Do you feel defined by your weight or body image, and do you find yourself always wishing you were thinner?

Do you obsess over either consuming food or avoiding food?

Have you tried to eat normally but somehow just can’t?

Are you ashamed of eating in front of others?

Are you constantly trying to compensate for calories consumed?

We can help you normalize your eating, which leads to a fuller and happier life.

At least 30 million people suffer from eating disorders in the United States. Still, eating disorders can have a number of different symptoms, which requires a tailored and comprehensive treatment plan to address your needs.

Often, an eating disorder develops when you initially feel completely in control of your eating, which then eventually leads to the feeling that your eating controls you.

Maybe you wanted to lose a little weight. Maybe you felt better when you were thinner. Somehow, it led you to this place.

Whether you’re struggling with the dread of calorie consumption and weight gain, or you feel completely out of control with the urge to binge and/or purge, we can help.

At OptimalLife Wellness Center, several of our therapists specialize in helping clients with eating disorders. The goal is to help you understand your eating disorder and regain control of your life around food, all in partnership with one of our therapists who truly cares.


Eating disorders come in many forms. One thing they all have in common is that it’s never really about the food. Eating disorders are fueled by emotion. They manifest as coping skills to ease the discomfort you believe you are not capable of handling without the eating disorder.

Whether it is anxiety, avoidance, anger, sadness, resentment, self-hatred, hopelessness, or something else, eating disorder recovery work is designed to help you better understand your emotions and what function your eating disorder serves.


Gender dysphoria means feeling a mismatch between the gender a person is assigned at birth and the gender with which they align. Unfortunately, eating disorders are common among individuals who identify as transgender or non-binary and experience gender dysphoria. In fact, people with gender dysphoria might engage in eating disorder patterns as an attempt to alter features of their body that contribute to the dysphoria.


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is associated with all types of eating disorders, which so often originate due to the need or desire to find belonging and self-worth in a world that values thin bodies and oppresses fat bodies. Eating disorders create rules that are black and white, clearly establishing what is worthy and what is not.

Some people with ASD find stability in clear-cut rules and ways of “being the right way as a human” to fit in better. For them, eating disorders provide more direction than social norms that require a greater amount of verbal communication with others.

Another way ASD and eating disorders often intersect is through high sensory experiences around looking at, smelling, touching, swallowing, and digesting food. This can lead to food avoidance that is not related to body image but to avoiding an extremely uncomfortable sensory experience.

How Eating Disorder Therapy Can Help


By nature, most eating disorders are driven by being unkind to yourself. Maybe that shows up as harsh self-criticism or holding yourself to much higher standards than you would ever hold your loved ones.

If you think about babies and small children, you might notice they eat when they are hungry, sleep when they are tired, and play when they are full of energy. It’s so simple to babies and small children because they have yet to be immersed by social messaging that tells us to ignore what our body is asking for to fit social standards that are unrealistic and ever-changing.

In eating disorder therapy, we focus on reconnecting your mind and body by healing your relationship with yourself. Therapy includes an in-depth exploration of the roots of your eating disorder, emotion-focused work, and long-term coping mechanisms that will sustain recovery. This powerful work also includes exploring and reframing long-held beliefs about food, exercise, and body image as well as redeveloping healthy relationships with these areas of your life.

Health at Every Size is part of our approach to eating disorder therapy at OptimalLife Wellness.


One thing rarely talked about in the eating disorder community is the grieving process involved in separating yourself from your eating disorder. You might worry that you won’t know who you are without your eating disorder. Maybe you even feel a kinship with it. Overidentifying with your eating disorder is natural because it has offered you comfort, made you feel in control, and has given you the validation you struggled to find on your own.

But not everything that offers you comfort, control, and validation serves a valuable purpose. In recovery, we walk with you through the process of letting go of your eating disorder, finding out who you are outside of it, and discovering what’s next—because there is so much more! We explore other aspects of your identity, values, strengths, and goals so you grow into your own person.


Intuitive eating is rooted in listening to what your body wants and needs. Diet culture, the thin ideal, and distorted ideologies tell us that what is “healthy” often reinforces the idea that our hunger cues are wrong. In reality, our bodies are intelligent and resilient. They are constantly communicating with us.

