Circle Experts

I can’t speak highly enough about the clinicians, researchers, allied health practitioners, and advocates who have agreed to contribute articles and posts to our Member’s Circle Emotional and Binge Eating Blog, “Weigh This Instead”. I’m grateful to them all and I hope you will benefit from getting to know their work, as much as I have! Get to know us by clicking on the links below..

Ellen Shuman

Circle Experts

Ellen Shuman

Linda Bacon, PhD

Mary Boggiano, PhD

Deb Burgard, PhD

Ellen Frankel, LCSW and Judith Matz, LCSW

Rita Nader Heikenfeld

Robin Okun, LMSW

Amy Pershing , LMSW, ACSW

Donna Plunkett, PsyD

Amy Tuttle, RD, LCSW and Karin Kratina, RD, PhD

Chevese Turner, Founder, BEDA


Curriculum Vita

ellen_shuman_headshot_80Director, Program Developer, and Coach, A Weigh Out Life Coaching,, and Acoria outpatient eating disorder treatment in Cincinnati, Ohio, which specializes in the treatment of Binge Eating Disorder (BED). Since founding Acoria in 1993, responsibilities have included BED research and treatment program development, design and facilitation of client workshops, professional trainings, management of day-to-day operation, client intake, coordination of multi-disciplinary treatment team, marketing, newsletter, website design and development.

Since 1997, responsibilities have also included individual and group coaching in the areas of general wellness (WellCentered Life Coaching), emotional eating and binge eating (A Weigh Out Life Coaching) using a “Health at Every Size” Paradigm, plus program development, presentations, professional trainings, facilitation and design of educational teleclasses and telegroups offered worldwide to healthcare professionals who treat people who may have a binge eating disorder, and to people who have BED and want to learn more about the latest research and treatment approaches.

Ellen also serves as President of BEDA; the Binge Eating Disorder Association and as Co-Chair of the Academy for Eating Disorders “Health at Every Size” SIG.

Linda BaconDr. Linda Bacon is a professor, researcher, author, and consultant. She is committed to educating people on the scientific evidence that underlies our understanding of weight. She combines her academic expertise and clinical experience to help people make connections between scientific research and practical application. She supports individuals in appreciating their bodies and developing nourishing and enjoyable health habits. She also provides health professionals and organizations with the education and tools to support their clients’ journey. Dr. Bacon has multi-disciplinary training, including graduate degrees in physiology (specializing in nutrition), psychology, and exercise science. Dr. Bacon is the author of the 2010 book, Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight,

mary_boggiano_headshot_80Mary Boggiano, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University Of Alabama at Birmingham. She obtained her Ph.D. in Psychology at the UT El Paso and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Univ. of Cincinnati Medical College. She specializes in the behavioral neuroscience of eating disorders (EDS) and obesity. Her animal models of binge-eating are used internationally by academics and pharmaceutical companies to develop new drug therapies, identify brain and endocrine mediators of binge-eating, and investigated predisposing genes. Mary battled bulimia as a teen and young adult. Her recovery process has helped guide her animal research which has found that dieting, stress, environmental cues, and palatable food can change the brain’s control of not only food intake, but food preferences, reward, and mood. She also developed a rat model that promises to tease out the genetic differences between susceptibility to binge-eating and to development of obesity with and without binge-eating. By finding striking parallels of binge-like behavior in rats, some human binge behaviors once chalked up to higher cognitive processes are now being viewed as more reflexive biological responses. She is active in peer support groups for eating disorders and is currently working on a multi-center study of anorexia nervosa aimed at identifying the genes underlying this deadly disorder. She and Ellen Shuman have published survey work highlighting the chaotic nature of binge-eating and underlying motivations. Her research has been funded by NIH and she was the first to receive a research award from the Natl. Eating Disorders Association. Dr. Mary Boggiano can be reached at


 deb_burgard_headshot_80Deb Burgard, Ph.D. is a psychologist specializing in eating disorders, sexuality, and relationships. She is one of the founders of the Health at Every Size (HAES) approach, and creator of

Dr. Burgard has been exploring the topic of women and their appetites since 1980. Deeply interested in both stigma and body image, and how people change culture and find a way to cherish the bodies they were taught to demonize, she uses these lessons in her clinical work with people suffering from various forms of body estrangement. She also is an engaging speaker, educator, and consultant.

