Personalized Paths to Healing: Adult Eating Disorder Treatment at Prosperity

Personalized Paths to Healing: Adult Eating Disorder Treatment at Prosperity

“Eating disorders are most commonly associated with teenagers and college students.”

While many teenagers in the United States suffer from various types of eating disorders, the struggles of adults with eating disorders often go overlooked and untreated. In fact, binge eating disorder is more prevalent in adulthood compared to other types of eating disorders. Eating disorders in adults can be triggered by a multitude of factors, including genetics, past trauma, and health complications like Crohn’s disease or gastrointestinal issues that negatively impact their diets. Frequently, when adults seek medical attention, they are misdiagnosed. Severe dieting can alter the brain’s perception of food, leading to an extreme fear of weight gain and distorted body image. This often results in malnourishment, even for individuals with larger bodies.

Seeking Eating Disorder Treatment as an Adult

Seeking treatment for adults with eating disorders poses an added challenge due to their existing responsibilities and commitments. Many parents or professionals have learned to adapt their lives around the disorder, making the idea of seeking inpatient or outpatient treatment appear daunting, if not impossible. However, at Prosperity Eating Disorders and Wellness Center, we understand the unique challenges adults face in seeking treatment for eating disorders. OK Magazine says: “Baker has found that adults often feel alone in their disorders and feel ashamed about reaching out for help, so the group therapy sessions act as a way for them to connect with other adults who share the same struggles.” 

Tailored Eating Disorder Treatment for Adults at Prosperity

Established in 2012, Prosperity Eating Disorder and Wellness Center proudly serves individuals in Virginia through two convenient locations: Northern Virginia and Coastal Virginia. Our comprehensive approach addresses the nutritional, psychological, psychiatric, and emotional needs of both teenagers and adults struggling with eating disorders.

For adults seeking support at Prosperity, our specialized programs encompass a range of therapeutic modalities. This includes immersive group therapy sessions, individualized sessions with experienced therapists and dietitians, and the valuable experience of sharing meals with a supportive community. We understand that adults may often feel isolated in their journey, which is why our group sessions provide a vital space for connecting with others facing similar challenges.

Misconceptions and stigmas surrounding adult eating disorders are actively tackled through our group therapy sessions. We recognize that some may hesitate to seek help out of concern for being in a group with teenagers. Therefore, we offer a distinct program tailored specifically for adults. Here, discussions revolve around adult-centric topics, such as managing an eating disorder while navigating professional responsibilities, parenthood, marriage, and caregiving.

At Prosperity, we understand the importance of accommodating diverse schedules. Our offerings include both day and evening programs to suit the needs of both adults and adolescents. For those preferring virtual treatment options, our telehealth services ensure access to care from the comfort of your own space. With clinics located in Norfolk and Herndon, Virginia, we welcome individuals of all ages, genders, and types of eating disorders, accepting most insurance plans.

Virginia’s Boutique Eating Disorder Treatment Center


At Prosperity Eating Disorders & Wellness Center, we are dedicated to providing evidence-based, individualized treatment for eating disorders across all age groups, ethnic backgrounds, and genders.

Our approach addresses psychological, nutritional, emotional, and relational needs, guiding individuals toward a full recovery. We specialize in treating a range of disorders including Anorexia, Bulimia, EDNOS, Orthorexia, and Binge Eating Disorder.

Take the first step towards recovery with Prosperity Eating Disorders & Wellness Center today!

6 Myths of Eating Disorders

6 Myths of Eating Disorders:


1. It’s all about how I look and what I eat.

Eating disorders are a complex issue that is rooted in emotional, psychiatric, and physical components that are often genetic.


2. I must be really skinny to have an eating disorder.

The majority of people with eating disorders are a normal weight for their bodies. People of all body sizes can have an eating disorder.


3. I will grow out of this.

Eating disorders are not phases. They are formed due to having the inability to manage emotions, situations, and stress levels typically due to trauma, major life transitions, or other major stressors. Early treatment is critical.


4. I choose to have an ED and I can choose to stop it.

Like all mental illnesses and diseases, eating disorders are not a choice. People with eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental health concerns.


5. I really need the attention.

Most people with eating disorders become isolative and ashamed.


6. My parents are to blame.

Eating disorders can be genetic and are typically not the cause of one’s eating disorder. They can be powerful resources in their loved one’s healing.

Weight Loss Pills and Surgeries for Kids! Are you kidding me?


