801.361.8589 [email protected]
Navigating Recovery While In a Relationship: Part 1

Navigating Recovery While In a Relationship: Part 1

An eating disorder can impact every facet of life, especially the relationships that matter most to you. If you are in a romantic relationship, and have an eating disorder, there have likely been some difficult conversations about how your ED impacts your relationship, and vice versa. Even though it’s challenging, navigating through eating recovery while in a relationship can also bring depth and strength to both your recovery and your connection with your partner.  

Over the next few blog posts, I’ll be answering some common questions about handling different aspects of recovery while in a relationship. Let’s dive in!

Q: How do I help my significant other understand my experience with my eating disorder?

A: It can feel really hard to explain the experience of an eating disorder to someone who has never had one themselves. Here are a few thoughts that might help:

  • Don’t stress about explaining yourself perfectly or getting a complete understanding from your significant other. Gaining understanding is a process, and will take time and experience together. Remember that you and your partner don’t have to understand each other perfectly in order to give and receive meaningful support. 
  • Invite them to join a therapy session with you. Talk with your therapist about the possibility of inviting your partner to join a session occasionally. Your therapist can support you in explaining how you’re feeling, and in addressing concerns that you and your partner might have about recovery.
  • Share part of a journal entry with your partner, then talk about it together. Sometimes sharing something you’ve written down can be a starting point for a conversation about how you’re feeling.

Q: How can my significant other support me without smothering me?

A: It makes sense that you need both support and space from your partner as you work through recovery. You can’t do recovery alone, but your partner also can’t make recovery happen for you by watching your every move. Some tips for balancing support and space in your relationship:

  • Make a structured plan for checking in with your significant other about recovery. Schedule the times you’ll check in, and make an agenda for what you’ll talk about. 
    • For example:

Check-in every night at 9:30
1. Be accountable for any ED behaviors from the day.

  1. Share a recovery victory that happened today.
  2. Make a plan for any challenges coming up tomorrow.

Scheduling daily or weekly check-ins can help you and your significant other stay connected, without feeling like you have to constantly be talking about the eating disorder and nothing else. Let the schedule of your check-ins do the work of starting the conversation.

  • Share your treatment goals with your partner, and involve them where possible. Tell your partner what you’re working on with your dietitian and your therapist. If your partner has no idea what’s happening in your recovery, they are more likely to feel like they have to monitor your every move. If you feel like you’re being watched or babysat, you’re likely to feel frustrated and irritated. On the other hand, if you can share what your goals are, and specific ways your partner can help with those goals, you can get support without feeling suffocated.

Q: Won’t talking about my eating disorder just make my partner feel worried and stressed?

A: This is a very common concern that can feel really complicated. A few things to remember:

  • Communicating consistently about your recovery is likely to be more helpful than harmful. Your partner is likely to worry more if you don’t talk consistently about how things are going.
  • You are not responsible for managing your partner’s worry or stress. It’s up to them to ask for support from you or from others as they manage their own emotions and needs. Allowing your partner to feel their emotions and seek needed support is a healthy way to manage challenges in a relationship. Likewise, your partner should not assign you responsibility for their emotions.
  • Sometimes worry and concern can be helpful to your recovery and relationship. If your partner is genuinely expressing concern, that may be valuable feedback that can support your recovery process.

Tune in to my next blog post for more Q and A on relationships!


Building a Positive Relationship With Ourselves

Building a Positive Relationship With Ourselves

As you work towards a space of healing your relationship with your own body, you may begin to notice how others speak about their bodies, talk about others’ physical appearances, or maybe even make comments about your body. Part of entering a space of embodiment means exploring ways to set clear expectations or boundaries about the way that you communicate regarding your own, and others’, physical appearances. By setting clear limits on how those around us discuss, criticize, or interact with our bodies, we reclaim the power to outline our own self-worth and nurture a positive relationship with ourselves.

Setting boundaries may feel overwhelming in the beginning, so here are a few steps to make it easier.

