National Eating Disorders Association
Blog
Recovery

Three out of my 16 years of life were spent in my eating disorder. It was a silent battle—I appeared as smiley as ever, even through the weeks of being too nauseated to eat, let alone function properly. It wasn’t that I was unloved; I’ve always had a loving, supportive family and solid friends around me. It was for this very reason that I couldn’t share my struggles. I loved and cared for them so deeply that I was willing to keep my pain to myself instead of bringing pain to them.

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Leon Silvers is a psychotherapist, founder, and director of Silvers Psychotherapy, a group therapy practice in NYC. He specializes in working with clients with eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma, and LGBT issues.

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The value of relationships cannot be understated. The relationship the patient has with their bodies and their health care providers are two of the most crucial. So many have felt isolated and ashamed and being able to step into a truly "judgment-free zone" with a provider can be life changing. When a patient leaves the office with an inclusive, engaging care plan, there is a visible lightness about them! With that lightness comes long-term positive changes in health. 

Here are four ways that you, as a provider, can create a safe space for patients: 

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“Dear Melody” is a monthly advice column by Dr. Melody Moore, a clinical psychologist, yoga instructor and the founder of the Embody Love Movement Foundation. Her foundation is a non-profit whose mission is to empower girls and women to celebrate their inner beauty, commit to kindness, and contribute to meaningful change in the world. Dr. Moore is a social entrepreneur who trains facilitators on how to teach programs to prevent negative body image and remind girls and women of their inherent worth.

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When I was 18, my life (I believed) was a complete failure. I had just dropped out of college, was “let go” from a job, had barely any friends left from high school, and really no direction as to where my life was going.  After a month or so spent searching for a job, my mom came home excitingly telling me they were hiring at my local liquor store. I applied to the job, got a call a week later, and was offered a position all within a couple of months. 

Little did I know this would change my life forever.

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As a person who struggled with an eating disorder and a co-occurring substance abuse problem, I spent nearly a decade lying. 

I lied about how much I was eating, I lied about how often I was eating, and I lied about what I was doing after I was eating.

I lied about how much I was drinking, I lied about how often I was drinking, and I lied about my ability to stop once I started drinking. 

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“Dear Melody” is an advice column by Dr. Melody Moore, a clinical psychologist, yoga instructor, and the founder of the Embody Love Movement Foundation. Her foundation is a non-profit whose mission is to empower girls and women to celebrate their inner beauty, commit to kindness, and contribute to meaningful change in the world. Dr. Moore is a social entrepreneur who trains facilitators on how to teach programs to prevent negative body image and remind girls and women of their inherent worth.

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I think about where I am in starting The Cashmere Foundation, an organization that brings spa experiences into hospitals, one year in. And honestly, I compare it so much to where I was one year in my recovery. It was 11 years ago when I was 18. I had just reached my goal weight and was getting ready to move to New York. I was this new person, the person I was meant to be, someone who would continue to evolve, but the foundation was there. 

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“Family is everything.”
“Who can you depend on if you don’t have family?”
“Blood is thicker than water.”

These words of “wisdom” are drilled into many of us from the time we’re young. They litter Instagram feeds as graphic quotes and acquaintances utter them without thinking twice. However, not all of us are so fortunate to consider our familial relationships a source of pride and comfort. 

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College is an exciting time. For the first time, you are an adult living on your own, making decisions and new friends, and starting to take a large step toward your future. You are excited, and also overwhelmed. Frankly, you are freaked out! 

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