Do you find yourself often distracting yourself or avoiding dealing with tough situations in life? Which coping skills do you use when life gets tricky? Have you heard of radical acceptance? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks with Teresa Schmitz about emotional awareness, coping skills, and radical acceptance.


After her recovery from an eating disorder diagnosis at mid-life, Teresa Schmitz started her own coaching practice focused on empowering women. Teresa coaches women to rediscover their happiness by showing up authentically and loving themselves unconditionally, no matter their size. Her memoir, It Was Never About the Cake: A Middle-Aged Woman's Journey of Overcoming an Eating Disorder and Discovering Her Best Self, will publish on Amazon on October 27. In her spare time, she enjoys quality time with her family - husband, Dale, 2 young adult children, Kaitlyn and Ian, and 5-year-old Golden doodle, Ollie. Visit My Best Self Yet and connect with them on Facebook. Connect with Teresa on Instagram and LinkedIn. FREEBIE: Sign Up to get a month's worth of journaling prompts, a guide on determining your values, and a two minute mirror exercise on YouTube.


  • Learn to sit with yourself
  • Develop healthier coping skills
  • Practice radical acceptance
  • Let go of things that no longer serve you

Learn to sit with yourself

There are difficult and painful moments in life, and sometimes stress is unavoidable. In those moments, your power resides in the next choice you make; will you sit with yourself through the discomfort, or will you run away and avoid it? Avoidance and distraction are understandable but negative habits that people can develop over time if they do not learn or practice sticking through tough times.
Once you start peeling back the layers … and addressing the eating disorder and the healing, you know, I came to realize that my anxiety and my eating disorder fed on each other. I was so anxious about so many things and my eating disorder was that comfort. (Teresa Schmitz)
Staying in the difficult moment instead of running away or distracting yourself from it is the healthiest solution. It may be more difficult in the short-term, but it is a lot healthier in the long-term.
Sometimes staying in the “muck” … instead of running is something also to learn during a recovery or your healing so that you can go forward. (Teresa Schmitz)

Develop healthier coping skills

One of the ways that you learn how to sit with yourself through the occasional discomfort of life is to develop healthy coping skills. Instead of turning to food to self-soothe or to distract yourself from whatever difficult or negative emotions you are feeling, consider:
  • Going for a walk outside to calm your body and mind
  • Phoning a friend or loved one
  • Seeking a counselor or therapist that can give you the mental health tools to practice
What great awareness [of] having to face those [difficult emotions] and deal with them [and] not have your eating disorder to numb out anymore, escape, or avoid those things, and [rather] hit them head on and go, “Okay, how do I want to deal with this?” (Dr. Castagnini)

Practice radical acceptance

Accepting something does not mean that you condone it or welcome it, or that it is not important. To accept something means to be present with the fact that it is real, that you feel or experience it, and that you have to address it, not avoid it.
Accept this moment for what it is. It’s not going to last forever, and then have a path forward. (Teresa Schmitz)
When you start to practice this radical acceptance, it becomes much easier to overcome and heal difficult emotions and situations because you are no longer fighting whether they are real or not. Rather, you are now thinking about how to work constructively with them instead of avoiding them.

Let go of things that no longer serve you

Part of the healing journey is to let go of the things that you are holding onto that no longer support you, or serve you directly. In eating disorder recovery, this could be something like holding onto smaller clothes indefinitely. Free yourself from old objects, beliefs, and even relationships that require you to be something different from what you are at your present and authentic self.
You need to go clean out your closet and only have clothes that fit you right now … you’re getting ED [the eating disorder] out of your closet, right? … so that it’s not a constant reminder, and it’s so freeing. (Dr. Castagnini)



I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


Did you enjoy this podcast? Feel free to comment below and share this podcast on social media! You can also leave a review of Behind The Bite on Apple Podcasts (previously) iTunes and subscribe!

