The Experience of Shadowing an Eating Disorder Dietitian

October 10th, 2017 by Sara Upson

This is a blog written by Ellen Fariley, a dietetic intern in the coordinated program at Stephen F. Austin State University.  She completed a rotation with me to learn more about being an eating disorder dietitian.  Here is what she had to say:


The experience of shadowing an Eating Disorder dietician was eye-opening. I will no longer view eating disorders as a minor problem, in fact, they are insidious. Our culture perpetuates the belief that “thin is beautiful” and any other body type is wrong and even feared. It’s terribly sad, because we were all made wonderfully, yet different; furthermore, I learned “healthy at every size” is being taught by practitioners in the Eating Disorders arena. Something else that surprised me is how deeply these people with ED just wanted to be free from the struggle. Sara Upson works tirelessly to assure her clients that there will one day be freedom around food. I was impressed with some of the fantastic clients she works with- articulate, funny, charming, and real. They could be my child, or my sister or even my spouse- the ED doesn’t have a person it pertains to. I was struck by how frequently these people needed support from their friends and family and how critical consistent, loving support is in the recovery process. I learned all about Intuitive Eating and I was compelled to read the book Sara suggested- I am now implementing in my own life. Intuitive Eating is a method by which you listen to your body’s hunger and satiety cues to decipher when and how to eat. Sara guides her clients by giving them a template to follow for meals and snacks, plus she trains them to properly respond to hunger and fullness.

Sara’s ability to reach her clients was inspiring to me and I am so grateful to have sat under her for the past two weeks. Thank you to all the clients who allowed me to sit in on some difficult, personal time with Sara. Thank you Sara for forever changing my view of Eating Disorders!

2 Responses to “The Experience of Shadowing an Eating Disorder Dietitian”

April 24, 2019 at 2:27 am, Donna said:

Took a course, nutritional counseling, the professor is an eating disorder RD, and she is amazing! The clinical outpatient setting will be in for changes. I am thinking that with the depth of counseling needed, and with the differing types of ED’s, the amount of nutritional risk many of the clients are in, this area needs a speciality certification of it’s own. Very eye opening.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *