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Why Eating Disorders Go Unnoticed and How to Heal in a Way that Works for You with Lily Thrope

3 Things We Dive Into In This Episode:

  1. Why eating disorders often go unnoticed and how fitness culture contributes to them.

  2. Why eating disorder recovery is personal; no single solution works for everyone.

  3. How you can use therapy, nutrition therapy, and other modalities to sit in discomfort and ultimately heal from food anxiety and eating-related challenges.


📌Episode Highlights

[02:06] Celebrating Whole, Full, and Alive’s 20th Episode

  • The core mission of this podcast is to help people fall in love with being alive and the person they are.

  • This podcast features conversations about nutrition, neuroscience, meditation, boudoir photography, and so much more!

  • You’re enough; you are whole. This podcast will give you tools and prompts to help you realize and understand yourself.

  • Many people believe that their worth comes from something outside themselves.

[08:07] Introducing Lily

  • Lily is the founder and lead therapist at Thrope Therapy, a psychotherapy practice. Caitie and Lily met when they were in a toxic fitness cult.

  • Lily describes herself as bubbly, energetic, and talkative. She loves Disney World, yoga, spirituality, friends, family, and food.

  • She values honesty and authenticity. Her private practice in New York focuses on eating disorders, body disorders, issues that the LGBTQ+ community face, relationship stress, and dating.

[14:27] Lily’s Approach to Therapy

  • Lily shares she tried to have flexibility in her therapy approach. She believes rigidity is why disorders develop in the first place.

  • People always look at things in black and white. Yet, the reality is that there will be ups and downs in our lives.

  • The intense parts of her therapy sessions usually take only 15-20 minutes. The rest of the session is devoted to coping strategies or things that make the client happy.

[16:35] Lily’s Past Challenges

  • Lily shares failing an anatomy class in college. She realized what she loved about physical therapy and switched to philosophy, eventually leading her to social work.

  • Failures are detours. Things that throw you off course are not the end; they can lead you in a better direction.

  • Life is full of challenges, but we must remember we can overcome difficulties.

  • Another challenge Lily has had to face is her eating disorder, which took a long time for her to realize. In the full episode, Lily shares how Caitie helped her realize this.

  • Learn to acknowledge both the positive and negative sides of life.

[23:48] Lily: “I think what's really important is acknowledging things are not good right now, acknowledging I'm in the shit right now. But I'm going to move through it.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[24:08] The Purpose of Therapy

  • Many people think therapy is about toxic positivity and looking for alternate ways to look at a situation.

  • This belief is incorrect. Therapy is where you'll be able to acknowledge everything in your life, both good and bad.

  • Having a therapist allows you to sit in the discomfort together, not alone.

  • Lily recommends in-person therapy.

[27:02] How Lily and Caitie Met

  • Caitie met Lily in a fitness studio that incorporated a diet regime.

  • She felt she couldn't speak out against the diet until she could talk with Lily about it.

  • We all deserve therapy and a safe space to process and heal.

  • Caitie realized the significance of her position as a fitness instructor and working at an eating disorder treatment center.

  • Eating disorders have become so normalized that we don’t even realize it.

[33:51] Why Do Eating Disorders Go Unnoticed?

  • The diet industry is a billion-dollar industry. We're constantly bombarded by diets portrayed as helpful and healthy.

  • Diets are designed for you to fail so you keep coming back.

  • Society celebrates and perpetuates eating disorders, creating a vicious cycle that makes eating disorder recovery more difficult.

  • People also have the impression that eating disorders are only related to fitness or thinness. Yet, it can affect people of all body sizes.

  • Eating disorders may not be visible by looking at people's bodies. Even medical professionals are not always aware of these disorders.

[39:08] Lily: “How is this impacting your life? How is this impacting your mental health? How is your relationship with food making you feel? And that's a big part of eating disorders that I think is invisible.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[39:44] How Eating Disorders Develop

  • Sometimes, even doctors themselves encourage behaviors that border on eating disorders.

  • So many doctors still use BMI as a proxy for health and make assumptions about people’s health using their body size and shape.

  • There's no catch-all way to solve health problems. Most often, people must be flexible to find out what's really happening.

  • So many people and doctors make food and nutrition their business.

  • It’s incredibly important to have flexibility in your life.

[43:28] How to Make Better Choices for Eating Disorder Recovery

  • Remember, there’s no one universal solution to problems.

  • So many eating disorders start because people follow one person’s approach instead of listening to themselves.

  • Don’t just follow advice blindly.

[43:40] Lily: “Anyone who says, do this thing, I don't care what it is do this thing and you will not have anxiety, you will feel better your back won't hurt your this. There is not one thing that changes how we feel, there is no one thing in this world that changes how we feel.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[45:59] How People Recover from Eating Disorders

  • There's no one-size-fits-all approach to eating disorder recovery. Despite this, so many programs are rigid and are not personalized.

  • There should be more awareness regarding creating environments conducive to recovery.

  • When people want to recover, they must first identify what they need. For example, whether they can be an outpatient or need to go residential.

  • People need to feel safe to recover from eating disorders. Disorders are, at their core, about seeking a source of safety.

[51:54] What Eating Disorder Recovery Looks Like

  • Identify the safest environment where you feel you can let go of unhealthy behaviors.

  • This doesn't always mean medical treatments — it can also be about your community and support groups.

  • Remember, while you can fully recover from the disorder, it can still come back. There is often something underneath the disorder you need to heal from.

  • Lily curated her Instagram and media content to create a safer environment for herself.

  • For Lily, flexibility means being able to do what you want and need in your time.

[59:33] Do What You Love

  • Take time to do something outside of your work.

  • Don't feel guilty about drinking coffee because of the trend of people saying it's bad for you.

  • Coffee might be supportive to your daily life and your grounding routines.

  • Consider what health risks it might entail for you, but be flexible and decide what is important to you and what the best choice for your wellness is.

[1:02:47] The Processing Prompt and Experiment

  • Reflect on this: in what area of your life do you feel lacks a sense of flexibility? What is that teaching you about yourself?

  • Remember, be compassionate with yourself.

  • If you believe you need to do something a certain way every single day, try doing the opposite and do something different to see how it feels.

About Lily

Lily Thorpe, LCSW, is the founder of Thrope Therapy LCSW PLLC, a psychotherapy practice located in Midtown Manhattan. Thrope Therapy specializes in supporting individuals who experience eating disorders, disordered eating, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and LGBTQIA-related issues. Lily is also a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and HAES aligned.

Lily helps her clients find the confidence to face these issues and find ways to live their happiest and most authentic lives. Lily is committed to fostering an environment where the client is the expert of their own story and therefore has integral skills for working towards their therapy goals.

Connect with Lily: Thrope Therapy I Instagram

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Lily: Anyone who says I don't care what it is, do this thing and you will not have anxiety, you will feel better, your back won't hurt. There is not one thing that changes how we feel. There is no one thing in this world that changes how we feel.