Podcast Transcription

[DR. CRISTINA CASTAGNINI] Behind The Bite podcast is part of a network of podcasts that are good for the world. Check out podcasts like the Full of Shift podcast, After the First Marriage podcast and Eating Recovery Academy over at Welcome to Behind The Bite podcast. This podcast is about the real-life struggles women face with food, body image and weight. We're here to help you inspire and create better healthier lives. Welcome. Well, hello everyone. We have a great show for you all today. But before we dive in, I wanted to say that I am loving all of the questions and comments that are coming in. As I've mentioned before, if you send them, I am more than happy to get them out here on the show. That being said, I want to shout out to someone who just went by the name, On My Way for sharing this. He or she said, "I am so glad I somehow stumbled across your podcast. I started listening to a woman sharing her personal story, and she sounded so much like me. I just couldn't believe it. I had to keep listening. I think I listened to every show that had someone sharing their story. I always thought I just needed to find the right diet. Now, I just want help. I want to thank you and all of your guests who are so open and honest because now I am on my way to figuring this out." Well, what a great name. Perfect, actually, if I think about it, On My Way. I definitely want to thank you for writing in, and thank you for listening. You said it so well. You are definitely on your way, and I don't know where you're listening from, you didn't say, but wherever you are, please know this is definitely a step in the right direction for you and for you and anyone else listening, I know it's not easy to take that first step, so congratulations. You know what, it really does mean so much to me to hear from listeners like you when the show has any effect on you. As I said before, I do this show for a lot of reasons, but definitely one of them is that anything you can hear on the show helps you. So please message me. Let me know what you think of the show. Ask me questions, give me feedback. You can do that in a lot of ways, but now you can more easily do that on my voice message website and that's www I'm going to put that in the show notes. That's a place you can leave a voice message for me, and I'm so excited to hear anything you guys have to say. So keep listening because you just might hear your name in the next show. Okay, so now onto today's show, you know what, this is interesting timing, actually. I bet On My Way probably listened to today's guest when she was on here before, and maybe you have as well. You may be wondering why I'm even having a guest who is already on here, and here's why. I always feel it's important to discuss what life looks like well past what is considered recovery. There are a lot of questions and really erroneous myths out there about what life post-treatment is like for someone who's been diagnosed with an eating disorder. So it's really great to have our guest back here to discuss what she is doing in her life right now. I'm going to let her tell you so much more about that, but I'm going to give you some highlights. After her recovery from an eating disorder diagnosis at midlife, Teresa Schmitz started her own coaching practice focused on empowering women. She now coaches women to rediscover their happiness by showing up authentically and loving themselves unconditionally no matter their size. She has written a memoir, It Was Never About The Cake: A Middle-Aged Woman's Journey of Overcoming an Eating Disorder and Discovering Her Best Self, which is actually available on Amazon today, October 27th. So, awesome. In her spare time she's a normal person. She enjoys quality time with her family, her husband Dale, and her two young adult children, Caitlin and Ian, and her five-year-old Golden Doodle Olie. She loves the sun, the beach, and a good book. All right, Teresa, well, welcome to the podcast. Welcome back. It's so good to see you again. [TERESA SCHMITZ] Yes, thank you so much for having me back again. I'm so honored to be back again. [DR. CRISTINA] Well, I'm excited. As anyone has listened to Teresa's podcast when she was first here, we talked and focused on your journey pre-diagnosis and treatment. Now here you are and you have a book coming out, and you've had this whole journey of going through treatment and beyond, and everything that you went through and writing the book and what a journey. I'm just wondering, what was that like for you going through that whole process for you? [TERESA] That's a great question and thank you. Yes, my book is coming out soon. It's called, it Was Never About The Cake, A Middle-Aged Woman's Journey of Overcoming an Eating Disorder and Discovering Her Best Self. She'll be available on Amazon when it does publish, both the Kindle version and a paperback version. Yes, it was quite the journey and like you said, we talked about different things in the previous podcast, this journey, one thing that I discovered in my recovery process was about forgiveness. Something that I highlight in my book was about a story where my dad had passed away several years before I started my recovery journey and I noticed during my journey that I had a lot of resentment towards