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.
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 🙂