Happy Friday, everyone! I’ve interviewed the very knowledgeable Lindsay Stenovec about her San Diego eating disorder practice. I absolutely love her passion about helping people heal from eating disorders. She is a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian (CEDRD), which means that she has has tons of hours and extensive experience and training in eating disorders. She is also a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and definitely embraces the Health at Every Size (HAES) perspective. She used to work with the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Eating Disorders Center, and she has since gone into private practice and is the head of Nutrition Instincts, a group of dietitians providing in-person and virtual nutrition counseling for people who want to find peace with food. She has a sub-speciality working with mothers. PLUS, she is the host of an excellent podcast called the Embodied and Well Mom Show, which addresses a lot of eating disorder and body image issues. All in all, a very accomplished woman!
Why did you choose to become an eating disorder specialist in San Diego?
I think my choice to specialize in eating disorders came down to three things - genuine interest, my history with and ultimate healing from my own disordered eating, and the sense that there were so many people suffering from eating disorders and relatively far fewer registered dietitians (RDs) specializing in this area. I loved the psychological aspect of eating and the opportunity to join a sub-group of RD's who challenged the status quo when it came to food, diet culture, weight bias, et cetera. Very early in my career, I attended an eating disorder conference and immediately knew "these were my people" when colleagues began speaking out about how the breakfast served was far too low in calories and should not be marketed to the consumer as a "meal" (it was a sponsored breakfast).
After I had the chance to work with people with eating disorders, I fell in love with the work. I've always appreciated the chance to develop meaningful and oftentimes long-term therapeutic relationships with my clients as we work together to heal their relationship with food. That's not always the case in the dietetics field. There are few things more gratifying than watching someone begin to free themselves from an eating disorder and stand in their power. It's a true privilege!
What kind of treatment do you provide?
As a CEDRD and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, I provide nutrition counseling and medical nutrition therapy that is responsive to the client's needs and bodily wisdom. Intuitive Eating is used when appropriate throughout the recovery process. Even when clients can't perceive cues from their bodies (common for many suffering from an eating disorder), the body still has a lot to say!
My nutrition counseling approach has evolved over the years to incorporate many modalities. I primarily use motivational interviewing (MI), mindfulness practice and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). I also incorporate Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) as it pertains to my scope as a dietitian. In addition, I work closely with my client's therapist and other team members. Regardless of the modality, I hope my clients would describe our working relationship as a safe, non-judgmental collaboration where they feel respected, valued and heard.
Do you only work with eating disorders?
I have a sub-specialty working with moms and families, especially around the pregnant and postpartum time. The transition into motherhood can be one of the most joyful and challenging times in a woman's life. It really shakes things up and this can impact food and body image. I'm passionate about helping moms improve their own relationship with food and their bodies so that they can heal and also feel confident fostering healthy food and body attitudes in their families.
How long have you been working with eating disorders overall, and how long have you been in San Diego?
I was born and raised in San Diego, CA! Fourth generation on my Dad's side! So, besides going to school at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and California State University, Long Beach, I've always lived here. I've been working as a dietitian for ten years and have been working with people with eating disorders for nine years. I opened my private practice in 2011 and started growing my team in 2015. I currently have one fabulous RD on my team, Kelsey Peterson, MS, RD, CEDRD and am hoping to continue to grow this year!
Who are your favorite types of clients to work with?
That's a tough one, but I guess you could say a mom who is struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating and wants to work with someone who can support her with her own eating and family feeding. I also love working with moms and children who reach out because they're concerned about the child's weight but their gut tells them that a diet isn't the answer. I love being able to work with the parent(s) and (sometimes) the child to provide weight inclusive, body positive support and sound family feeding guidance. In addition, I really enjoy working with people suffering from binge eating disorder (BED).
What happens during the first appointment with you?
In the first appointment, it's important to me that a new client has ample time to tell her/his/their story. I want the person to feel heard, understood and validated. Oftentimes, people who have eating disorders face professionals who don't understand the illness and, as a result, dismiss their suffering and/or say hurtful and stigmatizing things. I try to ensure that the first appointment in my office is not reflective of those experiences and is not only a step towards healing from a food/body perspective but an opportunity to build trust and rapport with a provider.
What do you wish people knew about getting treatment for eating disorders?
I wish people knew that getting treatment for an eating disorder is an incredibly brave thing to do and that suffering from an ED is not a choice, nor is it the fault of the person. People in treatment for an eating disorder are some of the toughest, hardest working, and smartest people I have ever met! And recovery IS possible!
How can people learn more and contact you?
You can find out more about my private practice and team in San Diego at my website. I host a podcast called The Embodied and Well Mom Show and am planning to do a San Diego local series! Stay tuned for that! You can also find additional online intuitive eating resources for moms at www.intuitiveeatingmoms.com, including a low-cost monthly membership called Intuitive Eating Moms Club.
Share one fun fact about you.
Hmmm. I always find "fun facts" to be tough to come up with. When I was a kid, I wanted to have three jobs - gymnastics coach (I was a gymnast), dolphin trainer (obviously), and a grocery store clerk (my aunt was one and I love buttons). I did have a short stint as a gymnastics coach but ultimately, a better dream job(s) was out there for me! And I'm so thankful to be doing what I'm doing! :-)
Thanks so much for reading my blog! Have a wonderful day. :)
If you are struggling to find eating disorder treatment in San Diego give me a call for your free 15-minute phone consultation at (858) 699-3754, and I will help you get where you need to be!