The Eating Disorder Trap: A Guide for Clinicians and Loved Ones Interview

Robyn Goldberg, RDN, CEDRD-S, joined us for an interview on her book, The Eating Disorder Trap: A Guide for Clinicians and Loved Ones. What follows are our questions in italics, and Robyn’s thoughtful responses.

After over 20 years working in the field of eating disorders, you’ve dedicated your book, The Eating Disorder Trap: A Guide for Clinicians and Loved Ones, “… to all of the clinicians and loved one who are striving to help and support someone they know with an eating disorder.” Please tell us about this decision.

I decided on the dedication to all providers and loved ones as I find they are often times not acknowledged in helping a person towards their path of recovery. It is nice to not forget anybody.

Can you shed some light on why language matters when supporting someone in recovery?

Oftentimes, language can be offensive, judgmental, stigmatizing, and not helpful when we are assisting a person towards hope and healing. There are people who do not mean to be hurtful as they are communicating from a place of their knowledge base and this can result in walking on “Egg Shells” when lacking the information to communicate in a different manner. It can be helpful when a client is able to share with their clinician or loved one “what they would like to hear” or “what can be helpful to say”. Through the practice of learning how to communicate to your clinician and loved one this can help the person develop a new style of communicating.

What screening tools do you recommend for assessment purposes?

My initial response is a “set of ears” that will listen to the client. Frequently, clients tell me that whomever they are sitting with is not listening to them and they feel misunderstood and not heard.

It is essential to understand the person’s past and present health history, their past and present weight history and eating patterns, learning about their past and present treatment history and lastly their goals and values, short term and long term.

Please share some information on the impact of an eating disorder on the brain.

“A starved body is a starved mind”. The brain oversees how all decisions are made. Structural changes occur when a person is malnourished and the longer that a person has a suboptimal intake, more brain nerves die and basically their “communication highway” is not running smoothly. The outcome that results and is exacerbated is a process called “pruning”.  This is the brains cleaning process of removing damaged neurons and this process happens faster when individuals have a lack of fuel to the point of severe restriction.

On page 102 you state, “Macronutrients are the three main elements of food: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.” Why do we need to be educated on this?

Macronutrients are important to educated about based on the confusing and false messages that diet culture puts out into society. I wanted to get to the bottom line on the reasons all of our bodies require some carbohydrates, proteins and fats. One food group does not compensate for another. To operate at an optimal place our bodies require all nutrients.

Can you offer some steps a person can take to enhance their compassion?

Reassess the goals that a person has set. Are they realistic? Ask you self who am I checking in on or connecting with today? what am I grateful for today? what expectations of “diet culture” am I letting go of today?

What is one take-away you’d like your readers to have?

I would like my readers to understand that it is never too late to get help, develop a team or other support sources, be an advocate for oneself and start to show ourselves that we are worthy of love and a better life.

About the author:

Robyn Goldberg, RDN, CEDRD-S, began her career at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles as the in-patient dietitian in the Department of Cardiology. Over the last twenty- three years she has developed her own private practice in Beverly Hills, CA, where she specializes in medical conditions, disordered eating, eating disorders, Health at Every Size, pre-pregnancy nutrition, and people in recovery. Robyn is a Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian and Supervisor from IAEDP She serves as a Nutrition Consultant for the Celiac Disease Foundation.  For the last eight years Robyn was the Nutrition Counselor for the Susan Krevoy Eating Disorders Program at The Wright Institute Los Angeles, led eating disorder and body image groups at various sober livings in Los Angeles. She is a contributing author and is a nationally known registered dietitian nutritionist. She has been quoted in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Fix, Shape Magazine, Fitness, Oxygen, Pilates Style, Diabetes Forecast, BH Weekly and Life & Style.  She has been on national television as the eating disorder expert on The Insider. Robyn is the author of the new book The Eating Disorder Trap: A Guide for Clinicians and Loved Ones.

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