To Eat or Not to Eat

To Eat or Not to Eat

International authors, speakers, eating disorder expert and leadership consultants Evonne Englezos and Sue Paton share their wisdom and years of practical, hands on, experience of Eating Disorders.

If you have ever dreamed of a better life, this book 'To Eat or Not to Eat' will show you how to achieve freedom from your body, weight and food obsessions and create the life you were meant to have.

This insightful book shares Evonne's personal journey to recovery from body, weight and food issues along with the professional experience of Psychotherapist Sue Paton.

You will discover
The secrets of disordered eating that industry professionals don't want you to know
Why you can't do it on your own and why willpower alone is not enough
The hidden message behind your food choices and body size
Why you care what other people think and how this drives the disordered eating
How to break through the belief that disordered eating is a life sentence
How to avoid painful costly mistake that keep you stuck
How to get a quiet mind away from food and weight obsession.


Evonne Englezos has shared the stage with and worked alongside international experts on women's issues around food, weight and body image. She has worked with hundreds of women to transform their lives. Evonne is known as a change agent in the industry of eating disorders for women. She makes complicated concepts easy to digest and in her work she provides clarity, honesty and a lot of laughter. She has inside knowledge about disordered eating as she herself has recovered from an eating disorder.

Evonne is the co-founder and Program Director of EATFED. She is a thought leader in how disordered eating is treated in Australia. She is passionate about changing the way disordered eating is treated. Evonne has completed a white belt and blue belt in Nia and now incorporates this into her work with women. She is available to speak about her experience of overcoming an eating disorder and exercise addiction and the treatment of eating disorders through metaphor and unconscious processes.

Over the past 18 years Sue Paton has had the privilege of being trained by some of the world's leading experts in consulting, coaching, neurolinguistic programming, neuroscience, counselling and psychotherapy. Sue has changed thousands of people's lives, transforming their view of the world and themselves. From 2007 to 2013 she was an educator at the Australian College of Applied Psychology in Sydney. As an educator, Sue is known as passionate, with a great sense of humour. She is committed to sharing her knowledge and empowering her students to reach their full potential.

As an entrepreneur, clinician, educator, supervisor, consultant and parent to three adult children, Sue has vast experience and knowledge, which she brings to the clinical, personal and business setting.

Sue is the co-founder and Clinical Director of EATFED. A thought leader in how disordered eating is treated in Australia, Sue is available to speak on a wide range of topics, including, Parenting, Child & Adult Development, Neuroscience in Relationships and of course disordered eating. In particular she focuses on how the treatment of eating disorders in Australia needs a major overhaul due to the high relapse and mortality rates.

To Eat or Not to Eat
Global Publishing
Authors: Evonne Englezos and Sue Paton
ISBN: 9781922118332


Interview with Evonne Englezos

Question: What advice did you seek for your disordered eating?

Evonne Englezos: I suffered for 14 years with bulimia and an exercise addiction. I realised early on I was bigger that the other girls I was playing sport with and I started a cycle of bingeing and purging that I could not escape from. As I went from doctor to psychologists, traditional approaches which focused solely on food plans and Cognitive Behavourial therapy didn't help me recover. I felt it was hard to find an approach for some-one like me. The distress the Bulimia was causing me was not obvious to others, however the behaviours were out of control and I felt very alone. I found a lot of answer once I went to college and did a counselling degree. Only then did I start to understand the causes of the eating disorder.


Question: What is the difference between non-medical and medical approaches to eating disorders?

Evonne Englezos: Eating disorders affect women more than men by 10 to 1, although this is on the rise, with the illness presenting itself in the younger years and lasting for an average duration of 15 years, resulting in a huge socio economic cost of close to $70 billion dollars for eating disorders*2. With a treatment model in Australia, which focuses predominantly on a symptomatic medical approach and offers patients only 10 medicare covered counselling sessions; recovery is limited. These disorders often go undiagnosed and unnoticed. Consequently, women who do not present with extreme weight loss, as with Anorexia, struggle for years with a hidden illness and face a barrier to seeking appropriate help. Traditional (medical) approaches focus on symptom relief and restoring medical stability. This is needed at certain stages in the eating disorder recovery process. And for in many cases this is critical.

EATFED offers one of the few outpatient programs in Australia, which provides a therapeutic approach not focused solely on food or weight restoration and which is individualised around the clients needs. We work alongside GP's and dieticians to meet the client's needs. The program does not require the client to immediately stop the eating disorder behaviour when they enter treatment, which most other programs require. EATFED see the behaviours as a form of communication, which brings attention to underlying causes. The majority of treatment in Australia focuses on food and symptom relief. However we believe eating disorders are not about the food, but are relationship disorders. We see the eating disorder as a coping mechanism; a symptom of deeper issues that if addressed will lead to recovery, not just manage the eating disorder. Reducing symptoms is part of recovery and not the only focus in the therapeutic approach.


Question: What types of symptoms are associated with disordered eating?

Evonne Englezos: There are many forms of disordered eating that may not fall into the categories of Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED), Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder (UFED), Binge-Eating Disorder, Emotional Overeating and Obesity. Women who do not fit into these diagnoses still have anxiety and are highly distressed and focused on what food to eat or not to eat, how much to exercise or not, and are constantly trying the newest/latest diet or exercise trend. Unfortunately, in our western society body loathing and obsessions about food impact women of all shapes and sizes. Some of the symptoms can include restricting food, bingeing, purging, overexercising, a fear of putting on weight, laxative misuse.


Question: Can you talk us through the characteristics associated with exercise addiction?

Evonne Englezos: Excessive exercise and a preoccupation with exercise are associated with exercise addictions. It can also include have a dependence on exercise which can often mean a person will exercise through injuries and medical conditions, even if advised of detrimental effects. I had a daily addiction to exercise which would get out of control and push my body to its limits. Not only did I walk for my home at the time to the city and back each day I would follow up with 3 exercise classes on top.


Question: Why disordered eating the 'hidden' illness for women (and men) all around Australia?

Evonne Englezos: It's hard for women and men who are not displaying common symptoms that people recognise, to get the help they need. Also many people feel ashamed and guilty as they are widely still considered to be a lifestyle choice- of which they are not. I spent a lot of my time in the dark silent shadows of an eating disorder and most of the time the people around me had little awareness of my distress and loneliness. There was so much shame about what I was doing, that I would share very little of myself.


Question: What inspired you to write To Eat or Not to Eat?

Evonne Englezos: 'To Eat or Not to Eat" is the combination of our life and clinical experience. Co-author Sue Paton and I are passionate about empowering women through the knowledge and awareness of these experiences. So much so, that before writing this book, we opened our clinic EATFED (Education and Treatment for Eating Difficulties) in Sydney, Australia. Sue has always been interested in women's health, particularly their mental wellbeing and their quality of life. Through her own personal journey to wellness and her 18 years as a psychotherapist, Sue was the catalyst to connecting with Dr Anita Johnston, author of 'Eating in the Light of the Moon" and the birth of EATFED. For myself (Evonne), the passion surrounding the theme of eating and exercise, particularly of disordered eating stems from my almost 14 year battle with bulimia and an exercise addiction, and the long and arduous, painful journey to recovery. I am determined to empower others who suffer with food, weight, eating, body, and exercise obsessions to create the life they were destined to, rather than the one they currently have. Throughout this book I share my personal experience and readers can see this throughout the book in italics.


Question: Why was it necessary for your to include your own story-telling element in this book of advice?

