A blog about eating disorders and recovery in a modern world

Beyond the Food: Redefining the Meaning of Thanksgiving While in Eating Disorder Recovery

For many, Thanksgiving is a day centered around wholesome traits like family, friends, gratitude, and food. For those struggling with disordered eating and Thanksgiving to be a particularly challenging time.

5 Ways to Shut Down Diet Culture Commentary During Thanksgiving

Eating disorder recovery can be a tumultuous experience any time of year, but navigating the holiday season — a time typically rife with food-centered celebrations — can be especially thorny. Thanksgiving in particular can be a challenging day for those struggling to improve their relationship to food and/or their bodies; those in recovery may have to interact with family members or friends who don’t fully understand or know about their recovery journey. Bracing for unsolicited and potentially hurtful comments on top of an atypical meal can be tough — but there are ways to get through the day and continue thriving in recovery.

The Eating Disorders You May Not Know About

When it comes to the various types of clinical eating disorders (i.e. the types of disorders that are considered “official” diagnoses per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), there are just a few — but there is still a great deal most people don’t know about eating disorders. Many have heard of anorexia (characterized by food restriction, malnutrition, and a fear of weight gain) and bulimia (episodes of overeating, otherwise known as bingeing, followed by purging). Even though it’s the most common eating disorder, fewer people are as familiar with the nuances of binge eating disorder (BED), characterized by recurrent binges accompanied by a feeling of a loss of control, as well as shame, distress, or guilt.

Kristina Saffran

We Already Knew Social Media is Detrimental for Eating Disorders. Now Let's Get Everyone Access to Care

In light of the Facebook whistleblower events that have taken our society by storm this month, I have simple words to share: we’ve known this all along. In the eating disorder field, we’ve known for over a decade that social media has harmful, harrowing, and preventable effects on young people. We’ve known that the mere act of holding a phone – which most young people do for more than 7 hours per day – exposes young people to toxic messages and images steeped in harmful diet culture that can lead them to tailspin into serious, and often secretive, eating disorders. I should know because I developed anorexia at 10 years old after the experience of watching my babysitter diet.

Lauren Gerber

Equip Now Provides Eating Disorder Care to Half the US Population!

Virtual eating disorder treatment provider nearly doubles footprint with launches in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, and Illinois

Michelle Konstantinovsky

A Disease of Privilege or Poverty? The Research on Socioeconomic Status and Eating Disorders

Equip Family Mentor Jayme Nimick says she doesn’t just think poverty had a direct impact on her son’s eating disorder — she knows it did.

Eating Disorders 101: Signs, Symptoms, & Diagnoses

Despite the increasing awareness, visibility, and discourse around eating disorders, societal stereotypes and preconceived notions still abound. “The stock photo on most media articles about eating disorders is a sad, thin, white woman on a scale, and the image that comes to mind is a skeletal body damaged by severe malnutrition,” says Equip’s VP of clinical programs, Cara Bohon, PhD. “But those images only represent one segment of a population and a single diagnosis. Not only that, but viewing eating disorders this narrowly does real damage to those people struggling with these illnesses who do not look like those images — and that's actually most people with eating disorders!”

Michelle Konstantinovsky

New Research Reveals the Devastating Realities of Eating Disorders — Here’s What Families Need to Know

Research Reveals the Devastating Realities of Eating Disorders — Here’s What Families Need to Know

Michelle Konstantinovsky

Jewish and in Recovery: How to Approach Fasting During the High Holidays

As summer winds down and fall approaches, the holiest days of the Jewish calendar are upon us: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The former, known as the Jewish New Year, is typically marked by festive customs and symbolic feasts. The latter is the “Day of Atonement”, a somber day of reflection and praying for forgiveness, perhaps best known for the fast that accompanies it. Jewish people who observe Yom Kippur typically eat their last meal with friends and family before sundown on the eve of Yom Kippur, and then abstain from all food and beverages until sunset of the following day.

Lauren Gerber

Equip Expands its Eating Disorder Care to Pacific Northwest

Equip is now seeing patients in Washington and Oregon, expanding its current footprint to six states as it continues to transform eating disorder treatment

Michelle Konstantinovsky

Back-to-School Weight Commentary: How to Support Your Kids

The return to school is never exactly seamless for kids. But this year, the return to in-person schooling is poised to be emotionally taxing in unprecedented ways. For students who’ve gone through puberty or experienced weight changes for various reasons over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impending unsolicited commentary will leave them especially vulnerable.

