Alison Pelz, RD,LD, LCSW

Alison Pelz is a psychotherapist and registered dietitian who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders.

Specializing in the treatment of eating disorders and related disorders including emotional eating, chronic dieting & poor body image.

Feast of Knowledge 2024 02/05/2024

Great conference on eating disorders! Lots of information for those who have an eating disorder and for those who love them (parents, partners) and clinicians.

Feast of Knowledge 2024


Dieting gets in the way of our innate ability to feed ourselves. Diets ask us to drink liquid shakes, eat at certain times (no matter if we are hungry or not), eat foods that we may or may not like, oversimplify foods as either “good” or “bad,” and count calories or grams. They don’t take into consideration our culture or bank account.


Besides being free, the emphasis on connection is big reason why I love these resources. They bring people struggling with eating disorders together. We are social creatures, and connection can be especially healing in hard times.

If you or a loved one is in eating disorder recovery, check out these 5 free eating disorder recovery resources:


People who are chronically ill or disabled might not feel like they can be positive about a body that is constantly in pain or not able to move through the world easily. People who are recovering from eating disorders might not trust their body’s cues or might feel distress when thinking about their bodies.

Body acceptance might feel like a more attainable goal than body positivity:


Rather than focusing on resolutions in 2024, exploring your values can be a more impactful way to make changes that are in alignment with what’s important to you.

Here are some common values to consider as you explore which values are most important to you.


Exploring your values helps you answer questions like “Who am I?” and “Where am I going?” Values work also helps folks suffering with eating disorders understand that they are so much more than their eating disorder, their weight, or how they feel about their body.

Learn more about how values work can be helpful on the blog.


Are you curious about the science of why dieting doesn't work?

Learn more about what happens to your brain on a diet on the blog.


I hope you have a happy and safe start to 2024! And, if you need the reminder, it's okay to skip the diet resolutions this New Year.


While dieting can be effective for weight loss for some, usually weight loss is short-lived. In fact, scientists have little to no evidence to show that dieting is an effective means for keeping lost weight off. Maybe you haven’t been able to stick to your diet. It is not you, it is the diet.


How do you feel about New Year’s Resolutions? The new year often feels like the perfect time to implement changes, and the constant flood of “New Year New You” marketing definitely adds to the pressure to shake things up each January. Unfortunately, a lot of that marketing is heavily influenced by diet culture.

Instead of making a New Year’s Resolution in 2022, try exploring your values instead. Learn how on the blog.


Dieting sets-up this all or nothing thinking. You follow the diet, watching meticulously what you are eating to lose weight. Dieting usually is paired with an exercise routine.

On the other hand, if you aren’t dieting, you may have developed a “screw it” attitude. You don’t pay attention to how you eat and you don’t exercise until you are on your next diet. (By the way, this is no personal failing of your own- studies show that dieting doesn’t work long-term).

The third option is not often presented by the medical community or diet programs. This option is to eat nutritious foods, move your body in a way that feels good to you, get enough sleep, get medical screenings or check-ups as recommended, and so on in the spirit of health, not weight loss.

Learn more on the blog.


Maybe this year you are re-thinking your New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps you are beginning to notice that dieting is taking up too much space in your life or you are tired of worrying about what you eat or what you look like. It could be you are looking to “get off the diet roller coaster” permanently and heal your relationship with food and your body.

If you are ready to give up dieting, you’re not alone. Consider these five reasons to quit dieting for good.


I encourage readers to stop dieting in order to feel in more control of their eating and health.

So, maybe you are concerned about your health. Maybe you have diabetes or a family history of heart disease, or maybe you are noticing that it is harder to move in your body at its current fitness level.

Maybe you are so tired of dieting that you just can’t diet anymore (the diet is the problem, not you), or maybe you are recovered from an eating disorder and you know that dieting is a risk factor for relapsing.

Choosing not to diet for weight loss doesn’t mean ignoring your health.


There is good evidence that dieting doesn’t work for weight loss, and some studies show that dieting leads to weight gain, problematic eating behaviors (such as binge eating), and problematic exercise behaviors. Dieting is a risk factor for developing an eating disorder. Dieting erodes self-esteem and physical and mental health.

Only about 5% of dieters can keep lost weight off. Remember: it’s the diets that fail, not the people on them. Diets are an ineffective (and in some cases dangerous) prescription for weight loss and health.


Studies have shown up to 65% of people with eating disorders also have an anxiety disorder (generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder & social anxiety). In most cases, the anxiety disorder is a precursor to the eating disorder. Often, the eating disorder is used to help manage the anxiety disorder.