Her research asks, what allows fat women to maintain their self-esteem and sense of empowerment in a world that deems them “out of control” and asks them to suppress their weight? What helps people of all sizes develop sustainable health practices that last?

She co-wrote Great Shape: The First Fitness Guide for Large Women in 1988, and has contributed to several major anthologies, including Feminist Perspectives on Eating Disorders, Effective Clinical Practice in the Treatment of Eating Disorders, and The Fat Studies Reader.

She is the co-chair of the Health at Every Size special interest group within the Academy for Eating Disorders and co-author of AED’s “Guidelines for Childhood Obesity Prevention Programs.”

She serves on the Public Policy Committee of the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) and the Advisory Board for the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA). Deb Burgard, PhD, Los Altos, CA 94022, 650-321-2606, Photo by

 matz_frankel_headshot_80Judith Matz, LCSW, and Ellen Frankel, LCSW are actually sisters, therapists, and co-authors of two books on the topics of eating and weight issues: The Diet Survivor’s Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Care (2006) and Beyond a Shadow of a Diet: The Therapist’s Guide to Treating Compulsive Eating (2004)

Judith and Ellen have over 45 years of combined experience in the field of eating disorders. They are dynamic speakers and frequent presenters at national conferences, including the annual Renfrew conference, and have been interviewed on topics related to dieting, overeating, emotional eating, and body image by newspapers, traditional and online magazines, as well as national radio programs across the country.

Ellen received her MSW from Boston University in 1987. She currently writes full-time: her latest book, Beyond Measure: A Memoir About Short Stature and Inner Growth (2006) led to appearances on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s Early Show, CNN’s Paula Zahn Show and Fox News with Neil Cavuto. She is working on her first novel.

Judith received her MSW from University of Michigan in 1980. She has served as director of the Chicago Center for Overcoming Overeating since 1993, an organization dedicated to helping people end the preoccupation with food and weight. She has a private practice in Skokie, Illinois where she offers individual and group counseling, as well as workshops and professional consultation. She can be reached at 847.267.1200.

Learn more about Judith and Ellen at

Rita Nader HeinkenfeldRita Heikenfeld, CCP, CMH, is a certified culinary professional, a certified modern herbalist, an educator, author, and has an award winning cable TV show “Love starts in the Kitchen”. She is a certified modern herbalist, specializing in the health aspects of culinary herbs and natural foods, a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and has been certified as a Professional Instructor. Rita is also an adjunct professor at University of Cincinnati, Clermont. She is listed in Who’s Who in American Women and has an award winning syndicated weekly column in Community Press Newspapers. Rita is founding editor of and has a daily blog on She also cooks live on local TV in Cincinnati and is a presenter at many health venues and herbal seminars. She lives in the sticks outside of Batavia, Ohio with her family where they grow their own produce and herbs, heat with wood, and raise chickens for eggs. Rita’s herb garden has been featured in the nationally distributed Country Gardens magazine, a Better Homes and Gardens publication. Rita and Ellen Shuman are co-authors of a Sports Nutrition book for children, The Official Snack Guide for Beleaguered Sports Parents.

robin_okun_headshot_80Robin Okun is the Director of Mindful Movement, a therapeutic movement practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She serves people with binge eating disorder, anorexia, bulimia, and trauma issues, individually and in small groups, using movement and the body as vehicles for healing.

Robin is the movement specialist for the Center for Eating Disorders. She collaborated with Amy Pershing on The Bodywise Intensive, a skills-based two and half day workshop for recovery from binge eating disorders. Robin leads a sensation-focused experience that guides women to a more intimate, conscious relationship with their bodies. Her mission is to guide women to discover pleasure, freedom, and comfort in body, movement, and in life.

She also leads body-centered groups with eating disorder therapists where they experience a renewed relationship with their own bodies, as well as deepening their understanding of their clients’ body issues and healing. Robin has been involved in mind-body healing for 20 years. Her work with movement developed through three levels of training in the Nia Technique, the internationally recognized mind-body movement practice. Today, Robin is increasingly moving beyond Nia to explore deeply personal connections to body and being.

Robin stopped exercising four years ago and is now more fit than ever!

Amy_Pershing_headshot_80Amy Pershing is the Director of Bodywise, a comprehensive binge eating disorder treatment program founded in 1993. She also serves as Clinical Director for the Center for Eating Disorders in Ann Arbor, through which Bodywise, and a variety of treatment services for anorexia, bulimia, and related disorders are offered. Amy has developed, with Robin Okun, The Bodywise Intensive, a skills-based two and half day workshop for recovery for binge eaters.