I think what happened to me in the yoga practice was I was a very anxious and depressed person. The leader of this cult said, you will not feel those things if you do this diet, and yeah, okay, maybe I didn't feel those things anymore. But now I had an eating disorder, I treated one mental health challenge for another and that is not healing.

Caitie: Welcome to Whole, Full and Alive, a podcast exploring the art and science of falling in love with your life, with your story and with who you truly are. Underneath your titles, your resume, your relationship status, and your bank account.

I'm Caitie Corradino, a registered dietician, nutritionist, certified fitness and yoga instructor, eating disorder recovery coach, Reiki healer, and founder of Full Soul Nutrition. But underneath my titles and resume, a big fan of kitchen dance breaks, early mornings, all things chocolate truffles, world traveling and serendipity.I'm here to share no bullshit stories and actionable tools to help you feel unshakably worthy, you have everything you need within you to feel whole, full and alive. Right here. Right now. Let's get into it.

Hey, welcome back to another episode of hole four for and alive. I guess it's actually not just another episode of Whole, Full, and Alive. It is episode 20. Full, full and alive episode two, zero — that feels like a milestone. It absolutely feels like a milestone. I am looking back at the last 20 episodes and feeling first of all, so grateful that you're here that you're tuning in, that we're connected in some way, and that there is a small community forming around this podcast that feels so good. Mind blowing. I'm so excited about it.

I'm also looking back at the last 20 episodes and seeing that we've covered such a range of topics. There have been so many incredible guests bringing their perspectives. There have been so many topics that I'm excited to have explored in solo episodes. I mean, we have done nutrition Q&As, we've talked about eating disorder recovery, we've talked about what to look for in a therapist and holding space. We've talked about neuroscience, we have talked about meditation, and contemplative practices. We've talked about breakups. We've talked about self compassion. We've talked about boudoir and boudoir photography, how to tell intuition from anxiety, financial wellness and financial planning, body image.

So much stuff like so, so much stuff has come up over these past 20 episodes. And so, before I dive into introducing today's guest, and today's topic, I just want to take a moment to reorient us to the mission of this podcast. So while we're talking about all of these different topics, and interviewing such a diverse array of amazing women, I just want to remind you that the mission of this show is to help you fall in love with being alive and to help you fall in love with the person that you are, underneath all of the things that the world tells you you're incomplete without, I want you to know that you're whole, I want you to know that your worth is inherent. And I want you to know that you will never feel as good as you can feel. If there's something you think you're inadequate without. That's why we're here on this microphone.

You will never feel as good as you can feel if there's something you think you're inadequate without. And so through all of the topics that we're exploring on this episode, through all the tools, all of the processing prompts all of the actionable experiments that I'm giving you. I hope that you will learn to source a sense of home within yourself, to source a sense of safety and completeness from within yourself and to release any rigid attachment that you have to something outside of you that you think you need to feel complete.

That is my main mission here because I think at the end of the day, whether I'm talking to a client about their eating disorder recovery, or talking to a client about healing their body image, or talking to a friend about recovering from a breakup, or talking to myself, at the end of a hard day, I find that the biggest obstacle that so many people come up against is the belief that they are not worthy unless they have something outside of themselves, they are not worthy, unless they have a partner, they are not worthy, unless they have a certain job, they are not worthy unless they have a certain degree.

And, because people tend to feel that they are not whole. Without those things outside of themselves, they tend to feel really unsafe, and dysregulated and sort of uncomfortable in their bodies until they find that thing. And then if that thing is taken away from them, they tend to feel unsafe in their bodies, ungrounded in their bodies, uncentered, their world is rocked a little bit.

So through all of these conversations that we're having about all of these different topics, I hope that above all else, you get some tangible tools for feeling so good in your own body. So good with yourself so complete, so hold within that everything outside of you just amplifies and adds to your sense of aliveness, rather than being your source of aliveness, or your source of wholeness or your source of completeness.

I'm totally learning out loud here with you. I am an expert in helping people recover from eating disorders and disordered eating, and from body image distress and body image issues. And also, I am learning out loud here, I am still myself learning how to source a sense of wholeness, a sense of completeness from within, I've shared a few times on this show that I have a tendency to source, a sense of completeness, and a sense of wholeness from being in a relationship from being in a romantic partnership.

This year has really been about understanding how I can move through the world as a late 20s single woman and really, really love my life and everything about it and know that I can meet a partner eventually, and they'll add to my life and amplify it, but it won't be the thing that makes my life complete, you know. I've also shared that I have struggled with my relationship with money, my relationship with finances and sourcing a sense of wholeness from the number in my bank account. I am certainly here to be a guide for you to be a teacher for you in whatever way I can and also to just meet you at eye level as a human being and share with you what I'm learning as I live life as I research as I interview all the amazing guests who are coming on this show.

So with that, let me introduce today's amazing, amazing guest. Her name is Lily Thrope. She is the founder and lead therapist at throat therapy, which is a mental health therapy private practice based in Manhattan. So Lily is the lead therapist and founder at this private practice and she has multiple therapists working under her. She is a badass.

Lily is also one of the most important people in both my personal life and my professional life. Lily is a very good friend of mine, we are actually going to talk on this podcast about our meet cute. Lily and I met years and years ago, when we were both in the throes of like this toxic fitness cult. And we ended up bonding over the fact that we realized that this toxic fitness cult was a toxic fitness cut, basically bonded over that. Then we stayed in touch for years after and we both ended up opening up our own private practices — myself in nutrition and Lily in mental health therapy.

Now we get to collaborate all the time on client cases and we support each other in the growth of our businesses. And it is just so amazing. I'm so grateful to have Lily in my life. On today's episode Lily is going to talk briefly about her approach to mental health counseling and therapy. And then Lily is going to talk a little bit about her own eating disorder recovery and what it's like to be a recovered clinician. Then we're going to talk about why eating disorders tend to go unnoticed, why eating disorders are one of the most unnoticed and unaccounted for mental health conditions. And then we're also going to talk about why eating disorder recovery is unique for each person and why It's important for each individual to find an environment that is going to be supportive for them in their own eating disorder recovery.

This conversation is certainly for you if you are thinking about working with a therapist right now and uncertain where to start. Or if you're feeling like you want to work with a new therapist, and are looking maybe for a different and unique approach and want to hear more about lilies. This is also a great episode for you. If you're curious about eating disorder recovery, and what the eating disorder treatment process might look like, and why it needs to be unique for each individual person. I would say this is especially for you if you're someone who's finding yourself exploring the world of eating disorder recovery on social media, and you're feeling kind of confused about what it's supposed to look like to recover from an eating disorder.

I'm so grateful that Lily gave her time, her energy, her professional opinion and wisdom to this episode, and I'm so excited to dive in. Here is my interview episode 20 with Lily Thrope. All right, Lily, thank you so much for being here today. I'm so excited to finally have you on the show. You are one of the most important people in my professional and personal life. And I'm so stoked to talk to you today.

Lily: Amazing. Thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited to be on the podcast. I've been listening since the old podcast. So I'm really excited to be a part of it and share some important content that we have planned today.

