Eating Disorder Awareness Month

With media standards and expectations of the ‘ideal body type’ nearly inescapable, there’s no doubt as to why the prevalence of eating disorders are so high within our society. Anorexia and bulimia are often seen as the only perpetrators when it comes to eating disorders, but what if this food and weight obsession could go farther than what we know? OSFED, or Other Specified Eating or Eating Disorder (previously known as EDNOS, or Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) encompasses a greater number of unhealthy relationships with food and body image than anorexia and bulimia can.

This broader range of disorders and unhealthy relationships can seem daunting– if there is such a large number of different disorders, could it be possible that I have one and don’t even know it? Of course, that answer is hard to say. There are always going to be days where you feel a little down, or don’t feel ready to take on the world (and that’s okay!). But if you exhibit a more obsession-related relationship with weight loss- or gain- and food, then the research and resources being gathered from the studies of OSFED mean that there is a broader range of help that can be provided outside of the limited scope of food relationships demonstrated with anorexia and bulimia.

According to NEDA, the DSM-V lists examples of OSFED as atypical anorexia, binge eating disorder, purging disorder, and night eating syndrome. All diagnosis have variances from the diagnosis for anorexia (fear of gaining weight and severe food restriction despite being significantly underweight) and bulimia (recurrent episodes of binging and purging, often accompanied by a sense of lack of control). Atypical anorexia may be specifically difficult to diagnose because it carries all the psychological restrictions of anorexia but does not exhibit significant weight loss, which often can be marked for concern. This is a similar trend for purging disorder, where someone will still engage in purging via vomiting, laxatives, etc. but would not engage in the binging session beforehand. Both of these disorders revolve around restriction and weight loss, but is it possible to still have an eating disorder and gain weight? Yes. Binge eating disorder involves eating past the point of comfort and consuming a large number of calories without intent to later purge them. Binge eating disorder is one that is coming to light more so than other OSFED disorders, as it differs from eating disorders relating to weight loss.

It is important to be educated about unhealthy relationships with our bodies and with the food we eat. Health, above all else, is most important. If you or someone you know is exhibiting an unhealthy or distressful relationship with food or their body, the wellness clinic and the counseling center on campus are great tools to begin the healing process of self-love! Us here at Ask Katie are also always willing to answer your health questions and link you to resources to best help you.  If you want information about treatment off campus, visit your local physician, the Melrose Center (952-993-6200) or the Emily Program (1-888-EMILY-77) which both have a number of different locations in Minnesota and across the country that provide treatment and guidance for a number of different eating disorders.

Regardless of your shape, size, gender, religion, skin color, or any other surface level difference that may make you feel unworthy: you are beautiful. You are special. You deserve health and happiness. The month of February, practice self-love and acceptance in the spirit of national eating disorder awareness!

Golden, C. (n.d.). Classifying eating disorders – DSM-5. Retrieved February 3, 2017, from

Melrose Center – St. Paul, MN. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2017, from

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2017, from

The Emily Program Locations For Client Services In Minnesota. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2017, from



Remind Yourself that You’re #blessed

With everything that has been going on lately in this world, it can sometimes be hard to think of things that you are grateful for. However, Thanksgiving is coming up and is the perfect way to remind yourself of everything you have to be thankful for. Being grateful has a lot of positive health benefits that come out of having an “attitude of gratitude”. There are also a lot of simple ways to remind yourself of everything that you have to be thankful for. This post will go over both the health benefits of gratitude, as well as how to have an “attitude of gratitude”.


One of the benefits of gratitude is that it opens the door to more relationships. By showing appreciation, it can help you win new friends. In a study published by Emotion in 2014, it was found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. By acknowledging other people’s contributions, it can lead to new opportunities.

Gratitude can also improve physical health! Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people. Grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups, which is also likely to contribute to further longevity.

Another benefit is that it can improve your psychological health. Being grateful reduces a lot of toxic emotions like envy, resentment, frustration and regret. Robert Emmons, the leading gratitude researcher, has found that gratitude effectively increases happiness and depression. Some other emotional benefits include enhancing empathy as well as reducing aggression.

