3 ways nutritional therapy can support your eating disorder recovery

Healing your relationship with food and body image is critical for eating disorder recovery. Recovery is a life-long commitment that gives you the freedom to live a full and happy life. An eating disorder is deeply rooted in fear. External information about food and health is twisted in a way that it validates unwell food choices and behaviours. Therefore, it's essential to have someone with a deep knowledge and understanding of nutritional science to help you. Here are three ways nutritional therapy can support the recovery process:

1. Nutritional therapy forms a part of your treatment team

Nutritional therapists often work alongside GPs and psychotherapists to provide a holistic approach to eating disorder recovery. Each professional has their unique role in the recovery team. The role of the nutritional therapist is focused on nutritional rehabilitation, food choices, food behaviours and body image. Therefore, the psychotherapist can focus on any underlying psychological issues and your medical needs are left to your GP.

2. Re-nourish and rehabilitate

Restriction, binge eating and purging can all contribute to health complications and nutrient deficiencies associated with eating disorders. Common health concerns include; osteoporosis, digestive issues, fatigue, hair loss, irregular or loss of periods, electrolyte imbalance and cardiovascular complications (Rome and Ammerman, 2003). These health concerns can be supported nutritionally. It’s also essential to monitor and support the body as it goes through the healing process. A structured eating plan provides a healthy balance of much-needed nutrients.

3. Arm thyself with nutrition education

Having a better understanding of nutrition helps to reframe any harmful beliefs around food. Your nutritional therapist will encourage you to explore your gastronomic likes and dislikes as you gradually broaden your food horizon. Gaining evidence-based education around nutrition can empower you to challenge any unwell and disordered food thoughts that come up along the way.

Recovery is possible

It may be almost hard to imagine, but with the right support, patience and consistency, recovery is possible. Nutritional therapy can help you on your journey to healing your body and relationship with food. After all, food is not the enemy, it’s nurturing and healing.

Note: The first point of call when looking for help is your GP. Beat, the UK eating disorders charity, has a website full of helpful information and support.

Helpful resources

Beat: https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk  

Mind UK: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/eating-problems/types-of-eating-disorders/#.W2ii3i2ZPjA 


Rome, ES and Ammerman, S. (2003). Medical Complications of Eating Disorders: An Update. Journal of Adolescent Health. 33, 418–426.  https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/4c24/3d5bb14ef3f620bf1fb36d6b0865d5921c06.pdf 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London, SW7 4TE
Written by Kaysha Thomas, (Dip. IoN, mBANT, CNHC)
London, SW7 4TE

Kaysha Thomas has undergone extensive training in eating disorders and understands the complexities of the medical and psychological complications associated with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. Kaysha has worked alongside psychotherapists both privately and in an intensive outpatient clinic in Central London.

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