Eating Disorders

What Does a Nutritionist Do for Eating Disorders?

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WHAT IS CONSIDERED AN EATING DISORDER?

Eating disorders encompass a range of conditions that involve disturbances in eating behavior, accompanied by mental distress surrounding food and eating choices. Anorexia nervosa (extreme caloric restriction and fear of gaining weight), bulimia (binging and purging), binge eating disorder (frequent binging), ARFID (avoidant restrictive food intake disorder), Diabulimia (Manipulating weight through controlling insulin injections), or a mixture of some or all of these behaviors, are all considered eating disorders.

WHAT DOES A NUTRITIONIST DO FOR EATING DISORDERS?

A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist plays an important role in the treatment of eating disorders. They work closely with individuals who are struggling with an eating disorder to develop a personalized nutrition plan that meets their unique needs.

HOW CAN I TELL IF I HAVE AN EATING DISORDER?

While there is no way to self-diagnose an eating disorder, there are ways to determine if the relationship that you have with food is problematic to your mental and/or physical health.

This screening tool is helpful in understanding if you may want to seek help with a licensed professional.

Note: If you score on this assessment as being at risk, it is important to talk to a professional, like a Primary Care Doctor, Therapist, or Registered Dietitian about what you are feeling and to seek further resources.

WHAT IS NUTRITION THERAPY?

Nutrition therapy for eating disorders varies based on the client and their specific eating disorder. We start by determining the experience and behaviors of the client and then come up with a nutrition plan of care.
Nutrition therapy is a collaborative effort. It is about getting to know clients, what they value, what they are struggling with, and what approaches might work best for them. Our process is about understanding each client’s individual situation and mindset, and then helping them better meet their nutritional needs while also providing support during recovery.
Examples include:

  • Meal planning education and support
  • Slowly liberating types and amounts of food that are being restricted
  • Creating a food plan to increase energy levels and prevent binging later in the day
  • Exploring the emotional struggles that come with food and body image

WHAT ARE SOME MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT EATING DISORDERS?

Eating Disorders “look” a certain way: Most people think that all people with eating disorders are extremely thin, but eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes. People with eating disorders do not necessarily look a certain way or weigh a certain amount. Eating disorders are about behaviors, feelings and the relationship to food.

Eating disorders or disordered eating behaviors can take the form of chronic dieting: the dieting and binging cycle is actually considered to be disordered eating. Dieting fads and diet culture set people up for disordered eating by perpetuating a fallacy that eating is about self-control and willpower, when that is not the reality.

“Dieting fads and diet culture set people up for disordered eating by perpetuating a fallacy that eating is about self-control and willpower, when that is not the reality.”

Christine Weiss

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM WORKING WITH A NO DIET DIETITIAN IF I HAVE AN EATING DISORDER?

Eating disorders encompass a range of conditions that involve disturbances in eating behavior, accompanied by mental distress surrounding food and eating choices. Anorexia nervosa (extreme caloric restriction and fear of gaining weight), bulimia (binging and purging), binge eating disorder (frequent binging), ARFID (avoidant restrictive food intake disorder), Diabulimia (Manipulating weight through controlling insulin injections), or a mixture of some or all of these behaviors, are all considered eating disorders.

What Does a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Do for Eating Disorders?

A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist plays an important role in the treatment of eating disorders. They work closely with individuals who are struggling with an eating disorder to develop a personalized nutrition plan that meets their unique needs.

Nutrition therapy for eating disorders varies based on the client and their specific eating disorder. We start by determining the experience and behaviors of the client and then come up with a nutrition plan of care.

Nutrition therapy is a collaborative effort. It is about getting to know clients, what they value, what they are struggling with, and what approaches might work best for them. Our process is about understanding each client’s individual situation and mindset, and then helping them better meet their nutritional needs while also providing support during recovery.
Examples include:

  • Meal planning education and support
  • Slowly liberating types and amounts of food that are being restricted
  • Creating a food plan to increase energy levels and prevent binging later in the day
  • Exploring the emotional struggles that come with food and body image

While there is no way to self-diagnose an eating disorder, there are ways to determine if the relationship that you have with food is problematic to your mental and/or physical health.

This screening tool is helpful in understanding if you may want to seek help with a licensed professional.

Note: If you score on this assessment as being at risk, it is important to talk to a professional, like a Primary Care Doctor, Therapist, or Registered Dietitian about what you are feeling and to seek further resources.

Eating Disorders “look” a certain way: Most people think that all people with eating disorders are extremely thin, but eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes. People with eating disorders do not necessarily look a certain way or weigh a certain amount. Eating disorders are about behaviors, feelings and the relationship to food.

Eating disorders or disordered eating behaviors can take the form of chronic dieting: the dieting and binging cycle is actually considered to be disordered eating. Dieting fads and diet culture set people up for disordered eating by perpetuating a fallacy that eating is about self-control and willpower, when that is not the reality.

Ample time: One thing that makes No Diet Dietitian unique is that we give you plenty of time and don’t rush you through your sessions. The initial appointment is 90 minutes so you and your RD can get to know each other and how we will work together.

Assessment of nutritional and emotional needs: we look at the whole person when creating your nutrition plan, including, but not limited to: medical history, history of dieting, weight history, eating behaviors throughout life, family life, beliefs and attitudes towards food, how much time/energy is spent day to day on food, stress levels, sleep, medications, readiness to change, motivation.

Create a meal roadmap: Based on your nutritional needs and preferences, we will help you develop a roadmap surrounding meals and planning that is tailored to your specific needs. This may involve increasing the intake of certain nutrients, decreasing the intake of others, and emphasizing regular meals and snacks.

Teach healthy eating and self-care habits: we provide education and support to help you develop healthy eating and self-care habits. This may include tips for grocery shopping, cooking, and meal planning, as well as strategies for managing cravings, dealing with intrusive thoughts, and coping with stress.

Monitor progress: Your dietitian will monitor your progress throughout your recovery journey, adjusting the meal plan and providing additional support as needed.

Unique structure of follow-up appointments: together we form a plan to make a series of small changes over time. You’re not going to be rushed and there is no set time frame to expect results. Remember, nutritional therapy is client-centered and client-led.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO IS TRYING TO DECIDE IF NUTRITIONAL THERAPY IS RIGHT FOR THEM?

Make an appointment! We accept insurance, most of which cover nutritional counseling, and we have people on our team to help you answer questions about insurance coverage and walk you through the scheduling process, step by step. If you have insurance coverage, you have nothing to lose by booking that initial visit!

Eating disorders can be so isolating and hard to share with others. You don’t have to feel alone. Our Registered Dietitians are professional, knowledgeable, non-judgemental, compassionate and ready to help you so you don’t have to suffer in silence!

Written by our Disordered Eating expert, Christine Weiss RD, CD

Celeste Name

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