Evonne Englezos: I suffered for 14 years with bulimia and an exercise addiction. I realised early on I was bigger that the other girls I was playing sport with and I started a cycle of purging that I could not escape from. I wanted to share information that made a real difference to my own recovery journey, things that often were not shared in the many books I had read about recovery from eating disorders. I felt that the information available to the public always oversimplified eating disorders and this left me feeling like a failure, because I couldn't recover with the information that had been available. I really wanted to convey to people that you can recover from an eating disorder, these are not conditions you have to live with permanently. The journey to recovery is not easy, however it is possible. It is complex and requires a journey of self discovery, Now I can share some of my struggles and recovery with other women who face the same journey.


Question: What do you hope readers take away from reading To Eat or Not to Eat?

Evonne Englezos: I hope that people take from the book that you can absolutely recover permanently. I also hope they understand that the journey to recovery is about gaining self awareness and learning some key skills. The title of our book, 'To Eat or Not to Eat", was our way of capturing the dilemma so many women are faced with on a daily, hourly or sometimes minute by minute basis. It is a woman's guide to overcoming disordered eating. We have written this book for readers who want to reflect on and understand disordered eating and who want to reclaim their lives from food, weight and body obsessions. Our intention is to help women overcome their eating disorder by exploring why one may manifest an eating disorder and then empower women to build the life they want. There is a life that awaits readers beyond the eating disorder and I hope that each of them begins their journey towards that amazing life.


Question: What is your number one piece of advice for girls suffering from disordered eating?

Evonne Englezos: Do not settle for a life where you manage the eating disorder. Permanent recovery is possible and you deserve a life free of the torment of an eating disorder. Hope, persistence and a team that shows you empathy, compassion and a great understanding of eating disorders can help you get you to your recovered life.


Interview by Brooke Hunter

Interview with Evonne Englezos and Sue Paton

Question: Tell me about the title and content of the book ʻ To Eat or Not to Eatʼ?

Evonne Englezos and Sue Paton: The title of our book, 'To Eat or Not to Eat", was our way of capturing the dilemma so many women are faced with on a daily, hourly or sometimes minute by minute basis. It is a woman's guide to overcoming disordered eating. We have written this book for readers who want to reflect on and understand disordered eating and who want to reclaim their lives from food, weight and body obsessions. Our intention is to help women overcome their eating disorder by exploring why one may manifest an eating disorder and then empower women to build the life they want.


Question: Why did you write the book?

Evonne Englezos and Sue Paton: 'To Eat or Not to Eat" is the combination of our life and clinical experience. Co-author Sue Paton and I are passionate about empowering women through the knowledge and awareness of these experiences. So much so, that before writing this book, we opened our clinic EATFED (Education and Treatment for Eating Difficulties) in Sydney, Australia. Sue has always been interested in women's health, particularly their mental wellbeing and their quality of life. Through her own personal journey to wellness and her 18 years as a psychotherapist, Sue was the catalyst to connecting with Dr Anita Johnston, author of 'Eating in the Light of the Moon" and the birth of EATFED. For myself (Evonne), the passion surrounding the theme of eating and exercise, particularly of disordered eating stems from my almost 14 year battle with bulimia and an exercise addiction, and the long and arduous, painful journey to recovery. I am determined to empower others who suffer with food, weight, eating, body, and exercise obsessions to create the life they were destined to, rather than the one they currently have. Throughout this book I share my personal experience and readers can see this throughout the book in italics.


Question: What was your experience with an eating disorder?

Evonne Englezos and Sue Paton: I suffered for 14 years with bulimia and an exercise addiction. I realised early on I was bigger that the other girls I was playing sport with and I started a cycle of purging that I could not escape from. As I went from doctor to doctor, approaches like Cognitive Behavourial therapy didn't solve my issues and I felt it was hard to find an approach for some-one like me. I wasn't displaying obvious behaviours associated with an eating disorder from the outside, but I knew I needed some help due to the way my mind was working. Now I can share some of my struggles and recovery with other women who face the same journey.


Question: What is the difference between an eating disorder and disordered eating?