Being grateful also can help you sleep better. In a 2011 study, it was found that just 15 minutes of jotting down things you were grateful for that day before bed may help you sleep better and longer.

Some other benefits include improving your self-esteem as well as increasing your mental strength. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs, grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments. For years, research has shown that gratitude not only reduces stress, but it also may play a huge role in overcoming trauma.


Having an attitude of gratitude may come naturally to some people, but for others, it may not. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Write a thank-you note
    • You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a quick thank-you note expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person’s impact on your life. You can mail it, or even better, deliver it and read it in person if possible. Make this a habit by sending at least one gratitude note a month. Every once and a while, you can write one to yourself too!
  • Thank someone mentally
    • Seeing as we’re all busy college students, you may not have the time to write a thank-you note. It may help to just think about someone who has done something nice for you and mentally thank that particular individual.
  • Keep a gratitude journal
    • Make it a habit to write down thoughts about the gifts you’ve received each day. Your gratitude journal doesn’t have to be fancy either, it can be an old notebook, or you can stop by our office hours on Thursdays from 11:45am-1:15pm to make one of your own! We also have included some ideas to journal about at the end of this post.
  • Count your blessings
    • Pick a time each week to sit down and write about your blessings – reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. Sometimes it can help to pick a specific number of things to identify for the week. As you write, be specific and think about how you felt when something good happened to you.

We hope that this post helped you realize how important it is to have an attitude of gratitude, as well as gave you some ideas on how to have that attitude.

gratitude 1.png

Have a safe, happy, grateful, and healthy Thanksgiving break!


25-gratitude-journal-prompts 25-more-gratitude-journal-prompts

Time Management Tips from Ask Katie!

TwitterProfileYes! We made it, we made it through another round of midterms! Or for some of us, the very first round of midterms as we embark on this new life as college students. As a veteran myself, I would like to say that things are downhill from here, but sadly this is not the case. College is a beautiful and wonderful experience, but is also extremely challenging and demanding on our minds. Midterms, finals, papers, exams, and projects are the new “norm”, which creates pressure in our brains to function on a new level. I am not going to say things will get easier, but hopefully Ask Katie can provide you with a few tips on how to master deadlines, ace your exams, clean your dorm, hang out with friends, exercise, work and get a full 8 hours of sleep!

Okay, okay these are lofty goals- we are not guaranteeing that you will accomplish all of these in a single day, but rather give you some advice on how to accomplish these goals in a matter of days or weeks. We are going to discuss the art of time management. Time management is the ability to use one’s time effectively and productively (, 2016). This is a learned skill and comes with practice. Beginning college is a new experience and you may not have had to balance so many tasks until now! Notice the two adjectives in the definition effectively and productively. These are the key, and they require a conscious effort if time management does not come naturally to you.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Declutter – clean your room, clean your closet, delete old emails, throw away old papers, and anything else that you do not need. Having all of these unnecessary items in your relaxing space create stress.
  2. Plan – create a schedule and stick to it! There are many events to attend on and off campus, but plan ahead. If you need to study for that big exam, plan ahead if you like to have flexibility in your schedule so you can attend spontaneous events. Most instructors will give you exam dates well ahead of schedule. Be sure to plan ahead to attend Ask Katie Events!
  3. Prioritize – create a list and rank your obligations from least to most important. Reminding yourself of this list and celebrating your accomplishments throughout the day can help you keep on task and keep going!
  4. Be effective – even though you can attend a breakfast date with your friends, go to class, take a nap, go to work, study, attend yoga class, and clean your room all in one day doesn’t mean that you should do all of these activities. Think about how to be effective by choosing to complete maybe 2 or 3 of these items.  Constantly overflowing your schedule can lead to decreased productivity and burnout.
  5. Focus – keep your eyes on the task at hand. Do not think about all of your classes at once and how many assignments are due this week (or how many midterms you had last week). Keep one task and complete it. Give it your full attention and then you can think about another activity.
  6. Finish the job – whatever you do, give it your best!
  7. Stop procrastinating – One word- NETFLIX. No, Netflix is hardly to blame – after all you are the intelligent being behind the remote choosing to stay in your cozy nest hour after hour. Though Netflix can be a great way to unwind, there are negative health benefits to binge watching. Read our post ‘Before You Binge Watch’. Also, be mindful of how many hours you are spending on social media and think about what you could be doing with that time instead.
  8. Stay organized – planners, labels, folders, and calendars. Make it a priority to start your week by organizing your space and your schedule. Creating goals and setting a schedule for the week can help you accomplish more. You will be able to seamlessly flow from activity to activity instead of searching all over your room for your wallet. In addition, this will keep your personal interests, work schedules, friends activities, exercise, and the ability to eat healthy in balance.

