What does the recovery process from an eating disorder look like? Why should you release black-and-white thinking when it comes to recovery from eating disorders? How can you nurture your hope for recovery? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini discusses different recovery methods with two experts.


Sarah Dosanjh is a psychotherapist and author of the book, I Can't Stop Eating. As someone in recovery from binge eating, she draws on her personal and professional experience to create content designed to help others struggling with food and body image. Check out The Binge Eating Therapist website. You can find Sarah on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and as the co-host of the Life After Diets podcast.   Stefanie is an occupational therapist and certified holistic health coach who works with women healing their relationship with food and body image. She uses her "boots on the ground" experience of recovery from binge eating to help others heal through 1:1 and group coaching programs. Stefanie is also the co-host of the Life After Diets podcast and hosts regular "closet coaching" sessions on Instagram stories. Check out her website I Am Stefanie Michele and listen to her podcast. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Her book is also free here on Youtube.  


  • Recovery
  • Permission
  • Hope


Recovery is completely possible, although it may not always look like how you envision it to be. To remain in a state of balance means to accept that some days will be harder than others and that recovery may take different forms during your day.
I think a lot of people have this idea and what they think recovery is is actually this idealized version of themselves. When they feel like they keep falling short of that they feel like they’re not recovering because it’s not what they thought it’s supposed to be. (Stefanie Michele)
Sometimes how one thinks they will heal looks completely different from how they end up healing.


Be gentle with yourself, become an observer of your feelings and daily needs, and be open to the idea that sometimes you may need to do things that feel foreign to you because they are good for you. Next to being an observer of your wants and needs, and being open to trying things that may feel uncomfortable in the beginning, permit yourself to try them. Give yourself permission to try things and be sure to tell yourself that it is possible. Surround yourself with people who encourage you, and allow yourself to be helped.


Right now there are so many resources and looking at something that you maybe haven’t looked at before … when I started to learn about these different ways of thinking about food recovery and having a relationship with food … I started paying attention. (Sarah Dosanjh)
Even if something feels overwhelming in the beginning, it does not mean that it is not true. When you are recovering from an eating disorder topics such as intuitive eating may seem uncomfortable, but they can provide you with the hope that it is possible to work with them. There is more out there than you have come across or even tried yet, and all of it can help you in your recovery.
Just the listening and integrating of these different ways of thinking about recovery is a great place to just sit for a while. There’s no pressure to change or recover very quickly because you can sit and learn and let that seed be planted for a while and know that it might turn into something in its own time when you’re ready. (Sarah Dosanjh)

Books mentioned in this episode:

BOOK | Sarah Dosanjh – I Can’t Stop Eating



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!


[CHRISTINA 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 practiceofthepractice.com/network. 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. If any of you've listened to my podcast before you may know that one of the main reasons I started it was because I thought back to my own journey with my eating disorder and body image issues and asked myself what would've really helped me back then, if it were available to me? Back when I was going through everything, at least compared to now, there was so little known or discussed about eating disorders. People just weren't talking about them and if they were, we simply didn't have all of what's available to us now, in terms of access to information. There was no internet, news wasn't on 24/7 on multiple networks at any given time, there were no cell phones and certainly no podcasts. So I thought to myself, it really would've been great to have a podcast back then, a podcast, where I could hear other people talking about their real life experiences and struggles with food, with dieting, with weight, with body image. I really think I would've realized much earlier that I had an illness. I think I would've felt much less alone and much less afraid to seek help. It just so happened that I was recently on my Instagram, yet another thing that was not available way back then and came across a post that caught my eye. Long story short the post was from the profile of two women who have also personally gone through their own journey with their eating disorders and decided to join forces to start their life after diet podcasts, discussing something very similar. Stefanie is an occupational therapist and certified holistic health coach who works with women, healing their relationship with food and body image. She uses her