Our Nutritional PhilosophyAlthough an eating disorder is never fundamentally about food, eating habits and nutritional patterns do play a big role in eating disorder recovery. That is why Castlewood at The Highlands has taken a robust approach to developing a comprehensive nutritional philosophy—one that our dietitians use to guide and direct their treatment of each client.
Evidence-Based TreatmentThe team at Castlewood is committed to evidence-based treatment and cutting-edge clinical practice. In other words, licensed dietitians are integral members of the treatment team. They provide clients with education, support, encouragement and challenges where needed. As with all of our clinical professionals, Castlewood’s dietitians take an individualized approach. Rather than falling back on a one-size-fits-all solution, they tailor their nutritional guidelines to meet each client’s specific needs.
Balance and Variety in NutritionOur approach to nutrition does not focus on certain foods while excluding others. Rather, we want to help our clients develop normalized eating patterns. We want them to eat both for nourishment and for pleasure. We also want them to eat without food-related fears, stresses, anxieties or judgements. Something we tell our clients is that “all food fits.” What this means is that, while a client may begin with a restrictive diet, we seek to expose them to more foods, and more kinds of food, over time. The idea is to develop a nutritional pattern that is balanced but also diverse—one in which clients can have all of their metabolic needs fully met. Our dietitians will sit down with clients and work alongside them to develop meal plans. Since we take an individualized approach, one client’s meal plan may look quite different from the next client’s. These meal plans can also be adjusted and expanded as the recovery process proceeds.
Treatment Using ExposuresOur dietitians work to develop challenges unique to each client—challenges that tend to come in the form of different exposures. Again, the point of these exposures is to create a truly healthy, balanced and diverse approach to food. Some of the exposures that clients might encounter include:
- Eating independently
- Eating with a group from The Highlands
- Going out to a restaurant with a group from The Highlands
- Going to cooking classes
- Binge eating exposures
- Meal planning
- Practice eating a full plate
- Practice leaving food on the plate
Nutritional Treatment for IndividualsIt is important to stress the importance of individualization in our nutritional approach. We believe in treating individuals—not in treating disorders. We do treat individuals who struggle with binge eating disorders, anorexia, bulimia and other conditions. All of these clients are different, and all have unique struggles—which is why we refuse to take a blanket approach to nutrition. Our dietitians work with each client to work on unique challenges, develop unique meal plans and create unique sets of nutritional goals.
The Goals of Our Nutritional ApproachThe end game for all of this is to allow our clients the freedom to eat normally—without fear, without anxiety, and without shame. We define normalized eating according to the following characteristics:
- Eating without judgement.
- Eating with the ability to be flexible.
- Eating without unnecessary food “rules.”
- Appreciating the social dimensions of eating.
- Eating both for nourishment and for pleasure, finding balance between the two.