The Role of the Dietitian in Recovery from an Eating Disorder
An eating disorder is a serious illness. It many times includes medical and psychological complications.
Many individuals may not see eating disorders as a mental disease, but they certainly are. It cannot be helped. It is not just a matter of eating foods in significantly large quantities or avoiding foods altogether. Development of an eating disorder is not anyone’s fault. Eating disorders occur due to a number of things. Factors involved are genetics, past experiences, trauma, and/or abuse. As eating disorder dietitians, we are truly passionate about helping individuals overcome this debilitating condition! Full recovery is possible. Freedom is available for anyone. Through the process of recovery, it is crucial that an individual works with a team of experts in the field, including a dietitian.
Experts offer individualized guidance to help one find freedom from food fears.
As Eating Disorder Registered Dietitians, we have extensive training working with clients struggling with this terrible disorder. We take our role as a part of the treatment team very seriously. We all are so fortunate to work with a strong team members in other professions. Our team includes therapists, doctors, psychiatrists, and counselors to help in the treatment of this serious illness.
One important thing to note is that unless our brains and bodies are adequately nourished, therapeutic and mental health treatment will not be as effective. Recovery is dependent upon achieving adequate nutrition. We work to restore a weight appropriate for the individual. Eating disorder complications such as gastrointestinal disturbances, lowered heart rate, low blood sugars, amenorrhea and low bone density can all be addressed with appropriate food intake. Food is the necessary medicine our bodies need. We are here to help you on your journey to recovery.
We understand how overwhelming and difficult this journey is and we have found ways to tackle this together, one step at a time.
Our specialty includes an individualized approach to working with those currently struggling with eating and body image. Meeting a client where they are at currently is one of the most important aspects of what we do. Our goal is to build mutual trust, openness and vulnerability between patient and clinician.
Here is what you can expect from working with an Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian:
- Assessment of clinical nutrition needs
- Create a meal plan together that will allow for adequate intake and help build a healthy relationship with food.
- Learn about fears and goals to work toward so we can help during the journey to finding freedom is our top priority.
- Address symptom use and triggers, ranging from constant dieting, hiding food, eating in secret, self-induced vomiting, laxative use, excessive exercise, frequent bathroom trips after eating, etc.
- Discuss weight and body image concerns.
- Provide education on all the different food groups and their role in the body
- Take away the element of surprise with different signs and symptoms experienced in recovery.
- Discuss the role of nutrition related to both physical and mental well being.
- Work through food challenges together.
- Help fight eating disorder thoughts.
- Collaborate with treatment team to provide comprehensive care.
Blog originally written by Kait Fortunato Greenberg, CEDRD, RD, LD.
If you believe you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, please reach out to us. We are here to help. Our phone number is 240-670-4675 or you can visit our contact us us page.