EP95 Nourishing Hope: An Expert’s Compassionate Approach to Eating Disorders with Guest Alice Baker

Living While Loving Your Child Through Addiction
Living While Loving Your Child Through Addiction
EP95 Nourishing Hope: An Expert's Compassionate Approach to Eating Disorders with Guest Alice Baker

Your Questions Answered. A few months back, Heather reached out to her Facebook group to inquire about their burning questions on eating disorders. Why? Because navigating a child’s struggle with both substance use and an eating disorder can feel like playing an endless game of whack-a-mole. Just as you address one issue, another one seems to surface. Eating disorders are often as misunderstood as substance use, which is why Heather has been on the lookout for the perfect expert to address your concerns.

Our guest, Alice Baker, is a seasoned professional in the field of eating disorders and is a registered dietitian, licensed therapist, and certified eating disorder specialist with more than 27 years of experience. Alice’s personal journey of recovery has fueled her unwavering commitment to supporting individuals on their path to healing. She embraces a weight-inclusive approach and trauma-informed practice, advocating for a peaceful relationship with food and body. Additionally, Alice has adapted the Invitation to Change approach to provide education and support to the families she works with.

From this episode you will:

  • Understand different approaches to eating disorder treatment and find what works best for
    your loved one.
  • Discover the impact of parental influence on eating disorders and how to support
    positive change.
  • Learn how to model healthy behaviors for children to promote a positive relationship
    with food and body image.
  • Prioritize self-care as a parent to better support your child’s healing process.

Alice Baker contact information:

Provides therapy for residents of
Arizona and Florida.

As a dietician, she can work with
anybody in Arizona, Florida, Colorado, Virginia, and Michigan.


Website: https://alicelbaker.com/

Instagram: @alicebakerrd

Resources From Heather Ross Coaching

GROUP COACHING PROGRAM – Join the waitlist – New Group Starting soon! Be the first to get details. https://heatherrosscoaching.com/peace-of-mind-community/

Get answers and support to help you and your child Sign up for a 45-minute $17 Road to Recovery call with me using the link below


Invitation to Change Learning/Support Group Use the link below to find out about the group Heather is hosting.

⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Learn More & Sign Up For The ITC Group⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠

Guide about enabling – If you’ve ever worried about enabling, this guide is for you! https://heatherrosscoaching.com/perspective-about-enabling/

The key moments in this episode are:
00:00:00 – Introduction to Alice Baker’s background

00:02:59 – Adapting “Invitation to Change” for eating disorders

00:04:12 – Personal experience with daughter’s eating disorder and substance

00:09:48 – Importance of supporting those with co-occurring eating and
substance use disorders

00:18:11 – Eating disorders in boys and men

00:19:17 – Underlying Causes of Eating Disorders

00:21:35 – Effective Treatment Approaches

00:22:43 – Empowering Parents

00:29:48 – Overcoming Malnourished Brain

00:35:31 – Supporting Families

00:37:41 – Changing Relationship with Food

00:38:29 – Setting Boundaries

00:39:42 – Tailoring Approach for Older Children

Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/heather-ross9/message


This transcript has not been formatted or edited.


I’m Heather.

After many wasted years trying outdated approaches to my daughter’s addiction that felt wrong to me, harmed our relationship, and didn’t help my daughter, I finally found an effective evidence based approach that repaired my relationship with her, helped me create my own Peace of Mind, and made me an ally in my daughter’s recovery.


I teach you a loving and compassionate approach to help you encourage change and create connection.

Addiction impacts the entire family system.

Family recovery is the answer.

Today’s guest, Alice Baker, Registered Dietitian, Licensed Therapist, Certified Eating Disorder Specialist, has over 27 years experience in the field of eating disorders.


Due to her own recovery and the freedom she found.

She has been passionate about eating disorders from the beginning and has dedicated her life to coming alongside individuals on their Rd. towards healing, increasing awareness and reducing stigma around the topic of eating disorders.


Alice has served clients with eating disorders through the full spectrum of care from inpatient to outpatient.

