Our Approach to Nutritional Therapy
For those in recovery from an eating disorder, addressing disordered behaviors and focusing on nutrition is a significant component of the healing process. At Eating Disorder Solutions, we’ll conduct a comprehensive evaluation and develop a customized nutrition plan based on your needs, history with food, and any allergies or medical complications you might have. During your stay with us, you’ll enjoy delicious meals prepared by our onsite chef as well as participate in grocery shopping, cooking classes and experiential modalities that will help you build real world skills to foster lifelong recovery.
Three words: All Foods Fit.
There are no “good” or “bad” foods. We believe that all foods fit in moderation, variety, and balance. Food’s purpose is to nourish, satisfy, and delight you.
An All Foods Fit nutrition philosophy means all foods have a place in a meal plan, in moderation and balance, along with variety. Moderation means eating various amounts of food without going to extremes of either eating too little or too much. There is no need for the elimination of any foods. Balance means at the end of the day or week, your overall food intake was “relatively” balanced through consuming all recommended food groups- carbohydrates, proteins, dairy, fruits, vegetables, and dietary fats. It does not have to be achieved at every meal or snack. It looks at an overall day or week to see that you’re consuming the various food groups to ensure you’re getting the micro and macronutrients.
Flexibility is an essential aspect of the All Foods Fit Philosophy. Being flexible with food means nourishing your body while having the freedom to eat what is available when need be, such as when you’re out all day or traveling or if you’re out of your favorite lunch item and can’t get to the store right away. Flexibility with food allows you to eat with balance and variety instead of rigidity and anxiety.
All Foods Fit means eating happens without judgment, and all foods are emotionally equivalent (for example, broccoli, ice cream, chicken, and french fries are equal regarding one’s emotional response). This philosophy is a non-diet approach that asks you to challenge distorted food beliefs, giving you unconditional permission to eat, and allows you to begin to trust your body with food.
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Complete Support from our Dietitian and Chef
At Eating Disorder Solutions, you will work with our dietitian in one-on-one sessions to make peace with food and your body. By exploring your current relationships with food and how you feel toward your body, you will be able to:
- Reframe your mindset by learning to accept what you cannot change about food
- Allow food to offer the nourishment your body needs
- Find comfort in eating without restricting or binging
- Continue to challenge beliefs around nutrition and what“healthy” versus “unhealthy” really means
Not only will you explore the scientific side of food, how it works in the body, and how important nutrition is, you will be able to connect with your emotional struggles and how those emotions impact your relationship with food. These discussions will lead to developing coping skills and strategies around particularly distressing times, such as meal times, cooking, and more.
Our dietician works with our chef to plan different feasible and enticing menu options for you. We adjust the menus based on feedback from clients and staff, working together on grocery orders and ensuring you have everything you need.
- The chef and dietician have a cooking group together, where they help teach you how to cook different dinner options each week.
- The chef helps ensure your allergies and dietary needs are met daily.
- The chef gives cooking tips almost daily.
Planning Custom Meals
Each client is given a specific meal plan when arriving at the facility. This is based on your specific energy needs, eating disorder behaviors, and weight restoration versus weight maintenance. Your meal plans are adjusted throughout treatment, depending on how your body reacts to the meal plan, including labs, vitals, and weight.
We primarily focus on helping you establish adequate and consistent food intake while including various foods from different food groups. Because eating disorder rules and rituals tend to include restrictive behaviors and narrowing of acceptable kinds of foods, eating enough and expanding variety are both critical parts of recovery.
Setting the Environment
Meals are a crucial part of your therapy here. We have designed our dining areas to be as pleasant and welcoming as possible. You will dine with fellow clients and staff members, including nursing staff, therapists, and dietitians during meals. Various conversational games (word games, trivia, etc.) will be played to lighten the mood, enhance mealtime, and add the comforting touch everyone deserves to feel when eating.
