Did you know that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness? Clinical therapist Kyla Fox discusses how the pandemic is impacting those with eating disorders, how she overcame her own struggle with anorexia, and why she decided to open a recovery centre to offer the kind of professional support to others that she didn’t get herself.
00:00:00 Speaker 1: this 00:00:02 Speaker 2: is Life 00:00:03 Speaker 1: Speak podcast about well being mental health and building resilience through knowledge. Here's Maryann Weisenthal. 00:00:13 Speaker 2: I'm speaking today with clinical therapist Kyla Fox Kyla is an eating disorder specialist and the founder of the Kyla Fox Center and eating disorder Outpatient treatment center in Toronto Canada Kyla. Welcome to the Life Speak podcast. 00:00:27 Speaker 1: Thank you so much for having me. I feel so excited to be here. 00:00:30 Speaker 1: I 00:00:30 Speaker 2: want to start with some pretty profound statistics from the eating disorders. Coalition for Research policy and 00:00:36 Speaker 1: action 00:00:37 Speaker 2: eating disorders or E. D. S as they're often referred to have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness 00:00:44 Speaker 1: and 00:00:44 Speaker 2: Every 62 minutes at least one person dies as a direct result of an eating disorder. 00:00:49 Speaker 1: Now these 00:00:50 Speaker 2: are statistics that are probably not as surprising to you as they are to me. But what do you feel when you hear these numbers? 00:00:56 Speaker 1: I feel so many things I feel like we don't know enough about or the world doesn't know enough about how serious eating disorders are. And so I feel like those statistics really name the truth of the reality of someone suffering with an eating disorder. 00:01:12 Speaker 1: Think so often in the world when people think about someone suffering with an eating disorder, they think about the desire for 00:01:18 Speaker 1: a thin aesthetic or that it's about vanity or things like that and there couldn't be anything further from the truth eating disorders are one of the most serious mental health issues that we face. 00:01:30 Speaker 2: What exactly is an eating disorder because it's more than just starving and purging. 00:01:35 Speaker 1: It's a great question. 00:01:36 Speaker 1: I think eating disorders are really complex mental health issues that show up in food in the body through really harmful behaviors with food in the body. That can be a combination of binging, purging and restricting. Some people do some of those things, some people do all of those things. 00:01:54 Speaker 1: But what's really at the core of eating disorders is actually 00:01:58 Speaker 1: they have nothing to do with food in the body. They really have everything to do with what's going on with a person at a much deeper level 00:02:05 Speaker 1: their life circumstances, their sense of self 00:02:09 Speaker 1: trauma, loss, the state of the world. The things that they face on a day to day basis, concurrent mental health issues that they may experience. And so then the food in the body become a way that a person either expresses that whole internal experience 00:02:26 Speaker 1: or alternatively moves away from having to feel any of those things, you know, by putting that out in food in the body. 00:02:33 Speaker 1: So, I think when we think about eating disorders, a lot of people think about things like anorexia or bulimia or binge eating disorders. These, like really spoken about 00:02:42 Speaker 1: designations of eating disorders which are true and very real. 00:02:46 Speaker 1: But I think what doesn't get said about eating disorder behavior is that it's actually very fluid. 00:02:51 Speaker 1: Most people engage in all kinds of different symptoms, like I said, including binging purging and restricting 00:02:57 Speaker 1: and that most people with eating disorders are actually really highly functioning in the world, 00:03:03 Speaker 1: really competent and capable and intellectual and 00:03:07 Speaker 1: able people who are suffering in silence and suffering severely 00:03:15 Speaker 1: in your 00:03:15 Speaker 2: work. You've identified care gaps and flaws in the treatment and recovery of E. D. S. What are some of those gaps? 00:03:23 Speaker 1: I think part of the issue is that there's really lengthy wait lists to get care 00:03:28 Speaker 1: and when you have an eating disorder you don't have time to wait. 00:03:34 Speaker 1: Really. I mean I I feel like one of the things that we have to get better at is giving people access to care when they need it because the window of opportunity when someone is even slightly open to being able to want to change 00:03:51 Speaker 1: or is willing to receive changes small 00:03:55 Speaker 1: and short and often passes quickly. 00:03:58 Speaker 1: So I feel like it's a critical piece that we struggle with, you know, in our problems and in particular in our country is giving people access to immediate care 00:04:10 Speaker 1: with professionals who are very, very well versed in understanding the world and mind of someone suffering with an eating disorder. 