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To request an interview with Jenni, contact Amber McGinty at media@jennischaefer.com. Or, you can fill out the form on the left.

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Austin, TX 78704
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Over fifteen years ago, I timidly walked into a doctor’s office in Nashville, Tennessee, to get help for my eating disorder. I had found my way into similar offices before, but, unfortunately, clinicians had missed my illness—and dismissed me. “You’re fine,” and “You don’t look like you have an eating disorder,” I was told.

But this office—this doctor—was different. I will never forget that first appointment with Dr. Ovidio Bermudez. I don’t remember exactly what was said that day, but I do know how I felt. Hope was palpable. I finally believed that I could get better.

Gratefully, Dr. B—that’s what patients affectionately call him—shared this encouraging message with my family, too. He took the time out of his busy caseload to call my parents, who lived miles away in my home state of Texas. I don’t know what was said during that phone conversation, but, again, I know the result: hope.

My parents and I began to understand that the road to recovery might be a long one, but we also knew that I could get better. It took many years (much more time, energy, and effort than went into crafting this simple sentence), but I did recover. In fact, with access to continued expert care, I found full freedom from my eating disorder. If you are struggling with this treacherous illness, hold onto the hope that you, too, can heal and ultimately get your life back.

With recovery, life can come full circle in the most amazing and surprising ways. I guarantee that over fifteen years ago in Dr. B’s office, I never thought that I would make this announcement:

With this blog post, I am thrilled to share that I am joining forces with Dr. Bermudez at Eating Recovery Center (ERC) as the National Recovery Advocate of ERC’s Family Institute. Years ago, if someone had told me that I would one day work alongside Dr. B—providing hope to families and to those who struggle—I wouldn’t have believed it. But, this is what happens when you add recovery to an eating disorder: you get the unbelievable.

Please call 1-XXX-XXX-XXXX to speak confidentially with one of our Masters-level therapists. You don’t have to struggle alone. We’re here to support you on your journey to recovery.
To speak confidentially with one of our Masters-level therapists, call 877-957-6575, or click on this image and fill out the short form. You don’t have to struggle alone. We’re here to support you on your journey to recovery.

As the National Recovery Advocate of ERC’s Family Institute, I will continue my passions of speaking, writing, and connecting with those whose lives have been touched by eating disorders. ERC has many locations throughout Texas where I now live, so I will have the unique chance to promote healing in a place where, years ago, when I was suffering, lacked this expert care. In my role with ERC’s Family Institute, you will see me more on social media. (Please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!) Basically, joining ERC gives me the opportunity to do more of what I love to do. I am truly grateful for this chance to team up with top leaders in the eating disorders field like Drs. Ken Weiner, Craig Johnson, Emmett Bishop, Jr., Stephanie Setliff, Allison Chase, and yes, Dr B.

Our mission at Eating Recovery Center is to provide the very best care to patients, families and referral sources in the treatment of and recovery from serious eating and related disorders. I know what it is like to desperately need top-notch care and to not receive it. Thanks to Dr. B, I also know what it is like to be guided and supported by experts who, plain and simply, “get it.” If you or your loved one needs help, connect with us at ERC, and I assure that you will be heard. You will be understood. You will be joining a family that will provide ongoing support for life—not just for when the illness is at its worst. Above all, like I discovered years ago, you will find that hope is real. Recovery is possible.

Has your life come full circle in recovery? If so, please comment below sharing the gifts of recovery in your life. Together, with this blog post and your inspiring comments, we can provide the much-needed hope that healing is, in fact, possible.

 

 Watch Tea Time with Robyn Cruze, my fellow National Recovery Advocate!

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  • Hadley

    Congrats!!! Thank you Jenni for sharing this wonderful news. I appreciate all the positive support you send and messages of hope. You keep my hope alive for full recovery.

    • Thanks, Hadley! I really appreciate your wonderful note!

  • Kristine Strangis

    Congratulations Jenni! I am so happy for you! My life has come full circle as well! I have recovered from the eating disorder that once consumed me, and now I am going to graduate school to become a therapist this fall of 2016! Using my passion for mental health advocacy to help others and being a beacon of hope that recovery is possible. Just goes to show you, great things happen when you keep choosing recovery! <3

    • Yes, you are right. Great things DO happen when you keep choosing recovery! Thanks so much for sharing, Kristine! You’re such an inspiration.

      • Kristine Strangis

        Thank you so much Jenni! This really means a lot coming from you. 🙂

  • Kim Buchbinder Khazzam

    Congratulations Jenni, I’ve been following all you do for years and you are part of the reason I am where I am today in my recovery!! I struggled for years and years, treatment centers to treatment center until I finally believed I was worth recovery. I am a mother of 2 teenagers and the wife of the most amazing husband who never gave up on me!! Yes I have challenges in my life but I also have the gift of recovery and feel soo blessed to be on this recovery journey that for me will always be with me!! Talk about full circle I live a life today that is better than I ever imagined!!

    • Kim, thanks so much for sharing your beautiful story! Your words will inspire many people to keep taking steps along recovery road.

