Disordered Eating or an Eating Disorder?
Disordered eating can involve attitudes and beliefs towards food and body shape, as well as unhealthy weight management behaviours. It can include:
- Food avoidance
- Habitual dieting
- Preoccupation with food and body weight
- Unbalanced eating e.g. over-restriction of particular food groups
The rise of social media has seen an increase in disordered eating behaviours and body dissatisfaction, as more people become confused with what is “healthy”.
Repeated dieting is a common form of disordered eating. A specialist dietitian can assist with balancing a client’s weight concerns along with helping them return to a more natural way of eating. You don’t have to be diagnosed with an eating disorder to receive support for disordered eating behaviours. Specialists are aware of the shame and guilt that can accompany these behaviours and are sensitive to this, and can provide a welcoming space for you to work through your eating behaviours.
Eating Disorders include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and now also Binge Eating Disorder. They are complex, serious illnesses that require treatment from a team of specialised health professionals to help with moving towards recovery. Practitioners need to be highly skilled and experienced in the area and will usually have undergone further education and training. Dietitians are only one part, but a necessary part of this specialised team.
The role of a Dietitian specialising in Eating Disorders is to reduce the client’s medical risk and support them in their return to natural eating. Recovering from an eating disorder is different for everybody, and the dietitian helps to figure out what it is that each individual body needs in order to get better.
Recovery from an eating disorder is possible, however it’s a challenging and (most often) lengthy process. It impacts not only on the client, but also on their support network of family and friends.
If appropriate, the dietitian involves family members in the nutrition consultation process to assist with meal planning and support, and is able to point them in the direction of where/how they can access care for themselves through the recovery process. They provide education on balanced nutrition, remembering first and foremost that food is fuel.