Are issues surrounding food, weight and your body taking over your life?
Are you finding yourself on the never-ending roller coaster of the diet-restrict-binge cycle?
Are you ready to stop the cycle of self-hatred and create a healthy relationship with food and your body?
If you answered yes to any of these, I CAN HELP. Whether you struggle with binging, purging, restricting, over-exercising, poor body image or a combination, help is available. Contact me today to set up your free consultation and learn how we can work together.
Issues surrounding food, body image and exercise are very common. The desire to be thin, to look a certain way, or to use food to cope with uncomfortable feelings can all be symptoms of much deeper emotional issues. If you currently struggle, if you’ve ever struggled, or if you know someone who struggles with an eating disorder or disordered eating then perhaps you have a glimpse into the pain, frustration and pure exhaustion that accompanies this battle. Help is available and RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE!
Disordered Eating versus Eating Disorder
Disordered eating is when a person regularly engages in destructive eating patterns and is disconnected from their body’s physical cues. An example of these behaviors includes restrictive dieting, compulsive or emotional eating, skipping meals and/or being overly picky about food choices. Although people with disordered eating habits and behaviors may not meet full criteria for an eating disorder diagnosis, professional help is still often needed and disordered eating can have a destructive impact on a person’s life as well as reduce their ability to cope with stressful situations. Also, dieting and disordered eating are the most common indicators of the development of eating disorders.
Eating disorders are serious and complex emotional and physical addictions, characterized by severe disturbances in eating behavior. Eating disorders are serious conditions in which people are often so preoccupied with food and weight that they can focus on little else. But interestingly, eating disorders are not just about food and weight! Individuals with eating disorders use food and/or weight in an attempt to manage emotional conflicts that have little to do with food and weight. Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, difficulties feeling and expressing emotions, anger, loneliness, communication problems, identity concerns and feelings of lack of control over one’s life are some of the underlying issues associated with eating disorders.
Types of Eating Disorders
Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss. Symptoms include a refusal to maintain body weight above a minimally normal weight for height, body type, age, and activity level, intense fear of weight gain or being “fat” and loss of menstrual periods.
Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by a cycle of binge eating followed by some type of inappropriate compensatory method, such as vomiting, laxative abuse and/or over-exercising to prevent weight gain. Binge eating includes eating large amounts of food (more than what most people would eat) and feeling a sense of lack of control over eating during that episode.
Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by periods of uncontrollable, impulsive and continuous eating. Often feelings of shame, guilt and self-hatred are experienced after a binge. Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States and was just recently recognized as an eating disorder in the fifth edition of American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V).
What Does Eating Disorder Treatment Look Like?
I support individuals who are ready for something different. Eating disorder treatment is extremely effective in helping individuals live a more meaningful, purposeful and joyful life.
I typically recommend starting with weekly therapy sessions, although some individuals may need to come in more and some less in the beginning stages.
Throughout eating disorder treatment we will work together to identify what was going on when your eating disorder developed, how it serves you, and cultivate and learn new and more effective ways of coping. We will work together to help you develop a new relationship with your thoughts, emotions and body, one that does not have to be so controlling. I often include elements of mindfulness and self-compassion in my sessions.
I will help you to recover by supporting you, listening to you, providing new tools and insights and challenging you when necessary. I know the only way out is through, and discomfort is part of the process of recovery.
I am not sure I have an eating disorder, but I really struggle with body image, will therapy help?
In short, yes!
Despite what you may think, body image has little to do with the actual shape, size or weight of your physical body. There are many people out there who may be considered overweight who have a healthy and positive body image. There are also many people whose body may fit what our society thinks of as “ideal” and have a poor or unhealthy body image.
Therefore, what exactly is body image?
I like to define body image as how we feel in our body, how we relate to our body and how we experience our body, both personally and in the world.
The National Eating Disorder Association defines body image as:
“how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind.” It encompasses:
- What you believe about your own appearance (including your memories, assumptions, and generalizations).
- How you feel about your body, including your height, shape, and weight.
- How you sense and control your body as you move.
- How you feel in your body, not just about your body.
People with negative body image have a great likelihood of developing an eating disorder and suffer from feelings of depression, isolation, low self-esteem and obsessions with weight loss.
I believe it’s every person’s right to feel good in their body, and I know that can be hard given the body obsessed culture we live in. It’s not easy, but we must practice loving ourselves and accepting our bodies. What I know is that acceptance doesn’t happen by desiring to change, but change can happen when you practice accepting yourself, just as you are.
I am here to help!
My passion lies in helping those who are struggling with eating disorders, disordered eating, exercise addiction and negative body image concerns, which often contribute to low self-esteem and/or feelings of worthlessness. I have spent most of my career focusing my clinical work on the treatment of eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.
In addition to one-on-one eating disorder treatment work, I also provide therapy in a group setting. Check out NOURISH (link to internal page on group) group for more details. Furthermore, I facilitate a FREE weekly support group at the Eating Disorder Foundation. Currently, I facilitate the weekly 30+ support group for women in recovery from eating disorders. This group is held every Tuesday evening and Saturday morning and I facilitate group on the first Tuesday of every month.
Perhaps one day you may realize for yourself that you don’t need to be perfect and that striving for perfection only leads to suffering. Imagine a life where you truly accept and embrace yourself for who you are…flaws and all. I believe you CAN gain a healthier relationship with your body, food and exercise and free yourself to live a richer, fuller and more meaningful life. What I know is that FREEDOM DOES EXIST, isn’t it time you find out for yourself? Please contact Michele Today to learn more.