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There’s Help. There’s Hope! The Emily Program is a warm and welcoming place where individuals and their families can find comprehensive treatment for eating disorders and related issues. This blog is a place for us to share the latest happenings at The Emily Program, as well as helpful tidbits from the broader eating disorder community. Subscribe via RSS to receive automatic updates. We want to hear your story. Email us (blog@emilyprogram.com) and ask how you can become a contributor!

Conquering my ED: A College Story

Erica Sunarjo

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Erica Sunarjo is a professional writer and editor with a Master’s degree in Marketing and Social Media. She writes thought-provoking articles for publications in a variety of media. Even though she is an expert in numerous fields of business, Erica is always dedicated to learning new things. Add her on Facebook and Linkedin

My parents were hesitant about letting me attend college three states away. They let me go because I convinced them my eating disorder was under control. I lied, sort of. Maybe it doesn’t count as lying since I also convinced myself that I was perfectly fine.

In fact, I told myself that college would offer the autonomy I needed for my life, my schedule, and my eating to progress. After all, was I really recovering or recovered when my parents were so carefully monitoring and managing everything from my calorie intake to my therapy appointments?

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Food Fight Club: A Q&A with Rosalyn Sheehy

Rosalyn Sheehy

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, or symptom use. Please use your own discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

In this Q&A, author Rosalyn Sheehy tells us about her latest book, Food Fight Club: Rules to Beat Bulimia. Learn the personal story behind the book and what she hopes readers will take away from it.

Tell us about Food Fight Club!

Food Fight Club is the essential handbook on beating bulimia—I simply had to write and share my tips. I suffered with bulimia for too many years, as a teen and into my 20s. I remember buying a book on bulimia years ago and tearing off the front cover; the B-word offended me, and I didn’t want anyone to know about my struggles. I felt the need to address this shame and secrecy. Back then I was absolutely terrified someone would find out and “report” my behavior. Bulimia is terribly isolating and dangerous. I have to warn people of the dangers too.

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Staff Spotlight, Courtney Saylors

Courtney Saylors

Tell us about yourself!

Hiyee! I’m Courtney. I’m the Site Director for our Seattle residential location. I started this role in December 2020, but have been with The Emily Program at our Seattle outpatient site since June 2016. I was the Clinical Manager for the Seattle outpatient nutrition team and the majority of my client experience was as a dietitian, primarily with our DBT PHP/IOP program. Prior to that, I worked at another ED residential program in multiple roles (milieu therapist/EDT, diet tech, individual therapist, dietitian). I’m both a therapist and dietitian, and it has been really fun to bring both of those lenses to my new role as Site Director.

What do you like most about your job?

I selfishly love this work because it’s forced me to take a good hard look at myself and my life and really ensure that I’m walking the walk and talking the talk. You cannot pour from an empty cup. To do this work, YOU have to be your top priority. Knowing your limits, holding boundaries, doing your own therapeutic work, doing what you need to do so you can be your very best you – that is how to have a positive impact and how to have a sustainable career. I’ve been incredibly lucky at The Emily Program to be surrounded by both clinical and executive teams who wholeheartedly support this and hold me to following my own advice.

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Muscle Dysmorphia, Sports, and Eating Disorders in Males

A person standing beside a weight rack at a gym

There’s a question that has swirled around the eating disorder field for decades: Where are all the males?

Our understanding of eating disorders in males is limited because the field has historically focused on females. Research has centered on females, diagnoses were organized around them, and screening tools and assessments have been normed to them.

We don’t have research that establishes what it means to have an eating disorder if you are male. We can approximate the population of males with eating disorders as 1/3 of the total number of people with eating disorders—but then the question arises: Why? Why would so many fewer males than females be affected?

It is unlikely that having two XX chromosomes instead of one X and one Y is the reason. Therefore, we must search for other factors to help us understand and explain the significantly lower rate in males. Are we missing the males with eating disorders?

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Episode 49: Managing Perfectionism with Kesslee

Kesslee

Episode description:

Kesslee is a young professional, part-time coach, wife, and dog mom. She is passionate about serving others to become the best version of themselves and using her journey to help them along the way.

Kesslee joins us in this episode of Peace Meal to share how perfectionism manifested during her eating disorder and recovery. She begins by recognizing the challenges of being a Division 1 distance runner. Under pressure to be small and lean for the sport, Kesslee restricted food while training more and more. The core issue, she says, was a belief that she was not enough—not for her coaches and not her parents.

Now, Kesslee has tools and strategies for combatting the lie that says she is a failure. She offers a practical exercise and recommendations for those similarly worried that they’re not enough, emphasizing the power of therapy and meaningful relationships as well. Equipped with this professional and personal support, she is now focused on adding small nurturing and empowering things into her life. She strives to use her perfectionism for good and carries with her a bold affirmation: “I have been put on this earth to take up space and become stronger.”

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Putting in the Work

Teresa Schmitz

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

While navigating her own recovery journey at The Emily Program, Teresa Schmitz discovered a hidden gift in being known as a great listener with a compassionate heart. Being earmarked as an IT Leader who was more into the people on her teams than the technology they were building, she realized her purpose was beyond her title. She connected the dots and soon realized her purpose was to help empower others. She pursued her dreams of becoming a coach and launched her own coaching business, My Best Self Yet.  She now helps women feel empowered to navigate the journey of loving themselves unconditionally. She also empowers others to know and use their character strengths in the In It Together group coaching program. Learn more about Teresa’s story and follow My Best Self Yet on Facebook, Instagram, and her blog.

“You have to put in the ‘work.’ You have to be willing to put your health and recovery above everything else.”

These are words that I said in my recovery story on the Peace Meal podcast. I can say them now because I am recovered, and putting in the “work” is exactly what it took.

I didn’t think recovery was possible when I was first diagnosed, as my eating disorder had convinced me that I was the problem. “I” just could not lose weight. “I” just could not seem to get a grip on my food consumption. “I” just couldn’t get my act together. There would be a lot of “work” unraveling these and many other beliefs.

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