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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask how you can become a contributor!
Tell us about yourself!
Hi, I’m Marissa (she/her)! I started with The Emily Program in 2022 after moving to Spokane, Washington, with my family. I am the Clinical Manager and an Outpatient Therapist at our Spokane Outpatient & Day Treatment site for Adolescents and Adults.
The benefits of athletics are well-established. Participating in organized sports can help you build self-esteem, recognize the value of teamwork, set the foundation for a lifelong physical activity practice, improve mental health, promote social connections, open the doorway for scholarships or even a career, and teach important life skills, such as goal-setting and leadership.
However, these positive outcomes come with an important caveat. The pressures of athletic competition and the emphasis many sports place on body weight, shape, and size can contribute to psychological and physical stress. For individuals naturally predisposed to eating disorders, these stressors can be a tipping point into disordered territory.
Athletes frequently experience diminishing returns from disordered habits like restrictive dieting and over-training. Although it can be difficult for an athlete to step away from their sport, pursuing treatment increases their likelihood of safely returning—and can be lifesaving. Coaches, parents, teammates, and providers have a critical role in ensuring athletes are prioritized over the sport. Understanding the risks athletes face is key to providing preventative support.
Seeking support for an eating disorder is not only okay, it’s necessary. The longer care is delayed, the longer disordered thought patterns and behaviors have to take root and complicate recovery.
Eating disorder treatment and recovery can (and do) look different for everyone. Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, race, or background, there is a recovery path for anyone. The Emily Program’s day treatment programs are ideal for many individuals with eating disorders because they allow clients to practice recovery skills in their everyday lives while receiving comprehensive, evidence-based treatment at a higher level of care and structure.
The Emily Program is committed to providing evidence-based treatment that meets you at any stage of life. Breaking free from these all-consuming illnesses is possible. Read on to learn how our day treatment programs promote lasting recovery from an eating disorder.
Pause for a moment. Take a deep breath in. Now, exhale it all out. The prospect of beginning residential treatment for an eating disorder can be anxiety-provoking, overwhelming, and even terrifying. Whether you’re about to start treatment for the first time, are a returning client who has received treatment in the past at a different level of care, or are helping your loved one or patient prepare for their admission to residential treatment, intense emotions and uncertainty surrounding the start of treatment are understandable.
At The Emily Program, we’ve designed our residential treatment programs to accommodate all the apprehension that may come with this brave leap into the unknown. Residential care offers around-the-clock structure and ongoing skill development, with a focus on personalized support from our multidisciplinary care team. The Emily Program’s residential facilities are places of hope and healing. Learn about the variety of interventions we offer in residential care, designed to bring lasting recovery within reach.
**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.
Ally Rae Pesta is a yoga teacher, run coach, eating disorder recovery coach, speaker, and published author. She’s been in recovery for ten years. Her passion is to empower individuals to find purpose beyond their body and reclaim their relationship with their body, movement, and food. Her memoir, Beyond My Body: Recovering From a Complex Eating Disorder, Reclaiming Movement, and Finding My Worth, launched on World Mental Health Day, October 10th. Visit her website allyrae.co to learn more or buy her book here.
Why did you write Beyond My Body?
I have always loved to write. Since I was five years old, I dreamed of writing a book one day. Fast forward to 17 years old, lying in a hospital bed, where I wrote in my recovery journal that one day I would write a book about this. Although it took me ten years to finally write and publish my book, my truest why still remains—write it for my 17-year-old self who wanted so badly to feel seen, heard, and understood.
Your child starts exhibiting the signs of an eating disorder. You contact an eating disorder treatment center for help and receive a level of care recommendation that fits their needs. But you are unsure whether treatment is the right choice for your child at the moment. After all, they’ve made commitments to various groups, clubs, and sports—all activities that seem to be really good for them.
Understandably, you don’t want them to miss out on the extracurriculars they love. Maybe treatment can wait until the season ends, you think. Perhaps after the last game, band concert, dance recital, robotics competition, etc. If you take them out of the play, the soccer season, their choir group, you might wonder, how will they manage? The activity seems to be the only thing they engage in, the only thing that brings them joy—what if this makes things worse?
It’s understandable to have concerns about interrupting these activities. However, recovery can benefit not only your child’s overall health but also their ability to fully enjoy and excel in their extracurricular pursuits.