Alex Raymond

Alex Raymond, RDN, LDN

Empowered Eating, LLC

Website: www.empoweredeatingrd.com

Blog: www.empoweredeatingrd.com/blog

Instagram: @empoweredeatingrd

Twitter: @empoweredeating

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/empoweredeating/

What is your current position?

I am a registered dietitian at the private practice, Empowered Eating, LLC. I’ve been working here over the last 4-5 years. I spend about 60% of my time seeing clients on an individual basis and coordinating with their therapists, physicians, psychiatrists, families…anyone who may be a significant member on their team. The other 40% of my time is dedicated to blogging, networking, marketing and speaking. I have a huge passion for writing, so I’d encourage you to check out our blog (www.empoweredeatingrd.com). I typically post 1-2 times each month.

How did you get started in your career?

When I was a senior in high school, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do, which really scared me. I attended school at the University of Maryland. Like most colleges, they had an “accepted student day.” I went there and saw that nutrition was a major. And I was like “oh my gosh this is so interesting!” I thought since I had always loved food, growing up with an Italian grandmother, I should check out what the major entailed. I think this may have been the first time I heard of a dietitian. The nutrition advisor at UMD at the time totally blew me away with how she described the field and I was like “I need to do this.” I had no idea what I was getting myself into and that there would be so much science involved. Turned out, organic chemistry was one of my favorite classes and I totally nerded out over biochem.

In 2012, when I was a junior in college, I started interning for Empowered Eating. This was just an amazing fit for me. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my nutrition degree, but I was leaning toward counseling clients one on one. I personally didn’t like the idea of working in a hospital and I wanted something less fast-paced and where I could build long term relationships with my clients. I am not and will never be a dietitian who promotes weight loss/weight management. I fully align myself with the Health At Every Size © model. Working at Empowered Eating shaped me that way and I am so happy to have found it.  Working with clients who struggle with eating disorders, disordered eating and chronic dieting allows me to support people in making peace with food and their bodies.

What advice would you give to someone new to the field?

Ask questions and learn from a diverse set of professional peers within your scope. Eating disorders are an extremely complicated mental (and physical) illness. In doing this work, it’s extremely important for us to ask questions to other eating disorder dietitians, other members of the treatment team, and our clients. One of my favorite mantras to use is “be curious.” I remember this both in and out of session. It’s so important for us to get the biggest picture of what it’s like for our clients. But, this can prove to be difficult if you don’t ask questions because all of us come from different backgrounds and have different experiences. And lastly, I would not be able to do this work if it weren’t for other eating disorder dietitians guiding me. I would 100% recommend to participate in (at least) monthly supervision with a dietitian you trust.

Jenni Schaefer

Bestselling Author, Speaker, Singer/Songwriter

Senior Fellow with Meadows Behavioral Healthcare and advocate for its specialty program, The Meadows Ranch

www.jennischaefer.com

Jenni is the author of Goodbye Ed, Hello MeLife Without Ed, and Almost Anorexic, and her next book about PTSD is to be released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2021.

How did you get started in your career?

After I began doing well in my own recovery from an eating disorder, I felt called to help others. I wrote a book about my personal journey called Life Without Ed and began speaking in local schools. I discovered that I love writing and speaking! I have learned that the very traits that contributed to my developing an eating disorder can be harnessed in a positive way in my career. As an example, when I take perfectionism to the light, it means that I am detail-oriented and motivated. These are valuable traits for an author!

What advice would you give to someone new to the field?

If you are currently in recovery from an eating disorder, I cannot emphasize the importance of taking care of yourself first. Make sure that your recovery is solid. You cannot give away to others what you don’t have. Believe in yourself, and don’t quit until you reach fully recovered. After recovering from an eating disorder, you will find a new resilience and strength. Both can be harnessed to create your dream career. I’d encourage you to get involved in nonprofits like the National Eating Disorders Association, and attend professional conferences. The eating disorders field is very welcoming. 

Goodbye Ed, Hello Me

Purchase Here

Life Without Ed

Purchase Here

Almost Anorexic

Purchase Here

Nancy Clark

Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD

Sports Dietitian in Private Practice in the Boston-area

Author of Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook and Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions

Co-author of Cyclist’s Food Guide: Fueling for the Distance

www.nancyclarkrd.com

Facebook: @nclarkrd

Twitter: @nclarkrd

How did you get started in your career?

I have always loved the outdoors–biking, hiking, skiing–and wanted to learn more about how to connect nutrition with exercise. I combined my nutrition degree with courses in exercise physiology, and then started working at SportsMedicine Brookline, one of the largest sports medicine clinics in the Boston area. More recently, I have opened my private practice in Newton, Massachusetts (just outside of Boston).

Initially, I thought my practice would consist of athletes wanting to bulk up, but the people who came to see me tended to be struggling with food, weight and exercise. Through the years, my practice has evolved to have a strong following of active people (both athletes and compulsive exercisers) who want help finding peace with food and their bodies.

What advice would you give to someone new to the field?

Educate yourself about to best help sports-active people who struggle with finding the right balance of food and exercise. Read books about compulsive exercisers, listen to webinars and podcasts on eating disorders (visit www.EDCatalogue.com), and attend lots of conferences that address both eating disorders and sports nutrition.

Sports Nutrition Guidebook

Purchase Here

Food Guide for Marathoners

Purchase Here

The Cyclist’s Food Guide

Purchase Here

Food Guide for Women’s Soccer

Purchase Here

Food Guide for New Runners

Purchase Here

Home Study CEUs for Sports Nutrition Guidebook

Purchase Here

Anita Johnston

Anita Johnston, Ph.D

www.dranitajohnston.com

Clinical Director for Ai Pono Hawaii Eating Disorders Residential Program on Maui and IOP in Honolulu www.aipono.com

Co-Creator, Light of the Moon Café online courses and support circles www.LightoftheMoonCafe.com

How did you get started in your career? 

