The thought of going to a dietitian who specializes in eating disorders can be a frightening and emotional experience for many people.
We thought it would help to get an idea of what to expect at both initial and follow-up appointments. The dietitians at Erica Leon Nutrition & Associates are highly skilled and compassionate nutrition professionals who will listen to your concerns and help you feel welcomed.
When we meet with any client, whether an adult, adolescent, or child, we want to know what your goals are for nutrition counseling. This will be as individual as you are.
For anyone struggling with an eating disorder, specific goals that challenge disordered thoughts and behaviors around food, exercise, and weight, is essential and needs to be incorporated into treatment. Recovery can be achieved — one goal at a time.
At the initial session, we want to learn about your past and current medical history, family medical history, medications, and any physical ailments you may be experiencing. As weight-inclusive practitioners, we are very sensitive to discussions around body weight and body image so these will be individualized. Therefore, we will review usual eating patterns, history of diets, as well as your attitudes and feelings around the foods you choose. We feel very strongly that a relationship to food and body image is just as important as the foods that we consume.
As members of your healthcare team, we’ll want to collaborate with any other health professionals you may be seeing for your eating concerns. We will inquire about any eating disorder behaviors or symptoms you’re experiencing, as well as your food preferences and food fears. Learning about your lifestyle such as school or work, your living situation, who shops for and prepares the food is also an important part of nutrition counseling.
At the initial visit, we may develop a meal plan or meal suggestions although this can often take a few visits to figure out. You can read more about recovery meal plans in this free ebook, Eating for Recovery Plan, Meal & Recipe Guide.When we learn about foods that you feel comfortable with, we will be learning about whether you are able to recognize hunger, fullness and even which foods are satisfying to you.
By the end of the initial session, we will have developed a plan with you for moving forward, including specific goals that feel attainable. Here are just a few examples of typical eating disorder recovery goals: following your meal plan consistently for three days without skipping meals or snacks, keeping a food diary or journal and recording thoughts and feelings instead of restricting or binge eating, or even saying positive mantras upon waking.
Each person’s goals are highly individualized and will depend on diagnosis, medical stability, as well as our professional judgement. We will help you create goals that feel attainable so you can build on success.
Follow-up visits for eating disorder nutrition counseling also vary, based on diagnosis and goals for recovery. Combining nutrition education/weight science with meal planning and recipe suggestions, we often include hands-on exposure work, such as eating a “fear food” or even a full meal in session with you. This helps to challenge any distorted thoughts and “food rules” you may be living by. We recognize that each person comes to us with different lived experiences but our goals for anyone we work with are to find peace around your eating and body image and to live your life to the fullest.
So if you have more questions and would like to know what you would need to do to work with one of our eating disorders dietitians, please reach out by booking a call with Erica, our practice owner. She’ll talk with you to determine the best dietitian on our team to work with you, for your specific nutrition needs.
Erica Leon is a Registered Dietitian and practices from a Health at Every Size (HAES®) lens. She is certified as an eating disorder specialist and is passionate about helping women at midlife, menopause and beyond to make peace with food and body image.
Erica is a highly sensitive nutrition therapist who takes the time to learn where you or your family are in the pursuit of health. Respectful of your individual needs and lifestyle, she will provide an honest assessment of whether or not you are a good fit to work together. Click here to schedule a 15-minute Discovery Call with Erica to let us know about your needs, and to see which of our Dietitians is the best fit for you!
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