Four Steps to Stomp Out Self-Criticism in Eating Disorder Recovery

Four Steps to Stomp Out Self-Criticism in Eating Disorder Recovery

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

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.

Read More

How to Get Help for Binge Eating Disorder

How to Get Help for Binge Eating Disorder

Struggling with binge eating? Feeling out of control of your eating and don’t know where to turn? I have an excellent starting point for you. I discussed what binge eating disorder is and how to get help on a recent podcast on the Embodied & Well Mom Show that I did on with the fabulous Lindsay Stenovec, MS, RDN, CEDRD of San Diego’s Nutrition Instincts. I have provided a transcription of the main part of the podcast in this blog post. Enjoy!!

Read More

Sick of Body Shame and Diet Culture? Meet San Diego Eating Disorder Dietitian Amy Ornelas, RDN, CEDRD

Sick of Body Shame and Diet Culture? Meet San Diego Eating Disorder Dietitian Amy Ornelas, RDN, CEDRD

Struggling with accepting your body size? You want to be healthy, but you’ve tried so many diets over and over and nothing works. You’re sick of the assumptions people make about you because you don’t fit the “norm” of what bodies should look like. Plus, you are just OVER what friends, family, co-workers, and even medical professionals say about your body and what you should and shouldn’t eat. It’s so challenging to navigate the messages we receive about our bodies and the food we eat. Especially in San Diego, where there’s such a focus on health, wellness, and appearance that it sometimes feels impossible to take a different perspective. Well, I have a WONDERFUL resource in San Diego Eating Disorder Dietitian Amy Ornelas, RDN, Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian (CEDRD). She wholeheartedly embraces the Health at Every Size (HAES) and intuitive eating approaches, and she loves working with people struggling with body shame and fighting diet culture that’s so pervasive in San Diego and elsewhere. Enjoy getting to know her!

Read More

Five Tips for Managing Overwhelming Emotions in Eating Disorder Recovery

Five Tips for Managing Overwhelming Emotions in Eating Disorder Recovery

Have you ever felt so filled with emotion that it was almost unbearable? Do your mind and body feel flooded with feelings such as fear, anger, disgust, frustration, irritability, anxiety, or sadness—to the point at which you feel almost paralyzed? Having an eating disorder in San Diego and elsewhere is so hard. Sometimes the overwhelming emotions can be triggered by things such as discomfort with food and with your body, negative interactions with others, and work and family stress. At such times, it seems like the emotions take over both your brain and your body, and you would do anything thing in the world to make them stop. It is so so hard. Thankfully, there are a few coping strategies that can help you navigate such situations. These coping skills come from dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which is an approach I integrate in my work with people struggling with eating disorders in San Diego.

Read More

Let's Talk About Sex and Body Image! Meet Sex Therapist Dr. Nicole Van Ness, LMFT

Let's Talk About Sex and Body Image! Meet Sex Therapist Dr. Nicole Van Ness, LMFT

Have you been struggling with your body image so much that it has been affecting your sex life? Is your partner complaining that you don’t want to have sex that frequently, and you feel hesitant to share that it’s because you feel uncomfortable in your own skin? Whether you live in San Diego or elsewhere, you likely know that having a regular and fulfilling sex life is important for intimate relationships. The reality is that A LOT of people struggle with sexual intimacy, and when you have an eating disorder and feel negatively about your body, it becomes a drain on your life and relationships.

Needing answers? I have brought top expert, as well as friend and former top doctoral student of mine, Dr. Nicole Van Ness. Nicole went to school and learned her trade as a sex therapist in San Diego, and in recent years she has moved to Texas, where she has a private practice and is adjunct faculty at Southern Methodist University. Nicole has maintained her California license as a marriage and family therapist, and she provides videoconference services for individuals and couples in San Diego and other parts of California.

Read More

My Eating Disorder and Trauma Recovery: "Life Without Ed" Author Jenni Schaefer

My Eating Disorder and Trauma Recovery: "Life Without Ed" Author Jenni Schaefer

Hello everyone! I am SO EXCITED to present my new interview with none other than Life Without Ed author and speaker Jenni Schaefer! Jenni’s book came on the scene around 10 years ago, sending shockwaves throughout the world of eating disorders. Eating disorder professionals and individuals suffering from eating disorders alike acknowledged that Jenni captured a way of looking at eating disorders that was elegant and accurate. Since that time, countless people have found solace in her book, reading chapter by chapter and literally nodding to themselves and saying, “she gets it.” It has been transformative in the eating disorder field. Both outpatient eating disorder therapists like myself in San Diego, as well as clinicians in higher levels of care have recommended this book as people start on their recovery journey. Jenni has since written two more books on eating disorders. PLUS, Jenni travels throughout the country, not only spreading her story of eating disorder recovery, but more recently on trauma recovery as well. She’ll talk about both areas in this interview. Enjoy!!!

Read More

Four Tips to Navigating Triggering Family Situations in Eating Disorder Recovery

Four Tips to Navigating Triggering Family Situations in Eating Disorder Recovery

Do you ever struggle with all of the focus on “family” and “togetherness” this time of year? Does it seem as though you can barely get through family events without feeling like you want to run out of the room screaming? Holidays can be such a challenge if you have an eating disorder. A lot of family-focused activities center around food, which can trigger a lot of anxiety and other uncomfortable emotions. It is hard when parents, spouses, grandparents, great-aunt Petunias, or whoever comment about your body and what you are (or aren’t) eating. Especially in San Diego, when in December you can be wearing tank tops, shorts, or a skirt as you take family trips to the beach. It can feel as though your body and how you eat is on display. It may seem that loved ones have free reign to comment on it. It really, really sucks. As an eating disorder therapist, I love helping people navigate family situations that can be tricky and triggering, so I’m here to help you get started.

Read More

Tapping into Mindfulness: Part 5 of Finding the Spiritual in Eating Disorder Treatment—A 5-Part Series

Mindfulness is moment-to-moment nonjudgmental awareness.  It is accessing our physical senses and focusing on the NOW instead of worrying about the past or the future.  Practicing mindfulness in San Diego is so challenging.  We live in a beautiful place, yet our schedules are packed with work, school, appointments, and other family activities.  San Diego is also an expensive place so live, so I think that often we feel compelled to make as much money we can, sometimes to the detriment of our health.  In this post, I’m going to identify three simple ways to tap into mindfulness to help us calm down our overactive brains and have an easier time negotiating the stresses of San Diego life. 

Read More

Diving Deeper into Spiritual Healing: Part 4 of Finding the Spiritual in Eating Disorder Treatment—A 5-Part Series

Diving Deeper into Spiritual Healing:  Part 4 of Finding the Spiritual in Eating Disorder Treatment—A 5-Part Series

Sometimes when you feel overwhelmed by your spiritual pain, you can think that there is no hope.  It is at these times when you need to dive deep into your pain to let yourself experience spiritual healing.  If you struggle with disordered eating, you know how painful it can be . . . emotionally, psychologically, physically, and spiritually.  Becoming acutely aware of all aspects of your pain as you go about your daily life in San Diego lets you open yourself to healing. It’s like when you have an infection in your arm—you need to open it up and clean out all of the gunk and then put the medicine on it so it can heal.  Spirituality can be your medicine—the balm for your soul.

Read More