Let's Talk About Disordered Eating and Eating Disorders in Racialized Communities

Guides to eating disorders in the Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour communities by and for community members and carers

The scarcity of informational resources specific to eating disorders in Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities leaves many individuals affected with eating disorders who belong to these groups with unmet support and treatment needs. Eating disorders in BIPOC individuals are frequently unrecognized and undiagnosed. Even when they are identified, many BIPOC individuals encounter multiple barriers to receiving support and treatment. Within the majority of the eating disorder resources and services currently available, factors that influence the ways in which members of BIPOC communities experience eating disorders are not adequately addressed, if they are at all. 

If you are a health care provider seeking to enhance your knowledge and skills in supporting BIPOC clients, see [LINK TO RESOURCE]


The development of these resources was made possible with funding from the Slaight Family Foundation. 


Black community members

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Indigenous community members

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East and Southeast Asian community members

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Latine community members

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South Asian community members

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Middle Eastern community members

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  • Biographies

    • Alejandra Botia

      Reviewer

      Alejandra Botia, MA, RCC (she/her) is a doctoral student in the Counselling Psychology program at the University of British Columbia. Her scholarly interests include examining and understanding factors that support eating disorders recovery, positive psychology, self-compassion, and understanding the transition experiences of immigrants and refugees. Professionally, Alejandra is passionate about engaging in work related to human rights and social justice in psychology. 

    • Alexandra Hanania

      Consultant and Content Writer

      Alexandra Hanania, MA, DTATI, RP is a psychotherapist and art therapist in Toronto, and has been working with clients with eating disorders for more than six years. She focuses on using expressive arts to explore emotions, past trauma, and disordered eating behaviours in support of her clients’ mental health. In addition to working with BIPOC folks to address disordered eating, Alexandra has worked with refugees across the Greater Toronto Area to aid in settlement and process loss, trauma, and post-migration stress. She practices cultural humility, and tries to create a space that welcomes the unique experiences of all people.

    • Andrea Vásquez Jiménez

      Reviewer

      Biography

    • Anita Khakh

      Consultant and Reviewer

      Anita was born and raised in Edmonton. She completed her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and her master's degree in Educational Policy Studies with a specialization in Social Justice and International Studies at the University of Alberta. She has taught in the classroom for a few years and enjoys participating in research projects when she can, with specific interests in intersectional feminism and body image.

    • Christine Miskonoodinkwe-Smith

      Consultant and Content Writer

      Christine Miskonoodinkwe-Smith is a Saulteaux woman from Peguis First Nation and the author of “These Are the Stories: Memories of a 60s Scoop Survivor” published by Kegedonce Press in December 2021. She is an author, editor, writer, and journalist who graduated from the University of Toronto with a specialization in Aboriginal Studies in June 2011 and went on to receive her Master’s in Education in Social Justice in June 2017. Her first non-fiction story “Choosing the Path to Healing” appeared in the 2006 anthology Growing Up Girl: An Anthology of Voices from Marginalized Spaces. She has written for the Native Canadian, Anishinabek News, Windspeaker, FNH Magazine, New Tribe Magazine, Muskrat Magazine and the Piker Press. She has also co-edited the anthology Bawaajigan with fellow Indigenous writer Nathan Niigan Noodin Adler.

    • Cristel Moubarak

      Consultant and Reviewer

      Cristel Moubarak (she/her) is a Lebanese Canadian who holds multiple privileges, including being middle-class, white-passing, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied, and completed postsecondary education. Part of her struggles lie in being a small fat person working in a field that carries a lot of weight stigma. This lived experience combined with professional experience and passion comes through in Cristel’s private practice, nutriFoodie.ca. In practice, she provides non-diet and weight-inclusive care to folks looking to improve their relationship with food, eating, and body image while redefining what nutrition and health looks like for them. Cristel supports clients in bridging the gap between mental and physical health through honouring and healing the relationships we have with one another, community, food, and body.

    • Deepika Bajaj

      Consultant and Content Writer

      Deepika Bajaj (she/her) completed her BA in Psychology in 2019 at the University of British Columbia. She is currently completing her MSc and PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Calgary. Deepika’s research interests focus on the treatment of eating disorders and the relationship between eating behavior and addiction. Her research is supported by an Alberta Gambling Research Institute Scholarship. She is a Consultant and Content Writer for the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) BIPOC Initiative. Deepika is involved in several mentorship roles and is passionate about supporting other underrepresented students in their academic endeavors. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.

    • Desnee Trevena

      Consultant and Content Writer

    • Dina Buttu

      Reviewer

      Dr. Dina Buttu is a licensed Clinical and Counselling Psychologist. She provides assessment and treatment services through her private practice, Dr. Dina Buttu & Associates, located in Toronto and the Durham Region. Dr. Buttu’s clinical work is focused on the assessment and treatment of trauma, with a specific focus on honour-based violence and experiences of marginalization. She has specialized interests in supporting second-generation children of immigrants navigate conflict related to race, ethnicity, religion, sexual identity, and cultural value conflicts. Dr. Buttu completed her doctoral training at the University of Toronto, where her research focused on examining the impact of bicultural stress, cultural value conflicts, ethnic identity, and acculturative stress on disordered eating in Arab-Canadian women. She previously held clinical positions at Ryerson University, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, Markham Stouffville Hospital, and York University. Dr. Buttu currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Ontario Psychological Association.