Intuitive eating goes back to the basics of eating when we are hungry and for what we are hungry. Trusting our bodies follows a similar approach of trusting that your body has your best interest in mind. Perhaps you have felt that your body has betrayed you. Or maybe you have lived through an experience that disconnected your mind and body, making it hard to trust yourself in your body. In therapy, we work with you to rebuild this trust and listen intuitively to your body.


The Health at Every Size® (HAES) approaches health as something that cannot be defined the same way for every person. Health is a continuum that changes for an individual throughout his or her lifetime. Health is something that cannot be achieved through a specific way of living and is instead affirmed by eating for wellness and moving your body in a meaningful and fun way for YOU.


  • Weight Inclusivity
  • Health Enhancement
  • Respectful Care
  • Eating for Well-being
  • Life-Enhancing Movement

Nutritional science research continues to support HAES despite anti-fatness rhetoric. Health is not defined by weight, body shape or size, age, ability level, or medical condition. HAES strives to shift societal perspectives about diet culture and the thin ideal to create a more inclusive and compassionate way of approaching what it means to live a healthy life. Learn more about HAES at the Association for Size Diversity and Health.


Treating an eating disorder in the outpatient setting is appropriate for the maintenance phase of recovery. At this point, you will have reached and are committed to maintaining weight stabilization by following a dietitian-recommended meal plan. We will need to consult your doctor and/or have a recent medical and mental health recommended eating disorder treatment program discharge.

Outpatient care is not meant for individuals who are in the early stages of recovery. If you are experiencing physical symptoms of an eating disorder, it is recommended that you consult your doctor who might recommend you for a higher level of care.

Where you are on your recovery journey will help determine which level of care will best support you right now. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) provides very helpful descriptions of the Levels of Care to help you understand what may be the best fit.


Eating disorders appear in many different ways. And many times, it’s not just one behavior but a combination of several. If you or someone you know is exhibiting one of the following behaviors, contact OptimalLife Wellness Center to work with a therapist who specializes in treating eating disorders.

Avoidance/Aversion to Foods is when certain food’s taste, smell, texture, sight, and/or sound cause distress, disgust, or discomfort. An individual may feel nauseous, have a fear of vomiting, and/or ruminate on the consumption of these foods. Individuals with food avoidance and aversion might also have been called “picky eaters” and have a restrictive “safe” foods list that they will eat. Avoidance of and aversions to foods are common, but not exclusive, for individuals on the Autism Spectrum who experience sensory sensitivity and overload.

Binge Eating is characterized by frequently eating past fullness and feeling unable to control or stop during these times. People might notice binges coinciding with intense emotions and negative self-thoughts.

Food Restriction is characterized by avoiding full meals, snacks, and specific types of food that are often deemed “too unhealthy,” obsessively counting calories, and establishing rules around how to engage with food. Often, these tactics are a means to lose weight due to a sense of low self-worth.

Food Rules guide how much of, when, how, and in what combination or order a person eats. These rules are often restrictive in nature and are an attempt to lose weight due to intense negative self-beliefs

Purging is characterized by the urge or compulsive need to purge food after eating for the means of weight loss. Frequently, purging is done through self-induced vomiting, misusing laxatives or other medications, excessive exercise, and/or fasting. In addition, purging is commonly associated with the label Other Specified Eating Disorder (OSFED) and Bulimia Nervosa.

Restrict/Binge/Purge Cycle is a common co-occurrence in which a person restricts food, followed by binge eating (often at night or when alone), and then purging after extreme feelings of guilt for binging. It is common for this cycle to then restart with restriction after purging.

What We Treat
  • Binge Eating
  • Restriction
  • Purging
  • Restrict/Binge/Purge Cycle
  • Avoidance/Aversion to Foods
  • Food Rules
  • Over-exercise/intense exercise compulsions
What We Work on in Eating Disorder Therapy
  • Mind-Body Connection
  • Grieving the Absence of Your Eating Disorder
  • Gender Dysphoria and Eating Disorders
  • Autism and Eating Disorders
  • Trauma and Eating Disorders
  • OCD and Eating Disorders
  • Self-Worth
  • Body Image
  • Managing Stress
  • Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
  • Perfectionism

Serving the BellevueKirklandRedmond, and Seattle areas, OptimalLife Wellness is here to help you and/or someone you know who is suffering from an eating disorderContact us to have a quick and easy conversation with our scheduling coordinator, who will match you and your needs with one of our therapists specializing in Eating Disorders. Together, we will help you learn how to become your best self.