Meal Support During Eating
Meal support involves providing emotional support during mealtimes, specifically helping you consume the food on your meal plan and redirecting behavior that sabotages eating and recovery. By exposing you to eating experiences, we aim to help you overcome harmful food judgments and nourish your body. Providing this type of meal support encourages intuitive eating, mindfulness, and reduces disordered eating. When Eating Disorder Solutions provides meals, you’re expected to eat the same food or type of food to practice flexibility and increase your exposure to variety.
What to expect:
You will receive guidance regarding the amount of food your body needs as your dietician recommends. You will practice with meals you may have prepared with the chef, order-in or take-out meals, and meal outings.
As the food is plated, you will sit with other clients and staff members at the table. As a group or individually, staff members check in with you to find out how things are going, your goals, and how they can help.
During meals, you are expected to remain at the table together and are not allowed to use the restroom for at least thirty minutes afterward without supervision. Both measures aim to reduce eating disorder behavior opportunities by decreasing access to opportunities and increasing accountability.
Some meals are more challenging and require much more intensive therapeutic coaching and intervention. In contrast, others allow an opportunity to practice eating in a social setting while engaging with others. Eating disorders tend to be very isolating illnesses. Therefore, it can be very therapeutic to eat together at the table.
Health at Every Size
Here at Eating Disorder Solutions, we thrive on finding innovative approaches to eating disorder recovery. One of these aspects involves HAES®. HAES®is a non-diet approach that encourages behaviors that support individual health and shifts away from the focus on weight. It is an evidence-based philosophy that affirms that everyone can be healthy, regardless of body size, shape, weight or BMI.
According to the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH): “Health should be conceived as a resource of capacity available to all regardless of health condition or ability level, and not as an outcome or objective of living. Pursuing health is neither a moral imperative nor an individual obligation, and health status should never be used to judge, oppress, or determine the value of an individual. The HAES® approach honors the healing power of social connections, evolves in response to the experiences and needs of a diverse community, and grounds itself in a social justice framework.”
Research has shown that a weight loss lens harms health outcomes when applied to health goals. In contrast, HAES® focuses on markers of health that are not related to weight or body mass index.
The HAES® Principles:
- Weight Inclusivity: Accept and respect the inherent diversity of body shapes and sizes and reject the idealizing or pathologizing of specific weights.
- Health Enhancement: Support health policies that improve and equalize access to information and services and personal practices that improve human well-being, including attention to individual physical, economic, social, spiritual, emotional, and other needs.
- Respectful Care: Acknowledge our biases, and work to end weight discrimination, weight stigma, and weight bias. Provide information and services from an understanding that socioeconomic status, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and other identities impact weight stigma and support environments that address these inequities.
- Eating for Well-Being: Promote flexible, individualized eating based on hunger, satiety, nutritional needs, and pleasure rather than any externally regulated eating plan focused on weight control
- Life-Enhancing Movement: Support physical activities that allow people of all sizes, abilities, and interests to engage in the enjoyable movement to the degree they choose.
Get Eating Disorder Help Today
Many of our clients come to our eating disorder treatment center with high anxiety about food; for many, eating may bring up many difficult feelings. Please know that we will be here to support you, to help you move in the direction of health and well-being despite those difficult emotions, and to help you move forward toward recovery.
After treatment at Eating Disorder Solutions, clients can lean on the exact coping mechanisms they’ve learned in treatment when meals and snacks feel overwhelming. Call a member of your support team to talk if you need, or use distraction tools — whatever works best. You may also need to rely on a meal plan after leaving treatment. This is okay and often very normal. But the ultimate goal is intuitive eating, which means full food freedom. It also means you’re one step closer to making a full recovery.
Feeling anxious or ambivalent about treatment is normal, but it’s important to remember that treatment and lasting recovery is possible and achievable. If you or a loved one are interested in learning more about our specialized eating disorder treatment programs, call 855-808-4213 to get in touch with our team today. We look forward to helping you through your recovery journey.
Learn About Your Options for Eating Disorder Treatment
Whether you are seeking recovery for yourself or you have a loved one who is struggling with an eating disorder, treatment is essential. We know that this can be a challenging time. Eating Disorder Solutions will guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have. Get in touch with us today for a confidential conversation about your options.