Are You Or A Loved One Struggling With An Eating Disorder?

 Do you or does someone close to you show symptoms of an eating disorder, perhaps regularly under eating, binge eating, overeating and/or purging? It may be that you notice a loved one becoming obsessed with the number on the scale or engaging in extreme self-criticism in relation to his or her body. Perhaps you or someone close to you is an athlete determined to follow a rigid, restrictive diet and/or exercise regimen. Do you notice your child, teen, partner or yourself avoiding parties or other social events that are centered around food? Perhaps your teenager or college student has lost or gained weight rapidly and/or begun withdrawing socially. It may be that your loved one who previously struggled with an eating disorder is showing signs of relapse. If it’s you who is struggling, do you constantly judge your body and/or worry that other people are? It may be that you obsess over certain body parts and/or constantly think about eating or not eating. Do you wish you could enjoy good, nourishing food alone and with friends, without worry, shame or fear?

It may be that you or your loved one is going through a tough time personally, and eating or not eating is a way to feel better and more in control of a difficult situation. Perhaps you don’t worry about your weight, but nevertheless feel unable to eat due to stress, worry or to stay fit. You may only feel comfortable eating certain types of food or at particular times of day. It may be that through starving, binging and/or purging, you use food as a way to stay calm or block out negative emotions. Perhaps you get frustrated when you “slip” back into your now engrained eating/purging habits. It may be that you’re constantly hopeful that the next diet you try will be the one to transform the way you see yourself. But, deep down, do you fear that your efforts to control your body and life are making you unhealthy and unhappy?

Eating Disorders Are Increasingly Common, Complex Medical Conditions

 Eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder (BED), are incredibly common and complex and affect people of all ages, genders and backgrounds. Issues with eating often manifest during times of acute stress or transition, which makes it less surprising that one in four college students is diagnosed with an eating-related disorder. Furthermore, many people of all ages struggle with disordered eating, which doesn’t meet the criteria of a full-blown eating disorder, but presents as disordered, restrictive intake, excessive consumption and/or purging of food.

It’s important to note that problems with eating are rarely solely related to food. Often, people use food as a way to gain a sense of control over their lives. For those with stressful schedules and/or unhappy living situations, eating excessively or restricting eating can bring much needed comfort and relief. Or, an illness or injury may cause a person to gain or lose weight rapidly, often through boredom, disinterest in food or simply not knowing the right quantity of food for a resting or recovering body. This rapid change can feel overwhelming or addicting, leading the person to form unhealthy eating patterns.

Athletes and extremely health-conscious individuals also often fall victim to developing disordered eating patterns, frequently with the intention of achieving performance or fitness goals. Many coaches require athletes to push their bodies to the limit, often leading to being underweight or following an extremely regimented diet. And, all kinds of eating disorders often go unnoticed by other people, especially if it seems like the person is just in shape or naturally of a certain body type.

Someone with an eating disorder may realize that he or she needs help, but not know where or how to get it. Others may be unwilling or unable to face the reality of their illness. This confusion often manifests as extreme reluctance to address issues with eating, and may elicit secretive behavior in relation to food. The good news is that therapy for eating disorders with an experienced therapist can help you or your loved one move toward recovery and live a happier, healthier and less restrictive life.

Eating Disorder Treatment Provides Support, Guidance And An Empowered Path Forward

 Therapy for eating disorders can be very effective in treating all stages and kinds of food-related disorders and disordered eating. By working with an experienced and understanding eating disorder therapist, many people find it much easier to remain accountable and focused throughout their recovery journey. With me, you’ll be able to explore your relationship with food and the complex thoughts and perceptions fueling your disordered eating.

In the confidential, comfortable setting of eating disorder treatment sessions, you can openly and honestly share your thoughts, concerns and feelings about food, your body and your overall life without fear of judgment. As we begin to understand the root cause of your disordered eating, you can learn the skills needed to break free of and reframe ineffective thoughts, frustration and persistent worry. I can help you recognize and work through unproductive and unhealthy patterns of behavior and develop new, practical strategies to relax and make better choices with eating and exercise. Throughout your therapeutic journey, I will work collaboratively with you to uncover and build upon your innate strengths, which you can draw from to lead a more integrated and meaningful life. I’ll help you tap into these strengths to move past roadblocks and establish new, effective thought patterns. Using a strength-based approach, you can access your resilience and create balance in your mind and body.

While talking about your personal thoughts, feelings and worries can sometimes feel daunting, in therapy for eating disorders sessions with me, you don’t have to worry about making a good impression. I am an authentic and accessible therapist who is sympathetic to your unique experience. Sessions are your time to unburden worries and uncover the cause of distressing thoughts, feelings and behaviors. And, in sharing authentically, you can experience relief, increase self-awareness, process unresolved trauma and develop self-care strategies. You can also learn the effective tools and life skills needed to manage stress, anxiety and/or depression, which often triggers or exacerbates eating disorders. With compassionate, thoughtful support and guidance, it is possible to create a solid foundation that you can build upon and draw from so you can move through life with more ease and personal control. With time and a willingness to engage in the therapy process, you can reframe perceptions, foster a positive body image and form healthy, sustainable eating and exercise habits.   

 You still may have questions or concerns about eating disorder treatment…

I worried that I’ll gain weight if I change my eating or exercise rules.

 Often, people suffering with eating disorders have body dysmorphia, meaning that they are unable to see their bodies as they really are. Therapy for eating disorders can help you dissolve unrealistic self-perceptions and beliefs so you can see yourself as you actually are, rather than the false projection your brain is sending out. And, counseling can help you move past the number on the scale, accessing your strengths and using healthier cues to gauge success and happiness.

 I’ve tried so many diets and/or treatments for my eating disorder. How is therapy different?

 Many people find that working with an eating disorder therapist helps keep them on track during their recovery journey. Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint, and I will run beside you throughout the entire process. I’ll help you figure out where your disordered eating is stemming from, why the diets you’ve tried aren’t working and why you keep returning to unwanted behavior patterns. I’ll help you look past food and discover what is really going on behind your disordered eating. Together, we can work to dismantle unhealthy patterns and establish a healthier way of thinking, eating and living.

 I feel ashamed for needing help.

 Everybody struggles at some point and seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. My office is a confidential, comfortable environment where you can speak freely and explore thoughts and emotions you may not even know you have. I have helped many people from all walks of life overcome eating disorders, and it’s important for you to realize that you are not alone. An eating disorder therapist can provide you with compassion, skills and the support needed to identify and reframe negative thoughts, work through past trauma and stay accountable on your recovery journey.

You Can Recover From An Eating Disorder

 If you’re ready to begin eating disorder therapy, I invite you to call 408-827-8011 or email today to set up an appointment at my Saratoga, CA practice. In your free 10-minute phone consultation, I can answer any questions you may have about my practice and the benefits of working with an eating disorder therapist.