my father not being there as a child. He had his own mental health challenges. He was an alcoholic, and I just felt like I didn't get the love I needed as a child, and he was no longer here in this world, and I was just holding a lot of resentment towards him. My therapist had recommended that I write a forgiveness letter to him and I finally did. It took a lot of, like, persuading me to do so, and I finally did. Then the struggle was I wanted to keep it, like I wanted to reread and rehash on. My therapist reminded me that it probably wasn't the best for my mental health and where I was at in my recovery so she recommended that I burn the letter, and I was like okay, I'll go do that. So I went up to a local park in my neighborhood, my husband came with, he came with and it was an overlook. He stayed back. We got there, I brought my little lighter and my letter and my cell phone, and he stayed back. We got there and I saw one sign from above that this was the right thing to do. We got there, and these flowers, it was like August timeframe fall here in Minnesota. It was windy and warm. There was a swarm of monarch butterflies covering these purple colored flowers. That was my first like, sign from above that I think you're onto something here with doing this, these next few things. So my husband stayed back and took a bunch of pictures, and I proceeded on this trail to the overlook and I sat there and I looked around in my surroundings and got a little emotional. As I looked to cross the bluffs, I took out my cell phone in for whatever reason, I wanted to start recording the moment, I think, just to capture it for myself and I was getting really emotional. As I looked in the distance above the clips or the overlook, I saw an eagle flying in the sky, once again, another signed from above that this was meant to be, because whenever I saw an eagle, I thought of my father. So here I thought, wow, he's really encircling me saying to read this letter and let it go. Then I read the letter out loud. I was crying. No one was around. My husband was way back, still in his own moment, taking pictures of those monarch butterflies and so I read the letter tearing up considerably knowing this was right. Then it came time to burn. I lit the letter on fire, and I decided to record for whatever reason, again, I think a sign from above started recording the burning and this little piece didn't burn and it blew away. There was burn restrictions so I went running after it and again, I think a complete sign from above, it gives me chills still to this day, I found the scrap of paper, and literally it was shaped like an eagle's head with the burn mark of brown around it, so just an eagle's head with like a beak. The words that left on that letter were the words love, forgive and cry. So it was just I think just again, another sign I started crying even more and just thought, wow, like, I feel like so empowered to move forward in my own forgiveness of baby my past, my father, my relationship with my father. So I feel like that was a big, significant catapult to move forward, was really making closure. Again, my father was deceased, so I couldn't have that conversation and telling I forgave him. I firmly believe he heard me. I had all the signs from above that he did and so that really helped me move forward in my journey. That's something I write about in my book. [DR. CRISTINA] What a powerful moment and experience. I mean, even if anyone is hearing it in your voice, I know, I'm definitely seeing it on your face this very like touched by this and this sounds like, I mean, what an amazing and emotional moment for you in your journey. [TERESA] It definitely was. Like I said, I still get goosebumps any time I look at the pictures, I wish I could show those pictures here somehow. It just, it was just meant to be. I think that's the journey of recovery and beyond. It's just everything happens for a reason and it's just one thing after another that just keeps going for you in the right direction when you learn to let go and do that forgiveness. Because then it allows you to forgive yourself too for some of the stuff that maybe you're, that's holding you back. [DR. CRISTINA] Well, and I think it speaks volumes about the title you chose too. I'm often saying it's not about the food and people often think eating disorders are so much about the food. It sounds like through your journey and through the work you did with therapy, you've realized there were so many underlying things for you that contributed to maybe why you had your eating disorder. It sounds like your relationship with your father and all the things with him and all the feelings you had was one very strong contributing factor to things that you really just had maybe stuffed down or hadn't dealt with or were pushing away with ED, as we call it, your eating disorder. I'm wondering if through that releasing through the forgiving, I'm wondering how you felt after that event there. [TERESA] Yes you're right. There's so much that does once you start peeling back the layer, so to speak, on addressing the eating disorder and the healing. I came to realize that my anxiety and my eating disorder fed on each other. I was just so anxious about so many things, and my eating disorder was that comfort. So