boots on the ground experience of recovery from binge eating to help others heal through one to one and group coaching programs. Stefanie also hosts regular closet coaching sessions on Instagram stories. Sarah is a psychotherapist and author of the book I Can't Stop Eating. As someone in recovery from binge eating, she draws on her personal and professional experience to create content designed to help others struggling with food and body image. Listen, you guys are in for a great show today. Both of these women are amazing and inspirational. You will definitely want to stay tuned and hear everything they have to say, because truly there is nothing more powerful than hearing other people's stories and personal journeys when you're going through it yourself. So without waiting any longer, let's dive right on it. All right. So Sarah and Stefanie, welcome to the show. [BOTH] Thank you, Christina. Thanks having us. [CHRISTINA] So this is exciting. I have two people here who also have a podcast and very similar type topic. So I'm actually curious, would you guys share a little bit about how you got started or thought of the idea of doing a podcast? [SARAH] So I can remember about eight years ago really wanting to do a podcast and thinking there was too many podcasts out there already and then some, many years ago. So it was something that was always on my mind and I just really liked the idea of doing it with someone and Stef and I had done a few Instagram lives together, we'd done some Clubhouse events together. So I reached out and asked Stef whether she fancied doing a podcast. So we recorded eight episodes thinking, well, just see how it goes, but I think it was probably after the second episode we were both like, yes, I think we're going to do this for a while, wasn't it? [STEFANIE] Yes. It quickly became one of my favorite things to do. I mean, I had known Sarah through Instagram and we had just seemed like we had similar outlooks on things and similar experiences, but also different experiences. So when she approached me with it it's one of those things where you're like one of these days, one of these days I'll get to a podcast. And then when it's handed to you on a similar plot, it's like, all right, let's do this. And yes, we haven't looked back. It's been lost and lots of fun, one of my favorite things that we're doing right now. [CHRISTINA] Great. So in terms of what you thought about sharing or talking about on your podcast, did you think, okay, we're going to share our own stories or was that scary to you? Was that something that was important to you? How did you decide all of that? [STEFANIE] Well, actually we got together to talk several times before we recorded our first podcast episode and one of the primary drivers of us doing this was to share our story. It was about the anecdotes and the actual experience that we lived through and trying to convey that to an audience so that we could normalize it and feel, we wanted people to hear and think, oh my gosh, I feel less alone. Like there's people talking about the things that I think about or the things that I'm going through that I just have never spoken about, or I feel just, you know people often feel like they're broken or there's something wrong with them. And it's really such a difficult topic to talk about in general. So that was the mission was, to able to hear stories and as we move through, I mean, we definitely talk about theories and things and our own client experiences, but we inject a lot of our own personal narratives, both what we went through at the time and also how we're dealing now and how everything looks now so that we can hopefully relate to large amounts of people. [SARAH] Both Stef and I, we work with clients every day with binge eating. So we thought, well, I thought going into it was going to be a lot of professional advice giving. I knew that we were going to share our stories, but I think Stef was quite instrumental in guiding the podcast down that route, where we open up and we really talked about really very openly in ways that I haven't on my social media about what it's really like, some of the things that work for some of our darkest times as well. So some of the feedback we're getting from people is that they really resonate with that and they don't feel alone. So sometimes afterwards I'm left feeling a little bit exposed for myself when we've recorded these episodes because it's the most open I've been about this stuff. But from the feedback that's coming back, it really feels like the right move. That's what people need. They want to know they're not alone. They want to know that other people are going through something similar. [CHRISTINA] And that's why reason why I'm so glad you're both here too, is that's one of the missions of my podcast, to really have people relate too. I think there's so much secrecy around eating disorders and there's so much shame and nobody's really openly talking about what it's like behind closed doors or what the thoughts are, what the feelings are because they're scary and they're shameful. So often that, I don't know how it is with your clients, but I hear, oh my gosh, if anyone really knew what I was doing, I'd be mortified. And I remember feeling that way myself, when I had my eating disorder and just thinking, I cannot let anybody, even my therapist know what I'm really doing. I was lying to myself, my therapist, and I wish there had