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How to Find an Eating Disorder Nutritionist Near Me

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If you or a loved one is seeking eating disorder treatment, you’ve come to the right place. Many people with eating disorders are ambivalent about recovery. Some individuals may not believe they have a problem, while others fear the idea of gaining weight and being hospitalized. Thus, if you have arrived at this step, you’ve already come a long way in your recovery journey. 

When recovering from an eating disorder it’s essential to have a supportive network of family and friends. Aside from providing support and encouragement, your loved ones will help you to stay on track with your recovery by providing practical assistance, such as preparing healthy meals or driving you to appointments. In addition, it can be helpful to connect with others recovering from an eating disorder, as they can provide understanding and insight into your challenges.

During your eating disorder recovery, your medical team will be another vital subset of your support system. While the minimum treatment team is a medical practitioner and a mental health professional, input from practitioners from various disciplines is often necessary for comprehensive care. For many people recovering from an eating disorder, a registered eating disorder nutritionist is an integral part of the treatment team. 

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At a Glance

  • Am I a good candidate to work with an eating disorder nutritionist? – Most individuals, including people with binge eating disorder, anorexia, and pica, can benefit from working with an eating disorder nutritionist
  • How do I find an eating disorder nutritionist near me? – Asking your doctor for a referral, investigating at your local hospital, asking around your community, consult your insurance company, and utilizing online services are all ways to find an eating disorder nutritionist near you
  • What are the benefits of working with an online eating disorder nutritionist? – Online services vet all their professionals and do the heavy lifting of matching you with a compatible nutritionist. Some online networks will also offer you a complimentary first session

Ready to get matched with an eating disorder nutritionist? Get started today!

Am I a Good Candidate to Work with an Eating Disorder Nutritionist?

If you have an eating disorder, struggle with disordered eating, or have any abnormal eating behaviors. You can benefit from at least one or two sessions with a registered dietitian nutritionist. If you are grappling with any of the scenarios detailed below, here is how an eating disorder nutritionist can help you. 

Binge Eating Disorder

You are not alone if you grapple with a binge eating disorder (BED). Binge eating disorder is the  most common eating disorder in the United States. BED is marked by episodes of eating large amounts of food in short periods, often to the point of physical discomfort. People with BED often feel like they can’t control their impulse to binge, and their binging episodes are often accompanied by feelings of shame, guilt, and disgust. Unlike bulimia nervosa, people with BED do not engage in any purging following their binging episodes. 

Receiving nutritional counseling and learning more about nutrition are critical components of BED treatment. Nutritional counseling can help people learn more about healthy eating habits and the essential nutrients they need to be healthy. It can also help people establish healthy eating habits that prevent binge-eating episodes. Because BED is often intertwined with low self-esteem and poor self-image, treatment will also address these and other mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression. 

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is the most well-known eating disorder. This eating disorder affects women more than men and typically develops during adolescence or young adulthood . 

People with anorexia tend to view themselves as highly overweight, even if they are quite the opposite. As a result, these individuals will restrict their calorie intake, avoid eating certain foods, and constantly monitor their weight. 

When treating this disorder, one of the first goals is to help an individual get back to a healthy weight. A registered dietitian can offer guidance on regular eating patterns, including specific meal plans and calorie requirements that an individual needs to meet their weight gain goals. Medical nutrition therapy also focuses on teaching patients about the importance of nutrition and a balanced diet, and helping restore a healthy relationship with food and eating. 

Pica

This lesser-known eating disorder is marked by eating things that are not considered food and do not provide nutritional value, including dirt, soil, chalk, soap, paper, and hair, among other things. Pica is most frequently seen in individuals with conditions that affect daily functioning, such as intellectual disabilities, developmental needs, and mental health conditions, schizophrenia. 

A registered dietitian will begin by treating any complications you have developed from eating nonfood items. For instance, if you have severe lead poisoning from consuming paint, you may need to receive chelation therapy. Chelation therapy is a method for removing heavy metals, such as mercury or lead, from blood. 

People who show signs of pica often have mineral or other deficiencies in their diet. Iron, calcium, and zinc are common reasons that individuals show signs of pica. If nutritional deficiencies are at the root of your abnormal eating behavior, they may prescribe you vitamin or mineral supplements. 

