Why Dieticians are Important to Recovery from Eating Disorders

Friday, Mar 19  •  


Eating disorders are complex in nature and have both psychological and physical consequences for the individual they affect. To reach recovery, treatment is required by a handful of teams designated to help different aspects of the illness. At Avalon Hills, our treatment consists of multiple teams including but not limited to a clinical team, a medical team, a culinary team, a neurotherapy team, and a dietary team. 

Just as the relationship to food is an integral part of eating disorder development, addressing this relationship with a dietitian is an integral part of treatment and recovery. It is nearly impossible to lead a client through understanding the nutritional and physical consequences of an eating disorder, experiences of a possible referring syndrome, and exploration of appropriate nutrition without a dietitian present, which is why they play such an integral role at Avalon Hills. 

To emphasize why dieticians are crucial to eating disorder treatment and recovery, it is important to understand their invaluable contribution to the treatment team. 

Navigating Malnourishment and Refeeding

Most individuals struggling with an eating disorder are experiencing some form of malnutrition. This does not mean all individuals will appear emaciated, however, it is likely that their disordered behaviors have resulted in numerous concerning and dangerous nutritional deficiencies. 

Reintegrating nutrition is an important part of treatment that needs to be handled with care, as reintegrating too quickly can result in physical discomforts. Regardless of the knowledge eating disorder therapists have on nutrition, unless they are trained and licensed, it is not safe for therapists to guide clients through this aspect of treatment. 

Recovery After Treatment

As important as nutritional rehabilitation is in the treatment process, teaching our clients dietary skills that will benefit them after treatment is the key to recovery. 

The registered dieticians at Avalon Hills are committed to providing creative and effective nutrition therapy to our clients. Through the individualized process of moving from a meal plan based on exchanges to mindful eating, clients learn to recognize and respond to hunger and fullness cues. They learn to attend to metabolic and nutritional needs. Clients explore true food preferences, thus decreasing the dependence on tracking numbers, calorie counting, and using external factors in selecting food. Clients participate in experiential activities and nutrition groups to help establish a healthy relationship with food, including participating in eat-out challenges, grocery shopping, meal planning, family-style dining, food budgeting, and taste-testing novel foods. 

All of these experiences and treatment features are used to help our clients create lasting habits that will benefit them as they leave our treatment facility. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder, do not hesitate to reach out for help. Give us a call at 435-201-8708.