In society, there are a lot of misconceptions about eating disorders. Media portrays a simplistic (and often glamorized) view of the illness, often focusing on vanity and body image as the main issues, but there is so much more to it than this. Eating disorders manifest not only in an individuals’ relationship with food, body, and weight, but can also be thought of as a search for wholeness and meaning, which means the body, the brain, the spirit, and the soul all are affected.
Just like people, eating disorders and disordered eating can come in many forms; there are the obvious forms such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder, but there are also dangerously covert patterns such as yo-yo dieting, extreme "clean" eating, following restrictive fad diets, self-diagnosed exclusionary eating rules, and compulsive over-exercise.
I believe that eating disorders, just like addictions to substances and processes (like gambling or shopping addictions), develop as a way to cope with feelings that are just too uncomfortable to bear and from negative self-beliefs that often begin earlier in life. The challenge here is that while someone might abstain from drugs or alcohol as part of their recovery from one of those addictions, food is a basic human need and it's not that easy to just "quit" - it's actually quite a complicated balance to strike.
I approach treatment of and recovery from eating disorders (as well as disordered eating, emotional eating, and body image issues) within a multidisciplinary support framework in close communication with a registered dietician who is certified as an eating disorder professional. When you choose to work with me, this will be a critical and non-negotiable aspect of our work together. When important, we'll also team up with other medical professionals and prescribers to create a "safety net" of support. Together, we will forge a path to recovery by working from the inside out: containing behaviors, understanding where the feelings that led to the disordered eating are coming from, learning and using new coping strategies, addressing family and social systems, learning to appreciate and nurture the body, and most importantly, by addressing the emotional wounds that led to the disordered behaviors in the first place.
If you're concerned that you or someone you love may be struggling with an eating disorder, you can click the button below for a quick screening tool to help determine if it's time for professional help. When you're ready, I'm here to help!