Nutrition is a foundational building block of physical and mental well-being for everyone. The foods you eat have a direct correlation to how you feel both physically and mentally. In eating disorder recovery, food is medicine. We have to feed the body to heal.
It’s not so simple when you struggle with an eating disorder, though. Disordered eating behaviors keep people from being able to provide their bodies with all the foods needed to feel their best. Over time, people with an eating disorder develop harmful relationships with food that diminish their ability to consume a whole, nutritious diet.
Learning to increase nutrition is a delicate and complicated process but it’s necessary for long-term recovery. Breaking down false food beliefs is a difficult task but it’s an important part of treatment. Part of recovery is reintroducing a variety of foods including fear foods into the plan.
How can individuals in eating disorder recovery find a way to rebuild their relationship with food?
Rebuilding a Relationship With Food
You can’t overcome your eating disorder without rebuilding your relationship with food. Eating disorders create long-term problems, though, such as avoiding some types of foods, restricting yourself to specific foods, or only eating during certain times of the day. These behaviors impair your ability to have a normal, healthy relationship with food.
Trying to rebuild your relationship with food on your own can be an almost impossible challenge, though. You can’t immediately change these thoughts and actions because they took months or years to develop. You likely have a very specific set of ideas and behaviors around food that will take time to recognize and adjust.
Additionally, over time your body adapts to your disordered eating behaviors which can cause some lasting physical effects. For example, some people develop physical aversions, intolerances, or perceived allergies to specific foods after years of disordered eating.
Rebuilding your relationship with food is a long, complicated process. Replacing your old ideas and behaviors with new ones takes time. Oftentimes the best way to rebuild your relationship with food may be to start by seeking help from an eating disorder treatment facility.
A Phased Approach to Nutrition
Nutrition therapy is a central part of eating disorder treatment. When you first seek help for your eating disorder, you’ve likely deprived yourself of vital nutrients for a long time. Your needs are much different than that of the general population. You’ve likely been malnourished for some time and have significant nutrient deficiencies.
Eating disorder treatment facilities employ nutritionists who specialize in working with people trying to overcome eating disorders. These individuals are well-versed in the ways that food fuels the body. Different types of foods contain different vitamins and minerals which your body relies on to function properly.
But you can’t just start eating a wide range of foods again after you’ve severely restricted your diet for years. Instead, nutrition therapy commonly breaks the process down into phases: medical restoration from undernourishment, the introduction of combination foods and fear foods, and then participation in the nutrition process.
While you may be able to try these things at home on your own, it can also be a triggering experience. On the other hand, nutrition therapy programs at eating disorder treatment facilities provide ongoing support throughout each stage. Clinicians are on hand and prepared for any triggering situations that may arise.
Seeking Professional Help
Eating disorders are progressive and fatal conditions. The longer you go without seeking help, the more difficult it gets to overcome your disorder. Reaching out for help is the first step toward learning to live free from the control of disordered eating. Eating disorder treatment is a pivotal part of that process.
Rebuilding your relationship with food is a primary focus for every eating disorder treatment facility. When you look to a treatment facility for help, they’re aware of the nuances and complexities of nutrition for eating disorders. As you work through the program, your treatment team tracks your progress during the duration of your stay.
If you’re looking for help, Magnolia Creek is a women’s eating disorder treatment facility located just outside of beautiful Birmingham, Alabama. We work with adolescent and adult women ages 12 and older who struggle with disordered eating behavior. Through a combination of evidence-based practices and holistic approaches, we open women up to the possibilities of life without an eating disorder.
Magnolia Creek offers both residential and outpatient programs depending on your needs. Whether this is your first time reaching out for help or you’ve been to treatment before, we’re here for you every step of the way. You never need to struggle alone again. To learn more about the programs available at Magnolia Creek, fill out a contact form or give us a call today!