doritos, find something that's actually good for you that gives you the same high. Doritos is a speedball for the brain: fat releases dopamine, carbs release serotonin, and the sodium keeps you munching. Try celery with hot salsa and a little avocado. It's like putting a heroin addict on methadone. The high may not be as intense, but it tastes pretty good and is good for you.

Third, since we are talking about all addictive behaviors - let's talk about sex. Since you also detail your love for this other potentially addictive behavior in "My Horizontal Life." Since an orgasm and shot of vodka release about the same amount of dopamine in the brain, it's easy to see how that can become as addictive as any substance. Now that you're single, maybe it's time you found your very own Brad Pitt. I also would guess that good sex in a healthy relationship is what Angelina traded in as she traded out self-injury and destructive behaviors.  Being single can take a lot of time and that's just not your strong point right now. Since Angelina may be the one woman in Hollywood who could beat you in a smack down, I wouldn't try to take hers. Besides, all those kids? You don't have the time!

About "Freaky Eaters"
TLC invites viewers to learn about the struggles of an unusual and often overlooked segment of the population - those with a bizarre compulsion towards a particular food. From an addiction to cheeseburgers to an obsession with sugar - these freaky eating habits are explored in this fascinating and eye-opening series. Each episode tells the story of one Freaky Eater as he or she is forced to confront the painful truth behind the food obsession and come face to face with the destructive side effects. Two experts, Psychotherapist Dr. Mike Dow and Nutrition Specialist J.J. Virgin, will stage a food intervention in a bid to help this individual overcome the culinary compulsion.

More on Dr. Dow:
Dr. Mike Dow is a member of the California Psychological Association and the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and from The Betty Ford Center's Professionals in Residence Program in the disease and treatment of addiction. A licensed psychotherapist in private practice, he is also an author, a frequent talk-show guest expert on topics related to addiction. Dr. Mike currently resides in Los Angeles. For information on Dr. Mike Dow, or on Facebook or follow him on Twitter/DoctorMikeDow .


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Photos: TLC

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