Nutrition for Disordered Eating Across the Spectrum

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We are thrilled to welcome back Elizabeth Saviteer, coming back in August to teach the class, Nutrition for Disordered Eating Across the Spectrum.

In this class workshop, students will learn about specific interventions, phraseology and counseling techniques for building trust, motivation and hope in your clients dealing with eating disorders. The workshop will also provide tools for treatment planning, nutrition interventions, how and when to use nutrition education with clients, and when to seek further supervision and when to refer. This class is a requirement for Wholistic Nutrition Program Group 6 students (WNP6). It is also open to all students and alumni of The Wellspring School, as well as current health care practitioners.

We asked Elizabeth to tell us more about the class and her approach to this very important topic. Read below to see what she had to say.

Eating Disorders: When it’s not your specialty.

If eating disorders aren’t your specialty, you might feel really scared of the thought of someone coming to meet with you who has one. It can be intimidating, and you could feel afraid of saying the wrong thing. The good news is, even if you don’t intend to specialize, you can learn some important skills to recognize signs & symptoms, and language for bringing up sensitive topics, and feel confident about caring for this population. You can make a positive impact on a persons life in the first session.

First off, it’s important to know that most people fall into the gray area of “disordered eating” without meeting criteria for a full blown eating disorder. This means they may be yo-yo dieting, avoiding food groups, compulsively exercising, compensating for food eaten, or binging, and may never have thought that their eating was problematic or disordered. Often these clients know that they have an unhealthy and unhappy relationship with food, but because they aren’t underweight or purging on a regular basis, they don’t think of themselves as having a “real” eating disorder. And because our culture is obsessed with weight loss, many of these clients believe they are doing what they’re supposed to do to be healthy or manage their weight.

Second, you have to remind yourself that you can’t tell by looking at someone if they struggle with food or body image. I have worked with people who are “overweight*” and eat less than 1000 calories a day, and people who are “normal weight” who binge on a regular basis. Even people with anorexia, which most people picture as having a very thin appearance, can fall in the “normal” or even the “overweight” categories of BMI.

Finally, it’s good practice to ask assessment questions of everyone who comes to meet with you, even if they are coming for a completely unrelated reason. It is very common for people who struggle with food to meet with a nutritionist for a symptom seemingly unrelated to an ED. They could be coming for thyroid or gastrointestinal issues, inflammatory disease or food sensitivities. Most likely they are not trying to be deceptive, they might just not know some of their behavior is disordered. In the workshop I’ll be going over basic and more in-depth assessment questions, and how to ask them sensitively, yet directly.

Eating disorder treatment is a specialty field. Learning about eating disorders and their treatment can take years of education and training, but you can make a huge difference for someone by helping them catch it early. Sometimes the most helpful thing a provider can do is reflect some of the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder, express their concern, and refer them to a specialist. You could save someone’s life.

Blog post contributed by Elizabeth Saviteer – Masters of Science in Nutrition and Clinical Health Psychology, Certified Nutritionist, Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate.

Nutrition for Disordered Eating Across the Spectrum

Saturday and Sunday, August 26th and 27th
Time: 9:00am-5:00pm
Cost: $350 (with discounts available)
Eligible for 14 CEU hours

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