In the field as a whole, we are finally starting to see a paradigm shift from the idea that you can spot an eating disorder on the surface, to the understanding that eating disorders actually manifest in all different types of bodies. Thankfully, individuals with Binge Eating Disorder (BED) are seeking treatment for an issue that otherwise thrives in shame and secrecy. With a more diverse milieu at the residential, partial, and intensive-outpatient level of care, it is important that as treatment providers we work to keep constantly crafting spaces and implementing treatment protocol that feels safe, supportive and recovery oriented environments for all of our patients. At the Oliver-Pyatt Centers, a Monte Nido and Affiliates program, Leslee Gilbert, LMFT and Mary Dye, MPH, RD, CEDRD, LD/N are providing specialized clinical and nutritional protocol for individuals who admit with a diagnosis of BED and training staff to best support individuals on this end of the eating disorder spectrum.
A client who walks through our doors seeking recovery from BED is offered the multidisciplinary and highly individualized care as all of our patients. At Oliver-Pyatt Centers, Primary Therapist, Leslee Gillette runs a BED breakout group once a week. As with all eating disorders, it is clear that shame is a huge component of the illness, and for clients in larger bodies, this shame can be particularly magnified when seeking treatment for an eating disorder. With the still somewhat pervasive stereotype of an eating disorder being a thin calorically restrictive female who has a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, asking for help can be that much harder for an individual struggling with binge eating who may be in a larger body. Often times, such clients share that despite the pervasiveness of their eating disorder, they were very hesitant to seek treatment The breakout group works to help individuals develop compassion in relating to self and others through what is being experienced in treatment- a microcosm of what is often experienced in the outside world.
The nutritional work in the treatment of clients with the diagnosis of Binge Eating Disorder is the same as the work with all other clients in that the main objective is to legalize and normalize all foods. Contrary to what many of our clients have tried time and time again before seeking out treatment, we do not set out to change weight, rather we focus on cessation of disordered behaviors, work to heal the relationship with food and work toward the goal of sustained health and wellbeing. As anyone with an eating disorder, our clients with BED present with a myriad of medical complications that result from malnutrition. The work of our team is to help individuals eat and move in a way that results in stabilized markers of health such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and insulin levels. This regulation is achieved when an individual is eating and moving in a consistent, and stable way. This does not mean that certain foods are cut out from a person’s diet, on the contrary, an individual with a diagnosis of BED will sit down at a meal and have the same food served to them as anyone else at the table. All of our clients work through individualized dietary exposures and for clients with BED, this often means confronting go-to “binge foods”. By eating in this way, we are able to not only challenge and diminish shame around meal times, but help individuals connect to mindfulness cues such as hunger, fullness, and satiety that help them make informed dietary choices for themselves.
With clinical support for the program, Leslee and Mary have been able to offer support to the team of recovery coaches, the individuals who spend the most one-on-one time with clients and help them understand how to provide redirecting feedback that is non-shaming, helpful and compassionate. Similar training is being provided to all staff that focuses on empowering staff to feel confident in offering supportive challenges to all patients. Some of this training includes details that might be overlooked such as the arrangement and type of furniture offered. The goal is to help all individuals feel like they are supported in confronting their eating disorder and that full recovery is a possibility for all bodies.
To learn more about specialized Binge Eating Disorder programming, please reach out to Admissions at 888-228-1253.