00:04:20 Speaker 2: You founded the Kyla Fox Center which is an outpatient treatment center in Toronto Canada, how is disordered eating treated at your center. 00:04:30 Speaker 1: It was really important to me to create an eating disorder center that focused on comprehensive care 00:04:39 Speaker 1: in a way that really offers treatment in an individualized manner. 00:04:45 Speaker 1: So a lot of eating disorder recovery is group based treatment but it's really my feeling that those affected by eating disorders suffer very uniquely because, you know, we're all so unique in our own lives. We all have our own life stories. And even though 00:05:02 Speaker 1: eating this sort of behavior may be similar in terms of the ways in which people harm or 00:05:08 Speaker 1: the things that they do to harm themselves, the reasons why people harm is very unique to them. 00:05:14 Speaker 1: So it was really important to me when I created the center that I wanted to offer individualized treatment. I wanted to offer treatment for people to come and experience the care that they would need specifically for them, 00:05:32 Speaker 1: specifically for their struggle. 00:05:34 Speaker 1: And so the center is outpatient now, all virtual care. 00:05:40 Speaker 1: What that means for us is that we treat the entire person who was affected by the eating disorder. So not just the food, not just the body, 00:05:49 Speaker 1: but we work very, very extensively with helping people to understand why they are struggling where that comes from. So really providing them with intensive clinical therapy to unpack the pieces that are really at the core of their suffering, whether that's individual therapy, family therapy and also group therapy. We do, 00:06:08 Speaker 1: you know, some people do some or all of those things depending upon what they need. 00:06:12 Speaker 1: And then of course, it's also addressing simultaneously the food and body pieces 00:06:17 Speaker 1: and it's really working with people on their particular struggles with food in the body 00:06:23 Speaker 1: and for each and every person with an eating disorder, they have very particular rules and rituals that they engage in when it comes to the food. 00:06:30 Speaker 1: So very specific things that they personally need to be able to address 00:06:36 Speaker 1: in addition to knowing how to regulate food and how to start food and how to end food 00:06:41 Speaker 1: and then had to start it again and ended again. 00:06:44 Speaker 1: So really helping people to establish a regulated, more balanced, even relationship with food 00:06:53 Speaker 1: where, you know, symptoms can be interrupted 00:06:56 Speaker 1: when we do that in a few different ways. Like we offer a whole group meal support program 00:07:02 Speaker 1: so people can come online with a bunch of other people moving through recovery and have accountability to eating in a regulated way. We also offer that in a in a one on one capacity. So a person can do that with one of our practitioners as well. 00:07:16 Speaker 1: And it's really helping people to create that rhythm with food that has is ultimately lost when you have a needing to sort of re establishing hunger and fullness, 00:07:27 Speaker 1: being able to be differently, intuitive, 00:07:30 Speaker 1: recognizing the triggers that come that maybe push food off or cause people to need to eat more urge or things like that 00:07:37 Speaker 1: and just being able to happen to how to be in relationship with food. Again, 00:07:43 Speaker 2: can you give me some examples of what symptoms might be? 00:07:46 Speaker 1: Yes. Some eating disorder, symptoms that, you know, are are often spoken about in which many people suffer with our obviously symptoms of restrictions. So that could involve people not eating enough. 00:07:59 Speaker 1: Sometimes people think that restriction means people don't eat 00:08:02 Speaker 1: and that could be possible, but often it's just that people don't eat enough 00:08:07 Speaker 1: or that they don't eat enough of many things. They don't have variety. They have particularities around what they can eat or when they can eat or how they can eat. 00:08:18 Speaker 1: The restriction is vast in that way, it's not just a better person not eating. 00:08:23 Speaker 1: And then another obviously very common symptom is binging. 00:08:27 Speaker 1: I think a lot of times people think that binging again is like really excessive eating, which yes, it can be that, 00:08:33 Speaker 1: but it also can be overeating, raising, feeling out of control with food, feeling like food overtakes a person and sometimes it doesn't have anything to do with the quantity of food that a person is eating, or sometimes it does, but sometimes it doesn't 00:08:49 Speaker 1: and it's just still that a person feels very out of control with the food. 00:08:53 Speaker 1: So 00:08:54 Speaker 1: binging is another very big pattern with food as well. 00:08:58 Speaker 1: And purging is also another big pattern with food. 00:09:01 Speaker 1: So different ways that people rid themselves of food 00:09:04 Speaker 1: and that can involve all different kinds of pieces that don't only include vomiting. 