peeling that back and realizing that sometimes staying in the muck, so to speak instead of running is something also to learn during a recovery or your healing so that you can go forward. For example, I write about this a bit in my book, but during my journey I constantly thought I needed to leave my employer, like it was always something else. It was never this internal work I needed to do. It was always, oh, I just need to leave my employer because some other employer's going to be better, some other job will be better. Through my recovery I learned that, oh, like it isn't about the employer. It's maybe I need to have better boundaries. I need to have more crucial conversations so that I can have the peace of mind that I need, so, hey, I can't get to that task that you're asking me to do today. I could get it to you in two days. Would that work? So setting those boundaries and realizing that those were the tough things I needed to do to move forward instead of being so anxious and being like, well, I'll just put this in my bag, slug it over my shoulder and move on to the next job because that's the answer. I say that facetiously because that isn't the answer necessarily. I'm not saying that you need to stay in a job forever if it's not an engaging or not satisfactory, but digging through to find out is there something more there? I think that's what I discovered once I gave up, "gave up" the eating disorder piece and behaviors, oh, there's so much there I need to work on. It's just the anxiety piece and oh, sometimes it means you have to stay put and work through that tolerance and then find something healthy to do, so reaching out to a friend or getting a fidget tool, something that just allows you to work through that moment instead of thinking, oh, a new job or new XYZ will help me get through this moment of anxiety. Because you no longer have that food that's comforting you, in my case my binge eating disorder, there wasn't no amount of food that would take away that anxiety, I realized. [DR. CRISTINA] In what insight, to realize that if the eating disorder cleared out, say of your mind or was no longer there is stuff underneath that you had been avoiding or not dealing with or not acknowledging and exits the building, so we say, right, like, and then all of a sudden all this other stuff pops up. And it's uncomfortable, like you said, tolerating it, so here comes your anxiety, here comes the knowledge and awareness that, oh my gosh, I don't set clear boundaries that are healthy for me. Oh gosh, I have these patterns and behaviors that whether I leave this job or go somewhere else, I'm going to take those with me anywhere. So what great awareness and like really having to face those and deal with them and not have, like you said, not have your eating disorder to numb out anymore, escape from those or avoid those things and really hit them head on and go, okay, well how do I want to deal with this or how do I tolerate the distress of all these things or manage my anxiety that's now popping up? [TERESA] Right. My good friend that went through recovery with me through the same program, she would, she would say, Teresa is going to, that company you're going to bring this with you. She would have to help me get back into that realization and that something else that I had I worked on was radical acceptance. It was very interesting to me on my recovery journey because radical acceptance around this anxiety didn't really come until the pandemic happened in 2020, believe it or not. So my anxiety was leading me to believe that I always had to be on an escape route and if I was always busy, I didn't have to think about having those tough conversations at setting my boundaries, taking care of myself, et cetera because I just had a busy calendar and a busy mind. So Covid happened right March, 2020, and forced us all to slow down. I had to start working from home and just radically accepting that this is life. I can't change the pandemic. I need to take care of myself. My calendar started freeing up and just things started shifting. So it was something like that that really did make me realize radical acceptance, like accept this moment for what it is, it's not going to last forever then have a path forward. So I did a lot of still searching during the pandemic to realize, yep, this is more my anxiety. I'll stay at this employer, I'll keep working towards my own mental health, I'll get to a better place, I'll do additional training that I want to do on the side. That's okay. Then eventually fast forward to just the year 2020 where I did do a pivot within my same company that I thought I needed to leave. I did a pivot into a role I absolutely love. I feel like it was made for me. I wouldn't have gotten this role had I been still in this state that I was five years ago or two years ago even. Then I still have that enjoyment outside of work as well and some of the stuff that I do, so yes, it's that radical acceptance and working just through, continuously working through better options when it comes to my anxiety because I'm still triggered just still today. It's not like it just magically went away, it's just how do I respond to it is a little bit differently. [DR. CRISTINA] Well, and that's a good thing. I know we talked a little bit