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Eating & Body Concerns

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Do you or someone you know have concerns about eating, weight and/or attractiveness? These concerns can lead to distracting preoccupations with bodies, self-esteem, well-being, and vitality. These preoccupations can become serious and lead to significant health problems.

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  • Disordered eating is more common. Sometimes a person’s attitude toward food, weight, and their body leads to restrictive eating habits and/or rigid and excessive exercise, both which can jeopardize health and well-being.
  • Eating disorders are less common, but quite serious. These are the conditions known as anorexia nervosa and bulimia, and can be life-threatening.
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Food & Eating Services at Vaden

Struggling with food and eating can be painful, frightening, and lead to feelings of guilt or shame; however, the first step to overcoming any problem is acknowledging that you have one. This is often a difficult step. An important aspect of this is realizing that your eating behaviors and distressed feelings are impacting your food choices, as well as other aspects of your life. Feeling like you’re not ‘sick enough’ is a common feeling, but you deserve support wherever you are on the eating & body concerns continuum.

The next step is to talk with professionals who are experienced in helping students who struggle with eating. Treatment can comprise many elements, including education, individual and/or group counseling, nutrition counseling, and, when needed, medical monitoring. Proven approaches can effectively prevent, reduce, or stop troublesome behaviors while helping people develop new and positive ways of coping with underlying feelings.

I have eating and body concerns. What do I do?

Step 1: Do I have an eating disorder? Can I still see someone if I don’t?

Feel free to take the NEDA screening tool or schedule an initial visit with a CAPS therapist to learn more. Any eating or body concerns are welcome; you don’t have to be ‘sick enough’ to receive care. If you are concerned about someone, please reference our ‘Eating Concerns’ for more information.

Step 2: Assemble your team

Who do you want to be on your support team? This can include a medical provider, a therapist, dietitian, family, or friend. You don’t need a referral and call CAPS to schedule an initial visit, and you can book directly with medical services, and/or a dietitian. Here is a list of the members of our ED care team:

Vaden offers a multidisciplinary approach to eating disorder care. Please call 650-723-3785 or book a phone consultation online at the VadenPatient portal to work with ED specialists in therapy, medical services, and nutrition.

  • Care Coordination: Care Management support is available at Vaden for medical and psychological needs related to eating disorders. Our counseling and medical service teams work together when needed to support you in accessing medical care or in connecting with levels of eating disorder care.  For medical care management, the Continuity of Care Nurse at Vaden is available to assist you with managing your medical needs. You may contact a Continuity of Care Nurse at (650) 725-0984 for help obtaining the care you need while on campus.  For questions related to therapy support, contact CAPS at 650-723-3785 and ask for a CAPS initial visit appointment. The CAPS Clinician can connect you  with appropriate support, including CAPS Care Management support, based on your current needs.
  • Medical Visits: Please arrive 15 minutes early for the nursing visit prior. Book a double appointment for every visit. Your safety is our priority and so referrals to specialized care may be made. Our specialists include Shelly Bar MD, Susanne Martin MD, Robyn Tepper MD, and Leslie Abrams NP.
  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers specialized Care Management support to connect students with eating concerns to the most effective level of psychological support and care. CAPS also offers brief therapy, medication management, and groups. Call 650-723-3785 and ask to meet with a CAPS therapist who can help you connect with options.
  • Nutrition Visits: Our specialists include Bryan Lian MS RD CEDRD-S and Diane Saenz RD. More information

Step 3: Outside Referrals

Any one of our clinicians or case managers can help you find support from outside referrals. For local ED resources you can visit

Step 4: Finding Community & Life Beyond an Eating Disorder

Student groups on campus such as the Students Supporting Body Positivity (SSBP) or off-campus support groups are available to support you in recovery. The National Eating Disorder Association has a community resource here.

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If you or a friend needs additional support in making healthier choices, consider the following resources

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Nutrition Counseling

Meet with an RD/RDN (Registered dietitian/nutritionist) to understand and explore your unique nutritional needs. An appointment can address your nutrition-related concerns such as health management, disordered eating or eating disorders, high blood cholesterol, and digestive problems. The goal is to help you to thrive as a student, reconnect to your wellbeing or answer your questions about general nutrition.

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Eating & Body Concerns Online Resources

These resources investigate the relationship between the food we eat and good health. They also address how ineffective diets and body image disparagement can lead to serious health problems.