been podcasts back then. So I don't know if that was similar for you or. [STEFANIE] Yes, I mean, I remember I was just thinking the other day about this, about like times where I used to eat, and there's also like a stereotype of what you sort of look like. So if you don't fit into that mold, exactly, you may wonder if what you're doing is normal. And as I was starting to say, I remember that I would binge eat and I needed to get rid of the evidence. I would like throw my rappers in places that just like, I mean, sometimes I would just quickly get it out of my car. I just remember feeling such an intense amount of guilt about that and like, who does that or eating out of a garbage can where I'd something I'd thrown away the day earlier and now I needed it. And that kind of thing is something that most people aren't, I mean, that's not really glorified out there. So it's something that I mean, I am open to speaking about these things because I remember how that felt. And I hear back, when I put those things out there, I hear back so much about like, oh my gosh, I do that too. I just thank you for saying that and then that's something that I think on a daily basis, getting those messages feels like, yes, that's why we say it. [SARAH] And I don't know about Stef, but most of the people who contact me have been struggling for years. The story is that I'm not disciplined enough. I don't have enough willpower. I'm not trying hard enough. That was my story for a long time, because I thought if I really, really wanted to stop binging, I should be able to do it. Like, I'm a smart person. I should be able to figure this stuff out. So the fact I couldn't made me believe there must be so something so fundamentally wrong with me. And I think that's how people are feeling when it comes to eating disorders. And well, my areas mainly binge eating. I'm sure it's like across all the eating disorders, but in binge eating, it's seen as this like it's greed or something. And it's not about greed or it's a choice and who would choose that for themselves like that? I mean it's like, yes, I chose this for myself. [CHRISTINA] Well, and I think that's part of the diet culture too, and the messages out there is like, well, just that we're just dry. Not like, just eat less and just exercise more and you can just do this and it's everywhere. So I felt that way too, like, I'm not doing this enough. I'm screwing up. What is wrong with me is the same thing. I was so good at other things in my life. I was the best student. I was this, I was all these things and I was like, why can't I do this? What is wrong with me? I'm such a failure. So I was not going to talk to anybody about what a failure I was at this. I was the same as you, Stefanie. I was hiding. Things I could talk about the ways I hid wrappers or like I would eat the whole curtain of something and then like rush to the store and buy a whole new one and then eat it down to like, look is that about how much was last? Oh my gosh. [STEFANIE] Yes, I think that's so true what you're saying about, yes, I think for anyone who hasn't been through the experience too, because even, I mean, my family, I developed this at a relatively young age, I was adolescent and nobody in my family had been through it. So everyone who was trying to help me in very well-intentioned ways I just couldn't relate. So there was a lot of messaging of like, you just have to, or it's just a matter of, and I even got the, my own parents that you're smart. You're an intelligent girl. Why is this, they couldn't understand. And I think that hearing from people who lived through something and even therapists that I'd had, who looking back had said things to me that felt really damaging, although I wouldn't have known that at the time because they were my therapist and I just had so much trust and faith that they knew what they were saying to me. But I think when somebody has not been through an experience and only knows it sort of secondhand that there's something missed. And that is part of why I think the fact that we have podcasts and social media we've, I mean in a lot of ways, there's a lot of excess information that's some of it is more damaging. But there's also the opportunity to ingest a lot of good information from people who really have been there and that relatability factor is I think a really important part of recovery and that that's more accessible now. [SARAH] I saw something on social media the other day that I thought was really great. It said telling someone with disordered eating to just eat normally is like telling a depressed person to just cheer up and its like of course that's what I'm trying to do. That's what I want for myself. If I could do it, then I really would. [CHRISTINA] And I think you're bringing up a good point too, is I'm just wondering for yourselves like your journey to figuring out oh my gosh, I actually have something here that's not just me being a failure, but I actually need help for this. This is actually maybe an illness or an eating disorder. When did that realization hit both of you? [SARAH] For me, it felt like it was from day one. I knew really early on my binge eating was triggered off after a short period of restriction in my mid twenties. I hadn't really had a history of dieting at that point. It was so sudden and so visceral and so constant and relentless that I knew something was wrong very quickly and all the help I thought