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How Naive We Were

The image shows a person looking outward at the viewer, surrounded by other people not looking at the viewer. Words over the image read, "How naive we were... when we thought working with eating disorders was a choice."

One of my favorite parts of Eating Disorders Boot Camp is that it doesn’t have a test.

Instead we meet by zoom or phone to consult about patients, Q&A, and fulfill the interactive piece for CE credit.

We have 30 minutes, just for us (or 60 if you’re in a group).

I’ve done hundreds of Boot Camp calls over the years, and they’re still a highlight of each week.

I’ve spoken with RDs in Canada, Asia, Australia and Europe, every US state and Puerto Rico.

It’s fun to connect with the dietitians shaping the future and doing the work. That hasn’t changed.

But something has.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when, but I noticed it this spring: most of my Eating Disorders Boot Camp calls are not with eating disorder peeps.

For every dietitian in eating disorder care or behavioral health, there are 4 or 5 others who do something else. I’ve recently had calls with dietitians working in corporate wellness, sports nutrition and adolescent medicine, college dietitians and CNSDs, specialists in diabetes, GI, and reproductive health, dietitians working for rural hospitals, VAs, an overseas military base, pediatric Medicaid clinics, SNAP, WIC and the Indian Health Service, plus one dietitian at a boarding school.

There are two constant themes I notice in these calls: The dietitians didn’t intend to work with people experiencing eating disorders, but since COVID-19, they realized they do, and Eating Disorders Boot Camp provided them with skills.

If you know me at all, you know I like to be right. I’m not married to it, but when it happens, it’s nice. I feel a bit of vindication having said for decades that every dietitian needs a working knowledge of eating disorders; that there’s no one who eats who isn’t at risk; and that if you work with humans, you’re working with eating disorders.

So even though eating disorders are left out of most of dietetics, dietitians know better and are finding what they need. Which is good, even as it’s also disappointing.

On a recent Boot Camp call, a dietitian dropped the mic: “How naive we were when we thought working with eating disorders was a choice.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

If you’ve recently found yourself in a similar boat, check out everything that’s now included in Eating Disorders Boot Camp. And I’ll be here, looking forward to our call.

With appreciation for all that you do,


PS – More free online educational events – please submit any you are hosting or know about and I’m happy to share.

Language Matters: Treating Body Image in Eating Disorder Patients

Needle in a Haystack: Identifying Trauma Buried Under Co-occurring Disorders

Moving Into Attunement: Joyful Movement is Possible

Being Human: The Impact of Genetics on Psychopharmacology in Eating Disorder Treatment

Posted in Eating Disorder Awareness, Jessica Setnick

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