3 Myths about Eating Disorders Treatment
While there are a lot of problematic myths out there, here are three Myths about Eating Disorders Treatment that I’ve been reflecting on quite a bit.
As I have been doing all the legwork on the newest version of my online training “Nutrition Counseling for Eating Disorders” I have been thinking a lot about common myths related to eating disorders care.
MYTH 1 – You should always ask your clients to track their food intake.
Now, before any dietitian has heart palpitations, I am not saying that food tracking and food journaling (which are two very different
activities IMO) are always harmful. But I am saying that most dietitians ask their clients to do it without actually considering what it is like for the client, whether it is actually necessary, ways to make the activity less harmful, and whether or not it actually makes things worse.
Harsh words but I stand by them. It’s also why I have my graduate students participate in a food tracking/journaling assignment every year. Want to know the consensus from my students? Tracking their food and portions leads to obsession and guilt, more than anything else.
I promise, there are strategies to gathering food-related information that can mitigate harm and improve well-being…and it doesn’t look anything like MyFitnessPal.
So before you say to your client, “Just track your food for a week,” please think twice.
MYTH 2 – All clients need to know their weight in order to recover.
Standardized protocols are used because it’s how treatment efficacy can be measured in research. The trouble is that many manualized approaches break down because my clients come to me with their own unique body and food stories.
My approach to say, exposures on a scale, has never looked the exact same for every single one of my clients. The idea that it could and should is harmful and not rooted in client-centered care.
Many of my clients have trauma histories where the scale is central to the story. Many of my clients experience a profound lack of safety day to day because of the size of their bodies. The notion that each and every one of them should be forced to participate in exposure-based scale work to progress in their recovery makes no sense.
Some of my clients have elected to do weight-based exposures and it’s been profoundly healing. Wonderful. That doesn’t mean it should be the rule for all.
A skilled clinician is familiar with the research, knows how to read it critically, listens, and champions the lived experience and wisdom of their clients, and works side-by-side to develop strategies towards recovery.
MYTH 3 – Eating disorders are uncommon, unicorn-like conditions.
I started developing online trainings to empower other clinicians to work with EDs, because essentially zero clinicians (I’m talking medical
and mental health) receive training on how to do so. Yet, Eating Disorders are incredibly common, only becoming more prevalent, and present alongside other medical and mental health conditions.
So many people WANT to do this work, but feel totally unprepared because, well, they are.
Eating disorders work is complex, highly specialized, but incredibly fulfilling in many ways.
So until academic and clinical institutions start creating programs that adequately train and support providers who specialize in EDs, I’ll just be over here creating more courses.
This month ALL three of my training courses for clinicians and dietitians: Nutrition Counseling for EDs, Body Image, and Digestive Disorders are all on sale…including my course bundles. Head over to my Training Institute to see all of the course details. Use code: ELEVATE 2021 to snag 20% off, which only happens once a year!!
Elevate your education and knowledge when it comes to Eating Disorders!
You can watch this video below, to learn what has changed with the new, updated version of Nutrition Counseling for Eating Disorders in the 3.0 version.