She has served as Adjunct Faculty at the University of Michigan in Ego Psychology, and writes and lectures extensively on the treatment of BED locally and nationally. Amy has also developed “My Body, Myself”, a day-long body image workshop for women in recovery, as well as numerous experiential talks and inservices for professionals and the community. She has served on a variety of professional boards, including The Binge Eating Disorder Association and The Eating Disorder Professional League of Michigan, and has been featured on both radio and television on BED recovery and as an advocate for eating disorders treatment accessibility. Because of her own journey in recovery, and 20 years of clinical work, Amy brings a a passion for helping those with BED find a place of peace with food, their bodies and themselves. She resides in Ann Arbor, MI.


 Donna_Plunkett_headshot_80I am Donna Plunkett, Psy.D, a clinical psychologist by training and a certified Life Coach through the Life Coach Institute. I am an A Weigh Out therapist and coach, I work in a mental health clinic, and I have a small private practice. My current focus is on individuals who struggle with emotional eating and binge eating disorders and I have a special interest in individuals who have had unsuccessful outcomes following weight loss surgery, because they were unable to change their behaviors with food.

I have worked with eating disordered individuals in a variety of settings for the past 23 years, starting with an inpatient treatment

program for people with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Since that time I have worked with individuals with eating disorders mostly on an outpatient basis through individual therapy. I have worked in various mental health settings, both community based and private practice, and I continue to work with individual falling in the spectrum of eating disorders. I have a strong interest in cognitive therapy, acceptance therapy and mindfulness, and emotion focused therapy. I have participated in specialized training in Cognitive Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, Family Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure and EMDR.


 Chavese_Turner_headshot_80Why did I create BEDA …because there are approximately 9 million people who are recognized as eating disordered in the United States. Interestingly, there are another 9-15 million who are not included in this “official” number. Binge eating disorder makes up three times the number of individuals affected as those with Anorexia (AN) and Bulimia (BN) put together—the greatest number of individuals with an eating disorder.

If you have binge eating disorder (aka compulsive overeating, emotional eating, food addiction) you understand why it is important the disorder emerges from the shadows and in to the light. Despite our numbers, we are greatly overlooked by the eating disorder community and treatment is not readily available in an equitable way as compared with AN & BN. BED is associated with serious mental and physical co-morbidities—we cannot continue to ignore the great number of people who need support to change their lives and improve their health.

As a recovering binge eating disordered individual, I feel it is important to create a community and a system of support. In my mind, this is the most important task BEDA can address at this moment. Most of us who struggle know this is a disorder that urges us to hide and take on herculean shame. We need to make it safe for individuals to admit their eating disorder and to seek help. Binge Eating Disorder Association.


 Amy Tuttle, RD, LCSW and Karin Kratina, RD, PhD are committed to promoting self acceptance and body trust. As registered dietitians who have had to ignore much of what they learned in school, they believe that diets cause more problems than they solve. Long-time advocates of Health at Every Size, they created the Nourishing Connections website to provide no-diet articles and resources including “Stay Attuned: The E-zine for Nourishing Connections.”

Kratina_Karin_headshot_80Karin, a leader in the Health at Every Size movement, has degrees in nutrition, exercise physiology, and gender studies, as well as a PhD in symbolic anthropology. She is an international speaker and the author of numerous books including Moving Away From Diets: Healing Eating Problems and Exercise Resistance. Karin is on the Advisory Boards for several organizations including Green Mountain at Fox Run and the National Eating Disorders Association. With her associate, Tracy Brown, she works with individuals and families in her Gainesville, Florida private practice.


Tuttle_Amy_headshot_80Amy, a registered dietitian and licensed clinical social worker with advanced training in mindfulness meditation practices, works with individuals and families in her Philadelphia, Pennsylvania private practice.

She offers mindfulness-based no-diet groups and eating disorder prevention programs and has conducted no-diet programs for varied groups, including midlife women, children and their parents at the YMCA, and the men and women officers of the Philadelphia Police Department.

Karin and Amy look forward to sharing articles about overcoming deprivation-driven and emotional eating, enhancing self and size acceptance, and using mindfulness practices and attuned eating to manage food and weight.



*Circle Contributors may change over time, as their own professional and personal schedules dictate.




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