Jennifer Pereira, LPC, RD, LD
Initially I graduated in 2000 with my Bachelor's in Nutrition Sciences and became a Registered Dietitian. I worked in several facilities, and then I started my private practice in 2006. In 2013 I graduated with my Master's in Professional Counseling and became a fully Licensed Professional Counselor in 2015. From 2012 to 2015, I founded and ran a non-profit group home for the treatment of eating disorders, called Project Bliss. In 2016 our family moved from the Dallas/Fort Worth area to Austin,Texas, which had long been a dream of ours.
Although my first area of expertise was nutrition, it didn't take long for me to see that having a healthy lifestyle is much deeper than eating and exercise. Awareness of and regulation of thoughts and feelings is crucial to true health, which includes mental, emotional and physical aspects. The mental and emotional components deeply affect physical health as well.
I remember when I first decided to study nutrition, in hopes of one day helping others with some sort of wellness program. Back then I, too, was caught up in the social messages of good and bad foods, mandatory exercise, and the constant fear of my untrustworthy body doing something crazy at any time. I was the proverbial "health nut"...and I was pretty proud of it. Unfortunately, I bought into the idea that eating patterns and exercise and body somehow indicated my value as a person. This belief derailed my happiness and well-being for years.
I've found over time that even people who do not have food or body issues tend to have the same underlying struggles. Self-image, anxiety, depression, meaning, identity, relationships and life-purpose are part of most people's lives. Our society gives few clues on how to handle these big lessons. Sometimes the only people who get to work on these things are those who really spiral out of control. No one should have to hit 'rock bottom' before having access to therapeutic growth opportunities. Every person benefits from understanding themselves better.
Now a fully recovered former trendy-nutrition guru (when I was an 'expert' prior to getting an actual nutrition degree), I have gone on to work in the areas of identity and purpose, mood issues, life-transitions, eating disorders, weight issues, and overall wellness.
--Jennifer Pereira, LPC, RD, LD
Contact us with any questions about eating and mental health issues. You or someone you know may be in need of outpatient eating disorder treatment.