The Dietitian and I

my dietitian from my treatment center, NOT my current dietitian (far left, I'm at the far right) but still a pretty damn awesome one! She took us too the beach for picnics!

I thought I’d share a piece of my life that is and has been very important to me, my dietitian. Every Wednesday, I go to my dietitian and discus my food and body woes. In a way, she’s a lot like a therapist. If your familiar with eating disorder treatment, you’re probably well aware that a dietitian (as well as a therapist) is a very important component for recovery.

But dietitians are not just for eating disorder patients. I figured people with weight issues on all ends of the spectrum (overweight and underweight) see dietitians, but I asked my own dietitian today about her other clients. Most indeed have eating disorders and either need to loose or gain weight, but some clients have certain medical conditions like gout, cancer, polycystic ovarian syndrome, or diabetes. Whether or not you have an eating disorder, I dont see the harm in having a consultation with a dietitian. I think many people simply don’t know or have myths built up in their heads from rumors or online research about nutrition. Even I, who sadly thanks to my eating disorder, have become a “nutrition expert”, need the true voice of nutritional voice of reason to put things in perspective. If you DO have an eating disorder, dietitians can make or break you. When I say “break”, I mean they can worsen your disordered behaviors or thoughts.

For example, my very first dietitian did just that. First off, she told me my weight every time. Idiot. She knew very well I was on the verge of anorexia. She also had me calculate my caloric intake. At fourteen, I honestly didn’t know much about calories but she made me calculate it for her everyday and this made my disorder way worse and more OCD than you can imagine. Another mess up, she taught me really stupid “tricks” in order to get rid of my food fears like blotting pizza or defatting peanut butter (which sounds like an oxymoron, right?). Ugh…she ruined me!

I stopped seeing her after a few months, and I didn’t want to see another dietitian again.

When I was 18, I met my current dietitian. I was rail thin and urged by my therapist as the time to see a dietitian again. I was very skeptical since my first dietitian basically fed my eating disorder (pun intended). But as you can see, she’s still my dietitian and I truly owe a lot of my recovery to her.

So if you do want to see a dietitian, for whatever reason, I think its crucial you find a GREAT one. Not an OK one, you need one that truly understands you and your goals. I’ve had about seven therapists (and I’m not kidding) before I finally found one that worked whom I see now (who I know reads this blog and if your reading this….know that I think your the best therapist I ever had!). But I’ve only had one other dietitian (when I was in my treatment center), besides the nut case I had at fourteen. Anyhow, I love my dietitian now. She loves me like a daughter, which means a lot to me since loosing my own mother at thirteen. She went to visit me when I was in treatment which was about an hour and a half drive from Los Angeles. Most importantly, she kicks my ass, refutes all the BS theories my eating disorder will conjure up, and I know she wants my recovery just as much as I do.

So in this case, my dietitian totally saved my life and helped me. Even if you just want to eat healthy, doing your own research is fine and all, but reading lots of books and doing online research will probably hurt you more than hinder you. I’ve noticed many bloggers are convinced they have concocted THE best diet for themselves. But the reality is, most of them aren’t doctors and they fail to realize there is no “perfect” diet. However, I think if you can afford it, go see an experienced registered dietitian. Most are unbiased when it comes to diets. Unless they wrote or created some sort of fad diet (cough, atkins, cough, zone, cough, fat flush), they will pretty much have a balanced and healthy approach to eating. The role of the dietitian isn’t just to tell you what to eat. My dietitian certainly does not do that with me anymore. Everybody will have a different purpose for a dietitian. Mine is mainly to help me sort out my energy towards food and my body. She checks my weight (without me seeing!) so I don’t loose to much and so I dont have to weigh myself and obsess about it. And although not all dietitans do this, my particular dietitian is somewhat of a life coach. She’s very wise and experienced (in practice for over twenty five years), and it doesn’t hurt that she’s over fifty and looks like she’s in her thirties so I know she takes care of herself. I’ve had friends with eating disorders whose dietitians were obese (great way to get emaciated girls to get excited about weight gain!) My roommate’s former dietitian was still anorexic and actually left to get treatment herself while seeing my roommate as a client! So yeah, make sure the dietitians practice what they preach. Once again, I think everybody, disordered or not, would benefit from a consultation with a GOOD dietitian. So that being said, choose your dietitian wisely. I hope you find someone as incredible as mine. I apologize this post is lengthy and not that funny, but I really felt compelled to write about the importance of a dietitian after my session today. Because right when it ended, my dietitian gave me a big hug and said, “You know I love you!?”. It wasn’t even a hard session, it actually went well, maybe she was proud of me, I’m not sure, but it made my thankful that she helped me love me too.