What are some of the ways you time manage? How can Ask Katie help you accomplish your health and fitness goals? Be sure to leave a comment & Check out the November programs!



Health and Wellness Clinic Services

Health and Wellness Clinic Services

Question: Does it cost anything to get tested for STIs at the Health and Wellness Center?

Thanks for asking an anonymous health question! We are happy to answer all your health concerns. First, we are happy you know about the St. Kate’s Health and Wellness Clinic. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Health and Wellness Clinic is the health clinic on St. Paul’s campus connected to the Butler Center. The clinic has its own entrance on the east side of the building near the visitor parking lot and facilities building. The clinic’s information and a list of services they provide can be found in a link here:

Short Answer: The Health and Wellness Clinic does offer comprehensive Sexually Transmitted Infection testing, however it is not free.

The Health and Wellness Clinic is similar to any other clinic you might visit and accepts all insurance. The costs accrued from the appointment would be sent to your insurance company and then anything they did not cover, is the student’s responsibility to pay for. The charges are sent to your student account. If you have questions about what your specific insurance company would and would not cover at the clinic, call them directly to find out. There is usually a number on the back of your insurance card. All students are required to have health insurance to attend St. Kate’s, but if you are underinsured, or don’t want to use your insurance for any reason, you can call the clinic to find out what the service you hope to receive would cost out of pocket; the clinic does provide a discount for student’s paying out of pocket. Call, email, or stop by with any questions.

St. Catherine University Health and Wellness Clinic

651-690-6714 |

Monday-Friday 8:30am -4:30pm

If the Health and Wellness Clinic is not covered under your insurance plan and you are interested in using your insurance, the Health and Wellness Clinic and Ask Katie has a list of clinics and health care services that are close to campus; stop by to pick up that list. There are also clinics that may offer a sliding scale for payment. This means you bring in your income information (pay stub) and they base your fee off of how much you make. (Come in and see us at Ask Katie and we can help you complete the forms you need). A clinic close to campus that has a sliding scale payment plan is: Family Tree Clinic in St. Paul. Family Tree also has a great financial aid program many St. Kate’s students can take advantage of. The State of Minnesota has a Family Planning Program that covers women of reproductive age (15-49yrs) to have access to free healthcare. Simply put, if you schedule an appointment with Family Tree and qualify for the program you can get free STI checks and other health services for no cost. It is just an extra intake form that you fill out at your appointment. Family Tree can answer any questions and have many advocates on staff if you have health questions or need assistance filling out the forms. If you don’t qualify for the program you can still get services at a cost based on your income. Family Tree Clinic also has a hotline for STI information, if you would like to talk to someone over the phone: 800-78FACTS
Family Tree Clinic: 651-645-0478 |

If you have more questions, please stop in during our office hours, we love to chat! Otherwise we are available via email at However, if you would like to remain anonymous, look for the QR code around campus and submit the question via Google forum. The Ask Katie office is located in the Student Organization Center in the CdC and our Office hours are Thursday’s from 11:45-1:15.

