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Dietitian Advice for Eating Disorder Recovery

Dietitian Advice for Eating Disorder Recovery

By Dana Magee, RD and Caroline Best, student intern. Recovery is a difficult, on-going, process. However, with a treatment team and a treatment plan in place, it is absolutely possible.  Our goal at Empowered Eating is to help those suffering from an eating disorder recover and develop an enjoyable,sustainable, and empowered relationship with food. Our team of dietitians: Bobbi, Alex, Klara, Dana,and Rebecca have a combined several decades of eating disorder treatment experience. Here are the pieces of recovery advice they have found to resonate the most with clients and offer the most support during the complicated process of recovery. Eating Disorder Dietitian Advice for Recovery  Food is your medicine for healing from an eating disorder. You may not feel like eating, and you still need to take your medicine. Throw away the scale – recovery is not about weight, it’s about regaining health and your life. You can’t compare your plate to others around you. Your body image distortion will likely be the last thing to get better, and you still need to eat. Stop reading nutrition fact labels and online articles about nutrition. If you have questions about nutrition, talk to your dietitian. Download the app, Recovery Record, which will let you keep a food diary on your phone. No numbers, no calories, no grams of fat or carbs.  Get rid of any calorie counting apps, fitbits, etc. Use this app if you find it to be helpful. ED will lie. And give you a bunch of food rules about eating. And you need to fight those lies and food rules to beat ED. Focus on your...
Tips for Starting School in Eating Disorder Recovery

Tips for Starting School in Eating Disorder Recovery

By Alex Raymond, RD,LD. The time has come. In Maryland, this is the first week of school for many high/middle school students, while colleges have had their doors open for a few weeks. Many of my clients are actually pretty excited about heading back to school and getting into a different routine. Let’s remember, returning to school is a transition, which may cause a shift in your recovery. School is filled with various pressures and amounts of stress that may be nonexistent during the summer. Stress can trigger ED thoughts and behaviors, so creating a plan for yourself or your loved one can help you be prepared for this transition. Here are some ideas of what you may be able to discuss with your treatment team:   1. Scheduling appointments. Make sure to discuss with your treatment team how often you are going to meet. Chances are you’ll want to keep up the consistency of appointments even during the school year, if not increase regularity. Yes, other commitments come up, like sports and school activities, and it’s also so important to make sure that recovery is the number one priority. It might be a good idea to have appointments on the books before school begins, especially if you are heading to college and transitioning teams. If you don’t yet have appointments scheduled, I would encourage you to reach out to your team *wink.* You may also want to ask your providers if they provide virtual counseling.   2. Meal times. I recommend to take a look at your school schedule (or your loved ones schedule) to figure out when...
Carol’s Motivation to Body Confidence and Recovery

Carol’s Motivation to Body Confidence and Recovery

  Another one of our successful clients talks about her recovery For successful client, Carol, family and friends were the encouraging factors that helped her continue to fight to regain control of her body. Carol had been battling her eating disorder for 12 years. She knew it was time to get help when she realized the detrimental effects it was having on not only her body and health, but also her family. Although she was slightly hesitant, she was more ready than ever to begin the recovery process and scheduled her first appointment with Rebecca. Positive Role Model Carol’s story truly inspired me and I am so happy I had the opportunity to speak with her. She was so focused on recovery, not just for herself, but also for her daughter. She wants to be a positive role model and encourage her daughter to grow up with body confidence. At first, it was not easy. Carol was uncomfortable with her new body, but she learned how to take a breath and push the negative thoughts out of her mind. She has had many proud moments in recovery, but she said “the best feeling is knowing how proud my family and friends are of me and knowing that I did this myself.” Her health is improving every day and her closest friends say she looks “healthier and happier.” Carol also spoke about Rebecca’s impact: she said she “could never had done any of this without her.” She told me how Rebecca has helped her realize her full potential I becoming confident and strong. Anytime Carol thought she was going to give up, she...
Successful Client Mary’s Road to Recovery

