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Dietitians and EDs: Debunking Myths and Misconceptions

March is Nutrition Month. Nutrition is an essential part of eating disorder recovery. Nutrition Month is celebrated to bring attention to the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating habits, which can look different for everyone (1). 


A registered dietitian can be a great way to re-introduce nutrition and healthy eating habits back into one’s life. A registered dietitian specializing in eating disorders can be a great tool in addition to therapy in the journey of recovery. Dietitians can assist in developing coping strategies, assessing eating patterns, creating meal plans, counselling, and providing education. A lot of information surrounding eating disorders that people may receive online through social media or that they search for themselves may not be accurate. This can affect how someone may not only view their eating disorder, but also how they cope with it. Dietitians can help counter this by providing accurate information and answering any questions that a patient may have. Creating meal plans alongside a dietitian re-introduces flexibility and variety in order to work toward the goal of having a healthy relationship with food. Allowing a patient to have the appropriate amount of choice allows them to slowly regain power over their thoughts and behaviours related to eating, with the help of a professional to keep them on track (2).


I understand that many people, regardless of whether they are facing eating disorders or not, are afraid of seeing dietitians due to several misconceptions and myths about them. I thought most of what a dietitian did was get people to eat healthier and put them on meal plans, which sounds like a waste of time and money. Throughout my research for this blog post, I found that I didn’t know much about dietitians and their roles in care. I’m going to share some common misconceptions and debunk them. 

Like myself, many of you may not know a lot about dietitians. A huge misconception is that a dietitian will put you on a diet and put restrictions on you; this is not true, especially in relation to someone with eating disorders. A dietitian who is well aware of your situation will not further limit you or put you on a diet; this would be very triggering for many patients and would cause further health complications, which is what a dietitian is there to help you avoid. Another misconception is judgement. A dietitian is trained and educated to assist you, they are not there to judge or shame you for your eating habits and behaviours (3). Dietitians focus on evidence-based and patient-centred methods to curate the best treatments for each person. 


Dietitians can be a great resource for those on their eating disorder recovery journey and the misconceptions surrounding them may be deterring people from seeking their assistance. We appreciate and acknowledge all of the hard work dietitians do and the aid they offer to those with eating disorders. I hope that this blog post may have taught you something new and debunked the many myths surrounding the role of dietitians. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and take the steps you need to begin your eating disorder recovery journey. 


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