Hi, my name is Ashlee. I’m here to help you overcome emotional and disordered eating and heal your relationship with food, your body, and most importantly, yourself.
For most of my life, I have struggled with my body and relationship with food. Overeating, bingeing, undereating, overexercising, ritualistic eating, obsessing over eating “healthy,” falling prey to diet dogma – you name it. At times I felt like a helpless slave to food and at others a successful dictator of my body.
It wasn’t until I discovered the root of my disordered eating that I was able to permanently free myself from compulsion, stop torturing myself with diets and exercise, manage my emotions and energy without food, solve my chronic health problems, achieve inner and outer beauty, and live my life with presence and purpose.
From a very young age, I "ate my feelings." My cravings were constant, no matter if I felt happy, sad, anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, lonely, or bored. I secretly hated myself for overeating and failing to lose weight no matter what diet I tried.
I had no idea how to break free from my food addiction. All I could do was push it to the side and pretend I was perfectly fine, when all I wanted was to be thin.
In college, I decided I'd had enough. I had no choice (or so I thought) but to take control of my body. I focused all of my energy on losing weight. I worked out every single morning and stuck to a strict meal plan. I felt better than I ever had before, but kept myself on a tight leash.
As my confidence soared, I was called to begin exploring spirituality, as I sought inner stillness and a richer understanding of life. With the help of several teachers, I established a daily meditation practice. This led to beautiful shifts in my perception, except when it came to food and my body.
After graduation I moved to New York and began working as a health journalist, which only deepened my obsession with my weight. As an editor at a popular health website, I thought constantly about food and exercise. My job – and healthy physique – became my identity.
I signed up for the New York City Marathon, increased my already-intense training schedule, ate even less, and suppressed my appetite with caffeine and artificial sweeteners.
I knew I was taking it too far, but I couldn’t risk regaining any weight. My friends and family would say, “You’re the healthiest person I know!” and “You have the perfect body!” but I felt like a fraud.
Training for the marathon training stretched over two years, due to a cancellation because of Hurricane Sandy. After finally running the race, I broke down. No longer able to run because of an injured knee, I was also skinny as a stick, exhausted, and flooded with fear. I was addicted to sugar-free gum and caffeine. My hair was falling out, I stopped having periods, and I had developed irritable bowel syndrome.
So I stopped running, chewing gum, drinking coffee, and taking birth control pills. I saw several conventional doctors, who all insisted I stay on the pill and take other medication to combat my crippling stress, hair loss, and lack of menstruation. But I knew in my heart that wasn’t the answer. I sought out naturopaths, complementary medicine practitioners, and health coaches, willing to do anything to right my wrongs.
I discovered the healing power of whole foods and my body’s ability to come back to balance on its own. I thought I'd found the answer!
For the next two years, I ate a religious Paleo diet, quit drinking alcohol, and replaced aggressive exercise with walking, light strength training, and yoga. At first, my energy levels rose, and I could seemingly eat as much as I wanted without gaining weight. But over time, my digestion declined, my physical hunger cues disappeared, my period was still nowhere to be found, and my anxiety and fatigue returned. Once again I looked to a new direction.
My pursuit of better health and well-being led me to simultaneously enroll at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and undertake Kundalini Yoga teacher training. Both schools blew my mind, lifted me out of depression, and showed me the meaning of self-love. My journey became my passion. I quit my job to fulfill my purpose. All I wanted was to heal myself and help others do the same.
So I continued to search for the perfect diet and lifestyle to carry me across the finish line. I even went vegan for a few months as a selfless act, hoping it would bring me peace and alignment, but all it brought was more confusion and inner turmoil.
My never-ending rules around eating and living left me feeling lost, empty, and isolated. Why did food heal so many other people, but not me? Why did a spiritual path transform so many other people, but not me? What was I doing wrong?
At this point, though with little faith, I decided to try “intuitive eating." Trusting myself to choose what I want to eat and what foods are right for my body seemed like an insurmountable feat. I honestly didn’t believe it was possible!
I failed miserably. Despite my best attempts, I quickly fell into old habits, even bingeing at times. This hit me hard after years of diligent healthy eating. To say I felt defeated is an understatement. I was an aspiring health coach and yoga teacher in full-blown self-sabotage.
One shift in perception changed everything. I finally saw the truth: I was an emotional eater.
Whether I was reaching for one tablespoon of organic raw almond butter or a whole pint of ice cream, I was using food to manage my emotions and energy rather than listening to my gut and honoring my body’s signals. While food freedom and body acceptance sounded great, I feared letting go of control because deep down I knew I was still addicted.
Once I came to this realization and found the root cause of my disordered eating, a clear path to healing unfolded. I knew it was time to take a totally different approach. I developed a strong set of mindful tools to recognize and process my feelings without food, and to release limiting beliefs and compulsive patterns that were literally weighing me down. Committing to myself – rather than a diet – allowed me to finally heal.
In spite of my doubts, I learned how to listen to my body and trust myself. I no longer waste time worrying about what I should eat, how I should move, or what others think. I love and take care of my body. I’m empowered from within and follow my own intuitive plan, which has proven to be far more effective in achieving health, beauty, and happiness than any diet out there. I feel safe and confident in my body, knowing I can weather any storm and embrace every experience.
Now, I help women build a long-lasting healthy relationship with food and their bodies. I share the wisdom and tools that freed me from compulsion, reunited me with my intuition, and allow me to digest my emotions without abusing my body. I guide my clients to become the highest version of themselves, and to achieve a state of balance where stress fades, inner light brightens, and life flows with ease.