00:09:11 Speaker 1: That exercise is a very common method of purging. 00:09:14 Speaker 1: So it's like thinking about purging as you know, the different ways that everything that comes in has to come out, it's like sort of the compensatory symptom, 00:09:23 Speaker 1: which is often the case that happens with binging and restricting. So if a person is binging, there's often that swap to restriction, or if a person is binging and there's often that needs to rid themselves through purging 00:09:36 Speaker 1: and you know, then the cycle starts again with restrictions, so people move through often through these different symptoms. 00:09:44 Speaker 1: Some people just sustain one certain symptom. Generally speaking, symptoms are fluid and people are moving through them all the time. 00:09:53 Speaker 1: Is it 00:09:53 Speaker 2: possible to be quote unquote cured from an eating disorder? Or is it an ongoing recovery process? 00:10:00 Speaker 1: I really like to put out a message that people can be cured from having an eating disorder. 00:10:06 Speaker 1: I feel like there's really not a lot of hope when we hear we can't, 00:10:11 Speaker 1: and I really do believe that people can live freely with food and their body. 00:10:18 Speaker 1: I think it takes a lot of work to get to a place where you can find that level of freedom. 00:10:22 Speaker 1: And I also think that the spectrum of recoveries is vast. 00:10:27 Speaker 1: I think that different people would be able to decide what they feel is cured 00:10:33 Speaker 1: and I think there's a lot of movement that continues to happen over time, 00:10:37 Speaker 1: but I really do believe that a person can be free of harm, be free of the preoccupation that they may have from food in their body 00:10:45 Speaker 1: and actually be able to really live without endless thinking and planning and harm that goes on with food. 00:10:54 Speaker 2: You primarily work with women, but are you seeing men and boys struggling as well with the disordered eating? 00:11:01 Speaker 1: Yes, we work with all people. 00:11:03 Speaker 1: And even though, yes, predominantly we work with women and girls, we do work with men and boys as well. 00:11:11 Speaker 1: Men and boys suffer with eating disorders. I think one of the reasons why it's maybe differently populated by women and girls is is just the stigma that still exists for men and boys to feel safe to come forward. 00:11:26 Speaker 1: But eating disorders do not discriminate. Nobody is exempt from the possibility of developing one and suffering from one and the center provides care for all people. 00:11:38 Speaker 2: Does it look different in men and boys than it does in girls and women? 00:11:43 Speaker 1: It can it can 00:11:45 Speaker 1: I think one of the more prevalent symptoms for men and boys 00:11:51 Speaker 1: is often around, you know, the purging through exercise or using exercise as a very powerful eating disorder. Symptom that can be maybe more prevalent, but again, not always the case, but certainly something that men and boys tend to suffer with more steadily than maybe even some girls and women. 00:12:11 Speaker 2: And did you say that men tend to feel safer to come forward or women feel safer to come forward? 00:12:16 Speaker 1: Women, women. 00:12:18 Speaker 1: So I think sometimes there's this thinking that men and boys don't suffer with eating disorders or don't suffer as much? 00:12:23 Speaker 1: I think that there just isn't as much safety for men and boys to come forward. There's more stigma attached. And I think that's why we think that they don't suffer as much. 00:12:34 Speaker 2: I want to talk a bit about your own personal story, You yourself have have worked to overcome an eating disorder. What has that journey been like for you? 00:12:42 Speaker 1: I think that, you know, in reflection, when I think about the history of my life suffering with an eating disorder, I realized that probably for most of my life I was affected by, you know, eating disorder and disordered eating behaviors, just really lots of preoccupation around food in the body 00:13:00 Speaker 1: And an overwhelming sense of insecurity and competency, just really not feeling good about who I was. And that in my late teens and through my early 20's I developed acute anorexia and I had an over exercise addiction. 00:13:17 Speaker 1: And when I was really, really suffering, there wasn't anywhere for me to get help. 00:13:24 Speaker 1: I needed help immediately. I didn't have access to getting help immediately. 