Disordered Eating and Body Image Counseling Columbia, MO

Body Image & Eating Concerns

Everything is on a continuum. It's a matter of degrees. At Brave, we understand this. Sometimes there isn't a great way to explain where your at on this continuum. Your not even sure yourself. We are here to help you. We meet you where you are. Let's tackle this thing together! 

Body Image, Disordered Eating, & Eating Disorders

A Continuum: Your Attitudes & Behaviors Regarding Food & Body Image.

Do you find yourself criticizing your appearance? Do you have an unhealthy relationship with food? Are you eating to cope with emotions, filling a bottomless void? Have you been engaging in unhealthy or risky behaviors to maintain or lose weight (such as using drastically restricting calories or foods, using laxatives, taking weight-loss or water pills, vomiting, etc.)?

If you've found this page, you recognize something isn't quite right. You've been struggling with something and your searching for answers. It's time something changes.

Consider for a second that there is a continuum representing a wide range of feeling, attitudes, and behaviors related to food and body image. While some folks might meet the criteria for a specific eating disorder, many others may not. 

You don't have to meet the criteria for a specific eating disorder to seek treatment. Don't continue suffering or allow your behavior to spiral into an eating disorder.  

Whether you're struggling with weight loss, body image, disordered eating, or a diagnosed eating disorder,  I can help you!

I believe addressing your unhealthy attitudes, and behaviors surrounding food and body image is necessary at any stage. 

Are you still on the fence of seeking treatment?

You've probably talked yourself out of seeking help in the past or even now. A running commentary of self-sabotaging questions or statements are running through your head.

"What's the big deal anyway? Everyone has little self-esteem issues or insecurity about their body, don't they? Everyone does unhealthy things to cope sometimes. So maybe I'm a little consumed lately, or picking up bad habits to lose or control my weight. Okay, yes it sucks and takes its toll, but it's not going to kill me! Right? Maybe I should suck it up already? My problem is silly compared to other peoples issues."

It's time to start challenging those false statements. It's time to get the help you need and deserve. It's time you honor your pain and begin the healing process.

Regardless of how severe your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors have become, you can begin to recover!  

Contact me today. Let's talk about how I can help you!


As a counselor, I utilize evidence-based practices, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy, to help you recover. Treatment can vary depending on a number of factors. A few elements of treatment could include:

*Identify underlying causes 

* Address any mental health issues (anxiety, depression, trauma, etc.)

* Ongoing education

* Challenge and replacing thinking errors

* Coping Skills

* Strengthening relationships 

* Increase support systems



Reach out for a FREE 15-minute consultation. 

Please complete the Consultation Form. This form helps me gather important information to see if we are a good fit! 

I'll reach out to you within 24 hour to schedule a FREE 15-minute consultation.

Or if you're ready, we can schedule an appointment.

I look forward to connecting with you! 

FREE 15-minute Consultation

Reach out today and let's see if we are a good fit!

Healing your relationship with food & your body image.


Emotional Eating


Counseling Weight Loss, Lose Weight, Overweight, Weight-loss, Columbia and Jefferson City, Missouri

Body Image

Emotional Eating


Counseling and Therapy for Body Image, Improve Body Image, Columbia and Jefferson City, Missouri

Emotional Eating

Emotional Eating

Disordered Eating vs. Eating Disorders

Counseling, Therapy, Stop Emotional Eating, Disordered Eating, Eating Disorder, Columbia, MO

Disordered Eating vs. Eating Disorders

Disordered Eating vs. Eating Disorders

Disordered Eating vs. Eating Disorders

Understand the difference between Disordered Eating and Eating Disorders Columbia, Missouri

Common Signs & Symptoms

Disordered Eating vs. Eating Disorders

Types of Eating Disorders

Signs and Symptoms of Eating Disorders, Eating Disorder Treatment Columbia, MO Jefferson City, MO

Types of Eating Disorders

Disordered Eating vs. Eating Disorders

Types of Eating Disorders

Disordered Eating Binge Eating, Eating Disorder Treatment Columbia and Jefferson City Missouri

Body Image

Boy Image, Treating Negative Body Image, Counseling Body Image Issues Columbia, Missouri

What is Body Image?

Simply put, body image is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror. 

This includes:

  • What you believe about your own appearance.
  • How you feel about your body (including your height, shape, and weight).
  • How you physically experience or feel in your body. 

How did your negative body image develop?

Growing up we internalize messages which either foster a positive or negative body image. But where did these messages come from?  

  • Our large culture, media, community, professional and social groups, close friends and intimate partners as well as our personal beliefs, values, the media, our family and intimate partners. 

  • Those external messages shape our internal thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and values associated with physical attributes, attractiveness, body type, weight and so on.

Why is it important to develop a positive body image?

Having a healthy body image is an important part of mental well-being and eating disorders prevention. It's vital to our self-perception and self-esteem, which keep us happy, healthy, and functioning in all areas of our life!  

Emotional Eating

What is Emotional Eating?

Learning to cope with your emotions, freeing yourself from Emotional Eating.

Learning to cope with your emotions, freeing yourself from Emotional Eating.

