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Dietitians and Eating Disorder Recovery


If you find yourself or a loved one in the midst of recovery from an eating disorder, I want to first say that we see you and we are here for you. Management of an eating disorder requires a multidisciplinary team including a medical doctor, a psychiatrist, therapist, family members, and a registered dietitian who specializes in eating disorders. Being part of this team allows continued communication between all parties involved.

The dietitian is often known as the person who creates the meal plan, but why else are they needed?

Dietitians have advanced skills in helping individuals improve their relationships with food. We challenge distorted and irrational thinking about food and weight, to explore feelings related to hunger and fullness, metabolism, and body image. Dietitians are empathetic and active listeners as it is imperative that the client can participate in nutritional counseling without any fear of being judged.

What many people do not know is that the eating disorder behaviors have a lot to do with how the brain is handling the lack of adequate nutrition and/or malnutrition. When we do not have adequate energy, our body does not have the needed neurotransmitters to create the building blocks for our emotions and can be causing the dysregulation of mood. Medication and therapy will be hindered if the client is not receiving sufficient nutrition. *Enter dietitian and meal plan.*

The dietitian is responsible for designing a meal plan based on their client’s specific needs, which are based on an extensive eating disorder history, food recall, lab results, menses history (if applicable), exercise regimen, and weight. A full nutrition assessment reveals current dietary intake, eating patterns, beliefs about food and weight, supplement use, who cooks/buys/prepares meals, and an overall weight history. The dietitian works with the client to explore, challenge, and help with replacing the mental distortions that cause and perpetuate specific food and weight-related behaviors. All challenges are in the hopes the client will move to the belief that Food = Fuel.

Below are the testimonials of Lemond Nutrition clients with their thoughts on the dietitian role and how it has helped with their individual recoveries.

“Seeing a dietitian keeps me on track in recovery. If I was left to my own devices, my recovery would decline pretty quickly. I'm a very facts-based person, and it's helpful to have a dietitian give me the straight facts about how eating disorder behaviors affect my health and long-term recovery. I see dietitians as accountability people. I think dietitians can often be seen as the ‘bad cops’, but that's not the case. They care about you immensely, and want your mind, body, and spirit to heal. They may not talk with you about your feelings, but the more progress you make dietarily, the more easily you can talk through the difficult emotions and feelings with your therapist.”

----- Megan

“My dietitian has helped me in so many ways. I can't imagine doing recovery without one. They have been there to help me recognize that food is not my enemy, how to support my body by providing nutrients through food, and [how to] break through internal judgements and misconceptions about food and nutrition.”

----- Faith

“Opening up to someone else about my struggles with eating and using food as a coping mechanism to assuage my anxiety brought me even more stress. At first, it was difficult for me to decide what was appropriate to tell my dietitian out of fear of being ridiculed. Later on, I learned that she is only there to help me find more suitable ways to handle my anxiety in an effort to solve my relationship with food. [She] has completely altered the way I view my relationship with food.”

----- Caroline

The recovery process looks different for everyone. You will likely have questions that arise at some point in the process. You are not alone, reach out to Lemond Nutrition to set up an initial consultation. If you would like more information on how to support yourself or a loved one in recovery, visit the National Eating Disorders Association website at https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/.

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