00:13:29 Speaker 1: The wait lists were too long. I probably wouldn't have made it if I had to wait. 00:13:33 Speaker 1: And I also, I mean, truthfully was really naive and didn't really think that I had a problem. And I think even to 00:13:40 Speaker 1: my family was also naive around how serious my suffering was 00:13:45 Speaker 1: eventually, over time, my family was able to recognize the severity of my health because 00:13:52 Speaker 1: I was in really devastating situations medically 00:13:56 Speaker 1: and my parents, you know, scoured the city for professionals who had a lot of eating disorder experience. 00:14:02 Speaker 1: But what I found is that I would go and I would speak to these people and I would lie to them, I would tell them that I was fine. I wasn't able to be as truthful as I needed to be in order to have therapy to be effective. 00:14:13 Speaker 1: They wouldn't sort of call me out. And I knew at that point that I wouldn't be able to get well in a space where I wasn't really pushed to be completely honest. 00:14:23 Speaker 1: And so without a lot of success at finding care, 00:14:27 Speaker 1: my parents essentially adapted care in our home 00:14:31 Speaker 1: and they became the forerunners of re feeding me, 00:14:35 Speaker 1: helping to re nourish me holding me accountable to eating in ways that I was not comfortable with. 00:14:41 Speaker 1: It was a really messy and very, very stressful and painful time in our home 00:14:47 Speaker 1: and something that I, I suppose willingly complied with for the most part, just because I was so afraid that I was going to die and I really would have 00:14:56 Speaker 1: and so 00:14:57 Speaker 1: I was agreeable, but not without a lot of fight 00:15:02 Speaker 1: over the course of time. It's interesting, you know, when people ask me about my story, it's, it's, it's a far, far away time now, but I, I never like to give the impression that anything about recovery is is easy or simple or that my family plugged in and then eventually I kind of found my way, 00:15:18 Speaker 1: but sometimes I feel like when I share this story, it kind of has that feeling to it. I mean, I don't know how to always articulate how incredibly awful and painful and up and down and all around that it was and also not having, you know, intervention around us to support us through it, 00:15:39 Speaker 1: which was tremendous for my family to have to move me through. 00:15:43 Speaker 1: But I think eventually, what ended up happening is I was able to realize that I had this ability to engage with the food even if I maybe didn't want to or my eating disorder wouldn't allow me to, 00:15:54 Speaker 1: but I could do that for you know some time and I would realize that it was the stuff in my life that kept coming up 00:16:02 Speaker 1: that would lead me to want to have the eating disorder back 00:16:05 Speaker 1: and it sort of led me to thinking, you know, this is not about food, 00:16:10 Speaker 1: this is not about my body, because even when I got myself to a place where I was in the body if you will, that the eating disorder told me would make my life better, 00:16:22 Speaker 1: I was so so unhappy, 00:16:25 Speaker 1: I was so deeply sad and deeply empty. 00:16:30 Speaker 1: The only difference now is I was like physical izing that 00:16:33 Speaker 1: but there was nothing better about my life when I was able to shift my body, in fact everything was worse 00:16:41 Speaker 1: and so what I started to realize was that this wasn't a body food issue. I mean, it was becoming that of course, but there was just stuff in my life that I was just not healed from. I was not okay with things about myself that I wasn't comfortable with. 00:16:56 Speaker 1: And so it really pushed me to realize that having an eating disorder and moving through eating disorder recovery really requires so much beyond just what we need to know how to do with food, 00:17:09 Speaker 1: but really helping to understand, like, why was I hurting myself the way that I was like, what was really at the core of that? 00:17:17 Speaker 1: And so I was able to explore this in all kinds of different ways over time in my life and I think probably continue to, you know, not, not because I have an eating disorder, but I always just feel like we 00:17:27 Speaker 1: we endlessly grow and change and I think it's really powerful to be able to understand who we are and you know, to engage therapeutically. 00:17:35 Speaker 1: And so yeah, the the center was really like birthed out of a massive piece of recovering from an eating disorder and moving through an unbelievable experience of coming into myself and understanding who I am and and wanting to be the therapist that I really needed when I was suffering. 00:17:54 Speaker 1: I think that was just something that was really important to me because I really do understand eating disorders when I work with my clients. I, 00:18:02 Speaker 1: I really do understand what it means when they talk about the noise in their mind. I really do understand what it means when they share in their inability to move any further. I understand when they want to give up. I've been there. 