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If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.



Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.


Leona Gage reaches pinnacle of acknowledged beauty only to lead a sad and difficult life. If you obsess about your beauty, youth and shape, please take heed.

56685461Leona is 18 in this 1957 picture, just crowned as Miss U.S.A. She's pretending to be 21.

Truth behind the photo? She married at 14. At 16 she had two children.

She entered the pageant because she and her family were desperate for money. She hoped some publicity would get her modelling jobs. Winning was a surprise.

Her crown was taken away when she said she was married and couldn't go on to the Miss Universe contest. The contest sponsors wanted her to continue the lie and proceed.

Her son, Rob Kaminer said:"When you're 18 years old and you're the most beautiful girl in the room...and then you're fifty and you're on oxygen, and you haven't taken the time to develop yourself in other areas, what are you left with?"

On this site you see in my articles and blog post a steady underlining theme of the need to develop.

An eating disorder occupies so much of your thoughts an, takes up time for eating disorder activities.  In a way your eating disorder consumes you as brutally as you consume food. But an eating disorder does more.  It lodges in your mind and your psyche taking of space and energy that could be devoted to what you genuinely care about based on the authentic you. 

You are you.  You are not an eating disorder.  For example, in my practice, I do not treat eating disorders. I do recovery and healing work with people who suffer from eating disorders.  There's a big difference there.

If you let your eating disorder feelings and thinking dominate your life you will not know or develop what you need to live well and long.  So I ask you: What might you accomplish with the energy and time you devote to your eating disorder?  That includes not only eating and purging, but also exercise, planning and hiding evidence.  It also includes time on the scale and before the mirror.  It also includes all your thinking and worry about how you look.  It also includes the energy you spend pretending to be normal and pass as okay.

Might you be a lawyer? Maybe an artist? A teacher, designer, explorer, anthropologist, CEO, political activist, doctor or nurse, scientist??? To honor what you care about requires time and energy as you develop yourself to be what you really are in the world.

I don't know if Leona had an eating disorder.  But we do know that she relied on her beauty to get by.  We know she was preyed upon by men, and she didn't have skills or the inner development to know she had choices.  We know she was often ill, had several failed marriages and died today after suffering for years with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

So yes, if you have health and beauty, enjoy it.  And yes, put effort into caring for yourself.  But please don't let that be your dominant goal and preoccupation. Developing your mind and your spirit, expanding your education and knowledge in the world, acquiring skills will build you a more sturdy presence in this world and will help push that eating disorder to the side and eventually out.

No matter what your age you are always in the now. You can always begin to honor yourself and nourish yourself with the learning, education and healthy experiences you genuinely need. It's never to late to get your life.


Leona Gage, 1930 - 2010  RIP

Stolen Dreams: Authentic Desire Eclipsed by Eating Disorders

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