In 2005, Alice founded Joyful Nutrition, a nutrition therapy practice committed to empowering individuals toward a peaceful relationship with food and feeling more at home in their bodies.


She adheres to Health at Every Size principles and believes strongly in a weight inclusive practice.

In 2017, Alice obtained Licenger as a licensed mental health and professional counselor and founded Courageous Hearts Counseling, a trauma and social justice informed practice dedicated to coming alongside men and women as they bravely enter their stories, the wounds they have experienced, the self protective responses they have developed to survive, and new ways to love and be loved.


Her specialties include eating disorders and trauma.

In 2020, Allison’s Alice’s son began struggling with substance use and Alice began the treacherous journey of navigating support as a parent.

This gave her a real lived experience of what it is like to witness your child in a life threatening battle and feel powerless to change it.


Through this experience, Alice learned about an evidence based practice, Invitation to Change and eventually obtained certification training.

She now incorporates it in her work with families of those struggling with eating disorders and has seen a significant impact.


Alice currently sees clients full time, stays active on social media, and regularly presents both locally and nationally on the topic of eating disorders.

As an IAEDP approved Supervisor, she also provides supervision to dietitians seeking to obtain certified eating disorder specialty status and who want to grow and learn in this rewarding field.


And as a mom, she continues to learn and grow and be humbled.

Oh, that is the truth.

Thank you so much for coming on today to talk about eating disorders.

Absolutely, my pleasure.

So good to be here.

So one, I was just really intrigued that you took the invitation to change and adapted it to be used with eating disorders.


I think that it’s such an adaptable program.

And two, I really like your approach to how you even how you think about eating disorders.

Just reading your bio, I was like, yes, This is why I’m doing this episode with her.


So I took some asked in my Facebook group what people’s questions were about eating disorders.

And so that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

And I just want to hear before we start quickly too that Helena, my daughter had an eating disorder.


But it was like where things started with her like depression, eating disorder, anxiety, self harm.

And then that was getting all the attention and then eventually her substance use got all the attention.

And so I never really even learned that much about eating disorders because it was just her addiction just always took front stage.


And so I think that there could be a lot of other people out here dealing with that same thing and I want to help them get information from somebody like you who has such a compassionate science backed background to help with.

Sure, sure.


Yeah, absolutely.


And that.

Your daughter’s story is.

Unfortunately, a common one where eating disorders start and manifest and then and then substance abuse comes in afterwards and sort of then.


As appropriately is what is focused.

On right.

And then a lot of times finds will come to me.

They get into a place of recovery and eating they get into.

A place of substance abuse?

Recovery and then the eating.

Disorder is is still there, right?


And so they’ll come to me afterwards, and often it’ll.

Feel like it’ll be they’ll.

Feel ambivalent?


But it’s many of them.

Will say things like this is like the.

Last thing I.

Have right.

I’ve let go of all of these other behaviors, or.


Substances, and this is the last thing I have and then we add in.

Our culture, diet, culture.

Which says thinner is better, appearance is important, and all of those things.

And so we’re living in a culture that normalizes disordered eating.


So it’s the last.

Thing they have to let go of and then also we’re living in a.

Culture that glorifies these behaviors, which is just a double.


So yeah.

So the first question that I got from the Facebook group is what is the cause of an eating disorder?


Yeah, and it’s so multifaceted.

And an individual for every person, as most struggles are.

But it’s a combination of things.

It there’s a genetic component.

There’s a lot of research that shows that it’s you will see it.


Generational through families.

A question I always ask when I meet with my clients is is anyone in your family?

Could be aunt, uncle, cousin, grandma Ever struggle with an eating disorder And I I get yes a lot of the time.

So there is a biological.

Component They’ve also done studies on temperament.


Certain temperaments tend to be drawn to certain types of eating disorders as well.


Trauma can be a factor.

None of us get a pass.

So all of us have.

Experienced, painful circumstances of some kind and how we internalize that.


Or that’s the at the perspective we take.

