HOPE COUNSELLING and CONSULTING
Tara A. Hope, MACP, BEd, RCC, BCACC #11323
Guidelines for Clients with Eating Issues
Visit your family physician for a checkup – weight, Body Mass Index, blood pressure, and whatever else the doctor determines is necessary given your symptoms. Tell your doctor all weight- and eating-related symptoms including eating behaviours and obsessions, purging type behaviours, depression, irritability, anxiety, body image issues. Plan to see your doctor for monthly or bi-monthly visits while you remain symptomatic. Treatment for disordered eating is most effective when clients have a team on their side. Your doctor is there to help you, as am I. For children, an evaluation by a pediatrician is the ideal way to go. Ask your family doctor for a referral for your child.
Write down your symptoms and concerns (either your own personal concerns and/or concerns raised by your counsellor and/or loved ones) to help remember what to tell your doctor. This will assist your doctor, too.
Consider consulting with a registered dietitian to get nutritional counselling, making sure you have a general food plan that fits your specific needs. Ask for a simple food plan, one that does not require calculations but a general guide for quantities, food groups, and frequency (# of meals per day) that you need to fuel your body and achieve/maintain your health. Again, think of the registered dietitian as part of your team.
Keep track of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in between counselling sessions to process these things as they come up and to share with me if you want additional help sorting through your experience(s).
Keep a daily food journal, writing down what you eat and drink each day. Include exercise specifics (type, intensity, duration), purging, and thoughts and feelings.
As your counsellor, I can only work with whatever truth you share with me. The more open you are with me, the better able I am to be effective. If you are feeling apprehensive about sharing with me consider: Am I the right counsellor for you? Are you feeling ashamed of your thoughts, eating behaviours, or anything else? Shame is commonly experienced by people with disordered eating. Talking about shame in general is a good place to start if you are not ready to address the specifics.
Seek out a support group (whether online, via telephone, or face-to-face) to help between sessions. Many are available – ask me for suggestions or look at some of the resources I have listed throughout my website. For youth: Parents must guard against any pro-eating disorder groups, website, and social media - monitor online activity. Support groups for eating disorder recovery focus on the solution and on maintaining thoughts and behaviours that are helpful for restoring and maintaining wellness.