Emotional Eating is when you use food as an attempt to control and cope with negative or unwanted feelings or thoughts. Shame, guilt, embarrassment, hurt, anxiety, fear, and depression. These are all emotions we'd prefer to avoid or sooth. Unfortunately, Emotional Eating often results in overeating, leading to poor self-esteem, unwanted weight gain, and obesity. 

Learning to cope with your emotions, freeing yourself from Emotional Eating.

Learning to cope with your emotions, freeing yourself from Emotional Eating.

Learning to cope with your emotions, freeing yourself from Emotional Eating.

As a therapist, I help you identify the underlying internal and external triggers, and learn healthy coping techniques and emotional regulation skills. Changing the way you cope with undesirable or uncomfortable emotions is empowering. Break the cycle. 

Disordered Eating vs. Eating Disorders

You may be wondering what the difference is between disordered eating vs. eating disorders. Essentially, the difference comes down to the frequency (how often),  the severity of behaviors (how unhealthy or dangerous are these behaviors) and the level of distress you experience. From a clinical perspective, you have an opportunity to heal unhealthy relationships with food and body image. 

 Breaking disordered eating habits before they lead to an eating disorder can be done.



What are common emotional, behavioral, and physical signs/symptoms I should be aware of?

According to The National Eating Disorder Association, the list below is common signs and symptoms of an Eating Disorder. There are emotional, behavioral and physical signs of being aware of when you're considering if you should seek help. If you find you have these symptoms or engage in these behaviors, seek help today. Talk with health care professionals such as your primary care physician and a mental health professional (Licensed Professional Counselor). Here at Elizabeth Hocker Counseling, I help people recover from disordered eating. 


Emotional & Behavioral

  • In general, behaviors and attitudes that indicate that weight loss, dieting, and control of food are becoming primary concerns
  • Preoccupation with weight, food, calories, carbohydrates, fat grams, and dieting
  • Refusal to eat certain foods, progressing to restrictions against whole categories of food (e.g., no carbohydrates, etc.)
  • Appears uncomfortable eating around others
  • Food rituals (e.g. eats only a particular food or food group [e.g. condiments], excessive chewing, doesn’t allow foods to touch)
  • Skipping meals or taking small portions of food at regular meals
  • Any new practices with food or fad diets, including cutting out entire food groups (no sugar, no carbs, no dairy, vegetarianism/veganism)
  • Withdrawal from usual friends and activities
  • Frequent dieting
  • Extreme concern with body size and shape 
  • Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws in appearance
  • Extreme mood swings



  • Noticeable fluctuations in weight, both up and down
  • Stomach cramps, other non-specific gastrointestinal complaints (constipation, acid reflux, etc.)
  • Menstrual irregularities — missing periods or only having a period while on hormonal contraceptives (this is not considered a “true” period)
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Abnormal laboratory findings (anemia, low thyroid and hormone levels, low potassium, low white and red blood cell counts)
  • Dizziness, especially upon standing
  • Fainting/syncope
  • Feeling cold all the time
  • Sleep problems
  • Cuts and calluses across the top of finger joints (a result of inducing vomiting)
  • Dental problems, such as enamel erosion, cavities, and tooth sensitivity
  • Dry skin and hair, and brittle nails
  • Swelling around the area of salivary glands
  • Fine hair on body (lanugo)
  • Cavities, or discoloration of teeth, from vomiting
  • Muscle weakness
  • Yellow skin (in context of eating large amounts of carrots)
  • Cold, mottled hands and feet or swelling of feet
  • Poor wound healing
  • Impaired immune functioning

Types of Eating Disorders

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Binge Eating, Anorexia, and Bulimia?

By The National Eating Disorder Association


  • Secret recurring episodes of binge eating (eating in a discrete period of time an amount of food that is much larger than most individuals would eat under similar circumstances); feels lack of control over the ability to stop eating
  • Feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt after overeating, and/or feelings of low self-esteem
  • Steals or hoards food in strange places
  • Creates lifestyle schedules or rituals to make time for binge sessions
  • Evidence of binge eating, including the disappearance of large amounts of food in a short time period or a lot of empty wrappers and containers indicating consumption of large amounts of food


  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Dresses in layers to hide weight loss or stay warm
  • Preoccupation with weight, food, calories, fat grams, and dieting. Makes frequent comments about feeling “fat.’
  • Resists or is unable to maintain a body weight appropriate for their age, height, and build
  • Maintains an excessive, rigid exercise regime – despite weather, fatigue, illness, or injury


  • Evidence of binge eating, including the disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time or lots of empty wrappers and containers indicating consumption of large amounts of food
  • Evidence of purging behaviors, including frequent trips to the bathroom after meals, signs and/or smells of vomiting, the presence of wrappers or packages of laxatives or diuretics
  • Drinks excessive amounts of water or non-caloric beverages, and/or uses excessive amounts of mouthwash, mints, and gum
  • Has calluses on the back of the hands and knuckles from self- induced vomiting
  • Dental problems, such as enamel erosion, cavities, discoloration of teeth from vomiting, and tooth sensitivity 

Contact me today! Let's discuss how I can help you!

Please complete my Consultation Form!

Please complete my Consultation Form and let's find out if we are a good fit! There is no obligation to schedule a session by completing the form or after your optional FREE 15-minute consultation.