If you are in the throes of an eating disorder, eating a meal (or just thinking about eating a meal) can be an incredibly overwhelming task – and one that must be done several times a day. Common emotional and behavioral features of eating disorders can include preoccupation or overthinking food choices, inability to make decisions about food, refusal to eat certain food groups, food rituals, or feeling uncomfortable eating in front of others or in social situations. No matter where you are in your recovery, you may benefit from having added support at meal time.
What is meal support and what can I expect?
Meal support can take several forms, but generally includes eating with the presence of one of our dietitians, and with or without other participants. The meal may be homemade, catered or prepared in office, or eaten out at a restaurant. There are 3 phases of meal support: before, during, and after.
Before the meal begins, your dietitian will spend time listening to your thoughts, feelings about the meal. This is also a good opportunity to check in with your hunger cues. You will collectively come up with one or two goals for the meal to coincide with what you have been working on in your recovery. For instance, do you want to work on eating at a normal pace? Identify progressing fullness? Practice not using food rituals? Order something off the menu that challenges your eating disorder rules? This discussion will help set your intention for the meal so that you can go into it with a clear focus.
During the meal, you can expect to eat your meal and engage in conversation with your peers and dietitian. Please be mindful of other people’s recovery and refrain from triggering talk (i.e. calorie counting, discussing ED behaviors, comments on other’s food, etc). There are a million other things to talk about besides food! You will be expected to do your best to complete your meal and ensure that you have adequately met your nutrition needs (ask your dietitian if you aren’t sure what that means for you).
After the meal, you will have a discussion about how the meal went for you. Did you meet your goals? What went well, and did you struggle with any disordered thoughts or urges? What have you learned for next time? What do you need to feel supported and move on with your day? If you are in a group setting, you may also give feedback to your peers.
Meal support at nourishED
Our dietitians offer several meal support options to support your recovery:
Individual in-office meal support: BYOB or make a meal with your dietitian.
Dining out meal support group: our Tuesday night support group dines out once per month at a local restaurant. Join your dietitian and peers to work on challenging your eating disorder. To RSVP, click here.
Virtual meal support group (coming soon!) : eat your meal from the comfort of your home – or anywhere you can a phone or computer – with your peers and dietitian.
Meal support is only available to nourishED clients – if you are not a current client, book your first appointment by contacting us here.