before we got started here today about that and where you're at today with ED and your eating disorder and how you manage when you do get triggered. I always promote how I'm here on the podcast that full recovery is possible because I don't like the myth out there that full recovery's not possible. Because I think when you have that mindset that it sets people up to believe, oh, I'm never going to get fully recovered anyway, or that's not possible to live a life without ED. I think that's a very powerful belief system to have and adopt because it sets you up to always have ed there then. But talking about like, stages of recovery, I guess it's like, it's a process. It's a journey and it's not like you go to like a higher level of care or treatment and then all of a sudden, boom, you come out and you're never, you just, the triggers are gone or you just, like, it's gone immediately. So like for you I'm wondering, what's that like for you? How has that been in terms of like frequency of triggers like from when you got at a higher level of care to outpatient treatment to even now after writing the book? [TERESA] Yes, that's a great question because yes, here or there are going to be triggered and how you handle that gets better and better over time. So I remember a situation where I was a couple years into my journey and I was in Sedona, Arizona with my husband and we were going to do a hike, which in hindsight, we aren't really hikers and we didn't really prepare for it. I think we just thought, oh, it'll be easy. So we went into this hike, and I have asthma, so it started to be triggered and my ED voice came in at that moment and was like, you're holding your husband back. This is what happened. It's like you're holding your husband back. If you weren't so fat, you wouldn't have to hold him back. He would be able to enjoy himself. The voice just got louder and louder with each step. I started to tear up and my husband turned to me and said, what's wrong? At first I went into that old behavior of saying nothing, like nothing. Then it happened again and he was like, well, what's going on? I just said it's just, then I broke down and told him what was going on, that it's really hard to have these mental thoughts going on and sometimes the asthma is easier than the mental thoughts going on in your head. I really cried and he pulled aside and said, "Hey, let's just take a break here." He lovingly responded to me and I was very triggered and we had this long conversation. We decided that, we were very close to him finishing, I told him, just go ahead and finish. I really want you to, I'm going to stay here though, like, I need to take care of myself. My asthma's really bothering me but I want you to continue. It's not that far. I'm just going to stay right here. He was like, "Are you sure?" Anyway, we went back and forth and he continued and I did what I needed to do in that moment to just stay centered. I reached out and texted my three friends that had gone through treatment with me. They were about my age and I said, I'm in the middle of the desert. I just was triggered really bad by ED voice like this and they just rallied right away. They're like, "Where exactly are you?" It was just this long, sweet, packed exchange. Then my husband came back, it didn't take long we went back to the car and then it was like I'm hungry. We haven't had a snack, let's go have a lunch. It's time for lunch. So we agreed to go into town in Sedona and instead of like gorging on food or whatever, like the old behavior would've, because boy, this was a trigger and still listening to that voice about my body, I decided to have fajitas for lunch and a Coca-Cola drink on the side. I ate it ever so mindfully and it was like nourishing. It was exactly what I needed and I ate just enough to be full. I didn't overeat. I didn't eat really fast. Some of those were my behaviors before. So I feel again, like that was a triggered moment where that voice was super loud about my body. I was earlier on in my recovery yet I was able to process through that because again, I had learned some good skills and could carry forward in that particular situation. So I was, again, two years from starting my journey nine, five years and I have even more opportunities to continuously practice when triggered [DR. CRISTINA] I think that's the key, is like noticing when you're triggered because you know so often I hear people when they first, at least maybe you could tell me how it was for you, but when they're first coming to me for treatment, they go, I don't even know why I end up binging. I don't know why I'm doing it. I just go, oh, and I'm so mad at myself and I feel so guilty. I think that is, you get to that point in working through treatment in identifying what your triggers are or what a trigger feels like, and getting that point of to where you were discussing like, okay, I know I'm triggered, I hear what the voice is, I now have a choice, I'm going to go call a friend and I'm going to go do something different to not engage in the behavior. That's a whole different level that's higher. That's a whole higher level of thinking and being able to decide what you want to do and being more in charge. Over time, like you said, the triggers are less and less and less. Then like