Interview with the Author Kathy Welter-Nichols

“Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.” ~Unknown
Why did you write this book? 

I’ve been seeing clients with this disorder over the past fifteen years. I see each client in one on one sessions with a 90 day follow up either in person, by phone or over Skype.  I realized they needed a solid “Plan” if they were to keep their wellness goals on target. I was often sending out additional notes and had created a home care manual for clients too. I also know that my clients like to do things themselves, and it was never what I believed was possible it was what they believed that made the choices real. Putting this altogether for them, I realized a Card Deck Set would make it even more novel, one of the favored concepts of someone with bulimia. Novelty is part of the template. The Card Deck set is based on excerpts from the book and they make a compliment to the book along with the MP3s’ this gives the individual many resources to support their recovery.chasinghunger1050x3504rev

What was a primary difference in your clients?

I knew many of my clients had never been into treatment before, and often didn’t mention anything to their doctors. They self managed bulimia and they had good days and bad days. Days when bulimia was full on, days when they could back it off, and through eating enough, avoid the binging and purging until their body settled down again. A common statement I hear from clients is something like “well, I’m not as serious as some people, I guess I’m really a functioning bulimic”. It’s a serious form of denial as this disorder can easily get away from the individual and before they know it, serious health issues can be life threatening.

Was there any other reason you wanted to write this book?

Yes,   so many of my clients shared they got into this in their school years, and if they had known it was going to control their lives, become an addiction to the exclusion of all else, they would not have started in the first place. I wanted to put something out there teachers and coaches could refer to, because the self help tools in the book will work for others endeavoring to help too. Parents will find a lot of helpful information and support too.

What’s the biggest misleading myth about bulimia in your opinion?

In my opinion, I think it’s a belief that bulimia might seem like a good idea for weight loss, but its not. In fact, I have clients that are overweight and still use bulimia. After a while it doesn’t work. In fact with over production of steroids in your system  someone using bulimia will often have the rounded “moon face” – and distended stomach. These are issues associated with the use of bulimia and you can’t get this to go away until you stop using bulimia. Once you stop it takes a few months, possibly a year at the outset, and some clients have shared the noticed it was gone inside of a month. The over steriod production stops pretty quickly and the puffy face and dark circles disappear as the liver and kidneys strengthen.

Chasing Hunger

Chasing Hunger

Why did you choose this cover, it’s obviously connected to the Hunger Games theme?

My artist chose this image for me, and I loved it right away.  I didn’t want the cover to be about judging a body, so there is no body in the frame. I wanted it to be about the fierce determination and strength I witness in all the wonderful clients I’ve had over the years. As I looked in this woman’s eyes – looking straight back at me, there is a powerful decision to challenge bulimia for the last time. I think of  my clients as rising from the ashes of this pattern and emerging triumphant in their own right. It takes a lot of courage to face yourself, challenge your patterns and be willing to step out, risk change, and really go for it. I didn’t want an image of a faceless woman, or someone in a dark bathroom lost and depressed. That’s the stereotype of Bulimia, and it doesn’t do anyone any good to think that is all there is to bulimia. The bathroom purging episodes are just one part of the strategy of Bulimia. Its a complex series of disconnected and unconscious patterns that lead to an eventual high from the purging.

What is your approach to recovery? 

I interview my clients, and their families before I agree to take them into the program. I will often work with moms and/or dads as well as members of the family. These disorders affect everyone. If there is a chance for the clients real and lasting recovery, we want all the family members on board to support the recovery knowing what their role is, and what they can stop doing, and leave to the client. There are definitely clients I cannot assist; they need medical care. And there are programs everywhere that require the client be stable, blood work at healthy levels, potassium levels stable, and the client not actively engaging in the process at the time of entering into treatment, specifically because like me, they are not equipped to provide full medical treatment.

I’m not an intake facility, and I cannot write a prescription for medications. I’ve had clients pressing to come and see me, and when they find out I can’t give them any medications, they cancel. Some clients need the care a facility can offer. I also will not accept everyone. Clients that are here because someone else wants them to get help have a much greater risk of relapse than one that is paying her way, or is grateful for the support of the person helping them; and is willing to do whatever it takes to put this behind them. There has to be motivation and yes, all my clients are fearful : not – what if this doesn’t work, but what if it does? How will I manage my life without Bulimia?

The difference in my program is I’m working with hypnosis, and we work below consciousness to interrupt the addictive behaviors. There is no drug component or dependency with Bulimia, so there is no “with-drawl” symptoms to deal with. Working out the dependency issues however, is critical – that’s where the relapse possibilities exist. If we don’t get those worked through, then the potential for relapse is high. Relapse does happen, however, my view of it is this is just one more time that is taking you closer to the last time.

The key to recovery is balancing the blood sugar, eating again, exercising with awareness or mindfully, and spacing the intake of calories throughout the day to maintain the balanced blood sugars. This avoids the binging from starvation when the client won’t eat all day. Not eating breakfast interrupts the body’s natural metabolic rate, which is set for the day when we eat about 30 minutes after getting up in the morning.health_food_platter

How can we expect a 13 year old to know this when most of us don’t know it at any age? So yes, the medical side of it is critical to me. I simply cannot do my work if the client is not well enough and then I refer out. I also ask them if they have a family doctor, have they been to see them? All the information I can gather at the time of working with someone helps me determine if the program will work for them …or not.

Meditation is a very large part of recovery and I’m very happy to see more programs embracing not just meditation but also Yoga. Both assist the body and the mind in developing a greater sense of balance and flow.

Wishing you the very best,  and please remember if you feel encouraged enough to reach out, then do so, there are many hands today available to help you today.

Kathy Welter-Nichols

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