Rebecca's Story

Food was the cure, until it wasn't.
The founder and president of our organization had her beginnings in an uphill battle with eating disorders and addictions.

When Rebecca Cooper was four years old, her father was killed in a car accident.  One year later, Rebecca’s mother could not take care of herself, much less 2 toddlers, so one night she never returned to pick Rebecca and her sister up from the sitter.


Rebecca lived in foster care and then with her aging grandparents, which proved to be more of a care-giving situation than a nurturing one for the children. After the death of her grandfather in the 6th grade, Rebecca’s feelings of grief and abandonment overwhelmed her. The diversion:  weight, diet, food, and body image. Her eating disorder had made its debut.


Rebecca Cooper

Rebecca Cooper

During her college years, Rebecca was working her way through school dealing with the financial, academic and emotional stress with food.  Drugs became a way to control the cravings and her overwhelming appetite before she started adding alcohol to her addictions. Food had been a way to cope and then she was using everything.  

She found a fast way to better self-esteem – Thinness.  Overeating and then restricting food, the daily roller coaster of diets and binges sent her into the vortex of an eating disorder that consumed many years of her life.  She was a compulsive overeater, bulimic, and anorexic.

I just wanted to be thin. I hated the person I saw in the mirror. The scale determined how I felt; depressed, out of control, and hopeless. I just couldn’t stop thinking about food, diets, and my weight.

I ate when I didn’t want to. No one knew. I was so anxious thinking about how I would get the food, get rid of it or being found out. I didn’t think I could live without the temporary stress relief that my eating disorder provided.

Rebecca finally hit her bottom on February 25, 1986, and has been clean and sober since then.  Her first year of recovery was so precarious because of the eating disorder.  At that time no one understood eating disorders.

After almost a year of sobriety, Rebecca was freed from the merry go round of yo-yo dieting and eating disorders.

In recovery, Rebecca had many obstacles to work through. Her low self-esteem attracted her to abusive relationships. She picked men who validated her own self-contempt.

During a destructive marriage, she wanted to be loved so badly that she thought having a baby would make a happy family, one that she had never experienced. She stayed clean and sober through six miscarriages.  

She did the recovery work of ‘coming home to her Self’, along with work in a 12-Step program.  This process gave her the freedom to stay in recovery since 1987 and enter into a loving, nurturing, healthy marriage for over 18 years.

Yearning to help others heal or avoid the paths she had taken, Rebecca returned to school and received a Masters in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University.

After becoming a licensed therapist, certified eating disorder specialist, and obtaining a World Certificate of Psychotherapy, she founded Rebecca’s House Eating Disorder Treatment Program in Southern California and Rebecca’s Eating Disorder Foundation, a nonprofit organization.

As a pioneer in the field, Rebecca authored the book Diets Don’t Work®, devised a proprietary step-by-step process for eating disorder recovery, and has instructed several other treatment professionals in its implementation.

Today, Rebecca finds her experience invaluable as she continues to share her methods and philosophies with the global community and helps others change their eating habits and abstain from other addictive behaviors.