Eating Recovery Center In The News: Examiner.com
Chief Marketing Officer Julie Holland, MHS, CEDS is the National Eating Disorders Examiner. Read an excerpt from her blog on National Nutrition Month and her interview with Eating Recovery Center's Director of Dietary Services Marla Scanzello, MS, RD, or to read it in its entirety, click here. The concept of nutrition and healthy eating is increasingly pervasive in the United States, particularly as our country is faced with both an emerging obesity “epidemic” as well as a startling rise in the number of men, women and children struggling with eating disorders. Each March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics seeks to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits during National Nutrition Month. In addition to underscoring the important role that nutrition plays in our everyday lives, National Nutrition Month is an ideal opportunity to gain insight and perspective on the importance of nutrition in eating disorders treatment and recovery. Nutrition plays a fundamental role in the treatment of an eating disorder. Patients’ thoughts and behaviors around food are generally negative and destructive, and many individuals need to restore weight in order to regain the clarity of mind necessary to fully engage in therapy. Even for those patients who are at a normal weight at the time they seek eating disorders treatment, nutrition counseling and education are critical in addressing issues related to their underlying relationship with food. In general, nutrition counseling seeks to help patients overcome their fear of food and eating by providing support and structure during meals, education on a balanced pattern of nutrition and collaborative care to achieve a healthy weight for optimal recovery. For individuals struggling with eating disorders, there are no “good” or “bad” foods—all foods are fine in moderation as part of a diet characterized by balance and variety. These notions are reinforced by Marla Scanzello, MS, RD, director of dietary services for Eating Recovery Center. “The primary goal of nutrition counseling for individuals with eating disorders is to help them normalize eating and optimize health. Dietitians also challenge the distorted thoughts their patients often have and correct misinformation about food and diets that is often perpetuated by the media.” There are various levels of care in eating disorders treatment, ranging from inpatient hospitalization for severely underweight or medically compromised patients to occasional outpatient appointments with a dietitian, which is usually appropriate for individuals in recovery or those with more minor food and body image issues. At each level of care, nutrition counseling plays a different role. At the inpatient level of care, dietitians may work closely with internal medicine physicians, psychiatrists and clinicians to help the patient restore sufficient weight so that they may engage meaningfully in therapy. Whereas, a dietary professional working with an individual on an outpatient basis may lead group education classes or participate in a supervised meal, providing support and information to the patient as they plate and portion his or her food.