Caitie: Yeah, this is long overdue, this conversation. So before we get into anything, please tell me who are you? What makes you who you are? How would you describe your energy? What lights you up? How do people know when they're in a room with Lily, all that good stuff.

Lily: So I hink I'm pretty bubbly, energetic and talkative. I think people would definitely say talkative. I don't really shut up, which I think is a good thing. I'm also really positive. And I think I bring a sense of calm and non judgmental energy. But I also have a lot of positive vibes. And I think that defines me as a therapist, as well as a human.

I think what lights me up is Disney World. I know that's very complicated for a lot of people, but I'm just being honest. I think yoga lights me up, I think spirituality lights me up, my community lights me up, like being close with my friends, my family, all of those things are so important to me, as well as food, I love food. And I think food lights me up. And that's something that I'm really passionate about. So I feel like those are some good attributes.

Caitie: I love that you're one of the few friends I have who talks as much as I do. And so funny when you and I are in a room together, non stop. I think if there's ever a third person involved in our conversation, they're not getting the word. Vote very talkative. People love that you are a confident Disney adult. I mean, let's bust some myths about Disney adults. Lily is a very fun, outgoing, energetic person. And also I do feel like you definitely bring all of who you are into what you do. And tell us what is it that you do? And how do you bring some of those aspects of who you are into what you do?

Lily: Yeah, thank you for saying that. I feel like I am a very authentic person. And I think people appreciate that. I'm super honest and open about who I am in my work and in my personal life. And I'm happy to share challenges I've been through or successes. And I think that makes a huge difference. And authenticity is so important to me.

So I am a licensed clinical social worker, and I have my own private practice in New York City. I have three amazing associates that work with me. And we do have a focus on eating disorders. But we also work with, you know, all genders, all sexual orientations, all races, ethnicities, we work with everything under the sun, but we do have a big focus on eating disorders, body image, LGBTQ+ issues, relationship stress, dating, obviously huge in New York City. And yeah, we're located in Midtown. And we have an office on 40th and lax where we see clients in person and virtually.

And yeah, that's me. I'm also a certified Intuitive Eating counselor, which I actually did because of Caitie, she introduced me to intuitive eating. So that's something that I think we're both really passionate about. And she has really helped me become more professional around using intuitive eating in my work with my clients.

Caitie: Love that. We went through the process actually of becoming Intuitive Eating counselors together, which was a lot of fun, because it isn't fun to take tests and read things and look at lectures and stuff. But it's definitely more fun to do with a friend. So I'm glad we went through that process together.

And yes, Lily is starting a small empire, her private practice. I think that the world needs more therapy practices, and especially New York City needs more individualized boutique private practice. says that take that really individualized approach. And that's something I really want to highlight about Lily's work is that she's a fantastic therapist in the sense that she really creates custom. I don't want to call it a program, but you create a custom treatment process and recovery and healing process for each and every one of your clients. And I would love for you to kind of speak to that a little bit, what is unique about the approach that you take at your private practice

Lily: Flexibility is something I really try to model. And I think there's a lot of rigidity in our world. I think the rigidity is part of why eating disorders develop in the first place. But rigidity is just something that leads us to the black and white thinking that leads us to, you know, success or failure and not not able to take your story and look at it in a more like perspective based way, it just puts us in this position where we're always looking at everything as like, success, failure, good, bad, all these words that are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Instead, can we be flexible, and like some weeks, it's going to be really good with scheduling, you know, some weeks, it's going to be really good with your ability to be vulnerable.

And some weeks, we're going to talk about the TV show you watch that made you think about something from your childhood. So I think it's that modeling of the flexibility of one, the intensity of the sessions, like I typically say 15 to 20 minutes is the amount of intensity that a person can really, truly tolerate. And then for the rest of the session, we need to talk about either coping strategies or things that light you up or you know, what you have coming up that week. So I think that modeling of flexibility with the clients is also really, really important.

Caitie: Hmm, that's such a good point. That's such a good point. So what's the challenge you experienced in your life that brought you to where you are today and what you're doing today?

Lily: Yeah, so I think I have two challenges that I want to talk about. The first one is a quick one, you know, I failed a class in college, and it was anatomy. And I thought I wanted to be a physical therapist, and my junior year I failed anatomy, which is like the main class for physical therapy. And, you know, I think I could have had the reaction of my whole life's over, I don't know what I'm gonna do. But I was really lucky to have support from my family, and at the time, my therapist, to be able to transition and realize, what did I love about physical therapy, I love the healing journey.

I was able to transition into my minor, which was philosophy, and take that on, and you know, all the comments of like, what are you going to do with a philosophy degree, that's a waste of time, that's a waste of money, whatever that was, it led me to go into social work school. And I think I'm a really passionate social worker. And I'm glad that I landed here.

So I think that's a reminder that even if something throws you off course, you fail a class or you don't get that certification, or you don't get that degree, it doesn't mean that your life is going in a tailspin, it maybe means that you're just like transitioning to something even better. So I think that was part of my story that really helped me get where I needed to be. And then I think the biggest thing is my eating disorder. And Caitie is really the first person that pointed out to me that I had an eating disorder.

I was struggling for probably two to three years before I even realized that that is what was going on. I think deep down, I knew that that's what I was struggling with, but no one had pointed it out. And I had been so congratulated for the weight loss and the discipline and how I was treating my body when at the end of the day, I was actually just self harming. That's really what I would call it. So me and Caitie actually met through this crazy yoga practice that will not be named.

It's like Voldemort, like he who shall not be named is this yoga practice. We, you know, met in New York, I think Caitie was in dietitian school at the time. And I was also in social work school, and I just opened up to her a little bit about, you know, this powder that I was eating every day for breakfast for two full years, I powder and water for breakfast. That was part of this yoga practice was this diet that had these restrictions and rules and also this powder. And Caitie, I remember we were in a coffee shop in the East Village. And Caitie just calmly said to me, you have an eating disorder.

I think my whole world was just like, it almost came into clarity. It was just like, Whoa, this is why I've been feeling so terrible and obsessive and all these things. So that was kind of the first step for me to get introduced to intuitive eating and you connected me with a dietitian in the city and I worked with her and we know discovered all these Intuitive Eating principles that helped me recover from my eating disorder.

I definitely attribute a lot of my eating disorder recovery to you Caitie and and my dietician that I worked with and my therapist and my entire team as well as my family.

Caitie: I want to address both the things that you shared, first of all, the failing the anatomy class thing. I believe it's so important if I had heard when I was younger, that my therapist failed anatomy or something like that, it would have helped me so much. I really want to pull over and acknowledge which because I really had failures in my life, especially in like college and my postgraduate where I just was like, I thought my life was over, I thought my life was in a tailspin, as you said.

If I had heard, you know, someone that I look up to, such as my therapist, that they had like a detour like that in their life, I think like, it really is just a detour, right? The obstacle is really just a detour in the direction that you're supposed to be going, it would have been really helpful for me. And that's something that I admire about you, as a clinician, I think that you disclose in a way that is helpful when it's helpful. And that's something that I have carried into my practice as well is when I noticed a client is going through or navigating an obstacle like that trying to share like, this is a very normal part of life.

