Does My Daughter Have An Eating Disorder? With Sara Hofmeier, LPC

RADA Sara Hofmeier | Eating Disorder


Many parents sometimes find it difficult to talk to their daughters about their bodies, especially when it comes to breaching the topic of eating disorders. But this is a very necessary conversation parents should have, so they can help their daughters early on and help them develop better and healthier relationships with their bodies. In this episode, Dr. Tim Jordan interviews Licensed Professional Counselor Sara Hofmeier about eating disorders. What signs should we look for? What role do friends, parents, and social media play? How best can we support our daughters? Sara covers these essential topics that will help you, as parents, walk hand-in-hand with your daughters to overcome the challenges of eating disorders. Tune in now!

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Does My Daughter Have An Eating Disorder? With Sara Hofmeier, LPC

I have a guest that I think you’re going to be interested in because the topic is interesting. The topic is that many parents and their daughters struggle with is talking about their bodies, how they look, and eating disorders. There are a lot of parents who wonder, and they worry about it. They go, “Is my daughter walking down that path? How would I know? What are the signs? What should I do? How can I support her?”

Her name is Sara Hofmeier. She’s a licensed Practical Professional Counselor. She earned her Master’s degree in Counseling from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, where she still lives. She’s been working with patients with eating disorders for a long time, since 2007. She’s got a lot of experience working with groups, individuals, and family therapy for patients with eating disorders across lots of levels of care, like inpatient, outpatient, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient. I thought she would be a good person who could give us some information about what she’s been seeing and also how best to support our girls. Thank you so much, Sara, for being at the show.

Thanks for having me.

I was wondering if you could give us a little bit of background about how you got to the place where you’re working with not just girls but people with eating disorders. What was your path?

I have always been a helper. I was a babysitter and did all those kinds of things through high school. I’ve always loved working with people. As I ended up in college, I explored various internships and things to do. I was a fairly standard college-age Psychology major. One of the things I ended up doing was domestic violence work, which is going to feel like an odd pathway to eating disorders.


RADA Sara Hofmeier | Eating Disorder


One of the things I found in that work was that it took a lot of people to help a person. It’s the field where a ton of resources come together. I bracketed that experience away. I realized I love helping even more and decided to go to grad school for counseling. As I was in my grad school program, we had to do internships and all kinds of training opportunities.

I had the benefit of living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where the University of North Carolina is and their eating disorders program. I happened to find out about a conference that they were doing one day. I went to the conference and was fascinated. I realized, “Eating disorders work takes a ton of people like that domestic violence thing. There are many people here helping these patients. I want to learn more about that.”

I ended up doing an internship at the eating disorders program for a year and fell in love with this population. I loved the professional side of it because of how many professionals, doctors, nurses, dieticians, therapists, and psychiatrists came together to support one person in their system but also fell in love with our patients. These are individuals who come into care at a time when life is not where they want it to be.

They come in with amazing vulnerability and honesty around what they need and a lot of pain they want to help them move through. I found it to be such an amazing honor to be able to hear individuals share their stories and be allowed to help them through that. As I’ve worked with patients over the years, I have loved doing the eating disorders work and experiencing how different everybody’s story is, but how relatable those themes are to things that everybody can also experience at times in their lives.

In the dark ages, where I went to medical school many years ago, we didn’t get much training in our understanding of eating disorders, but my one takeaway from that a long time ago was it’s the mother’s fault. These are girls who are with controlling, frigid mothers, and that’s the cause of eating disorders. That label stuck for a while. It’s a lot different nowadays.

Most folks don’t get a ton of training. In the professional world, we value education, and we are trying to make sure that professionals understand eating disorders and that we can also reach out to families and community members to help them understand. The idea that the old stereotype of it’s mom’s fault or the family’s fault is definitely an outdated framework for us.

I work at Veritas Collaborative. We’re an eating disorders treatment program in the Southeast here in the US. We strongly know that families are an ally. Parents do not cause eating disorders. They aren’t the reason that their kids get sick. They are the number one asset and ally that we have in treatment. Family can have a big, broad label. Maybe it’s mom and dad, the aunt you’re living with, or whoever your trusted adult in your life is. The idea at this point of treatment is much the opposite. We know that families are vital and essential to being able to help somebody move forward and recover.

