Moms Struggling with Food and Body Image: Meet San Diego Eating Disorder Dietitian, Crystal Karges, RDN

Hi everyone! Are you a mom who feels exhausted with dealing with food issues and can’t stop thinking negatively about your body? Has it been a struggle to raise kids who are healthy eaters while you are struggling yourself with food? It’s such a tough balance to be a mom, especially in San Diego when there’s such a pressure to raise healthy kids and be healthy yourself! I think it’ll be so helpful for you to get to know Crystal Karges, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and North County San Diego mom of five. Crystal has a master’s degree in nutritional science, and she specializes in helping mothers nurture a positive relationship with food and with their bodies. She also helps San Diego moms learn how to manage their children’s eating challenges. I think you’ll find my interview with Crystal gives you hope, especially as she shares her own journey of eating disorder recovery.

Why did you choose to become an eating disorder specialist in San Diego? 

My passion in serving the eating disorder community is rooted in my own healing and recovery from an eating disorder. My recovery journey has inspired me to share hope with others who might be struggling and offer the support needed to find restoration and redemption from an illness that can be so devastating. 

My husband and I settled in North County San Diego after meeting in college (we both attended Point Loma Nazarene University). We fell in love with this city and our community, deciding San Diego would be the place we would put down our roots. As I started working in the eating disorder field, I became aware of the need for more eating disorder specialists in the North County San Diego area, which encouraged me to start my private practice. I started building my career as we simultaneously began growing our family. We now have five sweet kiddos, and while being a working mom certainly has its challenges, I couldn’t be more grateful for the work I am able to do.

As a mama of five, my motherhood journey has also been a major source of inspiration for the work that I currently do. Being a mom in eating disorder recovery has been eye-opening, especially in terms of helping me understand the unique challenges and stressors that mothers may face with an underlying eating disorder. It has been these experiences that have led me to specialize in the work I do today. While my practice is based in San Diego, I offer virtual nutrition counseling worldwide. 


What kind of treatment do you provide? 

Through my practice, I provide medical nutrition therapy for eating disorder recovery, as well as intuitive eating counseling, and nutrition counseling for pregnancy, postpartum, and child-feeding strategies. In addition to being an RDN, I am also an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) and trained in the Ellyn Satter Feeding Dynamics and Eating Competency Models, which has given me the opportunity to offer families nutrition counseling that focuses on the feeding relationships between parents (primarily mothers) and their children. 

Through a weight-inclusive framework, I am committed to providing effective, compassionate, and evidenced based nutrition care to mothers and families across San Diego county and worldwide through my virtual practice.


Do you work with only eating disorders? 

At this point, my primary work is with mothers who are healing from eating disorders at various points in their motherhood journeys, including during pregnancy and postpartum. Because a mother’s relationship with food and her body directly influences her feeding relationship with her own children, this focus will also give me the opportunity to work with her family (as needed and as appropriate). This approach will typically include child feeding strategies that cultivate a nurturing feeding relationship between a recovering mother and her kids. 


How long have you been working with eating disorders overall, and how long have you been in San Diego? 

I have been working in the eating disorder field for 11 years now and have been in San Diego for 15 years. I truly feel blessed to live in this beautiful city and be part of our diverse community. 


Who are your favorite types of clients to work with? 

Every client that I have had the privilege to work with has truly been a gift. With my current sub-specialty in maternal/perinatal eating disorders, it brings me great joy to serve mothers who are seeking to heal their relationship with food and their bodies in order to more confidently nourish and raise their own children. Guiding mothers along this journey and helping them reach a place where they feel truly confident in their bodies and in how they feed themselves creates a strong foundation from which families can flourish. Seeing mothers reclaim joy with eating and being able to share that joy with their children is one of the most rewarding aspects of the work I do. When mothers are empowered to heal themselves, it is a powerful stopping force against the generation cycle of a destructive relationship with food and body. 

What happens during a first appointment with you? 

A first appointment is an important time to establish trust between my client and myself. So many mothers that I work with are taking a step of faith in reaching out for the help they need and deserve, and it can sometimes feel scary to get started. It’s important that they feel heard, understood, and comfortable in sharing about themselves. I do my best to establish a safe, nurturing space in our sessions together, which lays the foundation for our future appointments. 

What do you wish people knew about getting treatment for eating disorders? 

I wish people understood that eating disorders are not a choice, and you are not a failure if you are struggling with one or needing help/treatment. Eating disorders do not discriminate, and people struggle with eating disorders in all different walks of life, body sizes, cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, etc. Don’t ever believe the lie that you are not “sick enough” to get help. If you are struggling with food, that is enough criteria to ask for the help you need to get better. 


How can people learn more and contact you? 

Thank you for asking! You can find me blogging regularly about all things motherhood, eating disorder recovery, and more on my website here: https://www.crystalkarges.com/blog/

You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter @crystalkarges,

or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crystalkargesnutrition/

I have a free Facebook group for moms who are looking for body-positive resources for their motherhood journey. You can find us here at Start With Your Moms


Share one fun fact about you.

I am half-Palestinian, half-Mexican and first-generation American. My parents both immigrated to the United States in their teenage years, and their rich histories and cultures have made for an amazingly-diverse upbringing, as well as really good food. :)

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Thanks so much for reading my blog!  Have a wonderful day. :)  

Marianne 

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! 

You can find more information about me on Instagram@drmariannemilleror on my Facebook page.