Therapy for Healthy Habits and a Peaceful Mind 

Dr. Debra Gill, NJ Psychologist

My family-based program Healthy Life/Healthy Weight for Youth (4-14) and Mindful Weight Loss for Teens and Young Adults (14-21) have been shaped by my 8 years as Founding Director of the award winning Healthy LIFE Pediatric Weight management program at Barnabas Health. I have learned what REALLY works to help kids and teens manage their weight in healthy ways.

Kids and teens usually come to me because they are more prone to weight gain then their peers. They may or may not be eating significantly more than their peers. They may or may not be exercising/moving less than their peers. They may or may not have a medical condition that caused significant weight gain at one time or makes weight loss more difficult chronically (e.g., polycystic ovarian syndrome or certain medications).

Many young clients who are told by parents they have an appointment with someone to help them eat healthier and/or lose weight fear that I will ask them to give up their favorite foods or do exercises they hate. I always reassure them that my approach does not require these things. The hundreds of kids and teens I work with learn to:

  • Indulge mindfully and slowly savor foods that give them JOY
  • Naturally reduce portions by getting more enjoyment from each bite of food and noticing fullness
  • Nurture and fuel their body with a variety of delicious foods
  • Balance enjoyment and nutrition when making food choices
  • Consider whether a food is "worth it" to them
  • Listen to their body's signals about when to start eating and when to stop
  • Differentiate "stomach hunger" (a biological need to eat) from desires to eat that come from the "mouth" (which is always seeking sensation) or from habits, boredom, or emotions
  • Entertain and soothe themselves without turning to food
  • Set themselves up for success in challenging situations
  • Move their body on a regular basis 
  • Fit enjoyable exercise into a busy schedule 
  • Gain confidence in their ability to manage their weight for the rest of their lives
  • Avoid a lifetime of dieting or disordered eating
  • Develop accepting attitude towards their body which helps improve or prevent negative body image.

Healthy Life/Healthy Weight for Youth  (ages 4-14) and usually involves parents in the assessment and each educational session.

Mindful Weight Loss for Teens and Young Adults (ages 14-21) can include parents in some sessions or can be done one-to-one, whichever teen prefers.

Both programs typically include:

Initial session
Behavioral assessment, goal-setting, introduction to mindfulness skills and practice, measurements (if desired)

Includes paperwork for insurance and scheduling next session. 
75 minutes, $300

Educational sessions (1-5)
Skill building,  nutrition education, review of successes and challenges since previous meeting, planning/problem-solving for upcoming situations that require new strategies, SMART goal setting for food, exercise and skill practice

45 minutes, $225

Follow-up sessions (1-10)
Skill review, review of successes and challenges since previous meeting, planning for upcoming challenges

30 minutes, $140
Bi-weekly or monthly, as per child's needs for follow up and ongoing accountability.

We will collaboratively determine appropriate number of sessions once we have a sense of child/teens ability to learn, apply and practice new skills and strategies.

Please contact me to discuss your child or teen's situation.

Pediatric Weight Management

Dr. Debra Gill, Clinical Psychologist
124 E. Mt. Pleasant Avenue
Livingston, NJ ​07039
​Phone: (973) 820-5174 
Website: www.eatingdisordertherapistnj.com