MEET TERESA SCHMITZTeresa Schmitz is a body-acceptance coach and the owner of My Best Self Yet. Teresa was diagnosed with an eating disorder three weeks shy of her 46th birthday, and spent the next two years on a journey towards self-love, healing her relationship with both food and body. Along the way, she was formally trained in coaching and launched her own coaching practice. Now, Teresa is on a mission to empower women to rediscover their happiness by saying yes to showing up authentically and loving themselves unconditionally no matter their body type! Visit My Best Self Yet and connect with them on Facebook. Connect with Teresa on Instagram and LinkedIn. FREEBIE: Sign up to try this Body Appreciation Exercise!
IN THIS PODCAST
- “It was always about the number”
- Find the right doctor
- Advocate for yourself
“It was always about the number”The doctors in Teresa’s life were all hyper-focused on the number instead of how she was doing.
Were they looking at other [numbers] too to say, “Hey, we’re noticing something real here” … maybe an abnormal EKG or something else that would give you risk factors … was there anything else or was it “just lose the weight” because we said so? (Dr. Cristina Castagnini)The numbers on the BMI calculation and the numbers on the scale were all looked at instead of the numbers representing other aspects of her health.
Find the right doctor
My gynecologist celebrated; “ooh, look at all this weight you’ve lost, that’s fabulous!” But she didn’t care how it was done. (Teresa Schmitz)Some doctors value weight loss over wellness. This can lead to issues where the client is focused on losing weight in unhealthy ways just to get praise or appease their doctor, or their doctor is encouraging any type of weight loss. Look for the doctor who sees you as a whole person and not just a collection of numbers and charted information. Sometimes the wrong doctor will shame patients for their body and their health instead of genuinely working with them to truly get and feel better.
Advocate for yourself
I had an orthopedic doctor comment [on my body] and I put him in his place. I said, “no, I am not taking this, I already see a dietician, and I have been diagnosed” … I continue to try and do that. (Teresa Schmitz)Speak out during assessments if something is going on that makes you uncomfortable, or is uncalled for. If weight is truly the culprit, then the assessment can show that it may be. Otherwise, do not let doctors or anyone bully you into thinking that any number on the scale is dangerous. Diet culture has invaded parts of the medical industry and has swayed doctors to give bad or dangerous advice to their clients under the guise of wellness.
- COMPLEX TRAUMA AND ED: A PERSONAL STORY OF TRANSFORMATION WITH IRIS MCALPIN | EP 73
- Visit My Best Self Yet and connect with them on Facebook
- Connect with Teresa on Instagram and LinkedIn
- Sign up for the free Behind The Bite Course
- Practice of the Practice Network
- Email Dr. Cristina Castagnini: email@example.com
MEET DR. CRISTINA CASTAGNINII 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!
THANKS FOR LISTENINGDid 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!
[CRISTINA CASTAGNINI] Hello, everyone. I just wanted to make a quick announcement that I'm going to be offline for the next two weeks. I'm going to be engaging in a little bit of self-care. I've been going strong for several weeks in a row now. So I think it's actually good for all of us to take a break every now and again. So on the 17th of March, I will be back with all new content, with some great guests and some shows that I know you aren't going to want to miss. So enjoy the next two weeks. Maybe listen to some old podcast recordings and enjoy the time that I'm off. Like I said, I'll be back and excited to share some new information and have some great you. 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. [CRISTINA] Well, hello, everyone. Welcome to Behind The Bite podcast. One of the most common things I hear from people is that they, well, they tell me, "I have to lose weight." Almost a hundred percent of the time when I follow up that statement with asking why they know they have to, I get the same response, the response being, "Well, my doctor tells me all the time that I have to, for my health. I just need to be healthier." This is where I usually start asking even more questions, more questions like, "Oh, really? Were you diagnosed with something that you were specifically told was only going to go away once you lost weight? Or did you just take a bunch of tests or have labs done and have some in-depth conversation where you were specifically told how your weight and only your weight was the direct reason for your results?" I always find it even more interesting if someone tells me that their labs were great and that they don't have any illness or diagnosis, but yet when they recently went in to see their doctor, they were told that they really needed to start watching what they were eating and make sure they fit in some exercise so that they could take off some weight and keep their health in check. They usually got some lecture about being in a high risk category for their health, through their BMI and walked away really feeling pretty awful about themselves. I find this really sad because