On that impacts, right.

That will impact and some, but not everyone with an eating disorder has, like, you know, sometimes.

People will believe there’s myths out there that people will believe that, like everybody.


With an eating disorder has had some type of.

Physical abuse or sexual abuse?

And not everybody has.

Some have, but not everybody.

But that can be a factor culture, so it could be just.

Even you know now with.

With social.


Media and the impact of seeing lots of airbrushed filtered, I mean the.

Filters out there, I’m still.

Learning all the filters out there on on social media that make individuals not look like themselves and so they’re getting inundated with these images of.



Ultra thin or muscular bodies and getting the message.

They’re supposed to look like that.

Also, school culture.

Some kids get bullied for their weight or.

Their friends are dieting and so.


It’s cool.

To diet.

It’s cool not to eat at lunch.

Things like that.


Lots of different.

Or it could even be many of my clients.

What kind of kick started it was going to watching a movie or a documentary on how?


Food harms our body, Or we’re supposed to.

Eat in a certain health way and then they they start that and then their temperament might be to follow the.

Rules or to do it right?

And then it kind of takes on life of its own, so, so many different multifaceted reasons that an eating disorder can start and continue.


Yeah, and I appreciate the that your answer contained so many different ways, ’cause we have a tendency to really just oversimplify everything.

I think we oversimplify addiction, we oversimplify eating disorders.


It’s like, oh, just stop the behavior and everything will be fine.

Like that’s what I used to think and we need to see that complexity.

So the second question I have, well, I think that there’s a couple that go together, which is I’m just going to share all three and you can, I can repeat the question if it gets to me too much.


But so it’s how can we think about an eating disorder when our child struggles with drugs and why should we?

Isn’t substance use far more dangerous?

That’s enough.

Let’s just stick with that one.

I would say.

Take the eating disorder seriously so you know this.


That opiate addiction is.

Is the number one killer for mental health and eating disorders are #2.

So it’s actually a very dangerous disorder because it does.


When you’re not eating or when you’re throwing up what you’re eating.

Or there’s disorder.

Eating it directly physiologically impacts the body.

So the impacts of malnutrition are pretty intense and so.

It really there is danger to it.


It is a really dangerous disease and so in that.

Aspect, I say we.

Do want to take it?


And the research shows that when someone gets early intervention and early treatment for eating disorders, their prognosis goes up significantly.


Because it hasn’t had as.

Much time to set in.

So if.

I’m working with an adolescent who’s had an eating.

Disorder for a year.

And we’re intervening.

Those neurotransmitters haven’t set in as much versus if I if I have someone come to me, they’ve had an eating.


Disorder for 30 years.

And they haven’t gotten treatment.

That way of thinking around food is really in their neurotransmitters.

It’s not impossible, and people do.


There’s always hope, but it’s just a lot easier when you get that.

Early intervention, yeah.



And as you were talking, I was thinking about, I totally forgot.

You know, I was just trying to get, like, I was concerned about Helena’s depression because in my mind, if I could fix the depression that some of these other things might get better naturally.

And so I was trying to get her to exercise because she had been previously very active and cheer and all that.


And then she was really laying around a lot and stuff with the depression and the eating disorder doctor was like, you’ve got to stop pushing her to exercise because her heart is in such bad shape right now from not eating that it’s actually dangerous for her to exercise.



Yeah, and it’s it’s.

Really hard.

Because so many things that are in and of themselves not bad things like exercise.

It would make sense if you would think that might help with your depression.

Get some endorphins up.

You know, things like that when somebody is malnourished, that that.


Doctor was right that their heart, our heart, is a muscle.

And so heart gets all our muscles get catabolized if we’re not eating enough, and so that.

Heart was weaker and so if we put.

Extra workload on that heart.

It can be dangerous, but of course.

You wouldn’t know that because.


Our culture talks about exercise as a good thing.

And in many instances it is.

And so with eating sources, it is important I to and I’m glad.

You had that doctor to be able to tell you that.

‘Cause there are some doctors who do not specialize in eating disorders who might not know that.


And just say yeah, that’s a great idea.

And then?

Put her at risk so.

Because there are some differences.

You know we.

Often will put exercise on hold temporarily until someone can get renourished and rehabilitated for.



So how can we support somebody who is struggling with an eating disorder and substance use disorder, and how common is it for somebody to have both?

So unfortunately it is.


It’s very, very common.


And sometimes, sometimes they the eating disorder can promote drug use.

So if someone’s wanting to lose weight and.

They will take a.


A stimulant they’re going to.


It actually.

Literally speeds up the metabolism and they’re they’re usually not going to eat for days and they get really thin and that that.

Feels good to them.

So they get the high, but they also get the.

High from from being thin.

Or maybe they’ve.

Tried to lose weight?

Via dieting.

And they can’t.

So then they get introduced.



Some type of stimulant Cocaine.

Or something like that that helps them lose weight and it.

Starts that way, so sometimes.

It can can even be.

Connected with that so.

There’s lots of ways you can support somebody with an eating.


Disorder and substance abuse, and I know it can just feel so overwhelming because you’ve got treatment after treatment after treatment.

I would say there are therapists out there who work with both substance.

Abuse disorder and eating disorders, and it would be good to find somebody who has a knowledge of eating disorders.


And has that specialty so that they could also.

Address those same things.

Also having a doctor on.

Board a really good doctor.

On board to just monitor that and a dietitian if.



If possible and.

Again, I.

I always put a.

Disclaimer out there that I am aware that all of this costs money and it’s hard to.

I can imagine someone sitting at home right now thinking like, OK, I’m already paying this much per week, and now I have to.



Can just feel so.


So you know your situation, you know what you could do.

But at least having one person on board that specializes in eating disorders that can address some of those issues that might get missed with someone who doesn’t specialize, and then one of the most important things and I know.


You, Heather, talk about this.

In just the substance abuse arena, is is doing your own.

Work so this is where that.

Invitation to change comes in.

So beautifully of, you know, the part of self.


Awareness and self compassion and those tools and techniques and looking at what is my relationship with food?

What am I saying about my own body?

What am I saying about someone else’s body?


What am I saying about?


And really beginning to get.

Curious about that?

And start to challenge diet.

Culture and start to.

Challenge that sentiment that some bodies are better than others or thinner is better and maybe dive in to some intuitive eating yourself or and because as you begin to shift and change and look at that, that has impact on your kid.


It’s probably, it’s probably.

One of the biggest impacts, especially in the area of food and weight.

Because our culture is so diet focused that.

If our kids can see in the home that it can be done differently and look different, that has impact.


Yeah, but self-awareness is so important, especially when you’re under the stress of like, I felt like I was playing that game, whack A mole.

Like I would address the anxiety and the eating disorder would crop up, I would dress the eating disorder and then it was just like so overwhelming.


So you’re right that work that we do on ourselves, like I can never stress enough how important that is And it it seems like that we shouldn’t have to do this work for somebody else’s problem, but it affects us, it is our affecting our whole family and we have control over our experience with that.


So I just want to back up what you said there because I can’t say stress the importance of that enough for the whole family.

So how common is an eating disorder in boys and men?

So there’s statistics.

And then I’ll I’ll give you my two cents too afterwards, but.


Statistics that that some of the latest research shows that about. 25%.

Of those that struggle with.

Anorexia nervosa are men and about 30% of bulimia nervosa of men.




Rfed which.

Is newer in the DSM.

Which is avoidant.

Food restrictive intake disorder.

Is that actually has a.

Higher percentage of males.


About 67% of those that struggle with.

Arfid are males.

Arfid is characterized as.

It’s got 3 components.

To it a real.

Sensitivity to taste and textures.

So often these kids usually just will only eat like about.


Two or three foods.

Or five or 10 foods and that’s it.

Loss of interest in eating food just gets in the way.

They just really don’t like eating or they’ve got a fear that something.

Bad’s going.

To happen if I eat.

This I might get sick or I might choke, and so they don’t eat, and so their restriction is the same level to cause malnutrition.


But it’s from a different perspective versus the way I want to look.


Trying to reduce calories?

Or things like that.

And so there’s a higher percentage of males there.

Often with males too, it looks different.

Even anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa looks different.


So it might be.

More for.

Women it might be more like just thinner, leaner.

For men it might be more muscular.

I want to look more muscular or even like I want to build muscle.


And it’s never enough also.

And a lot of our.


It’s looked at as kind of cool to eat a.


So that’s why you’ll.

See the bulimia eat a.

Lot and get.

Rid of it or binge eating?

Disorder also as well.

In men.


Because it’s it’s cool to sort of eat a whole pizza, right?

Like that’s.


And so, so it it does manifest a little bit differently.

The word women were.


The cultures like we’re supposed to be dainty.

And not eat and not.

Eat with gusto and right.


Like that kind of thing.

None of this is right.

None of this is OK.

But this just tends to be the stereotypical messages that culture.

Will send as well.

Yeah, yeah.

I was just thinking, it’s like men, it’s cool to eat more and women it’s cool to eat less, like.


I know, yes, yes.

So when you’re what treatment approach has been proven to be most effective with eating disorders?

Well, I kind of say this tongue in cheek.

It depends on which professional you talk to, because it you know everyone kind of.


Has their bias.

The good news in that?

Though is that there are?

So many.

There are so many really good treatments.

Out there, but a few, A few.

That I will highlight, one is called Family Based Therapy, it’s FBT, it’s known as FBT that’s.


For youth mostly though it.

Can sometimes be done with young adults.

It depends on the family situation, but it was developed in Europe and it’s.

Basically, where parents take.

On the responsibility for plating the meals for the kids and they sit with them and they support them and the parents work.


With they work with a.

Professional An FBT Certified Professional.

That, that will.

Help them and empower them as they feed and the expectation is or the the assumption is is that parents know how to cook meals they know how to make.



And so they just they begin.

To make a plate of food with multiple food groups and they.

Begin to create a supportive.

Environment at meal times.

And they refeed their.

Children, it’s actually been shown.

To be pretty impactful, there is a whole.


And I can give.

You this if you want.

To put it in the show notes but.

There’s a whole.

Environment out there called Feast.

FEAST, which is It’s very.

Empowering for parents.

It gives.

You know, recipes it gives.

Different tools and techniques and things like that.


For parents.


I think there’s some.

Free virtual groups there as well, so.

It’s a great supportive environment as well.

It actually aligns with invitation to change really.

Well, there’s a level of.


There are things we can do that impact our that impact our kids.

There’s a level it it also talks about how.

Behaviors make sense, right?


It how there’s there’s always a reason.

For the madness.

And so it aligns really well with that as well.


And, you know, caring for ourselves and self-care as well, and communication.

Strategies a lot of the.

Communication strategies overlap and are similar, so it can be combined with that.

Another one is CBT Cognitive.

Behavioral therapy and there’s different.


Versions there’s one called enhanced.

CBT and basically what we’re Doing when we work with a client is we’re learning how does the eating disorder function for you, right?

So what is it doing for you?

There is a.

Reason for the madness?


All behaviors have a story to tell us.

They all have a story to tell us.

And so how is it?

Functioning for you.

How is it being maintained?

What are the?

Systems or structures or people or places or things.

How is it being?

Maintained and then how?


Can we disrupt that cycle?

What can we?

Do to start to disrupt that cycle.


And that is great and.

Now I could.


Going I could keep going.

There’s acceptance Commitment Therapy.


Dialectal behavioral therapy has shown.


A lot of research somatic.

Therapy, especially for people who’ve.

Experienced trauma, somatic therapy and EMDR.

So many of these.

There’s so many, which is really helpful.

Narrative therapy, externalizing the eating disorder.

Sometimes people.


Refer to their eating disorders.

There’s Ed.

