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Myths of an Eating Disorder Nutritionist Print

5 Facts About My Approach as an Eating Disorder Dietitian

 

A woman sits at a table eating a single cherry tomato on a plate with a forkFor anyone who struggles with disordered eating, an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder or ARFID (avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder), the idea of sitting down with an Eating Disorder Nutritionist can be daunting or even terrifying!

Honestly, I am not everyone’s favourite person at first and that is okay. A lot of that has to do with the myths and fears associated with Eating Disorder Nutritionists / Dietitians. Or perhaps you’ve had previous encounters with so-called “nutrition experts” that were not Registered Dietitians and trained in credible nutritional science that added to your confusion and stress when it came to eating. Or perhaps you previously saw a Dietitian and may not have clicked with them or felt they didn’t really “get it” if they had not worked in eating disorders extensively.

 

Myth #1: I am going to judge you, your food, or your food behaviours

First of all, at this point in my career, there are not a lot of food behaviors left out there that I have not heard before.

I want you to surprise me! I do this work because I find our behaviors and our relationships with food interesting. We are all unique and different. Our behaviors have served us in one way or another, so my role isn’t to judge you, my role is to help you judge yourself less.

Secondly, my goal is to create a safe space where you can share whatever it is that is going on with you, your body and food. I will do everything in my power to keep that space free from judgement because it doesn’t matter what I think. What matters is how you feel in your relationship with food. If your health or your life are suffering because of your food behaviours, then we will work together to find a way to improve that relationship with food and hopefully make food easier in the long run!

 

Myth #2: All I care about is your weight

If you are below or above the weight range that your body wants to be then yes, your weight may change. But weight is only one piece of information to me and it has limited value.

My priority lies in your health and relationship with food, not in your weight. If you are fueling your body in a way that allows you to enjoy healthful and soulful foods, that provides an adequate amount of nourishment for your life, that is free from diet rules, and that makes you feel really good then I am happy!

 

Myth #3: You are not allowed to exercise

As a retired competitive athlete, physical activity and movement continues to be a stress reliever and a source of great joy for me. I would be very upset if I lost the ability to engage in physical activity. So as an Eating Disorder Dietitian, I will always take potential restrictions very seriously.

There may be periods of time during your recovery where exercise is reduced or eliminated. This may be to help restore physical health, to avoid overtraining or burnout symptoms, or to help you learn to trust your body’s cues. However, if exercise is something you enjoy, then there will be a way to bring it back and to include it in your life.

The focus, similarly to food behaviors, is to repair your relationship with your body and how you use exercise or physical activity.

 


Myth #4: You have no say in what you get to eat

If you hate broccoli, I will not force you to eat broccoli. If you hate chocolate, I will not force you to eat chocolate.

I am not a food bully. I said it and I mean it!

You will always have a say in what you get to eat. I may make recommendations and offer ideas. I may encourage you to try foods that you haven’t had for a long time. I may even recommend that you try foods that previously triggered you into an eating disorder behavior. In that case, I will also help you create a supportive environment to reduce the fear around that food.

But you will always have a voice in your recovery plan!

 

Myth #5: You must follow a meal planA woman sits at a table eating a single cherry tomato on a plate with a fork

I personally dislike meal plans that are overly structured. They are not “real life.”

Inpatient treatment often has to use more strict meal plans for logistical purposes. In an outpatient or community setting, I get to work with you in a more flexible, “real life” kind of way.

I will help you develop meal structure for knowing how much to eat, what to eat and the timing of your meals. I will work with you to develop a strategy for eating that works best for your individual needs and lifestyle.

The myths about Eating Disorder Dietitians who work to support clients with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and ARFID (avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder) world make us seem way scarier than we really are. We are on your side and can work with you at a pace you can manage but that nudges you forward with the happier and healthier life you deserve.

 

Looking for Eating Disorder Dietitian support?

If you are looking for a helping hand and support for eating disorder recovery, reach out to us for help. Our Eating Disorder Nutritionist services can help support you privately and confidentially. We will also work with your family, family physician and therapist to make sure we are all working collaboratively to support you. Contact us for help here.

You might also want to check out these previous articles on our blog:

 

 

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Success stories

"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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