Three Pointers for Pushing Back Perfectionism in Eating Disorder Recovery

Three Pointers for Pushing Back Perfectionism in Eating Disorder Recovery

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.

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Interview with UCSD Eating Disorder Psychologist Dr. Jennie Wang-Hall

Interview with UCSD Eating Disorder Psychologist Dr. Jennie Wang-Hall

Hi everyone! In the past few months, I’ve gotten to know Dr. Jennie Wang-Hall. Jennie is a gifted eating disorder therapist who works in the adult eating disorder treatment program the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Eating Disorders Center. She also has a private practice in Oceanside. When I first met Jennie, I totally connected with her because she lived in Colorado (my home state!), loves dogs (ditto!), and is really smart (like me! ;) ). She is an overall authentic, genuine person who really cares about people recovering from eating disorders. Plus, Jennie is fun to hang out with, and so I’m so glad she is both my colleague AND my friend. I’m looking forward to you getting to know her. I also think that my interview with her will give you more information on adult eating disorder treatment at a partial hospitalization program (PHP) and intensive outpatient program (IOP).

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