00:18:15 Speaker 2: So you feel like it's made you a better, more compassionate clinician? 00:18:20 Speaker 1: I think yes, probably. Yes, 00:18:22 Speaker 1: I think it has. I think I get it and I think that even though my experience is totally different than theirs, 00:18:30 Speaker 1: I don't use it as a way to sort of compare, 00:18:33 Speaker 1: but I just understand the struggle and the process to move through that. 00:18:38 Speaker 2: What do you do sort of to, to support your own self care? 00:18:44 Speaker 1: You know, 00:18:44 Speaker 2: when maybe you might be feeling like you might be moving in that direction, Maybe you don't feel like you are after all this time, but what do you do to sort of support your own mental health? 00:18:54 Speaker 1: I don't ever feel threatened or triggered by eating disorder, thoughts or behaviors. I haven't now for 20 years. 00:19:01 Speaker 1: I think I've really come to appreciate myself and I think that I have. Um, I accept who I am. 00:19:08 Speaker 1: It's been a long process and a lot of growth and probably I think having more time on the planet has allowed me to feel safer with that and safer with who I am. 00:19:18 Speaker 1: I think the ongoing work really is just what you asked that piece about how do you take care of yourself, How do you connect to yourself? 00:19:25 Speaker 1: I do a lot of things to take care of myself 00:19:28 Speaker 1: because I have a lot on my plate. 00:19:31 Speaker 1: I run a very busy center. I am a clinical therapist for so many people. I take care of people's emotional well being all day, every day. 00:19:42 Speaker 1: I'm a mother, I have two daughters of my own, I'm a partner and I'm a person separate of all of that too. 00:19:49 Speaker 1: I think that one of the critical self care pieces in my life is actually my yoga practice. It's actually something that was a huge part of my recovery. I connected to yoga when I was 20 00:20:02 Speaker 1: kind of well in the like in the throes of my recovery 00:20:06 Speaker 1: and it is a fundamental part of who I am as a person 00:20:10 Speaker 1: which was a really important exploration for me because so much of my suffering was having an exercise addiction. And so 00:20:17 Speaker 1: my yoga practice has such a different meaning to me. It isn't about changing my body or burning calories or going to the gym and pumping things out. I don't, I don't have any intention with that yoga for me is this opportunity to be with myself and be with my breath and 00:20:33 Speaker 1: come to my mat and have that Peacefulness with myself and move and feel strong and connected. 00:20:41 Speaker 1: The short of that is that yoga is a, is a big player in my self care, but I also feel like I I think self care for me too is like being around people that make me feel happy and being and doing the things that make me feel alive and make me feel full and also being in relationships that allow me to be honest and 00:21:03 Speaker 1: you know, accept me for who I am and I feel like being a mom is, if you, you know, outside of the fact that it's certainly one of the hardest gigs going, 00:21:14 Speaker 1: it just fills me right up, 00:21:17 Speaker 2: I want to talk to you a bit more about parenting in a little while, 00:21:20 Speaker 1: but 00:21:21 Speaker 1: I just want 00:21:21 Speaker 2: to talk about the pandemic. I mean such a hard time, so many people are struggling with their mental health right 00:21:26 Speaker 1: now. How 00:21:27 Speaker 2: do you think the pandemic had an impact on those with eating disorders? 00:21:32 Speaker 1: Oh, tremendously, it's transformed the level of suffering. I mean, I think that, you know, eating disorders have always been incredibly apparent, 00:21:41 Speaker 1: but the increase of those affected by eating disorder behavior as a result of the pandemic is profound 00:21:48 Speaker 1: wait lists that used to be six months are now two years, the level of suffering, the acute level of suffering is more heightened. 00:21:57 Speaker 1: The volume of people who are experiencing suffering through food and the body is is unbelievably heightened. 00:22:04 Speaker 1: There's been an enormous shift in the volume of people who are affected by eating disorders as a result of the pandemic. 00:22:10 Speaker 1: And I think what that's really about is the way that nothing is predictable. 00:22:18 Speaker 1: We've lost so much control, so much access to life as we knew it. As people, we require connection, we require connection to people of course, but we also require connection to the things that we love to, the things that keep us full and busy in our life. 00:22:34 Speaker 1: I think, especially for young people who are suffering so tremendously now with eating disorders, you know, when you're an adolescent and you're in a space in your life where you're trying to individuated and self develop and, you know, come into your own and have experiences and explore the world. 