How do your ED habits impact your kids? What happens when your body starts to shut down? Are you honest with your doctor about what it is that you’re experiencing? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about making a full recovery against all odds with Brooke Heberling.


Bestselling Author Brooke Heberling’s debut novel “Protecting Her Peace” shows one woman’s sixteen-year battle through a debilitating eating disorder and running addiction. Her raw ability to paint a picture for those who may not understand while connecting with those who suffer is rare yet craved by both sides. Brooke is a proud wife and mother that loves to challenge and connect with her students. Connect with Brooke on Instagram.


  • Brooke’s heart came close to stopping
  • Break the cycle
  • Bring the honesty
  • You can recover

Brooke’s heart came close to stopping

Due to her excessive running and restrictive eating, Brooke’s heart was becoming damaged. When the body is forced to do excessive exercise and doesn’t get fed enough nutritious or calorie-dense food, it will start to consume itself. If there is no fat to consume, the body will start to break down muscle tissue, and the heart is one big muscle.
I felt myself dying. I felt my heart stopping, I felt my heart struggling and the sad part was that the doctors I was with were congratulating me … because I was such an athlete. (Brooke Heberling)

Break the cycle

Again, I thought that was normal but then when I saw my son [exhibiting] the same behaviors, I [realized], “Oh my gosh, I don’t want him to have this life. I don’t want my daughter to feel this way about her body one day”. (Brooke Heberling)
You may think that your habits belong solely to you, but if you are a parent or a guardian, your children will be learning about life from you. The people in your close circles, whether they are your children, family, or your partner, are impacted by the choices that you make, even if you try your best to keep the impact only on yourself.
It made me step back and realize that if I didn’t get help I was just going to pass on the generational tradition of hating my body, [and] myself, to my children. (Brooke Heberling)

Bring the honesty

Even though your doctors are professionals, and you find the right doctor that listens to you and wants to help you, they are not able to read your mind.
If I had been honest from the get-go with my doctors, I would’ve had more conversations with them to the extent that I needed to get [shaken] out of my head, but I just wasn’t being honest. I was like, “I’m just thin, I just run, it’s fine”. And I didn’t have any doctors challenge me on that until it was almost too late. (Brooke Heberling)
They have to trust that you are telling the truth about what it is that you are doing, how much or little you eat and exercise, and which symptoms you experience. Here, in the doctors' room, your honesty helps them and it also helps you get the treatment that is right for you.

You can recover

In Brooke’s book, she writes a fictional story of a woman, Ruby, in her thirties that goes through an eating disorder and commits to recovery to get her life and her joy back. In a few days, it jumped to bestseller ranks.
I think Ruby’s story is important. I think it is something that is going to give hope to people that feel like they are too far gone, especially women who have so much on their plate. (Brooke Heberling)
You can get help because it is available to you and ready for you to accept it. Your recovery is worth your time, money, and effort so that you can truly enjoy the life that you deserve to live and want to cultivate.