didn't help at the time. I saw a CBT therapist who was supposed to specialize in binge eating and I did everything I was told to do and by our seventh session, she said to me, Sarah, I want you to really try this week. So all I felt like was like, it fed into this story that I needed to just keep trying harder. And I think that's one of the things about eating disorders. Is like, it's almost like the more you just try to stop, the worse it can get. There's almost a surrendering. I think certainly for me anyway, that had to happen in order to surrender my investment with how I thought things were supposed to be, that started to open things up. So I was trained to be a therapist while I was still struggling with my eating disorder. I wasn't going to work with eating disorders but as part of my training, I had to go through therapy and I had many experiences in therapy that just were not helpful. It wasn't with people that really knew about this stuff. So I feel like a lot of my recovery came from a lot of self-help resources. It's one of the reasons why I put so much stuff out there because I think it can really help people when you can't the right help with someone who knows this stuff and someone who's in your corner and cheering for you. It's something, I think people can use these resources to start moving in the right direction. [CHRISTINA] Right. [STEFANIE] For me, I recognized that I had an eating disorder or disordered eating early, but at first it was just a restrictive way of eating and that's so normalized that I actually wasn't quite aware. I knew that I was, I mean, I just had a sense that there was something obsessive about what I was doing, but I didn't fully translate it to that it was bad because it was, I mean, I was dieting and dieting is okay. Like dieting was applauded and so was the weight loss. In fact I had people coming to me saying wow, you look anorexic in this very complimentary way. And I remember understanding somewhere that couldn't, that's not right, but it was at the same time it was coming as this compliment, which is a little bit how this is celebrated in our culture. And then as I developed binge eating and bulimia later on, I mean, I was well aware that I was in need of help, that something was wrong. I was also falling into depression cycles pretty badly and all of it together, I just knew I needed help, but I wasn't getting better. And I think that as the years went on and I mean, I dealt with this for almost 25 years, and the fact that nothing really was helping me all the therapy and all of the books I was reading and all of the time that I was spending willing my way to get better, that that wasn't working. And that left me in sort of a hopeless state. I think that I knew I needed help, but I just reached a point where thinking, I don't think that there's help out there for me because I've really tried everything and nothing has worked. So maybe this is just the way I am. And it sort of put me into a place of feeling like broken. [CHRISTINA] You know, it's so often I even now get DMs or messages from people saying much like your stories, like it's been so many years, there's no way recovery's possible. Or come on doc, that thing you say about, you can get past this and it's never really with you always and come on, that's not real. I'm always going to have this. Nothing's worked. So when you get to that point of hopelessness, like you were there, so what got you past that? Because I think people do get stuck there. They're like, look, I've been through all the therapy. I've tried everything. Forget it. This is the rest of my life. I'm going to have this forever. [SARAH] The way I think of recovery is it's not somewhere that you arrive. I think that's often this belief that I'm going to get to a place where food's just going to be really easy. And Stef and I, we are quite honest with some of the stuff that comes up for us now around food, some of the old thinking and how we handle that, how we manage it. So I'm not someone who says, oh, you're always going to have to struggle with this for the rest of your life, or it's always going to be there. Because I think that there are people for whom that's not the case. I think for me, there is an element of having to keep an eye on it, having to manage it. It's not fight, it's not a daily fight, but I do feel like it's there and there are certain things that I need to do in order to stay in a state of balance and feeling regulated and free around food. So that's generally how I think of it and I think a lot of people have this idea, this, what they think recovery is, is actually this really idealized version of themselves. When they feel like they keep falling short of that, they feel like they're not recovering because it's not what they thought it's supposed to be. [STEFANIE] Yes, the hopelessness around that and the way that, that turned around too was I honestly believe that the traditional, some of the traditional ways of approaching eating disorders, I don't even want to say eating disorders, but particularly for binge eating actually ended up being, I needed to do the opposite. So it wasn't about getting more willpower or fighting it harder, which is essentially what I'd been doing. I would also really try to tackle my emotions. That was a way that I thought that binge eating was rooted in my emotions and I really spent a lot of time trying to get to the root of them and trying to