Eating Disorders: My Approach
My approach to treating disordered eating focuses on and integrates three components:
- Psychotherapy, where we work through the emotional issues that fuel your compulsive eating
- Intentional eating, where we focus on healing your relationship to food
- Biochemistry, where we incorporate the current scientific knowledge about sugar addiction and the hormonal changes the body goes through when overweight.
In over 30 years of treating clients with food and weight issues I have developed an approach that combines all three areas to effectively treat disordered eating. All three components are necessary for a full healing.
When you are a baby you suckle and eat for comfort. If healthy, reliable sources of comfort are not available to you as a child you continue to seek comfort in food. Food causes chemical reactions in the body. Some foods can change your mood, helping you feel calm or sedated. While other foods are stimulating, and give you a false sense of energy. Part of our therapy is to understand why you turned to food to self-medicate. We will explore family-of-origin issues and learn about how you cope with stress. We will assess whether you are dealing with depression, anxiety, or other self-states you may be self-medicating.
Intentional eating is the place where psychotherapy and science meet. After years of disordered eating and dieting you cannot initially rely only on body signals of hunger and satiety. You may be addicted to certain foods which make it difficult to separate true hunger from addictive cravings.I integrate psychology and biochemistry into an approach to food and body that will help you move forward into balance and freedom from disordered eating.
If you are overweight the chances are very high that many of the normal systems your body uses to regulate metabolism, appetite and satiety are not functioning the way they should.
Leptin, which is a protein that comes from your stored fat, tells your body when you've had enough food. This message is designed to keep you from overeating. In healthy-functioning bodies leptin shuts off your hunger signal at an appropriate time. If you are significantly overweight your body can override the leptin signal that you are full. This is known as leptin resistance. You don’t get the satiety signal and you keep eating past the point of fullness. This is one reason many compulsive eaters are not successful when they try to regulate their eating by simply listening to their hunger and satiety signals. The signaling system is broken.
Sugar addiction: We now have scientific proof sugar is an addictive substance, which affects your brain in ways similar to cocaine and heroin. Like cocaine and heroin, you body builds up a tolerance to sugar, which makes you crave more and more. If sugar addiction is part of your disordered eating we will design a program to help you kick this powerful addiction.
Free yourself from compulsive eating
In treatment you will learn to:
- Develop healthy ways to handle life's challenges without overeating or restricting
- Address emotional issues that fuel your disordered eating
- Learn if you are addicted to some foods and what to do about it
- Learn to identify and respond to your body's natural hunger and satiety signals
- Learn to express your feelings, instead of bingeing, purging, or restricting food
- Achieve a comfortable relationship with food and your body
- Develop skills, such as self-soothing and impulse control
- Improve self-esteem
- Learn to set appropriate boundaries with people