I said, hopefully keeping that hope of getting to the point where you're fully recovered, where you can get triggered, you can have in terms of like, oh gosh, I'm anxious, I'm stressed, something's upsetting me, but ED doesn't pop in there. You don't have an urge to engage in an eating disorder behavior. You're just realizing, oh my gosh, I'm really, life happens. You're going to get stressed. You're going to have moments where things upset you but it's so refreshing when it's the first thing isn't ED, going, hey, and I'm wondering if you're having more moments like that where you find you have upsetting moments or you have anxiety or you have things happen, but ED's not the first thing that pops in there. [TERESA] Yes. That situation was two years. Again, I chose a healthy path. Being in the middle of nowhere, I didn't have access to food to binge, but what tended to happen me in the past was that it would be later, like later in the day based on something that triggered me. Again, I didn't, I set myself up for success in that situation. Yes, so occasionally triggered today even again, anxiety usually is a little bit of a trigger in a sense of something that's happening at work and so something that I did that I find it effective is just having something at my disposal almost that I don't have to think about it. Because again, it used to be I could, I had this path of, to the kitchen. I'm currently still working from home a little bit still and so I have that path memorized to the kitchen if something comes up where I don't want to deal with it and I'm not hungry. That's a soothing behavior is something to drink or something to eat. Instead now I set my environment up for success where I have fidget tools here at my desk at home where if I am triggered and something is anxiety provoking, instead of going towards the kitchen, I can easily pick up one of those tools and just start doing that and coming back into my body, because the anxiety is taking me out of the body and worrying coming back in and then being like, oh, okay, that moment has passed. So again, having different tools in my back pocket to use is instead of the pathway to the fridge or the kitchen when something just isn't going right. I can realize like, oh, I'm not eating because I'm hungry, what's going on here? So it's sometimes I recognize that when I'm eating right, I'm not always making that choice to do a fidget, but once or twice or once in a while, and then realizing, oh, like I'm having this popcorn and I'm not hungry. What's going on? Usually, again, it's related to something I'm just uncomfortable about. Ooh, I didn't like what that person said, or whatever it was, so definitely more aware when it's happening than before. It was just such a clear path, like food, food, food and I didn't understand what was going on nor the connection. Like, it wasn't like, oh, I ate that because I was triggered, or my anxiety was just out of control. [DR. CRISTINA] I love what you said, it's just this awareness you have now and the ability to be more in charge of your life and make choices for yourself. It must feel so empowering to be in such a different place in your life, even in your career, like having a different position in your company, rather than having to say like, oh, I'm just going to pivot and leave. [TERESA] I mean, it's sometimes, like I mentioned, it's you stay in that uncomfortableness and you work on having the uncomfortable conversations or whatnot. Something else that just made me think about the uncomfortableness. Sometimes it's managing through your own self-care. By that I mean still letting go of things that no longer serve you. For example, on my journey I got to a point where I was hanging on to smaller clothes and came to realize through therapy again, that that was no longer serving me. My therapist had suggested that I get rid of those smaller clothes because, and again, at the time I didn't really think, oh, this isn't something that's no longer serving me. Why can't I keep those smaller dresses, those smaller clothes? I learned right through my own process that boy that was very triggering it was no longer serving me hanging onto something that no longer fit, because that's what we did when we dieted. That it was like that dress, or let's just say you're black dress that you could just always have in front of you, like shaming you, like, you need to get back into this. So I went through this process of letting go of all those clothes and in the middle of it, I felt so attached to the clothing, unfortunately, but then letting it all go and realizing that, oh, somebody else can, I can donate this. I can actually put some of this on consign or sell or consignment, whatever, because it's so new, it has a tags on it, whatever. Just going through and health freeing and yes, a catalyst for so much more healing is getting rid of what no longer serves you, whether that's clothing, relationships, maybe it is your job if it's no longer serving you, but just doing that assessment to determine all, what's no longer serving you and letting that go. Like my resentment towards my dad, really taking the steps towards letting go, which those things it's are no longer serving you on your journey. [DR. CRISTINA] Gosh. I'm thinking back to how many people