Evonne Englezos and Sue Paton: The terms eating disorder and disordered eating are both used in the book and have meant for them to be interchangeable. This does not take away from those women with a medical diagnosis and the intensity of this. Though, there are many forms of disordered eating that may not fall into these categories. We have held in mind not only Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED), Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder (UFED), Binge-Eating Disorder, Emotional Overeating and Obesity, but also all those women who do not have, or fit into these diagnoses. Still, they have anxiety and are highly distressed and focused on what food to eat or not to eat, how much to exercise or not, and are constantly trying the newest/ latest diet or exercise trend. Unfortunately, in our western society body loathing and obsessions about food impact women of all shapes and sizes.


Question: What model is most common in Australia for treating eating disorders and is it effective?

Evonne Englezos and Sue Paton: Eating disorders affect women more than men by 2 to 1, with the illness presenting itself in the younger years and lasting for an average duration of 15 years, resulting in a huge socio economic cost of close to $70 billion dollars for eating disorders*2. With a treatment model in Australia which focuses predominantly on a symptomatic medical approach and offers patients only 10 medicare covered counselling sessions, recovery is limited. Women who do not present typical eating disorder symptoms, struggle for years with a hidden illness and face a barrier to seeking appropriate help. EATFEDʼs Clinical Director and psychotherapist Sue Paton and Program Director Evonne Englezos decided it was not enough to address this epidemic facing thousands of Australians


Question: How does the Eatfed model differ from the medical model to treating eating disorders in Australia?

Evonne Englezos and Sue Paton: EATFED now offers one of the few outpatient programs in Australia, which provides a therapeutic approach not focused solely on food or weight restoration and which is individualised around the clients needs. The program does not require the client to immediately stop the eating disorder behaviour when they enter treatment, which most other programs require. EATFED see the behaviours as a form of communication, which brings attention to underlying causes. The majority of treatment in Australia focuses on food and symptom relief. However we believe eating disorders are not about the food, but are relationship disorders. We see the eating disorder as a coping mechanism; a symptom of deeper issues that if addressed will lead to recovery, not just manage the eating disorder.


Question: How did you come to offering this model in Australia?

Evonne Englezos and Sue Paton: Sue was the catalyst to connecting with Dr Anita Johnston, author of 'Eating in the Light of the Moon" and founder of the program offered at EatFed. After reading her revolutionary approach to treating eating disorders through myth, metaphor and storytelling, Sue wrote to Dr Johnston and 12months later she was here in Australia training our staff at EatFed. As the Director of the Anorexia & Bulimia Center of Hawaii, founded in 1982; the Clinical Director of -Ai Pono Eating Disorders Programs in Honolulu, Hawaii since 2001; Clinical Director of the newly opened residential facility, 'Ai Pono Maui, on the island of Maui. Clinical Advisor to Focus Treatment Centers in Tennessee; Dr Johnston is now Senior Clinical Consultant to EATFED in Sydney, Australia.


Question: Can you explain the use of metaphor in treating an eating disorder?

Evonne Englezos and Sue Paton: Dr Johnston has been working in the field of disordered eating for over 30 years as a clinical psychologist, eating disorder specialist and author and uses imagery and storytelling as effective catalysts in bringing about change in disordered eating patterns and in healing wounds. Dr Johnston identifies the importance of addressing the underlying root issues for full recovery. Using metaphor is a way of introducing a skill-set someone needs in order to let-go of an eating disorder. It's not taught in schools or even in our homes and involves one's capacity to recognise the feelings and underlying emotions that govern one's life. It's often a life of restriction or a life of bingeing which leads a person to spend a lifetime trying to balance these behaviours.


Question: What success have you had with women implementing this approach?

Evonne Englezos and Sue Paton: We have been working with Dr Johnston approach at Eatfed for nearly 2 years now. We continue to see great improvement and recovery in the women that come through our doors. Most importantly we can finally see the revolving door stopping for many women who have suffered from disordered eating for years and years.


Interview by Brooke Hunter




 



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