This is something that happens as human beings, we have failures. And so that's something I want to pull over and acknowledge first is that, yeah, like you and you don't get that certification, or you don't pass that test, or that one thing doesn't pan out. And it feels like it's absolutely the end of the world, ends up being a speck in the galaxy of your life. And it ends up also often being something that leads you in the right direction and detour in the right direction. Something that's come up a few times on this podcast, for sure.

Lily: I feel like what you're not saying is like perfectionism, like I think you were experiencing was this perfectionism. And if you had someone, whether it was a family member, or adult, or a therapist, say like, Look, I've had failures, and I think life's okay, and you know, things come back on course, like, I think everyone being honest about the different course challenges they've had would help everyone feel more comfortable just acknowledging that there are going to be challenges, life is challenging, that's important to recognize, but we can face it together.

We can, you know, to steal Glendon Doyle's phrase, we can do hard things. I think that's true, like we can do these hard things, and we can transition and it can turn out really beautiful, like our mess is pretty beautiful. I think. So I think it's important that we just, you know, as therapists recognize, we're not perfect, and almost everyone in the therapy world has had some sort of mental health challenge. And that's what brought them to this world.

Caitie: Yeah, it reminds me of what you were saying earlier about modeling flexibility. And modeling, that life is a gray and messy area. And that's what makes it beautiful. It's not perfection that makes life beautiful. If everything went the way we thought it was going to go, our life is not as fulfilling or as enriching, or as meaningful as it can be. It's these failures and these detours and these unexpected things that pop up these challenging moments, these hardships that ultimately do end up making life beautiful.

But it's important to give yourself the support of a mental health professionals that you can navigate that and start to see the beauty and create meaning and things. And I think that is one of the most important gifts of mental health counselors, and therapists is their ability to help us create meaning from our lives in that way. And it's not just painting a silver lining on the ship that hits the fan. It's not just saying like, Oh, you failed that test. Okay, here's the silver lining, it led you into this direction. It's sitting in that it's feeling it, it's acknowledging how much it can hurt. And also moving through that and past that and creating meaning and connecting the dots and allowing yourself to rise from it.

Lily: Definitely, yeah, I love the word acknowledging that's the part that I think a lot of people miss when they do the silver lining the you know, false positivity or whatever people are called toxic positivity. That's what it's called, where people are just like, oh, but this happened. Oh, but this is good in your life. Yeah, I think what's really important is acknowledging things are not good right now, acknowledging I'm in the shit right now. But I'm going to move through it. And I'm also going to use supports that are at my, you know, hands like I have these supports, like a therapist, like a dietician, like a family member, whoever is going to be part of your kind of treatment team.

Caitie: Yeah, I think that's what deters people from therapy, sometimes they think that they're just going to like, go into the therapy office, and their therapist is gonna, like paint a silver lining on their life and use toxic positivity and be like, you've got this, you can do this. And like, it's not that bad. And here's why it's not that bad. Let's just look at it this way. And therapy is not the practice of finding alternative perspectives on shitty situations.

I think that is a really important thing to acknowledge therapy is actually a place where you do acknowledge all of it, you acknowledge the full spectrum of the experience, that includes acknowledging how hard and how messy and how difficult something is, and also, what can we create meaning from here?

What is perhaps more positive about this experience? What are you learning from this experience? What about this is enriching your life and That's what therapy gave me the ability to do is to experience everything that we have the capacity to experience as a human being the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, the wonderful. And so therapy is not just a place where if you're someone who's still out there contemplating it, it's not just a place where your therapist is gonna sit there and be like, Oh, here's why it's not that bad.

Your therapist will give you the ability to tell the truth, acknowledge the truth of the situation, like Lily said, acknowledge, it's an important word what, what does suck right now. And also, what is good right now, because two things can be true at the same time. And I think we lose our ability to do that, in our black and white world that we're living in nowadays, because it feels much safer to be a black or white person. It's all bad, or it's all good.

Our brains kind of like that when things are feeling out of control. But we need to, again, coming back to this idea of flexibility, be able to acknowledge that two things are true at the same time.

Lily: Definitely, yeah, I think the biggest thing that a therapist can offer you is sitting in the discomfort together, you don't have to sit in your discomfort alone. And sometimes we don't feel comfortable to be vulnerable with family members or partners. And your therapist is a special place where you can sit and be uncomfortable and come up with your plan or your you know, story or your narrative around what happened where you're not feeling judged, you're not feeling pressured, you're just sitting in the discomfort for as long as you need to sit in that discomfort before you move forward.

I think that's something therapists really can offer. And this is why I like being in person, I think, coming into a therapy space and being able to dump all your shit in that actual space on the couch, on the floor, wherever it is, leave that space and revisit it every week feels really great. Obviously, there's a great, you know, benefit to virtual therapy as well. But I really love the in person idea. So if you're looking to get started, I think a great place to start is in person. So you have that container in your therapist’s office.

Caitie: And also speaking of in person we met in person, I feel like I don't meet that many people in person initially. Nowadays, I meet a lot of new people via Zoom and stuff like that. But you and I met in person, Jesus, a long time ago. And it's, it's so interesting to hear you reflect the story back, because the way, the way I remember it, and I kind of want to tell my side of the story because Lily and I did meet in this very for lack of a better word toxic fitness community.

We were kind of part of the same fitness studio in New York City that had as Lily was saying a yoga practice and like a diet associated with it. And at the time, I was all gung ho about the yoga practice. I loved it, I loved that style of movement, I found it to be a really good way for me to heal my relationship with my body and a lot of ways honestly. But I hated the diet that was attached to it, I hated it. And everybody was a part of it, everyone was drinking the powder. It was like literally drinking the Kool Aid. Like that was a literal thing that was happening there.

Everyone had this protein powder for breakfast every single day. And as someone who was doing my master's in nutrition and working at eating disorder treatment center at the time, I was like, this is way disordered. And I felt like I couldn't speak that. I felt like I was silenced. Many times when I tried to speak up about how harmful I felt the diet was I was always shut down.

There are multiple times we were sitting in circles with everybody who would do this yoga practice and do this diet. And I would ask questions like, Hey, don't you think this is kind of harmful? And the leader of the cult of the group would be like, hush, Caitie, you are wrong. And that just kept happening over and over again. And then I met Lily and I spoke my thoughts and feelings out loud to Lily and she was the first person who heard me the first person and the first person who was like, Whoa, yeah, you are actually making a lot of sense the way you're speaking about this on a scientific level and emotional level and you know, psychological level, it makes a lot of sense.

Yes, this was kind of fucked up. And I really, really love hearing that. It was a life changing and healing conversation for you that we had at that Starbucks one day after a yoga class. And I want to also reciprocate, that it was healing and life changing for me to have been heard by someone in that community when I felt like I was just begging into thin air and no one was hearing me and I was like, Am I crazy? Like is what I'm learning in school wrong? Like, is there something wrong with me? And so I am so deeply appreciative of the way you heard me and saw me. And I wonder if I actually did say to you, you have an eating disorder, because I would never say that to anyone today, but I wonder if I actually said that.

