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Brenda is a 45-year old mother of four whose “eating-without-eating” consisted of finishing off her children’s plates of food while standing at the kitchen counter, bingeing on cookies while standing in the pantry where nobody was watching, and skipping meals then rushing through the fast-food drive-throughs when she couldn’t stand the hunger anymore.  

Brenda was a champ at preparing meals for her family and ensuring that everyone else had enough to eat, but she struggled with feeding herself reliably.  She catered to each individual family member’s food preferences, rarely took the time to consider what she liked to eat, and settled for scraps of whatever was left over.  This contributed to her feeling impulsive and out-of-control around food, especially when she was alone.  Although she insisted that she liked a wide variety of food, she hardly enjoyed eating anymore, and was becoming increasingly distressed over her gradual weight gain.

After several sessions using Ellyn Satter’s How to Eat approach, Brenda started preparing the same food for everyone at mealtime (including some of her own tried-and-true favorites), sitting down to meals with family members, and feeling more organized and less chaotic with her eating.  She learned to prioritize feeding herself faithfully, respond to her natural body cues, and be more present and attuned to the eating experience.  Her binge-eating stopped as a result.  As a bonus, both Brenda and her family benefited from her renewed joy in eating and consistent presence at family meals. 

Developing eating competence is a process. Some do well on their own; others do not and need support from a skilled clinician – one who is able to think about things differently.  Those trained in Ellyn Satter’s Eating Competence model find the possibilities to be endless and applications go well beyond treating the dieting casualty.  The model provides clarity for the clinician and paves the way for care planning. 

If you are interested in expanding your skills and to provide Satter-informed care for your clients, join us for our VISION workshop: Treating the Dieting Casualty, in Madison, WI.  November 14, 15 &16 2019.  TDC workshop registration

Jennifer Harris, RDN, LD, CEDRD, Ellyn Satter Institute Faculty Member

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