Kyla Fox On Having A Healthy Food Relationship

Pink background with "Clinical Therapist" written at the top. Below, there is an image of Kyla Fox on Small Bits of Happiness. She is smiling, wearing a blue necklace, and a pink crewneck.  There is an arrow above with "Kyla Fox" written next to it.  On the left, "Her advice on body image and healthy food relationship." written.

In this BIT: Eating Disorder Specialist Kyla Fox shares her advice on how to have a healthy food relationship, how to eat healthy, improve your body image, and all in all, combat disordered eating.

Kyla Fox is an Eating Disorder Specialist, Survivor and Advocate who reframes the way that we think about and treat eating disorders. As someone who struggled with disordered eating during her teen years, Kyla experienced the large care gaps and fundamental flaws in the treatment and recovery approach that prevent patients from getting the help that they need. In this BIT, Kyla shares how teens can better their body image, and how parents can support their children in maintaining a healthy relationship with food. Now, as a Master’s-level clinician with degrees from both the University of Toronto in the Master of Social Work program and an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Women’s Studies, Kyla has been filling that gap with her realistic and innovative approach to eating disorder management, treatment and recovery, and the creation of her outpatient treatment clinic, The Kyla Fox Centre.

SBOH: You focus on helping people deal with and overcome their eating disorders. Why did you decide to make this your area of expertise?

Kyla Fox: I suffered for so many years with an eating disorder – quite acutely in my late teens/early twenties – but was actively disordered eating for the majority of my life prior to that.Treatment was hard to come by; wait lists were long, and the professionals I met with weren’t well-versed in treating eating disorders. It was a very scary and lonely experience for both me and my family. Moreover, during my recovery, I made it my mission to become the therapist and build the treatment centre that I would have wanted and needed for myself. 

Photo of Kyla Fox interview with Small Bits of Happiness.  Kyla Fox is sitting on a wooden seat, wearing gray pants and a gray t-shirt.

SBOH: What are your top 3 tips for teens to have a better body image on a daily basis?

1. Be around people/environments that make you feel seen. 

2. Get on a team sport or join some community involving movement! This is so helpful in redefining being active as FUN. It allows for connection with others, feeling supported, and learning new skills. Being in our bodies in this way supports mental health, which supports positive body image. 

3. Start each day with breakfast. Then eat regularly (meals and snacks) throughout each day thereafter. This supports nourishment in a regulated way, which is so important for feeling good in our bodies. 

SBOH: Can you share some common misconceptions or myths about body image that you often encounter, especially among teenagers? 

Myth: Eating disorders are about people wanting to be skinny. 

NOPE! Eating disorders are not exclusively about food and the body. However, they do manifest in food and the body, so both of these aspects must be actively addressed in treatment. Eating disorders are rooted in much deeper issues—biological, social, psychological, genetic—which then manifest in food and the body. 

Myth: If you just eat or stop eating you’ll be fine. 

Truth: NOPE! The harmful patterns of restricting, binging and purging are far more complex to break and require a ton of hard work, commitment, and support to “just eat” or “stop eating”. 

Myth: Eating disorders are not a big deal. 

Truth: NOPE! Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental health issue.

SBOH: How can parents help their teens have better body image?

1. Parents must first recognize their own body image issues and pay attention to how they outwardly communicate about and describe these feelings in front of their teens.

If a parent is criticizing their own body or dieting, it sends a powerful message of lacking acceptance, which their teens will absorb. 

2. Be a safe and reliable place for teens to share feelings. Welcome emotional conversations and don’t judge, LISTEN. 

3. Engage in family meals together. Make coming together around food safe and consistent.

SBOH: How can parents communicate with their child or teen about their body image without triggering resistance and defensiveness? 

Body talk is sensitive. Period. It’s tricky to avoid triggering resistance and defensiveness because of this sensitivity. I always feel that if parents can come from a place of curiosity – wanting to learn from their teen about what they’re experiencing vs. knowing/fixing/being right – this can open up space for trust and sharing. 

SBOH: Do small but positive changes in how you view your body over time contribute to feeling happier overall? 

Our body is the home of our life. Because of this, appreciating it, LOVING it, and treating it well, allows us to be happier overall.

SBOH: Do you have any upcoming events, projects, or exciting news to share with the world? 

The Kyla Fox Centre is on the brink of solidifying some really powerful partnerships with top addiction centres and medical centres! This will allow us to provide eating disorder treatment to so many more people who are suffering. 

SBOH: What gives you a small bit of happiness everyday? 

My family. My girls. Being a mother has filled my heart in ways I never imagined possible. And yoga – it saves me every day.

SBOH: What are some words you live by or an inspirational quote? 

People wouldn’t necessarily know this about me or think this of me, but I have a lot of anxiety (I always have). It can be very debilitating. So, I have a little mantra I tell myself when anxiety creeps in: “Fear is only an idea. It’s not real. Don’t let fear win.” 

SBOH: What is one food that gives you a small bit of happiness? 

Curry! I love warm, delicious food in a bowl. It feels so soothing and nourishing to me. I spent a lot of time in India on my own in my early thirties and learned so much about their cuisine and traditions.

We hope that Kyla Fox’s tips give you a small bit of happiness and remind you to like your body, maintain a healthy food relationship, and treat yourself with love.

Find Kyla here:


Facebook: @KylaFoxCentre

Twitter: @KylaFoxCentre


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