~ Ask Katie Peer Educators (Clare, Hannah, Caitlyn, Biftu, Renee, Tori, Angelina, & Ashley)

How to: Handle an Emergency

How to: Handle an Emergency

What to Do In an Emergency

You never know when you are put into an emergency medical situation.  The best thing you can do is to be prepared.  Regardless of the situation it’s important to stay calm, which can be difficult when your body is experiencing a fight or flight response.  This happens when your brain perceives stress and danger and reacts to protect you from harm.  Signals are sent to your body causing several physiological responses.  Your heart beats faster, your blood pressure increases, there is an increase in respirations, and your senses become sharper.  During these times it is important to take a deep breath and assess the situation.  After you assess the situation you will be able to determine the next steps you should take.  Below are several situations that could occur and how you should respond to them.  Be sure to attend Ask Katie’s event “What Would You Do? Medical Addition”. Tuesday, April 26th 6-8pm, in CDC room 355 to learn more about emergency medical preparedness.  

  • Choking
    • If conscious
      • Encourage continued coughing
    • If unable to cough, speak, or breathe
      • Have someone call 9-1-1
      • Lean the individual forward and give 5 back blows with the heel of your hand
      • If comfortable perform the Heimlich maneuver (abdominal thrusts)
    • Special considerations
      • If the victim is pregnant or obese position your hands at the base of the breastbone
      • If the victim is yourself, position yourself over a chair or countertop  
  • Seizure
    • What to look for
      • Rhythmic muscle contractions
      • Muscle spasms
      • Frequent head and arm movement
      • Unconscious
      • Loss of control of speech  and actions
    • What to do
      • Position the individual on their side after the seizure
      • Ensure that they are in a safe area
      • Stay with them and call 9-1-1
      • Loosen any tight fitting clothing
      • Do not put anything into their mouth
      • Do not hold their head
      • Make sure to time how long the seizures last
  • Asthma Attack
    • What to look for
      • Difficulty breathing
      • Wheezing
      • Breathing through the mouth
      • Fast breathing
      • Frequent respiratory infections
      • Shortness of breath at night
    • What to do if there’s an inhaler present
      • Remove individual from any asthma triggers
      • Sit them upright
      • If your friend can talk, ask what his or her asthma action plan says to do during a flare-up.
      • If your friend is able to tell you, follow the plan (this includes using a spacer if needed)
    • If no inhaler is present
      • Remove them from the trigger
      • Sit them upright
      • Have them take long, deep breaths
      • Call 9-1-1
  • Severe Allergic reaction or Anaphylaxis
    • What to look for
      • Skin reactions, including hives, itching, and flushed or pale skin
      • Swelling of the face, eyes, lips or throat
      • Constriction of the airways, leading to wheezing and trouble breathing
      • A weak and rapid pulse
      • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
      • Dizziness, fainting or unconsciousness
    • What to do
      • Call 9-1-1 immediately
      • Determine if they are carrying an epinephrine injector and if so determine if you will need to help administer the medication
      • Administer the epinephrine  
      • Have individual lie still on their back
      • Loosen any tight clothing and cover the person with a blanket
      • Do not give them anything to drink
      • Turn them on their side if they are vomiting or bleeding from the mouth
      • If there is no signs of breathing or movement begin CPR

Alcohol Awareness Month

Alcohol Awareness Month

Alcohol Awareness

According to the CDC, having four or more drinks in two hours or binge drinking is the most common pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States. Most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent, though there are still serious health issues that may occur from binge drinking. Binge drinking and excessive alcohol consumption can be life threatening.

Binge Drinking is associated with the following: Car crashes, falls, burns, drowning, sexual assault, domestic violence, firearm injuries. It can cause alcohol poisoning, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, children born with fetal alcohol disorders, high blood pressure, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases. Binge drinking can lead to liver disease, neurological damage, sexual dysfunction, or poor control of diabetes.