Oona Hanson

My Kid Is Getting Better, so Why Do I Feel Worse?

*This article originally appeared on feast-ed.org

Michelle Konstantinovsky

Why Do Latinx Folks Fall Through The Cracks of Eating Disorder Care?

Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Equip Medical Assistant, Genesis Taveras says eating disorders were rarely — if ever — discussed. So when one of her friends developed anorexia, she and her peers were left in the dark about the diagnosis.

Michelle Konstantinovsky

How Eating Disorders Show Up (But Often Aren't Seen) in AAPI Communities

Growing up, Equip Peer Mentor, Grace Sung Un Kim, saw her family face an abundance of obstacles. One point of attempted comfort, however, came in the form of food. “As the daughter of non-English speaking, Korean immigrants who physiologically experienced famine post-Korean War and then poverty immigrating to the United States, food has always been a love language that eclipsed cultural and linguistic barriers,” she says. “The plates full of triangular cubes of chamoe 참외 (Korean melon) are tantamount to a million ‘I love yous’ never verbally expressed.”

Michelle Konstantinovsky

The Complex, Insidious Ways Eating Disorders Impact Black Communities

When I first spoke to Stephanie Covington Armstrong almost a decade ago for a story about eating disorders in the BIPOC community, she told me, “I thought I was the only Black person who didn’t know how to eat.”

Jennifer Derenne, MD

In the Name of Access: From Academia to Equip

It seemed as though I had some version of the following conversation a million times over the course of the pandemic: “I’m not really sure what happened. I just wanted to stay healthy during shelter-in place. I started by cutting out junk food and exercising more, but then it took on a life of its own, and I ended up really sick.” All young people were impacted by the sudden shutdowns that prevented them from their normal lives. School attendance, time with friends, and participation in sports and other activities were all affected. Social media provided important connection to friends and also ample opportunity for social comparison as well as access to nutrition and fitness “tips”.

Michelle Konstantinovsky

What Really IS Self-Care?

Since 2011, July 24 has been known as International Self-Care Day, a 24-hour period that’s meant to encourage all of us to make room for activities and practices that enhance our well-being or happiness. But for many people, the term “self-care” has connotations that may not resonate with their own desires to feel healthy or fulfilled. If you search the #selfcare hashtag on Instagram, you’ll find hundreds of thousands of influencers promoting high-end skin serums or even companies rooted in diet culture co-opting the phrase to sell products.

What we know — and what we have yet to learn — about eating disorders in Indigenous communities

We’re still figuring out how and why eating disorders develop and proliferate in particular communities, and the distinct contributing factors that often make diagnoses and treatment so difficult to attain, particularly in BIPOC communities. When it comes to Indigenous people in particular — those who “share collective ancestral ties to the lands and natural resources where they live, occupy, or from which they have been displaced” — we have a particularly long way to go.

Lauren Gerber

Project HEAL and Equip Announce 'Equipped to Heal' Scholarship Program

SAN DIEGO, July 13th, 2021 –– Equip, a company that virtually delivers evidence-based eating disorder treatment to families at home, and Project HEAL, the only major direct service nonprofit in the U.S. focused on equitable healthcare access for people with eating disorders, announced a new scholarship program, Equipped to HEAL, which grants scholarships to five patients for one year of Equip treatment.

Eating Disorders Cost the U.S. $65 Billion a Year — Here’s How You Can Help Change That

There are a myriad eating disorder facts that are slowly — thankfully — starting to enter the public consciousness. We know that eating disorders affect people of all ages, genders, races, sexual orientations and what eating disorders actually are (brain disorders — not vanity issues, choices, or personality traits). But one eating disorder fact that’s still very much under the radar is the financial impact eating disorders have on our society — and the truth may surprise you.

Research Shows Equip’s Family-Based Treatment Model Works — Here’s Why

When it comes to eating disorder treatment, the reality is not all therapeutic approaches are created equal. In fact, the type of therapy at the center of the Equip model — Family-Based Treatment (FBT) — is the only well-established treatment for adolescent eating disorders. While methods like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is built on skills like thought retraining, and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), which involves self-soothing and mindfulness techniques play important roles in the array of treatment options, FBT has proven time and time again to be the most effective method for adolescents — so why isn’t every child and teen with an eating disorder getting it?