On January 9, 2023, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a statement regarding their guidance for treating children in higher-weight bodies, where they recommended the clinical use of pharmacotherapy medications to assist in weight loss for children as young as 12 years old in addition to bariatric and metabolic surgery for children as young as 13 years old. As an organization of Eating Disorder experts with over 100 years of combined professional experience, we voice our profound opposition and concern regarding this statement, and we feel that it is our ethical duty to share our outrage and fear on behalf of the clients and families whom we serve. Prosperity Eating Disorders and Wellness Center operates from a weight-inclusive model, where we believe that weight is not a disease, nor a predictor of health and that health can be pursued in any sized body. We also believe that words such as “obesity” and “overweight” are stigmatizing and pathologizing and that they cause further harm to children in developing bodies. We fear that the recommendations put forth by the AAP will lead to an increase in Eating Disorders in children and adolescents, as children and adolescents are at an increased risk of developing Eating Disorders when they are exposed to discussions around weight, dieting, weight loss, and body judgment. Currently, there is no clinically significant evidence for long-term sustained weight loss as a result of the pursuit of weight loss; rather, evidence points to chronic dieting and intentional weight loss as risk factors for additional weight gain and for the development of Eating Disorders with a 95% failure rate for long term weight control. As an organization, we seek to teach our clients that their bodies are not a problem to be solved and health includes more than weight alone. We implore the AAP to allow children and adolescents to be just that: developing children and adolescents, whose bodies are still growing and whose relationships with their bodies are still developing. We fear that these medical guidelines will make life more difficult for children in all sized bodies, as these guidelines will continue to perpetuate medical fatphobia and weight stigma not just for children in larger bodies, but in children of all sizes. It also places children at risk of the complications of bariatric surgery, which include malabsorption, particularly of concern in growing bodies as well as weight cycling with comes with associated osteopathic and cardiac risks. We are so grateful for the solidarity and collaboration among pediatricians and medical practitioners who are also working towards promoting body acceptance, normalization of all shapes and sizes of bodies, and rejection of dieting and weight loss surgery as an effective treatment for health conditions. As we are committed to creating a world without Eating Disorders, we strongly request that the AAP rethink the guidelines put forth in their statement and seek the insight and counsel of Eating Disorders professionals in creating future guidance for weight-neutral and body-affirming care.  

 Written by Allison Gasko-Backman, LCSW and Mary Dye, MPH, RD, CEDS-RD


Emmer, C., Bosnjak, M., & Mata, J. (2019). The association between weight stigma and mental health: A meta‐analysis. Obesity Reviews, 21(1). doi:10.1111/obr.12935

Puhl, R. M., & Heuer, C. A. (2010). Obesity stigma: important considerations for public health. American journal of public health, 100(6), 1019–1028.

Weight Stigma. (2019, June 27). Retrieved September 23, 2020, from

Can Your Doctor’s Office Trigger Bad Body Image?

Can Your Doctor’s Office Trigger Bad Body Image?

Can Your Doctor’s Office Trigger Bad Body Image?

Sometimes I get tired of all the subtle ways women are told they’re not good enough. I’ve gotten used to it happening in magazines, commercials, and in all the ads that tell us how to look younger, prettier, sexier, and skinnier. So I expect to see those messages in certain settings, which I can mostly avoid.
I just never expected to see that in my OB-GYN’s office.
Today when I walked in, (after a nice long Covid hiatus of which length we won’t mention) I was greeted with not one, but two full-sized standing banners advertising liposuction and laser therapy. Literally flanking the front of the check-in counter, with a whole table of anti-aging skin products laid out in between. With “You deserve to feel like yourself again!” slogans next to life-size pictures of smiling, women without wrinkles or cellulite anywhere. So, as I walked up to check in for my appointment (where I planned to discuss the various fun things one might discuss when she’s 48 and has had 3 kids, etc etc) I had to reach across all of this in order to check in with the receptionist! Even in the bathroom, there were more ads up with before and after pictures advertising wrinkle removal- right up next to that cute little silver cupboard where you deposit your urine sample. These were also spread out in my patient room. Really?!
I guess things had changed in the practice during those years when I was away.
One might say that I’m just a cranky middle-aged woman that’s having a hard time getting older and is taking this too personally. That’s actually not the case at all. My 40’s have been a pretty incredible decade of learning to love myself with all of my imperfections, and I feel more beautiful now than I did back in my 20’s- even with all my gray hairs and wrinkles. I also have nothing against the beauty product or cosmetic surgery industries, as they can be sources of wonderful help and healing for people of all genders. I just think there’s a time and a place for this kind of advertising, and it’s not the kind of thing I’d expect or want to see at my OB’s or any other of my doctors at any age.
– not when I went in expecting to hear my first baby’s heartbeat and heard… nothing
– not when I went in for a post-D&C appointment after my miscarriage
– not when I was pregnant with my firstborn.
– not when I had my first breast exam after a lumpectomy
Not for a whole host of other reasons that so many women have to navigate and work through when they come in for their OB appointments for less than happy reasons.
For those of you still reading, thanks for staying with me through this rant.
And if you just so happen to have the name of a great OB practice in NOVA, go ahead and pass that my way.