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How Do I Find an Eating Disorder Nutritionist Near Me?

There are better ways to look for an eating disorder nutritionist near me than aimlessly scrolling through the web. Here are some excellent places to look for health professionals who treat eating disorders.

Ask Your Doctor

One of the best places to start your search for an eating disorder nutritionist is with your current doctor. Doctors are part of an extensive network of healthcare professionals. Even if your doctor cannot directly refer you to an eating disorder specialist, they will likely know of other health professionals who can. Your doctor will be more familiar with your medical history than any other healthcare professional. This will allow them to decide on the best eating disorder professionals to match you with. 

If you don’t have an appointment already in the books, call your doctor’s office and leave a message. Someone from the office might be able to give you some recommendations over the phone. 

Inquire at Your Local Hospital

If you are unable to get a hold of your doctor or if they are not able to provide you with any referrals, it’s worthwhile to investigate at your local hospital. Many hospitals employ registered dietitians and nutritionists as full-time staff members. This is a great way to find a certified eating disorder specialist to join your medical team. Suppose you are already working with a medical practitioner or mental health professional; In that case,you can also express your interest in working with a dietitian to someone on your current medical team. They will most likely have worked with dietitians and nutritionists in the past and be able to connect you with someone best suited to your needs. 

Check With Your Insurance Company

An increasing number of health insurance companies are beginning to provide coverage for nutrition counseling. This is especially true in cases where nutrition counseling may be critical to an individual’s health and well-being, which would apply to individuals suffering from severe eating disorders. 

It is worthwhile to check your policy and provider directory to see which services and providers are included in your network. Consulting your insurance company is a great way to save money on expensive medical fees. Narrowing down what services are included in your network will give you a good starting point on where to begin searching for a nutritionist. 

Ask Around Your Community

Whether it’s your neighbor, a co-worker, or someone from school, there is likely to be someone in your network who has worked with an eating disorder nutritionist once before. While discussing your eating disorder is scary and deeply personal, don’t feel you need to share your story with everyone. Ask your closest friends and family members to check within their private networks and communities discreetly. Getting a personal recommendation from someone is guaranteed to ensure that you work with an eating disorder nutritionist who is both qualified and excellent 

Utilize Online Services

You can’t go wrong with consulting an online nutrition service when in doubt. Working with a nutritionist online instead of an in-person nutritionist has several benefits. These include convenience (nutritionists can be found anywhere in the world, and consultations can be done from the comfort of your own home), cost-effectiveness (online consultations are often cheaper than in-person consultations), and increased accessibility (many people do not have access to a qualified nutritionist in their area). Additionally, online consultations can be more flexible in scheduling and allow for a greater variety of communication methods (e.g., text, email, and video chat).

How to Choose the Right Eating Disorder Nutritionist For You

It would be best to consider various factors when choosing your eating disorder nutritionist. First and foremost, you will want to pay attention to a nutritionist’s credentials. Registered dietitians (RD), registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN), and certified nutrition specialists (CNS) have received the most advanced certifications for practicing personalized nutrition. If the nutritionist you are working with has the letters RD, RDN, or CNS in their title, you will know that you are working with a highly qualified nutritionist. If they don’t, inquire further about their education and personal experience. Also, ensure that the healthcare professional you are working with specializes in treating disorders and has previously worked with someone with your eating disorder. 

When selecting your nutritionist, you must keep compatibility in mind. The best nutritionist for your next-door neighbor may not necessarily be the best nutritionist for you. Think about what motivational and encouragement tactics work best for you. Would you work best with someone who has a firm hand, or are you in a place where you need to work with someone who is more nurturing and gentle with their encouragement? Before signing up for a nutritionist’s services, ensure you know their general working style and approach. 

Need more advice on how to find a compatible eating disorder nutritionist? Read more here.

Benefits of Working with an Online Eating Disorder Nutritionist 

As mentioned, there are many perks to working with an online eating disorder nutritionist instead of an in-person nutritionist. Here are some benefits of working with an online eating disorder nutritionist.  