Transgender People May Be Significantly More Likely to Have Eating Disorders. Here's Why.

As a society, we’re slowly waking up to the fact that eating disorders don’t discriminate — and that certain populations may be particularly prone to developing them. We know that members of the LGBTQIA+ community are more likely to develop eating disorders than their heterosexual counterparts and face a slew of unique challenges in diagnosis and treatment. But even as we begin to recognize the reality of who gets eating disorders and why, myths still abound — and many of them stem from stereotypes about gender. Eating disorders don’t just affect those who were assigned female at birth nor do they just affect those assigned male at birth. While there are inconsistencies in the literature and a need for a larger body of research, transgender individuals are very much at risk for diseases like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and more — and they may be much more at risk than most people realize, with one commonly cited paper reporting that trans people are four times more likely to experience these illnesses than their cisgender counterparts.

Lauren Gerber

Equip Works with Cigna to Broaden Access to Eating Disorder Care in CA, NY + TX

SAN DIEGO, June 2, 2021 –– Equip, a company that virtually delivers evidence-based eating disorder treatment to families at home, today announced that customers with Cigna in California, Texas and New York now have access to its network.

Michelle Konstantinovsky

LGBTQIA+ Community Members Face Unique Risks for Eating Disorders — here’s why

As communities across the world celebrate Pride Month this June, one issue that may not get the spotlight it deserves is the very real, very significant prevalence of eating disorders in the LGBTQIA+ community. Past research has indicated that LGBTQIA+ community members may be more likely to develop eating disorders than their heterosexual counterparts — for example, as the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) reports, “gay men are seven times more likely to report binge-eating and twelve times more likely to report purging than heterosexual men, and gay and bisexual boys are significantly more likely to fast, vomit, or take laxatives or diet pills to control their weight.”

Michelle Konstantinovsky

Why We Need to Stop Thinking All People with Eating Disorders are Underweight

When plus-size supermodel Tess Holliday recently revealed that she is in recovery from anorexia, she was met with a barrage of misinformed responses.

Isabel Vasquez, RD, LDN

I'm a Latina Dietitian — Here's What I Wish People Knew About Eating Disorders in My Community

When most people think of someone with an eating disorder, they probably picture a young, thin middle-class white woman. There’s a reason for that: we have a long way to go in debunking the mythology around who actually gets eating disorders. The reality is that eating disorders affect people across all body sizes, ages, genders, sexual orientations, socioeconomic statuses, races, and ethnicities. And as a Latina registered dietitian, I’m especially passionate about increasing awareness of the prevalence and treatment of eating disorders among Latinas.

Mackenzie Nester

From Perfectionist to Peer Mentor: How I Built a Life Worth Living

Peacekeeping. Introverted. Sensitive. Easygoing. People pleaser. Organized. Studious. The “perfect” one.

Michelle Konstantinovsky

Who Really Gets Eating Disorders?

When it comes to the public understanding of eating disorders, the truth is often obscured by assumptions, stereotypes, and flat-out myths. One of the most insidious is that eating disorders only affect thin, young, white women. While that persona may be in line with the media representation we’ve seen — particularly anorexia — over the decades, the truth is that eating disorders affect people from all walks of life. Eating disorders simply don’t discriminate based on age, body type, gender, sexual orientation, race, socioeconomic status, or any other characteristic. Anyone can have an eating disorder — and some experts in the research field have dedicated their careers to uncovering the truth behind the enduring myths.

Michelle Konstantinovsky

Experts Say Anorexia Treatment In The U.S. Is In A “Crisis” — Here’s Why

While recent media has focused on the spike in eating disorders among adolescents during the pandemic, a silent and equally devastating problem has been building - expensive, unproven, failing treatment models.

Michelle Konstantinovsky

Eating Disorders and Alcohol Use: The Unexpected Connections

According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 50% of individuals with eating disorders have also abused alcohol or illicit drugs. Perhaps what’s even more surprising is what that statistic means: the rate of substance abuse in people with eating disorders is five times higher than in the general population. The numbers go both ways, as well: 35% of individuals with substance use issues have also had an eating disorder (eleven times higher than the general population).