    • Elizabeth Montgomery

      Consultant and Reviewer

      Elizabeth Montgomery (she/her), BPHE, MEd, RP graduated from Boston University with a Master of Education degree in Counselling. Liz comes from a multicultural background including African American, Mvscoke Creek, and Scottish American, and brings these cultural experiences into her work as a psychotherapist. She has expertise in eating disorders, addiction, mood and anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and trauma. She has training in CBT, DBT, integrated trauma treatment, and mindfulness-based models of care, and is invested in anti-oppressive approaches to therapy. In addition to her clinical experience, Liz has worked as a clinical lead overseeing multiple interdisciplinary teams, managing clinical operations, and directing program development within the in-patient environment, and has co-chaired Equity and Diversity committees. She has led the development of culturally adapted group therapy protocols for post-secondary students. She currently works at the University of Toronto, where she is a psychotherapist and student wellness coordinator. She is also part of Bloom Psychology, a private group practice, where she provides individual and sliding-scale services for BIPOC clients.

    • Filsan Abdiaman

      Consultant

      Filsan Abdiaman is an athlete, certified RRCA Running Coach, CanfitPro Personal Trainer and avid trail/ultra-runner based in Vancouver, BC. She is also the founder of Project Love Run (PLR), a women’s+ only run collective holding space for self-identifying women to run and brunch and have heart-centered discussions focusing on self-love and self-worth. Since most professional fitness training leans towards a Eurocentric / weight-centric lens, Filsan has taken other certifications that have allowed her to follow a size-inclusive model. She takes her role and responsibility as a Coach and Personal Trainer rooted in community activism seriously and that means using her lived experience to draw attention to how oppressive systems intersect with the fitness and running cultures she is in. It also means using her body size privilege to speak out against anti-fat bias and weight stigma as an ally.

    • Francesca Serwaa

      Consultant and Content Writer

      Francesca Serwaa is a compassionate and empathetic social worker who has been practicing professionally since 2016. She specializes in trauma-informed counselling, PTSD, addictions, depression, grief,  loss, and sexual abuse/rape survivors. She is the founder of Ignite Counselling Services, which is focused on providing dedicated and non-judgmental counselling and therapy supports to members of the Black community.  Her mission is to hold space for conversations around overcoming adversities and achieving resilience by using  a blend of different therapeutic approaches which allow individuals that I am working with to work towards their wellness journey at their own pace.

    • Grace Guillaume

      Consultant and Content Writer

    • Jessica Dere

      Reviewer

      Jessica Dere is an Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), in the Departments of Psychology and the Graduate Department of Psychological Clinical Science. She obtained an MSc in Cultural Psychiatry from McGill University and a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Concordia University. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Social Aetiology of Mental Illness training program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, before joining UTSC. A culturally informed approach to mental health is at the heart of her teaching, research, clinical supervision, and clinical practice. Her academic work is driven by a fascination with the interplay between cultural factors and all aspects of mental health and mental illness. She has published research on alexithymia, cultural variations in depressive and anxious symptom presentation, and acculturation. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and is a part-time associate at the Cognitive and Interpersonal Therapy Centre in Toronto.

    • Katheryn Iu

      Consultant and Content Writer

      Katheryn Iu (she/her) identifies as Southeast Asian (predominantly Chinese, part Vietnamese). She has a natural gravitation for raising quirky pets (ex. Dwarf frogs, French bulldog, turtles, and bug-eyed fish) and a love for pottery, winter mountain season, and sharing memories with friends in various sports. As an individual recovered from anorexia, she empathizes immensely with the racial/cultural stigma faced by the Asian community and navigating services of support in a Western culture. Over the past few years, she has dedicated her career path to working as a Registered Dietitian in Outpatient Eating Disorders Programs. Bringing both cultural and personal insight has enriched her journey of supporting recovery for the eating disorder population. To read a more personal biography, please see https://jessieslegacy.com/qa-series-katheryn-ius-inspiring-journey-from-battling-an-eating-disorder-to-becoming-an-activist/.

    • Kelly Rivera

      Consultant and Content Writer

      Kelly Rivera (she/her) - Ecuadorian woman and eating disorder survivor, currently living in Charlottetown, PEI as a Master's Degree Candidate in Island Studies, with a professional background in audiovisual communications and content production. She has had significant experience as a graphic designer and content writer for companies from various business sectors as well as non-profits outside the country. 

