How to Treat Eating Disorders, 5 Strategies to Support Your Clients Along Their Journey from ED to Recovery (Plus Tools and Templates That Save You Time!)

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For a registered dietitian nutritionist, learning how to treat eating disorders, those clients who have anorexia, binge eating disorder or eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS) can be a drain to both your time and energy.

Counseling clients and patients should involve a team setting that includes you, your client, their family (if appropriate) and their medical team – especially their doctor and psychologist. As a registered dietitian, you are uniquely equipped to provide guidance and goal setting for your ED clients and are a crucial part of the team. We have the tools and resources to support you!

While we may assume that the only people who have disordered relationships with food are white teenagers and women, disorder eating behavior occurs in both men and women of all ages, all ethnicities, athletes, people with Type 1 diabetes and vegetarians

Dietitians in a clinical setting and private practice benefit from the ability to accomplish education in an efficient manner. Here are some tools to support you on your journey with your clients with anorexia and binge eating disorder.

Find the Right Motivation for Bulimia Recovery

The medical consequences of disordered eating are varied and profound. When clients are in denial about their relationship with food, our check-list discussing the behavioral, psychological and physical consequences can help them to see their ED with a more accurate lens. 

If you feel that your client would benefit from a higher level of care, our tools give you the steps to walk your clients through the conversation, with confidence. You have the option to discuss the importance of the menstrual cycle, the effects of starvation on the body as well as the tools to request labs and communicate with other care providers. 

Eating disorder training is an ongoing journey. When you’re ready to learn more, we even have a reading list of books we recommend.

Employing the Exchange System for Anorexia Meal Planning

Signs and symptoms of disordered eating may include a laser focus on counting calories, vilifying food groups, weighing themselves constantly and an inflexible exercise regime that interferes with daily living. 

Exchange lists are no longer used only to manage blood sugar. Exchange lists are a very helpful tool for those with disordered eating. Helping your clients to achieve a pattern of regularly eating an appropriate amount throughout the day helps to regulate blood sugar, as well as mood and lowers the risk of binging.

Exchange lists may be a beneficial tool for your clients so that they can focus on real food instead of numbers, such as total calories or grams of fat. Exchange lists can help to build confidence around using foods for the nourishment that they offer instead of being a source of fear and frustration. Having exchange lists in an Excel spreadsheet saves you time. 

Our Eating Disorder Exchange Meal Planning Bundle includes meal plan templates, exchange calculation forms as well as printable exchange lists so that you can teach these concepts to your own clients with ease. Did we mention that they’re customizable and brandable, too?

women reviewing tablet with meal plan

Intuitive Eating Resources: Gentle Nutrition for Recovery

What is intuitive eating? Intuitive Eating is a 10 pillar framework to honor your body and to cultivate a productive and peaceful relationship with food and bulimia recovery. 

Intuitive eating includes rejecting the diet mentality, honoring your own hunger and learning to feel fullness. Intuitive eating also makes room for the enjoyment of physical activity instead of having exercise feel like militant to-dos. Intuitive eating helps your clients to move away from the notion that they need to exercise to exhaustion. Intuitive eating makes room for joy – the joy of eating, the joy of movement and thinking about foods in the right amount. 

Gentle nutrition is the final pillar of intuitive eating. It takes time and practice and the right support to have a peaceful relationship with food, eating and exercising; RDs won’t start with gentle nutrition first, it is a goal to work towards for a client in the trenches of an active eating disorder. 

Intuitive eating and self-care are important for the health and wellness of your clients with disordered eating as well as for yourself. These teachings are an opportunity to connect with current and potential clients. Our Self-Care and Gentle Nutrition bundle includes a slide deck, which is a tool you can use to educate your clients about this approach to nutrition one-on-one or in a group. You can also use the presentation as a way to effortlessly launch a webinar to attract new clients to your practice. Finally, this is also a presentation you can use to educate and connect with healthcare providers locally. Let them know how you can take work off of their plates by effectively managing the care of their patients. 

We also have a complimentary self-care PDF download you can start using today. Add it as an opt-in on your website, use it at your appointments this week or leave as a freebie at your next doctor’s office visit. 

Do you work with groups, too? Our Gentle Nutrition: Handouts For Eating Disorder Recovery bundle is effective both for one-on-one nutrition counseling as well as in a group setting. There are options to print in full color as well as in black and white if you’d prefer to save ink. These tools are evidence-based and ready to use today.

women enjoying exercise

Snacks for Success: How Important Are Snacks for ED Recovery?

Have you ever heard “What is the point of snacking?” from your ED clients? We have, too! Recovering from a disordered relationship with foods requires normalization of regular eating, including snacks. 

Our How-To Guide for Snacking in Eating Disorder Recovery empowers you to teach this concept to your clients during your next meeting. This helps to build rapport and trust and helps you to proceed with confidence, even if this is new to you.

We all appreciate the opportunity to voice our preferences and our snacking guide allows your clients to do just that. Personalize their snacks to their preferences and your goals in an effective and collaborative manner.

Work Smarter, Not Harder by Using Templates

There are only so many hours in the day. Whether you are a registered dietitian in private practice or in a clinical setting, you deserve the tools to help you be more efficient and effective with your time. Your practice and clients are counting on you.

Your local physicians may be just as busy as you are. Make their job easy by giving them a referral form.

Why reinvent the wheel, when we have the tools you need to start using, today? 

As your clients are working on their intuitive eating journey, keep things simple by having them track their progress on paper. Tracking on paper keeps them out of apps that may track calories and become a triggering experience for them.

A collaborative tool for you and your clients to review intakes by food groups and goals.

Key to recovery – a quick guide you can provide to your clients, today!

Whether you are getting started or continuing your own training, we have the tools and resources to support you. Work smarter, not harder and check out our curated collection – you deserve the best.

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