Maris Degener

How to Navigate Social Media During Recovery

In our modern world, it can be hard — if not impossible — to completely avoid using social media. After all, these apps and websites are how people connect, stay up to date on current events, and get our fill of baby animal memes, any time of day.

Kelsey Gilchriest

I Felt Alone When Diagnosed with ARFID – Until I Found Mentorship

I once met with a registered dietitian who was new to my treatment team, and when I mentioned my eating disorder, she immediately assumed it was anorexia nervosa. When I began explaining that no, it wasn’t anorexia, she cut me off and asked, “bulimia?” Trying to contain my exasperation, I said, “no, I have ARFID.” Her response was, “what’s ARFID?”

Brooke Hammer

Equip's New Chief of Staff: Why I Left VC to Help Transform Eating Disorder Care

Equip's New Chief of Staff: Why I Left VC to Help Transform Eating Disorder Care

Equip Team

When Being “Unproductive” Can Be the Most Productive Thing You Can Do

We live in a society that measures worth by productivity. Whether that productivity is measured in grades, accomplishments, or goals achieved often doesn’t seem to matter. What matters is doing something — anything, even.

Michelle Konstantinovsky

What to Do When “Diet Talk” Arises

The weeks leading up to the official start of summer can be tough pretty much any year. From “beach body workouts” to “detox diets,” our social media feeds are typically flooded with false promises from influencers and companies as swimsuit weather approaches. But this year may be particularly challenging for anyone with an eating disorder — or, frankly, anyone who’s ever had any kind of body image issue — as we slowly re-enter the world, news stories, magazine headlines, and unqualified “experts” want to talk to us about the “Quarantine 15.”

Lauren Gerber

Equip Raises $17 Million to Transform Eating Disorder Treatment

Company brings reinvented care model to eating disorder patients in 2021, supported by investment from F-Prime, Optum Ventures, and .406 Ventures

Tana Luo, PhD

Eating Disorder Recovery in the Time of a Global Pandemic

For those vulnerable to, recovering from, or in recovery from an eating disorder, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought unique risks and challenges.

Samuel Kolander, MD

Eating disorders in males part II: Co-occurring illnesses

As discussed in my previous blog post, although many perceive eating disorders to overwhelmingly affect women, about one in three people with an eating disorder identify as male (1). Furthermore, eating disorders are particularly prevalent in the trans community (2). In this post I’ll explore frequent co-occurring illnesses (comorbidities) that are common in men with eating disorders are more often the rule than the exception. The most common co-occurring mental illnesses are anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and substance use disorders. The presence of these other disorders can make eating disorders more chronic and difficult to treat (3).

Equip Team

Welcome to Equip

Katherine Hill, MD

Dispelling eating disorder myths 2: “I’m an athlete. So it’s normal that I don’t get regular periods, right?”

Dr. Katherine Hill is a board-certified pediatrician who completed her undergraduate, MD degree, and pediatric residency at Stanford. Prior to Equip, she was a Clinical Assistant Professor of Adolescent Medicine at Stanford, caring for adolescents with eating disorders in the inpatient and outpatient settings. A former collegiate swimmer, her research has focused on eating disorders in athletes.  

Cara Bohon, PhD

Why do New Year's Resolutions revolve around weight, anyway?

A “resolution” on its own is not inherently good or bad, but somehow New Year's Resolutions have turned into a focus on getting into a gym routine or starting a new fad diet. At some point, this was likely a reaction to perceived (or real) weight gain during the holidays.

Equip Team

Focus on staying festive: Navigating eating disorder recovery during the holidays

For many, the holiday season may inspire the joy of quality time with loved ones, the stress of planning, and gratitude for a new year. But for those navigating eating disorder treatment, another emotion may arise: panic.

Tara Deliberto, PhD

The benefits of conducting virtual therapy sessions for people with eating disorders

Prior to Equip, Tara Deliberto, PhD was an assistant professor at the medical college of Cornell University, where she created/directed NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's Eating Disorders Partial Hospital Program. She also authored Treating Eating Disorders in Adolescents published by New Harbinger. Her research has been widely cited and has been discussed in major media outlets such as TIME. 