    • Lalita Hunt

      Consultant and Reviewer

      Lalita Hunt is a half Cree and half Ojibwe Indigenous woman. She currently works in the beautiful community of Migisi Sahgaigan First Nation, Ontario but her permanent residence is in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She works in finance which is an area she has always loved, but says the best job she has ever had is raising four children which has led her to become a kokum (grandmother) to six grandchildren. She has lived with an eating disorder for most of her life. It was not until age 43 that she finally admitted to herself that she had an eating disorder. She found an eating disorder program that the Women’s Health Clinic of Winnipeg was offering. It has been a long hard three-and-a-half-year journey to understanding the underlying reasons for the development of her eating disorder but is happy to say that she has reached her goal of wanting to say, “I am in recovery”. 

    • Lucia Eyzaguirre

      Consultant

      Lucia Eyzaguirre (she/her) is Peruvian, of mixed European ancestry. She has a Bachelor's degree in Health Sciences with a minor in Psychology and works at a non-profit that supports social innovation. Lucia is in recovery from binge-eating disorder and believes that decolonization is crucial to both individual and collective healing. She hopes to pursue a career as a psychotherapist and integrate these values into her practice. Lucia lives, works, and plays in unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe (Omàmìwininìwag) territory with her two cats, Boomba and Catsby. 

    • Magali Santana

      Consultant and Content Writer

      Magali Santana is a Mexican female (pronouns she/her). She immigrated to Canada in 2019, looking for a new start and career change. She is an Engineer, a Master of Museum Studies, and a Project Manager. Magali is also a daughter, an older sister, and an auntie of a beautiful girl. She grew up in a fatphobic family and developed an eating disorder at 13. Since then, has gone through several disorders: purging, bingeing, restricting, and overexercising. She also underwent plastic surgery to change the shape of her body and lose weight. However, two years ago, in 2021, she finally reached out for help. She started with individual and group therapy, started reading and understanding eating disorders, diet culture, and fatphobia, and started her recovery path. Magali notes that she is not fully recovered today, but is certainly closer to getting there. She is also working on body image and body neutrality and hopes her collaboration with NEDIC helps others start their path to recovery.

    • Mengran Xu

      Consultant

      Dr. Mengran Xu received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Waterloo and is registered as a clinical and counselling psychologist with the College of Psychologists of Ontario.   Dr. Xu works full-time as a clinical psychologist at Canadian Forces Base Borden. He also works as an adjunct faculty for the psychology department at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Xu specializes in the assessment and treatment for adults presenting with Eating Disorders, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder. He is a certified provider and trainer of Cognitive Processing Therapy. Dr. Xu has previously held several positions at both outpatient and inpatient mental health settings, including Campus Wellness at the University of Waterloo, the Waterloo Psychology Group, and the Eating Disorders Program of Homewood Health Centre. Dr. Xu completed his pre-doctoral residency at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. In addition to clinical practice, Dr. Xu has extensive research experience in anxiety disorders and mindfulness-based interventions, and has published several peer-reviewed journal articles and books.  

    • Samiha Rahman

      Consultant

      Samiha Rahman has battled an eating disorder for five years of her life. Today she is a strong advocate of eating disorders in marginalized communities has often found herself struggling with her own identities of being Muslim and South Asian. She founded and runs an Instagram page, @Muslims_Eds to bring awareness to the intersectional reality of eating disorders, and is currently pursuing her Masters in Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy at Laurier University. Samiha hopes to one day offer professional, impactful care to those in need.

    • Sarthak Matravadia

      Reviewer

      Sarthak Matravadia (he/him) is a dietetics student at the University of Guelph, and the co-founder of Family & Co. Nutrition, a private practice focused on family nutrition. Sarthak is dedicated to breaking traditional gender roles, and supports fathers in taking on a more active role in family meals and feeding kids. He also works in the eating disorder space, and promotes accessible, inclusive, and culturally relevant treatment for members of the BIPOC community. Sarthak holds a Master of Science from McMaster University, where he studied functional aging and dietary supplements. He also completed his doctorate at the University of Guelph, studying fat metabolism, mitochondrial bioenergetics, and exercise physiology. After completing his doctorate, Sarthak transitioned to the dietary supplement industry, working in product innovation and research trial development. The diverse nutrition experiences within academia, industry, and private practice inform his approach to nutrition research and counseling.

    • Syriah Bailey

      Reviewer

      Syriah Bailey (they/them) is a consultant, programmer and creative educator who puts a strong focus on inclusive data, storytelling and futurity. Bailey has over ten years experience in the UK, US, and Canadian non-profit sector and hold a Masters (with distinction) in Postcolonial Culture and Global Policy. When not engaging with consultation, programming or creative education, Bailey volunteers for a crisis text line supporting individuals in distress across Canada. 

    • Tiffany Bondoc

      Reviewer

      Tiffany Bondoc (she/her and they/them) is a second-generation Filipino-Iraqi immigrant and graduate of the BASc in Health program at St. Francis Xavier University. Well-versed in the social determinants of health and equity, she has volunteered as a mental health peer support and equity representative for her Students’ Union. Currently, Tiffany works as a medical assistant and volunteer during her free time at Kids Help Phone as a crisis responder. As a BIPOC with personal experience with disordered eating and a background in health research, Tiffany was excited to join the project team and develop informational resources on eating disorders with and for members of the BIPOC communities in Canada.  

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