  1. Explore what feels safe to talk about, and what does not. This will help you identify specific topics where boundaries may be needed. For example, it could be comments about your body size, appearance, clothes, or specific body parts. 
  2. Communicate boundaries to friends, family, coworkers, or anybody that has made comments that do not feel safe. Be clear and communicate what type of comments are acceptable and what is not. Express your needs and speak to why this boundary is important to you. Example: From this point going forward, please don’t make comments about my physical appearance. 
  3. Be prepared for pushback, but stick to your boundary anyway. It may be uncomfortable for others to acknowledge how past comments have impacted you, but this does not mean you need to adjust your boundaries to make others feel more comfortable. 
  4. Remember that boundaries can be moveable. If specific boundaries you have set are no longer serving you, you have the right to communicate within your relationships and adjust as needed. 

Boundaries are not walls, and setting boundaries does not necessarily mean shutting others out. We have the ability to set boundaries to protect meaningful relationships, and without boundaries, our relationships may not thrive or evolve into their full potential. Boundaries create a healthy balance between our needs, and the needs of others. You deserve safety and honesty within your relationships, and setting boundaries can be an excellent tool to help you reach that outcome. 

Evolving Beauty Standards: The Science Behind Changing Perspectives

Evolving Beauty Standards: The Science Behind Changing Perspectives

Beauty standards have always been subject to influence by cultural, societal, and individual factors. Throughout history, there has been a noticeable shift in the way beauty is perceived and appreciated. You may be familiar with social media videos showing hair, makeup, or clothing trends through the decades and note the changing- and sometimes comical- differences the standard of “beauty” has brought to women.  Why does this matter?  In a world with an ever-changing bullseye, women find themselves exhausted trying to keep up.  Unchecked, this can wreak havoc on your physical and emotional health.  Let’s take a deeper dive and explore the changing beauty standards and the factors contributing to this transformation.

Societal Influences:

Beauty standards are heavily influenced by societal values and norms. Historically, these standards have often been based on a narrow range (often white, European influenced) physical attributes, perpetuating unrealistic ideals.  However, increased awareness and cultural shifts have given rise to a more inclusive perspective on beauty. This shift is driven by social movements, like body positivity, inclusivity, feminism, and equality.



The media plays a significant role in shaping beauty standards. Traditionally, mainstream media has promoted a homogeneous view of beauty, featuring predominantly slim, young, and white individuals. However, as media platforms diversify, there is a growing demand for representation of different body types, ethnicities, ages, and abilities. Exposure to diverse representations can positively impact self-esteem and body image.


Cultural Variations:

Beauty standards vary across cultures, highlighting the subjective nature of beauty. In some cultures, curvier body types are celebrated, while in others, a slender physique is favored. Understanding cultural variations and appreciating diverse aesthetic preferences can help challenge the notion of a singular ideal and foster acceptance of different beauty standards.

Beauty standards are not merely external forces at work-  they also can be internalized by individuals. The concept of “social comparison” explains how people compare themselves to others, often leading to negative self-perception when they fall short of societal beauty standards. 

By understanding the underpinnings of changing beauty standards, you can become aware of how you are influenced and impacted by them.  When you begin to take note of that, you can then take charge and set intentions around the way you want to interact with these ideas.  It allows you to embrace inclusivity, challenge unrealistic ideals, and celebrate diverse forms of beauty. Recognizing the role of ever-changing beauty standards allows us to move toward a more inclusive and empowering notion of beauty, one that values individuality and authenticity.

Your First Therapy Session

Your First Therapy Session

So, you’re feeling like you might be ready to try working with a therapist. You’re not sure how it will go or what to expect. You’re wondering if talking to someone about your struggles will actually be helpful. What happens if you don’t like your therapist? Or what if talking about your struggles starts to feel overwhelming?

If you’re having any of these thoughts as you consider starting therapy, I want to reassure you that you’re definitely not alone! It makes sense that coming in for your first therapy session can feel a bit intimidating. As a therapist, I’d say that most people feel some nervousness about coming into therapy for the first time. In this blog post, I’ll share my answers to a few of the questions I often hear from people about what to expect from a first therapy session. If you’re thinking about starting therapy, I hope you’ll find something helpful here!