There’s actually a book out there called Life Without Ed which Jenny Schaefer talks about her recovery.

And it’s a great way.

To kind of get some separation that, there’s this.

Sort of mean voice in my head telling me not to eat and I’m overweight and I don’t have to listen.


To that voice, yeah.


I love that.

Like I call them mean.

The voice in my head, Judge Judy.



There you go.




So this question wasn’t asked, but it made me think, Is there anything that’s like, so, you know, when somebody’s looking for a therapist to help with addiction, we’re looking we don’t want somebody who’s going to put them, maybe take a stigmatized approach or like, what are some things to look?


Maybe that might be a red flag that that person might be working with an outdated view of things.

The first thing that comes to my mind.

Is if you get the.

Feeling that they’re going.

To tell you what to.


Do and that they’re the expert and so you need to listen to them And if.

You don’t do it their way, then your child is just doomed, right that.


Regardless of what?


Theory They they.

Provide therapy from or what tool.

Or skills approach they use.

Any really good professional is going to be one that’s going to listen.

To your story.

And give you some feedback.

That feels really individualized.


That feels like they’re really.

Listening to your specific situation, they might give you some different.

Some standard things because there.

Are some standard things we know that are.

Really helpful, but you get the.

Feeling that they’re really leaning in and hearing your situation and that they they can think outside of the box, one of the things.


That I love about.

Having been.

Able to do outpatient therapy.

For as long as I’ve been able.

To is I’ve gotten to.

See so many different recovery stories, and so often it doesn’t.

Go the way that.


Us professionals, I include myself in that because I’ve I’ve bombed in that area.


That it doesn’t.

Go the way we think it’s going to go.

We think, oh, you’ve got to follow these rules.

And very often individuals, they will take in a very individual path.


So someone who who can really understand that and is willing to.


With you on that path.

Even if it’s the outside of the box, that would probably be.

The biggest thing I would say to where you’re not going to get that sort of stigmatized approach, someone who’s not or you don’t.


Get the idea that they’re.

Kind of like a black and white thinker, like.

It’s got to be this way or it’s?

Not going to work kind of thing, yeah.

I think those are great things to look for when you’re looking for any kind of therapy.

Those are great ideas.

So thanks for sharing that.



The next question I have is how do you create change when somebody has a malnourished brain?

OK, I want to go back really quick.

One other thing.

To add to that to.

Decrease stigma is that this professional would would.



Aligned with or have good knowledge about.

Health at Every Size principles too.

And that is principles that are we come in all different shapes and sizes.

We live in a culture.


That kind of has a hierarchy of bodies to some bodies or other.

Better than others and someone that really understands.

The impact of that culture?


That can see that as.

Long as we’re caring for ourselves well and we’re maintaining really good kind.


Body practices wherever our body.

Ends up.

Is where it’s supposed to.

Be That’s important too.

Because that can create.

A stigma that can keep someone stuck in a meeting, sort of.

So I just wanted to name that because I had forgot to name that.


Yeah, that sounds like meeting people where they’re at.

Yeah, exactly.

That’s great.





Can you repeat that question again?


How do you create change when somebody has a malnourished brain?



It’s difficult to answer.

It’s definitely difficult to practice because when somebody has a malnourished brain, just the nature of malnutrition, the way it impacts the brain, We become more rigid in our thinking.

We become more inflexible in our thinking.


We become more anxious in our thinking.

We become more perfectionist.

We also become.

Our emotions become more.

Difficult to regulate.

We can go from zero to. 60 Really fast.

And so if you’ve got someone who is significantly malnourished.


Every day of the week it is really difficult to get.

Much therapeutic movement without renourishing.

The best thing you can do is is empathy, empathy, empathy.


Coming alongside them, letting them know you hear them, validating them a lot of that and then the setting the boundary of and this is.

The hard part?

Setting the boundary of of them getting renourishment, nutrition.



Whether that is either.

Through a dietitian or family based therapy.

Or some other area.

And then, as they start to get more nourished, the rigid thinking begins to go down.