I know this happens all the same. So many physically healthy people believe they're not doing well. They feel like they're doing something bad and they feel bad about themselves and they feel they're doing something wrong and that they must go find some way to change things, or they're going to face some dire health consequences down the line. What do most people do? They go on a diet, which, if any of you have listened to my past podcasts, you may know diets only serve as your precursor to all sorts of problems, including eating disorders, health problems, and ironically also result in the one thing the person who is going on the diet in the first place is trying to avoid, which is more weight gain. Yes, over time, the more someone diets, the more the body will gain weight, which I do not bring up to demonize weight gain and promote weight loss. But I only to bring up the point that dieting does not work to help anyone achieve the goals they set up for themselves when they start them in the first place. With this being such a common occurrence among people, it is no wonder that there are so many people out there who have no idea that they have disordered eating or even full-blown eating disorders. Most people just think they're failing at dieting over and over and over again. So why am I talking about this? Well, our guest here today is not one you want to miss. She is truly an inspiration and someone I know so many of you listening are sure to relate to. I am so honored to have her on here today, because she's ready and open to be vulnerable and sharing her story. Teresa Schmitz is owner of My Best Self Yet and a body acceptance coach who was diagnosed with an eating disorder three week shy of her 46 birthday. She spent two years on a journey towards self-love, healing her relationship with both food and body. Along the way, she was formally trained in coaching and launched her own coaching practice. She is on a mission to empower women to rediscover their happiness by saying yes, to showing up authentically and loving themselves unconditionally, no matter the size. All right, Schmitz, welcome to the show. [TERESA SCHMITZ] Thank you so much for having me. It's an honor to be on the show today. [CRISTINA] I love the fact that you are willing to share your story before we started recording. One of my main goals is really to have people on that other people listening can relate to. I think what I love so much about you is you really do break that myth that well, teenage girls have eaten disorders and you have such a unique story that I know other people listening are going to relate to. Because you did not get diagnosed with an eating disorder when you were a teenager. So I'm wondering, would you mind just sharing a little bit about your journey and what you did experience? [TERESA] Sure. Thank you. That's a great question. You are right I was one of those before I was diagnosed that did have that stereotype of, oh, it can't be me. I'm not a teenage girl here. I'm a middle aged woman who is actually three weeks shy of her 46 birthday. So to back up into that story, about six years before my diagnosis, I was in the doctor's office visiting for a normal physical test. I was at the onset of perimenopause where sometimes your body is changing at that time. Mine was, and my doctor at the time had told me that I needed to lose weight. Then I said, come back in three months, of course, and check in with her. So I came back in three months and I had gained a little bit of weight. Again, her course of action was to lose weight. So she told me at that time, the first time that I recall hearing from a doctor was you have an unhealthy relationship with food yet there was nothing more on the context. She did say, yep, I'm going to make you go to a therapist. I went to that therapist and unfortunately she told me I should go on the Weight Watchers diet. So what did I do? That's what I did. As a good school girl, I'm going to follow the rules here. My doctor says, the therapist said, so I did. I joined Weight Watchers, said it was going to be the last time I had done it before. It would've been a perpetual diet, most of my adult life. Then it was, again, me thinking that I was the problem. I needed to fix my body, et cetera. Fast forward a little bit about five years or so this same general practitioner was now moved to clinical director role at the same clinic to oversee a weight loss program that included an appetite suppressant. So again, keeping in mind that something's wrong with me, I couldn't lose the weight on Weight Watchers, I went to see her and she was like, yes, we'll get you on this appetite suppressant. During that time she in fact told me, I, once again, had an unhealthy relationship with food. Unfortunately I just didn't, again, just get the contact, thought the problem with me. I was like, oh, I just don't have the willpower here. I just can't lose the weight. Shame on me. I did lose the weight through that and then about a year later when I was being weaned off of it is when things started to really unravel. I sought other different therapists and bless her heart. She actually told me that I did have an unhealthy relationship with food and she said, and you should seek out an eating treatment facility. You should have an assessment done because there's also body image things I'm hearing. I've been working with her for about nine months or so. So thankfully she did. For the first time, I guess it was like even doing that assessment was it was like, hmm, I don't know. I'm again, a weeks here, just I can't. So I struggled a little bit making that first initial phone call, again, because it was always told to me or led me to believe the statement of you have unhealthy relationship with food. It really led me to believe it was me that the problem [CRISTINA] I see. So it was more couched in like, you are the one who has the problem with food. It's not like maybe there's something here that needs to be addressed and looked at in terms of why you're turning to food or what's really going on, or why are you having body image issues; more like here's a pill, lose the weight. I'm wondering, was any conversation with your general practitioner had about why you needed to lose weight or just you need to lose the weight because I'm telling you to? [TERESA] Yes, it seemed to be for her as well as my gynecologist, that it always seemed to be about a number. Because like, well, my BMI was in the wrong category, whether it was overweight or whatever the category was. It was just you need to lose weight. Then my father did suffer from heart disease and so my general practitioner almost made it seem as though I was going to have a heart attack tomorrow, if I didn't lose the weight. So that's initially what her and that was 10 years ago. I haven't had a heart attack. Yet that was her, well, you don't want to be like your father. I remember her saying that specifically to me, as well as my gynecologist would say to me, along the way of just ask your mom; It's easier to lose weight in your thirties than it is in your forties. Then when I started going through menopause in my early forties, it was, oh, it's easier to lose weight in your forties and your fifties. I mean, it's just always about to me. I think just the way you follow that BMI scale and a lot times the doctor telling me that how I was on the scale and you don't want to be there. [CRISTINA] Interesting, because as I hear you talk, I just hear the emphasis on BMI and the number on the scale, but I'm not really hearing much about numbers for other things like labs and actual, like concern over real data for, are you at risk for a heart attack or were they looking at other things to say, "Hey, we're noticing something real here; maybe an abnormal EKG or something else that would give you risk factors for heart attack." Or was there anything else or was it just like lose the weight and because we said so? [TERESA] Yes, that's what it really felt like because with my age and my family history and thankfully a current doctor of mine, again, fast forward through my diagnosis and now recovered she has looked at me as a whole person. I've since moved to different doctors, including gynecology. She sees me as a whole person and says the DNA, you're just given that DNA with your father's history. It's not your fault. So I bless her heart. My new doctors have seen me as a whole person whereas in those former days before my diagnosis, it was all about you losing weight because the number on scale just wasn't good, the labs and everything else were. So, yes, I just felt like that's how it was for them and almost like they had to do that maybe for insurance purposes or whatever it was, but it just always felt like no matter, even if I went in for a common cold or throat or something, it was, "Hey, by the way, you should lose weight," like a scolding of sorts. [CRISTINA] So you were, I mean, and I know lots of people did also have experiences like this, you were prescribed a pill to lose weight and wondering how did you feel taking that pill and after you were prescribed it? [TERESA] That's interesting because going into it, I thought, oh, great, this is going to be the end, the be all. I'll finally lose all the weight and I'll please my doctors, because now it became more of like a clear thing. Oh, I disappointed her once before when I gained weight. I remember her saying to me, I have asthma and she had said to me, "Well, we're going to treat this like a chronic disease. We're going to treat it just like we do with your asthma. We have a plan there. We'll treat this the same way. So this will really help you control how much you're taking in and then you'll really get a sense of weight loss, and then things will just start to fall into place." I think, obviously, there was more going on than just a number that needs to be reached, but that was the goal of that clinic, to get to the number. So obviously we know with the eating disorder, there's so much more going on than beyond just that number that shows up on a scale. [CRISTINA] So before you started taking the pill, what was your relationship with food and eating? Do you remember? [TERESA] Yes, I mean, there, it felt like it, because again, as an adult, I would consider myself perpetually dieting again because of the messages at the doctor or whatnot. So I felt like I was dieting and it felt like restraining really. I was restricting in a sense, you know in a diet you're not eating these foods. So there was a sense of foods are good and foods are bad. I sensed, no, that all foods are good. The