When you think about treatment for mental illness, therapists, psychiatrists and medications could all come to mind, but you probably don’t think of dieticians! That may change after you listen to today’s guest, Lindzie O’Reilly, dietician at the University of Guelph, as she talks about what an important role nutrition can play in restoring and maintaining good mental health.
Just like getting enough sleep, there is evidence to suggest that getting the right “fuel” can help you combat depression and anxiety, and be of benefit to anyone who is trying to fight a mental illness. And, if you struggle with an eating disorder, a dietician is sure to be at the very core of your treatment, helping you restore weight when needed and helping you establish a healthy, consistent relationship with food, maybe for the first time in your life. Dieticians have strategies to help break the binge cycle, and offer the facts, not the fiction, about nutrition and weight that might help you stop purging.
Despite these benefits some people hesitate to make that first appointment. Lindzie has heard firsthand lots of the misconceptions people have about food, weight and nutrition, and the fears people have about being judged or embarrassed. But, in her gentle, respectful way, does more than her share in challenging the myths through individual counseling and advocacy work. She works hard to help people see themselves as more than how they look or what they weigh, and guides them to a relationship with food that doesn’t include guilt, shame, self-denial or self-recrimination. Her work, and that of other dieticians like her, can help you learn to feel safe, competent and even happy in your relationship with food and your body.
Lindzie has worked with many people who have bought into the “diet” mentality of our fat-phobic culture, and has successfully helped many to stop feeling they’re only good enough when they’re starving. She does this not only one person at a time, but in public forums like the Eating Disorder and Body Image Expose at the University of Guelph, and at the Faces of Recovery Community Panel Discussion, also in Guelph, which are free to the public, incredibly informative, and do lots to de-stigmatize eating disorders.
So, if you thought dieticians just helped diabetics and recovering cardiac patients, I invite you to listen to Lindzie. I feel pretty sure she’ll open your mind about food, weight, and the important role nutrition plays in your mental health!