  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. No, I have to say I really appreciate all of you out there who are listening and I really love getting all of your messages, your questions and your comments. As I've mentioned before, if you go to my website, you can send me a voice message on my new Speakpipe voicemail, or you can also send me a private DM or message on any of my social media, and I'll try to get to each and every one of your comments and questions on here. That's just what I'm going to do right now. A listener just sent me a question asking what they should do if they think they have an eating disorder. First I want to acknowledge that if it's you who wrote me that question or if you have that question yourself, then just the awareness enough to ask this question means that you know that your relationship with food needs to be addressed on some level. You know that there is some struggle there, and that deep down inside something's not right. I can't diagnose anyone on this podcast or in a DM or on an email. That's why I created the free nine-week email course that's on the website and all of you can go get that on the website. That email course is there to help you understand more about your relationship with food and your body and hopefully by the end of the nine-week course, if you do it, you'll understand more about yourself and it'll help you make a decision about if you want to seek help or not. But even if you don't do that course, I really encourage anyone out there who is asking themselves this question to get a clinical assessment from a qualified clinician who treats people with eating disorders. Eating disorders are not illnesses that you can just ignore and they're going to get better. If anything, the exact opposite happens, so the sooner you get help, the better. I will have links in today's show notes for anyone who needs that help for where to find it, because there are so many resources out there and I've had several guests on previous podcasts here to discuss what some of those resources are. So if you've missed any of those podcasts, I really encourage you to go back and listen and look. I also know it's not always easy to get help. There can be so many barriers to treatment, which is exactly why I'm adding those resources. Many of them are free and they're available 24/7. I also encourage any of you listening to try to open up to someone that you trust. I have said it before on the show, and I'm going to say it again, you are only as sick as your secrets and as difficult, scary, embarrassing, or shameful as it can be to feel, to open up about what you're thinking, feeling or doing, there really does come so much relief in being able to open up to someone who you trust and you know that can be there to help you through this. The bottom line is, none of you out there, if you're struggling, you cannot do this alone, which is really why I do this podcast, because I really appreciate when guests come on here to talk about their own journeys. Because if you're out there and you're hearing someone else open up and say things that you can relate to, my hope is that you can help, you can feel less alone. And guess what, that's what we have in store for today's show. We are fortunate to have Brooke Heberling here. She is not only someone who recovered from an eating disorder, but she's a bestselling author whose debut novel, Protecting Her Peace shows one woman's 16-year battle through a debilitating eating disorder and running addiction. Her raw ability to paint a picture for those who may not understand while connecting with those who suffer is rare, yet craved by both sides. Brooke is a proud wife and mother that loves to challenge and connect with her students. [DR. CRISTINA] All right, well, Brooke, welcome to the show. Really excited to have you here. [BROOKE HEBERLING] Thank you so much. I'm very ecstatic to be involved with your programs. Love it. [DR. CRISTINA] Well, so why don't you tell us a little bit more about your background and just how you got to today? [BROOKE] So I am an eating disorder survivor and also an exercise addiction survivor as well. I started some really, really awful poor behaviors at about 15-years-old. I'm a type of person that believes that eating disorders come from nature and nurture, so it's a combo. You have this gene, this type of hereditary action within you that is addictive behaviors on top of learned behaviors. So I was the perfect storm for a long time of, I call myself like a victim of the 90s, like the 90s had all these beautiful women with these unattainable tee-tiny wonderful selves that we all had to compare ourselves to as consumers of media in that time period and I took it to an extreme. I'm a, I have been known in my life to be a one to 10 person, I was not just going to be a runner, I was going to be a ultramarathon runner. I was not just going to be, I took everything to the degree and it all caught up to me at the age of 31. I had a husband who, or I have a husband, he's wonderful, I had just had my second child. So I had my son when I was 27, my daughter when I was 29 and at the age of 31, I was running ungodly amounts and not fueling my body in the way that I needed to sustain healthily that type of exercise and activity. My heart started failing. I think that's what people don't realize, that most people that pass away or die from eating disorders, it's mostly your body just gives out because once the extra reserves are gone the most beautiful, wonderful muscle in your body that gets consumed is your heart. So my heart was failing and I decided to go to treatment after, it was an interesting conversation with my dietician. I was sitting there and I