About Our Founders
Amy Taylor Grimm, RDN, LD
One of my first memories is being a little girl getting weighed at my annual doctor's appointment. Afterwards, my doctor soberly told my mom that if she didn't "watch out" that I would end up being "overweight". I remember being very sad and confused in the car on the way home. That experience coupled with the media and society's message that thinness equals attractiveness lead me to start trying to lose weight at age 9. Throughout my later childhood and early adulthood, I repeatedly lost and regained weight, which made me gain over time. In my early twenties, I joined the no-fat diet craze and started exercising regularly. I lost a significant amount of weight, my menstrual cycle stopped, and people complimented me almost every day. Even my doctor commented on how much she admired my muscular legs, knowing that I had no menstrual cycle. I felt that I was eating enough calories because it was the number that most "experts" suggested, but I still found myself overeating/bingeing and being obsessed with food. I felt so much pressure to keep doing because everyone told me how great I looked, but I still wasn't happy. What was I doing wrong?
I started reading about a way to normalize the way that you eat, called "intuitive eating". There was no real structure as to how to do it at the time, so I developed my own way. I was absolutely terrified but I kept at it. It took awhile, but I have been an intuitive eater for about 30 years and I am so grateful for my journey, mostly because I completely understand my clients' confusion, shame, and self-doubt. I have been in the same place and I was just really lucky to get the right information at the right time. These days, I love to cook, eat, and move my body in a way that I truly enjoy. Food is just one fun part of my life and I feel so grateful to have found the path to freedom.
Fortunately, there is now a road map on how to "do" intuitive eating. There is a structure and steps and most people make progress very quickly. It can be difficult for people who are using certain eating disorder behaviors to jump into intuitive eating at first, due to hunger and fullness cues being off-kilter, so sometimes some sort of eating structure is necessary to begin. I believe that people can be healthy and happy, no matter what their sizes are. There is hope for absolutely everyone!
Rhonda Lee Benner, LCSW
Hi, my name is Rhonda Lee Benner. I am a licensed clinical social worker. I graduated from Boston University in 2000.
I have extensive experience working with clients with eating disorders. Since 2002 I have worked at all levels of care, including inpatient, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and outpatient.
I am an ardent Health At Every Size™ proponent and use an intuitive eating model of treatment whenever appropriate. It is important to us that we provide a space that is safe, compassionate, and welcoming for all bodies.
I was the first therapist in Maine to become certified in Maudsley Family-Based Treatment, a therapy model that is now considered the gold standard of treatment for adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa. This model has revolutionized treatment for adolescents and their families and has reduced the need for hospitalizations.
I became passionate about working with people with eating disorders after my own recovery nearly 30 years ago. It is important to me that people with eating disorders or disordered eating and their loved ones have access to help from people who are knowledgeable, but also compassionate, committed to this work, and committed to helping create change in the way we as a culture think about bodies, food, and health.
When not working I enjoy spending time with my family, including my three dogs and two cats who keep me constantly entertained. In addition, I enjoy beach-combing to collect the many treasures in the sand along the coast of Maine. I am also an avid bird watcher and feeder. I am also a firm believer in yoga as a powerful healing tool. Dessert is now, and has always been, my favorite food group.