Families are so vital and essential to being able to help somebody move forward and recover. Click To Tweet

I’m wondering if your demographic has changed in the sense that you’re starting to see. I’m focusing mostly on girls because this is about Raising Daughters. I wonder if you’re seeing younger patients as opposed to several years ago.

We are definitely seeing a full lifespan approach. I won’t go too much into numbers and stats, but there was a study done before COVID that I would love to see repeated now that looked at lifetime prevalence across the United States. If you look at the numbers in that study, it showed every single age bracket from five to 80 years old had some level of eating disorder prevalence. We saw the higher spikes in that. I would say 10 to 40, teenage, young adult, and early midlife experience phrases we definitely saw and are in practice seeing kiddos as young as 5 or 6 years old, early elementary school ages presenting with eating disorder-related concerns or behaviors.

Why do you think that is? Why is it filtering down to younger and younger?

There are a lot of potential risk factors and things for folks to be aware of. Our society looks a little different now than it did several years ago, and some of the things that we talk about are exposed to. Social media is one of those big risk factors for kids. That’s different than it was several years ago. It is starting to have a greater reach for kids of all ages.

Social media provides a lot of opportunities for folks to be exposed to commentary and content that puts forward that social thinness ideal and a lot of diet culture messages. Whether it’s true social media like Instagram and Facebook or apps and games they play on tablets, there are lots of opportunities for kids to be inundated with those messages and ways that we didn’t used to be and are harder to combat.

It’s normal to walk into the grocery store and see a magazine with an ad about weight loss and a commentary on who lost X number of pounds, go down an aisle of food, see diet-label products, and hear people commenting on what they see in a mirror. We’ve got kids who are surrounded by messages about dieting, body shape and size, and what we idealize as a society from an appearance standpoint.

It’s become easy to use social media as the punching bag for this issue. It’s their fault. It’s all about social media. They have a role. I’ve been at two weekend retreats in a month, one for high school girls and one for middle school girls. I want you to talk for a minute about the role of peers and what their effect is because that’s what girls say. They’re more concerned about what their friends think and how their friends look than they are sometimes about what’s on that screen.

Social comparison is huge. When we think about kids and their peer groups and what happens when kids get together, there can be a lot of beauty in that and cool support. There’s also a lot of opportunity for comparison. Kids notice things that are different or feel like they stand out or don’t match what they think of as the ideal. We definitely see bullying show up among peer groups. We notice weight, shape, or size differences. Kids who present in larger bodies or live in higher-weight bodies are a bit more at risk for bullying from peers who might target them for looking or being different.

Because we have, as adults in society, accepted some normal level of talking about our bodies and criticizing ourselves in the mirror or commenting on what we see other people look like, our kids pick up on that, and they mirror some of that language. It’s become normal for kids to also comment on what the other people in their social circle look like or what they see is different and adopt some of that socially driven criticizing behavior, which can be hard for young kids to navigate.

I’ve seen some girls where there are two things they started their issues with how they look. One place it started is that they’re the first girl going into puberty. They get the curves, and they are gaining weight. They look around their little stick friends, and they’re like, “I’m fat.” That’s one thing. The other is athletes. I can’t tell you how many athletes, and this is probably true for you, who I’ve seen have muscular thighs, shoulders, and bodies. They think they’re fat because they sit next to their friend at school who has a stick figure.

I always tell them. I say, “Have you ever watched the Olympics?” They’ll say, “Yeah.” I said, “Do you ever watch the Olympic swimmers?” They’re like, “Sure.” I said, “What do those women look like? Are they little sticks?” They’re like, “No.” I said, “What do they look like?” They say, “They’re muscular, especially their legs.”

This one girl I saw not too long ago, I said, “What’s your main swimming stroke?” She said, “The butterfly.” I’m like, “You have big legs because that’s what you need.” Sometimes, that education is not there. They don’t understand puberty. They’ve been educated about their normal body changes and the weight changes of puberty.

