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5 Common Misconceptions About A Non-diet Dietitian

5 Common Misconceptions About A Non-diet Dietitian

I think most people would agree with the statement, “nutrition is a hot topic.” Nutrition “advice” (see how I put advice in quotes, that was intentional) is everywhere… on magazines, the TV, Instagram, heard while walking down the street, given to you by Aunt Carol even though you never asked… This “advice” is nearly impossible to escape and it can also be triggering for anyone who is trying to improve their relationship with food. Which let’s be real, the majority of people in our culture do not, unfortunately, have a positive relationship with food. So, I truly, truly respect those who are working through recovery (from an eating disorder, disordered eating, dieting…etc.) because our environment makes it so difficult.  Anyways, the fact the nutrition information, or should I say misinformation, is so widely accessible, often does not capture the truth and often paints food in a negative light, frustrates me as a dietitian. Not only are people who aren’t dietitians doling out advice–you wouldn’t ask Aunt Carol about advice on brain surgery if she isn’t a brain surgeon–but this advice rarely even paints a full picture of what “healthy” actually means. There are so many different definitions for “health” for different people in different life stages…etc. But that’s a whole other blog. Because of the way nutrition misinformation is often portrayed, I feel like, it also paints a negative view of dietitians. Many people have preconceived notions of what a visit with me will be like. Like I’m the “diet police.” Or that I just help you meal plan. Or that I am an encyclopedia of nutrition facts. So,...
Seven Tips for Meal Prep for Recovery from Eating Disorders

Seven Tips for Meal Prep for Recovery from Eating Disorders

By Rebecca Bitzer, MS, RD, LD. How can Meal Prep Help? One of the most difficult parts of recovery from an eating disorder is consistently following a meal plan without doing meal prep. What is meal prep? For people in recovery, I think of meal prep as anything that you can do to help you follow your meal plan (meal structure) so you can spend more time on living your life. You’ll have more energy for recovery. And devote less energy on food stress. Having the tools to stay calm in the grocery store and kitchen will help you be successful. Focusing on organizing your food in a step-wise fashion may even help you look forward to meal prep and possibly even enjoy cooking. Being vague with your eating plan is a slippery slope that may leave room for a slip in terms of your recovery.  Being clear, intention and pro-active will help you be successful.  Set yourself up for positive decisions that promote recovery by fine-tuning your meal prep skills. Whether you are confident in the kitchen or just starting out, setting yourself up for success includes meal prep. Remember, it is easy to get overwhelmed in the kitchen so here are some tips to help make meals easier. At this point, you have probably worked with a Registered Dietitian (RD) specializing in eating disorders. If you have not, it would be a good time to take the step to include a RD on your team. Be aware of red flags which may indicate a risk of lapsing back into eating disorder behaviors. Red flags for relapse or lapsing...
Self-Care Tips for When Your Schedule Changes

Self-Care Tips for When Your Schedule Changes

Last week, I took my spring finals. I celebrated finishing my last exam with ice cream and a 2 hour nap and it was honestly a great afternoon. After finals, I was staying in town to watch my roommate graduate and I was excited about all of this new free time. However, a few days into my break I was really tired and confused about why. I was sleeping in. AND taking naps.  My time was spent mostly with friends. Compared to my past weeks of intense school commitments, my first week of summer was a breeze. I felt like I should be bursting with energy. However, once I considered my dramatic routine change my exhaustion made a lot of sense. Throughout the course of the semester I woke up around the same time. I ate my meals around the same time. I had pretty set routine of when I exercised, relaxed, and studied. Then summer started and with that came the physical and mental effects of changing up a schedule. Your body will most likely  “notice” when your routine shifts.  I was doing pretty much everything on a different schedule than what I was used to and my energy ended up a little wacky. I listened to what my body was trying to tell me and practiced a little self-care to help reestablish my energy. I specifically wanted to write about the fatigue that can accompany routine change because Summer tends to come with schedule shifts for many people. School lets out. Kids may be home for the summer. Family comes into town. People may take off from...
Basic Tips for Health Professionals Treating Eating Disorders

Basic Tips for Health Professionals Treating Eating Disorders

I recently gave a presentation to therapists titled “Practical Approaches to Treating Eating Disorders.” As you may or may not know, eating disorder work is a very niche group. I love working with this population and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. But, it’s important to know that it’s not for everyone. For example, just as I love eating disorder work, working in the kidney disease population is not for me. I find it quite confusing and I have a ton of respect for dietitians who do that work! There are many therapists out there who do amazing work with their client and they don’t have adequate training in ED. Either they aren’t often exposed or they having gotten training.  I was appreciative of the therapists who came out to my training. Many of them had seen an influx in clients with eating disorder symptoms and they wanted to know how to best support their clients. Even if best supporting them meant referring out. 1. Ask yourself, is eating disorder work right for me? Like I said, it’s not for everyone! And that’s totally fine. It doesn’t have to be a good fit for you. Marci Evans, a dietitian in Massachusetts, created a quiz for health practitioners to take in order for them to see if ED work is a proper fit. You can find the link to the quiz here. If it’s something that interests with you, I encourage you to get additional training. Training is very necessary working with the eating disorder population. Many health practitioners in the ED field also get supervision from colleagues who may have...
The Weight Inclusive Approach

The Weight Inclusive Approach

As a junior in a dietetics programs, I’ve started to move into taking more nutrition education courses. After your first year or two in the program filled with science and nutrition classes, courses that teach you how to best interact and educate nutrition patients are integrated into your schedule.  A patient approach we’ve spent time learning about is the weight inclusive approach.   So what exactly is the weight-inclusive approach? It is the belief that when provided with access to health care that is non-stigmatizing.  Each individual does have the ability to maintain a healthy body. And achieve a state of well-being independent of their weight.   The approach moves away from placing blame on the individual for being unable to lose weight, and it instead blames the weight loss process. It  allows for a decrease in weight stigma and body shaming. The focus is on an overall improvement to psychological well-being.  The weight-inclusive approach does not just apply to those who work as dietitians or in the nutrition field.  It applies to everyone within the health care community including therapists, MDs, PAs, and everyone else. So why is the weight inclusive approach being taught as the standard for patient care?   The big reason is that it decreases body shaming. The goal is to reduce negative self-image in patients. Weight can be impacted by involuntary and genetic environmental conditions. These conditions can outweigh voluntary lifestyle choices. Therefore, promoting the public health message of “maintaining a healthy weight” causes these individuals who are unable to reach their weight loss goals (or better yet, society’s weight loss goals) to feel helpless,...
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