Ever wonder how eating disorder symptoms affect your teeth, mouth, and gums? Not sure how to treat it? Well, I have FABULOUS blog interview today—it’s with my amazing San Diego dentist, Dr. R. Andres Garcia, DDS, at Carmel Heights Dentistry, located in Carmel Valley. At my last check up, I was curious as to how he treats patients with eating disorders, and he graciously agreed to let me interview him for my blog! In this post, Dr. Garcia identifies teeth/mouth/gum eating disorder symptoms and details the requisite dental treatment. Some of these symptoms may sound scary, and they definitely are serious. I want to emphasize, however, that these symptoms ARE treatable, and that’s why it’s important to see a dentist right away so you can come up with a treatment plan that’s right for you. I know many of you may feel ashamed of how the eating disorder is affecting your teeth. I totally get it. At the same time, seeking dental care is a wonderful way to further your eating disorder recovery and practice self-care. Plus, a good dentist knows how to treat it, and I think Dr. Garcia is one of the best in San Diego.Read More
Looking for eating disorder treatment and don’t know where to turn? Meet Alyssa Kauffman, M.A., APCC, who is the Associate Admissions Clinician for the adult program at University of California San Diego Eating Disorders Center (UCSD EDC). I got to know Alyssa a few weeks ago, and she is a very kind person who has a heart for helping people get the eating disorder recovery they need in San Diego. In this blog post, she shares a little about herself and explains what the first steps look like in seeking eating disorder treatment at UCSD EDC.Read More
If you are in recovery from an eating disorder, it’s likely that you’ve heard of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Originally developed by Psychologist Marsha Linehan, PhD, at the University of Washington, DBT is an evidence-based model that treatment centers and therapists employ to help people manage overwhelming emotions. Many San Diego eating disorder therapists and treatment programs also use DBT or DBT techniques, as emotion regulation is a key part of eating disorder recovery. Another type of DBT has emerged is Radically Open DBT (RO-DBT), with which therapists can treat people who have trouble accessing their emotions. In many cases, whereas DBT practitioners can help people who have big emotions, Radically Open DBT practitioners assist individuals who have small emotions. In San Diego, Mia Najor, LMFT, is an eating disorder therapist who uses both DBT and RO-DBT in her practice. Mia is a dynamic person with a heart of gold who feels passionate about helping people. She also co-hosts podcast in San Diego on a variety of mental health and eating disorder topics. It is called Breaking Down: The Podcast. I’m excited for you to get to know her!Read More
Ever wish you could take a break from negative thoughts—like take a vacation from your brain? Feel like you’re on a self-criticism merry-go-round that you can’t get off? Many people struggle with self-criticism, especially those in recovery from eating disorders. It can be easy to be hard on yourself in San Diego, as you see people around you splashing in the ocean and laying on the warm sand. You might think, “what’s wrong with me that I’m not like them?” Even on social media you see everyone else posting about how wonderful their lives are, triggering negative thoughts that crash over you like a wave. You may feel hopeless and that there’s no way out. I want to convey that you CAN get out of the self-criticism cycle and live a more satisfying life. Check out the four steps in this blog post, and you’ll be on your way!Read More
Looking for new ways to practice self-care in your eating disorder recovery? Feeling like you aren’t really creative, but need a new outlet to help process your emotions this summer in San Diego and elsewhere? Art and creativity can be a key component to eating disorder recovery, but often we feel as though we aren’t “talented enough” to engage in it. Well, I want to let you know that you don’t have to be super-talented to be creative (take it from me, as I draw stick figures!)—EVERYONE has a creative process!!! I’ve interviewed artist Jennifer Shiman who believes just that. She also happens to be my fantabulous sister-in-law (I’m sooooooo lucky to have her in the family!). One thing I really appreciate about Jennifer is that she really ties the creative process to being authentic and practicing self-care, which is a vital component of eating disorder recovery! I’m so happy that you’ll get to know more about her awesomeness.Read More
Feel out of control with your eating? Find yourself restricting your food during the daytime and overdoing it at night? Having a hard time resisting the urge to eat “forbidden” foods, especially when you feel tired and stressed? Do you experience a wave of shame after you eat a large amount of these foods—or a large amount of any foods? It sounds like you could be suffering from binge eating patterns, or even binge eating disorder (BED). I think that one of the best outpatient treatment strategies for binge eating and/or BED is to work with a therapist AND a dietitian who specialize in BED. I’ve shared my therapy approaches treating to BED, so I now wanted to convey the opinions of expert San Diego eating disorder dietitians: Theresa Carmichael, RD of Center For Discovery (and private practice), Dr. Megan Holt Hellner, RD of Potentia Therapy, and Dr. Saori Obayashi, RD of UCSD CHEAR. They have some wonderful tips on how to manage binge eating from a nutritional perspective.
