"When I met Annette, I had been living with an eating disorder for 20 years. I exercised obsessively, restricted foods and then binged and purged usually because of intensive hunger pangs and as a way of blocking out feelings which I couldn't or refused to deal with. I lived in shame of my hidden illness as people praised me for what they perceived as healthy lifestyle behaviours such as running and eating small portions. I was far from healthy, in fact I was very ill both physically and mentally but very much in denial of the pain inside that led me to disordered eating. I had a list of foods that I would never ever eat and I knew the calorie content of every food. I panicked about eating in general but in particular about eating out, the saturated fat content of food and about unknowingly eating deep fat fried foods. I also obsessively cleaned the toilet bowl after daily vomiting for fear of being caught out. Having an eating disorder ruled my life and it was not how I wanted to live but after years of attempting to get help from the National Health Services, I was feeling particularly hopeless. I never thought that I would ever ever recover from bulimia nervosa but I have and Annette has played a pivotal role in my recovery.
Annette is pragmatic, she listens attentively and is direct but empathetic and she cares about her clients. Her main objective is to help you to recover so her directness is very much needed and although I often responded negatively to some of her suggestions (to stop exercising or to try eating butter) with tantrum like reactions and rolling eye movements her advice was always in my best interest. She was patient when I was particularly stubborn and challenging and reassured me when I relapsed or took steps backwards instead of forward which is very much part of the recovery process."
– Anonymous, June 2016
Though my BMI meant I was not applicable for hospitalisation, my body and my mind were dangerously ill and I could hardly function in everyday life. However, 18 months and I feel like I new persons; positive, happy and hopeful. Ursula and Suzanne’s flexible, holistic support has helped me to break the chains of the deeply entrenched illness which ruled my teenage and adult life.
The combined support psychologically and nutritionally empowered me to make steps towards a better relationship with food and a new perspective on life. Ursula’s knowledge and support made it much easier to put my trust in her for advice and to make plans together to change my eating habits. The therapy provided by Suzanne, especially the EMDR, has enabled me control my anxiety, change my thinking patterns and to finally be happy!
I can't thank them both enough or recommend them more highly. They help me do what I deemed impossible, to live free from fear and enjoy my life."
– June 2016
"I wanted to write a testimonial about how amazing Suzanne is. She understood me, she got what I was about and I truly miss seeing her.
She is an amazing woman and great therapist. I suffered with binge eating disorder and also emotional issues stemming from my parents. It's been an emotional roller coaster for me this year but I finally feel like I'm on my way to being right.
I'm so grateful to Suzanne for everything. She truly is worth seeing. Thank you so much, you've changed my life."
– December 2015
"I first went to Insight Eating in May 2013 when my husband and I were at our wits end. I first developed anorexia (AN) in 1984 when I was 16 and I had it till 1995 when I recovered and I was AN free until 2005. In 2005
I was diagnosed with breast cancer and it was as if someone flicked a switch and the AN was back. After 8 years of NHS treatment that was unsuccessful I found Suzanne and Ursula at Insight Eating and over the last two years they have changed my life. It has been hard and there have been set backs along the way.
Over the two years we have done lots of things including lots of talking about all the things that scare me and so fuel the AN, body image and what it is I hate so much, what I was eating and how to slowly reintroduce food until I was eating enough calories to gain weight. This meant looking all food groups no matter how hard and looking at why, for example, I would not eat fat even though fat does not make you fat. We have done practical things such as eating out and learning how to deal with the panic and the anorexic voice that eating causes. Also how much filling a sandwich needs by making lots of types.
Over the last two years I have gone from 7 stone (bmi 17.5) to 8 ½ stone (bmi 22) . After keeping my weight above 8 stone for five months I got up one morning and saw that I was not fat, in fact maybe still a bit thin!!! This was amazing and I feel as if my life is coming back after I fought so long to survive the cancer. We also looked at my exercise/activity level which is now much reduced and I spend more time resting and doing things that I enjoy.
I was able to start work again after 9 years and am working as a Macmillan counsellor. Yes counsellors get Anorexia too!! I would recommend Insight Eating to anyone with an eating disorder as it has provided me with the level of support I needed."
– RC, February 2015
"I cannot thank Suzanne and Ursula enough for all the help and guidance you have both given me over what has undoubtedly been the hardest year of my life.
I finally feel comfortable in myself and with my relationship with food. I could not have done this without your help!"
All my love and thanks LP X
– LP, September 2014
NB: not patients real initials
"I just thought I would have a quick check in even though it has been over a year!!! I just thought that I would let you know that I have managed to maintain my weight and I have developed a very healthy relationship with food. I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen and I actually eat what I cook now. Thank you again, my quality of life has vastly improved. My friends all say i am the best I have ever been"
– EM, 2013
"Without the input, I was fortunate enough to receive from Suzanne my life would have taken a very different path. In fact it's true to say that my life most probably would have ended at my own hand.
Suzanne enabled me to come to terms with some very painful and difficult issues which changed my life, and that of my family forever. It wasn't easy. Not ever. But looking back now I can see the sum of what she empowered me to do and I'm grateful for that at least once every day. Suzanne helped me break free from a past of sexual abuse and the destructive patterns of behaviours I had developed because of it. I am no longer a victim. I am confident and self-assured. I now enjoy the close and loving family relationships that were always alien to me. Above all, I'm happy."