I always had an interest in women’s issues.  Disordered eating and body image seemed to me to be the most pervasive and compelling issues with which women were struggling.  In the early 1980’s there was very little help available in Hawaii — so to fill what appeared to be a growing need, I co-founded the Anorexia & Bulimia Center with a couple other professionals. Over the years, as the need for more intensive treatment options became obvious, I created the first hospital based eating disorder program on Oahu (1986) and then the first free standing intensive out-patient program (IOP) in the country (2001). I was given an opportunity to create the first eating disorders IOP Australia, and most recently, to create a residential program, Ai Pono Hawaii, on Maui where I serve as Clinical Director.

I initially wrote Eating in the Light of the Moon to help my clients in my private practice better understand their struggle. It has now been published in six languages and has led to an extensive international lecture, workshop, and consulting business, as well as an online platform, Light of the Moon Café, which serves as a live, interactive “workbook” for Eating in the Light of the Moon.

What advice do you have for someone new to the field? 

Cultivate healthy doses of curiosity and creativity, develop a sense of humor, and find where your passion lies.  Working effectively with eating disorders requires an ability to look at both the bigger picture and the details, to use your intuition as well as your intellect, and to think outside of the box. I would also recommend a commitment to personal growth and spiritual development so that you know how to feed your soul — since much of the work is teaching those you work with how to do just that.

Eating in the Light of the Moon

Purchase Here

Caryn Honig

Caryn Honig, MEd, RD, LD

www.thehealthyweighonline.com

What is your current position?

Owner of The Healthy Weigh, a private nutritional counseling practice.  I specialize in eating disorders and disordered eating.  I only see clients who have eating disorders/disordered eating.  I’ve been in private practice for 20 years.  I am also a clinical adjunct professor at University of Houston where I teach Introduction to Nutritional Counseling.  I’ve taught Current Issues in Eating Disorders in the past.  I have three hospital contracts:  Texas Children’s Hospital and Kingwood Pines Psychiatric Hospital and The Menninger Clinic.  

How did you get started in your career?

I was a tennis player on the junior circuit from a very young age (13 years old) until I went to college on a full scholarship.  During that time, I struggled with bulimia then anorexia, then compulsive overexercise and then binge eating disorder.  At that time (during the 80’s), eating disorders were not talked about and there were not specialists in the field.  There were also no treatment centers nor were there IOP/PHP programs.  There was very little help back then.  The help I received was from a psychiatrist and a dietitian (who specialized in diabetes).  During my recovery, I decided that I wanted to become a dietitian and help others who struggled with eating disorders.  So, I went back to school and got a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics, completed my internship and RD board exams.  I started working at Texas Children’s Hospital and later opened my private practice, The Healthy Weigh. 

What advice would you give to someone new to the field?

Attend as many conferences, seminars, webinars…anything about eating disorders that is out there.  Learn as much as you can about the illness so you are fully equipped to deal with this very difficult population.  Also, take good care of yourself so you can take care of others.  Practice self care so that you avoid developing burnout and compassion fatigue.  Set good boundaries at work and in your personal life – to protect yourself.  Remember:  people with eating disorders are in pain.  Their coping mechanism is food (or lack of) and weight.   Approach every single client with compassion and empathy and leave behind the judgment and shame.  

Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

President at Eating Disorder Hope & Addiction Hope

www.EatingDisorderHope.com

www.AddictionHope.com

What is your current position?

I am the founder and president of Eating Disorder Hope. I have a masters degree in Counseling Psychology and a bachelor’s degree in Human Services. I am a member of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (iaedp), the Eating Disorders Coalition & the Academy of Eating Disorders. I collaborate and support Project Heal, National Eating Disorder Association and many other related behavioral health related organizations.

I spend my work hours writing, curating and reviewing articles and blogs to feature on Eating Disorder Hope and our sister site, Addiction Hope. Overseeing our social media, newsletters, Facebook Live Show, Sponsorships, responding to inquiries for support, collaborating with colleagues to further educate, prevent and treat eating disorders.

How did you get started in your career?

I struggled with an eating disorder during my teens and 20’s. After finally seeking treatment and getting on the road to recovery, I decided to become a therapist and work with others who suffer from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and really all forms of disordered eating and body image issues. I hoped that my personal journey through an eating disorder would empower me to deeply understand the struggles of my clients.

I started off in private practice and launched the Eating Disorder Hope website in 2005. I then moved to devoting all of my time to the Eating Disorder Hope website and stopped seeing individual clients. It was a tough choice as I truly love the soulful and fascinating interaction between therapist and client. However, I sensed that I would likely have greater impact for good by developing the Eating Disorder Hope website to serve the global online community. It appears this was the right choice as we now have over 4 million visitors a year to the Eating Disorder Hope online community and are able to provide resources, information and treatment options to eating disorder sufferers, their loved ones and providers.

What advice would you give to someone new to the field?

Seek out connections with colleagues who also specialize in eating disorders. They will likely end up being some of your closest friends and will help you develop personally & professionally.

Attend the major eating disorder conferences to earn CE/CEU credit, network and stay abreast of all the developing trends and evolutions in treatment. Walk around the exhibition booths and learn about the various providers and programs.

Take care of yourself and realize that you must be able to set effective boundaries between work and home life, in order to go the distance in your career.