Samuel Kolander, MD

Eating disorders in males part 1: Epidemiology and gender differences in eating disorder presentation

Sam spent his undergraduate years at Washington University in St. Louis, majoring in Psychology and Biology, before matriculating at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. At Einstein, he received the Einstein Service and Research Scholarship and the Dean’s Recognition Award, and he graduated with distinction in basic/translational research. As a psychiatry resident at Columbia University he was awarded the APA Leadership Fellowship, the Austen Riggs Award for Excellence in Psychotherapy, and he was selected to be a chief resident. He has treated patients with eating disorders in both inpatient and outpatient settings and has received additional training in DBT. He now serves as Medical Director at Equip.

Tana Luo, PhD

Eating disorders in adolescents: how and when to seek treatment

Dr. Tana Luo is a clinical psychologist with a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. She completed her predoctoral and postdoctoral training at the UC San Diego Eating Disorders Center and has experience working with children, adolescents, and adults across different levels of care. During her fellowship, she received specialized training in treating pediatric eating disorders.

JD Ouellette

The power of family mentorship: the power of YOU

JD is Equip's Director of Mentorship. She is an educator turned Family Mentor whose youngest child developed anorexia in 2012; they received cutting edge, evidence-based treatment at UC San Diego, igniting JD’s passion to ensure all families have access to evidence-based care. She became active in online family support communities, writing, and began attending and speaking at conferences.  She is a board member for FEAST.

Maris Degener

Why I’m now grateful for Family Based Treatment...even though I hated it

Maris Degener is Equip’s lead peer mentor. She was diagnosed with anorexia at age fourteen, and with the support of her parents and community, fully recovered. Maris studied psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is now passionate about spreading the hopeful message that full recovery is possible. Maris shares her story of illness, recovery, and life beyond an eating disorder in the documentary I Am Maris, available on Netflix.

Michelle Konstantinovsky

What we mean by “eating disorders are brain disorders”

Anyone who’s ever dealt with an eating disorder or supported a loved one as they’ve navigated the challenging, frustrating, and potentially life-threatening journey through an ED (eating disorder) knows one thing for certain: there is no shortage of misinformation out there about these diseases. People still believe eating disorders are rooted in superficiality or that these illnesses are a choice — neither assertion could be further from the truth. The myths around anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder are pervasive and persistent and they continue to detract from the reality of these illnesses: eating disorders are brain disorders and as such, require the kinds of effective, targeted therapeutic strategies that Equip uses.

Katherine Hill, MD

Dispelling eating disorder myths: Can you tell if someone has an eating disorder just by looking at them?

Dr. Katherine Hill is a board-certified pediatrician who completed her undergraduate, MD degree, and pediatric residency at Stanford. Prior to Equip, she was a Clinical Assistant Professor of Adolescent Medicine at Stanford, caring for adolescents with eating disorders in the inpatient and outpatient settings. A former collegiate swimmer, her research has focused on eating disorders in athletes.  

Erin Parks, PhD

Why I co-founded Equip

Dr. Erin Parks is a clinical psychologist, researcher, and co-founder of Equip. Erin serves as Chief Clinical Officer (CCO) of Equip, leading a team of clinicians and researchers that are passionate about increasing access to treatment that works.

Frank Brockmann

What one parent learned from supporting a child in recovery

Frank Brockmann lives and works as an education consultant near Sacramento, California. In early 2019, he and his wife temporarily relocated to San Diego for four months while their 12-year-old daughter was treated at UCSD’s Eating Disorder Center. Like many parents, he found tremendous value in becoming ED-ucated and set about the task of learning through online support forums, TED talks, research presentations, and independent study in addition to the support and educational tools provided as part of the PHP and IOP programs at UCSD.

JD Ouellette

Equip Treatment: How we took the best eating disorder treatment option available—FBT—and improved it

JD is Equip's Director of Mentorship. She is an educator turned Family Mentor whose youngest child developed anorexia in 2012; they received cutting edge, evidence-based treatment at UC San Diego, igniting JD’s passion to ensure all families have access to evidence-based care. She became active in online family support communities, writing, and began attending and speaking at conferences.  She is a board member for FEAST.

Megan Hellner, DrPH, RD, CEDRD-S

Why dietitians are an essential ingredient to treatment

An eating disorder therapist on appropriate treatment for all bodies

Kristina Saffran

Our vision for Equip

How one family is recovering from anorexia with Equip

The following story is from Deana A., a mother helping helping her teen recover from an eating disorder.