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!


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