The inflexibility begins to go.


Down the anxiety.

Begins to go down just on a physiological level.

Because they’re getting nourished.

The treacherous part though, is the eating disorders in there, right?

So the fear of weight gain, or if they do begin to.

Gain weight.


How uncomfortable?

That is for them.

When somebody’s refeeding, they sometimes they’ll feel more bloated, sometimes they’ll their stomachs.

Will feel over full because.

Part of the impact of malnutrition.

Is their digestive system isn’t?


Working as well and so normal amounts of food feel like huge amounts of food to them not.

Just psychologically, but physiologically too.

And they.

Get full faster and stay full.

Longer and so.

There’s just all these sort of hurdles.


In there.

That make it really hard to rehabilitate nutritionally, but it’s the necessary thing.

But it’s going to help get them out of this.

So it’s a treacherous Rd.

It’s definitely a treacherous road and we we just let it all coexist at the same.


Time I also.


Just don’t.

Take anything personally, don’t take anything.

Personally that they’re saying it’s.

Not uncommon for someone to.

Feel the very thing that’s.

Been helping them feel good the solution to their problem is being.


Taken away very directly.

And so they’re they’re threatened us that they’re going to lash out.

But it’s not uncommon for parents to say to me like my kid never said.

Anything like this to me?

And now they’re saying these things to me and.


They’re scared.

They’re scared of.

Gaining weight, They’re scared of what that’s going to mean.

They’re scared of losing.

This thing that’s helped them feel so good, yeah.

I’m having all these memories flooding back as we’re talking and just thinking about how like not taking it personally, what I just how I took everything personally for so long like that and that just complicated things and it just made me so hurt all the time, made everything she was doing about me and it really did.


It was a road, another roadblock, but I didn’t have that self-awareness yet.

I thought that I like that I was entitled to that feeling and that I didn’t realize.

It was just making everything worse.

But you mentioned them lashing out and acting differently.


The rigid thinking, the flexibility, the anxiety, all those things I was thinking were happening at that time too.

And I think it’s similar with when you’re dealing with addiction as well that and they’re they’re not taking care of themselves.


So they’re even if it’s not malnourished from food, there is some malnourishment going on with their their brain.

And when they’re not getting enough sleep, they’re maybe not drinking water, there might not be eating very odd like all these they’re getting completely depleted.


Totally makes sense.

I love that explanation for why going back to behaviors makes sense.

Why these behaviors make sense.

Right, right.



Yeah, there is it.



Uncanny how malnutrition and dehydration can impact mood, behavior, communication.

All of the above.

On so many levels in so many ways.

How Now?


I want to ask you this one first, because we’re on time.

I want to make sure we get this one.

How do you work with a family member when their child isn’t ready for help yet?

Sure, that’s a really good question.

I will work.

With the family members.

You know, without the kids.


And we will typically a.

Lot of times we’ll do.

A type of family based therapy where they might start planning the meals.

For their kids and we’ll.

Work with that and we incrementally will increase their intake.

You know we’ll.

Start where the client is and or that that.


I should say their child.

Is and we incrementally increase and the parents are doing all that.

They’re plating the meals, they’re providing the meals.

And then I also work with them on the language to use with clients like there are no good.


Or bad foods.

There are all foods fit.

If they’re watching a movie.

Or ATV show.

Or an award show.

Challenging the culture like, isn’t that interesting that?

That that we’re seeing.

So many of the main.


Characters in these movies are thin.

Why is that?

You know what kind of?

Representation is that giving that.

We start.

I’ll work.

With families on their own relationships with their own bodies, if they’re feeling uncomfortable in their bodies beginning to.


Look, get curious about that.

And what are the words they’re using towards thereby and changing that language that they’re saying in front of the kids?

We’ll do a lot of.

Invitation to change?

Work as well, we’ll.

Look at how behaviors make sense.


We’ll look at that self.

Awareness and understanding, we’ll look at positive communication strategies and things like that and so and it’s I actually.


Enjoy doing that.

Because it’s just so.