Lily: I don't think you explicitly said that. Just to rephrase the story. I don't remember it was a long time ago. And I don't remember the exact context. But I do remember you just pointing out some really clear facts that this diet and this way of living was not supporting optimal functioning. This wasn't allowing me to have flexibility in my life. It wasn't allowing me to be social. It wasn't allowing me to be a part of the world. And I'm living in New York City, the best city in the entire world. Fight me, but I think I will. It didn't, it didn't allow me to take advantage of going to a restaurant like I just would not eat out, I would only eat these few things.

I don't think you said you have an eating disorder. But you did connect me with a dietitian, which I think was your way of saying like you need support, you need help. Not need, you deserve support. You deserve help. And I think that's kind of where both of us come out with our work. I don't believe that anyone needs therapy. I think everyone deserves therapy. I think they deserve dietician work. I think they deserve a safe space to process their relationship with food, their relationship with their emotions, relationship with any challenge going on in their life.

So I think that's kind of where we both connected was we were both deserving that space to air, our thoughts and our opinions and our feelings. And we created that safe space for each other, which I'm so glad to hear that I also created a safe space for you. I think I was also like one foot out the door with the yoga anyways. Yeah, my own just because of other things going on, which put me in a good place to hear what you were saying as well.

Caitie: Yeah. And I think that it was just, it was just one of those like, divine intervention like cosmically aligned kind of connections that you and I had, because, yeah, at the time, you were in the exact right place to hear, hey, maybe you need some support around food and nutrition, because you really were I do remember vividly you telling me that you felt like you had to take like a plastic bag of protein powder with you everywhere you went like on vacation.

You were telling me about how you were like going on vacation that summer, it was in the summer that we had met, and you were feeling really stressed about like being abroad, like in France or something and like not having your protein powder or like feeling like you couldn't eat breakfast, and I'm pretty positive it was Paris, and then give us Italy. And so I was like, I just remember wanting so badly not to shake you awake, but to hug you awake and be like, please, please enjoy Italy, please eat the food in Italy.

It was so crazy that we were part of this community where it was just so normalized to be so restrictive. And talking to you made me realize that I had a place in the world, which was I was a fitness instructor and I worked at an eating disorder treatment center. And so I was able to kind of come into the fitness community and point out some of the disorder things that were happening there that people didn't even realize were disordered, because they had just become so normalized in the fitness community. So normalized to have protein powder for breakfast, so normalized to not eat bread.

I recognized kind of from our connection, and from that point forward, that there were probably a lot more people like you that needed to hear what I had to say. And that created the foundation for my private practice. There are a lot of people who find me as a fitness instructor or find me as a former member of certain fitness communities, and start working with me, because they recognize that the practices that are kind of coincide are nutrition habits that kind of coincide with the fitness practices or yoga practices that they engage in, or not working, which kind of leads me to something else we wanted to talk about today.

Which is like, Why do eating disorders often go unnoticed? Especially in these fitness communities? Why do people not realize that they have an eating disorder? Why do people not realize that the diet that coincides with this workout program they're doing is actually just a structured glorified eating disorder? What are your thoughts on that?

Lily: I think there's definitely a few factors. The first one I have to say is, look, the diet industry is $70 billion, or whatever it is, at this point, that's a really hard thing to go against, right? Anything that's spending that amount of money to market to people is going to get to people. So one part of it is that we're battling against, you know, diets being portrayed as this helpful tool to feel better about yourself, your body, whatever they're promoting.

And then we're battling celebrities telling us that you know, your neighbor telling you that your family member that's something that we're battling every single day is awareness and realizing that all of those programs are just, you know, getting you stuck in a cycle in a diet cycle in you know, a fitness cycle, whatever kind of cycle you're in. So I think that's like, piece number one.

I think piece number two for me is that eating disorders are one of the only mental health conditions that is congratulated. You know, I don't think we go up to people and say like, oh my God, you have depression, you're so disciplined about being sad, you're so great at being sad. That's amazing. We don't say that. But when you have an eating disorder, we say, Wow, you're so good about your food, you're so good about your choices, you're so disciplined. And for someone who's dealing with perfectionism, and an eating disorder, that's the thing they want to hear, they want to hear that, and that is going to fuel and drive them to continue with their eating disorder.

So I think those to me are the two components that make eating disorders really different than any other sort of mental health disorder. And maybe someone can challenge that and tell me another one that's similar. But, you know, the only one I can think of that could be close is like substance use, because substance use is also like, Hey, you're going out for a night with your friends drinking? That's great, I think that maybe could be related to.

Caitie: Yeah, I mean, it's definitely muddy and messy. And I think there are certain aspects of other mental health conditions that tend to slide under the radar as normalized behavior. I mean, anxiety is practically normalized nowadays, right? Like, it's, you know, if you're super duper anxious about school and your job, and you're overworking people will often congratulate that kind of behavior, as well. And also, there definitely is uniqueness to the way that we celebrate fitness in the world. And the way that people celebrate weight loss and the way that people celebrate you having protein powder for breakfast.

It is, and it is like the thing that really drives the car, for a lot of people who are struggling to recover is that their providers and their therapists, their dietician might be telling them to do one thing, and then the whole world is telling them to do something else. Like if you're struggling with depression, no, your therapist and your friends are probably telling you to get out of bed and live your life and do the things that make you feel good about yourself.

When you're struggling to recover from your eating disorder, you might be getting two very different messages. And that eating disorder voice that you're hearing is often reinforced by the world around you. And I think that's so true. And also, I think another really important point, just to underscore about eating disorders going unnoticed is that people think eating disorders are only about fitness. And I think people forget that you can be in air quotes, major air quotes, normal body size, healthy body size, and or a larger body and still be deeply struggling with an eating disorder of any kind.

Not everyone's eating disorder is visible, not everyone's eating disorder shows on their body. And most eating disorders are not clinically dangerous in the sense that we would think like, oh, they need to be hospitalized, but they are mentally and emotionally and behaviorally present. And that's why it's so important to pay attention to the nuances of how someone relates to food and the nuances of how they relate to their body and understand how much stress is someone's relationship with food causing them? And how much is someone's relationship with their body impairing the quality of their life? Because that's what makes an eating disorder. Such a struggle, not necessarily always these like acute medical issues that people tend to think of when they think of like, Oh, someone has a really bad eating disorder.

Lily: Right. Yeah. And I think something you commented on is like getting back to the unnoticed piece. I think another piece is that doctors and you know, medical professionals are not always aware. And I think the awareness around eating disorders is still really low. I think there's certain people who are doing a lot to raise awareness.

But there's a lot of people in so many different industries that don't have awareness of what an eating disorder is. And they're only looking for this one clinical medical look, or test or whatever it is for an eating disorder, but they're not looking at how is this impacting your life? How is this impacting your mental health? How is your relationship with food making you feel? That's a big part of eating disorders that I think is invisible.