What will my first therapy session be like?

Many therapists will have you fill out a simple questionnaire before your appointment, so they have a bit of information about why you’re wanting to come to therapy before you meet with them. When you first sit down together, your therapist might talk about privacy and confidentiality, and might explain some of the office policies. They might ask you about what made you decide to set an appointment, and what circumstances in your life are relevant to what you want to talk about in therapy. Your therapist might also work with you to set some specific goals for what you hope to get out of therapy. Your first session is also a chance for you to ask your therapist any questions you have.

What should I do to prepare for my first session?

Having some notes on what you’re needing from therapy can be helpful. Same goes for any questions or concerns you’d like to bring up with your therapist. There’s really nothing “required” for the first session except for the paperwork the therapist’s office sends you before your appointment (consent and privacy information, your payment agreement, contact information, etc.,). Having your paperwork filled out before your appointment will help you have all the session time available for talking with your therapist. Planning ahead to get to your therapist’s office a few minutes early can also help you feel less rushed and stressed.

What do I do if I don’t like my therapist?

I can’t speak for all therapists, but I like to let my clients know that it’s important to me that they find a therapist who feels like a good fit for their needs. If someone legitimately feels I’m not a good fit for them, I fully want them to let me know so I can either make adjustments to meet their needs better or support them in finding a therapist who feels like a better fit. You always have permission to do what feels right for you, including bringing up concerns with your therapist, or finding a therapist who feels like a better fit.

What if therapy feels too overwhelming?

Therapy is not always easy. In fact, most of the time, it can be a challenging experience. I know this firsthand as a therapist and someone with lots of experience going to therapy myself! Talking with a stranger about the most difficult parts of your life can be hard. Ideally, your therapist will help you go at a pace that is challenging, but not completely overwhelming. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can talk with your therapist about what you’re experiencing.

Starting therapy can take a lot of courage! I know I am biased, but I am a firm believer that therapy can be an incredibly helpful experience. You deserve to find the support you need, and I hope this blog post is helpful to you!

Weight For It

Weight For It

Last week a client who has been in recovery for several years wanted to discuss her sudden desire to weigh herself. Early in her recovery journey, she “threw away the scale” and got in tune with her body from the inside out. She learned to value her body based on what it offers her and how she feels in it instead of the number on the scale. As a result, it has been several years since she has known her weight, and she suddenly found herself curious about where her body was in this regard. She wanted to work through if weighing herself was a good idea and something that would potentially facilitate her growth; or if it was a bad idea and inviting an old vulnerability.

Whenever I explore a behavior, it feels critical to examine the “why” behind the “what.” Here are some questions to consider regarding the number on the scale. 

Why does the number matter to you? 

What do you hope will happen by learning this number?

 What are your intentions with this information? 

What are you worried about? 

What do you believe or understand about what this number says about your body, health, worth, etc? 

How will you navigate unexpected reactions to this information? 

How will you ground yourself in your values? 

There are three possible outcomes regarding weight. You will either learn that your body 1. Didn’t change, 2. Lost weight, or 3. Gained weight. We can think through potential pros/cons with these outcomes. 

If your body is at a stable point or didn’t change:

Pro: You may experience this data point as a source of reassurance that your body is trustworthy. You see that your body does stabilize at a certain “point” when it is fully nourished and taken care of. This may lead to a sense of predictability and comfort in your body. 

Con: Experiencing your body as trustworthy, based on weight, is a false source of trust. Bodies are trustworthy, and they can be and especially may be, trustworthy with weight fluctuations. Your body’s main job is to take care of you. She knows best how to do this. And how she takes care of you includes a host of factors that are outside of your own awareness. Your body may find it necessary to fluctuate in its weight in service of that care.

If your body weighs less than you thought: 

Pro: If you thought you weighed more, or felt “larger,” than the number the scale revealed, learning the number is smaller than you thought may increase awareness of how distorted you experience your body subjectively. This may be a reality check for you. 

