Ep 08: Eating Disorders: Dr. Deborah Michel, PhD, CEDS

For some people, poor body image is a sign of a serious problem: an eating disorder. Eating disorders are not just always about food. They are often a way to cope with difficult problems, a form of trauma or a way to regain some form of control. We need to be able to understand all the different topics around eating disorders so we can be informed. Joining us on the show today we have Dr. Deborah Michel, regional managing director at the Eating Recovery Center (ERC) in The Woodlands, Texas. Dr. Michel is also co-author of the book When Dieting Becomes Dangerous: A Guide to Understanding and Treating Anorexia and Bulimia. During this conversation, Dr. Michel discusses eating disorders and signs and symptoms to look out for, how challenging eating disorders treatment and recovery can be, the changes in the eating disorder field over the years, and ways in which social media has changed the world of eating disorders. Be sure to keep listening to this very interesting conversation with Dr. Deborah Michel!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Dr. Michel tells us how she got involved in9 treating eating disorders.
  • Changes that have occurred in the eating disorder field over the years.
  • How ERC is steeped in a values-based approach.
  • Family as a big asset in recovery.
  • Change starting from the outside and moving inward.
  • Correcting symptoms lead to changes occurring cognitively and emotionally.
  • The significant focus on nutritional rehabilitation.
  • Dr. Michel’s belief that it takes a village in the recovery of those with eating disorders.
  • Why we live in a hostile recovery environment.
  • Social media and how it’s changed the world of eating disorders.
  • Trauma we know is a risk factor for any type of psychological difficulty.
  • Trauma and complex relational trauma and the effect it has on your life.
  • Navigating trauma to help prevent eating disorders.
  • Power of validation and its significance for individuals.
  • Benefits of eating together and having family meals.
  • Importance of regulating your emotions.
  • Addressing the anxiety that goes hand-in-hand with eating disorders.
  • Recovery and full recovery is absolutely possible.
  • The journey of treatment for an eating disorder.
  • Advice for concerned family members and how to seek help for someone else.
  • The invisibility of eating disorders and sign and symptoms that go unseen.
  • Stories of hope for the individual and hope for the family.


“When someone’s brain is malnourished it’s not going to be able to utilize all of that information in the way that someones brain, who is healed and optimal, will.” — Dr. Deborah Michel [0:05:39]

“Families can be our very greatest asset in recovery.” — Dr. Deborah Michel [0:06:34]

“I always have believed that it takes a village in the recovery of those with eating disorders.” — Dr. Deborah Michel [0:11:19]

“Avoidance is anxiety’s best friend.” — Dr. Deborah Michel [0:33:24]

“Recovery and full recovery is absolutely possible.” — Dr. Deborah Michel [0:40:18]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Eating Recovery Center

When Dieting Becomes Dangerous

Craig Johnson on LinkedIn

Recovery Record



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