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Brandy's Path


Disordered eating clients hold a special spot in my heart. Personally, I have come a long way - from healing from my own disordered eating to treating it!


Today I’d like to share with you some of my story as well as how I use intuitive eating and body trust in my own life and to treat my clients.


I was very body and health obsessed as a teen. I remember thinking I didn’t want others to see me as “unhealthy,” even though I grew up in a very thin body.

That orthorexic thinking eventually led me to become a dietitian. I thought I just wanted to help others become healthy through their diet, but looking back, it was mostly a way for me to justify my own restrictive eating.


I did a lot of harm in the early parts of my career. My first job as a dietitian was at a weight loss clinic. Day after day, I prescribed harmful diets and exercise plans, unaware of how much damage I was causing. My clients also had extremely poor body image. They would openly berate their bodies in front of me. I often placed blame on my clients when they “failed” to lose weight. Many would become emotional when the scale didn’t say what they wanted it to. Other times I felt helpless when my interventions flopped. My own disordered eating was at an all time high at that point. I felt extremely guilty for telling my clients to “control” themselves when I myself was binge eating every night after work. Those were some very self-critical times.


Finally, enough was enough. I started looking for answers (for myself and my clients) to the question: “why can’t I control my eating?”


After exploring more harmful avenues that led to even more restriction, I came across the Intuitive Eating book. Written by two dietitians, Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole, the book gave me a basic understanding of my own disordered eating and provided answers as to why my clients and I were so fixated on our bodies.


I didn’t stop reading there! My next book was Health At Every Size by Lindo Bacon, PhD. It was then I learned scientifically why my clients had a hard time losing weight, and even more importantly, what it means to be weight-biased. I discovered I was causing harm to my clients by promoting weight loss. I felt (and still feel) disappointed and angry that our culture is based in fatphobia which leads to the mistreatment of people who are anything but “normal” in size.


I promptly left the weight loss industry and worked in long-term care and hospital settings for a while. I worked on my own relationship with food and body during that time.


I started listening to podcasts like Food Psych, Maintenance Phase, Rethinking Wellness, Health Can’t Weight, What the Actual Fork, and The Body Grievers Club. I immersed myself in more books such as Sick Enough by Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani, The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor, and Anti-Diet by Christy Harrison, RD.


The anti-diet and Health At Every Size® movement became my passion. But as I started counseling for disordered eating in my outpatient private practice, I quickly realized there was a gap in my knowledge: I needed formal and supervised training on eating disorders.


I put my practice on hold while I joined Center for Discovery’s team, an eating disorder treatment center that works with clients who need a higher level of care. I worked with many different types of eating disorders and saw a wide range of severity.


Now that I have fine tuned my treatment philosophy, I am again seeing clients virtually for one on one sessions. My personal and professional experiences have taught me so much and I’m happy to be here to share it with you!


Some things you can expect from me when we work together include:


Education:

  • Polyvagal theory: you’ll learn how your nervous system works and how to better manage stress & anxiety for improved digestion and appetite.

  • Intuitive Eating (IE): you’ll learn about the 10 principles of IE and how to put them into practice.

  • Nutrition science and human physiology: you’ll learn more about how the body works, specifically in relation to disordered eating.

  • Health At Every Size® (HAES): you’ll learn what HAES is and why this movement is important to recovery.


In session:

  • We work together to build insight into how your ED serves you (then we can find healthier ways to meet those needs!).

  • Body image work.

  • We’ll help you find a pattern of eating that feels normal to you, even if that is not always intuitive eating.

  • We’ll assess if a meal plan is helpful for you in the beginning to ensure you are getting enough nutrition

  • We’ll explore how to create more variety and balance to your eating.

  • Food exposure therapy.

  • I will always work alongside you in meeting your recovery goals.

Additionally I can help with:

  • Monitoring of physical symptoms and vital signs.

  • Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) for co-occurring medical conditions.

  • Family education/sessions.

  • Coordination of care with outside providers.

  • Help you determine if you need a higher level of care.


I have found it helpful to hear the stories of other individuals who have struggled with an eating disorder or disordered eating. You are not alone and recovery is possible, especially with the guidance of a registered dietitian. I hope my story and my treatment philosophy has been helpful to learn and I can’t wait to hear your story when we meet!


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