Eating disorders, disordered eating, and body-image concerns are more common than we realize
Eating disorders can take over your life. You can feel well one moment; the next, thoughts about food or your body can take over everything. It might be hard for others to realize how painful it is to hear comments about body size changes or food choices. Loved ones might not understand that how you feel is not your fault, nor can you just control it.
Eating disorders are complex, range in symptoms, and can happen in bodies of every size and shape. It is also true that they are distressing and dangerous, can take over your life, and can make inhabiting your body unbearable. Even when no eating disorder exists, our relationship with food and our body can be destructive. We live in a system that constantly says we are not good enough and has supremacist expectations that are not good for anyone.
You want to feel connected with yourself and have a different relationship with your body and nourishment.
The secrets we keep
Did you know that over 30 million people in the United States have an eating disorder? Most of us live disconnected from ourselves. We sink into hustle culture, wanting to do more, be more, and do not have time to think about the impact of the grind. Yet, our society continues to promote harmful messages. The rise of social media, diet culture, and our continued use of filters on everything we post adds to our collective struggles with body image. Don't get me started on the fact that most filters and idealized expectations are unrealistic for BIPOC communities- and to clarify, they are not good for anyone!
Everywhere you look, you find another edited photo affirming the belief that something is wrong with how you look. The cycle of never being "good" enough continues. The world praises an idealized standard of beauty that is unrealistic for most humans. When you find yourself in a growing, aging, pregnant, or postpartum body, you can feel like something is wrong.
Many of us have also grown up in households where our caregivers struggled to meet unrealistic expectations. We might have observed and been exposed to harmful diets and language about our bodies. Eating problems usually come with other emotional concerns like depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and past trauma. It can be hard to figure out where to begin and what the right support might be.
Addressing the roots of the problem
Choosing a therapist on your journey to building a different relationship with your body can feel challenging. We tend to put ourselves last and feel we must handle everything independently. Perfectionism takes over and clouds our thinking. It tells us we are fine and could handle the distress if we only lost weight, felt better, or stopped worrying.
I support individuals in recognizing harmful patterns and taking steps to create a different kind of life. I see the counseling process as holding up a mirror and helping people see who they truly are without the fog that trauma, racism, and patriarchy can create. Disordered eating is traumatic; not liking ourselves is traumatic. It is a pain that's hard to put into words and for others to understand.
My framework is harm reduction. I provide a compassionate space to discuss the messy, painful, hard shit. Sitting with the yuck is critical to healing and recovery. My approach to the work is finding collaborative ways to address what's affecting your daily life. We will move at your pace, honoring your needs and accepting all parts of who are and what you bring to the world.
I have ten years of practice as a therapist working with individuals facing multiple life challenges. One commonality that many of my clients, and I, have is a history or constant battle with body image and disordered eating. I am passionate about helping individuals break free from eating disorders, oppressive beliefs, and fatphobia. I am a Health at Every Size (HAES) Practitioner. I hope to support you in reaching that freedom. You deserve that freedom.
You might not be sure if this is right for you
What if I am not ready for treatment?
My therapist once shared this wisdom with me, "we are all attached to our symptoms." To a certain extent, symptoms and disorders can provide comfort. I tend to think of it as "uncomfortable comfort." You know you are suffering, yet this is what you know. As you examine your readiness, reflect on your answer to these questions: How are you feeling daily? How do you describe your relationship with your body and food? How would you respond if someone you loved and cared about felt the way you are feeling and wondered if they were ready for treatment?
Will you help me lose weight?
The short answer is no. As a HAES and anti-oppressive therapist, I respect, celebrate, and honor body size diversity. In counseling, we will explore the cultural narratives reinforcing fatphobic, white supremacist ideals. These narratives are highly oppressive to individuals in diverse bodies and intersectionalities. I will support you in connecting to your body's innate needs, such as hunger cues and movements that you enjoy. However, the goal will not be intentional weight loss. Instead, the plan will be body neutrality, acceptance, and radical self-love- if you feel up for it.
What if I need something more?
The initial consultation can help us see if we are a good fit for each other and if outpatient services are the right level of care for you. If not, I can recommend other care, such as residential or intensive treatment. A different level of care is also an option during treatment if it is clinically appropriate.
If we decide to work together, I will refer you to other supportive providers like nutritionists/dieticians, naturopathic doctors, psychiatrists, etc., depending on your needs.
If you would like to explore a consultation to see if we are a good fit or want to learn more about my practice, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form on the contact page. I try to respond to all requests within 48-business hours.
EATING DISORDERS & DISORDERED EATING
Are you in a fight with an eating disorder? With your body? Do you worry you might have an untreated eating disorder? Are you worried about your relationship with food? Have you noticed you are constantly thinking and planning your life around food and weight? Do you wonder if you'll ever reach a space of body positivity?