Anorexia/Eating Disorders/Overeating girlfriend


My girlfriend of a few years has been a compulsive overeater since I have known her. She also occasionally purges. She has been abstinent on and off for a couple of months at a time. She is currently non-abstinent and this weekend is her birthday. She told me that for her present she wanted to stop eating (she really meant overeating-she is not anorexic). With this request she meant she wants me to come up with idea(s) to help. She seems to have tried almost everything - OA, very careful and measured foodplans,therapy, etc. However, she does not seem to stay abstinent for more than a few months at a time. I feel fairly knowledgeable about overeating and why she does is; she has been very open with me about everything including her abuse as a child. However, I just do not know what I can tell her regarding how she can get abstinent again and stay abstinent. It just feels like I have to disappoint her and not get her the one present she wants. Please know that I know that I cannot get her to stop eating, nor does she think I will be able to. She is looking for ideas and help. Thank you.

Hi Henri,

I am so sorry you are going through this. Helping a loved one with an eating disorder is never easy. I don't know that I have the perfect answer for you either, but I do have a number of resources you can try. Hopefully something will work.

Body Dysmorphia:

The Body Image Workbook by Thomas Cash -

Diet of Despair by Anna Paterson -

Emotional Eating:

Eating With Heart: The Five Steps to Freedom From Emotional Eating, Laurel Inman - outlines the path to freedom from using food as a coping mechanism. Trained in intuitive eating techniques, Laurel leads readers through five simple steps that anyone can use to make peace with food and re-learn how to trust themselves around food. I highly recommend her book to all of my clients as a valuable resource. And for those of you who think Laurel’s book comes out of an ivory tower, rest assured; this book comes from Laurel’s own journey with food. She has used this program to heal from her own battle with emotional eating and also to help her clients heal from theirs.To find out more about Laurel and her 5 step program, check out her website at

Eating Myself Crazy by Treena Wynes

Treena’s poignant story made me laugh, made me cry, but most importantly made me feel empowered. This is a book I would feel comfortable using as a resource for my clients and students. Treena tells her story in a compassionate, easy-to-understand way that just about everyone should be able to relate to. Her hands-on approach will allow readers to explore and heal their own relationships with food. Her journal questions are insightful and her recipes are quick and easy to make with ingredients most people have on hand. This is a valuable resource in the emotional eating field for both clients and clinicians.

-Here are several good web resources for healing eating disordered thinking:

I also recommend these two books:

Just Tell Her to Stop by Becky Henry

Many of my clients are parents and teens struggling with eating disorders. The teens aren’t sure they even want help and are afraid of gaining weight. The parents are afraid of losing their children to a battle with an eating disorder. Mostly, they all just want it to stop. I cannot tell you have many times I have recommended Becky’s book to clients and friends. Her story-telling method is just what my clients need. They read her book and realize that she “gets” them. With 20 stories to choose from, every client has been able to find at least one that resonates with them. Just Tell Her to Stop is a powerful testament to the effect an eating disorder can have on the life of not only the person who has been diagnosed, but also everyone around him or her. At the same time it offers the advice you need to hear to help yourself, your family, and your friends who suffer with eating disorders.

Food to Eat: guided, hopeful & trusted recipes for eating disorder recovery by Lori Lieberman and Cate Sangster

I talk to young women every day who are in the midst of their battle with an eating disorder or just embarking on their recovery. Every single one of them is afraid to eat. They worry that if they start eating, they’ll get fat overnight. And for someone with an eating disorder, that is the worst fear imaginable. If I could reach out to my clients across the globe, I would give every single one of them a copy of this book. Lori and Cate’s compassionate approach to recovery is just what these young women need. They give practical advice and explain why each recipe is nutritious and okay to eat in their “outsmart your ED voice” sections. Their conversational style makes it feel like you’re sitting down in your living room with them, a non-confrontational approach that my clients can all relate to.

Here are some websites that discuss healing from bulimia:

Emotional Eating:   

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Good luck!

Anorexia/Eating Disorders

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Mary Pritchard


I can answer questions about the psychology of eating, disordered eating attitudes and behaviors such as drive for thinness, drive for muscularity, binge eating, body dysmorphia, dieting, excessive/obsessive exercise, and body dissatisfaction. I can also answer questions about anorexia and bulimia.


I have a PhD in Psychology and teach courses in the Psychology of Health and the Psychology of Eating. I have been conducting research on disordered eating and exercise behaviors for 15 years.

Midwestern psychological association, rocky mountain psychological association

Over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles in journals such as Eating Behaviors, Eating Disorders, and Eating and Weight Disorders

PhD in Psychology from the University of Denver

Awards and Honors
30 teaching awards, have received funding to conduct my research from academic institutions and state and local government

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