***Trigger warning*** This blog post interview does include the term weight loss, as well as discussion of how some people seeking treatment for binge eating also want to lose weight. I cannot stress enough that these San Diego eating disorder dietitians do NOT advocate extreme behaviors that could trigger eating disorder symptoms. In fact, their approaches encompass reducing binge eating symptoms instead of focusing on weight loss.Read More
Feel like you aren’t good enough? Always comparing yourself to others? Constantly cataloguing your faults and feeling like a failure? It sounds like you are struggling with perfectionism. It can be so challenging to fall into the “compare and despair” pit when you are in San Diego and there is such an emphasis on perfect looks and perfect achievement, materialistically or otherwise. Even elsewhere in the U.S. and around the world, perfectionism is a trait that can be common in people suffering from eating disorders.
As most eating disorder researchers and experts will say, eating disorders are brain disorders. When compared to brains of people without eating disorders, people with eating disorders have areas of their brains that don’t function as efficiently or effectively. What that means is that if you have an eating disorder, it’s not your fault. It’s not about willpower or about sucking it up to “just eat” or “just stop eating.” It’s about needing to get help to change how your brain works. Struggling with perfectionism AND an eating disorder can lead to (a) feeling like you have to be perfect, so you engage in eating disorder behaviors to try to be perfect, or (b) feeling disappointed or ashamed that you’re not perfect, so you you engage in eating disorder behaviors to counteract these emotions. Either way, perfectionism can be a challenge to recovery.Read More
Hello all! I hope you had a Happy Fourth of July with loved ones. I wanted to introduce you to Crystal St. John, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, who works with eating disorders in the Carlsbad area of San Diego County, as well as in Temecula. Crystal formally worked with Center for Discovery eating disorder intensive outpatient in North County San Diego. She is a really nice person and has a unique approach to treatment that I think you’ll find interesting.Read More
Hello all! I’m so excited to present a transcript of a wonderful podcast I did in San Diego last fall on spirituality in therapy. It is called Breaking Down: The Podcast with Edie Stark, LCSW, and Mia Najor, LMFT. I discussed my background and how I came to understand what integrating spirituality in therapy means, and how important it is to do it ethically. We also talked about the importance of following clients’ lead when attending to spirituality, as well as the unique needs of working with the LGBTQ+ population, as well as with eating disorders in this area. I had so much fun talking with these very deep women. Enjoy!Read More
Feel badly about your body? Having a hard time dealing with media’s images of how bodies SHOULD look? Are you just OVER watching movies or Netflix or other TV shows that have NO body diversity? Sick of social media promoting a certain kind of body type and disguising it as “health” or “wellness”? It can feel as though we are bombarded with images on or phones, on TVs, on computers, and on movie screens that send us the message that we need to look a certain way. In San Diego, messages about having a “bikini body” or a “beach-ready” body assault us on a daily basis. Both in San Diego and other places, summer can especially be difficult. All the media show people in fewer clothes, so you may feel even more conscious about how your body looks. In this post, I’m going to identify three ways the media portrays bodies and how it influences eating disorder recovery. PLUS, I’m going to share what you can do about it.Read More