I’ve known Carissa for several months, as our children go to the same elementary school. Recently I heard her give a powerful presentation about the psychology of eating, specifically about how our relationship to food affects our body image & interactions with others. As I looked around the room, I could tell that her speech resonated with many of the women. As a Certified Eating Psychology Coach at The Center for Eating Recovery in Agoura Hills, Carissa counsels people who want to find freedom from emotional eating. In her coaching role, she addresses weight concerns, binge eating, overeating, body image challenges & various other nutrition related health concerns.
There are many women who could benefit from her advice, positive outlook & perspective (myself included). Please meet Certified Eating Psychology Coach, Carissa Ferro!
How/why did you begin your business?
Carissa: I found my career as an Eating Psychology Coach after looking for an answer to my own struggles with body image and eating. I spent so many years battling with my weight and feeling awful in my body. I yo-yo dieted, over ate, binge ate and had really intense cravings for food. One day I saw an ad for an emotional eating group at the Center for Eating Recovery, and I signed up immediately. I began my own journey of recovery and experienced a total transformation of mind, body, and spirit. I learned how to stop hating my body and how to manage my feelings instead of using food to suppress them.
It wasn’t long into my process that realized I wanted to help other women who suffered just like I did. I can’t explain it other than I felt called to do this work and really believe that this is what I am meant to do. So many of us share these feelings of low self-esteem when it comes to our bodies and our weight. So many of us feel stuck in a yo-yo diet cycle that leaves us feeling like failures. I want every woman to know that she doesn’t have to suffer from this any longer! It’s really a miserable place to be, and there is a way out. I needed help, and now I want to offer help to others.
As a working mother, what is one tip or piece of advice that you would give to other female entrepreneurs?
Carissa: Don’t ignore your interests, intuitions and desires. It is so easy to get caught up in who we think we should be and what we think we should be doing. The truth is that each of us has our own unique gifts to share, and they don’t always fit into the mold of what is thought of as socially acceptable and economically viable. Give yourself full permission to be exactly who you are, not who you wish you were. Sometimes this can be scary! It is hard to put yourself out there, but trust that you have value just as you are and surround yourself with people who affirm this.
What do you like best about having a business in the San Fernando Valley?
Carissa: I honestly can’t think of a better place to be doing my specific line of work. I primarily work with busy moms in their 30s and 40s, and there are a whole lot of us here because The Valley is so family friendly. We are also just outside the epicenter of the entertainment industry, so we are even more exposed to the ideal body as portrayed by the media and, as a result, are perhaps more sensitive when it comes to body image and health.
If there was one thing you wish you knew before you began your business, what would that be?
Carissa: I wish I had been more willing to outsource early on. I was encouraged by my husband on many occasions to get more help, but I suffered from magical thinking that told me I could do it all. I found out that I can’t do it all, and have really stressed myself in the process. I simply cannot grow my business and serve my clients while also being a full-time mom and maintaining the household. It took a while for me to surrender that and in fact, I’m still working on it. I felt guilty paying for a babysitter or help cleaning when I wasn’t bringing in much money, but spending money on extra help so that I have the time and energy to work on my business is an investment and a stress reliever, which is priceless.
I can relate to so much of what Carissa said & I’m sure you can too! As women, so much of our self-worth is tied to our body image. My favorite quote of this whole interview is “Give yourself full permission to be exactly who you are, not who you wish you were.” (100% agree – hashtag truth!) I feel this is a great mantra to live by, not just for mothers but all women at any stage in her life.
Check out Carissa’s website here for more information. You can also follow her on Facebook to get her latest updates!
Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received for this post. The image shown in this post is used with permission. As always, my opinions are 100% my own.
**EDITOR’S NOTE: This post has been up for less than 12 hours & I’ve received so many comments (both online & off-line). I appreciate the healthy debate that this interview seems to have brought up & everyone is entitled to their opinion under the comments section. I will say this though, the purpose of this segment “Real Moms of the SFV” is to highlight San Fernando Valley based businesswomen. The format doesn’t change AND if you look at past editions within this section of my blog, you’ll see that the questions that are asked of these women (some who are mothers & some who are not) are essentially the same. Why? It’s a personal choice & also because I like to see how business advice varies from person to person. Each female entrepreneur shares her own point of view & I celebrate that! I want to put a spotlight on these women (some who I know in real life & others that I’ve gotten to know via social media) & provide uplifting content. You are welcome to check out my submission process to see the criteria of how these women are chosen.
I’ve interviewed a Life/Business Coach, recruiting firm head hunter, pastry chef, yoga instructor, etc. I’m not going “deep” into the subject matter & I look to the readers (who may have a healthy curiosity of the subject matter) to do their own research by checking out the person’s website. I may not ask the interviewee the hard-hitting follow-up questions that others may be wanting. At the end of the day, I am not giving in-depth reporting (this is not meant to be the Diane Sawyer or Anderson Cooper interview of the blogging world). These interviews are meant to be light, breezy & informative. Bottom line, we are not saving lives here folks, ok?! Let’s all breathe, take a moment & if we have to “agree to disagree” then so be it.** ~Jennifer 🙂
Melissa Burton says
I was eagerly awaiting your write up about Carissa, the Certified Eating Psychology Coach, because as a Registered Dieitian this certification definitely sounded like something that overlaps with what I’m trained to do.
