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!
Nichole Soltis recently earned her master’s degree from The University of Akron and is now a licensed therapist in the state of Ohio. A long-time figure skater, she will be competing at her second Adult National Championships this month. She has a passion for eating disorders and their impact on athletes, and she hopes to use her platform to spread awareness, support others, and start the conversation about eating disorders and sports.
In this episode of Peace Meal, Nichole discusses how her passion for figure skating played a role in the development and maintenance of her eating disorder, as well as how she was able to get back on the ice after treatment. Delving first into the complicated relationship between aesthetic sports and eating disorders, she shares how restricting her food did not improve her skating performance in the way her eating disorder promised it would. Instead, it negatively affected not just her sport, but also her physical and mental health. Through recovery, Nichole learned that nourishing her body and working on her technique was the best thing for her skating performance. Now as a therapist passionate about supporting athletes, she encourages all coaches to get their athletes professional help if they notice the warning signs of an eating disorder. Nicole ends the conversation by assuring any athletes struggling with an eating disorder that getting help can mean enjoying life, food, and their sport once again.
Heidi Andersen is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor, Certified Eating Disorder Specialist Supervisor, Registered Yoga Teacher, and Embodiment Specialist. She has worked with people struggling with eating disorders as a therapist in residential, PHP, IOP, and outpatient levels of care. She currently maintains an outpatient group practice of body-centered psychotherapists specializing in weight-inclusive treatment for the intersection of trauma, attachment wounds, and eating disorders through an anti-oppression lens and somatic approach.
In this episode of Peace Meal, we explore the concept of embodiment and how it relates to eating disorders and recovery. Heidi covers the reasons we can become disembodied, as well as different ways we can work toward reconnecting with our body. Heidi also dives into how important it is for healthcare providers who help others with their embodiment to work on their own. She offers yoga as one tool in increasing embodiment, and it is a practice she finds especially valuable to ground herself on bad body image days. Recognizing that embodiment can often feel unsafe for people who are not in white, straight-sized bodies, Heidi hopes for a future where embodiment is more accessible for all.
Erin Werner is a mental health administrator, student, makeup artist, and ordained minister who enjoys being present with her family, cooking, and baking. In this episode of Peace Meal, she shares her eating disorder experience, including the factors that contributed to her illness, her process of seeking help, and the power of mindful self-compassion in her recovery.
Erin recounts her struggle with multiple eating disorders, illnesses that were characterized by bingeing, restricting, and purging throughout her adolescence and into her 20s. She then explains how, with the help of her parents, she started therapy and learned to identify the factors and co-occurring issues that were masking and influencing these conditions. Over time and with professional help, she learned the skill of mindful self-compassion, which was critical to her recovery. She shares how she has developed better coping mechanisms through the practice of self-compassion and overall feels more at peace with herself, her body, and food. In addition to finding a passion for cooking, she can now see food for what it is, fuel for the body.
Jason Wood combined his therapeutic love of writing with his mission to break the stigma around men’s mental health and eating disorders by launching Orthorexia Bites in 2021. His first book, a memoir titled Starving for Survival, is out now.
In this episode of Peace Meal, Jason discusses how weight-based bullying, the loss of his parents, and a cancer scare all contributed to the development of his eating disorder. He reflects on how the praise he received after weight loss in his early teens led him to believe that diet and exercise were something that made him “good” in the eyes of others. Then, he explains, a cancer scare led him to dieting and “clean eating” in an attempt to prevent cancer—the illness that took both of his parents. Jason experienced weight loss and was once again praised by friends and healthcare providers, suggesting that he was on the right track. In reality, however, an obsession with “clean eating” was consuming his life. Jason wants to share his story so that other men and boys know that they are not alone in their struggle with an eating disorder.
Katie Whipple is a Certified Public Accountant who co-led a $7 billion business deal as the youngest and only female on her team. After moving from New York to Indiana, she now participates in community involvement through Junior Achievement, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and her own podcast “Cup of Common Grounds.” Five years into her recovery, and after a seven-year hiatus, Katie decided to return to pageantry and will be competing for Miss Indiana USA in April.
In this episode of Peace Meal, Katie explores the factors that led to the development and worsening of her eating disorder, as well as those that now keep her strong in recovery. As a home-schooled Christian who grew up in purity culture, she says she was unaccustomed to the cultural and social pressures she encountered at college. The dramatic transition triggered her eating concerns, as well as a feeling that she was living a double life: a high achiever confidently facing business partners and pageantry judges in public, but struggling in private. In recovery, Katie has learned to find worth beyond her appearance and better name her emotions, a skill that has deepened her relationships with family and friends. She has also been able to reignite a passion that provided self-confidence and self-development when she was younger, pageantry. Acknowledging that pageantry can be a significant trigger for those with eating disorders, Katie shares how she protects her recovery while doing what she loves.
In this special holiday episode, we have compiled some powerful insights on recovery from several of our 2021 guests who have experienced it themselves. Throughout the year, we asked our podcast guests with a personal eating disorder story this question: “What would you tell someone listening who believes recovery isn’t possible for them?” This episode features some of the answers we received in response.
Many of our guests share how they once thought that recovery wasn’t possible for them as well, but every little step they made toward healing was so important. While acknowledging how challenging recovery can be, they also emphasize how much better it is than having an eating disorder. If you are experiencing or recovering from an eating disorder yourself, we hope that this episode leaves you with some hope and wisdom on your path to healing.