– A, 2013
"Suzanne and Ursula are so different to any other eating disorder 'professionals' that I have ever seen. For once, I felt as though I was understood. Instead of being told to 'just eat more and gain weight' and everything would be fine, they understood that physical repair was not the answer to the problem, just the treatment of a symptom, and unless the underlying issues are addressed, it is unlikely that anything will really change.
I have always struggled with trusting people and had previously seen 11 therapists both through camhs/cmht and privately, but never felt 'safe' to open up. Suzanne and Ursula made me feel comfortable from the very beginning and I think that made a real difference in my ability to work with them rather than against them.
I have struggled with an eating disorder for almost 6 years. I have been in and out of hospital and had given up hope of ever getting any better. Over the last 8 months however, things couldn't have changed more. With continued support from Suzanne and Ursula I have managed to make some really big changes in my life and made some huge steps in terms of my recovery. I began to believe that maybe things could get better, if I allowed them to.
This time last year I was barely existing, and I didn't think I would survive to the end of the year. But here I am, living my life- and more than that, enjoying it. I am healthy and am learning to accept myself as I am. I am not defined by numbers and I am stronger than my eating disorder. I still have bad days, but those are manageable thanks to the skills and resources that Suzanne and Ursula have given me. Without their help and guidance I don't think I would have made it this far."
– H, 2013
"I first got in touch with Ursula in Oct 2011 after battling with disordered eating for two and a half years. I decided that it was time to take back control of my life. I had realised some months before that I had a problem but refused to acknowledge it, as far as I was concerned I was functioning normally and I was comfortable wrapped up in my anorexic blanket, living in my own little warped world. I didn’t really want to get better, and anyway the anorexia belonged to me and no one could take it away from me.- it was who I was.
It was when the lying began that I realised I really did have a problem. Lying about what I had eaten that day and how much exercise I was really doing. I was always cold, tired, and weak, I couldn’t sleep... I lived off coffee since it was calorie free and it would keep me going, but then at night because I wasn’t eating I would get terrible night sweats and at the time I had no idea what they were. Later on thanks to Ursula I learnt that it was just my body running out of glucose during the repairs the body carries out over night. With Ursula I was able to talk through my phobias around food and fears of losing control, the paranoia of putting “bad” food into my body. I wanted to be perfect and have a perfect figure to be the perfect person, but being seriously underweight is far from perfect and living with mood swings and depression from malnutrition makes you far from the perfect person and anyway I learnt that perfect does not exist- you are who you are and that is the best you can be. Perfection is a perception.
As well as having my consultations with Ursula she recommended me to Suzanne who was another fantastic support on the road to recovery. With her I was able to admit to some of the feelings I was having that I had ignored for so long and talking about that was such a relief I was then able to deal with them through actions rather than burying them and punishing myself with weather I deserved food or not because I wasn’t sure how I was feeling i just knew it was bad. I learnt so much about myself through my consultations with her.
I plunged into recovery head on as I believed that if I didn’t go for it I would never really get myself sorted. I managed to turn my life around in about 6 months. I put back nearly all the weight i lost and managed to deal with the majority of the food phobias, making myself try new things and eat things I had refused to touch, that turned out to be rather nice.
Now nine months on I am functioning properly, I am training again, my skin is clear, my hair is thicker, I am sleeping, my concentration has improved, I don’t drink coffee anymore, I go out for meals and socialise and I am just more laid back all round.
Thank you Ursula and Suzanne – without the support from both of you I would not be where I am now and would not be enjoying life again. I can go out and socialise and buy clothes without feeling ashamed anymore."
– EM, 2012
"Before I found Ursula and Suzanne I felt so alone and frightened. Despite family support I didn't think I could ever get better. The fears and anxieties were too much to deal with and I felt suffocated not knowing which way to turn. Every day was a living nightmare. I just wanted to feel better. No one understood me or my illness. They all believed I didn't want to get better otherwise I would just eat. Finding Suzanne and Ursula was like turning a light on at the end of a very long tunnel. They understood me, they had experience and logical answers to my concerns and anxieties. They were able to challenge my irrational thoughts with facts and make sense of the confusion in my head. Slowly they helped me believe I could fight this. I was the only one who could do it but they were there to support me. As the irrational thoughts continued to beat me they held me up. I still have a very long way to go to get to the end of that long tunnel but knowing they are with me all of the way, makes the journey seem much more achievable."
– SP, 2012
"I had lived with my eating disorder for almost 15 years, spent two years in NHS treatment, both inpatient and outpatient but yet it was still controlling my life. I felt like everyone had given up on me as someone who didn't want to get better. When I met Ursula it was like someone finally understood me and actually believed that I could do it. She listened, discussed and gave fantastic advice based both on science and experience which I could use and make sense of. Most importantly she made it work for me and adapted things around any problems I was having at that time. I know I've still got some way to go before I can finally call myself 'recovered' but I also know that if I slip back even slightly I can get the support and confidence I need to fight it, when I need it and that she will back me up all the way."
– Sara, 2012