The Role of a Dietitian in Binge Eating Disorder Recovery

Doctor speaking with patient

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Because binge eating disorder is a complex mental illness that affects a person in multiple ways, treatment approaches should be collaborative and involve the effort of multiple eating disorder specialists.

The professionals who typically make up a treatment team may include:

  • Psychiatrist
  • Medical doctor
  • Therapist/counselor
  • Registered dietitian

Each of these members is integral to helping an individual with binge eating disorder overcoming the many different issues they may be facing.

A registered dietitian plays an important role in guiding a person with binge eating disorder towards making peace with their food and body. With binge eating disorder, food often becomes the culprit, as individuals struggle with a “love-hate” relationship with themselves and their bodies.

Individuals with binge eating disorder may also feel a sense of chaos that revolves around food, as foods are often eaten out of proportion to what is actually needed or for sheer emotional reasons.

A person with binge eating disorder may also struggle with their weight or hyper focus on weight loss, which can further perpetuate a cycle of binge eating.

Registered Dietitian Role

cheerful women in yoga classA registered dietitian can help a person with binge eating disorder through both nutrition counseling and education. This will typically include a nutrition assessment, which analyzes the nutrient needs an individual has, as well as a recommendation for a meal plan.

A meal plan is intended to serve as a guide to give a person a framework for choosing and selecting foods. When food is often eaten sporadically, a meal plan can be helpful for stabilization and normalization of intake.

A registered dietitian will also help an individual work through food myths, misconceptions, and fallacies that may be believed about food, weight, and intake.

Learning about emotional connections related to food intake are also insights that a registered dietitian can identify during nutrition counseling sessions. In collaboration with a therapist, these insights can be important in resolving emotional issues related to binge eating disorder.

A registered dietitian can also monitor weight trends, help with meal planning, grocery shopping, meal support and working on integrating family members into nutrition plans. If you are interested in working with a registered dietitian, talk with your therapist or counselor about possible options that may work well with your treatment.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What has your experience been like in working with a registered dietitian for binge eating disorder recovery?

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Crystal Karges

Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work. As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on November 2, 2015
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About Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Jacquelyn Ekern founded Eating Disorder Hope in 2005, driven by a profound desire to help those struggling with anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorder. This passion resulted from her battle with, and recovery from, an eating disorder. As president, Jacquelyn manages Ekern Enterprises, Inc. and the Eating Disorder Hope website.