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!

How Black People are Underrepresented in Eating Disorder and Treatment

How Black People are Underrepresented in Eating Disorder and Treatment

Written By: Taylor Hutchinson, BS

Eating disorders have long been seen as a disease that only affects young white women. Whether through research or marketing, this group of individuals often appears as the face of this disorder. Few studies have been conducted on how eating disorders affect the black community. However, what we do know is that black individuals are far more likely than their white counterparts to have bulimia (over 50% to be exact) or present with binge eating disorder symptoms. However, research also shows that they are less likely to be diagnosed, receive treatment, or have this even discussed with them by their doctors. Eating disorders in non-white individuals often present differently, though since doctors continue to measure the symptoms through a euro-centric viewpoint this leads to underdiagnosis. As an eating disorder treatment facility, it’s important for us to continue education and training on how this disease affects individuals from all varying cultures and backgrounds. This will allow us to break down barriers including stigmas (ie: the perception that eating disorders are a “white woman’s disease”) and access to resources. It will also allow us to increase our cultural competency and serve a much-needed community of individuals who are suffering.

If you or a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, please know that you are not alone. We see you and we will be here for you every step of the way. Take the first step today and learn more about the eating disorder treatment programs that we offer.

Additional readings:
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

10 Common Eating Disorder Myths Debunked

10 Common Eating Disorder Myths Debunked

Eating disorders are surrounded by a very large number of myths and misconceptions that make the importance and severity of an eating disorder very difficult to fully understand. Read below as we debunk 10 of the most common eating disorder myths!

MYTH: Only teenagers have eating disorders.

FACT: Eating disorders affect all ages, genders, races, ethnicities, cultures, sexual orientations, body shapes and sizes, geographical locations, educational statuses, and socioeconomic statuses. Eating disorders do not discriminate, there is no immunity against other demographic segments.

MYTH: Eating disorders are a choice or “lifestyle.”

FACT: No one decides that they want to have an eating disorder. There is no exact cause for one developing an eating disorder. Eating disorders are generally believed to be caused by a complex interaction of biological, psychological, and environmental factors.


MYTH: Males don’t risk the development of an eating disorder.

FACT: About one in three people suffering from an eating disorder are male. In the United States, studies show that eating disorders will affect 10 million males at some point in their lives.


MYTH: People with an eating disorder are just in a phase and will eventually just grow out of it.

FACT: Eating disorders are not a phase or a choice made by someone. Eating disorders are serious, complex, and potentially life-threatening mental and physical illnesses that require professional attention to be effectively treated.


MYTH: Parents are to blame if their child develops an eating disorder.

FACT: There is no evidence that parenting style and actions are the cause of their child developing an eating disorder. Eating disorders develop from a combination of factors. Parents are not to blame but they are crucial to recovery.


MYTH: Strict dieting is nothing to be concerned about.

FACT: What appears to be a strict diet on the outside may actually be the beginning of an eating disorder. Chronic dieting has been associated with the later development of an eating disorder, so addressing these issues right away may prevent a fully developed eating disorder.

MYTH: You can look at someone and tell if they have an eating disorder.

FACT: Individuals of any body shape and size can suffer from an eating disorder. There is no distinct body size or shape that can distinguish whether or not someone has an eating disorder.


MYTH: Purging is an effective way to lose weight.

FACT: Purging restricts your body from digesting your food properly and will not result in effective weight loss. Purging is a very dangerous behavior that is associated with medical conditions that have an impact on one’s teeth, gastrointestinal system, esophagus, kidneys, skin appearance, cardiovascular system, musculoskeletal system, and eyes.


MYTH: An eating disorder is no big deal.

FACT: Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. One suffering from an eating disorder may face medical complications from binge eating, purging, starvation, and over-exercising. Suicide is also very common among individuals suffering from an eating disorder.


MYTH: Children aren’t affected by eating disorders.

FACT: Eating disorders affect all age groups, as well as children. Eating disorders can cause significant damage to a child’s body, affecting their physical growth which is an important component of childhood. The rates of eating disorders among young girls and boys under the age of 12 have been growing in the past several years.

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