told the dietician, I said, "I don't know why I have to be here. I was taught all these behaviors, I was taught about all of this. I was taught that food is the enemy that, all those things." She looked me in the eyes and said, "Do you want your kids sitting here and saying the same things to me in 20 years?" I was like, "Absolutely not," and she said, "Well, then you need to go get help because you are going to put onto your children your triggers, your insecurities, your habits." I just wasn't willing to do that so I went to treatment at 31-years-old. I don't know if you, the amount of people that are 31-years-old in eating disorder treatment are not the majority. It's a lot of children. I see children like 19, 18, 17, that their parents are, thank God, willing to push them to get better and to get help and to get guidance. I ended up just completely immersed in a self, like I actually had permission to eat, to be, to sit, to not go and hyperactively just do all the things. I think that's something that's very common with people that suffer with eating disorders. It's very hard to sit still. It's very hard to sit in emotion. It's very hard to sit. So I went to treatment to sit and to feel and to learn to deal with all the static around me in a healthier way and it worked for me. I was very grateful that it did because there's many people that go to treatment and they do not have the right treatment team or they do not have the right fit or the composition of the people within the program are not recovery oriented. But I was very blessed to be in a place where I thrived in recovery and I promised myself, the reason I'm here, the reason I'm talking to you, and the reason I am putting my story and myself out there is because I promised that when I did recover, I would give back to the community because it's such a tight knit group that needs motivation, that needs to see people succeed on different levels coming from different walks of life and different backgrounds and different ages because it's hard. It's not easy to recover from an eating disorder. The world is not made for people in recovery. [DR. CRISTINA] You said so much and thank you for sharing your path to getting here. So many questions popped up as you were talking, how scary for your heart to be giving out. I'm just, I was imagining how did you know that was happening? What was that experience like for you? [BROOKE] I actually went to a cardiologist. I was, I had a very, very low heart rate, which most people contributed to my ability to be such an avid runner. Sometimes that can get lost in athletic, like athletes have slower heart rates, yes, because their heart is used to working a little extra so it rests a little extra. But my heart rate, when I was at rest was 33 beats per minute. In the middle of the night, I would feel my heart stop and I would have to get out of bed, I would like jolt awake and I would have to get out of bed and do jumping jacks to like truly get my heart rate up enough to sustain life. It's an interesting question and I'm glad you asked that. I really felt, I felt myself dying. I felt my heart stopping. I felt my heart struggling. The sad part was the doctors that I was with were congratulating me, giving me a pat on the back because I was such an athlete that I had this athletic heart that it really was my heart struggling to function. [DR. CRISTINA] For anyone listening, I'm just wondering, like on the day to day, did you have any other symptoms besides in the middle of the night, did you stand up and feel like you're going to pass out or see black or, I mean, did you have low energy? What else did you experience? Because I can imagine if that was the case there, just existing must have been a, there must have been some other symptoms or something else going on that sounds so scary. [BROOKE] For sure. It was a daily, I was exhausted constantly. I have attained so many medical issues due to my lack of nutrition and understanding of my body. I now have sleep apnea. So I was stopping breathing in the middle of the night. During the day, I would literally feel a tingling in my face and my eyes would roll back and my body would just shut down. So I would be at work, driving, talking to somebody and I could feel it coming and I would just almost nod off and wake up, it was like my body was shutting down and I felt it shutting down and it was terrifying. It was terrifying. For those people that are listening, it really was a heart thing. I could feel my heart struggling. It was, I didn't know and I guess because I felt it for so long, I didn't know people just don't feel their heart rate every, like, constantly. I was constantly aware that my heart was beating or how fast or how slow because my body was trying to tell me to nourish myself, to stop, slow down. I guess I just didn't know any different because I had done that from the time I was a preteen. So it was a long-term misunderstanding of what was normal and what was not and what I was feeling was not normal. It was malnutrition. My body was trying, begging me to slow down eat fuel itself. But I did, I thought it was normal because I just didn't know. [DR. CRISTINA] And that's one of the main reasons why I do this podcast is because I think a lot of people out there are engaging in behaviors and maybe experiencing symptoms or having a day-to-day life where they're just thinking, this is normal, this is how it is or how everyone else lives. Much to your point, that's what you thought. You just thought this is life, this is normal and absolutely not, but at what point did you finally just go in and realize, wait, this isn't normal, I'm actually at risk for dying? [BROOKE] Well, for me it was watching my