There is no wrong or right way to practice mindful eating and it is normal to get distracted or lost in your thoughts. Part of the practice of mindfulness is noticing when you get off track and refocusing yourself .

What I have noticed in my personal experience with mindfulness is that it brings a lot more clarity and joy to my everyday life. And, hey, who couldn’t use a little more of that?


Unfortunately, there are many incorrect assumptions associated with eating disorders. One I see a lot is the assumption that in order to have an eating disorder, particularly anorexia nervosa, one has to have very low body weight.
This is simply not true.

Sadly these assumptions block those suffering from eating disorders from getting the life-saving treatment they need.


Whether you are an individual with an eating disorder or a loved one of a person with an eating disorder, looking for a qualified therapist can be tough.
This post will give you tips on what to look for in a treatment provider, and questions to ask to help you determine the right eating disorder therapist for you.


As the caregiver of someone with an eating disorder, you naturally want to do what you can to help your child through this. Learning more about eating disorders can help you understand what your child is going through, and connecting with other caregivers can give you an opportunity to feel supported yourself. You don’t have to go through this alone.


Do you have a long list of books that you've been meaning to read to help in your clinical work, but you don’t feel like you have time to read them?

I am trying to gauge interest in earning CEs by reading books that are relevant to our clinical work. My hope is to make CEs more accessible by containing costs while working at your own pace.

The process works like this:
• You buy the book
• Read (or listen to) the book
• Complete open-book CE test
• Earn 7 CEs for $59.00 (test only, doesn’t include cost of book)
• You have one year to complete the course

The first book I’ve selected for reading is When Your Teen has an Eating Disorder by Dr. Lauren Muhlheim.

If you’d like to take part, please fill out the interest form here:


Therapists, doctors, and dietitians are must-haves on any eating disorder treatment team. But parents have an important role to play too! Here are a few reasons why parents are important in the recovery process.


To all the parents out there: you are an important part of your child’s eating disorder treatment team! This is true even if your child is no longer a child, but a young adult or an adult. Even if you don’t live with your child, you have an important role to play in eating disorder recovery.


Are you just starting out on your recovery journey? Or have you been in treatment for a while and feel like your recovery is stalled? You’re not alone.
Here are four tips to help build momentum or re-energize your eating disorder recovery.


Eating disorders don’t go away without professional treatment.

Untreated eating disorders usually get worse and harder to treat as time goes on. They can cause serious medical problems, some of which can result in death.

Treatment can offer new ways of coping, improve your self-confidence and self-esteem, and help you achieve goals that you never thought were possible.


People who are chronically ill or disabled might not feel like they can be positive about a body that is constantly in pain or not able to move through the world easily. People who are recovering from eating disorders might not trust their body’s cues or might feel distress when thinking about their bodies.

Body acceptance might feel like a more attainable goal than body positivity.


Are you wondering what you can do to support eating disorder recovery at the start of a new semester? Here are 5 things college students can do to stay on track with eating disorder recovery.


College can be a difficult transition for anyone, but if you’re in recovery for an eating disorder, it can be a particularly stressful transition! Some of the challenges of maintaining your recovery while returning to school include changes in routine, increased demands and independence, and the pressure of exercise and diet culture.

Learn more, plus tips for how to maintain ED recovery in college, on the blog:


Remember: it’s normal for eating disorder symptoms to recur in times of high stress and periods of transition. But by taking time to consider how your recovery will be impacted in this period of transition, you can create a plan to cope with stress and continue with your recovery. You only have to take it one day at a time!


Going to college is an exciting time because it is the first taste of independence so many of us have! However, gaining independence is also a lot of responsibility–especially if we’re not used to it. It can be easy to not set any boundaries for yourself, but that’s not a sustainable way to take care of yourself.

At the same time, you’ll also need to use some of that newfound independence to balance the demands of your school work, which might be more intense than you’re used to. It can be extremely stressful navigating that responsibility for the first time, and increased stress can lead to an increase in eating disorder symptoms.

Remember: it’s normal for eating disorder symptoms to recur in times of high stress and periods of transition. But by taking time to consider how your recovery will be impacted in this period of transition, you can create a plan to cope with stress and continue with your recovery.


When you think of Anorexia Nervosa, what often comes to mind is a young emaciated girl. These images are what we often see in the popular media.

Unfortunately, these images are misleading and confusing. These images contribute to myths about anorexia nervosa and what it really is and “looks” like.

On the blog, I debunk several common myths about anorexia:

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Videos (show all)

People who suffer from eating disorders often really struggle to identify and cope with their emotions and thoughts. (An...
Five Ways a Dietitian Can Help Reduce Binge Eating
5 Signs That It Is Time to Get Treatment for Your Eating Disorder
Diets fail, not the people on them.




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