Vegetables and Fruit Heart Shaped

The Role of a Registered Dietitian

An important part of National Nutrition Month® is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day, a time to increase awareness of this important role and recognize them for their commitment to helping people enjoy healthy lives. Since eating disorders are complex, it is important to have a diverse, and collaborative treatment team. In addition to therapists, psychiatrists, nurses, and family members, an experienced and knowledgeable dietitian is vital to positive treatment outcomes.

What does it mean to be a dietitian?

Amy Good, RD, LD, River Centre Dietitian, shares, “Being a dietitian, to me, is an important role. More than ever before, we are being inundated with nutrition information, much of which is conflicting and confusing to the layperson. Working with individuals with eating disorders has really opened my eyes to this problem. Before, I understood there was a lot of misinformation regarding nutrition, but it wasn’t until I saw this misinformation pushing someone into disordered eating that I realized how significant of an issue it is.”

At River Centre, Amy meets with clients to evaluate their nutritional deficiencies, unhealthy food, and weight-related behaviors. Using a thorough assessment, she learns more about the client’s current dietary intake, eating patterns, beliefs about food and weight, supplement use, and overall weight history. In addition to assessing clients, Amy listens to clients to gain a better understanding of their emotions around food and helps set goals to meet their specific needs. The valuable insight she gains about client’s emotional connection to food helps therapists and psychiatrists work through the contributing factors related to their eating disorder.

With many myths around food and nutrition, Amy uses one-on-one nutrition counseling sessions to help educate clients as they work through these misconceptions. “I take my role of deciphering nutrition information very seriously. My goal is to help individuals understand how nutrition plays a role in their health and how they can improve their nutritional status and take back the control over their life that they had previously been giving to food. I have found immense satisfaction in observing my clients have “aha moments” where they are able to connect the dots of nutrition misinformation they believed, the truth about nutrition that I’m able to teach them, and the connection this has to their disordered eating habits. This moment is a catalyst for change in the recovery process and I couldn’t be more honored to help someone discover it.”

In addition to working directly with clients, she monitors weight trends, creates nutritional activities, and researches guidelines and nutritional information to incorporate into the treatment program.

Nutritional Care at River Centre

Our approach to re-nutrition is non-judgmental, allowing our clients to explore the fundamental psychological issues causing or maintaining their eating disorder. A supportive, structured meal plan is individually tailored to each client to help them achieve and maintain healthy body weight, but more importantly, to help them become more comfortable around the process of eating. We focus on helping clients feel secure in expressing the emotions triggered food and eating. The family plays an important role in successful recovery, therefore; we encourage their involvement. When clinically appropriate, we provide hands-on training to family members in learning and practicing skills to make off-campus meals a success.

We know that most people suffering from an eating disorder have great apprehension around meals. We are committed to providing a clear rationale and explain the details behind our nutritional rehabilitation.

If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, River Centre can help.  Call our admissions team today at 866.915.8577 or complete our contact form for more information.

Scale and tape (RCC)

Body Weight and the Diet Cycle

According to research from Harvard Medical School, eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating, afflict more than 30 million Americans, while millions more experience disordered eating and weight control behaviors. This statistic is even more sobering when one considers the fact that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder in the United States. Numbers like these have real consequences on people’s health and overall quality of life. Often people are trapped in a vicious cycle of weight gain and severe dieting. In many instances, dieting does not produce permanent weight loss. Instead, it creates an unhealthy diet cycle where a person’s body weight quickly cycles up and down. What is needed is a holistic understanding of health that does not stigmatize body weight. People should focus on healthy behaviors and physical well-being instead of body weight.

The central idea behind the act of dieting tends to create problems. Extreme diets can actually damage people’s metabolism as well as their mental perception of food and eating. This means that individuals can end up in a worse place versus when they started the diet. The diet cycle can start here, with people’s weight gain and loss having a yo-yo appearance. The rise and fall of body weight creates the appearance that people are actually at war with their food (and weight). What is more beneficial for people is an active and healthy lifestyle, as well as an acceptance of their physical appearance and body weight.

When people are informed that they are overweight, there are unintended consequences. This information can reduce people’s satisfaction with their body and create other negative emotions and behavior. This is due to the fact that modern society tends to reinforce the message that “thin” is beautiful and good. People who struggle with their weight tend to also have lower self-esteem. The stigma of being overweight can help to set up a cycle for additional weight gain or the development of eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia. Individuals at all body weights often respond to stress and anxiety by eating. This emotional-induced eating will likely only encourage more weight gain. An increase in body weight can create a feeling of lower self-esteem and anxiety in a person. People quickly become trapped in an unhealthy feed back loop of weight gain and dieting.

More has to be done in order to make it safe to be a larger-bodied person. Most eating disorders are often accompanied by trauma, but body shaming and fat loathing only make these diseases worse. Actions from the fashion and food industry, as well as pop culture, almost seem to encourage eating disorders. However, attempts have been made to address the issues surrounding perceptions of physical imperfections, body weight and fat shaming. A few examples from fashion and marketing are from lingerie retailer Aerie and the increasing popularity of plus-size models. Since 2014, the ad campaigns of lingerie retailer Aerie (American Eagle) reportedly uses non-airbrushed photos of women of various body shapes and colors. Successful Fashion designer Chris Siriano has stated that there have “always been customers of different sizes since day one.” Currently, one half of Siriano’s fashion collection is made in extended sizes. These are positive steps in the right direction, but body weight fears and stigma surrounding fat is still a common occurrence.

For additional questions about the connection between body image, body weight and the diet cycle, contact the staff at River Centre Clinic. Their programs provide a full range of treatment options for children and adults with a primary diagnosis of an eating disorder. For immediate and confidential feedback, take River Centre Clinic’s EAT-26 (Eating Attitudes Test) assessment.

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Body Weight, Diet Cycle