Specializing in cognitive and behavioral approaches to healthy eating

The Role of the Nutritionist in the Treatment of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are not about food. Eating disorders result when what initially may have been experimentation with food and weight-related behaviors changes: the individual then begins to unconsciously use these behaviors to deny underlying psychological, relational and emotional issues. However, without adequate nourishment, individuals often are unable to concentrate and process information in psychotherapy. In addition, the medical consequences of the malnutrition can be fatal. The nutritionist provides information, guidance, and support for dietary change. Interpersonal support and compassion are critical to combat the fears associated with dietary change. The process of normalizing food and weight-related behaviors cannot occur without understanding and resolution of the underlying psychological issues.

Nutrition Therapy addresses:

  • Assessment of nutritional needs
  • Determination of current dietary intake
  • Strategies to adjust intake to more appropriate level
  • Education regarding principles of good nutrition
  • Development of normal eating patterns
  • Challenges of food intake behaviors (restrictive, binge, purge)
  • Identification of physical hunger and distinguish from emotional and social hunger
  • Education regarding physical consequences of food behaviors
  • Challenges to food rituals
  • Encouragement to take food “risks”
  • Social eating issues
  • Challenges of food beliefs/food myths
  • Establishment and maintenance of pattern of regular eating
  • Increasing variety of foods consumed
  • De-coupling of food and weight related behaviors from psychological issues
  • Education regarding metabolic rate and the body’s need for and use of food