Selecting the best dietitian often means looking for one who is well-trained and has the registration or licensing typically expected in your jurisdiction. You may also prefer one with eating disorder experience and a willingness to help you with the emotional and mental aspects of your condition. Likewise, a dietitian who is willing to collaborate with other professionals for your care may prove optimal. Additionally, you may want a dietician who will help you better understand the reasons for the changes you need to make.
One place to start with choosing a dietitian for eating disorders is looking for one who has the title of registered dietitian. A person with this title has typically completed an accredited educational program that included the study of dietetics and nutrition as well as anatomy and other subjects important for understanding the nutritional needs of human beings. In most cases, this person has also received hands-on training, often in the form of an internship, and passed an exam to demonstrate that he has an adequate level of knowledge in the field. Choosing someone who has completed all of these steps may give you greater confidence in his ability to help you with an eating disorder.
Dealing with an eating disorder represents unique challenges, both for you and the professionals you ask to assist you with making nutritional changes. As such, you may prefer to seek the help of a dietitian who has experience working with people with eating disorders. Ideally, this person will understand the psychological aspects of eating disorders as well as health problems you might face because of them, such as malnutrition. He may also prove better equipped to help you if he has a firm understanding of body image problems, obsessive eating habits, and emotional food consumption patterns. In fact, you may find a professional or facility that combines dietary guidance with counseling services or support groups particularly helpful.
A collaborative style might be one of your priorities when you are trying to choose the best dietitian for eating disorders. Some dietitians will work with your doctors and mental health counselors to see that you get comprehensive help. For example, a dietitian for eating disorders may consult with your medical doctor concerning healthy nutritional and weight goals as well as any medical conditions you have that might be affected by your diet. He may then consult with your mental health practitioner on ways to help you stay motivated and deal with emotional challenges. Typically, however, you will have to give your permission before this kind of collaboration can begin.
Nutritional education may also help when you are dealing with an eating disorder. For this reason, you may want to choose a dietitian for eating disorders who will take the time to teach you about how the body processes food and uses it for energy as well as the reasons various nutrients are important. You may also benefit from learning how exercise can help your body. Even information about the damage that can occur to your body if you exercise heavily but eat too little may help you to make more healthful food decisions. A dietician who specializes in eating disorders can also teach individuals how malnourishment affects other organs in the body, including kidney and cardiac health.