children, my son especially. He was four at the time, and he was terrified of food. Anytime there was a new food introduced to him, anytime we would go break routine, go out to a restaurant, which we hardly ever did, because of my inability to cope with the outside world involving food I saw him breaking down, I saw him shutting down and I saw him modeling my behaviors around food, around exercise. I also saw myself missing out. I call it ed faced and anybody, I feel like that was my personal name for it, but that blank stare you get when you can't even engage in the world around you because you are so deep inside your head and spiraling, thinking about all the rules that you just broke or the activities you could be doing other than sitting there. It was just a constant nagging in my brain that it finally got to the point where I understood I was miserable. I understood that my life sucked because I was constantly disengaging in the world and just living inside my head, which was a really dark and terrible place to live. So when I, and again, I thought that was normal, but then when I saw my son doing the same behaviors, I was like, oh my gosh, I don't want him to have this life. I don't want my daughter to feel this way about her body one day. It really made me step back and realize that if I didn't get help, I was just going to pass on the generational tradition of hating my body myself to my children. I didn't, that wasn't an option for me. On top of, I couldn't literally function. I was falling asleep, passing out when I was driving. It was unsafe. I was in an unsafe place with how little my body could function on zero nutrients. [DR. CRISTINA] As you're talking, I'm wondering if anyone in the audience might be thinking, okay, so you started so much younger and even for myself, I know the doctors were putting a lot of fear into me like, okay, if you keep this up, you're not going to be able to have kids. So I'm wondering did no doctor monitor you enough even before you got pregnant or during your pregnancies to say, "Hey, your heart's really struggling here. You're having some malnutrition or your body's got some problems or something's going on." There was nothing that was caught along the way? [BROOKE] Well, you're right, and to me that's the tragedy in my story, is that, so unfortunately, in the area that I'm in, there were not a lot of doctors that were well-versed in eating disorders and understanding the ins and outs of the symptoms that I was experiencing was directly connected to my nutrition and exercise regimen. But also, I lied. I was a liar. I would go in and I would tell them everything they wanted to hear and then they would tell me, and I did have doctors say you're quite thin, you're quite this, you're quite that. But I'm telling you I did not have the right doctors. They were praising me for my athletic ability. They were praising me for my athletic heart and I did not understand that I was abnormal or that I was doing things that was going to harm me long-term and, in the future, and in the present until I actually went to a doctor that specialized in eating disorders. So once I got there, it was pealing back of the layers of, okay, yes, I know the doctors have told you this, but they did not know you weren't eating. I know the doctors told you this, but they did not know that you were purging. They did not know you were doing this. They did not know. So I feel like if I had been honest from the get go with my doctors, I would've had more conversations with them to the extent that I needed to get shook out my head but I just wasn't being honest. I was just like, I'm just, then I just run, it's fine. I didn't have any doctors challenge me on that until it was almost too late. [DR. CRISTINA] Well, and this is this is a whole nother podcast, but this is actually a lot of the problem I have with the weight bias with a lot of the medical field, is if you look a certain way, what society, you're healthy, ideal is a standard, they pat you on the back and applaud you and they overlook some of the most unhealthy behaviors and don't really ask too many questions. Even for myself, when I said who I'm working with to the medical doctors for labs and things, well they said I looked great and they sent me on my way. I'm going, but you're so sick and you're engaging in so many behaviors that is harming your body and your body's not actually meant to look like it does. But society says you're on the right track and that's really the problem I have with a lot of this. That's why I talk a lot about this too, is you can't look at anybody and know what state of health they're in physically. [BROOKE] A hundred percent, a hundred percent because I do have a smaller frame, but I'm now so much heavier than I was when I was manipulating my body in my exercise and my food intake because I thought that was what it was supposed to be. I thought I had this number and a part of that is my fault for I had rules in my body and my weight in my mind that if I get above this number, like I have to do something to get down. It was such an unhealthy way of experiencing life through that vessel. Like I believe our bodies are vessels to get us through this life, to go for our personal journeys and to achieve the dreams and the things that we want to do but I had this just training from my surroundings and from my own brain of like what that looked like, that I could not enjoy my life unless I was below this weight. I could not exist or be beautiful or worthy unless I was below this weight. It's just such baloney, it's just baloney. I am so much happier and fulfilled now that I allow my body to be in the state that it is and I've come to realize too, and I don't have