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Finding An Eating Disorder Dietitian Nutritionist

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An eating disorder dietitian is a nutrition expert that has undergone the educational and internship requirements to become a registered dietitian as well as additional training specifically geared toward people with eating disorders.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, it can feel overwhelming to know where to turn to for help. Finding a qualified eating disorder dietitian that you connect with will be crucial in your recovery journey. 

An eating disorder RD will be uniquely qualified to: 

  • Help with safe weight restoration 
  • Understand your physical and psychological struggles 
  • Serve as your advocate and support 

In addition to an eating disorder RD, it’s important you work with a healthcare team including a primary care physician and mental health professional. 

It can get confusing to know whether we should seek out a nutritionist, a clinical RD, a HAES dietitian, or a generalist dietitian. 

Let’s explore some of the differences between a dietitian specializing in eating disorders and other nutrition professionals.  Let’s dig into where you can find the perfect fit dietitian to help support you on your recovery journey. 

What Does An Eating Disorder Dietitian Do

What Medical Conditions Do ED RDs Work With? 

Eating disorder dietitians are uniquely qualified to help support someone suffering from a diagnosed eating disorder.  

Some common eating disorders an ED dietitian might work with include: 

Not all eating disorder dietitians will work with all disorders. So it’s important to see if there are specialty areas the dietitian you’re interested in working with focus on. 

Eating Disorder Dietitians Role 

Eating disorder dietitians can help support patients and the healthcare team with: 

An ED RD can also support you with how to tell someone you have an eating disorder it can be difficult to know who to tell about our struggles and how. 

Do Clinical Dietitians Work With Eating Disorders

Yes.  

All dietitians that treat eating disorders are technically clinical dietitians  as they provide medical nutrition therapy. 

However, clinical dietitians in a hospital setting may not have the skills necessary to treat an eating disorder patient outside of an acute setting.  

This will of course vary from one dietitian to the next, but most people with an eating disorder will need to seek additional support from an ED RD outside of acute hospital care. 

Do Nutritionists Deal With Eating Disorders

Non-RD nutritionists do not have the educational background and skills required to work with eating disorders for recovery. 

It’s important to distinguish that All Registered dietitians are also nutritionists.  However, not all nutritionists are dietitians. 

Nutritionists that are not registered dietitians should not be working with eating disorders. Nutritionists that are not RDs are not legally able to provide medical nutrition therapy in most states.  

What Can I Expect Working With An Eating Disorder RD

infographic on what to expect with working with an eating disorder dietitian

A visit with an eating disorder dietitian can seem scary. After all, these are the ones who will be handling what seems to be the most difficult part of our eating disorder: food. 

Here’s what you can expect from your eating disorder dietitian: 

Your eating disorder dietitian is your recovery partner.  

How Do I Tell If Someone Is An Eating Disorder Dietitian 

Most RDs that work with eating disorders will focus exclusively on this area. 

Most qualified eating disorder dietitians: 

  • Will not prescribe or promote weight loss 
  • Have a variety of body weights, shapes, sizes, and colors throughout their branding
  • Have size-inclusive furniture and representation in their office spaces 
  • Typically only serves 1-2 patient populations (for example eating disorders and diabetes
  • Do not display calorie or macronutrient facts on their websites
  • Do not promote calorie or macronutrient counting
  • Does not mention weights on websites
  • Inclusive of all body sizes, gender identities, sexual orientations 

An eating disorder dietitian often receives clinical supervision. Many eating disorder dietitians are also certified by the international association of eating disorder professionals to receive the credential CEDRD. Not all credible eating disorder dietitians will have this credential, but it is a good mark that there is additional training in this field. 

Infographic on finding an eating disorder dietitian on pink background with pink flower

How Do I Find An Eating Disorder Dietitian Near me? 

Outpatient eating dietitians span across the united states.  Use terminology like HAES dietitian or eating disorder dietitian in your search queries. 

Other places to find eating disorder dietitians include: 

A google search will likely bring up a list of dietitians near you that support eating disorders.  However, it’s important to screen their website to make sure they are in fact qualified to support you. 

One important thing to remember is that a virtual eating disorder dietitian you feel you connect with well can serve you just as effectively as one that is local in today’s world as technology. 

Virtual eating disorder dietitians now have the power to: 

  • Collect blind weights and blood pressure using tools sent directly to your home regardless of location at a low cost
  • Provide virtual meal support 
  • Deliver guided grocery shopping support via telehealth 
  • Communicate with other caregivers via fax, zoom, or email communications 

Even if you cannot find a local eating disorder dietitian, you can cross state lines and still have your insurance accepted by an RD that is the right fit. 

RDs do have licensure in some states. What this means is that if your state requires dietitians to be licensed, you will need to find an RD licensed in your state (even if they are out of state). 

Some states do not require licensure, which means that you can pick a dietitian from anywhere in the united states to help support you with your eating disorder. 

States that do not require licensure and you can see an RD anywhere include: 

  • California
  • Alabama
  • Nebraska
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Michigan
  • Indiana
  • New Jersey
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Vermont

One other thing to consider is that if you have insurance and are not able to find a dietitian you connect with in your state to take your insurance, an out-of-state dietitian may be able to accept it.  

How Do I Find an Eating Disorder Dietitian Near Me

Try a local search, connect with eating disorder recovery centers, ask your insurance company for a list of local providers or check out the academy of nutrition and dietetics find a provider resource

Can I see an Eating disorder Dietitian Out of State?

Yes. As long as you are in a state that does not require licensure or the provider is also licensed in the state you live in.

What Will An Eating Disorder Help Me With?

Maintaining safety while refeeding, Weight Restoration, Identifying and assessing the roots of food avoidance, Binge behavior, grocery shopping with an eating disorder, Identifying food rules and triggers, Overcoming fear foods

Do Nutritionists Deal With Eating Disorders

Only registered dietitian nutritionists are qualified and legally able to provide therapy for eating disorders. It is important to consider that all registered dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are eating disorders.

Shena Jaramillo. Registered Dietitian

Hi I'm Shena. I'm an eating disorders dietitian in Washington state. I hold bachelors degrees nutrition & dietetics, cultural anthropology & psychology. I believe in honoring your hunger, having your cake whenever you want it, and that critically analyzing diet culture can change the world!