00:22:53 Speaker 1: The pandemic has completely eradicated the opportunity to do any of those things. 00:22:57 Speaker 1: And so food in the body is has really been so central during this pandemic. It's kind of like the only thing that people really have to control. And I think that's why it's it's been so prevalent as a coping mechanism throughout this unbelievable time. 00:23:14 Speaker 1: Whether it be using food to comfort through this experience, or whether it be denying food in order to, you know, articulate the loneliness, the emptiness, the loss. 00:23:27 Speaker 1: Food has been, you know, such an unbelievable part of the way in which people have shaped themselves through this time. 00:23:34 Speaker 2: You talk about adolescents, hospitals in the us Canada and the UK have all reported a rise in hospital admissions among Children with eating disorders in the past 18 months. Why do you think that this is happening specifically with Children? 00:23:48 Speaker 1: Because Children have no control. They have no control over really anything. And especially now 00:23:57 Speaker 1: when you think about what a person can control it is food in their body. 00:24:03 Speaker 1: And so at a time when a young person who naturally just has less control 00:24:10 Speaker 1: is then put upon an experience where they have absolutely none. 00:24:15 Speaker 1: That becomes an accessible way for them to experience some element of control. The irony about having an eating disorder is that most people turn to it as a way to feel like they could have some control. 00:24:29 Speaker 1: The irony is that you actually end up having none and less. So because it's the eating disorder that ends up controlling you 00:24:37 Speaker 2: and we're certainly living in a time where none of us have control over anything. And there's so much uncertainty. 00:24:43 Speaker 1: Exactly. Exactly. 00:24:45 Speaker 1: Now, 00:24:45 Speaker 2: you're the parent of two young daughters, how has being a parent had an impact on your 00:24:50 Speaker 1: work? 00:24:51 Speaker 1: Oh, wow. You know, in so many ways, 00:24:54 Speaker 1: I think I am a way more competent therapist as a parent, 00:24:59 Speaker 1: kind of makes me emotional, whenever I talk about being a parent and my daughters, 00:25:03 Speaker 1: I've worked with families my entire career almost 20 years, but I've been a parent now for almost seven and I just think it offers an opportunity to understand what it means to have a child who's suffering 00:25:19 Speaker 1: what that actually could mean, even though of course I don't know that experience firsthand, 00:25:24 Speaker 1: I can appreciate what it means 00:25:27 Speaker 1: when you love your child so much and they're suffering. 00:25:31 Speaker 1: I have obviously more insight into what it means to raise Children into what it means to love someone so much 00:25:40 Speaker 1: into the complexities of relationships and families and you know, all of those pieces. 00:25:46 Speaker 1: I just think it's it has made me a very different therapist, but it is like, I mean it's one of the many places that it is completely enriched my life. 00:25:56 Speaker 1: I actually just think it it makes me much more of a compassionate person more than anything. 00:26:01 Speaker 2: How can parents, you know, particularly of young daughters avoid passing their own anxieties about eating and food on to their Children. 00:26:10 Speaker 1: It's such a great question, such an important question. 00:26:14 Speaker 1: I think it's an important responsibility that we have as parents to really allow food to be safe and neutral 00:26:22 Speaker 1: and to allow our Children to experience food in that way. 00:26:28 Speaker 1: One of the very powerful things for me and being a mother has been watching my Children's relationship with food. 00:26:35 Speaker 1: You know, I think when kids are learning about how to be with food, 00:26:40 Speaker 1: they actually in many ways no more about it than we do as grown adults because they have this ability to listen to their bodies in the ways that we don't as adults anymore. 00:26:49 Speaker 1: There's an intuition that's way stronger around hunger and fullness 00:26:53 Speaker 1: and what they like or what they don't or when they need to eat or when they don't. 00:26:56 Speaker 1: And I feel like Children are really in tune to those things. 00:27:00 Speaker 1: And I often feel like as parents, we interrupt a lot of that. 00:27:06 Speaker 1: We place our own values on what we think our kids should eat or when we think our kids should eat or how much we think our kids should eat, 00:27:13 Speaker 1: we intervene with that real natural mechanism that exists. 