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How Dietitian Sessions Can Aid in Eating Disorder Recovery


Recovery from an eating disorder is not a simple process. Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions that require an integrative approach in order to heal. Dietitian sessions play an important role in healing. When combined with other evidence-based treatments, support, and a trusted treatment facility, working with a dietitian can help individuals develop healthier relationships with food.

Eating disorders are not a choice and can happen to people of varying ages, backgrounds, and gender. The cause of eating disorders is not well understood. However, researchers believe the combination of genetics, psychological, behavioral, and social factors play a role in their development of them.

There are many types of eating disorders, including the following:

  • Anorexia nervosa

  • Bulimia nervosa

  • Binge-eating disorder

  • Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder

The exact symptoms of each differ, with a certain amount of cross-over between them. However, they are all related to emotions and behaviors around food. Therefore, they are both about food and not about food.


What Do Dietitian Sessions Look Like?


Working with a dietitian will look different depending on the needs of the client and the style of the dietitian. However, dietitians are professionals who specialize in nutrition. As such, they are certified to prescribe certain diets and coach people to change their food choices. For those struggling with an eating disorder, a dietitian session will often include the following:

  • Identifying rituals and habits around food

  • Designing a plan to help with mental and physical recovery of eating disorder symptoms

  • Teaching clients how to create simple and healthy meals

  • Accountability for making changes

  • Coaching clients on beliefs around food

  • Talking through problems as they occur

Dietitian sessions are individualized. Therefore, each client will get the necessary support that addresses their specific needs. While one person may benefit most from learning about the value of balanced nutrition, another individual's sessions will focus on accountability and planning. Regardless of the specifics of the session, the ultimate goal is the same. Dietitian sessions help people make changes and break down their beliefs surrounding food while being supported in making changes.


Benefits of Dietitian Sessions for Eating Disorders


There are many unique benefits of working with a dietitian as part of treatment for eating disorders. By helping clients to learn about the value of food and providing structure, dietitians play an integral role in recovery.


Learning About Food


Food is an important part of recovery from eating disorders. According to researchers, malnutrition is the second most common diagnosis that appears with an eating disorder. Healing from malnutrition requires a healthy diet. By working with a dietitian, clients learn about what a healthy diet looks like. Frequently, a healthy diet looks different from expectations due to the many myths about healthy diets that appear on social media and in magazines.

Additionally, dietitian sessions help individuals to work through beliefs that are part of eating disorders. For example, a person with an eating disorder might restrict a certain food group, like carbohydrates, thinking that they are bad. By working with a dietitian, they can learn about how all food groups are important, including fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.


Providing Structure and Accountability


While eating is a necessity for fuel, it is also habitual. Therefore, recovery from an eating disorder means making changes in these daily habits. Patterns around food will look different for each individual. Regardless of the specifics, a dietitian can help. By working with a dietitian, clients have the opportunity to dig into what they tend to do around food. This includes behaviors like what food they eat, when they eat it, and why they eat it.

Dietitians provide both structure and accountability. This combination provides new things to practice, and the accountability to help clients stay on track. As individuals work through barriers, a dietitian will continue to make adjustments for new habits, practices, or routines. Most clients recovering from an eating disorder will also be receiving help from other therapeutic modalities. However, a dietitian plays an important role focused on food and eating habits.


Recovering From Eating Disorders With a Team of Support


Dietitians commonly work alongside a team of other healthcare professionals to help those who suffer from eating disorders truly heal. By working with nurses, doctors, therapists, and other mental health care professionals, dietitians can provide their specific kind of assistance knowing they are part of a multidimensional approach to treatment.

Dietitians make decisions about a client's care based on their knowledge, expertise, and the contributions of others. By attending a dietitian session, clients will gain an improved understanding of the value of food and learn the necessary skills to cook and choose food that supports their needs. The choices that dietitians make will include knowledge from other experts. Therefore, it is personalized to meet each client's physical, mental, and emotional needs.

Healing from an eating disorder is a challenging and necessary step to living as an independent adult. Working with a dietitian is one type of treatment that can help. At Northwest College Support, we offer sessions with a dietitian. These are often focused on helping clients heal from an eating disorder by building skills around food. We believe that truly individualized care is most effective at helping students find a path forward that will help them succeed. If your student is struggling with an eating disorder, we can help. Our programs are focused on healing students to learn the necessary skills to thrive as adults, including life skills like maintaining a healthy diet. To learn more, call (877) 485-2776 today.

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