Shannon Wise

When I read my friend Shannon’s post, I knew I needed to address this with the community. There’s just so much to unpack here.

In my years of seeing and treating hundreds of teens and adults struggling with eating disorders, poor body image, and shame, after a while, I begin to see a few trends along the way.

In no particular order, below are the triggers that are typically expressed by clients that have led to their eating disorders
1. Bullying
2. Severe dieting
3. Caregivers that diet, hyper-focus on eating overly healthy, and being thin.
4. Comments made by pediatricians and other physicians
5. Advertising and Social Media
6. Depression and Anxiety

Yes, you read that right, comments made by doctors. For a field that’s supposed to “first do no harm”, why is it that we’re seeing them on this list? Physicians ONLY need to take 1-1.5 credits focused on eating disorders during their studies. While it’s great that they can identify and diagnose an eating disorder, shouldn’t prevention and treatment be some of the focus? So often doctors suggest weight loss programs, tell patients they are overweight, that the cause of their illness is weight related, and praise them when they come back in a smaller body. This praise and the need to lose weight to be taken seriously can ultimately lead to one of the deadliest mental health disorders facing people. So when and how do we start expecting more from our providers? When do we start to hold them accountable and open their eyes to the microaggressions found in their offices? When will fat phobia and bias be left at the door and physicians start treating the person as a whole? Because right now, just telling people to lose weight isn’t helpful, it’s harmful.

About a year ago, one of my employees went to a gastroenterologist due to ongoing stomach pain, cramping, and heartburn. After coming out of anesthesia due to getting an endoscopy, the doctor’s only suggestion was……………you guessed it weight loss. This normally happy woman left the office that day and relayed the story to us in tears and looking defeated. She felt ashamed, embarrassed, and self-conscious, and still had no answers as to how to fix this problem.

Now I have lost count of how many of my clients have described when they first started to have eating disordered thoughts, that one of the causes of them was the way their pediatrician commented on their body size, and each time these clients quoted their doctors told them “you’re overweight”. If a patient continues to hear that from someone who they believe to be an expert in health, it’s not too hard to expect the patient will begin to think of themselves in a negative light. “I’m not good enough”, “Something’s wrong with me”, “I’m clearly doing something bad and wrong”. This narrative needs to change, help not hinder.

So lo and behold – I went to my OBGYN for my yearly appointments last week and opening the entrance to the waiting room my stomach dropped to my ankles. I was flooded by the images that Shannon described. Ads to look better by getting liposuction and more.

As I teach my clients how to advocate for their needs and rights, how to see themselves with neutrality and with loving kindness, and to reject the need to conform to the  – I must do so myself and I hope you do too.  The doctor at my practice helped deliver my baby 16 years ago. She is a wonderful doctor. But I can NEVER refer to this practice to any of my clients or any person for that matter.

Have you had similar experiences? Did this affect your body image?

I know I am going to hear from my colleagues that I shouldn’t post these pictures,  as they are triggering. Yes. I know.  Exactly.

None of us are spared from this reality and it is everywhere we go.

Will you join me in allowing yourself to take up space in this world and use your voice?

Heather Baker, LCSW, CEDS
Founder of Prosperity Eating Disorders and Wellness

Equity for All

We believe in Equity in Treatment for all.

Prosperity Eating Disorders and Wellness specializes in the treatment of eating disorders while offering evidence-based, comprehensive, individualized treatment to all ages, genders, and eating disorders.  Our goal is to help sufferers find a full recovery by meeting their psychological, nutritional, emotional, and relational needs throughout Virginia.

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