who could benefit?
Every person's eating struggles are unique and different. Eating disorders can be obvious or subtle; brand new, partially resolved, or in recovery; intrusive or a place of security, impulsive or reserved, and anywhere in between. Nutrition counseling has the potential to benefit you wherever you are in the spectrum of disordered eating. Here are examples of the types of issues that I can help with:
My Nutritional Approach
My nutrition philosophy looks at the big picture of your nutritional intake. One food item or one day’s worth of food doesn’t have a significant impact on your overall health. What’s more important is the overall adequacy, balance, variety, and moderation of eating habits over time. This can actually take the pressure off when it comes to making food decisions!
The more I observe and work as a dietitian, the more I see the value in the quote below about normal eating:
Normal eating . . . is going to the table hungry, and eating until you are satisfied.
Normal eating . . . is being able to choose food you enjoy and to eat it and truly get enough of it—not just stop eating because you think you should.
Normal eating . . . is being able to give some thought to
your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food.
Normal eating . . . is giving yourself permission to eat because you are happy, sad, or bored, or just because it feels good.
Normal eating . . . is mostly three meals a day—or four or five—or it can be choosing to munch along the way.
Normal eating . . . is leaving cookies on the plate because you will let yourself have cookies again tomorrow, or eating more now because they taste so great!
Normal eating . . . is overeating at times, and feeling stuffed and uncomfortable . . . and undereating at times, and wishing you had more.
Normal eating . . . is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating.
Normal eating . . . takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.
In short, normal eating is flexible . . . it varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your food, and your feelings.
Copyright © 2018 by Ellyn Satter. Published at www.EllynSatterInstitute.org.
Starting Off – the Meal Plan
Oftentimes people with eating disorders need concrete and straightforward structure in the short-term in order to reach long-term goal of normal eating explained above. I can provide that structure and guidance through a nutritionally balanced meal plan that is individualized to your physical needs and lifestyle. In the treatment of eating disorders (EDs), the meal plan has been deemed “the most effective behavioral intervention, an indispensable prescription, and a medication which inoculates patients against ED decisions.” (Herrin and Larkin)
After practicing the meal plan for a period of time, your body’s internal cues and metabolism will wake up again. The negative consequences of restricting, bingeing, purging, and/or dieting can be reversed and soon you’ll be ready for intuitive and mindful eating.
Advanced Skills – Intuitive and Mindful Eating
So going back to the tacos vs burger food decision mentioned earlier, what sounds tastier and more satisfying to your body in that moment? This is intuitive eating. Once you receive the food, will you take your time to notice the taste of it? This is mindful eating. If you ate more of it than you planned, can you forgive yourself for not eating perfectly? This is a term I coined called "gracefully imperfect eating." These are the sorts of questions we’ll discuss later on in nutrition counseling.
My Counseling approach
Like most effective eating disorder dietitians, I use a mix of motivational interviewing, cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and family based therapy. I don't provide the full manualized version of these therapies because I'm not a mental health therapist, but I use them as it relates to the food or body-image topic you're dealing with at the time.
You can find more information about my empathetic listening style in the "About" page.
Here's how it works
This is brief conversation to clarify your intention for nutrition counseling and ask questions about what to expect. We'll determine if it's what you're looking for and you can decide whether or not you'd like to schedule an appointment. After scheduling, you'll complete the online assessment.
Time: 5-15 minutes
We'll sit down to discuss your background, lifestyle, medical and psychological history, eating habits, motivations, hesitations and long-term goals for nutrition counseling. We'll start to collaborate on an individualized nutrition plan, or we may decide to wait on that for later. Before this appointment, I'll spend time reviewing your online assessment. After this appointment, I'll reach out to other members of your treatment team.
Time: 60 minutes
The standard recommendation is weekly visits that we eventually spread out to biweekly, monthly, and as-needed appointments. Frequency of visits and length of treatment depend on a number of factors that we can discuss individually.
Time: 30 minutes