I've worked with who thought I was a little bit, like, gave me like a funny look when I said, you need to go clean out your closet and only have clothes in there that fit you right now. Really the reaction after is like, so relieving because I'm saying you're getting ED out of your closet. Because those clothes are sitting there like screaming at you, they're taunting you, just like you said, and you really just going, ED, get out. Like, it's not a constant reminder. It's like so freeing. It's a lot of anxiety of every, what's going to fit or just knowing anything I grab, it's going to fit. It's so like, ugh, it's so nice. [TERESA] Yes. Through my recovery journey, there was one purple jacket. I live in Minnesota, so it's super cold here so you got to have like big parkers to stay warm in the middle of winter. I'll never forget, like I had a hard time letting that purple parker go. I'd just gotten it at the end of the previous winter. So it was basically brand new and I just, it didn't fit though, but it was like the perfect purple. I love the color purple. It was something that you don't just find everywhere so it was just really hard letting that one piece article but yes, so freeing when I finally was able to give it to somebody else that actually needed a winter coat and couldn't afford one, and I gifted it or gave it to her then I searched out a different purple coat from a different manufacturer that I finally found, I think two ball ago. So I finally did get my purple coat back in the right size yet it is so, so freeing. On the flip side, I think about going to actually get a swimsuit that fit and I felt comfortable in because that was something else that I didn't often like to wear early on. Even in my recovery, it was like, no, no, no, I can't be seen in a swimsuit. I think a lot of women are like this and just going to a store that sold really good quality and I spent an arm and a leg account but it was a really good quality two-piece suit, not quite the bikini, but like a tankini or whatever those things are called feeling very comfortable the last two summers. I don't get to wear it often here in Minnesota, but the last two summers we've gone on vacation. I've worn it and I get a lot of compliments on it. it's a suit that fits me. I'm not ashamed to wear it. It's a style that I like. Again, looking for articles of clothing that you like, that you feel awesome in, are so much better than, oh, well, because that's a trend or that so-and-so is wearing, I need to wear that or that's a smaller size, whatever. I try to put those things a aside and I just say, okay, this is the size I need, it's a different manufacturer, whatever. I just, I'm like, it's just this size. I try to neutralize so much about my clothing because, like when I have shopped at one store, it's like the same store, the same manufacturer, like depending on the cuts. You could be size this in one, size that another and so again, I just try to find clothing that I fit in that I really like, and that could be good quality. That's been my journey too. Whereas before I would not buy the swimsuit or hang onto the purple coat in the hopes of getting back to that size again. [DR. CRISTINA] I love that because I'm always saying that like, you need to find clothes that fit you instead of you saying, I'm going to change my body to fit the clothes because that's not the way it's supposed to work. Again, it's like with the scale. It's like if you put so much emphasis on a number that's external to you, whether it's the size on the label of the clothes or the number on the scale, it's like you are going to drop yourself batty. Because like you said, you can go to one store and it's the label that fits you as this number and you go to the next door and the label on the clothes fits you as a whole different number. It's this vanity sizing that drives me absolutely bonkers. I've written articles on it. It's nutty and yes, I had this, actually during Covid we couldn't go shopping. It's funny, Teresa, I had this exact experience, this is a true thing. I could not buy clothes. I had left my job to start this podcast and my own practice and I had nothing but like corporate clothes. So I was like, I need casual clothes. So there were sales and it was buy one get two free on these shorts, and I bought black, gray and white. It was the same brand, same size. The black was too tight, the white fit and the gray was too big. This is no joke. I was like, am I going nuts? Like, how is this possible? And you were listening, this is actually true. So if I was back in my eating disorder days, I would've absolutely been triggered going, like fixating only on the black ones that were tight. [TERESA] Right. For me too, through the journey yes, it is funny how that can be and through the journey I remember going and my mood, this was pre, getting healed, like my mood would depend on how I felt looking in that mirror, the full length mirror in a dressing room at a store, whatever, wherever I went. It was always like the ED voice would always come out and be like, you're so fat. If you weren't so fat you could fit into a smaller size, you wouldn't look so big. Then I would always find fault in some body part, my thighs, my stomach, whatever. Now it's just, if I don't like it, I'm like, okay, I