Meet the Expert: Key to Combating Negative Self-Image is Embracing Body Acceptance, According to Alsana’s Heather Russo

ST. LOUIS--()--From celebrity awards season to spring break to summer body fad diets, society continues to place a high value on thinness. Don’t buy into these unrealistic and narrow standards of beauty, says Heather Russo, LMFT, CEDS-S, chief clinical officer at Alsana, an eating disorder recovery community and treatment provider. Embracing the sizes and shapes of all bodies creates healthy self-esteem.

“Unrealistic body standards are constantly presented to us in movies and TV, in social media or our own environments – society’s obsession with thinness is infectious and can lead to disordered eating,” said Russo. “Our culture needs to instead, focus on body acceptance – replacing internalized shame and self-criticism with self-compassion, which lessens the focus on aesthetics.”

Russo offers five tips to help cultivate body acceptance:

  1. Combat negative self-talk by recognizing where the ideas come from.
  2. Focus on wellness rather than physical fitness.
  3. Surround yourself with positive influences – limit negative ones.
  4. Seek support from the people you trust such as close friends and family members.
  5. Practice self-compassion and treat your body with the same care you would treat your younger self.

Body acceptance plays an important role in the healing of the whole person during eating disorder treatment and continued recovery.

About Alsana

Alsana is an eating recovery community and treatment provider with in-person Residential and PHP/IOP programs in Alabama (Birmingham and Huntsville), California (Monterey, Santa Barbara, Westlake Village, and Thousand Oaks), and Missouri (St. Louis), and Virtual PHP/IOP offerings across the United States. Their approach to eating disorder treatment is compassionate, evidence-based, and designed in alignment with the Adaptive Care Model®. This holistic method seeks to address healing in all areas of clients’ lives by integrating medical, nutritional, and therapeutic care with movement and relational therapies. Alsana serves adult clients of all genders and sexual identities struggling with a broad spectrum of eating, feeding, and co-occurring disorders. Alsana’s programs accommodate the unique needs of vegan clients and clients struggling with ED-DMT1, also known as “diabulimia.” For additional information, visit


Jessica Neuman, Westbound Communications
Cell: 858-382-5157