My social justice spirit came out of my reaction to the media glorification of the impossibly and unhealthy paradigm for women. I had a 10-year battle with anorexia nervosa in my teens and early twenties. Seeing thin and emaciated female models in magazines shocked and angered me. I had spent so many years moving away from that unhealthy ideal, only to have it glamorized and prized in pop culture.
As a queer cisgender able-bodied woman of color, I struggled in my recovery because my story did not mirror those in mainstream eating disorder textbooks and biographies. After reading the testimonials of women of color and queer women in Becky Thompson’s “A Hunger so Wide and so Deep”, I found voices to relate to my own life experiences. I began to realize that a huge gap exists in the treatment services for diverse and underserved folks with eating disorders.
In 1997, I began working with About-Face, a nonprofit organization that addresses media impact on body image, and was an instrumental part of its early years. I served as Director of Media Literacy until 2005. Today I am on the About-Face Board of Founders.
I received my B.A. from UC Berkeley, and Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I received my PhD in 2012 from Alliant International University in San Francisco, California. I focused my research on the impact of binge eating disorder on work productivity and motivation to change using an on-line self-help modality. I completed my post- doc internships at an eating disorder outpatient program and an eating disorder residential program for adolescents. I served as the Sr. Consultant for the Behavioral Health Education program in the Regional Health Education department of Kaiser Permanante for the northern California region up until 2014. I currently am a Clinical Psychologist (PSY # 27037) in Kaiser Permanente’s eating disorder clinic in Oakland. I am also adjunct faculty at the University of San Francisco and UC Berkeley Extension Program. I am also on the Advisory Board for the Association of Size Health and Diversity (ASDAH) and Nalgona Positiva Pride (NPP). I am on the board for Eating Disorders Recovery and Support (EDRS) serving as the president for 2017/2018. I also serve on the conference committee for Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA).
I have been training in martial arts Kajukenbo since 2000 at Hand to Hand Kajukenbo Self Defense Center in Oakland. I hold a first degree black belt and I enjoy the exploratory path my training gives me. I integrate my martial arts training in my work by exploring and using the energy you bring to therapy. My commitment is to have you live authentically in your body by using the energy you bring therapy.
I wrote a piece on martial arts and eating disorders for both the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Making Connections community newsletter and the National Women in Martial Arts Federation newsletter. Below is a small piece of my article:
“Martial Arts can also be used to prevent eating disorders. You work and value your body in a deep way, replacing aesthetics that often cause body image dissatisfaction. The constant contact in the martial arts world gives you strength and connection to others, replacing isolation. Having these tools can help women and girls address conflicts and confusion by finding outlets. Training teaches us to express our conflicts and not internalize them. It is the internalization process that can lead to self-destructive behaviors like an eating disorder. You learn to integrate your whole self, not compartmentalize yourself thus disconnecting from your body. “
To see my entire article on martial arts and eating disorders, go to: