What is the dual diagnosis of diabulimia? How do families cope with the pain of ED? Where is the point of wanting to make a change for the better? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini chats with Meg Henkenhaf about her experience with diabulimia.


Meg started right where you are. So stuck in an endless cycle of dieting and binging, feeling so out of control around food. After many attempts at treatment and therapy, her own journey to recovery looked a little different than many of the other approaches. Now, after many years of a fuller, freer, healthier relationship with food and her body, she has taken those same techniques and tools to help other women become success stories when it comes to rebuilding their relationships with food and their bodies - effortlessly.

Visit Meg's website and connect on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


  • Meg’s experience with ED
  • The double diagnosis
  • Working with family
  • Coming to recovery

Meg’s experience with ED

Meg was a dancer at a young age, and at her dance studio when she was 11 one of the students passed away due to health complications that she suffered because of her anorexia. As any child would, Meg asked her parents what anorexia was to try to understand the situation.
They were like, “Oh, it’s when you think you are fat so you don’t eat” … and I was like, “That’s ridiculous, why would anybody not eat? I don’t get that, I love eating!” and then six months later I was diagnosed. (Meg Henkenhaf)
Meg’s parents recognized the signs of disordered eating in her and took her to a children’s hospital before she even realized what was happening.
I didn’t count calories. I didn’t know what a calorie was at 11 years old but I just started to eat less and less … I grew afraid of eating. (Meg Henkenhaf)
She wasn’t actively aware of what she was doing. There wasn’t a diet she was on and she wasn’t counting any numbers, but a steady fear of food started to set in and that developed into anorexia.

The double diagnosis

Meg had her first treatment stint at the children’s hospital when she was 13 which was when she was also diagnosed with diabetes.
When I was discharged, I was so terrified of my blood sugars going out of control that I literally ate the same thing every day for every meal for about five years … it wasn’t until I was about 18 that things started to get rocky again. (Meg Henkenhaf)
She had to reenter treatment but this time into the adult system where she was in and out of treatment until she was 26. She became so obsessed with trying to stabilize her blood sugars that she never ate anything different, and if she did, she would have a panic attack because she didn’t know what would happen.
It was hard. You know what, it was [a] lack of education … I wasn’t really taught how to take care of my diabetes beyond, “You take this number of units of insulin and this is how you inject yourself and here’s how you check your blood sugars” … I didn’t receive any other education on how to feed myself. (Meg Henkenhaf)
When Meg started insulin therapy, she began to gain weight – which is a normal process. Within a month, nearly two, she was sent home but her mental health was still spiraling.

Working with family

There wasn’t much understanding in Meg’s home about how the words and experiences from her childhood impacted her. Even though her family tried to understand, the ED world can be very divisive and antagonizing when people cannot understand how or why someone harms their body in that way.
I think that’s where a lot of their anger and frustration came from, is [that] they were watching me essentially kill myself and there was nothing they could do about it and [so] the family meetings were very hard. (Meg Henkenhaf)
At that time, Meg felt so close to her ED. It was difficult for her to separate herself from the eating disorder, and so in those moments when her family pushed back against having to see her struggle, she felt like they were personally pushing her away.
It’s not until now as a recovered person that I can really recognize that they were going through it too. They were going through a lot and they were just protecting themselves. (Meg Henkenhaf)

Coming to recovery

At a point in Meg’s twenties, she collapsed in her apartment and her partner dashed her to the hospital. She had so much acid in her body. The hospital had called Meg’s parents for them to go say goodbye to her because they thought that she wouldn’t make it.
[ED] is not a pretty life. It’s not a glamorous life. It’s painful and scary and I missed out on my entire twenties because of it. (Meg Henkenhaf)
Meg knew that she had to start making a change. At first, she felt a lot of resentment and resistance to treatment due to the ED. Later on in her recovery journey, Meg came to realize that the reason she struggled so much with recovery is that she felt like she had no self-worth.
It really goes to show that it was never about the way I looked. (Meg Henkenhaf)
Over the next years, Meg came to full recovery. It took genuine effort and intention, but it came to be. She used intuitive eating to really hit that last milestone of connecting with her body and emotions, to change how she looked at food, and change her life for the better.



  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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