Opal began as a response to a community need – the felt need for a unique and local clinic for eating disorder recovery. But not just eating disorders. Opal was also founded out of the need for a cultural shift in how we think and talk about food and body.
Opal’s origins were rooted in relationship and risk-taking. Julie and Kara started their careers together in 2004 where they paved the way in developing eating disorder treatment in a university counseling center, providing accessible care to the students. They met Lexi shortly thereafter and found a similar passion and philosophy of using a non-diet and weight-inclusive approach to treating eating disorders. At the time, they were going against the grain of traditional eating disorder treatment, convicted at the core that traditional approaches were continuing to do harm for folks trying to recover. In 2011, this led them to taking the bold step of opening their own higher level of care eating disorder treatment clinic that would be firmly rooted in Health at Every Size®. Their passion and commitment to providing equitable care for folks of all sizes has been a driving motivation for decision making throughout Opal’s lifetime.
Since then, Julie, Kara and Lexi, through the entry point of weight bias, have lived into their value of unlearning + learning by waking up to the role of racism in eating disorders. In this intersectional understanding, they are specifically unlearning the impact of their whiteness, calling upon their well worn grooves of learning about thin privilege, and moving towards centering their work towards all marginalized communities. They are committed to the healing process for all bodies and holding themselves accountable as leaders to do their own transformational work to be better equipped to serve people who don’t have the same lived experiences.
Julie, Kara, and Lexi’s friendship runs deep, and they are committed to holding each other accountable through deep love to call each other up in living out their values personally. As a locally owned business, they desire to both steward their power well and relinquish power when other voices need to be centered in order to fulfill Opal’s mission.
Divesting from Perfectionism
To contribute to a world where all are able to live with freedom.
Opal will inspire cultural change regarding food, body, movement, and mental health.
To free people from diet culture by offering eating disorder treatment for food, body and exercise concerns.
Food + Body Wisdom
Weight + Nutrition
Opal offers non-diet and non-weight biased treatment for eating disorder recovery. All staff, programs and attitudes align with this through and through. Our treatment approach believes that the culturally normative fat-phobia, racism, healthism, ableism, (and more) interfere with one’s quality of life and breed eating disorders. Therefore we aim to use non-biased approaches to assessment and recommendations regarding weight and food. With that as our guide, we aim to help each client find healing in their relationship with food and body. Our nutrition team creates positive and therapeutic food experiences, which ultimately help clients find freedom from food and discover the eater they are naturally designed to be. Since our approach is individualized, we allow personalization of meal planning, while simultaneously re-teaching, and guiding the application of the basics of appetite regulation, metabolism, and general nutrition principles. Our goal for our clients is to have a practical, life-giving, trust based relationship with food and their bodies.
Check out these articles for more in-depth information on the science behind our weight philosophy: Weight Science: Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradigm Shift + The Weight-Inclusive versus Weight-Normative Approach to Health: Evaluating the Evidence for Prioritizing Well-Being over Weight Loss. We also recommend viewing the short video below from the Association for Size Diversity on “Poodle Science”.
We believe the body works–regardless of body size. Our treatment approach guides clients to find trust in oneself and what we call “body wisdom”. We hope clients learn to trust the unique wisdom of their bodies and the important information it provides about emotions, relationships, environment, nutrition needs, movement, and more. The process of finding trust in one’s body wisdom includes exploration of the things that get in the way of having a full and caring relationship with their body. Some of these things are: systems of oppression, eating disorder behaviors, shame, trauma, etc. This work is done in individual sessions with providers and within the group context through vulnerable connection with one another over shared experiences and differences. Our belief is that by getting back in touch with all of one’s body’s signals and wisdom, after what is often a long period of disconnection, avoidance and/or invalidation through an eating disorder, is a foundational element of eating disorder recovery.