Eating Disorders & People Pleasers. Link to an Interactive Mediation Exercise- 4 Steps, Ilissa Banhazl, MFT La Verne, CA

image when i recover wordsMost times people who have an eating disorder tend to be “people pleasers” and this is one of their greatest obstacles to recovery and healthy self-esteem.

For various reasons people learn to survive by pleasing others, not breaking the rules and being a good girl or boy. This behavior was most likely a necessary coping skill that worked for you in your past.

However, when you can learn to “please yourself” which means to listen to your inner voice and make decisions that best suit you; you will reduce your anxiety and create space to focus on your own self-care.

I am known for telling my patients, “Who gives a SH… what anyone else thinks!! Which usually brings on a laugh and an exclamation of imagined freedom!!! I live it and I say it and I can teach it.

I am an eating disorder therapist. I can help you stop being a “people pleaser” (even if you don’t have an eating disorder) and start thinking for yourself…

(626) 335-0903 If you want help with your “people pleasing”.

Read more about eating disorder thinking>>>>

Follow this link to an interactive meditation exercise. Learn to detach from others in your mind…

  Credit Image (

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Eating Disorder- What Does That Really Mean? Ilissa Banhazl, MFT, Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Focus on healthy eating as a way of life

Focus on healthy eating as a way of life

So someone, (your friend, family member, therapist or doctor) has diagnosed you with an eating disorder. That sounds scary!

What does it mean?

1. It means you have hope to become a normal eater and find happiness and peace of mind.

2. It means you have suffered some trauma or situation that has caused you to use your eating as a coping skill. It doesn’t matter if you’re eating too little or too much. You need to replace that coping skill with a healthier one.

3. It means you need to improve your self-esteem and create a stronger sense of self.

4. It means that you need to use your voice to communicate and set boundaries for yourself.

5. It means you need to tell your story and receive validation for your experiences.

6. It means you usually eat alone and isolate yourself.

If this sounds like you then reach out for help.  Don’t be afraid, recovery comes in small baby steps….

Ilissa Banhazl, Marriage and Family Therapy, Glendora


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We Feel What We Think? What Are You Thinking? Eating Disorder Treatment Glendora, Ilissa Banhazl, MFT

The difference between Thoughts and Feelings- Cognitive Behavior Counseling- We feel what we think.

What are you thinking?

Have you ever heard the statement, “You feel what you think?”

What you tell yourself reflects how you feel about yourself, others and the world around you.

If you’re telling yourself that you’re not good enough then you will feel lousy and have low self-esteem.

It’s important to catch the critical voice that comes in your head and tells you these negative and mostly untrue things.

It is vital to realize where these negative statements originated. Did someone say these things to you when you were little and now you’re continuing to tell yourself these same things?

Here’s where therapy helps. Most people don’t realize what they are telling themselves. It’s become automatic! Awareness is the next step, as well as understanding and having empathy for yourself.

When you can recognize and challenge your critical thoughts you can then choose to have new beliefs about yourself and the world.

In counseling, I’ll teach you to replace untrue harsh thoughts with more realistic positive ones. Feeling better about yourself is key in eating disorder recovery. Call for more information (626)335-0903.

When you want to change your thoughts you want to engage in cognitive therapy. (addressing your thoughts).

Read more at my website about counseling and Eating Disorder Treatment>>>

Read more about cognitive distortions>>>


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7 Causes of Eating Disorders- Do You Know Why? Ilissa Banhazl, MFT, Glendora

Understand why you feel the need to be perfect.

Understand why you feel the need to be perfect.

People struggle with eating disorders for varied reasons. Some causes are biological and others environmental. Understanding the root of your eating disorder is essential to your recovery. Therapy helps you increase your self-awareness. With insight comes compassion and recovery.

1. You may have been born with a brain that makes you prone to developing an eating disorder and/or other addictive behavior. Some say the reason people see their bodies as fat when they are not is biologically based in the brain.

2. Your brain may have changed by growing up in a chaotic home. People develop anxiety and depression from dysfunctional environments.

