Dr. Marianne Miller: Hello everyone! I am SO EXCITED to present my new interview with none other than Life Without Ed author and speaker Jenni Schaefer! Jenni’s book came on the scene around 10 years ago, sending shockwaves throughout the world of eating disorders. Eating disorder professionals and individuals suffering from eating disorders alike acknowledged that Jenni captured a way of looking at eating disorders that was elegant and accurate. Since that time, countless people have found solace in her book, reading chapter by chapter and literally nodding to themselves and saying, “she gets it.” It has been transformative in the eating disorder field. Both outpatient eating disorder therapists like myself in San Diego, as well as clinicians in higher levels of care have recommended this book as people start on their recovery journey. Jenni has since written two more books on eating disorders. PLUS, Jenni travels throughout the country, not only spreading her story of eating disorder recovery, but more recently on trauma recovery as well. She’ll talk about both areas in this interview. Enjoy!!!
Would you share a little about your eating disorder history?
At the age of only four-years-old, I heard a voice in my head that said, “You’re fat. You aren’t good enough.” That voice was my eating disorder (aka “Ed”). I was 22-years-old before someone finally told me that I didn’t have to listen to that negative, self-critical voice anymore.
Although my eating disorder began as negative body image thoughts, I ultimately ended up restricting food. And, in time, this behavior led to bingeing and purging. Sometimes, it seemed like the treacherous, painful cycle would never end.
What kind of eating disorder treatment did you seek?
To recover from my eating disorder, I needed the help of an expert treatment team. It included a therapist, dietitian, psychiatrist, and an internist (physician). Importantly, my internist discovered that I had osteoporosis in my twenties. Gratefully, recovery reversed this! My bones are strong and healthy today.
Support from peers was also a key. For me, this meant attending Twelve Step meetings as well as a weekly therapy group. The women and men in these groups inspired me more than anything else. If they could do it, then maybe, just maybe, I could too. Others in recovery made healing seem like a real possibility. Because support like this was so pivotal for me, we launched a Life Without Ed® Weekend Workshop at Rio Retreat Center.
To read the full interview, visit Dr. Marianne Miller’s website.