Our nutrition team works with you to create a balanced and healthy relationship with food.
Your nutritionist will work with you until you feel comfortable, in control and safe with food in all environments and in all emotional states. To do this, you may have to move through different phases of nutrition work – from refeeding or symptom interruption, to establishing a sustainable rhythm of eating, to fear food challenges and finally intuitive eating. Together you will uncover all of the different ways your eating disorder tricks or deceives you and break all of the rules that it has created for you.
This involves breaking the cycle of restriction, bingeing and/or purging, depending on your eating disorder. At this phase, eating may feel mechanical and uncomfortable but it is temporary and important as a first step. If you are underweight, the priority will be refeeding until you are medically stable.
Establishing a Healthy Rhythm
During this phase, you will help your body re-learn hunger and fullness cues. By eating at regular intervals throughout the day, you will train your body how to respond to normal eating and you will also learn to trust your body and the signals it’s giving you. This is a really important step towards intuitive eating, which is the ultimate goal of recovery.
Fear Food Challenges
This is where we break the eating disorder rules. Usually there are unsafe foods, trigger foods, scary foods or “bad” foods and having foods in these types of categories is not sustainable or conducive to recovery. We will slowly help you find comfort with these foods so that you don’t feel controlled by them or the need to avoid them to stay symptom-free.
This is the final phase of eating disorder recovery and represents truly listening to your body and what it needs. When you can eat intuitively, you will be feeding your body enough, you will be aware of what your body is craving, you will be balancing nutrition and pleasure while understanding the need for them both. This is a sustainable relationship with food and represents being free from your eating disorder.
Our therapists work with you to heal underlying challenges that contributed to the eating disorder while teaching you valuable skills to navigate your present life.
Style of Therapy
We have a variety of therapists, who are trained in all of the therapeutic modalities. The specific modalities that you use will depend on your case, your preference and what has worked for you in the past. Most commonly DBT, CBT (or CBT-E), trauma-based therapies, solution focused, motivational interviewing or mindfulness based therapies are used.
Family therapy is offered as a separate service from individual therapy and it takes place with a different therapist. Family therapy examines your family unit and the dynamics that take place within it. The goal is to learn strategies to help your family communicate and deal with conflict more effectively versus focusing on the eating disorder as the problem that needs to be resolved.
Parents/Loved Ones Therapy
We provide therapy to anyone dealing with their loved one’s eating disorder, whether that person is in treatment at EatWell or not. Being in a support role can be very challenging, scary and can feel helpless at times. Our eating disorder therapists understand the unique position that you are in and can help you process your emotions while providing coping strategies.
We have medical doctors working on our team so we can ensure physical stability.
Our family doctors are able to order blood work, ECGs, conduct physical exams and deal with any physical or medical issues that pop up during recovery. We start treatment with a full work-up and decide how frequently your follow ups need to be depending on your physical stability and your medical needs.
We are happy to be the only private clinic in Ontario who provides psychiatry services.
Visits with our psychiatrists are an optional add-on to your treatment. Your psychiatrist will conduct an assessment and prescribe medication as needed based on your presenting concerns. You will never be forced to take medication but if you and your treatment team feel like medication may help in your recovery process then your team can facilitate a referral.
A psychological assessment is conducted to provide a diagnosis for the eating disorder specifically or additional psychological conditions that co-exist.
What is a Psychological Assessment?
This is an optional add-on and is conducted if you would like a diagnosis or if the treatment team needs assistance understanding the full mental health landscape. In some cases, the eating disorder is the primary issue and creates secondary symptoms including depression, anxiety or obsessive thoughts but those symptoms resolve as the eating disorder improves. In other cases, the eating disorder is caused by an underlying trauma, anxiety disorder, mood disorder or other mental health condition and is the secondary issue. A psychological assessment will help distinguish this and can be useful in highlighting how to approach the case therapeutically.
How is it conducted?
This usually takes place over 2-3 sessions with a licensed psychologist. This psychologist is part of the EatWell team and will have important and relevant information to the case, which will help guide the process. The psychologist will ask a variety of questions to rule in or rule out various different mental health conditions and will arrive at a diagnosis or diagnoses at the end. This information will be presented as a report, shared with you and your team and will be yours for your medical record if you need it in the future.
Our integrative team offers massage, acupuncture and alternative medicines to supplement your eating disorder treatment.
Our Registered Massage Therapists offer appointments every day ranging from 30 minutes – 1 hour. They incorporate Swedish, myofascial, trigger point and joint mobilization techniques to provide treatments for stress release, physical pain or general relaxation. An important part of recovery is self-care and massage appointments can be a great form of self-care.
Our acupuncturists are trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is a system of medicine that effects the flow of energy in the body, referred to as Qi. In eating disorder recovery, acupuncture is beneficial for digestive concerns, hormone balancing and anxiety or stress reduction. Both massage and acupuncture appointments become opportunities for you to relax in a truly safe space, which may be hard to find otherwise outside of a clinical setting.
For patients who wish not to be medicated or wish to compliment any medications they are taking, naturopathic doctors are available to prescribe supplements. Supplements can be used for a variety of concerns from digestion, sleep, hormone balancing, anxiety relief, mood enhancement, nutrition optimization or immune health, all of which can be compromised when you have an eating disorder.