Puberty is another big one. From a risk factor standpoint, puberty is a risky time period because there’s a differential rate of development changes. They’re like, “I look different than you, and you look different than her. Which of us is looking the way we should right now?” For all of us, as we experience body changes, there’s sometimes a level of emotional reaction.

For individuals, even going through puberty, experiencing those physical changes, having to react to a body that looks and feels different this month and maybe it did last month, can also be a personally challenging time for kids, as they’re navigating all of that life experience they don’t have yet. The athletic piece is another big one.

Sports can be an awesome thing, a great community source, and a challenge for kids as they think, “How is my body different? Is it because of what I do with it, how I function, and how I have the ability to embrace those differences?” There are sports or athletic ventures where we have a higher degree of emphasis on appearance, on potentially needing to make a certain weight or look a way to be in that sport. Being aware of the vulnerabilities that come with athletics for girls and how we allow them to do the things they love while empowering their sense of self and some anchor within that so that they don’t feel they have to change their body to be good or to be enough.

Besides some of those activities like cheerleading and dance, I hear many stories from girls about how their coaches say inappropriate things about their weight. They are weighing them all the time, or they’re supposed to look a certain way. I’m sure you hear that a lot.

That’s a huge risk factor. Boys and girls alike when we’re in an athletic environment where someone says, “You need to make this weight. You need to get to this size. You need to have your leotard look this certain way.” That could put a lot of pressure on somebody for something that is not in our control. We have the body we’re born with.

What do you say to girls about how to handle fat shaming, which happens a lot at gym class when they’re standing in front of the mirror and when they’re at sleepovers? How do you coach girls to handle that?

That’s a tough one. It’s all around us, and it’s something that, inevitably, they’re going to hear or be exposed to at some point. An important piece to help young girls with is to help them zoom back a little bit farther out of their immediate experience and help them look at how society normalizes that behavior. That doesn’t necessarily have to be their experience.

Help them zoom back and think about, “What do you hear in the news?” If they watch the news or on the radio, “What do you see people post in their Instagram Reels? What are you seeing on magazine covers?” Help them become aware that this is an idea that our society perpetuates. It’s become normal that we criticize bodies.

Help them look back on their own experience. What are you being told? What are you being said? How can we help you build a new frame? Let’s talk about your body and the shape and size that you are. How does that relate to your value as a human? You’re an amazing person, regardless of what you look like. How can we build other forms of confidence? How can we help you recognize form, function, health and academic abilities, hobbies, and passions that can give you an equal, if not greater, amount of worth that you can feel confident about? Those body comments, while they may still be painful, may still be hard. They don’t have to be the thing that defines who you are as a person. You don’t like the size jeans I wear? I am way better at math than you.

You're an amazing person regardless of what you look like. Click To Tweet

That’s a way simplified version of it. It’s certainly not that easy, and even as adults, that’s a hard thing to grasp sometimes. For kids, it’s important to help them build that well-rounded perspective that we all have a body. It is a thing that we exist in. We have feelings about it, and that’s okay. It doesn’t define who we are. There is so much more to being a human in this world that can give us worth and a sense of identity. Focusing on those and building those can help soften the blow of some of that commentary that we know isn’t helpful.

The flip side is also helping them understand that how we talk to others and about others also sets a tone and an example. If it feels uncomfortable when you have commentary come back at you, let’s think about how we comment on bodies, what conversations we are willing to engage in, and what spaces we need to exit because it’s not a helpful conversation for us to be a part of anymore. Are there relationships that aren’t building us up because it’s a negative space to exist in and help them build skills that way?

I encourage girls with their close group of friends to sit down, have a conversation, and say, “Do any of us like it when someone says, why are you eating that, or makes those fat shaming comments?” Nobody likes it. They can make an agreement within the group. Let’s knock it off. Can we hold each other accountable for that? Someone starts to go off and say, “I’m fat.” This is like the girl who weighs twenty pounds in the group. Is there some way we can hold each other accountable to say, “We said we weren’t going to that?”

Being able to have norms in your life and be honest with that group of friends there to be your support and people create the culture that you want to be a part of that’s going to help you.

