Posted on October 15th, 2016 in Eating Disorders
Written by Lauren Collins
My name is Lauren Collins. I am an outpatient, registered dietitian, specializing in disordered eating; this includes binge eating disorder, anorexia, bulimia, and/or general disordered eating. I am extremely passionate about helping others repair and improve their relationship with food while simultaneously learning to love themselves. Although, it is considered “best practice” to address disordered eating within the context of a treatment team, some individuals suffering from an eating disorder may be reluctant to see a dietitian. You may ask, “I am seeing a therapist, why do I need both?” I am here to tell you the 5 Reasons Why Seeing A Dietitian is Essential to your Eating Disorder Recovery.
- It is vital to have a team of professionals to guide you through your journey. No one professional is equipped to handle all aspects of an eating disorder. Malnutrition, medical complications, mental health, and day to day struggles are just a few areas that need to be addressed. A dietitian’s main role on the team is to address malnutrition and most important promote proper nutrition.
- A dietitian provides education and knowledge regarding the physiological issues of your eating disorder; specifically the causes and effects of malnutrition. Patients often get used to their symptoms which make them more difficult to detect. Thanks to a dietitian’s training and education they are able to use lab results, intake history, and patient records to detect symptoms of malnutrition. The dietitian will work in conjunction with your physician to address any medical complications or concerns.
- Unlike other professionals on your recovery team, a dietitian can provide nutrition education by simplifying what changes to make regarding intake and how to make them. This can be done by setting realistic goals that are challenging but supported by you and the dietitian. Although most mental health professionals are very knowledgeable when it comes to nutrition; it is important that they use their time addressing mental health concerns and not dietary concerns. Just like it is important for a dietitian to spend their time addressing nutrition concerns and not mental health concerns.
- A dietitian’s job is to communicate frequently with the patient. This allows the patient and dietitian to work through any previous and future barriers that may arise from changes in their intake. Open communication can lessen the anxiety when making changes to your intake. Your dietitian understands these challenges and will be there to support you.
An integral part to recovery is having support, accountability, confidence, and compassion. It is important that your recovery team provides you with these key components of care. Recovery is a choice; therefore it is important to choose a recovery team that best fits your needs. It is also important that you have all aspects of your recovery covered with the prope team of professionals.