just don't like this. You don't look good on the rock, but maybe it just doesn't feel good on me. I'm just going to move on and hold myself some grace. Like my body is my body. It does amazing things and I could rattle off a bunch. I'm just going to not treat myself like that in that mirror because I know that then it'll trigger so much more and I'm not going to allow that. I'm here to try and close that everything's going to fit. I need, oh, I need a smaller size actually than I thought or whatever just because again, manufacturers are not the same, even at the same store with the same manufacturer. It just depends on the fit or the style or whatever. So yes, it's definitely been a journey for sure. It's just crazy how that can play mind games with you if you, and are still in a place where the size matters or the look or whatever matters. [DR. CRISTINA] Well, if it is alive and well in your mind, of course, that's going to happen. So definitely anyone listening, it's like they have that hope out there that if it is not in there, there's that freedom to just say, yes, well alright, I'm going to go find something that I like, that I feel comfortable in and not have it so, like that size or that number matter at all. It's just like, what do I like that looks good on me? [TERESA] Something for me too, just, it might be with other people who are recovering as well as just going through just because I had been dieting so much before and anyway, just when early on it was like, I tended to shop at more of a secondhand, a nice quality secondhand just knowing I was going to go through this phase of maybe needing to go through a few more articles of clothing until I finally settled on my where I was going to land long-term. So again, I don't know, I just, I don't think that's a bad thing to just, okay, I'm going to get a few pieces of clothing and I'm going to buy them secondhand because I know I'm in this like, interim stage early in my recovery period where the size might change a bit. For me, that was my experience, but might not be the same for everybody. [DR. CRISTINA] Everybody's journey, everybody has their own journey. It's theirs. But I appreciate you sharing yours because just if anyone wants to go back and listen to Teresa's first when just talking about being somebody who's not the "typical" person who has an eating disorder too, so being someone who is a middle-aged female who has an aiding disorder and what that experience is like too, because oftentimes people wouldn't look at you and they have these biases and they wouldn't necessarily think, oh yes, she's got an eating disorder. There's a lot of preconceived notions about like who has one and who doesn't and which one you have. Even for yourself, I think it was hard for you to even like wrap your mind around like, what, I have an eating disorder, there's no way. But just knowing that you cannot look at anybody and know if they have an eating disorder. There's not a this template that says only these people have one. I'm really just so glad that you're here talking about it and you're continuing to share your story with your book. Actually I believe it comes out today. So anyone who wants to go find it, how are they finding your book? How do they find you and get your book and all of that? [TERESA] Thank you so much again for having me here and you're right, I really wrote this story during the pandemic and then it just took me a while to get it published. It sat an electronic dust for a bit there until I proceeded with a publisher. So my book, again will publish on Amazon, both paperback and a Kindle version. I really did write this book to hit on something you said simply because when I was diagnosed I was like, huh, like I answered a couple questions wrong on my intake. I'm middle-aged, I'm not this thin, ideal, so again, I wrote this so that other middle-aged women could know that healing and recovery is possible. Because I felt like when I was first diagnosed, I didn't necessarily have the resources available, like someone else's recovery journey wasn't in front of me as a middle-aged woman. I was in the state of, gosh, is this possible? Thus I wanted to write this book for any other woman out there that might be like, hmm, I just got diagnosed. This isn't possible? What's going on? That's really pretty much why I wrote the, why I wanted to publish the book. I'm an avid writer, so I'd been keeping journals and my book is most, a lot of my private journal entries is actually during my, before and during my recovery. So again, it's to all the women out there who maybe are just recently diagnosed or think maybe there's something going on there that there's hope for you. Hopefully this book helps shed light on that for you that you to get the feeling I did when I recovered. [DR. CRISTINA] Well, I really appreciate you coming on and discussing this more and for writing your book. Thank you so much. All this information will be on the show notes and on my website, so if you didn't get any of that down, head over to the website after the show. Thank you again Teresa, so, so much. Really appreciate you being on here again. [TERESA] Thank you again for having me. It was my pleasure to be here. [DR. CRISTINA] This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.