My wife and I have run some father-middle school-daughter retreats all over the place for years. We’ve done some mother-daughter ones too. We’ve done the same with them, but the Father-daughter one is even more interesting. One exercise we do is we separate them, the dads and the daughters, and we have them draw a picture altogether as a group of the ideal woman at age 25 or 30. I say, “I want you to make this representation of what you’ve absorbed from the culture, not what you think personally, but these are the things I hear or see.”

The dads are doing the same thing in a different room. We come back. We always show the dad’s picture first. It has a plain picture in the middle. There are always words like educated, high morals, integrity, engaged, and compassionate. It’s beautiful. We unveil the girl’s picture, and it’s all about their looks, thick lips, and curvy figure. The average weight and size of the ideal woman is usually about 5’8” to 5’10”, and they weigh about 110 to 115 pounds. It goes down from there. The dads are like, “What?” It’s such a stark difference in that, and we talk about it. I’m sure that resonates with you.

That’s a great example of how, as parents, we want to be aware of the context in which our kids are growing up right now. They live in a society where that’s all around them. Their friends are talking about the celebrity they want to look like. They’re comparing their size. They’re talking about that older kid they want to be like. They’re following someone on TikTok who does something with their body.

For us to hold space around what we want our family norms to be, what do we talk about at home? How do we set the tone for this not being the thing we care most about? How do I make sure as a mom that I’m not standing in front of my daughter looking in the mirror and complaining about how my pants fit or I’m not at dinner commenting on, “That extra slice of cake was bad, I’m going to have to do that extra run in the morning?”

As dads, how do we make sure that we’re focusing on things that have nothing to do with our kids’ appearance? Maybe your strength or dedication to your unique and cool hobbies and great performance in the band. Help them see there is more to who you are and who we are than weight. Setting that expectation at home and creating a culture where kids hear, feel, and experience that who they are has nothing to do with what they look like.

My wife and I ran a weekend retreat in Italy with girls and their moms from all over Europe several years ago. We were talking about what you talked about. The moms were saying, “I would never say anything bad about my body. I know that. I’m sensitive. I’m careful about that. I, I don’t do that.” With the girls in the room, we said, “How many of you have heard your mom say bad things about their body?” The moms were like, “What?” It’s an awareness. We blame social media and friends. Sometimes, it’s close to home, mom and dad. You mentioned the moms. The dad has an effect on what they say.

That’s this idea of how we talk about our body and how we talk about bodies. If you’re in your kitchen at night and mom walks past dad, don’t make comments that aren’t things you want your kids to hear that potentially shame body size or bring more context to bodies than we want them to have. It’s not just social media, friends, or home. It’s all those things together that make up the environment.

As a mom, I’m aware it’s not what I say. If it was only what I say, that’d be a nice thing to try and control, but it’s what I say. A couple of my kids are going to hear at school and summer camp, combined with what they’re going to hear on social media. We can be one sliver of something good and something that we can help reinforce what we want them to hear and think about themselves. It makes a big difference.

I’m not sure if you found this, but what the mom says and what girls look to their moms is critical. Sometimes, we don’t talk about dads and the effect of their words, actions, and how they live. Girls, in my experience, are sensitive to what their dads say about how they look.

As a mom with a daughter who adores her dad, I get it. Dads do play a huge picture. As any role model in your kid’s life, any responsible adult they’re with, dads are going to have a huge impact on how kids experience what is valued about them and what they see their dad valuing and finding to be important. It’s things like when you’re watching TV together. What do you choose to comment on? What do you choose not to comment on? What media do you consume together? How do you talk about it when it happens?

As you’re watching movies, do you have a culture in your family of being able to call out something that wasn’t okay, and can dads be an example for their kids of how to advocate for themselves and to recognize, “That’s an example of how I don’t want you treated, or how I don’t want you to think about yourself? I’m going to label what I don’t think is what the world I want for you.”

There was a high school girl at one of the recent retreats who said that her dad, when she was in seventh grade and was going through puberty, she was putting on that normal weight. Her dad would come up to her, squeeze her cheeks, and say, “You’re getting chubby, aren’t you?” A couple of times, he grabbed her upper arm and said something similar, and she was devastated. She still remembers and cries about it.

For families to be aware of how harmful that can be, even if it feels like innocent, cutesy, and casual commentary, can be incredibly devastating and hugely impactful. If families can have like, “We don’t talk about body stance,” as black and white as that, it can be helpful. Good or bad, we don’t need to comment on anything that’s happening because you’re right. It can have such a negative impact, even if that’s not the intention.

We’re talking to Sara Hofmeier, who’s a Therapist who works with girls, boys, men, and women with eating disorders. We’ve been talking about how we can support our daughters better with this issue. I’m wondering. Every girl, lots of girls, and most girls in those pre-teen and teen years worry about how they look and the comparisons. We’ve been talking about that. Sometimes, that affects how they eat or whether or not they eat and they overexercise. What can you tell parents about when is it there’s a continuum cup about normal but not normal, like, “This is a problem.” What are some of the signs that you can help parents look for to know they need to get some help?

At Veritas, we think about early detection and intervention. For families to be able to watch for some of those early warning signs, it is a spectrum. As I talk about what some of the signs might be, I want families to hold space for this idea that it doesn’t have to be a full-blown eating disorder, where you feel like you can see it, know it, label it, and know what to do.

We want families to start recognizing changes and minor concerns because getting early help can help the overall journey of what you might need to do to be free of any eating concerns. For us, things that we encourage families to be on the lookout for, to watch for signs that it might be time to loop in a therapist or get somebody to help you assess what’s going on, would be changes in how they relate to food or how they’re interacting with food.

If all of a sudden you’re noticing, “My child used to snack on all sorts of things and have an all foods fit philosophy. I’m noticing she keeps telling me she’s not eating carbs. We’re all of a sudden not doing snacks anymore.” As you start to notice foods, food groups, or eating opportunities being eliminated, that would be a pattern to watch for and see what’s driving this. Can I ask some more questions to understand why we’re changing our eating and why we’re suddenly not eating certain foods if there’s no medical reason for us to do so?

It’s noticing drastic weight fluctuations. Childhood and adolescence are times of great body change. There’s a lot of change that’s to be expected. If you notice that a child who should be growing is all of a sudden seeming to lose drastic amounts of weight, we’d want to get that checked out. A, make sure there’s nothing medical going on, but B, assess for potential eating disorder behaviors that might be driving a change in their body.

Another piece that we noticed might feel like not an obvious sign but an increase in isolation and emotional volatility, which can happen as you become a teenager and struggle to navigate the world around you, but also as somebody who’s potentially not fully nourishing themselves if they’re engaging in eating disorder behaviors and not as taken care of as they need to be. They may increase some of those signs and symptoms of depression. Start to isolate a little bit more. Be a bit more secretive and have more of those emotional swings. Those changes are the biggest thing that we ask folks to look out for.

Related to that is a preoccupation. If all of a sudden you get a kid who’s talking all the time about their workout or their run and how many runs they’re going to do and when they’re going to do it, and they have to stay at practice longer, it’s negative. They are like, “This is different. This is noticeable. We’re talking about exercising a whole lot here. What’s going on?” If they’re talking about or seeming to be thinking about food all the time, wanting to help make the grocery list all the time, always picking out foods with you, and trying to control what we’re cooking, things to notice when those things are a difference from how we’ve been operating before.

If you notice some of those signs and you have a concern, like, “This is too much,” what’s a sensitive way to talk about it? I’m guessing girls, in your experience, are sensitive about that and may push back.

It’s a sensitive topic. What we know in general, from research and anecdotal experiences, is that kids are a little reluctant to acknowledge eating disorder concerns. I would encourage parents not to wait. Some kids are awesome. They’ll disclose their needs, and that’s fantastic. For a lot of kids, this is a hard topic to talk about.

Assume we need to ask the questions, and I’d rather ask and make a kid uncomfortable then not ask and have them get ill and be at a point where a much more aggressive form of intervention is needed. I encourage openly asking questions like, “I’m a little concerned with what I’m seeing happen with food. Can I ask you what’s going on? I’ve noticed that the way you talk about your body feels a little bit different these days. What’s happening? Anything I need to know about?”