  • Anonymous

    congrats Jenni. You are very inspirational. Unfortunately I’m not able to share any happy recovery stories. I’m still battling with ED for my life and right now he’s got me pretty convinced that my entire care team is against me not for me. Maybe someday I will learn to ignore what ED is saying and I can share a recovery story with you.

    • Thanks for being open and honest. One day, you will find recovery! Stay connected to your treatment team, and never, never, never quit. Find the strength to choose recovery in each moment. Sometimes, this choice will seem impossible, but it isn’t. Gather the support that you need to stay on the recovery path.

  • Connie

    So excited for you. You are my hope! When I first went to the doctor he told me I was too old to have an ED. I was 50 then. The thing is I had struggled all my life. Needless to say I changed doctors. I eventually ended up in rehab. I am better but it is a daily thing for me. I started an ED support group in our town and it is thriving. That helps too. Thank you for sharing your story!

    • Hi Connie – I really appreciate your sharing your story here. That is amazing that you started an eating disorder support group. I am sure that your efforts help countless people. I know how much my support group meant to me. Keep up your awesome work!

  • Jean Ann Nichols

    I am excited to hear about this new adventure for you, Jenni. In the ten years since I entered treatment for the eating disorder that had controlled most of my adult life, my life has come full circle. I have left a career I didn’t enjoy, I have relapsed & fought back, and I have finished nursing school. I am now an ICU nurse in a NeuroTrauma ICU. At my lowest in recovery, I sent an email to you, Jenni, & you answered. It gave me hope. My life has come full circle-I saved myself from Ed so I could save others as a nurse!

    • Hi Jean – Your story is truly beautiful! Thanks for taking the time to share your inspiring words here. I know that your message will help a lot of people. I love that you are a nurse and now save others! Keep up your important work.

  • Andrea Wachter

    Hi Jenni, I spent decades in the throes of bulimia and other addictions. Not a day went by (and barely an hour) that I wasn’t possessed by thoughts of self-hate and body obsession. I am beyond blessed to say to anyone who is struggling, that there is hope! It took time and lots of help from others who have been there, but I, like you Jenni, have made it my life’s work to pass along what I have been taught. I not only recovered from bulimia but I now have a career that allows me to help others. There is life after ED!

    • Hi Andrea – It is great to hear from you. (Congrats on your book!) I absolutely love what you shared here. Thank you. You are so right: there IS hope!

  • Alexis

    Hi Jenni!
    Isn’t it so wonderful when things come full circle? I’m still in the process, but after a 15 year struggle, I’ve been doing well for two years now. After being told I wasn’t going to live to graduate high school, I’m graduating with my Bachelor’s of Social Work in 8 weeks. I’ve also, as of last week, been invited back to two of my treatment centers as a “recovered speaker”. It’s really cool to be able to go to Alumni groups at my former treatment center and show current clients that people really can get better.

    • Aww…Alexis…thanks so much for sharing your experience, strength, and hope. Your story is VERY inspirational! Congrats on all of your hard work!

  • Meredith Thomas

    What can I say, Jenni? I feel like our journey together has come full circle as well. As we both now work for ERC I find myself thinking back to my first interview with you in 2003 (I think?). I certainly believe there is a purpose in everything and a reason we cross people’s paths. Congratulations! I’m glad to have you as part of ERC and look forward to hopefully working with you more. Love, Meredith T.

    • Hi Meredith – Thanks so much for posting here! Yes, we have certainly come full circle together. And I love that we now both work with ERC. Hopefully, this means I will get the chance to see you more!

  • Julie

    Hi Jenni,
    Congrats on joining ERC! I find you and your work very inspirational. I’m 22 years old and I just finished your book, Life Without Ed. My eating disorder started in college and I’ve been hiding it from my parents and my doctors for two years. I don’t fit into the category of anorexia or bulemia…so I was very confused at first. Just last week, after finishing your book, I came clean to my mom and told her everything. I feel so guilty that I’ve lied for so long. I really don’t like the person I’ve become- it’s like I’ve thrown all of my beliefs and morals out the window. I don’t know why I’m so caught up in food and body image…but I hate it. I don’t want to live my life like this, but I’m scared. I know that sounds crazy, but I’m scared to recover. I find that I can “separate myself from Ed”, but I can’t “disobey” Ed. I give in everytime. I feel hopeless. Do you have any advice?

    • Hi Julie – You are VERY brave and strong! That is wonderful that you talked with your mom. Steps like that are what it takes to recover. I am truly sorry to hear that you are struggling, but I know that you can get better. What you described (not being able to disobey Ed) is completely normal in the beginning. The fact that you are separating from Ed is actually huge progress in and of itself. My advice would be to get professional help and stay connected with your support team. Ed wins when we isolate. So, staying connected with friends, family members, and professional help can be such a key. You can do it!

  • Jennifer

    I’m fairly new in treatment (outpatient) and it seems the deeper we get the harder this gets. I’m finding myself leaving the dietician and the therapist appointments raging mad every week and I absolutely hate this feeling. I am on the verge of just walking away from the whole care team right now. Is it normal to get so angry at them all so often? Am I alone in this? Is this ever going to get easier? 🙁