What is an eating disorder?
Eating disorders – including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and others – are dangerous and potentially life-threatening illnesses that manifest in serious emotional and physical ways. All of these disorders feature disturbances in eating patterns and weight regulation. They often begin quietly, the individual eating a little differently, but can spiral into severe restriction and/or overeating coupled with other behaviors such as purging, frequent self-weighing, inappropriate use of laxatives or diuretics, or compulsive exercise. Individuals with eating disorders often feel much shame about their behaviors and feel misunderstood by family and friends, but their illnesses are real and recovery is possible with the help of understanding professionals.
Treatment generally involves normalization of eating patterns through a structured meal plan, returning weight to a healthy and natural state, and stopping the problematic behaviors with the help of a dietitian (that’s me!), therapist, and psychiatrist. There are instances in which an eating disorder is too severe to treat on an outpatient basis and an individual may require a higher, more intensive level of care.
How would a dietitian help me with my eating disorder?
A dietitian is a key person in any eating disorder treatment team. Eating disorders are food and weight-related illnesses, so having a food and weight professional in your circle is vital! A dietitian will help you heal your relationship with food by establishing a structured meal plan that is nutritionally appropriate and balanced, adjusting this plan as your needs change, helping you plan appropriate meals and snacks, monitoring your weight trends, establishing a healthy weight range for you, and helping you identify and challenge your fears, rules, and rituals around food.
What is your experience with eating disorders?
I have been working exclusively with individuals struggling with eating disorders since early 2014 at a treatment center in St. Louis, Missouri. In this setting, I have gained valuable experience working with both males and females of a variety of ages (11 and older) in a variety of levels of care (residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, outpatient). I am passionate about helping sufferers heal unbalanced relationships with food and exercise through proper nourishment, identification of distorted food beliefs, assisted food challenges, and restructuring of routines. As a personal trainer and a board-certified sports dietitian (CSSD), I also specialize in working with athletes and active people with eating disorders and can help with reincorporation of exercise in a healthy and balanced manner. I would love to come alongside you and partner with you in your journey toward recovery. Contact me to set up an appointment!