Offering them to talk to somebody else, like, “I’m getting a little worried about the way that I see you interacting at meal times or going on with how you’re handling your body right now. Can I find you a therapist or someone to talk to if you don’t want to talk to me?” Putting it out there clearly to show I see you and I care, and I notice that something’s happening and being willing to do that repeatedly because asking once might not get you an answer. We don’t want to let it go because eating disorders don’t go away. They’re not a phase.

Eating disorders don't just go away. They're not a phase. Click To Tweet

At Veritas, we recommend intervening early. That might be saying, “We’re going to go to our pediatrician and have a quick check-in, talk about what’s going on. Let’s call a dietician and see if we can get somebody to have a conversation with us about what our eating needs to look like as we’re a growing kid. Do we want to find a therapist who could help us do an evaluation of what we are seeing and noticing? What would be helpful to change the direction of where we’re headed?

At the beginning like that, you wouldn’t be labeling that with an eating disorder. I’m concerned about what you’ve been talking about and all your negative comments. The label might scare them.

The label doesn’t matter. Whether we call it an eating disorder or not, the reality is what we’re trying to convey. I see you, and I love you. I care about you, and I want you to be okay. I want to make sure that if you’re not, I can help you with that. We can call it an eating disorder or anything that we want to. What we’re identifying is I’m noticing something that feels different, and I’m worried about you in it. I want to help.

We’re talking with Sara Hofmeier. She’s a Counselor from North Carolina. She works for a company called Veritas. You have to explain that in a minute. She worked with adults, kids, and adolescents with eating disorders, inpatient, outpatient, and residential. You touched on this before, if I could ask you one more question?

One piece parents can help a lot is to help their kids become image and media-savvy. You mentioned before how sometimes, it seems like they should know because they’re adept at looking at stuff, finding stuff, and posting things. They’re experts at all that. Even the ones who I’ve found mature and with it still get caught up in, “That’s reality.”

It’s important to be healthy consumers of social media or any form of media. As parents or adults who are trusted folks in kids’ lives to be able to help call out reality versus presentation, that can have a huge span of what that looks like. You definitely have digitally altered images and things that are far from reality. They’re obvious, but there’s also what we choose to present, what people choose to present in their online or photographed lives.

It is important to be healthy consumers of social media or any form of media. Click To Tweet

It’s being able to have open conversations about that, whether it’s anything from a video game. People don’t look like that. What is happening here? They are, “I saw you followed this person. What do you think about the things that they’re posting? Do you think that tells the whole story of what’s going on for them?” Posting examples of asking those critical questions to help highlight that.

What we see is one sliver. You put yourself together for school differently than you do when you’re home on Saturday morning in your jammies still. What you see on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, or whatever platform you’re using is what somebody has chosen to put out there for you and might not be the whole story.

The beautiful side of social media is there is a huge world of body positivity content there. As parents, we look at what our kids are consuming and trying to help them build a balanced media diet. If they’re following pages that we recognize are making them feel worse about themselves and giving them messages that condone unhealthy or unhelpful behaviors, we want to try, challenge, and balance it out with things that are great.

There are celebrities that have some amazing body positivity content out there that celebrate size diversity. Helping people also find spaces and media that represent more reality and a wider array of acceptance can hopefully help balance out what we know can be a high level of negative messaging out there.

I’ve had a lot of girls on their own. They turned everything off for a few weeks to a month. They were amazed at how much better they felt and how much different their self-talk was from taking a break from looking at all that.

We’ll do that in treatment with folks a lot. As they’re getting ready to head back home after having been in care for a while, they’ve been without their phone for a while. We have those conversations like, “You’re going to be home next week. What’s on your phone? Do we need to help you go through and clean it up? How is it contributing to your eating disorder? What do we need to do to remove any content that’s going to encourage you to do things that we know aren’t good for you as a person? Helping them understand what did they follow that gave them messages that weren’t promoting their health. Who are they connected to that was dragging them down? A social media cleanup can be helpful if you notice it’s having a negative impact on how you’re feeling.