feel and all of these things and yet I would still binging. And this was part of why I felt broken too, because the ways in which I was trying to heal and recover, weren't working. So for me, this recovery came, or the initiation of the recovery process came at a point where the idea was presented to me to stop fighting that and to allow food and to allow myself to eat. And this was completely revolutionary to me and not something that I had ever, like, it didn't compute, but at the same time when I thought of it this way, I mean, there was a visceral feeling of like, oh, relief. Like, yes, that is exactly what I need, permission. And then moving through that process of course is very, very difficult, but I have landed in a place now, like Sarah, where it's something that I manage, but it's a management that's, it's almost like I've become an observer. Like I hear thoughts sometimes enter my head and I see them for what they are. It's like, I've pulled the, I see the man behind the curtain. I understand how this all works together now and because I can see that it's much easier for me to be where I want to be and to be living a life without fighting food all the time. So yes, I kind of see it like that actually. [CHRISTINA] I think that's so interesting that permission to eat, because like you said, I think so many people are fighting it, they're trying to control it, they're telling themselves things like, I can't have this in the house, or if I'm around that food, I'm going to eat it all. Or it's once that's gone and it's like, you just, I found this, I don't know, maybe this was your experience, but it's like, have it around. Don't be so scared of it. Don't have it be your fear food. It's like, it loses some of the power and it becomes more normalized. And I think there's a lot that happens there when you just don't have this tension with it all the time. [STEFANIE] Yes. I mean, and that was certainly something that I tried before, but I just ended up binging on it all the time. That was to do with the mental restriction that was around us. So it's something that, and clients will say to me, well, I've tried this, I've tried to bring these foods in. I'm allowing myself to eat, and I'm just, I've been binging the whole time and I can't stop. So I need to restrict. It's just more proof that I need to restrict. I can't have these things around. I think the difference, the way that I experienced recovery was a lot of the mental work behind that. The permission wasn't just a way to get rid of the binge eating so that I could lose weight, but also to actually give myself permission and to give myself the time that it really takes to yes, for a period of time having that honeymoon phase with these foods and eating them in mass quantities in some cases because they're there and we're finally allowed. And making peace with that both physically and mentally and then watching yourself and seeing yourself through to the other side of that was, I think previously, I just didn't have the mental permission and I also didn't have the patience. I got too scared too quickly, and I would run back into the arms of restriction because I just could not cope with the feeling that often accompanies the beginning phases of recovery [SARAH] And the way I approached permission was I actually, when it was about two months, I did it for during my, towards the end of my recovery, where I had full permission to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it. But I did set a condition on myself that I had to sit the table and eat it, because for me, there was such an experience of television and screens and food as well. It was this experience. And for me, I do relate to that idea of food being used. That's kind of like a numbing or a wind down. So I think I did have quite an emotional relationship with food. So even when I let go of the restriction to begin with, there was still quite a bit of emotional leasing going on. So in order to try and change relationship and my association with certain foods, this is what I did. I had to break that association, because they were always combined with screen time. And that I think really did shift something for me around feeling free around particular foods and making peace with them so that they weren't my fear foods anymore. [CHRISTINA] I think that's so powerful too, that your client work with you because when they get to those points, I can imagine you're able to say to them, it's okay. I've been there. You can get through this. Because if they didn't have you working with them and they're going through this, just to your point, Stefanie, they're going like, forget it. I'm out. I'm going to go back to restricting. This is exactly what I was talking about. This is scary. I can't trust myself, but to have somebody like you going, no I've been there, I've done it, you can get to the other side, that's so powerful. And just hearing this now for anyone listening, trust, if you have a specialist or someone who's been there and done that, and they're telling you you can do this, that's helpful. [STEFANIE] That's hugely helpful. I remember sitting in that space of, I would just devour as much information on the internet as I could because at the time I wasn't really even on Instagram yet and I would just read and reread and reread and read the books of people who had gone through this particular process. And there were only a couple. Because I just needed