Why is it important for you to hear success stories from people who have fully recovered from eating disorders? Have you heard of neurolinguistic programming? How can you remember each day that YOU have the choice and the ability to change, no matter how bad it is? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) to change pathways in your brain and recovery with Millie Thomas.


Millie Thomas is a Carolyn Costin Institute Certified Eating Disorder Recovery Coach and a Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner. She battled Anorexia Nervosa for 15 years and very nearly lost her life to the illness. Her miraculous recovery made her determined to use her lived experience to help bring eating disorders out of the shadows and into the light. She dedicates her time to eating disorder advocacy and eating disorder recovery coaching. She has a private practice HealED where she helps clients around the world to gain freedom from their eating disorders and reclaim their lives.

Visit HealED and connect on Instagram. Listen to the Renourished Podcast. Follow Millie on Instagram here - @millietnz @healedrecoverycoach You can also visit her website www.healed.net.au or email her at millie@healed.net.au


  • Millie’s story with anorexia
  • What neurolinguistic programming is
  • Millie’s three Cs
  • Use the power of words to your advantage against the ED

Millie’s story with anorexia

In school, Millie was excelling at school but felt like she wasn’t truly living. She had already been unwell and struggling with an eating disorder as a young teenager, but her first studying experience abroad exacerbated the ED behaviors and her health took a steep decline. When Millie returned to New Zealand, she was 18 and now legally an adult so her parents couldn’t force her into treatment.
I really believed that somehow my eating disorder would just sort itself out, which of course, it was never ever going to do. (Millie Thomas)
Millie attended university and excelled again but struggled terribly with her mental and physical health, and her eating disorder kept getting worse and worse.
Looking back at my Facebook memories from that time, there I am all around the world looking as if I’m having the most amazing time … I was absolutely riddled with anorexia, and I was not enjoying myself at all. I would never allow myself to celebrate achievements or take a moment to nourish my body, mind, and soul [because] everything was just so driven by the eating disorder. (Millie Thomas)
Over her university years and into the workforce, Millie’s health steadily declined. She held onto the hope that she could get well, and was trying, but she was one of the worst patients that the out-patient clinic had seen. Millie was given a short amount of time to live by their family GP. Millie decided to join her mother to go to Australia to one of her “happy places”, and through a life-changing hypnotherapy session, decided to get her life together and recover.
In six months I turned my life around. It was the most traumatic, petrifying time but it was also the absolute best thing I could have ever done for myself. (MIllie Thomas)
Now, Millie has taken her life experience and turned it into something extraordinary to help and heal other people who are going through what she did.

What neurolinguistic programming is

There is a connection between the neurological processes, the language that is used, and behavioral patterns learned through experience, or programming, to change your experience in life.
One of the most transformational things that I learned through NLP … with my NLP practitioner … she said; “You know, you don’t have an eating disorder … An eating disorder is something that you do. It’s a behavior that’s become a habit, and habits can be changed if you really want [them] to.” (Millie Thomas)
NLP puts the power of change back into your hands by helping you to understand that the things you do are actually things you are subconsciously choosing to do because they are habits. They are things you are using, like coping mechanisms, to handle your life or the things you struggle with.
At the time I didn’t feel like I had a choice, but no one was tying me down and making me do those things, I did have a choice, and so that was a really empowering thing [to realize] for me to know that if I wanted to, if I really wanted to, I could change my brain. (Millie Thomas)

Millie’s three Cs

1 - Conscious 2 - Consistent 3 - Commitment Essentially, when you wake up in the morning, your brain will almost always choose the path of least resistance to go about your day unless you make it do otherwise. It will engage in the habits you have practiced the most and used the most often because that is what it knows how to do, without resistance from trying something new. When you work with NLP, you slowly change those pathways. You begin to choose pathways that feel awkward and strange, but the more you intentionally choose and act upon them, the more they begin to feel like second nature as well.
When we look at changing our brain, it can absolutely be done, but it is repetition. (Millie Thomas)
You need to make sure that you are doing something every day that is challenging and changing your neural pathways. As Millie explains, slam the door in your eating disorder’s face, lock it, and throw away the key! Always remember that you have a choice and let it empower you.

Use the power of words to your advantage against the ED

Use the simple tool of cue cards. Write down simple true statements that you know are real so that when the ED voice comes up and tries to convince you otherwise, you can read these cards and intentionally reprogram your mind. Those healthy self-statements when they are written down can be a powerful tool against the ED voice when it just won’t shut up.
In a way, in essence, you’re brainwashing yourself. The eating disorder has already brainwashed you, so now you’re [brainwashing yourself] back to recovery. So, it’s that constantness of it. (Millie Thomas)



  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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