Hello all! I had the pleasure of meeting San Diego eating disorder registered dietitian nutritionist Erika Salaman last year, and I continue to collaborate with her in 2019. I was impressed by how compassionate, nonjudgmental, and supportive she is toward her clients. Erika is especially well-versed in the intuitive eating approach—she is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She also embraces the health at every size (HAES) perspective. Erika especially loves working with LGBTQ+ clients, as well as people of diverse races, ethnicities, body sizes, etc. I think you’ll appreciate her transparency and authenticity about her approach, as well as about her own eating disorder recovery.
How did you choose to be an eating disorder specialist in San Diego?
My own journey with food has been the biggest influence in where I am today. Back in undergraduate school at University of San Diego (USD) I struggled with an eating disorder. And even though I began my path toward recovery, it wasn't until I met Elyse Resch, the co-author of the book Intuitive Eating, that I really began to heal my relationship with food. My transformation was so profound and trickled in to all the areas of my life, not just food. When that sort of thing happens to you, it is almost natural to want to share it with others. I want to help others with their journey toward healing their own relationship with food.
What kind of treatment do you provide?
I like to call myself a nutrition therapist, and I always tailor my approach to the clients needs. Some clients need to increase variety, some need to reduce anxiety around food, some need help with night-time binges, others are just done with dieting and have no idea what normal eating is, and others still want to reduce emotional eating. I love helping with body image. I think body image work, while challenging, is extremely beneficial to clients. I rarely provide help with the typical "eat this NOT THAT" type of nutrition, as it doesn't fit in with my philosophy.
Do you only work with eating disorders?
Although I specialize in helping clients heal their relationship with food, some of my clients do not have eating disorders. I find that most people could benefit from some nutrition therapy, as our thoughts around body weight and food are generally misguided. I am happy to help anyone who is motivated to eat for satisfaction.
How long have you been working with eating disorders overall, and how long have you been in San Diego?
I've been in San Diego since 2001! I love it here. I have been working with eating disorders since 2014 and started my private practice in 2017. Although my practice is still very young and small, I feel fortunate that here in San Diego many of the professionals in this field take great interest in growing the knowledge base. I’m always learning from my colleagues!
Who are your favorite types of clients to work with?
I love working with clients who are marginalized. Whether its because of their ethnicity or sexual orientation, or age or size of their body. I have a big heart for those who receive unfair judgement based on just being who they are. Watching that client blossom is nothing short of amazing.
What happens during a first appointment with you?
The first appointment is all about getting to know my new client. I love to hear their stories and history. Generally we go over a few questions and then dive right in. I don't like to spend a lot of time talking about policies (I send those home with the client). I also give a little time at the end of the session for a client to ask about me. Sometimes clients find it helpful to know that I am human too!
You have some awesome training in the intuitive eating approach. Will you share a little about that?
Yes! For those who are new to intuitive eating, it is a nutrition philosophy that returns a person to the natural way of eating. Listening to hunger and fullness cues is at the core of the philosophy, but it also involves adopting a flexible approach to health and food. While getting my masters degree in Los Angeles, I was invited to observe Elyse Resch's supervision group in Beverly Hills. She would guide other dietitians with their difficult cases. Hearing the complexities and challenges of the clients was an amazing learning process. I also have my intuitive eating certification, which involves supervision and practice hours as well as an examination.
What do you wish people knew about getting treatment for eating disorders?
I wish that there wasn't so much judgement around eating disorders. I think that many believe that if they have an eating disorder that there is something wrong with the person that they are. But from my experience, the eating disorder is never WHO that person is. It is a coping mechanism for the complexities of life. I believe that understanding that simple fact can free someone of the guilt and shame that is often associated with eating disorders.
How can people learn more and contact you?
My website is a great place to start. You can also email me at email@example.com
Share one fun fact about you.
I grew up in Hawaii!
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!