I think there's an invisible piece of the eating disorder. It's so isolating, and you have these intense conversations in your head, and you don't always share them with other people. So if a medical professional doesn't pause in a physical to say, Hey, how are you doing with food? How's your relationship with food? How are you feeling about your body image? No one might ever ask you that and you might never have that opportunity to realize there's something deeper going on.

Caitie: Yeah, and I think just to kind of keep spinning off of the medical professional piece. A lot of doctors encourage disordered eating like behaviors when they make recommendations around diet and weight loss. A lot of doctors will encourage behaviors that would otherwise be classified as disordered eating. There are a lot of doctors who still are using BMI as a proxy for health, a lot of doctors who still are just kind of looking at numbers and making assumptions about people and how they eat based on their body shape and size.

You don't know if someone eats breakfast based on their body shape or size, you can't encourage someone to be restricting calories, when you actually don't know how many calories someone's already having based on their body shape or size, it's likely that that person is not even eating enough. And I would say another big problem is that not only are we not assessing people's relationship with food, when they're assessed, we're assessing their health and well being, we're kind of encouraging will not we, not me and you.

But the medical community is encouraging a disordered relationship with food through a lot of recommendations that they're making as well, which makes this so much more complicated.

Lily: For sure. And to circle back to flexibility, when you make a recommendation that says, don't eat X or do eat x, it's really challenging to find the flexibility. And I think what would be helpful is saying, hey, this medical challenge is coming up for you. Let's connect you with a dietitian who specializes in this and is aware of this issue and figure out what's going on not, oh, you've been doing this wrong, just let's figure out what's going on. Because maybe there is something going on. And maybe there's not and maybe it's just genetic or a million other things.

So I think that kind of connective piece to other professionals saying, hey, let's get a therapist involved, let's get a dietitian involved is so important. And a lot of things go unnoticed. I think at the doctor's office, that seems like a big place where things go unnoticed.

Caitie: And also, I guess, another big problem, we could do a whole episode on this couldn't we, it's like, so many other professionals try to make food and nutrition, their business. So, so many different types of doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, people in like, all parts of the medical spectrum, tried to make food and nutrition their business. And so they end up making pretty irresponsible black and white nutrition recommendations that aren't supporting that sense of flexibility that you're speaking about.

I love this theme of flexibility that's kind of emerging here. Flexibility and resilience and spontaneity and all this whole kind of theme of just having more ease around food is so important. And having more ease and flexibility around different things in your life in general is so important. I think that when like a chiropractor that's like the most random example I can think of, but they tend to make so many nutrition recommendations, when they throw a nutrition recommendation at a client that's very rigid. It feels so easy to attach to it.

It's like Oh, my chiropractor told me I'm only allowed to eat oatmeal for breakfast, or Oh, my chiropractor told I need to lose weight. And then I need to have this protein powder, I need to do this. It discourages flexibility. I think that it is so important to add other professionals into the mix. There's a reason we have dietitian, nutritionists, and therapists, and chiropractors and physical therapists. There's a reason why we have different professionals doing different things in handling different aspects of your care. And there's a reason why we need to have someone who just focuses on food and nutrition because it's such a nuanced, multi-layered thing.

Lily: Totally. And to your point, anyone who says, do this thing, I don't care what it is do this thing and you will not have anxiety, you will feel better your back won't hurt your this. There is not one thing that changes how we feel there is no one thing in this world that changes how we feel. And I think what happened to me in the yoga practice was I was a very anxious and depressed person. And the leader of this cult said, You will not feel those things if you do this diet. And yeah, okay, maybe I didn't feel those things anymore.

But now I had an eating disorder, I treated one mental health challenge for another and that is not healing. That's not healing. So when someone offers you a recommendation, zoom out, talk to your therapist, talk to your dietitian, if you don't have those things, find them. Talk to your family. If you have someone that you trust, do not just make a change in your life because one person told you it's the answer.

That's how I feel like a lot of these eating disorders get started. I think there's so much on social media as well being like, this is what I eat in a day. And I feel like that's just so harmful. Because we need to take that individualized approach. We need to look at what's going on with you. What is your comfort level, what is what you need to thrive again. So I think that's like pulling together all the themes of the call, just you know, recognizing that flexibility is so important and not listening to one person saying, here's what you need to do that never works. Never, never never.

Caitie: Yeah. If anyone says do this and you will experience this result, like, definitively. For sure run far, far away. That yoga cult that we are a part of is a perfect example. We were literally sitting in circle one day and the leader said to us, oh my gosh, so someone asked her, hey, you do a lot of different things like you run this company, and you own this yoga studio and whatever. And like how, and you are a mom, like, how do you do all of that? And she goes, You know what, I don't eat dairy. I just don't eat dairy. And whenever I don't eat dairy, I feel- I couldn't believe it.

I will never forget this moment, because I already knew that that was bullshit. Because I was like, almost finished with my master's in nutrition. And I was- my jaw drops to the freaking floor. And everyone's like writing it down, like, Oh, she doesn't eat dairy. Like that's the thing. That's the thing that's going to cure her. And if anyone ever says anything like that, but especially related to nutrition, right, because we know nutrition is nuanced.

So how can one thing be true for everybody run far away. And I think this is a really good segue into the final thing we wanted to make sure we talked about today, which is recovery as well can also be something that does not look one way for everyone. So when you recognize that you have disordered eating, or you're struggling with an eating disorder, there isn't going to be one way to recover from it either. There can't be a professional that's going to say do ABCD and you will recover from your eating disorder, there isn't a one size fits all approach to eating disorder recovery.

That's something that Lily and I have found through our individual practices and working with a ton of mutual clients has been really great to or recognizing how individualized recovery is. Do you want to speak on that for a moment, Lily?

Lily: Yeah, I think right now, there's just this lack of space for individuality in some of the eating disorder programs. And I think obviously, every program is doing their best to create individualized approaches. But when you're in a program, it's hard to come up with individualized things when you have a system telling you this is how we recover. And this is the way that we do and this is the amount of sessions. So I think in the outpatient world in private practice where me and Caitie sit, we try to be creative and thoughtful. You know what amount of meal supports is good for this person? What amount of therapy sessions, what amount of dietitian sessions, but that's not always possible for everyone to access.

So I think what I see being challenging is figuring out what is the best environment for you to recover. And I think there's not a lot of awareness around all the levels of care that exist. So there's the outpatient level, and within the outpatient level, you can come up with so many unique scenarios. And then there's also, you know, the intensive outpatient level, there's the partial hospitalization, there's hospitalization, there's residential treatment, there's all these names that get thrown around.

But we're not always so clear about what those are. So I think a big thing would be understanding what those are understanding what is the right next step for you and figuring out where in your recovery you are, can you be at that outpatient level and continue your daily functioning? Or do you need to take a break and go to a residential? Within that I think you need to look to find programs that are doing more individualized and unique approaches, which there are a few. So there's hope out there, but I think it needs to keep moving in a direction of individualized care.

