by Adrien Paczosa, RD, LD, CEDRD
I look back at my experience of working in eating disorders and mental health nutrition, and truly am shocked at all that I have learned and been a part of. This area of nutrition was not on my radar as I was going through school, and thankfully one of my great mentors offered me a chance of a lifetime. Since jumping in, I have not only continued to learn daily, I have been given great honor to be a part of my clients’ journeys. As a Certified Eating Disrobed Specialist, one of my missions is to empower other dietitians to reach the same credentialing, and create better access to dietitians. Though this personal mission, I have been fortunate to be a part of Behavioral Health Nutrition Dietetic Practice group and this coming year will be the chair elect.
In my work with patients and their loved ones, I continue to learn from them daily. One of the most profound things I have learned is how powerful words can be. As a health care professional, my words can be fearful and uplifting at the same time. I asked a few of my clients what has been the most meaningful words I have said to them. A few surprised me!!
*Some of the quotes have been altered to protect the patient’s identity.
My Question said, “ I am writing a blog for ED awareness week. What has been the most meaningful or helpful thing I have said to you?”
- Haha – loaded question! You’ve said a lot of helpful things! Most recently “flexible and not perfect” helps a lot. Also, “there are no mistakes in food.”
- Life being more than the calorie content of your meal or the number on the scale.
- Not letting food guilt from the past steal from the present.
- Knowing that someone is willing to meet me where I am with what my goals are for myself has been the most helpful.
- The most helpful thing has been the questioning process behind all the biases I hold about food and weight. But one quote would be: food is fuel – no good, bad, right, or wrong. 🙂
- You told me that the things I fear most: carbs and fats make my body and brain work. It’s because you SOOO understand the science and behaviors of ED that you get with each person it’s different, you think out of the box and shift things to meet people.
- You make it ok to always be where I’m at.
- My favorite thing was the weekly sheets. I still have them all. “You’re a Rockstar” or “Have a Rockstar week” are the most meaningful!!!!!!
- Reminding me that recovery is not linear. Helping me to realize that I can’t be perfect because there is no such thing.
- Whenever I would say “when I get home I have to do this” or “I need to clean the kitchen or else I feel stifled” or whatever and you would ask “Why?” Or “What would happen if you didn’t?” I think that voice has stuck with me and helps me evaluate the absolutes I set up for myself. I’m more likely to cut myself some slack when I realize there aren’t real consequences to some of my “musts.”
- That you would not give up on me. Patience
Words do matter and they have a powerful effect on those around you. I am honored to be on the journey with each of my clients!