relationship with them, so I don't know that I necessarily saw that at the time though, that there was something not right. I would restrict certain kinds of foods. It was always a diet soda because that was zero points with Weight Watchers versus a regular soda, even though I didn't like the taste of it, but I would force myself to do those things or rice instead of those piece of cakes for a birthday or something, just always restricting or making changes to things based on what I thought I should be eating. When you resist certain foods from your diet and what happens when you have one piece. You've got binge eating disorder. You just don't know how to stop because you've restricted so long and then all of a sudden you're getting that treat and it turns into something more than that, like big good, because I haven't had a piece of cake in a year and I've been so good and cake is bad. That's just what's going on at the time. So to answer your question, I don't believe I realized there was something wrong going on. Or I didn't say wrong. I didn't think that there was anything necessarily beyond just, hey, I need to diet and well, if you're not the right weight, does the doctor need to see? [CRISTINA] So you go on the pill and then what was the reaction from your doctors? [TERESA] Well, the one that I had to go see her every month and I would get weighed, and it was always cheerleading. Like, "Ooh, you're losing weight." I remember that first time in a month's time I lost weight. I remember they came out and they gave me that amount I had lost in like a, it was like a plastic formation of fat and they made me hold it. They were like, you lost this amount of weight. And again, it was like, "Yay, yay, yay." It was all like, "You did this, you did this, you lost the weight." In hindsight, I look at that and I'm like, well, of course I did. Who wouldn't, because again, you're starving a person. You're suppressing their appetites. They can't feel their hunger and fullness cues. I'm still working through that where I think that pretty much erased in all the dieting I did too. Kind of erased that sense of fullness and hunger cues. I'm still trying to, I realized that especially that hunger cue actually, because again, I was depressed for a good year plus time. So again, it was celebrated and then again, that other, my gynecologist, it was celebrated, "Ooh, look at all the weight you've lost. That's fabulous." Didn't care how it was done. It was just, "Hey, you've lost all this weight. That's great. Keep going." That was what I heard. [CRISTINA] Most people when I talked to them and they had that experience, at least initially that feels really great, but it's like, okay, I got to keep going because you're getting all these pats on the back. I'm wondering, was that intoxicating for you to get that positive feedback after so many years. At least from both doctors sounds like of getting negative comments. [TERESA] Well, for sure, it felt very, again, I had to see her every month to get away and just to talk to her about things that maybe came up in the months. It was just, again, I was moving into this pleasing mode of, hey, I please her. I'll never forget I had a significant personal thing come up during my year-long plus journey with this appetite suppressants. I told her about how I had a pop tart. She asked me what I had for breakfast and I said, well, I wasn't very hungry. I had a pop tarting. She spent about 10 minutes telling me how that had no nutritional value whatsoever. How could I have ever eaten something like that? Again, it was just, I felt like I really had let her down. I wasn't supposed to eat that. She actually, I remember at one point my husband said, "I think you're like the Atkin diet," because we're only supposed to have so many net carbs in the morning for breakfast. So I literally would eat like a steak and broccoli for breakfast because it had like the right combo and there was no carbs whatsoever. It was just those two things. My husband thought that was odd and I kept denying that that's what it was. So anyway, we had this discussion around how I actually ate breakfast because I was on the run to her office and that's what I grabbed and yes, that I based about how that wasn't the most traditional value and how could I do that? So again, I felt like I disappointed her. So then unfortunately I went home and I been a little bit, even though I was on this appetite depressants again, because I felt like I let her down. Here's this doctor and I didn't listen to her and I'm getting the kudos all along and then I eat all that. [CRISTINA] Wow, wow. Over a pop tar. You weren't even really enjoying your food. Sounds like you were just really doing everything just to follow this plan and get the kudos and please everybody else. But it sounds like you weren't even present. It sounds like you were lost. [TERESA] Yes, I was completely lost. Then on the flip side too, it was, well, if I ate something that maybe I wasn't supposed to, for example, this pop tart or whatever piece of cake or a regular soda, well then I would make sure I got enough exercise or movement during the day. Then I would like do the opposite, which sometimes can happen to certain individuals with that habit. We compensate. Therefore I've got to make up for it, either in