to always like my body, but I have to respect it. Like there's an amount of respect. I don't get another one in this lifetime. This is it and if I continue to try to manipulate myself into being something that I'm not and my body into something that I'm not, I'm going to ruin my chance to make an impact in this lifetime on this world and I'm not willing to do that anymore. I don't know, I think a lot of it has to do with age and experience. I'm 38 now. I've been on this recovery journey since I was 31, but I think about my life before and I was concerned about all the wrong things. I held value and all the wrong things and it really limited me, it fenced me into this corner that I did not get to experience and enjoy life because I was too busy here thinking about how I looked and how I presented myself versus the impact that I was making or who I was connecting with. It was sad. I lived a sad existence when I was that wrapped up in my body. [DR. CRISTINA] Well, you're talking about you had an illness and that's not your, that wasn't a choice you had and you sound like as somebody who's found the recovery and realize how far you've come and now you no longer active in the illness and that's really --- [BROOKE] Yes, and it's, no, it's an illness. Like when people ask me, one of my, one of the biggest things I had people, like the thing that you say to anorexic, especially just eat, like why don't you just eat? It's not that simple, it's not that simple. There is layers upon layers and layers of this woven self-worth within what we put into our body and how we like, and it's not, there's definitely a nature and nurture aspect to it. I wanted to go back to, you were talking about with the period aspect and with doctors and going, and I've been to doctors' my entire life. My period stopped when I was about 16-years-old due to exercise and due to malnutrition and I got it back right before marriage. I was in a happier space. I had to curb my behaviors to put on a front for my new husband that I wanted to him to think I was perfect. I got pregnant not on a period twice, which to me is just crazy universe, good thing that I even got pregnant. But I had, I almost ruined both my pregnancies by using these horrible behaviors all throughout pregnancy. I was bedridden, I was not in a good head space, especially unfortunately with my daughter. My second pregnancy, I just shut down and they almost had to take her because she was not growing and thriving in my uterus because I was not fueling her and fueling myself. I have a lot of, I used to have a lot of guilt with that. I I've gotten a point now where I regret it. I think there's a difference. I think Brene Brown talks about regret versus shame. I regret being that sick and almost harming myself and my child, but my redemption there, I didn't allow myself to stay to breed that into their everyday lives as human on the planet. So I really commend anyone that tries to better themselves with these behaviors and with these different toxic traits that we're taught are healthy and are beautiful and how we should be because the world is not friendly to people with eating disorders. It's just not. [DR. CRISTINA] I love how you said that, the world teaches these toxic diet behaviors, as if they are --- [BROOKE] You can't go to the grocery store without seeing 18 magazines talking about the new fad diet and how to lose the belly fat, blah, blah, blah. It's like, where's the magazines talking about how to connect with humanity, like, how to serve people around you and how to fulfill yourself. That's the type of stuff I want to see. It took me a while to not be able to, and I know a lot of people listening to this podcast are probably in the thick of it, just trying to figure out, grasp onto something, some sort of hope of like, goodness, I'm too far gone. I can't come back from this. I think one of my biggest, biggest reasons for sharing my story is I literally, my heart was almost dead and I didn't give up because you can always make a turnaround. You can choose differently. Sometimes it takes choosing minute by minute, like you have to make those choices that are going to serve you and your body and your soul well and it's not always the easy choice, especially if you've been conditioned to think otherwise. [DR. CRISTINA] I think for you, as you were talking, it's even harder to make that choice when you feel like taking time out of your life when you do have other people that you're taking care of or maybe you have a job or maybe all these other things. Like really making that commitment, it's a big commitment, like stepping out of your life and not giving into that guilt or all the other voices that say, no, I can't, I've got kids, I've got a job, I've got this. Who am I to go and go into treatment? But what would you --- [BROOKE] Exactly. I give a lot of credit to my treatment team and telling me that because I had the mindset going into, when I chose to finally go get some counseling, get some help, talk to somebody that was an expert in the field of eating disorders I was doing it to save my marriage not because I actually felt like I needed help. It was an ultimatum from my husband. You have to go get help or were done. I can't watch you continue to dig an early grave. Once I got there, it was such a relief but at the same time, like you were saying, I had all these layers, so when they were saying, listen, you're at level 10, we need to get you into inpatient treatment. You need to be reigned in, because I was such a liar, because I was such a people pleaser, I was saying, oh yes, I'll do that, I'll do that. I ate this, I did this. Here's my food logs, here's everything. But I just did what I wanted to do and