Eating Disorders – Bryan Bixler 2018-04-05T10:31:13+00:00

Bryan Bixler

Chief Program Officer & Nutritional Advisor

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” ~ Pema Chödrön

Bryan began his career as an academically successful scientist in the field of conservation ecology and sustainable development. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of California at San Diego with a degree in biology and was recruited to a prestigious masters program at the Institute of Ecology at the University of Georgia. Bryan’s work led to various projects ranging from the reintroduction of bison onto the great plains of Oklahoma to the study of a rare species of ants in the understory of a Costa Rican tropical rainforest. However, as fate would have it, his true journey began in his mid twenties when he developed a serious eating disorder, which would nearly take his life. Through his fifteen-year battle with and recovery from anorexia, which ultimately made national headlines when he appeared on the Dr. Oz Show, Bryan received an education far different from anything he had ever received during his time at university. Bryan’s unexpected path brought lessons in compassion, humility and a natural connection with others who struggled with the same darkness he now knows freedom from. Through this connection born of shared experience, his passion to work in the recovery field was born.

Bryan is the Chief Program Officer at Hotel California by the Sea and is responsible for creating, and implementing all of our programming as well as overseeing the daily clinical operations and clinical team. Bryan has been at Hotel California by the Sea since we opened our doors in 2014. Since day one, Bryan has wanted to open an Eating Disorder Treatment Program at Hotel California by the Sea. Bryan’s desire to share his experience, strength and hope came to fruition with the development of our Eating Disorder Program. Bryan’s personal journey and his passion for instilling hope in others coupled with his expertise in the field of nutrition played a foundational role in the creation of our Eating Disorder Program. On a daily basis, Bryan shares his personal story of recovery with others experiencing the same helplessness, loneliness and fear that he too once felt. Bryan is able to be there for those who feel as though they won’t make it through showing them that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Where there is passion, love, kindness and hope, recovery becomes possible and our Eating Disorder Program has been built around these principles.

A Glimpse at Bryan’s Story

A new beginning

Eight years ago my life was over. I was mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted from fighting a losing battle with anorexia. I simply wanted it all to end. I was tired of the hell of an existence that I called my life. After eight very long years, two court appeals, and endless medical complications, my body was failing and my hope extinguished as I was denied the treatment that I so desperately needed to save my life.

My story did not end there. Help came from the most unexpected of places. I was offered treatment in Wickenburg, AZ. by the Dr. Oz show. I was to fly to NBC studios in New York City to share my story on national television in exchange for a chance to save my life. As I gazed into the mirror on the eve before the taping a horrifying image reflected back at me, a caricature of a human being, the shell of a man who had been consumed body, mind and soul by and insidious and relentless disease. Those haunted dead eyes that peered back at me said more than words could ever convey how could I ever come back from this? I was too far gone.

Yet there was a part of me that wanted to live with every fiber of my wasted body, a life force that refused to give up. One day at a time I began my journey back to health. With the support of a caring and compassionate treatment team and the many amazing peers who walked a similar path, I was able to reclaim my life. The journey was more difficult than I ever could have imagined, but with patience and persistence I was able to heal. I spent over a year and a half in Arizona, the place where my life began again.

Today I am alive. I am more alive than I have ever been. I mourn the many years that I have lost to anorexia years that I can never get back. However, having suffered from and overcome a disease that took everything I valued and nearly cost me my life, I have been granted the beautiful gift of rediscovering what it means to be alive. I have been blessed with a loving family who has stood by me every step of the way and I have been unconditionally accepted by so many people who know my story, many of whom I am honored to call my friends. I try to face each day with gratitude and humility, for to wake up feeling whole and healthy is a gift, a gift I shall never take for granted again.

To learn more about Bryan’s personal journey click on the following link: