Dear Dietitain – Beware of ‘magic bullet’ diet plans – and those who peddle them
I suffer from binge eating. I hired someone who claimed to be a nutrition coach for people with eating disorders. He gave me a strict meal plan and exercise routine. I asked what I should do when I have cravings to binge. He said not to worry and just follow the meal plan. I told him I needed more to eat, but he wouldn’t adjust my calorie level. This whole plan ended in disaster for me. What can I do? He refuses to give me a refund!
First, I want to say I’m sorry this happened to you. Unfortunately, these things happen with nutrition because there are so many “magic bullets” marketed by charlatans that people don’t know what to believe.
Licensure is required to practice nutrition in 47 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. If your state requires dietitian licensure, you can report this incident to the state licensure board for dietitians. You may also report your experience to your state’s Attorney General. The Better Business Bureau also receives complaints of this nature.
When seeking nutrition advice, go to the expert. A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) is a protected title that ensures the professional is qualified. Other professionals are legitimate, but you may have to ask a few questions to determine authenticity. They should have a bachelor’s degree or further education in nutrition. Ask about their credentials and state licensure. There should be no hesitation or defensiveness on the part of the nutrition professional. If there is, be wary.
Binge eating is recognized as an eating disorder. It is listed in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) along with other eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa. You can receive treatment, and insurance will cover part of the cost. Optimal treatment results are achieved through a team approach, and outpatient programs are available. Your team may consist of a physician, a dietitian, a psychologist, and an exercise physiologist. Each team member brings expertise to deal with all aspects of the illness.
Another branch of recovery is Overeaters Anonymous (OA), a 12-step recovery group that uses the same steps as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). In OA, it is suggested that you find a sponsor to help guide you through the steps. You will also decide on a food plan that works for you. Equally important, you will find that you are not alone. There will be people with the same problem, and you may develop friendships on your road to recovery. Search the internet at https://oa.org for meetings or call 505-891-2664. Meetings are available in-person, by phone, and online.
Until next time, be healthy!