You may feel that a night out with your friends has no real implications besides the people taking care of you. This is untrue, and binge drinking costs everyone. For example binge drinking is responsible for 77% of the total cost of drinking too much in the United States for at total of $191 billion in 2010 which breaks down to $2.05 per drink. This number is calculated from the total loss in productivity, health care, crime, and other costs.

What is binge drinking?

For women: drinking 4 or more drinks in a single session OR 8 or more drinks per week.

What is a “drink”?


Who binge drinks?

According to the CDC, 1 in 6 US adults participates in binge drinking four times per month having approximately 8 drinks per binge. Binge drinking is commonly reported among 18-34 year olds, but more often among people 65 and older. Although college students may binge drink, 70% of binge drinking episodes involve adults over the age of 26. The prevalence of binge drinking is twice that of women. Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to drive impaired than non-binge drinkers. More than half of the alcohol consumed in the US by adults is in the form of binge drinks.

Who shouldn’t drink?

      People younger than 21

      Pregnant or may be pregnant

      Driving, planning to drive, or participating in any other activity requiring coordination

      Taking any prescriptions including mental health medications

      Suffering from certain medical conditions

      Recovering from alcoholism

Mental Health and Binge Drinking:

Alcohol abuse results in a worse outcome for a person with mental illness. People who are using alcohol are less likely to follow up with their medication regimen. People with mental illnesses who abuse alcohol are at an increased risk of impulsivity and potentially violent acts. They are more likely to attempts suicide or die from their suicide attempts. Alcohol is a depressant, and may counteract the medication used to treat certain mental illnesses.

Where can I get help?

St. Catherine University Health and Wellness Clinic & Counseling Center both offer a wide variety of resources. Public safety offers emergency assistance.  And remember, do not hesitate to call 911 if someone is in immediate danger. Talk with a close friend, family member, or someone you trust if you believe you are developing a dependence to alcohol.



Ask Katie Responds: Syphilis in Minnesota

Ask Katie Responds: Syphilis in Minnesota

According to MDH (Minnesota Department of Health) data shows that there has been an alarming increase of women in Minnesota getting the STI, syphilis. Data shows a 70% increase of cases affecting women from 2014 to 2015. The STI is affecting women around child-bearing age in all ethnic backgrounds, including pregnant women. Although there are higher rates among African American women and Native American women.  “Minnesota has not seen this many reported cases of syphilis in women in more than 20 years,” said Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota Commissioner of Health. Eighty-seven percent of all female syphilis cases in 2015 were concentrated in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and 13 percent in Greater Minnesota (MDH).

There are multiple factors contributing to the rise in syphilis outbreak in Minnesota. Largely this disparity is seen among people with socioeconomic, education, and health disadvantages. This highlights the greater need for STI education and further access to free STI testing. Syphilis can affect anyone who is sexually active and the only way to prevent STI is to abstain from vaginal, anal, and oral sex all together. Syphilis is spread through contact and the infection is housed in the vagina, penis, anus, rectum, in the mouth and on lips. Syphilis has a secondary, latent, and late phase which has serious complications. Syphilis can be transmitted to an infant during childbirth, but the most common way is through vaginal, oral, and anal sex. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, there are a a number of ways to prevent syphilis infection.

  • Limit the number of sexual partners
  • Always use protection-condoms are the only form that can prevent sexually transmitted infections.
  • Make sure to know your partner and have discuss the risks of STI’s.
  • Eliminate risk factors like sharing needles for tattooing and ear piercing.
  • Undergo STI testing when there is a change in your sexual behavior, and discuss this with your partner.
  • Educate yourself on STIs-symptoms, what to look for including: a painless sore confused for an ingrown hair, zipper cut, or other harmless bump. The second phase is an itchy body rash that develops on the palms of hands and on feet, or can cover the body diffusely or in an isolated few places. Many people infected with syphilis have very mild or no symptoms at all.
  • Know your body-if something doesn’t feel right or you notice something, stop in to the Health and Wellness Clinic for more information regarding testing and treatment. They are able to point you to more resources at low or no cost at all.