Many tactics people use to lose weight or to become healthier ride right on the edge of an eating disorder. I can specifically remember my freshman year of college, many girls in the dorm were on a diet where they could only eat fruit one day, only vegetables another day, and so on. The problem is that these individuals often have no idea that what they are doing is harmful to their health; they truly believe that restricting calories, cutting out food groups or going to bed hungry will bring them closer to their health goals. With my dietetic training I know that this is not the case. Dietitians understand the metabolic functions of the body and why we need all food groups and adequate calories. Using this knowledge along with good strategies, dietitians can help clients overcome disordered eating.
For my second clinical rotation, I was lucky enough to spend two weeks with the “REBEL dietitians” at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates. They see many different clients for countless reasons, and one of their specialties is the treatment of eating disorders. Their Empowered Eating program focuses on overcoming food struggles related to eating disorders, but I am going to focus on the REBEL theme of their practice.
What is a REBEL dietitian?
At Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, they call themselves REBELS because they break free of traditional dieting plans for clients and focus on the values and goals of each client as an individual. They “REBEL against diets.” There are five pillars that the REBEL dietitians rely on: nutrition, moderation, balance, variety and flexibility. These dietitians know that weight loss from diets is not sustainable and work with clients to create a custom plan that they can maintain.
Why is the REBEL work important?
There are thousands of books, blogs and magazines that have published information about food that is not science-based or factual. For dietitians, this information may seem easy to navigate, because we know general food science and how the body works. For the average person without a nutrition degree, this information can be hard to process. The REBEL dietitians can educate clients and help make sense of the thousands of health claims they have been exposed to and get back to the basics. Aside from clarifying false information, the dietitians make sure that clients are given a plan they can stick to and that is realistic for their lifestyle.
Whether a client is struggling with their weight and related health problems, or suffering from an eating disorder, the REBEL dietitians can customize a plan that works for them. The most compelling thing I have learned from the REBEL dietitians is that even for individuals who do not suffer from an eating disorder, there are many misconceptions surrounding food and bad habits that need to be broken. My time at Rebecca Bitzer’s has given me unique insight into counseling. I learned that every client is different and I need to meet clients where they are so they can gradually improve and eventually meet their goals in a healthy, sustainable way.