I’ve seen many studies that show that when you sit down and watch TV shows, movies, and YouTube videos with your daughter, it’s protective that the messages that you don’t want them to get is an opportunity to pause and say, “How do you feel about that? Do you hear that stuff with your friends? What do you do about it?” That’s protective for growth.

It goes back to teaching them to be critical consumers of media. Whether it’s something as obvious as we all think we should challenge, like social media or benign movies that still have clear messaging in them. Being able to create space where they are willing to call out, challenge, and say, “We shouldn’t say that. That’s not how I would talk to my friends. I don’t want people to talk to me that way.” Being able to frame that as how we critically consume what we’re around is protective.

Tell our readers about Veritas, the company that you work for.

Veritas Collaborative is an eating disorders treatment company that is based here in the Southeast US. We have facilities in North Carolina and Georgia. We provide eating disorders treatment for people of all ages and genders at a variety of levels of care. We have inpatient and residential hospitalization for children and adults who need 24-hour care, structured supervision, and support to help them change behaviors and move through their eating disorders.

We also offer an array of lower-level care services. We have day treatment programs that offer structured groups and meal support, as well as intensive outpatient programming that offers additional group support and standard outpatient therapy across North Carolina and Georgia to offer a level of support to help folks in their home and community as they’re navigating challenges related to eating disorders.

I looked at your site a couple of times. There are articles, blogs, and information for parents. What’s the website?

If you visit, there’s a whole bunch of resources. We’ve got information for families, treatment, and eating disorders in general. There are lots of resources, including our blog, where there can be a lot of helpful tips for families and parents if you want to read about how to talk to your kid about body image. How do I navigate the holidays with my kid, who might be struggling with eating? What would treatment look like if I needed it?

We have resources for professionals and information for providers on how to refer a patient or how to get support if you’re struggling. There’s information there about how a family can directly seek treatment themselves if they are looking for support from somebody. Whatever your kid might be struggling with, it doesn’t matter. It’s raising the flag. If I see something I’m worried about and I’m going to ask for help, you can let the folks that know what they’re doing help figure out what to call it and what you need. We encourage parents to ask for help. You don’t have to feel alone and not feel like you know what to do to get your kid some support.

We’ve been talking to Sara Hofmeier. Thank you so much for coming on. I know how valuable your time is. In my experience, this is a complex issue. This isn’t like having a power struggle with your kid. When girls are struggling with this, it takes a whole team approach. It’s not a quick-fix thing. It’s a whole mindset shift.


RADA Sara Hofmeier | Eating Disorder


This is definitely not an overnight fix. That’s part of why we also encourage early detection and intervention. The sooner we can start providing support, the sooner we can interrupt what’s happening and try and get somebody back to where we want them to be. It might take longer, and that’s okay. Part of the eating disorders world is knowing that we’re in it for however long someone needs us. We’ll make sure that families stay connected with resources for however long that journey is for them because it’s not an overnight fix. We definitely believe in recovery being a possibility and hold hope that everybody ends up there.

Thank you so much for being on the show and for what you’re doing. There’s a lot of need out there. I’m glad you’re doing it.

Thank you so much for having me.

That’s an interesting conversation and a valuable one. A lot of parents are confused because most girls in their pre-teen and teen years struggle with their looks, appearance, weight, and body changes. It’s nice to have resources. Check out their website at Thanks so much for stopping by here. I’ll see you next episode.


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About Sara Hofmeier

RADA Sara Hofmeier | Eating DisorderSara Hofmeier is a Licensed Professional Counselor, having earned her Master’s in Counseling from UNC Greensboro. Sara has been working with patients with eating disorders since 2007 and comes to Veritas from the UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders where she was the program’s Clinical Director and an Assistant Professor. Sara has experience providing individual, group, and family therapy for patients with eating disorders across multiple levels of care including inpatient, partial hospitalization, and outpatient treatment settings. In addition to her experience in direct patient care, Sara has extensive experience providing supervision and training to new therapists and particularly enjoys providing supervision around the care and treatment of patients with eating disorders.


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