the constant reinforcement. I also listened to podcasts hosted by these people because I needed to constantly be reassured that this had really happened for someone, someone had really worked their way through and it was like every day reset. I just like needed to hear it again. I couldn't get enough. So yes, there's something about being held through that process and allowing yourself to be held through that process and to have some sort of, I don't know, it's almost like a parental figure that tells you it's going to be okay, you're going to be all right. It's a very soothing thing to have someone holding your hand through that [SARAH] It's enormous trust as well. And I'm also conscious and it's something that they really, we spend a lot of time thinking about this in therapists training, is we do have to be careful then not to project our own experience onto our client. Because there are certain things that seem to work for a lot of people, but I don't think everybody's path out of an eating disorder is necessarily going to be this. So I think yes, there is an element of being able to support and to share our stories, but also holding that idea that everyone's body's different, everyone's brain, everyone's relationship with food is different. So I'm constantly questioning where are my biases because we bring our biases into the room with our clients as well. [CHRISTINA] I'm actually curious for you too, because I actually didn't want to specialize in treating eating disorders. I always knew I wanted to do this for my career, be a psychologist, but I was like, there's no way, because I didn't want to perpetuate that, I guess, myth that we are wounded warriors and bring our own stuff into the room and we project all of our stuff and just talk about us. I know that was out there and I said, no, I'm not going to do this. This was my thing. I'm in recovery, but Nope, I'm going to go focus on couples and families and work with kids, which I did for a long time. So it just kind of found me. People kept doing intakes, talking about things and I'd ask and all of a sudden they're discussing their relationships with food and body and they're going, gosh, you totally get me. No one's ever asked me these things. I'm finding myself suddenly in it. I'm like, here we go. But I don't know if you guys had that hesitation or you were like, no, I've been there. This is what we want to specialize in or treat. I don't know if you had a different experience. [SARAH] I had so much hesitation when I was training to be a therapist, as I said, I was in my eating disorder, so I didn't, there was something in the back of my mind that I thought maybe if I ever get out of this, maybe I would end up helping people. But I was still, I think I was quite early in my recovery when I started having some clients that were coming along and struggling with foo and it really felt like some of the best work that I did. I felt myself kind of come alive in those sessions as well. And exactly what you say, Christina the client knows that you get it just by the way you respond and the things you ask, even if you're not actually self-disclosing at that point. So I think there was an element of it finding me. And then I thought, well, if I'm working with eating disorders, I need to work with all the eating disorders because that's what people do. So I was working with anorexia and binge eating, but again, it was like, no, it's the binge eating. That's the bit that I'm really drawn to. So I narrowed it down even more from that and that kind of felt like that pulled me in. It didn't feel like a conscious choice to do that. [STEFANIE] I'm actually not trained as a therapist. I started out as a journalist and then I moved, I got my degree in occupational therapy and I actually found through occupational therapy I had my focus in mental health and also sensory and neuro rehabilitation. So I learned a lot about the way the brain works and the way that our nervous system works. And I moved through that education as I was experiencing my own. I was still in the thick of my eating disorders. So I applied a lot of that to what I was going through and then after I recovered, I saw how all of these things came together. So I became a coach after that with the full intention of being in this field because when I was able to really look at how the interplay of well, really all the things I had writing, researching and sensory therapy and neuro theory, how all these things act actually, what they have to do with recovery. I felt just compelled to turn this into, this was what I wanted to do as a coach because I remember, and I always talk about this that I used to wake up in the morning. My eyes would open and I would think about food and I would think about my body and I would assess the damage from yesterday and that was my mission today. And it would last till I went to bed at night and I would somehow fall asleep thinking and calculating and doing. That was my life. I remember thinking that if I could ever not do that, like if that life was ever available to me that I would just want to help someone else who was going through that because in that moment I felt like there's no way that this could ever not be my life. This is so I just can't imagine. So to me when I was able, now when I wake up and that isn't the first thing on my mind, I mean, I'm not thinking about this during the day. That's possible to me, that that feels