Fun to watch as parents begin to make changes just.

How the kids?

Respond, you know at.

First, they’re kind of like, who is this who?

Stole my parents.

What happened, right?

And then they just start to settle in.


Kids often.

When they see their.

Parents make a change in their in their own relationship with food.

Maybe the parent kind of been like the?

Rest of us because diet cultures the water that we.

Swim in had been on and off in diets.



And they stop.

And they start eating and they start talking about.

How all food?

Sits and how they’re enjoying this.

Food and how food tastes and how hungry they are and how full they are afterwards and.

And just how good it feels to be nourished and and that kind of thing.


They take notice and it begins to give them another.

Picture of what a relationship with food could look.

Like and so that can have good impact.

Also we talk about boundary.

Setting because when.

Somebody is not eating if someone if that is.


Their eating disorder they struggle with is a restrictive eating disorder.

That sometimes.

Sort of.

Life stops until you start eating, right?

So you’re you’re not going to be able to do that sport or you’re not going to be able to?


You don’t.

Have the energy to go walk the mall with your friends because you haven’t eaten right.

You know different boundaries that we set and how we’ll.

Work on.

How do we set that boundary?

What does that look like?

What are the?

Consequences if that doesn’t follow.


Through right?

And as you know this.

Part of invitation to change is boundaries are for us, right?

So it’s the value system that we hold.

So if my value system.

Is that, you know, I’m going to keep those.


Under my roof safe and then.

Like under my roof.

You have to nourish.

Your body to be able to go out.

To do those things.

So we talked through that as well, so.

Depending on the.

Situation if the child is.


Older if I’m working with a family member and the child is an adult and they’re.


It’ll look really different, right?

They’re, they’re.

Not going to be.

Plating their foods there’s.

Going to be a lot more.

I might do more work with the family member about their own.

Relationship with food and body.


Image and.

Communication strategies with their child.

And things like that.


Yeah, those are all great.

It it really shows how much work we can do to set the stage for our kids to want to make changes or to just even respond well to our changes like we really do.


We’re we’re often told we’re just powerless in these situations and we really aren’t.

So I appreciate that your answer shows that there are things that we can do even if the person is struggling with, they’re not ready to change it.


We can start making changes that that make things better for us and set a better example for them.

So I think of it we’ll stop with that question because I don’t want to rush.

So is there anything that you really needed to say that we didn’t get to share today?


I feel like we’ve covered a lot, actually.

I feel like we’ve covered a lot.

Yeah, absolutely.

I think the thing.

I would just emphasize and I know.

This is a a theme throughout your podcast.

And just in general for.

Whether it’s substance abuse or eating disorders is really taking care of yourself.


Is loving your kids well when you?

Take care of yourself.

And when you.

Give yourself space, you’re.

Loving your kids well and they will take notice of that.

So when you nourish yourself, sometimes it’s easy as parents.


To be like I.

Want to make sure my kids get fed and?

But I’ll eat later, right?

But when you nourish.

Yourself and you show that.

Model that’s loving your kids kids well.


That’s great.

Thank you.

I just want to share that Alice is a therapist, that she can work with anybody in Arizona or Florida.


And as a dietitian, she can work with anybody in Arizona, Florida, Colorado, Virginia and Michigan.

And I’m going to put that in the show notes as well.

So if you’re interested in working with her, you’ll be able to get that information from the show notes.


And I just want to thank you so much for your time today to share this information.

I’ve been wanting to do an episode about an eating disorder for a long time, and I’ve been waiting for the right person.

So I’m so glad that you came along, that we could answer these questions for everybody.

Absolutely, it was.


It’s such a pleasure.

Such a pleasure really.

Enjoyed talking with you as well and just.

Talking about this topic.

Thank you for listening to this episode.

If you want.

To learn more about my work, go to heatherrosscoaching.com.

If you want to help other parents who are struggling with a child’s addiction, you can do it two different ways.


First, you can share the podcast with them directly, or you can share it on your social media.

Second, you can leave a review.