Eating Disorder Dietitians focus on more than just food and meal plans…

When picking the members of your recovery team, there is a LOT to consider. Expertise in eating disorders, schedule, location and finances are all big considerations.  In the past, it wasn’t common practice to include a dietitian as part of the eating disorder recovery process.  More and more it has become the recommendation to include an eating disorder dietitian in the recovery process – I mean, we are talking about EATING here. Who better to address these issues than someone who went through years of higher education learning about food and how the body uses it? Still not sure about why it is important to include a dietitian on your team?

Here are 4 ways an eating disorder dietitian can help you recover from your eating disorder:

  1. Eating disorder dietitians focus on more than just the food:

Yes, dietitians do LOVE talking about food – don’t get me wrong. However, we all know the eating disorder is not just about food. There are many things that can impact hunger/fullness cues, how we feel about certain foods, the relationship that we have with food or the environment we eat in, and the physical effects of eating.  Eating disorder dietitians work on just that – the relationship with foods, ability to prepare and shop for foods, and managing any physical effects or anxiety around the foods that you eat.

  1. Eating disorder dietitians make decisions based on SCIENCE:

All dietitians spend loads of time deciphering the information (and misinformation) you are inundated with about food.  Think about how many articles about food you see on your news feed every day. Dietitians sift through this information and are continually educating themselves on what is best practice based on science – not just what is the “new fad”.  Eating disorder dietitians can help dispel information that may be out there and can give you the tools to look at it more critically.

  1. Eating disorder dietitians are an extension of your medical team:

Although you likely have a physician and psychologist as a member on your team, eating disorder dietitians work with your doctor to bridge the gap between the physical symptoms of the eating disorder and how to manage them through diet. Eating disorder dietitians are able to go through labs with a fine-toothed comb for values specific to eating disorder symptoms. We then take that information and use it to get a better picture of how the eating disorder is affecting you on the inside. Eating disorder dietitians then assess any other physical complaints or symptoms and use this to correctly manage the meal plan prescribed.

  1. Eating disorder dietitians provide more than just a meal plan:

The meal plan is a vital part in the first parts of recovery, however it is doubtful you want to walk around with the piece of paper telling you what to eat forever. Eating disorder dietitians base meal plans off of a multitude of factors, including your medical history, current intake, food preferences, food challenges and fear foods, and your body’s physiological needs. The art of making a meal plan is an ongoing and fluid process that is constantly changing as your recovery evolves, so a one-stop meal plan is hardly ever the solution. Just as your needs change during your recovery, so should your meal plan. In time as you become a more intuitive eater, your eating disorder dietitian will help ease you off of the meal plan by listening to your body’s own hunger cues. After all, normal, intuitive eating is one of the goals you aim for in recovery.

Who to look for: all registered dietitian nutritionists (RD or RDN’s) must complete a specific curriculum (http://www.eatrightpro.org/resource/acend/students-and-advancing-education/information-for-students/registered-dietitian-nutritionist-fact-sheet) , and pass a national board exam. In some states (Florida included) (http://www.eatrightpro.org/resource/advocacy/quality-health-care/consumer-protection-and-licensure/summary-of-licensure-statutes-by-state), dietitians also need to become licensed to practice in the state they work in. Eating disorder dietitians are a special breed, and specialize in the medical complications and dietary needs of those suffering from an eating disorder. Just like you would see an orthopedic surgeon for a broken leg, you would want to find a dietitian that has experience working with eating disorders to help guide you through your recovery with food.

At Integrated Care Clinic we strive to provide specialized care to our clients from providers who are experts in their field. If you are interested in working with one of our eating disorder dietitians, or have questions about how to begin your process of recovery and develop a healthy relationship with food and your body, call 727-490-8811 today!