Recovery is Possible!

How to Choose an Eating Disorder Recovery Coach

Eating Disorder Recovery Coaches are in high demand as the emerging adjunct to recovery is becoming more well-known.


It has been so amazing to be a part of and witness. I feel fortunate that I started my practice just as the field was beginning to be recognized (in 2016, ten years after my own recovery). At that time, there was still a steep learning curve and even some aversion to the idea that someone could be fully recovered themselves and now help others with coaching. I had many conversations with parents, therapists, registered dietitians, and even treatment center representatives back then. With each conversation, I expanded and explained my role as a coach specializing in eating disorder recovery in Dallas as well as across the nation.


Now that it has caught fire, especially nationally, many therapists recommend that their clients seek out a coach. With this growing recognition, the truth is, I often have a full schedule and sometimes even a waiting list. However, being well connected and knowing many certified coaches helps me to match recovery hopefuls whenever I’m unable to help.


As the landscape of treatment is shifting, how do you know who to choose? As in any field, there are differences in approaches, philosophies, skills, experience, education, business etiquette, and personalities. We’ll explore all of the above and more in today’s blog!


The Coaching Industry


First off, the coaching industry is not regulated at this time, so there is no specific agency oversight. Many coaches come with a personal history instead of a pencil-on-paper education, which can make officiating their valuable “lived experience” difficult. This lived experience is the source of so much passion and determination for recovery coaches such as myself, as nearly all coaches have struggled with an eating disorder or have loved someone who has. However, someone could also literally roll out of bed one morning and decide they will be a coach out of pure passion.


If they are technically savvy, highly likable, and not shy, they could easily brand themselves on social media. This is not to say they can’t help others in recovery, but at the same time, not having the proper training to work with eating disorders can do unintended harm. Like most mental health challenges, eating disorders are on a continuum. Plus, not everyone is the same. It takes education and skill to navigate each client’s uniqueness. One cannot simply just apply what helped them (or a loved one) in recovery. To reach all types of people and experiences,  a good coach needs a proper certification and training process.


Background and Certifications


Please know that I have four recovery coaching certifications and a background in corporate leadership, including many decades of experience in team-building and coaching in varying capacities with many different kinds of people. With my personal expertise, I use all of this knowledge and experience in my work for eating disorder recovery in Dallas and nationwide to help clients and their families discover food freedom and peace with their bodies while also embracing their strengths and stories.


Coaches come with all sorts of different tools and expertise. While I listed mine, others, such as Social Workers, Yoga Teachers, Nutritionists, Fitness Instructors, etc. bring other unique specialties and backgrounds that can also be quite helpful.


Nothing, however, prepared and helped me more to become an effective coach specializing in eating disorder recovery in Dallas more than the Carolyn Costin Institute, especially Carolyn herself. If you don’t know who she is, just Google her. I strongly recommend that whether it is me or someone, you seek out a CCI Certified Coach!


There are so many reasons why, but here are the top five:


  1. Carolyn vets each coach before being accepted into the CCI certification program, including ensuring applicants meet a minimum of 2 years recovered.
  2. The course is rigorous with educational modules and exams throughout which demand dedication to the program.
  3. There is a required internship with clinical supervision before one can be certified.
  4. To keep your certification active, you must complete ongoing continued education.
  5. Coaches literally learn from one of the best in the field- Carolyn.




Also, don’t be afraid to ask for a coach’s credentials, such as if and how they have been certified, how long they have been recovered, what helped them, what their philosophies are about food and body, and how they intend to help YOU.  You need to know these answers. And unless the coach has a certification from a course that requires months rather than weeks and includes an ongoing clinical supervisor, you should steer clear.


Once you feel comfortable with their background and individual story, the next step is…connection! I cannot emphasize this enough. Sure, it can take a little time to allow yourself to be vulnerable and feel comfortable. But, trust your instincts (part of the recovery journey, too)! Ask yourself, despite any resistance, fear, or ambivalence: Do I feel seen and understood? Can I connect?


Connect With Me

A coach’s job, my job, is partially to build a relationship with you. One in which we work in the present – eating together, setting goals together, learning from difficult days together, interacting between sessions, and more. This connection is essential. And with so many coaches emerging, there is a match for you! Someone willing to jump into your story, be a role model, hold your hand, and set an example with healthy boundaries.


It is an exciting time for change, embracing the significance of mental health and filling gaps in eating disorder recovery. Even if you’re not specifically looking for eating disorder recovery in Dallas, Texas, know that I can help anybody, anywhere. As a collective, we are making great strides in pushing visibility, acceptance, and understanding in our adjunct role on an individual’s eating disorder treatment team. Like any professional,  finding the right, skilled, and educated coach you can connect with is so important, so please seek out different options and choose who feels right for you!


With Love & Light,

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