3. Your family may have put too much emphasis on weight and body image, perhaps having an eating disorder of their own.

4. You may have suffered a trauma. Sexual abuse is common in people with eating disorders.

5. The media may have tricked you into believing you must look a certain way in order to be beautiful.

6. Pressure from peers and bullies during the school years contributes to dieting and poor body-esteem.

7. Having a critical controlling parent can trigger an eating disorder as a form of control or comfort.

As you can see there are many different reasons that a person can develop an eating disorder. Luckily, there are more ways to help someone recover than there are reasons for developing an eating disorder in the first place.

Some techniques I use are:

1.  Talk therapy,

2. Art therapy,

3. Music therapy,

4. DBT

5. Cognitive therapy,

6 Relaxation, Meditation, Exercise if applicable

7. Bibliotherapy (books and workbooks)

8. Family and/or group therapy.

Please call for more information on the causes of eating disorders (626) 335-0903 and visit my website to read more.

Read more on causes of eating disorders at ANAD

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Get Out Your Journal Before You Restrict, Over-eat, Binge or Purge! 8 Things to Journal About, By Ilissa Banhazl, MFT Disorder Treatment, San Dimas

Give it away to the paper and feel a sense of relief.

Give it away to the paper and feel a sense of relief.

See if you can catch yourself before you engage in any one of these behaviors:

  1. Anorexia or restricting
  2. Bulimia
  3. Binge (and purge)
  4. Over-eating
  5. Over exercising

What underlies your disordered eating and poor body image can be written about in your journal to help you to understand your thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

Here are some suggestions for what you might write about in your journal:

1. Are you physically hungry or emotionally hungry?

2. What are you emotionally hungry for?

3. Are you looking to bury difficult feelings and thoughts?

4. What is the trigger?

5. Who or what is bugging you?

6. Are you looking to control a situation?

7. Do you need to feel empty to feel okay. Why? How does that work?

8. What can you do differently to cope with the feelings, thoughts or situation?

“Giving it away” to the paper (journaling) is an effective release and gives you the opportunity to understand yourself better and choose to do something different.

Bring your journal to session!

Eating behaviors tied up with feelings are not easy to overcome. Working with a professional can speed up the process of improving disordered eating and negative and distorted body image concerns.

For more about eating disorders visit>>>


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Are You looking For Books To Read On Eating Disorders For You Or a Loved One? Here’s a Great Link… Ilissa Banhazl, MFT, Glendora

Learn more about eating disorders and body image.

Learn more about eating disorders and body image.

Bibliotherapy (reading books) can be extremely helpful in your personal journey to recovery. Not everyone can afford counseling and reading is always a great adjunct to the work we do together.

Visit or (they are one in the same)

At this site you will find books on all the different kinds of disordered eating. You’ll find books to help individuals, couples and families.

You can read about the origin of eating disorders, how to help, exercises and techniques.

A little information goes a long way…

Try reading a book. A favorite of mine is a workbook entitled The Don’t Diet-Live It! It’s helpful to understand the thinking behind your eating disorder. It offers journaling so you can think about these concepts and how they play out in your own life. Once you know, you can opt to make changes.

Choosing therapy for an eating disorder can be overwhelming at first. Perhaps reading first will help you decide which direction you’d like to take.

For more information about eating disorders and counseling visit>>>

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Are You Running to Keep Your Life Going? 5 Ways To Change That, By Ilissa Banhazl, MFT, La Verne, CA

Are you running to keep up with your life?

Are you running to keep up with your life?

girl with an alarm clockWhen you wake up do you immediately start knocking off tasks?

Do you wake up feeling anxious?

Do you run to your computer or phone when you first wake up?

Do you find that this brings in the world and stress? If so try this:

1. Don’t look at technology first thing. Set a time to work on those types of things.

2. Start your morning with a stretch and meditation.

3. Eat a nutritious breakfast. Drink water.

4. Journal about your day; before it starts in a positive way or close your eyes and imagine your day going well.

5. Make some changes in your life.

You choose when to let the world in. First get yourself centered and peaceful. With this feeling of well-being you can then address your life with more confidence.

Just keep the order straight. First self-care, then the world…

(Moms with children may have to adapt this to fit their child’s schedule but it can be worked around for sure!)

For more about counseling with Ilissa Banhazl, MFT, Glendora>>>


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