If you or a loved one suffers from an eating disorder, one of the treatment options available is nutrition therapy. Here are the four main components or stages that happen as part of medical nutritional therapy.

#1 Intake Assessment

You'll first sit down for a detailed intake assessment. As part of this assessment, you are going to be asked to recall what you used to eat and enjoy. You will be asked how you related to food before your eating disorder and after your eating disorder. Then, you may be asked to make current food records to assess your current relationship with food.

This evaluation may also include analysis of psychosocial data and sociological data. In addition, your current physical activity level and the physical activity level you are aiming for will be taken into consideration.

Your dietitian will use this extensive evaluation in order to move on to the next part of the plan with you. This data will drive your plan.

#2 Diet Changes

After going through your intake assessment, a diet will be created for you. If, at this time, you are not able to normally eat or digest foods because of your eating disorder, your diet changes will include making sure that you are getting enough enteral nutrition and parenteral nutrition. If you need to take any supplemental nutrition as you are building a healthy diet back up, this will be addressed at this step. Next, any specific foods that you need to eat based on your condition will be incorporated into a healthy eating plan for you.

#3 Education

One of the biggest components of medical nutrition therapy is the education component. A large part of eating disorders is a disconnect of information about how to eat healthily and take care of one's body. You will learn about health and nutrition. You will learn how to make meal plans that take your dietary needs into consideration. You will learn how to make food and how to become involved in the food making process. If you need assistance getting over mental blocks to eating, counseling and therapy will be provided for this as well. The overall goal of the education process is to help you develop a healthy relationship with food and help you understand how to take care of your body.

#4 Aftercare

Once you have completed your education, you will be offered continued guidance by your registered dietitian to make sure that your diet changes are working for your body. If you need any modifications or additional education, it will be addressed in the aftercare portion of your therapy.

Talk with your doctor if you have any additional questions about how medical nutrition therapy can be used to help you deal with your specific eating disorder.