Sorry no recipe today, Yoga school kept me out of the kitchen.

And thanks SO much everybody for the vacation suggestions! keep em coming here.

Also, dont forget the tortilla giveaway! I find it funny I even do giveaways buts its a cool way to see my “silent” commenters and to give people free stuff, always down with that!

20 thoughts on “The Dietitian and I

  1. Any of my experiences have been negative.
    It is true: you would have to find the “right” one. No person can really tell what the “ideal” way to eat is, etc etc…but they could potentially be a good coach to make your “irrational thoughts” more blindingly obvious to you. In other words, you can realize that it is normal to go “overboard” , it is normal to eat multiple servings of grains even if you don’t exercise , etc.
    That said, I don’t follow any dietitian and the one(s) in my past were not not not good.
    Interesting that you find something that works for you. I like how it seems that you like her more as a “helper along the way” versus someone who will tell you just what to eat when. Eating should be a complicated science….it is the mentality that will harm people.

  2. I think one of the biggest roadblocks to actual “recovery” and weight restoration is trust. We only trust ourselves to decide what we need instead of believing that the professionals out there might know better. What sucks though is that there are the quacks out there. Even if they have letters after their name, that doesn’t mean they always know what’s best. My point? This post is great. I am so jealous of your relationship with her, as I know that considering food is such a focal point for me, a dietician I could trust would be the most helpful thing for recovery.

    With that said, I don’t have one. I really liked mine in treatment a few years ago, but it was a couple hours from home and we couldn’t continue when I left. My first was an older lady, and although I know she knew what she was doing, she used plastic food for props. It was weird, and so was she in that she was always on a diet. Anyway, I still struggle with the trust thing, but in no way look to other bloggers for the “right” thing to do. I may not have letters after my name, but I am pretty darn knowledgeable. It’s just a matter of using that knowledge for good and not evil 😉

  3. Interesting – I guess I never thought of dietitians in terms of eating disorders. I don’t know how I really thought of them…just as experts to go to in order to help you put together proper eating/diet plans perhaps. Maybe I was thinking of them more in terms of fitness. Huh… I wish I had the money to see a dietitian just to see if I am eating properly as a vegetarian for the workouts that I do. I think I do pretty good, but I often think I am still too high on carbs mostly because of all of the veggies not so much breads and pastas. Anyhoo, rambling on your blog. Sorry 😉

  4. So, so true. The first dietitian I had was a total disaster… don’t even get me started. I refused to go back to one for years. The nutritionist where I was IP only served to cement that decision for me. But I really, really like my current one, and I would honestly be totally lost without her. Which is actually not completely positive — I do, after all, have to learn to live on my own! — but it does have some benefits.

    ❤ ❤

  5. It’s great that you found such an awesome dietician, Eden, because that really can make all the difference in recovery. I never saw one myself because I was too stubborn and headstrong, but I’m sure that I could have benefitted from a good one, and that it would have made recovery slightly easier. Like you, I became a self-proclaimed “nutritional expert” from all the reading and research that I did, but all of my knowledge was extremely disordered and one sided. I was very much stuck in trying to eat the “perfect” diet, and wouldn’t allow any “bad” foods to make their way past my lips. It was kind of a hellish way to try to recover, and definitely no fun. These days I’m a lot more relaxed about what I eat, and I do my best not to label food as good or bad. It’s funny, because the RDs that I’ve been shadowing all summer are completely unbiased when it comes to diets, and they don’t stress the importance of whole grains or natural sugars over white flours and white sugars… I’m still not too sure how I feel about that one, but I guess they know what they’re talking about? I donno…