Caitie: Yeah, I think a misconception is that when someone recognizes that they have an eating disorder, and then they go to treatment, it's like, okay, great, they're in treatment, and then they're gonna recover. And that's it. Unfortunately, that's not always the case, because there are some programs that are not a good fit for some people, depending on the nuances of what they're struggling with.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of treatment programs that aren't honoring what specific individuals need in order to feel safe to recover. And when Lily and I were kind of going back and forth about this on a phone call last week, where we sort of landed is that an individual needs to feel safe, in order to fully recover from their eating disorder, because eating disorders, disordered eating, dieting, all of these behaviors, ultimately, are a way or an attempt to source a sense of safety. And so when we take away the dieting behavior, or the eating disorder behaviors, the restriction, the person is often left feeling very unsafe and unanchored and ungrounded.

Because that's the function of the eating disorder to begin with. It's to feel a sense of control, a sense of agency, a sense of validation and feedback from people that you're doing a good job eating and losing weight and all of those things. And so, when the person starts to recover and eat more flexibly, that can feel really scary at first. And so it's so important that the environment that you're recovering in, whether it's an inpatient facility, a partial hospitalization facility, outpatient setting, it's so important that that environment feel safe.

Some people aren't able to find that sense of safety in a residential program or a higher level of care, as we call it. And some people do kind of need more of a customized individualized output outpatient approach. And that's what Lily and I are discovering as outpatient providers is that we have this unique opportunity to create sort of individualized treatment programs for people who are struggling to find a sense of safety elsewhere.

Lily: Definitely, I think safety is huge for healing from any mental health challenge, whether it's an eating disorder, or depression or anxiety, or a million other things, finding that sense of safety, where you're not feeling activated and needing to control or, you know, tamp down your emotions, I think is really important. So if that environment is with your family at home, that's great. If that environment is living on your own in your favorite city with all your friends around you who support your ideals, that's great. If it's at a residential treatment center, that's awesome, too.

I think it's about identifying what environment for me is the best? And how can I source that during the time that I'm going to be actively recovering? I think one distinction I wanted to make as we talk about eating disorder recovery as recovery. And I'm not sure we've like identified why we say that. I believe that full recovery is possible.

But you will always be in recovery. And that's an important piece is like you can fully recover. But you will still be in recovery and need to be aware of where how your eating disorder comes up when you notice it, rearing its ugly head. And I think that's why we call it recovery. And I just wanted to clarify that portion. Because I feel like people talk about it like recovery. And I'm not sure they understand that if you're not someone who's in the eating disorder world.

Caitie: Yeah, I mean, two things I want to address. The first thing is that, yes, you need to identify what environment is going to be safest for you to let go of these rigid eating behaviors or whatever eating disorder behaviors you're engaging in. For me, personally, I had sort of like two rounds of my own eating disorder recovery. In the first round, I was really working pretty intensely with a therapist and with a dietitian. And then when I started to kind of like have these more subtle eating disorder behaviors come up during college that were kind of just like I was in it was in disguise, right, it wasn't as clinical as my eating disorder was in high school.

I didn't have access to treatment in the same way. And what ended up being the best environment for me to heal those behaviors was for me to stay in college, but be part of a group and be part of a community where other college students were experiencing the same thing as me. I found that to be the most supportive environment. But I found like, in different stages of my life, I needed different types of support with my eating disorder recovery. That might be applicable to you too.

I think that kind of speaks to this idea of what it means to be in recovery. And my belief is that you can be fully recovered from your eating disorder. And also, the reason why you might still be in recovery, even after you're recovered from your eating disorder, is because there's always something underneath the eating disorder that you're going to be healing from or recovering from throughout the rest of your life.

This came up on an episode recently, someone was sharing with me that she felt like she was never going to be fully recovered from her eating disorder. And I was like, no, no, you can be recovered from your eating disorder, you can have a healthy relationship with food, those compulsive and anxious thoughts about food can and will go away with the right kind of treatment and care and support. And also what lives underneath the eating disorder, the anxiety, the thing that you're healing from, the thing that you need to find a sense of safety from, through the eating disorder behaviors, that might be the thing that you're in recovery from for the rest of your life.

If you're not actively healing that deeper thing, that thing that lives beneath the surface of the eating disorder, then you might feel like you're that full recovery is not possible, because you're always going to be leaning on the eating disorder as a source of safety. Does that make sense?

Lily: Definitely. Yeah, that's an amazing clarification. And I think I was sort of saying the same thing. But I think it's just the idea that you might need continued support. And that does not mean you're not fully recovered. And you can continue to work with your providers that make you feel safe to continue thriving and living in full recovery from whatever it is you're struggling with.

But I think that's why we have these sources there like a therapist like a dietitian to continue to feel safe while you're recovering from On your mental health challenges, for me, the environment that felt best was having a therapist dietician at the outpatient level, and then also talking to other people in recovery. Like, I wasn't in an official group. But Caitie was huge. You know, I had other friends who were becoming therapists, or dietitians, or just we're in the kind of Health at Every Size, intuitive eating world.

Those two circles for me, were the most healing I think, you know, going through my Instagram and clearing out all of the bullshit was really important for me having things on my Instagram that made me feel good curating my content in that way, you know, consuming media that was really helpful, like podcasts, books, trainings, those things for me, created a safe environment. And it allowed me to ignore all the noise coming from people who were not in those communities.

I felt like I had this bolster from those communities to say, you keep doing you and be in diet culture, but like, I have my community, and this is what I believe, and this is what's important for me to recover. So those communities really helped me feel strong, and my conviction to recover and continue in recovery and not, you know, give back into the eating disorder voice ever.

Caitie: You know, what Lily? This also kinda reminds me as you're speaking of your own recovery and your own treatment, it reminds me of how you kind of had this big transition in identity when you recovered, like when we first met, and you were really trenched in like the protein powder, this certain yoga practice this certain way of eating and living, like yoga, and like fitness, and your diet was like a massive part of your identity.

I think if I had asked you that question, that I asked you at the beginning of the episode about who you are, like, you know, when you were entrenched, and all of that, you would have said something like, I am a yogi, I am this I am that. When you started to recover, you started to really step into the fullness of who you are. I feel like I've got to watch you kind of relax into yourself a little bit more and have a more complete and full identity. Having that more complete identity, that more nuanced identity, also gives you a sense of internal safety, so that you can stay in full recovery. It isn't just about the environments that you're in, and the people you expose yourself to.

It's also about, like, the hobbies you engage in. So I guess this kind of makes us transition into the last question that I love asking people is, you know, what energizes you first thing in the morning, and what helps you feel grounded and wind down at night? What hobbies what things in your life help you feel that sense of safety. And you can also speak to how it relates to the more like complete identity that you kind of found upon recovering and I know that that must feel true for you, because I've seen you kind of melt into that.

Lily: Yeah, thank you for that reminder, it's really good to hear because I feel like that has been a trend for me where like, I definitely defined my life by yoga, and some of my friends and cousins still make fun of me. I would post a picture every day and do hashtag yoga every damn day. Now I exercise maybe once a month, which I think is great for me and works for me.

