Eating disorders and disordered eating are more common than we realize

Eating disorders can take over your life. You can feel well one moment, and 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 the way 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, dangerous, can take over your life, and can make inhabiting your body unbearable. 

 

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 living in the United States have an eating disorder? Yet, our society continues to promote harmful messages that disconnect us from ourselves. The rise of social media, diet culture, and our continued use of filters on everything we post, add our collective struggles with body image. Everywhere you look, you might find another edited photo revealing the belief that something is wrong with the way 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 growing, aging, pregnant, or postpartum bodies, you can feel like something is wrong. 

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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 like we must handle everything on our own. Perfectionism takes over and clouds our thinking. 

 

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 can create. Disordered eating is traumatic; not liking ourselves is traumatic.  

 

I provide a compassionate space where we can discuss the messy, painful, hard shit. Sitting with the yuck is critical to healing and recovery. My approach to the work is "putting out the fires" and then "finding where the fire came from." We accomplish this by putting techniques into practice that will address symptoms that are affecting your daily life. Once you notice improvements, we can explore how experiences, beliefs, and values create the perfect environment for unconscious conflict. 

 

I have nine 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 give a sense of 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 really feeling on a day-to-day basis? 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 therapist, I respect, celebrate, and honor body size diversity. In counseling, we will explore the cultural narratives that reinforce 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 movement that you enjoy. However, the goal will not be intentional weight loss. Instead, the plan will be body neutrality, body acceptance, and radical self-love- if you are feeling 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 give you recommendations for other care such as residential or other 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 provide referrals to other supportive providers like nutritionists/dieticians, naturopathic doctors, psychiatrists, etc., depending on your individual 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 meyleen@hummingbirdcounseling.com or fill out the form on the contact page. I try to respond to all requests within 48-business hours. 

Image by Harli  Marten
COUNSELING FOR EATING DISORDERS

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?