said all the right things and once I got with people that understood eating disorders and people being manipulative and lying and doing whatever they wanted to do otherwise because of that disorder I held a mirror up to myself. And I'm very thankful for that mirror and I kept getting told, I kept telling them I can't, I'm a teacher, I was a high school English teacher, like I can't leave and just, I'll get fired. My kids won't have a teacher. What are my children going to do? They're two and four. They need a mother. What's my husband going to do? He needs help. He has a job, he has this. Every time it came back to my therapist and my dietician saying, okay, you either go away for 45 days, however long it takes, or you're going to die and then you'll leave them and you'll have no chance to come back and actually be a part of their lives. So it was really plainly laid out to me. Dr. Jeanie Burnett in Georgia, she's the head of Manna Treatment Center. She's amazing. She really did, she laid it out to me, she's like, you can make all these excuses of why you can't, but then we're going to be at your funeral instead of your recovery party. So it was hard truths that got me to finally let my guard down and wave the white flag of like, I can't do this myself. Those are those hard truths of like, do I actually want to continue to be on this planet because the way I'm going, I'm not going to be? [DR. CRISTINA] I think that it takes a lot for people to actually understand that that's the case. Because there's a lot of denial, there's a lot of secrecy. Like you said, it's just a lot of hiding everything and putting on the mask. So to even admit to yourself like that's an actual reality, I think that takes a very long time if ever, for people to get to and really recognize. [BROOKE] Well, it's also, I like to put it this way, I'm not special. I thought my whole life, my disorder, my ego, my ed brain told me that everybody else needs to eat, but you don't, you're special. Everybody else needs to limit them out the time they run, exercise, engage in activity, but you don't, you're special. Everybody else might die from this. Like, this might cause your heart, somebody else's heart to fail, somebody else to just, I don't know, like expire. Like I was expiring. My body was expiring. It was somebody looking at me and telling me, you're not the exception. Your body is not the exception to the rule. You need fuel, you need rest, you need to take care of your brain and your mental health. You can't just keep burning candles at both ends and acting like it's not going to catch up with you because here we are, your heart is failing. Another thing is, how's that working for you? That's why I kept getting asked, how's that working for you, not eating? How's that working for you feeling like crap all the time. How's that working for you? Watching your family isn't great? I'm like, well, it's not working. So really having the courage and the support, so many people, I really want to emphasize that I had an extremely, I was extremely privileged in the support system I had with my husband, but also my extended family and friends were extremely supportive, and my job. I think that's the part that shocked me the most, that I would encourage people that are trying to decide if they need to come clean or come, like, we're not that sneaky. People know that you're not balanced, you're not healthy. Again, we're not that special. We're not the exception. I was very surprised at how supported I was when I finally decided to take a step back and take care of myself with my job, with my friends, with my children even. Like phrase that I love to say is, if you own your stuff, no one can hold it against you. That's how I live my life now. It's like nobody's going to talk behind my back or spread rumors or like, oh, what's happening? Like, nope, this is what's happening, I'm sick, I need help, and I am worthy enough as a human to demand that and to serve myself in that manner. Because I feel like we as women often, especially in positions where we have others that we're thinking about, because that is the feminine brain that we are always trying to mother comfort, we deserve that ourselves too. [DR. CRISTINA] Yes, you always get put on the back burner in seconds. [BROOKE] Yes, you can't serve yourself or anyone else well when you're deteriorating. That's not only in disorder, that's just in life in general and balance in general. My husband and I joke right before I went to treatment, he asked me, we had this date night thing where we're like, if you had a book named about you, what would it be? His was like, balance. I literally answered forget balance, because I was sick of telling, people telling me I needed to have balance in my life. I took such a offense to it because I was like, I'm doing all these things. Can't you be proud of me? I'm doing everything when it really was, I just needed to stop doing everything and truly self-reflect on what my soul needed because I was trying to get it in all the wrong places. [DR. CRISTINA] So as you're talking and sharing things that I'm sure lots of people listening can relate to and shaking their heads, I'm sure, you did something amazing too, and I want to give you just a few minutes before we end to talk about your book and what prompted you to write that and also talk about it so that if people do want to read it you have an opportunity to share more. [BROOKE] Yes. Thank you for allowing me the space to do this but when I was going into recovery, I was searching, and I know a lot of people do that. That's why podcasts and websites and blogs, they're so popular because they are an outlet for us to look and see other people going through