so hopeful. And I love to help others through that because I know what it feels like to feel like you'll never get out. [CHRISTINA] That's so well said. I think you guys are using these words that I think people need to latch onto as a hope because I think people, like you said Stefanie, the hopelessness is what really keeps people trapped. And I'm wondering, are there any ways you can, maybe for anyone listening, help them to get to a place where they can get out of the hopelessness and get to a place of just a little bit of hope? And is there any key thoughts or something you could say to anyone out there that's in that space of hopelessness right now that just say, there's some hope out there. There is a way to get out of just the day you're talking about waking up and it's just there and it's there all day until you fall asleep. [STEFANIE] Yes, I think that right now there's so many resources and looking at something that maybe you haven't looked at before, for example, I mean, I know that I was only following sort of dieting mindset, recovery resources for most of my time. And when I figured out that there was an entire network of people who embraced intuitive eating and the actual, real, true, authentic, intuitive eating and anti diet philosophies and health philosophies that, that was even a thing I didn't, I never knew about that. When I started to learn about these different ways of thinking about food, recovery and food, having a relationship with food I wasn't read, first of all, I couldn't really wrap my head around all of that, but I started paying attention. And I think that the hope that you can begin with, because I think sometimes this can get so overwhelming so fast is to know that there's actually more perhaps out there than you've come across or that you've tried yet. And just the listening and integrating of these different ways of thinking about recovery is a great place to just sit for a while and that there's no pressure to change or to recover really quickly. That you can sit and learn and let that seed be planted for a while and know that it might turn into something in its own time when you're ready. I think that's a hopeful place to start. [SARAH] I think the hopelessness comes from seeing where you are now and being able to see where it is you would like to be and it's just looking like this massive chasm, just so far away and so different from your everyday experience. And all you've got to go from actually is looking behind you and seeing what seems like all these failed attempts to recover. I think this is so perpetuated by that black and white all or nothing thinking that comes along with eating disorders. It's like, I'm here and I want to be there. It also feels like it's this long, hard journey you're going to go on. Like, recovery is hard, it's hard work and it's going to be difficult and I think to open up that possibility that the process of recovery can be really enjoyable. There can be challenges in that. There might be some ups and downs, but it doesn't mean it's going to be this arduous thing. There was so much of my recovery that I enjoyed, so many things I realized, so many new experiences that I had. So you don't have to wait till you get to where you want to be for everything to be okay. You are going to have moments. You're going to have those experiences probably much sooner than you think. [CHRISTINA] That's so well said. I think that's what the thought is, it's like, oh my gosh, if I take this on, it's going to be so hard, so difficult. It's going to be years if I even get there. Also to your point that all or nothing thinking either I'm sick or I'm recovered. And when people don't get there fast enough, they just automatically think, oh my gosh, this is too much. I give up. Like, where I'm failing, even failing at therapy or failing at recovery, I'm just, I'm doomed and give up so quickly. I love that you said that it doesn't have to be this torturous process that's so much of a struggle. [SARAH] I have this slightly different way of talking about recovery if it's okay to share here. [CHRISTINA] Oh please. [SARAH] I think quite often we see we're at point A and we want to get to point B, then there's this journey. And we see those meanings online where it's like, what I think it's going to be like, and there's a straight line between A and B and then what it's actually like. And there's six X going all over the place and looping back. Even that second one, I don't think's helpful because it sees you as getting from point A to point B. So each time you feel like you're further away from point B, it feels like you're going backwards. So how I've started talking about it in my work is that I think of it as two states, state A and state B and state A is the disordered eating. It's the food chaos. It's the obsession. It's the misery. State B is balance, it's freedom, it's choice. It's feeling regulated around food. So it's about developing a picture of what that state be looks like. And what often happens in recovery is people get tastes of it. So they experience, they'll come in and be like I had a few days where I let go of restriction. I found I wasn't thinking about food all day. They found their state be and now they know what it is that they're trying to create. At some point, probably quite soon, they're going to slip back into state A because state A is kind of the more known state. But I think the more you start