We work to gently, but consistently, challenge the influence of the eating disorder around food and eating, and ultimately, help clients to the realize excitement and joy that a healthy relationship with food can provide.
At Monte Nido, we acknowledge that interacting with food will be challenging during treatment. Because we understand healing a relationship with food takes time, the nutrition staff are able to provide support that meets clients where they are. To ease the transition into treatment and begin the recovery process, we allow clients to gradually move away from eating disorder fears in a way that enhances engagement in early treatment, but does not leave clients feeling helpless.
We are sensitive to each individual’s food issues and provide flexibility in our menus.
We offer vegetarian choices and take into account any diagnosed food allergies. Each client is individual in terms of food fears, likes and dislikes. We work slowly and empathetically with all food issues. Clients go through the level system at their own pace. Clients are not forced to eat any particular food, however, we are careful to help each client understand the differences between food preference and eating disorder-driven choices.
As clients progress through our level system they increasingly participate in dealing directly with food i.e., portioning, self-serving, grocery shopping, planning and cooking independent meals and participating in our Shop and Cook night.
Every Monte Nido site has a chef who creates meals that align with health and healing, and menus are created In a way that challenges disordered eating while allowing clients to enjoy food with minimal stress. Foods created are wholesome, healthy and balanced – and they provide an excellent starting place for transition to ‘normal eating.’ In addition to eating a variety of foods in treatment, we work to minimize fears around foods by asking clients to eat a variety of foods, in a variety of settings. We aim to help our clients to eat flexibly, consciously, and according to taste preferences, rather than being limited to a select number of ‘safe’ items.
In addition to this we also include on our menus, normal dessert items and we go on outings where clients can re-learn to enjoy eating a variety of foods. We feel it is important that clients can eat in a variety of settings. Therefore, although we provide healthy food, we believe that limiting oneself to this food only causes limitation in one’s life. We would like our clients to be able to choose in life whether or not to eat certain foods rather than be afraid of these foods.
Each client’s meal plan is highly individualized.
We work slowly with clients who are extremely afraid of food and have a limited variety in their diet. We also help clients manage food cravings, appreciate hunger, fullness, and satisfaction, and move away from eating disorder behaviors that result from compromised nutritional status. We assist all our clients in establishing a healthy functioning metabolism, allowing them to eat and enjoy the foods their bodies desire and need.
Similar to that of food, nutrition education and support are individualized to address client needs. Nutrition therapy provided by our team of dietitians will support recovery, assist with moving away from eating disorder ideals, and encourage healing your relationship with food and eating.
We recognize nutrition and exercise as crucial areas of recovery. Therefore, we address nutritional status, metabolism, and biochemistry, and teach clients what this information means in terms of their recovery. Our detailed attention to the nutrition and exercise component of treatment reveals our dedication to these areas as part of a plan for a healthy, lasting recovery:
- Our nutrition program provides education, dispels myths, challenges distortions and helps alleviate fear and anxiety around food, meals and social situations involving eating and weight.
- Our dietitian collaborates with the treatment team to establish nutrition and weight goals and develop a meal plan for each client. We provide meal supervision and support around structured yet flexible menus and eating experiences. Clients participate in a variety of food activities such as; shopping, portioning, meal planning, cooking and restaurant outings.
- Our program helps clients establish eating patterns that can be continued after leaving the program.
- Nutritional Rehabilitation & Stabilization through Nutritional Supplements, Nutrition Education and Counseling; including body image work, body & soul group, meditation and yoga.
- Allergies and cultural, or religious-based food limitations are accommodated on an individual basis.
Cards are often displayed at place setting when the group gathers for a meal. Intentions are set and the client connects to thoughts or values that define their healthy selves.