Rigorous Vetting Process

When searching for a nutritionist yourself, you must pay careful attention to a nutritionist’s credentials and qualifications. The title of “nutritionist” can be applied to anyone in the United States who gives general nutrition advice and counseling. That means some nutritionists have advanced degrees and passed board-certifying exams, while others have little education or experience. By opting for an online nutrition service, you can rest easy knowing that the company has rigorously vetted all its employees. Every nutritionist part of an online service will be highly qualified and an expert in their field. 

Matching System

Every patient is looking for something different in an eating disorder nutritionist. The primary goal of an online service is to ensure that you are getting matched with someone well-suited to your personality and health goals. With online services like Top Nutrition Coaching, patients start by completing an online survey. The questionnaire will ask you basic questions about yourself and your goals. Top Nutrition Coaching will use this information to match you with the most compatible nutritionist in its network.

If you have any necessary conditions or criteria for a nutritionist, you should be vocal about these prerequisites upfront. This will only help online nutritionist services like Top Nutrition Coaching match you with a well-suited nutritionist. 

Complimentary First Session

Online nutrition services sometimes offer customers additional perks, including a complimentary first session. Receiving a complimentary session allows clients to embrace their first session with a nutritionist fully.. They can relax knowing that if their nutritionist is not the right fit, then there is no love (or money) lost. Depending on how the first session goes, a patient can either continue with Top Nutrition Coaching’s services or request to get matched with another nutritionist for free. 

Eating Disorder Nutrition Plan Checklist

Now that you have the tools and information you need to find a nutritionist near you, you can officially begin your search. Here is a checklist that you can consult throughout your research process. Good luck!

Places to Look

When gathering a list of candidates, here are some places where you can search for qualified nutritionists near you. 

  • Ask your doctor for a referral – your doctor is part of a vast network of healthcare professionals and can indirectly or directly connect you with someone well-suited to your current medical and mental health needs.
  • Investigate at your local hospital – ask your local hospital if they have any full-time staff members who work as eating disorder nutritionists or dietitians. If you are already working with a medical team, members of this team may also be able to connect you with someone.
  • Check with your insurance company – reviewing what providers are included in your insurance policy is a great way to save money on a nutritionist or dietitian.
  • Ask around your community – ask your friends and family members to discreetly say that you are looking for an eating disorder nutritionist. Someone in their networks may have previously worked with an eating disorder nutritionist. 
  • Utilize online networks – When in doubt, working with an online nutritionist is often the most convenient and affordable option for individuals searching for an eating disorder nutritionist. 

Complete Background Checks

Unless you are working with an online nutritionist service, you must conduct a background check on all your candidates. 

  • Credentials – ensure that the nutritionist you are working with has advanced certifications. If they have the letters “RD,” “RDN,” or “CNS” in their title, you will know that you are working with a highly qualified nutritionist.
  • Specialty – make sure that the nutritionist you are working with specializes in treating eating disorders. Your nutritionist will also preferably have experience treating someone with the same eating disorder as you. 
  • Customer Service – inquire about a nutritionist’s customer service and communication style. You want to work  with a nutritionist who frequently responds to texts, emails, and phone calls.

Compatibility 

The nutritionist you are working with must be highly qualified and a good fit for your needs and health goals. 

  • Working Style – make sure you and your nutritionist have well-suited personalities and working styles. If you work best with a tough love approach, then working with a more gentle and nurturing nutritionist may not be in your best interest.
  • Budget – before choosing your nutritionist, figure out how much you can afford to spend on a nutritionist every month. 
  • Do a quick phone call – you may spend a lot of time with your nutritionist. Thus, you and this healthcare professional need to get along. Ask if you can hop on the phone with your nutritionist before your first meeting. Check in with yourself and gauge whether or not you see yourself working with this person long-term. 

Need a little more time to decide? Take the quiz, and let us help you determine whether an eating disorder nutritionist is good for you!

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About the author

Mariel Miranda
Mariel is a writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lends her talents to creating valuable content that enriches communities, strengthens cultures, and moves people to change. With over ten years of writing experience and as an advocate for physiological well-being, her breadth of work extends from parenting podcasts to health and wellness pieces.

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