While I understand that this certification is focused on psychology of eating, I think it is irresponsible of Carissa not to specify that she is not a nutrition expert., as Registered Dietitians are. I was hoping that when Carissa said she outsourced things for her business that it would be beyond running her household but that she’d have a team of experts – an MD, an RD and/or a PhD alongside. I’m certain she has all of these professionals with her at the Center for Eating Recovery but if she sees private patients/clients there was no indication of having more trained professionals within her arsenal.
Forgive my rant because I may be highly sensitive about his subject. I do feel that there are many certifications in the nutrition field that dilute the expertise and credentials of Registered Dietitians and it frustrates and angers me greatly. It makes me especially upset when people do not educate about the parameters of their expertise because I think the public perception of nutrition expertise can and is terribly blurred. I blame that partly on my own professional organization, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics but when I see other health professionals jumping on the nutrition expertise coattails of RD’s, it makes me very upset.
I’m so believe that there is a need for attention to the psychology of eating (especially with those that have a history of eating disorders). I have a psychology BA myself and originally went into dietetics to help those with eating disorders. In the last few years as I’ve transitioned to be an expert in women’s health and nutrition issues, I see the health and nutrition field becoming murkier and not clearer and I believe that the plethora of “experts” have fractionated the health messages and not improved the landscape.
In short, I wish Carissa would have been more clear on what she does, how she does it and the team she works with (if any when seeing private clients – or if she even sees private clients) as not to blur the nutrition expertise line any further than necessary.
Melissa Burton recently posted…The Tuesday Tune-Up – Back It Up!
Wow, that last comment had a lot of feelings in it. I recommend a session with someone who specializes in learning to focus on and take pride in your own business in order to keep from resenting other people’s contributions.
I have worked with Carissa in the past and I can say, without a doubt, that she stays in her lane. She is extremely clear on her certifications and her limitations, and she is extremely helpful on all levels.
The fact is that when I’ve seen a nutritionist in the past they haven’t helped me deal with my underlying food psychology issues. And, sorry, but there are hundreds of books, blogs and pint rest pages that help me piece together healthy eating habits. I know what to eat and how much of it. I need help with the WHY…not the WHAT.
Her sessions focus on overcoming negative self image, creating kind and healthy thinking patterns, and re-imagining your relationship to food. Her contributions are invaluable not only to her clients, but to the children (families) of her clients.
I wish the person who commented above would have done 2 minutes of research into Carissa’s passion and commitment to women’s health. But, her comment did prompt me to write this, so – I am grateful for that.
Kristen, I’m glad to hear that your sessions with Carissa have been positive & helpful. This blog post has brought a healthy dialogue & attention to an important subject matter. I encourage you to read my “Editor’s Note” as well.
Melissa Burton says
I’m happy that someone has helped you with your health. I did not mean to malign Carissa or anything she does within her practice! I’m certain she is a caring, talented professional and likely, a lovely individual.
However, her certification (which I did research) does NOT make her a nutrition expert. I still very much believe that anyone with the words “Coach” in their title should be working with an expert in the field and in this case that would be a Registered Dietitian – especially when dispensing any sort of nutrition advice. I’m certain Carissa’s training makes her better as a *counselor* than other dietitians but I will continue to believe that her practice (as I would with any other health coach certification) should not spill over into nutrition advice.
We all know that most people know that good health and proper nutrition is more than pure scientific education and it’s the aim of most dietitians in private practice to balance the science with the ability to coach and counsel as needed.
Again, I’m not bashing Carissa or her abilities and I believe in everyone’s right to choose the person that helps them to a life of good health and happiness. I’m thrilled that Carissa was able to help you where a nutritionist (BTW, did you know that anyone can call themselves a nutritionist; all RD’s are nutritionists but not all nutritionists are RD’s) could not. A title doesn’t mean that someone is good at their job or that they are a good fit for you.
I hope Carissa will continue to help others as she did with you but when I feel thst someone has the potential to go out of their scope of practice when it comes to nutrition and dietetics, I cannot and will not stay silent.
I never meant to cause an uproar and I know the style of your interviews. I know this series is meant as a hat tip to entrepreneurial women who are inspirational. I’m very much in favor of that idea and have enjoyed getting to know some fabulous women through your series.
However, as I said above, if you’re positioning someone as an expert in the field of nutrition and dietetics and they are only trained within certain parameters within a field of already confused messages and messengers, I will always stand up and defend the professional credentials of a Registered Dieitian as the nutrition and dietetics expert. I’m outspoken. You’ve seen me in action. If I upset you, I’m deeply sorry.
I did not mean for this to become blown out of proportion or upset anyone (you, your readers or Carissa). I’ve stated and defended my opinion and intentions and hope any controversy surrounding this can end. I hope we can all continue to have dialogues and debates but operate harmoniously in the pursuit of health and happiness.
Melissa Burton recently posted…The Tuesday Tune-Up – Back It Up!
Melissa, I understand that your POV is different since you are a Registered Dietitian. If you look at past interviews, I don’t ask for credentials from the life coach that I interviewed or the bakery owner what pastry school she went to. I am not as close to the subject matter as you are, so if you feel that the interview glossed over some things, then that could be due to the format of my blog interview. I encourage you to read my newly posted “Editor’s Note.” I appreciate you coming from a place of concern & constructive criticism.