exercise or restricting another meal or a snack or whatever. So yes, I was not really eating foods that I enjoyed, or it was just the box because this fit into that diet plan that she wanted me to adhere to with the met carbs count. [CRISTINA] During this whole time, was there ever a discussion about the goal of all this? Like, were you supposed to stay on this pill forever or, what was the end goal, the point of all this, or discussion of what does life look like for you? Are you supposed to, was this going to be your life from this point forward, like constant deprivation of the foods you enjoy and never having a pop tart or a Coke again? This sounds miserable. [TERESA] It was, and I think that's, her whole goal was to get me to lose at least 10% of my weight, because she said at least 10% start and you're heading in the right direction. Because even that reduces your risk of cardiovascular and all the other things that went along with that. So she said when you were eating these type of things, you developed that habit, and that's why the appetite suppress was there. It was to basically get you into the habit of these are the things you should eat. I really think about on the flip side, people that do the bariatric surgery, perhaps that's their diet plan. I think that she was maybe mirrored up with that concept in a way that, hey, once you practice this for a year and we're restricting your appetite or suppressing it, that then you learn to just eat that going forward. Then it was obvious that I couldn't do that afterwards. I was so hungry. I literally was so hungry. I just I just ate after, she was slowly weaning me before I went. Then I was diagnosed during that time when I was being weaned off of it. [CRISTINA] So reactions from the doctors, when you were weaned off, what happened? [TERESA] Then again, I was starting to gain weight and she, so again, I had to go every month and she was seeing that. Again, it was like, oh, then at one point she did say you have an unhealthy relationship with food. Again, it was like, oh, I've disappointed her. I've gained weight. It's me. Shame on me. What am I going to do? So lose this weight, and then I would go home and for comfort, because I felt like I had severely disappointed her in such a way of like gained weight. Then I would just go home and eat. That was my reaction. I just did not know how to deal. There was a lot of personal things happening in my life at this time when I was being leaned from it. My daughter, my adult daughter had gone away to college. She went away. I was moving into a different job at work. My son a few months prior had a plan to commit suicide. So there was a lot of turmoil going on with me personally. Then I just felt like weaning. I was by then really using food for a lot of to just comfort me. I was disappointing my doctor, I was losing my oldest child to go off to college, my son was having mental health issues. I was full blown menopause by then. Again, it was, my job changed, et cetera. So I felt like there was a really big storm happening that year between being weaned and then being diagnosed. [CRISTINA] Lots of things, probably feeling so out of control. [TERESA] Oh, yes. I think again, that's the story. You want to really try to control something when it feels like everything's out of control. [CRISTINA] I'm sure at the time you didn't really realize any of that. [TERESA] Oh no. In fact, when I was actually diagnosed, I member thinking either I had answered a couple, because I had to fill out a bunch of different assessments when I went to the treatment facility. I had thought, I honestly answered a couple questions or when she did my intake therapy visit that I had said something wrong or she heard me incorrectly because after the hour and a half of sitting with her and going through my history and the assessment, she diagnosed me, the intake therapist said, no, this can't be. I mean eating disorder? It just felt so foreign to me, because again, going with the notion of, Hey it's me. I'm the problem, I just don’t know how to lose weight. I've been successful in all these other areas of my life. It's just my weight I can't control. [CRISTINA] I hear that so often from people. It's like every other area of my life, I'm so successful at. Why can't I be successful at this, as like weight loss is something to be successful at. And to feel like you are the failure, you are like abnormal, you're not able to do this well, or you're doing something wrong. That feeling. And wow to have that diagnosis and not be able to take that in like this isn't you. [TERESA] It's interesting because even at my first therapy appointment, so I was put into intensive outpatient programming. That was part of my treatment, plus one-on-one therapy plus one-on-one dietician every week. I did the intensive program for, I think it was about 10 weeks. Then I moved into a DBT skills group afterwards. I remember turning to my new therapist that was at the treatment facility and telling her at my first appointment, "What if I fail?" Because I was thinking about, I honestly still at this point, I hadn't gone to my intensive programming yet, I was going to be right after my appointment. I honestly thought that this treatment facility was all going to be about another diet plan. Like they were going