Con: You find reassurance in being “smaller” but this continues to place value on size as a metric of worth and well-being for you. Or at least a source of comfort and reassurance. Either way, it externalizes what is an inside job. 

If your body weighs more than you thought: 

Pro: You may see the number on the scale and find that it is higher than you anticipated and are able to reflect on how you feel in your body doesn’t relate to that number on the scale. This may help you understand that the number doesn’t reflect an embodied, lived reality. You may understand that feeling good in your body is more important than how much gravity pulls on your body (weight). 

Con: This may be incredibly triggering and destabilizing. You may believe that your “worst fear” has come true and understand that nourishing your body leads to unexpected and feared weight gain. You will find yourself comparing this number to either a smaller number you’ve been at before or an idealized number. The number on the scale will increase in its power and influence over you, leading to increased mental energy, anxiety, distress, and potentially disordered eating habits. 

We could flesh out this pro/con list even more, and I think you get the idea. 

Each individual journey in recovery is unique. And what one person does in recovery may look different from someone else’s journey. This is just one example of how recovery may shift over time and look different. While I maintain that part of my own recovery is not to know my own weight, I also acknowledge that there may be value in someone else knowing their weight as part of their journey.  What matters is the “why” behind the “what” and how that continues to align with your values and growth. 

Every Body Is a Summer Body

Every Body Is a Summer Body

As the days become longer and the temperature rises, you may find yourself prepping for the summer months. Planning weekend getaways, identifying a list of activities to attend, possibly even planting new flowers or doing some cleaning. Whatever your summer prep includes, hoping to change your body to be worthy of these activities should not make the to-do list.

It is easy to fall victim to the expectations that others set for us regarding “summer bodies”. But as we know, focusing heavily on this change leaves little room for other values such as connection, leisure, or growth. Your body is not the outcome of your summer, nor should you allow the vulnerability of being embodied to hinder your ability to enjoy the season. 

You deserve a fun-filled, intentional, connection-based summer, showing up as exactly who you are. Here is a list of 10 things to add to your summer live list that have nothing to do with your physical appearance:

  1. Go for a swim- you don’t have to change your body to be worthy of wearing a bathing suit
  2. Try a new recipe
  3. Go 24 hours without social media 
  4. Read a new book
  5. Have a picnic with friends 
  6. Hike a different trail
  7. Enjoy a campfire
  8. Eat a snowcone 
  9. Learn something new
  10. Take a family photo

In my experience, the summers that I have approached the season being authentic and embodied have helped create the mindset where I am able to enjoy being present and creating memories. You are so much more than your body. Don’t allow negative thoughts or unrealistic expectations to dominate the outcome of your summer. 

Mute Notifications From Your ED

Mute Notifications From Your ED

I’ve recently been trying to be more intentional about how much time I spend on my phone. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling like I find myself wasting time on social media, online shopping, or reading the news on my phone when I could be doing things that feel more valuable to me. One thing that has helped me is turning off notifications on many of the apps that tend to distract me. Apps are designed to get us to spend more time on them, especially by sending us notifications about new posts, new discounts, new products, etc. Without the notifications pulling me in, I get to be the one to choose when I engage with those apps.

Can you sense an eating disorder recovery metaphor coming? Mmhmm.

What if you could “turn off notifications” from your eating disorder? What if you could somehow mute some of the things that draw you toward putting more time, energy, thought, and worry into disordered patterns? Here are a few ways you can mute those “notifications” that draw your attention toward an unhealthy way of relating to food, exercise, or your body.

