When I decided that I wanted to hire a recovery coach to work in my practice, I received many applications and conducted a lot of interviews.
After I interviewed, Martha Uhl, I knew immediately that she was the person who I wanted to hire. I asked her to do a "role-play" session with me and she was amazing! I was so impressed with her clinical skills.
I was so excited to do an interview with Martha who works as an eating disorder recovery coach with people worldwide via video.
Jennifer: Tell me a little bit about yourself and what got you interested in working with people with eating disorders?
Martha: I believe that things in my life have happened for a reason. Twelve years ago, I began my own eating disorder recovery journey at The Emily Program, an eating disorder treatment facility in Minnesota. After treatment and going through the recovery journey, I knew that I wanted to help others who were still struggling.
After graduating from the nation’s only dietetic practicum program solely focusing on eating disorders, I worked as the Lead Program Eating Disorder Dietitian at The Emily Program in St. Paul, Minnesota (the same organization where I had sought treatment a decade ago). It is there where I recognized that my passion aligned with the individual coaching and counseling aspect of the work.
I am grateful to now be working as an eating disorder recovery coach with The Eating Disorder Center.
I am so passionate about helping others as they walk their own recovery journey. I feel so fortunate to be able to do this work.
It makes me pretty emotional when I take a step back and realize how things have come full circle for me. The hard work is worth it, trust me. Recovery is a beautiful thing.
Jennifer: What was the most helpful for you in your own recovery journey?
Martha: The eating disorder promises so much: you’ll love yourself more if you just hit this weight, you’ll be happier if you exercise this much more, don’t eat that food it’s bad for us.
I wanted to believe everything my eating disorder told me, however it wasn’t until I put all of my trust into my treatment team that I was able to slowly loosen my grip on ED.
It was if I were trusting them when they said the sky was blue when I only could see it as grey.
Jennifer: How is your recovered life different from your life trapped in an eating disorder?
Martha: My eating disorder engulfed me like a dark, suffocating cloud; blurring my judgements and values. My relationships suffered, my grades tanked, I really didn’t have the energy for anything beside laying in bed.
Life is not meant to be lived by an unattainable set of rules. Our worth is not defined by the number on the scale. We are so much more than that.
My recovery has allowed for the beautiful things to take up space in my life: friends, family, travel, food freedom, new experiences, joyful movement, being present…I could go on and on. I care for my body now. Like actually care. It’s wild and SO damn freeing.
Jennifer: How can a recovery coach help someone who is struggling with an eating disorder?
Martha: An interdisciplinary team is crucial to eating disorder recovery. It is imperative to enlist all the support you can find. As a recovery coach help you un-peal the layers to find who you authentically are without the eating disorder.
We focus on the here and now while working on your short and long-term goals for recovery. I am here to hold you accountable, help you to challenge your thoughts/behaviors, and to offer support.
I also will hold hope for your recovery when you have moments where recovery doesn’t feel possible.
Jennifer: How would you describe your approach as a recovery coach?
Martha: One of my previous clients said it best when she said, “I know eating disorder recovery is my own journey; my own marathon, but it’s so nice to know that you will be at every water station and check point to cheer me on and help me out.”
I meet my clients where they are at while in the same breath setting firm boundaries and gently nudging them to challenge their eating disorder thoughts, behaviors and actions.
I also believe in the healing power of humor. Humor can improve our emotional perspective when we are faced with demanding and stressful ED thoughts.
Most importantly, as a human first and coach second, I do my absolute best to make my client’s feel supported, respected and validated.
Jennifer: What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job?
Martha: Man. There are so many things I love about my job it’s really hard to pick one. But, if I had to I’d say my favorite part about my job is the relationships with my clients. I feel so honored that they allow me to witness some of their most vulnerable moments.
What really gets me is when I get a simple “thank you.” I honestly cannot see myself doing anything else with my career. This is it and I love it.
The most challenging part of my job is when a client is not ready for treatment and wants to stay in the eating disorder. It’s really hard to witness, but it’s a reality. The eating disorder can be SO tricky and has a laundry list of empty promises, so it’s difficult to leave when it’s been your way to cope with, well… life.
Jennifer: What are your biggest pet peeves about diet culture?
Martha: Diet culture makes us believe that the number on the scale or the size of our jeans equate our worth. It makes us believe we are not good enough just as we are. We have to go on detoxes and cleanses to remove the “toxins” (which is the job of our liver and kidneys btw). It is everywhere and affects everyone.
One of my many pet peeves about diet culture is this philosophy that there is such a thing as “good” and “bad” food. Who decided this? WHO? I’d love to talk to them because it’s a bunch of BS. When we separate foods into “good” and “bad” categories, we ultimately are telling ourselves we are “bad” if we eat said “bad” food.
Character is not based on what someone eats. Foods should not be forced into categories any more than people should. All food fits. There is a time and place for all food. We deserve to enjoy our food, all food.
Ready to find freedom?
Book your free 15 min consultation with Martha.
The Eating Disorder Center is a premier outpatient eating disorder therapy center founded by Jennifer Rollin. We specialize in helping teens and adults struggling with anorexia, binge eating disorder, bulimia, OSFED, and body image issues. We also offer therapy for obsessive compulsive disorder. We provide eating disorder therapy in Rockville, MD, easily accessible to individuals in Potomac, North Potomac, Bethesda, Olney, Silver Spring, Germantown, and Washington D.C. We provide eating disorder recovery coaching via Zoom to people worldwide. Connect with us through our website at www.theeatingdisordercenter.com
The Eating Disorder Center
We are a premier outpatient eating disorder therapy center in Rockville, Maryland.