Katie McKenna is an Eating Disorder and Obesity Psychotherapist with a Master’s degree in Nutrition.
Her full time private practice offers a unique, integrative approach that fosters change on all levels: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. She integrates the latest research on the body mind connection, belief systems and the nervous system to guide people in clearing negative, subconscious beliefs and reactive trauma responses. As a creative side project, she also officiates weddings!
Check out her other project www.theanxietyexperts.com
Mental Health License: LH60248835
Nutritionist License: NU60107213
I started to research nutrition and was overwhelmed with the conflicting information: are fats good or bad? Is there really a difference between eating 1800 calories or 2000? I decided I wanted to become an expert in nutrition. I wanted to be able to decipher the myths and facts.
The Internet was just getting popular; I used it to discover holistic nutrition and psychoneuroimmunology. I sent letters (snail mail!) to nutritionists around the country asking them where they got their education. I received a few responses and the majority suggested Bastyr University as the leader in naturopathy and holistic nutrition.
Bastyr was exactly the type of education and excellence I wanted. The philosophy of eating whole foods was a complete paradigm shift! After graduating in 2003 with a Bachelor’s in Science, majoring in Nutrition, I was offered a job with the Quinault Indian Reservation, via a diabetes education grant. I spent 3 years working closely with the tribe. I quickly realized helping people get healthy required more than apples, whole grains and exercise. One day, a woman was in my office for a nutrition session, but she was in tears talking about a family tragedy. I knew I didn’t have the tools to support her professionally and emotionally. I then returned to Bastyr to complete two masters degrees: Clinical Nutrition and Clinical Health Psychology. In addition, I began my dear mentorship with Char Sundust, a Native American medicine woman. All of this intellectual and spiritual learning has provided a rock solid foundation of holistic care: body, mind and spirit.
After graduation I worked for several years at The Moore Center for Eating Disorders, a partial hospitalization clinic. It was constant crisis intervention, high needs, long hours. I am eternally grateful for the experience I gained there.
I moved into private practice in 2011. I relished the freedom to treat clients based on their unique needs. One of the tenets of traditional eating disorder treatment is “all foods fit.” I disagree. While I do support the 80/20 rule (nothing in absolutes) I guarantee quality food makes a true difference in your peace of mind and biochemistry. I consider myself primarily a therapist. 75% of the work I do is about the mind, heart and behaviors. 25% is about metabolism and food choices.
I am always learning professionally and personally. I have 2 professional supervisors and a spiritual mentor that I meet with regularly.
If you have read this far and still have questions, I welcome them.
By age 15 I developed orthorexia and bulimia – trying to be perfectly healthy and thinking there was only one way to do things right. The worst of it lasted for over two years. I always knew in the back of my mind my actions were not sustainable. I knew if I kept going this direction, my life would worsen.
I was introduced to the book; “Celestine Prophecy” and began my journey into spirituality and metaphysics. This led me to question everything: looking for answers, depth, and meaning. I began to read all the metaphysical books I could find. I came to the realization that I was severely out of touch with my body, my emotions, my soul. Bulimia for me was such a clear example of being out of alignment with my whole self. I would make a choice to eat and then immediately regret it, and purge to correct my ‘bad’ choices. I felt all over the place, swinging wildly in opposite directions, driven by unconscious impulses and then filled with regret and guilt. I felt fractured and divided. I battled daily with attempts to stop purging.
How could I have so many different voices inside of me? Slowly I began to hold myself fully accountable for my choices. If I chose to eat something, I forced myself to sit with the emotional and physical pain instead of ‘making it better’ by purging. The pain actually began to teach me how to listen to myself without feeling obsessively driven to act on every thought. Slowly, I was able to think long term about what I wanted for my body, my dreams, my life. I began to realize the truth behind momentary desires: they are fleeting, enemies of bigger dreams.