  6. I seriously considered seeing a dietitian when I was trying to gain weight. Luckily all my nutrition classes and tons of research on my end got me to where I needed to be. But yes, it would have been incredibly helpful. Glad you found one that fits you so well. 🙂

  7. My first and only dietician told me that she just wanted me to focus on keeping breakfast and lunch in my body. She didn’t give me ideas or guielines on what to eat for these meals, just that I should eat them. And dinner I guess was a free for all. I hated that she didn’t expect much from me, so I never returned! So yeah, it is super important for you to respect and actually like your dietician in order to make any progress.
    Of course, once you learn yourself and your body, you really are your own dietician. You learn what feels good to your body and you learn to read your body’s cues. Unfortunately, this is one of the hardest thingsin the world for someone recovering from an ed (or anyone, for that matter!)
    Eden, thank you so much for sharing!

  8. hahahaha “the silent readers” love them

    um i totally agree with you and dieticians! either they’re great or they just suck and its like i might as well go online and read eveyrthing that may not be true right there. i think gina from candidrd is a great dietician and i only know her via blogworld hahaha

  9. I’m so glad that you have found a great dietitian and therapist!! I loved mine as well. My first nutritionist was overweight, and although I have nothing against overweight people AT ALL, it was just tough for me to take advice from her at that time. Which is sad, but true. I was such a different person during my ED. Eeekkk!
    ❤ jess

  10. I loved reading your story. I’ve never seen a dietician although I would think it would be great knowledge. Like oyu said about research…sometimes it hurts more than it helps. I definitely understand that. The more you read, the more confused you get because there are so many different “ways” and opinions on what is healthy and what isn’t.

    I’ve learned that simplicity is healthy to me. Eating what I want is healthy to me.

    Anyways, im rambling now 🙂

  11. Hi friend. I love this post. I jsut love it. Would you mind emailing me offline to tell her contact information – if it is not too personal? I would love to contact her about me and see if she could help me or knows someone in my area. I really love what you wrote. Just love it.

  12. wow i never really thought about it but i guess that would make sense that a lot of ED patients or those trying to recover would contact a dietician. theres so many that need help and finding the right person to be paired with is essential. some dietician (like any profession) are amazing and some are bad..well not that they arent good but sometimes they cannot connect with their patients and it doesnt work out. but i assume like doctors, you would need to scope around and find the right person you can trust with getting advice and nutritional plans 🙂

  13. I’ve also had some really awful dietitians. My experience was actually pretty similar to yours! I don’t understand what is wrong with people like that. Can’t they recognize an eating disorder when they see one? Anyway, I went on to work with some wonderful people and I do think it is worthwhile to seek out someone who can support you, give you advice about food, and help squash the eating disorder instead of feeding into it. Thanks for sharing this!

  14. This was such a beautiful post! I am so happy you have someone like this in your life! I think we could all benefit from someone who loves us, keeps us in line, kicks our ass when we need it and never judged, and gives us unconditional support! That’a a rare thing to find in a ‘3rd party’ situation, especially when it’s on-going!

    I think your dietician is an amazing woman!

  15. such an wonderful post!!!!
    love it!!! loved reading your story and the great relationship you have with your dietitian!!!! and that you love your therapist!!!
    loved reading!!! 🙂

  16. Eden, I am so glad I happenned across this today.
    I have been scared off from a nutri due to prior experience (no sugar no flour…to this day I can’t eat a cracker) Many other people have encouraged me to fond one, said that they are miracle workers and their best friends, etc.
    However, the way you describe it here makes me very eager to get one again.
    “Everybody will have a different purpose for a dietitian. Mine is mainly to help me sort out my energy towards food and my body.”

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