I'm not suggesting that anyone do a one size fits all thing. But letting go of that need to exercise was so freeing for me. I think it has allowed me to be full, I live with a more flexible awareness of what I need in every moment. And maybe one day it is yoga, and maybe one day, it's nothing and that is totally okay. And that to me was so freeing, like the world will not end if I do not exercise today, nothing will actually happen if I don't exercise that nothing will happen. And that to me was kind of mind blowing.

But right now, I would say you know, during COVID I picked up knitting. I used to knit when I was younger, but I picked it back up. And that's been something that has been really relaxing for me. I think we're on screens so much. And I love having a nighttime routine. You know, throughout my day, I'm just thinking about like, oh, I can't wait to get to my knitting tonight. I know that sounds crazy. But you know, that's something that to me is just like no one cares if my knitting is good. No one cares if it's valuable.

It's just like something I do for me at the end of the night. And then I love giving it as gifts to friends because it's awesome to give people homemade stuff. So that's something that right now I've been really into. And in the morning I obviously love my coffee. I always have an iced coffee every day. It doesn't matter the temperature has to have my iced coffee. So that would be my morning ritual that I do.

Caitie: I am so thankful to be on the receiving end of one of your knitting creations. Also, I had a friend tell me literally yesterday that I should pick up knitting myself so I feel like this is yet another sign that maybe I'm going to be a knitter. I actually can't see myself knitting. It's actually kind of funny, but I'm like, Alright, so many people who I trust and seems so grounded. Do this. So maybe this is something that I can do.

For me, it's always actually hard to find morning and evening rituals and routines that are unrelated to my work. I love movement in the morning, but I'm also a fitness instructor. So that's very much like related to my job. And I love like reading books at night, but I'm always reading something related to like recovery and healing and like travel and like podcasting, and like all these things that I do for work. And so I think that I need to throw it in the mix.

And but I do love coffee, we have that in common. And I think that I was saying this to someone this morning, and I want to wrap up the episode on kind of like this more fun note.

I hate this trend that people are saying now that coffee is bad for you. And we all need to have matcha instead of coffee and like, Are you getting this from clients? Do you like a lot of my clients are now asking me, oh, like is coffee bad for you? So I stopped drinking coffee. And it's like, having five cups of coffee is bad for you. Yes, objectively speaking, you need to pay attention to the amount of caffeine that you put in your body, that's not going to be good for your brain to overload on caffeine.

Having a cup or two of coffee every single day. It's actually quite a healthy and grounding ritual. That can be a really wonderful part of like, your culture and your day and your life. And you want to get nutritional about it. Like it has antioxidants in it. And it's like a great thing to be drinking. Yeah. Any any feedback on your coffee ritual? What do you recommend?

Lily: Yeah, I haven't been hearing that actually. Which is a refreshing thing to hear that I haven't been getting that coming in through my media sources or my clients. But you know, coffee’s always been a thing that people have this weird, like, it's bad, it's good. There's this elitism around it. I think, just like we said earlier, anyone saying one thing is bad for you, or that it's gonna ruin your health is just stupid. So just don't listen to that. And you know, what if coffee is supportive to you, and even just the routine and the excitement of waking up and being able to make your morning coffee, if there's a health risk to it, I'm okay with that, because I really enjoy it. And that is the most important thing.

Caitie: That's actually such a grounded perspective, if there's a health risk to it, I'm okay with it. Right? Sometimes we do need to look at the bigger picture of things like, yeah, line by line statistic per statistic, there's probably a health risk to everything. And life is going to be about oh my gosh, let's bring it back. Flexibility, nuance, looking at the pros and cons and deciding what's important to you, and what's in alignment with your individualized personal values.

Yeah, there's like, there's a lot that could be said about that. Maybe that's a whole nother episode. And maybe Lily's gonna be coming back because she is, you know, one of my favorite therapists. So let her know what questions you have for her next time. And with that, I always try to give everybody a processing prompt and an actionable experiment to take away from the episode.

So a processing prompt is something that you can journal about, or something that you can talk to your therapist about, or talk to yourself out loud about, or just a prompts that you can use for getting to know yourself a little bit deeper. And I would love to provide a prompt for everybody regarding flexibility. In what area of your life, do you feel like you're lacking that sense of flexibility? In what area of your life? Do you feel like you're viewing things in a very all or nothing way? And what is that teaching you about yourself? And Lilly, is there anything you'd like to add to that processing prompt?

Lily: I think also just being flexible about the processing prompts. So like, if you don't have an exact thing to put down, you know, just write down things that are coming to your mind, you don't have to be so structured or strict about it. So with any journaling prompts, specifically, this one, just be really thoughtful about being compassionate towards yourself as you're processing it and being comfortable with maybe having nothing to write down. And that's also something to think about.

Caitie: Oh, I love that. I also love that, you know, with journaling prompts, you might not journal about the actual prompts, the prompts might inspire you to journal about something else entirely. And that's beautiful and amazing. And there isn't a right or wrong way to do this. I think some people have this aversion to journaling because they turned it into a pass fail system, because of the inflexibility that tends to come up with it in general, just relating back to this theme of flexibility. I think that's such a good point. And an actionable experiment. I don't know. Can you think of an actionable experiment based off of some of the things we talked about today?

Lily: Yeah, I think if there's anything that you believe that you need to do every single day a certain way I would try exposing yourself to not doing it. So a great example is like when you're on vacation, you know, having a different type of coffee, maybe usually have iced coffee, you're gonna get a hot latte. I'm not doing that, but maybe I should try it. So tomorrow morning, I'm going to have a hot latte. just expose myself to something different and anything that you're doing every single day the same way could be challenged. And maybe you can just pick one small thing and say, I'm going to try it differently. I'm going to expose myself to something new and see if it can feel even better for me.

Caitie: That's so good. That's so good. I love that as someone who really believes in morning routines and evening routines, like I really, I really love helping my clients change how they sort of, like bookend their day, I think it's so important to keep in mind that there needs to be flexibility within that. And there also needs to be a sense of like fun and like, kind of playing around within that. And I do you call these action items at the end of the podcast experiments, because it's not like, Hey, do this, and you're definitely gonna get this outcome.

It's like, do this and see what happens. Maybe you freaking hate the hot latte. But like, it was kind of fun. And it was cool to try something a little bit different. And yeah, can you challenge yourself to like, instead of reading at night, what if I just tried to knit? Like, what if I tried to do something else? What might happen? What comes up with that? What do you learn about yourself in that process? And how do you just expose yourself to being a little less rigid and a little more flexible, because that ultimately helps you build a sense of resilience that's going to serve you in every aspect of your life.

Just being willing to be more spontaneous and flexible with those little things will make a huge difference. I absolutely love that. Like, thank you so much for bringing your voice to this podcast. I'm so lucky to have you in my life as a colleague and a friend, and I can't wait to have you back here again soon.

Lily: Thank you so much for having me.


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