Are you struggling with your relationship with food and body image issues, or an eating disorder such as Bulimia, Anorexia, Binge Eating Disorder, or Orthorexia? Do you overeat and/or binge continuously throughout the day and tell yourself you’ll stop tomorrow (but then you don’t)? Do you binge on food and then try to purge the calories away through excessive exercise or vomiting? Or are you trying to control your weight or appearance through unrealistic eating goals, yo-yo dieting or refusing to eat anything at all? Maybe you’re struggling with difficult emotions surrounding a loss or transition and you feel like eating is the only thing that you can control. Or perhaps you go through periods of heavy eating, leaving you too self-conscious to participate in social events or be sexually intimate. Do you avoid work and social functions when you know there will be food, worried your coworkers or friends will notice how much or how little you are eating? Do you wish you could feel happy with who you are in every facet of your life: mind, body and spirit? Have you been given a diagnosis or believe that you fit under the diagnosis of Bulimia, Anorexia, Orthorexia, or Binge Eating Disorder?
Many Individuals Struggle To Understand Their Eating Disorder
Eating disorders come in a wide variety of forms, impacting men and women of all ages and economic status. One in 10 men and women in the U.S. suffer from a “clinically significant” eating disorder at some point in their lives. Anorexia alone is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents. And many Americans go through a period of emotional eating in an effort to numb, distract or distance themselves from difficult emotions. The root of all abnormal emotionally-related eating lies in feeling unloved or unworthy, and food becomes a substitute for the happiness or love missing in other parts of your life.
Diagnosing an eating disorder is often complicated. Even within a diagnosis – Anorexia or Bulimia, for example – the cause, symptoms and solution are rarely cut and dried. Some people fit the syndrome not officially recognized yet but called Orthorexia, which means “a fixation on righteous or pure eating.” Additionally, some adults and adolescents are diagnosed with an eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS). As a result, it can be hard to find experienced and effective support and guidance as you try to understand and recover from the challenges you are facing.
The good news is that you can better understand why you are struggling with food and how unhealthy eating habits are impacting other areas of your life. I can help you to break free from your patterns of unhealthy eating, overcome your anxiety around food and begin to feel comfortable in your body and with yourself.
Eating Disorder Treatment Can Help You Get Your Life Back
Eating disorder treatment can be very effective, but it depends on finding a therapist you can trust who has the appropriate experience and training. Many therapists who offer support or treatment for eating disorders actually specialize in addiction or anxiety treatment. They fail to anticipate how complex eating disorder treatment can be. As a longtime eating disorder therapist who has had specialized training in eating disorders and years of experience working with it, I understand the unique challenges you are facing. I can help you address the root causes of your eating disorder as well as how it is impacting your personal, social and professional life right now.
During your first sessions, we will review the current and past struggles that brought you to my office in order to determine how often we should meet (which may be up to twice each week in severe cases). I will also immediately work with you to establish an eating disorder treatment team if desirable, which may include your physician, psychiatrist, nutritionist and/or a support group or eating disorder therapy group. This experienced, professional team can recognize warning signs and take immediate action to support you if you are moving into a “danger zone,” potentially requiring hospitalization or an intensive in-patient or out-patient program.
The primary goal during eating disorder treatment is to help you understand what is going on in your life right now that is triggering you to use food in a self-destructive way. I may utilize a therapeutic technique called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), as I help you go back to when and where your disordered eating began. This can help you identify and work through unprocessed emotions or feelings that you are trying to replace with food. Along with EMDR, my use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help you understand how dysfunctional thoughts create or trigger unhealthy eating behaviors. My use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and hypnotherapy can further assist you in mindfully changing how you think, feel and behave in response to feelings of self-dislike. With an increased self-awareness, you can begin making small changes to your thoughts and behaviors, heal from your eating disorder and feel more self-compassion and self-love.
To help you make meaningful and lasting changes, I will tailor your eating disorder treatment to meet your unique situation and needs. In addition to EMDR, CBT and ACT, I will also incorporate Somatic Experiencing to help you use your body’s wisdom to heal from the physical impact your behavior is having on you. I provide a variety of relaxation tools and techniques, and I may also offer hypnotherapy or other techniques like “tapping.” These resources can help you learn to reframe uncomfortable beliefs and emotions that are causing you to use emotional eating or restrict your food intake in order to cope. By developing self-compassion and self-acceptance you can overcome difficult emotions, anxieties and fears without using food.
With my offer of these therapeutic techniques and my nonjudgmental support, it is possible to find ways other than food to cope with discomfort or anxiety.
Eating disorders always involve an element of negative self-belief, and emotional eating and binging serve as an attempt to nurture and love ourselves when we don’t feel loved by others. As such, and only when you are comfortable and open to it, I may offer family-based eating disorder treatment to help build a more effective support system. These family sessions are intended to teach your partner, children or family members how to be thoughtful and supportive during your recovery.
I will also work with you on transforming your negative body image, which is usually part of the reason for the eating disorder.
You CAN recover! I will help you understand why you are struggling with food and body image issues and then stop your harmful eating behaviors. You CAN learn how to manage your unhealthy thoughts and behaviors so you can take back control of your life.
But you may still have questions or concerns about eating disorder treatment…
I haven’t admitted my eating disorder to anyone. I’m too embarrassed to talk about it.
When you hide your thoughts or behaviors for too long, it can be easy to feel like you are all alone in your struggles. Although you may feel shameful or embarrassed, millions of individuals suffer from eating disorders. I offer a safe environment where you can feel supported as you work to understand your eating disorder and develop healthier eating behaviors. You can also develop greater self-compassion, self-esteem and self-acceptance.
I was interviewed by a Sacramento Bee reporter about Orthorexia. You can read the article here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/health-and-medicine/healthy-choices/article54132450.html
I don’t think my eating disorder can be fixed. And what if I can’t cope without it?
You may not be able to imagine going through life without having food as a coping mechanism. Or you might worry you’ll gain weight if you can’t purge or exercise immediately after eating. It can feel scary seeking help for an eating disorder, but it is possible to replace harmful patterns of thought and behavior with healthier alternatives.
I’m worried if I attend eating disorder treatment with my child I’ll be blamed for his or her challenges.
Eating disorders are complex issues and are caused by a variety of factors, including environment, peer pressure and genetics. I will help you to identify patterns of behavior or communication that are contributing to the issue your child is facing, but that serve as a platform to make a change, not to place blame. Clearly your primary goal is to help your son or daughter overcome his or her eating disorder, and I will assist you with discovering ways you might be able to assist with this effort. However, ultimately it is up to your child to be ready to do this. You can’t do it for them. And your child will need his/her own individual eating disorder therapy,
You Can Feel Happy And Healthy
If you are ready to take control of your thoughts and behaviors around food or for answers to any remaining questions about eating disorder treatment, I invite you to schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation.
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