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Finding Balance with an Eating Disorder Dietitian [VIDEO]
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Should you see a dietitian for eating disorders? Discover how to choose an Eating Disorder Dietitian + more 

How to Choose an Eating Disorder Dietitian

When we think about healthy eating, oftentimes, people’s impression of what Dietitians teach is all of the nerdy nutrition aspects, like getting enough vegetables and drinking enough water. Of course, those are really important from a long-term health perspective but what sometimes gets missed when we talk about healthy eating is the soulful aspect of eating. What I mean by soulful eating is really being able to have a healthy relationship with food and your body, and one that includes things like chocolate, potato chips, foods that we choose for taste and enjoyment. 

So in our practice, our dietitian team really works hard to make sure that we’re eating fully – we define that as eating healthfully and eating soulfully. It’s really about a balance that is going to be good for long-term health and mental health and just overall having a little bit more fun. 

In this blog post, I’ll guide you through what an eating disorder dietitian is, what they can do for you, and how to find the right one for you. 

 

From my video feature with Silver Linings Foundation 

What is an eating disorder dietitian?

You might be wondering, what does a dietitian even do and what does an eating disorder dietitian do? First of all, if there’s been some anxiety and fear about seeing an eating disorder dietitian, I don’t blame you because of course, the word dietitian has the word “diet” in it. It also has the word “die”. So, it probably feels like a really scary experience coming to see us.  

I want to give you an understanding though, that an eating disorder dietitian really has no interest in trying to change your food or make drastic changes that you feel will be something that you just can’t do. Our goal is to really meet you where you’re at right now in whatever phase of recovery that might look like and work with you in what we consider a co-pilot relationship. You’re the pilot, we’re flying the plane together on your journey to recovery. We’re sitting next to you and we’re providing advice, guidance, science information, fact checking information along the way on how to navigate some of those tricky situations when it comes to eating.  

So again, eating disorder dietitians – we are an ally, a friend and a co-pilot to you. We’re really not after trying to control the situation, that is your job.  

 

What does a dietitian do for eating disorders?

Dietitians can really help with the different phases of eating disorder recovery. In the beginning when you might be struggling with under nourishment and not simply getting enough good nutrition, we’re going to work with you on what we call mechanical eating. Mechanical eating is really where we teach you to be able to trust us first before we can actually get you in a place where you can trust those hunger cues and your ability to make choices that are going to be conducive for your health. We work with your family, support person or maybe just one-to-one to really build that plan together and execute it on a structured schedule… but we don’t want you to live there for life. 

In time, what we’re going to find is that your ability to detect hunger and fullness cues and to be able to trust your healthy self versus some of those eating disorder thoughts that are obsessive and relentless when it comes to your eating choices. We’re going to move you more into what we call an intuitive eating approach to eating. That’s really where things are going to be a lot more flexible. They’ll still be a little bit of structure, but there’s going to be a lot more sort of gray in terms of what, when and how much you’re eating over time. 

At the end of the recovery phase, we really start to get you to be in the driver’s seat and we throw some challenges at you because we know you’re ready for it: different social situations, different food, fear challenges and these types of things. If that sounds overwhelming, don’t worry, you don’t have to get there overnight. This process is going to be slow and it’s going to be step-by-step at a time that you’re ready for it. 

How do you find an eating disorder dietitian?

So how do you find an eating disorder dietitian? That is a very good question. Different dietitians are experts in different things.  These are some key things you should be looking for when looking for an eating disorder dietitian: 

1. Has Experience & Knowledge in Different Eating Disorders 

You’re really looking for someone that has knowledge and experience in anorexia, bulimia. arfid, other binge eating types of issues. Somebody that’s got some experience with other clients is first what you’re going to check.  

 

2. Good Connections with Health Care Providers 

You also want to know that they’ve got good connections with mental health care providers such as psychologists and are really working and willing to work with your family physician and your therapist team to be able to collaborate for your care.  

 

3. Specializes Directly in EDs 

When you’re looking at finding an eating disorder dietitian, similar to how you wouldn’t necessarily go to talk to your family doctor if you needed a cardiologist to address a heart issue… you wouldn’t go to a general dietitian for specific mental health and eating disorder recovery. You really want somebody with that exact area of expertise.  

 

4. Is a Registered Dietitian 

If you notice I keep using the word eating disorder dietitian. When you’re looking for a nutrition expert to help you through eating disorder recovery, you want to make sure that the person you’re working with is a registered dietitian, they’ll have the word RD behind their name. This is really important because it ensures you’re getting credible sound advice from someone with a university degree in nutritional science and someone that has to do continuing education to really make sure that they’re practicing in a professional and ethical way. 

 

5. Look at your Insurance Plan 

One of the things that I’d also encourage you to do is to take a look at your insurance and see if you’re covered for registered dietitian services because it’s quite common on your health spending accounts or under health insurance plans with your employer to have some coverage to be able to access this care. 

So if there’s anything I would love you to really leave with today it’s one thing and it’s this: eating fully is about healthful eating and it’s about soulful eating. One without the other is going to get you into trouble. We really need to find that balanced relationship with food and the body. 

Looking for more support from an eating disorder Dietitian that “get’s it?”

If you or a loved one are struggling with anorexia, bulimia, ARFID, or binge eating disorder contact us for nutrition support. We have several Eating Disorder Dietitians on our team with a unique specialization in  nutrition support for eating disorder recovery. We collaborate with your family doctor and psychologist to move forward at a pace you can manage for recovery. 

Take a peek at some of the other related blog posts on our site!

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"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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