to teach me how to eat right and lose weight. This was like the solution again, because not fully understanding eating disorders myself, really thinking somebody had misinterpreted something I said, or I filled out the form wrong. I went into there and asked what if I fail? Again thinking, because that it was a diet plan I either had to pass or fail. So, unfortunately that problem is to my treatment thinking I have failed. [CRISTINA] Was there a point where that transitioned, where you realized this wasn't about you passing or failing, this was really about getting treatment for an illness? [TERESA] Yes. I think it was within those first couple weeks. So I did intensive programming, four nights a week for three hours. When I walked in to my session, I figured I was going to be with mostly younger females. I was really surprised when I looked around the room and there was three other women, my age or older with very similar diagnoses. I thought, Mmh. So then I slowly, as we started to talk in the group, you learn that you're not alone. You see others that are like you. We talked about the whole, "Hey, I've been successful in my career as a mother, you have a nice house, I have all these things and I just can't lose the weight," is what we thought. Then you just start to realize, no, it's not me. It did take a while though. It wasn't overnight like, oh, the problem is me. It takes time. You have to peel back those layers. Then all your personal trauma that you have to peel back as well, before you start to really believe, yes, this isn't me. It took a bit of time. [CRISTINA] So 10 weeks in the IOP then you come out. I'm wondering, did you still stay with the gynecologists and the general practitioner that you had initially? Were they still your providers during all this? [TERESA] No, I had gone. So I went to my gynecologist for an annual exam after my diagnosis. She wasn't there the year before, when I was starting to be. She was delivering a baby at the time. So they had me see somebody else. So when I went to see her after being diagnosed, she walked in this room and, of course, I had gained weight because again, eating up, I lost all the weight on my appetite, and then of course gained weight. Then I went stabilizing through my treatment. I eating three meals every day and the snacks, cetera. She saw me and she had her computer in her hand or a laptop in her hand and right away, instead of saying, hello, she walked in, put that little paper thing down, sitting on the table, waiting for you to just come in and do your exam. Instead of greeting me, the words out of her mouth were literally you gained how much? I proceeded to sheepishly tell her I was just diagnosed with an eating disorder earlier late last year. This was probably about six months into my diagnosis. She said, well, I don't mean to be insensitive, but that's a hell of a lot of weight. I felt so shame-ridden at that time. I mean, again, six months maybe into my diagnosis being pulled back to thinking again, this is me, my gosh, I've let this doctor down. I've seen her for 20 years. She's really good at being a gynecologist, not so good about the whole person aspect. So I allowed her to finish that exams instead of getting up and walking out yet I knew as I walked out, I could not continue to see someone like that. She was not being supportive of what I had told her because she actually left and walked out and she finished her exam and said something to the effect of, well you've go to lose weight and I'll expect next year that you'll be in a different place. So I knew that all the comments and just her history of how she treated me for 20 years, I needed to find somebody else. In fact, for that very day, I was calling a different gynecologist I had heard about. Actually when I went to see that gynecologist for the first time, bless her heart, I sat there and I literally cried. She asked, why are you crying? I said, because my last gynecologist, it was always about a number. I told her I'd been diagnosed with a eating disorder, and I just spilled everything. She actually got up and was crying herself and she said, no one should ever have to feel that way when they come to the doctor. I hope that never happens with your time with me. It hasn't with the gynecologist over the last three years. Bless her heart. Again, we have doctors out there that don't think it's all about the weight and the number. It's just hard sometimes hard to find them. I thought sharing my story on my diagnosis with the previous gynecologist, that she would have some empathy. She had none whatsoever. I mean, just the comments. If I wasn't indisposed under that little thin paper thin clothing they give you I probably would've walked out, but I didn't obviously but did the right thing afterwards to find a new gynecologist. [CRISTINA] Good for you. My gosh, I mean, these are damaging comments from people in powerful positions over you, taking care of your health and your wellbeing. It sounds to me like a lot of emotional damage, a lot of very horrible messages. [TERESA] Oh, for sure. That's why I think a lot of people stay away from the doctor quite honestly, because you go in for sore throat or a sinus infection, and you're reminded that your weight isn't the right number. So again, yes, it's those messages that you're constantly hearing. [CRISTINA] I'm so grateful to you for sharing that to be, because I think it perpetuates that belief for somebody, if they already have this maybe lifelong struggle with dieting or feeling already, like I'm not strong enough to lose the weight or I'm not trying hard enough, or I keep failing at diets or it's my fault to hear. The messages we reiterated back, like, you're just not trying hard enough, or you need to do this or you need to lose weight or it's you. How can you really get to the point of thinking it's anything, but you or you are the failure? When you're hearing those things, it's awful. [TERESA] It really is. I will say from the top of the mountains, I am living proof that you can be diagnosed at 46, 56, 36, 96. It exists. And it's possible to recover too. I did recover and I'm very proud of that. I now advocate for myself when I go to, I had a orthopedic doctor make a comment and I put him in his place. I was like, no, I'm not taking this. I already see a dietician. I've been diagnosed. So I do, and I think I just continue to try to do that. I would just say speak out in assessments if there is something going on, because it is not you. It really isn't. The industry of diet and just our medical professional might make it seem as though it is you yet it is not. There is so much more going on there that an assessment is the right next step for you to do and to really then the rest you know, let the rest happen. If it truly isn't, then it's going to point out that it isn't an eating disorder. I mean, the assessment, isn't going to tell everybody who takes it. That they have one. It's going to point that out. [CRISTINA] Well, and like I said, I'm so grateful to you sharing your story because one of my goals really in doing the podcast was to have real life people who have gone through their own journey with their eating disorder on here. So anyone out there listening who maybe is going through this, or maybe is out there thinking it's them or hearing these messages from doctors or other people in their lives can maybe hear your story and go, "Wait, maybe I have an illness. Maybe I need to seek help somewhere else." So just so grateful to you for opening up and being vulnerable. I know it's not the most easy thing to do. And I'm wondering, as we come to an end, is there any last message you have for anyone out there that's listening that maybe you want to share before we end? [TERESA] Thank you so much for having me here. Obviously in recovery, I am able to share my story. When I was first in recovery and on my journey, it was hard. There was a lot shame there. I didn't want people, in fact, my best friend didn't even know for quite a bit. I had to share, I did share with her and I really believe that the more we see and hear from others about their recovery and their diagnosis, the more it will become like, oh, okay, that could potentially be me. Maybe I should seek out some help here instead of constantly believing the other messages that it's you, you, you. So I would just encourage anybody just to know that you are worthy of recovery. It's so awesome on the other side. There is a lot to go through and peel. I always say peel back the onion layers as you go through your individual therapy and whatever treatment you were suggested to do; that you put every effort into that. I honestly, when I went into my treatment plan thought, oh my gosh, four nights a week, three hours? I already have a life. What do you mean? I can't do this. In hindsight it was the best thing I was ever given. I had to learn how to advocate for others to do things that I would normally do as a mom in those hours. So I would just say, yes, you do matter. You are important and it's ok to prioritize yourself and say, yep, I'm going to do this because you'll have no regrets. It'll be, you'll have this mucky, middle where it's like, oh my gosh, can I really do it, your recovery? I was often told, and I will say, it's true. It's not linear. It doesn't go from point A to point B. Everything's all honky donkey. It's more like this circular, old fashion foam cord, all mangled together. You'll make a couple steps forward, maybe one little small, one back, maybe it's five forward, a bigger one back, but you'll get there. And I think just give it your energy, give it your all and know that you can recover. It's a beautiful journey. You'll look back and you'll have no regrets for sure [CRISTINA] Great message. Thank you so much. If people do want to follow you or find you, can they? Are you on social media? Is there anywhere people can connect with you? [TERESA] Thank you. I do have a website. It's mybestselfyet.com. I have social. So it's at My Best Self Yet both Facebook and Instagram. I'm also working on publishing my story, recovery journey. [CRISTINA] Anyone who wants all of that, it'll be all in the show notes on the website. So make sure to go there after the show and all of that will be there. Teresa, thank you again. It has been such a pleasure to have you here. [TERESA] Oh, thank you so much for having me. It was my honor to be here and it was so much fun to just be able to talk to you about this in such a great way to share my story. So thank you so, so very much for having me. [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.