Successful Client Mary’s Road to Recovery

  Mary’s Road to Recovery One of our Empowered Eating clients, Mary (name has been changed for confidentiality), is successfully continuing along her road to recovery. In summer 2010, she realized she needed to seek help and took the initiative to find it. She began seeing Bobbi when her eating disorder was “at its worst.”Mary was really able to open up to Bobbi during their sessions and she felt comfortable confiding in her. According to Mary, Bobbi has been the “most influential person” during her recovery. Mary said that with Bobbi’s help, she was able to recognize “triggers” that prompted negative thoughts. Being able to identify these triggers eventually led to Mary learning how to move on from always worrying about “bad” food choices and enjoying what she ate instead of punishing herself for it. Five months ago, Mary’s life was changed forever when she gave birth to her beautiful daughter, Caroline. Mary told me how she loves being a mother and adores her five-month-old who “amazes and surprises” her each day. Not only is Caroline adorable, but she has also allowed Mary to view her recovery in a different light. Because she wants her daughter to grow up with confidence, Mary wants to set an example for Caroline. She will show her daughter how she enjoys and appreciates her body. Mary explained that even though she may have some extra “jiggly parts,” they are just a reminder that her body did a wonderful thing by bringing her daughter into the world. After speaking with Mary about her daughter, I asked if she has any parting advice for others out there. Mary gave some enlightening pieces...
Shapesville- Initiating the Discussion About Body Image

Shapesville- Initiating the Discussion About Body Image

As a mother of three small children whose career is devoted to treating eating disorders and raising self-esteem in my clients, as well as instilling it in my children, this book stood out to me, and I was hooked after I read it once through on my own before trying it out on my children. Shapesville According to the authors, Shapesville  “it is a book about self-acceptance, diversity, and learning to appreciate our differences as individuals.  It is meant to be a tool for initiating discussion between adults and children about body image, self-esteem, color differences, and the false belief that an ‘ideal’ body leads to happiness and success”.  When I read this excerpt from the authors, I knew this book was going to be a fantastic tool for parents and educators.  The audience seems to be tailored to Pre-K to about 5thgrade. “it doesn’t matter what size, shape, or color you are…” The book describes a town called Shapesville, where the motto of the town is “it doesn’t matter what size, shape, or color you are…” Several shapes from the town are described throughout: “Daisy, the orange diamond, …loves to read books and is super smart, doesn’t fret about her looks, for beauty is in her heart.” Favorite Quote My favorite quote from the book is near the end “So tell all your friends, whatever shape they may be, that what matters most may not be on TV.  It’s not the size of your shape, or the shape of your size, but what’s in your heart that deserves first prize.”  The book rhymes throughout so very catchy for young...
Motivational Monday: Empowered Eating Success!

Motivational Monday: Empowered Eating Success!

  Motivational Monday! Everyone likes to hear a success story especially on a Monday! I had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing a client of Rebecca’s who has made amazing progress along her road to recovery. Currently, she is a freshman in college and says that she loves school. She is planning on graduating in three years and wants to become an occupational therapist. Wow! What was recovery like? During this interview, I learned about her recovery process and how it has helped her to make new goals for her future. She knew “for a while that she wasn’t okay” and that it was time to seek help from a professional. Her mom did much of the research for her and they found out about our Empowered Eating program through her mom’s co-worker. Even though she knew it was time to seek help, she was still hesitant to begin the recovery process because she didn’t know what to expect. But, Rebecca comforted her and also gave her a lot of tools to guide her through the process, like meal plans and books. She said reading books were especially helpful; Life Without Ed by Jenni Schaefer is one of her favorites! What about the food plan? According to this successful Empowered Eating client, sticking to the food plan during the first few weeks was the toughest part of recovery. But, with Rebecca’s encouragement and a little bit of a push, this client was able to stick to her food plan. Her proudest moment was when she ate pizza again!! Throughout the process, this client began to realize that “[recovery] is not...

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