“If you have a child who is diagnosed with an eating disorder like bulimia, binge eating disorder or anorexia, it’s important to know that people do fully recover from eating disorders,” says Christy Harrison, a dietitican specializing in eating disorder recovery. “People who have gone through what you are going through right now have made it through to the other side.”
Christy offers an online course to help people learn about Intuitive Eating, in which you leave dieting behind and respond to your body’s cues for hunger. While she says that the course is not appropriate for someone who is still within an eating disorder, it may be very helpful for parents who have been chronically dieting and are willing to try new paradigm to support their child’s recovery from an eating disorder.
She said that sometimes parents unintentionally pass down dieting habits to their children, which is why learning Intuitive Eating might be helpful for the whole family. “If a parent can learn to become an Intuitive Eater themselves, they may be able to break down their beliefs about diet and body image that they have been passing on to kids without meaning to.”
As for diets, Christy says they are not useful. “The best available science shows that we can’t recommend the pursuit of weight loss to anyone. First, t doesn’t work. Second, it can make your body less healthy. And third, dieting can lead to eating disorders.”
She says that there is no evidence to support the effectiveness of trying to change weight or body size, and that children, teens and adults all need to think differently about weight, and work towards the pursuit of health and body acceptance, not a particular body type.
“The overall goal is not to change someone’s weight – it’s to help people settle at size that’s meant for them,” says Christy. “We have to respond to our own body’s needs. This requires recognizing and responding to natural hunger and fullness cues, which get totally thrown off with eating disorders.”
Christy Harrison, Intuitive Eating Coach & Anti-Diet Dietitian
Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN is dedicated to helping people make peace with food. She works with people of all ages to support them in building a healthy relationship with their bodies and with food. Website