the same things that we're struggling with and finding validation in that we're not just bonkers, like we have, like this is a disorder, this is a mental thing that is not my fault, but I do have a chance to change the trajectory of my life. When I was searching for that, I found so many resources and so many people out there that were so open with sharing their story but uniquely to me, I'm a literature person, I'm an English major, I'm a language arts teacher. I connect to characters and stories so deeply. We all have, I feel like those books or those movies or those shows that when they end your like, ooh, like that person, that character sticks with you and gives you almost hope and motivation for your own life. I was searching for that on an adult level in literature with a main character with an eating disorder that goes through life and having all these decisions to make to better themselves and to help themselves live while also juggling all the aspects of life that are really hard to put on hold when you need to have that space and time to heal. So I vowed from the beginning, I've always wanted to write a book. It's always, writing is my gift, writing is my love. It's the way that I communicate best. It's the way that I think serve others as well and I said, I'm going to write a book. When I'm ready, when I am mentally, physically able, I'm going to write a book with a main character that struggles through an eating disorder and running addiction, and I'm going to give others that outlet that I never could find when I needed it. They, we so often see those characters and mental illness and depression and anxiety and eating disorders portrayed in younger characters. Here I was, I'm like, that's all well and good that this 17-year-old mom is forcing her to go to treatment, blah, blah, blah and thank God for parents that do that but I wasn't at that stage and there was nothing out there that gave me hope that a woman could pull herself up by her bootstraps and do it herself with all the extra layers. So I created Protecting Her Peace, which is a fictional story that's based on my experience of the, I guess, downfall into my eating disorder and the rise out of it, because it's important, I think, especially for people that don't understand the illness to understand how one gets to this rock bottom point because it's not easily understood. Because when we all have, I think we've all experienced disordered eating as human beings and disordered thoughts about eating of like, oh, I'll quit this for a month, or I'm going to cut back on this for a while, whatever. But then there's this extra added layer that people who do have that addictive gene and that eating disorder gene and that we can't just turn it off. It's not a choice. It's a survival method. Like if I don't run, I'm going to die. If I eat this, I'm going to implode, I'm going to die, it's going to kill me. When the opposite is the truth. I needed that story. So I created it with the character of Ruby Blue and ironically I had somebody tell me anything that you put out into the world that is to help others and to do good, it's going to be successful. It's going to be that, and my book jumped to number one in its category the second day it was out. There's no reason it should have, I'm not this famous author. I'm not somebody that has put published literature out there before and here it was taking off because there's a need. I feel like I have tapped into a need of this middle, I say middle-aged, older woman with more, I'm 38, the character in my book's like thirties, which is quite young and beautiful and beautiful and all that. But at the same time, it's not a 19-year-old. It's not a child. Like this is an adult that is facing layers and layers and layers of life on top of struggling to find purpose in her own, outside of serving others. So I think Ruby's story is very important. I think it is something that is going to give hope for people that feel like they are too far gone and especially women who have so much on their plate, so many aspects of life that just, I mean, women are baddasses. They do everything. Like we are the bosses of the world. I truly believe that. When we need help and we have this breakdown of needing to step back and not be that for a minute to save ourselves, I just wanted to give people hope that that is worth time. It's worth your money. It's worth your efforts to heal so you can truly enjoy the life that you've cultivated or that you want to cultivate. [DR. CRISTINA] If people want to find your book and read it how do they find it? [BROOKE] It is on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. So just type in Brooke Heberling Protecting Her Peace and I truly, truly hope that it can help people. That's the reason I wrote it and I think that's what the world is going to appreciate and love about it. [DR. CRISTINA] Awesome. Well, and I'll have all that information in the show notes as well. Brooke, thank you so much for sharing your story, for telling us about your book, which is also related to your story, appreciate it, and all these great messages. It's been really inspirational. Thank you [BROOKE] Thank you for the opportunity. I really appreciate you and all you're doing because the more people that are out there putting this message out like you are the better the world's going to be. It really is. We just need to understand we're full of love and light and if we can see that in ourselves and we can see it in others, that it's going to change and shift the energy that has been so negative lately surrounding so many things. So I'm thankful. Thank you so much. [DR. CRISTINA] Thank you. Again. [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.