While mainstream media can often romanticize how an eating disorder affects ones life, most of the time treatment center costs are not discussed.

According to a recent New York Times article, centers like these can easily cost upwards of one thousand dollars a day.

Kristin Czernek, a nutrition counselor through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, who has recovered from an eating disorder agreed.

“It is really difficult to recover from an eating disorder on your own,” Czernek said. “Treatment facilities are really expensive and insurance usually only covers a portion.”

Czernek went on to explain that she received the most help and guidance from a treatment center. She also described how lucky she was to be able to attend a free program.

“I went through Mercy Multiplied’s program which was six months,” Czernek said. “I lived in the home, went through counseling, and was monitored when it came to food intake. They helped me find a healthy weight and learn the proper tools to keep my recovery after I graduated the program.”

Not all treatment centers are as effective as this though, many times patients find themselves being in and out of programs and often times switching because of the ineffectiveness and price of them.

“There I worked on positive thoughts about myself, went through extensive counseling, and really grew my relationship with God,” Czernek said. “All of these components worked together to bring me to a healthier place mentally and physically. I left knowing the tools to keep myself free from an eating disorder.”

While every person and every eating disorder is different, Czernek said that overall having a trustworthy support team and group is extremely beneficial for anyone going through an eating disorder.

“Having a community definitely helps with support, insecurities, and a sense of belonging,” Czernek said. “I think when people find a community they feel empowered, and that is what The Balance Culture community has done for me!”

Along with being a nutrionist, Czernek also owns and manages a females-only workout studio called ‘The Balance Culture‘ in the heart of Lakeland.

“I have a huge passion to help women who [struggle with an eating disorder], Czernek said. “The Balance Culture has given me a platform to be able to advocate on behalf of girls who struggle and bring awareness to how life crippling eating disorders can be.”

The Balance Culture has group exercise classes ranging from yoga to barre and everything in between.

“I was very careful about integrating exercise back into my life,” Czernek said. “When I used exercise in a healthy way I actually was really able to minimize my anxiety. I have kept exercise in my life for this reason ever since. I try to exercise at least five times a week, 30 minutes each time!”

Czernek said that some of the things she avoided after leaving the program were scales, certain media, and specific people from her past.

“Learning how food is used to fuel our body has really helped me to have a healthy relationship with food,” Czernek said. “I learned the important of nutrients and the proper way to fuel my body that will give me the energy and sustainability that I need to run the studio!”

If you believe that you or a loved one may be suffering from an eating disorder, Czernek says the best first thing to do is to talk to someone.

“Being honest with yourself is really important and necessary for getting better,” Czernek said. “Confiding with someone close with you is the next step because support will be essential. Depending on how severe the disorder is I suggest getting counseling and/or looking into treatment. You don’t have to live this way for the rest of your life, and talking with a professional is the first step to that freedom.”

Eating disorders are mental illnesses and can often times lead to serious and fatal harm.

If you or loved one believes they may be struggling with an eating disorder visit http://www.eatingdisorders.org.au/

To find out more about information on eating disorders visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.

To find out more about mental health visit http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders/index.shtml#part_145414

To find out more information on counselors and nutritionists in your area visit  http://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/treatment-for-eating-disorders/therapists-specialists