  1. Get rid of apps that serve your eating disorder. I can confidently say that, for the most part, apps that track calories are inherently unhelpful to your eating disorder recovery. Calorie tracking apps may be literally sending you notifications that make recovery more difficult. Too much focus on calories disrupts your ability to listen to your body and fuels deprivation and shame about eating. Unless your dietitian is asking you to track your intake in favor of your recovery, get rid of tracking apps. MyFitnessPal is NOT your pal.
  2. Throw out your scale. Every time you see that scale in the corner of your bathroom or peeking out from under your bed, it’s like getting a *ding* notification from an app. If weighing yourself is part of your eating disorder, even having the scale around can be an intrusive reminder that you “should” (according to your eating disorder) be worrying about your weight. Getting the scale out of your environment is a powerful way to mute those unnecessary reminders.
  3. Get rid of clothing items that serve your eating disorder. If you’re hanging on to clothing that is serving as a “goal” for changing your body, having those items is like getting notifications from your eating disorder every time you open your closet. Cleaning your closet and donating or selling items that don’t work for your body right now is a way of reducing chatter from your eating disorder when you get dressed each day.

Of course, I’m not saying you should be expected to be able to “turn off” all thoughts from your eating disorder. (I, at least, have yet to figure out how that might be done!) However, remember that there are ways you can be proactive in reducing the frequency of “notifications” popping up from your eating disorder. Just like a phone app, eating disorder patterns are designed to take increasing amounts of your attention, leaving you with less attention for other things. This is part of why an eating disorder might have been a form of coping with difficulty in life, and it’s also part of why an eating disorder can end up becoming so damaging. By actively removing opportunities for your eating disorder to grab your attention, you increase the mental space in which other parts of your life can flourish.

Even though it’s not always easy, you can decide to push “mute” on some of the things your eating disorder uses to take up space in your life. Making an empowered choice to put less energy into your eating disorder and more energy into the rest of your life can feel scary at first, but will ultimately be freeing.

Third Options

Third Options

Let’s call her “Amy.” Amy had come a long way in reclaiming a healthy relationship with her body. In this place, Amy actively sought for balance with healthy movement and living her life values. She navigated this space well. Until she signed up for a race. 

If you are familiar with eating disorders and vulnerability, you might think Amy lost her sense of balance at this point in her journey. You may wonder if her pursuit of a rigorous fitness goal led to a relapse in her eating disorder. Sometimes, this is what happens.  

That is not what happened for Amy. In her ongoing pursuit of balance, living her values, and protecting her recovery, she found herself in a unique situation that was a sharp contrast to her rigid and perfectionistic background. 

As race day approached, Amy found herself under-prepared and under-trained. She also found herself actively struggling with some intense body image concerns as she felt her body didn’t look like the runner she aspired to be. 

In our session, the week of the race, Amy shared her distress and debated her options. “I can either run the race, feel terrible about my time and performance, and feel disgusting in my body, or I can just skip it.”

As we discussed this situation together, we explored, “Is there a third option?”

Amy’s face broke into a smile, and she exclaimed, “I could start the race, and if I hate it, I can simply stop for coffee and walk the rest of the way!” She loved the idea of simply walking off the racecourse and into a nearby coffee shop if she concluded her body or her mind weren’t up for the task of completing the race. 

This third option allowed her to pursue her value around commitment and movement while holding these ideals with flexibility. It also allowed her to challenge her negative body image and show up for herself with compassion in the face of a grueling physical event where comparisons run rampant.    

So often, we trap ourselves in dichotomies, black-and-white thinking, and either/or options. These patterns are limiting and rigid. They diminish our ability to pursue our needs and growth with creativity and flexibility.

Asking ourselves about possible “Third Options” allows for expansion. It allows us to pursue what matters to us while releasing the shackles of perfectionism and rigidity. Sometimes we feel if we can’t do something perfectly, it’s not worth doing at all. Third, options are a way to give ourselves permission to be messy, imperfect, and actively choose growth. I’m a big fan of jumping into the growth that really is only found in the messiness of the pursuit of what matters.

Amy ended up finishing her race. She walked a lot of it and had a fun experience. She did not achieve any time goals, but she pursued her values and challenged herself. She felt good about the result and herself in the process. 

While not the “point” of third options, I also suspect that, more often than not, when we pursue what matters with compassion and flexibility, we succeed better than we anticipate. And regardless of the outcomes, Third Options invite our own self-advocacy and growth. When faced with a dichotomy where neither option is satisfactory, let’s ask ourselves, “Is there a third option?”