defining your state B, and it's more like lifting yourself out of state A and getting yourself into state B and figuring out how to do that process so you spend more and more time in state B. that then becomes more of the norm for you once you're more over here in B. Then it might be even occasions in your life. You might visit state A, but you find your way back to state B, especially with something like binge eating that I think the idea of recovery around it can feel it's really hard to have that bright line, like with bulimia it's like you binge, you purge. I know that that behavior was bulimia. With binge eating, because it can sometimes feel like eating was a bit compulsive, maybe it felt like a mini binge. You're not quite sure. So it can feel a bit like moving backwards. But I think it's just moving backwards and forth between state B and A or A and B. So then you don't have to catastrophize when you're in state A. You just want to figure out how to get yourself back in state B. [CHRISTINA] I really like the way you conceptualized that. I think that could be very helpful for people because I think there is that all or nothing. It's like, oh, I'm either failing or I'm not, or I'm not getting far enough, or I don't know where I'm at. And it's very confusing and disorienting. So thank you for sharing that actually. [SARAH] No problem. Very helpful. [CHRISTINA] All right. I know you guys have shared a lot and getting to time. So I don't know if there's any last words or anything you guys feel like would be helpful to share before we end. [SARAH] I think I would just want to say something about, there is something about hearing people's stories that gives you the freedom to take away what you want. When you read sort of some psychoeducation or some advice, there's a sense that this is how I should be doing. When you listen to people's stories, when you follow recovery accounts, when you, I don't know, read books or watch YouTube videos, listen to podcasts, whatever it might be, I think that's often how people are impacted. Because it's not only the advice we are given that makes the changes that stick. It's the things that we figure out for ourselves. So sometimes someone will say something and then there's like a light bulb moment and you'll go, "Oh my goodness, that's me." And that doesn't tend to happen when we are given advice. It tends to happen when we are the ones who've made that realization. So I think that's what I would encourage people to do, is to connect with other communities as well. There's communities online. Just to not feel alone in this I think really helps to reduce the shame because I think it's nearly impossible to take positive action when you're in a place of shame and connection, I think chases the shame away. [CHRISTINA] Absolutely. [STEFANIE] Yes, and I think I just reflecting on what we spoke about earlier that, I just remember feeling like I was in a place that nothing made sense and I really just didn't understand anything that was going on and kind of holding onto the idea that there is a version of this where things do make sense and that your body is not working against you and that your mind is not even working against you necessarily, that there's a message to this madness and that there's help out there. There's support for getting through some of this and making that, you know meme you've seen with the, when you're talking to someone and everything feels like a tangled web and then you to speak to somebody and everything gets organized. That that's something that can be a really helpful part of this process. And you don't have to do it alone. [CHRISTINA] Absolutely. And there's wonderful people like you out there too. I mean, there are people everywhere. You guys are not even in the United States, so no matter where you are, wherever you're listening, there is help everywhere. And I appreciate that we're connecting even from different countries and that you're doing your podcast outside of the states and you're here today. So there is help wherever you are. It's not just here locally. [STEFANIE] I'm here. [SARAH] Oh, you are? Okay. I'm sorry. I thought you were both in the UK. Sorry about that. Where are you looking? [STEFANIE] I'm in New Jersey. [SARAH] Oh, okay. I apologize for that. So actually, if people did want to connect with either one of you or listen to your podcast, that's a great question, because I'm sure after listening, they will probably want to find you, so social media or websites or otherwise, how can they find both of you? [CHRISTINA] I'm at I Am Stefanie Michelle on Facebook and Instagram and my website is www.iamstephaniemichelle.com. Our podcast is Life After Diets podcast, both on Instagram and soon to be on YouTube. [SARAH] Yes. And I'm The Binge Eating Therapist on Instagram and I've also got a YouTube channel. That's also called The Binge Eating Therapist. My website is just bingeeatingtherapist.com. So people can contact me by any of those means. [CHRISTINA] Fantastic. And if anyone didn't get that down, if it'll be all in the show notes as well, so I'm sure people will be reaching out to both of you. So thank you so much for being here. It's been such great information. And like you said, I think the beauty of what you all shared is that you've been there and it's relatable. It's real. So thank you so much. [BOTH] Thanks for having us. [CHRISTINA] 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.