00:27:17 Speaker 1: And I think that it's really important to sometimes as a parent, when it comes to food in the body, especially when our Children are young is to learn a lot from them to give them space to explore food and feed themselves and be safe with food. And 00:27:32 Speaker 1: I think language around food is really critical as a parent, you know that no food is bad or no food is good or no food is junk or no food is healthy, like food is just food and that there can be space for all of it doesn't mean that we have to be boundary list with it, but we certainly, I think 00:27:49 Speaker 1: a lot of the anxieties that I speak to around parents is like, you know, not wanting their kids to have unhealthy habits or to, you know, eat bad foods or junk foods, but 00:28:00 Speaker 1: sometimes I find that if we just give space for all those things to exist in a really normalized way. It really de escalates a child's desire to have those things all the time. The interest isn't the same when they know they can have it. 00:28:14 Speaker 1: And so I think really allowing parents trust that, 00:28:19 Speaker 1: you know, having all food is safe. 00:28:22 Speaker 1: Being able to create a space where we don't talk about food is bad or bodies as bad or 00:28:29 Speaker 1: needing to fix our bodies or change things 00:28:32 Speaker 1: really just really welcome trusting our body and being connected to it. I talk a lot with my kids about like the power of food, the magic of food, you know, like, I don't know, it could be anything like 00:28:43 Speaker 1: when you eat those carrots, like we kind of had this game like, you know, oh my gosh, like how far can you see now? Like what does that do for your eyes? I think like food is beautiful and creative and it's it's such a powerful part of living and I think that there's a lot of magic in being able to communicate as apparently with our Children and I 00:29:01 Speaker 1: I think it's a safer place to come at than seeing it in a bad way and then informing them that that it could be bad or some of it is bad or wrong. 00:29:10 Speaker 2: Do you see clients who are parents really struggling 00:29:13 Speaker 1: with eating disorders as well? 00:29:14 Speaker 2: Yeah, and kind of with their own kids who may be picky eaters or don't want to eat certain things, you know, what, what is that like to be struggling with an eating disorder and working on that and also parenting at the same time? 00:29:28 Speaker 1: Yeah, it's very challenging and it's very common. 00:29:31 Speaker 1: A lot of people that we work with have Children with eating disorders, but then they themselves also have eating disorders or disordered behavior. And so so much of the work that we do at the center is working with families, 00:29:42 Speaker 1: one of the beautiful things that happens in recovery is that we're shifting the ways that families operate. We change relationships as we're helping a person get well. And so if that would be the case that a parent would be suffering themselves with an eating disorder, 00:29:58 Speaker 1: that we would be working with them simultaneously on how to address those pieces. 00:30:03 Speaker 1: And also for some people, their parents, you know, I don't want to change. And so that it's working with that person on how to navigate that, 00:30:12 Speaker 1: what will that mean for them and how can they still sustain their own recovery if that isn't the choice of their parents? 00:30:18 Speaker 2: If someone is listening right now and struggling with disordered eating, 00:30:23 Speaker 1: what would 00:30:23 Speaker 2: you say to them about taking those steps to find support 00:30:27 Speaker 1: that you deserve to be free 00:30:29 Speaker 1: and that you can live without an eating disorder and that even though it may feel scary to lose it, 00:30:38 Speaker 1: there's just so much that you gain in life when you're free. 00:30:45 Speaker 2: What keeps you feeling hopeful and optimistic 00:30:49 Speaker 1: in general? Or? 00:30:51 Speaker 2: Well, these are difficult times. We're 00:30:53 Speaker 1: living in 00:30:54 Speaker 2: you were working with people who are going through some heavy things. What keeps you optimistic? 00:31:00 Speaker 1: My work is really intense and hear and see a lot of really hard things in the world is a hard place right now. 00:31:08 Speaker 1: But I feel also on the flip side that I have this incredible privilege of seeing so much possibility and so much hopefulness. 00:31:18 Speaker 1: I literally spend my career watching people transform. It's it's actually it's amazing. You know, I I don't think a lot of people have that incredible privilege. Like I 00:31:29 Speaker 1: I spend my days in the most honest spaces with people, you know, where people are like their truest selves and 00:31:37 Speaker 1: I really get to know people and see people move into living their best lives. 00:31:43 Speaker 1: That's what keeps me going. 00:31:45 Speaker 1: It's incredible. 00:31:47 Speaker 2: Kyla, thank you so much for your own honesty and speaking with me today, 00:31:51 Speaker 1: it was my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it for more about this 00:31:56 Speaker 2: episode. Go to life Speak 00:31:57 Speaker 1: dot com slash podcast. 00:32:02 Speaker 2: Mhm