Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) Dietitians and Nutritionists

Nutrition Treatment for ARFID
ARFID treatment

Do you or a loved one have a small list of preferred foods and wish that list was longer? Do you struggle with eating in social situations? Do you find that certain tastes and textures cause an aversion?

If any of these questions resonate with you, it’s possible that you or a loved one is struggling with ARFID. Through a compassionate, patient and highly trained approach, we at Courage to Nourish can guide you or your loved one, through the process of slowly expanding on your preferred foods through a variety of methods.

What is ARFID?

ARFID is, thankfully, getting more recognition over the last couple of years. In the past, parents were told it’s “just” picky eating and their child will grow out of it. In *some* cases this is true. However, it’s important for parents to trust their guts when it comes to feeding their kids. ARFID often starts in childhood and can continue through adulthood if not addressed. Courage to Nourish has several dietitians who specialize in ARFID. We take a gentle, client-led approach, which means we look to our clients to guide us in a direction that feels most comfortable to them. We see slow progress and baby steps, but this progress tends to be longer-lasting than when using a forceful , punitive approach.

ARFID is often described as “extreme” picky eating. Here are some signs that you or your loved one may have ARFID:

  • You have a small list of “preferred” foods and strong aversions to many foods.
  • You feel overwhelmed when going out to eat, and oftentimes avoid eating all together because there are no preferred options available. For someone with ARFID, going hungry is preferred over trying a non-preferred food.
  • Trying new foods is stressful and unenjoyable.
  • A fear of vomiting, choking, or gagging when trying new foods.

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of ARFID signs, so if you feel that you or a loved one is exhibiting any signs of ARFID, we are happy to help.

How We Help Treat ARFID

Treatment of ARFID requires individualized, consistent, and compassionate support. At Courage to Nourish, our dietitians are highly trained to treat all eating and feeding disorder diagnoses, including ARFID. Not only do we work with you or your loved one in individual sessions, but we also collaborate with various members of the treatment team. We also provide text and email support and keep our caseloads small. This can assure you are getting the highest quality of care.

At Courage to Nourish, we use many different approaches to support our clients in expanding their food palates. We take a gentle and compassionate approach. To treat ARFID, we support clients with meal planning if they need support in adequately nourishing their body. Additionally, we can create a plan for personalized food exposures (either in session or out of session), we can process clients’ fears and anxieties around certain foods, and we can discuss small goals to implement throughout the weeks to make tiny improvements.

The goal of ARFID treatment is repeated, consistent exposures to non-preferred foods. Contrary to what people often believe, the main objective of ARFID treatment is helping you or your loved one tolerate trying new foods, in a variety of settings. It is certainly a bonus if you or your loved one end up liking the new foods. Removing the pressure of having to like all the new foods tried can actually help improve outcomes and help cultivate a healthier relationship with food moving forward.

Typical Clients We Work With

Families

Families

FAMILIES

Courage to Nourish specializes in working with families and ARFID. If your family life has been disrupted by ARFID, contact us to learn more about how our highly trained dietitians can support your family in healing. We work closely with parents and children to create a supportive home food environment.

College Aged and Young Adults

College Aged and Young Adult

COLLEGE AGED AND YOUNG ADULT

Courage to Nourish specializes in working with college students who struggle with ARFID. Learn more about our services and how our dietitians can work to support you and your relationship with food. Contact us for more information about how we work with college students who have ARFID.

Teens and Adolescents

Teens & Adolescents

TEENS & ADOLESCENTS

Courage to Nourish specializes in working with teens who have been diagnosed with ARFID. Learn more about our services and how our dietitians can work to support your teen and their relationship with food. Contact us for more information about how we work with teens who have ARFID.

Pregnant Individuals

Pregnant Individuals

PREGNANT INDIVIDUALS

Courage to Nourish specializes in supporting pregnant individuals who struggle with ARFID. Learn more about our services and how our dietitians can work to support you and your relationship with food. Contact us for more information about how we work with pregnancy and ARFID.

Athletes

Athletes

ATHLETES

Courage to Nourish specializes in working with athletes who struggle with ARFID to assure adequate fueling and completing food exposures as desired. Learn more about our services and how our dietitians can work to support you and your relationship with food. Contact us for more information about how we work with athletes who have ARFID.

Adults

Adults

ADULTS

Courage to Nourish specializes in working with individuals who struggle with ARFID of all ages. We work with kids with ARFID, adolescents with ARFID, young adults with ARFID, and adults with ARFID. Our dietitians are highly specialized in eating disorder treatment – learn more about our services and how we can work to support you and your relationship with food.

FAQs About ARFID

How do I know if I have ARFID?

If you find that you are struggling with your relationship with food, body or exercise in ANY capacity, please note that you absolutely deserve space and time to heal, regardless of the symptoms you’re experiencing. If you suspect you or a loved one has ARFID, please take our quiz.

How long does it take to treat ARFID?

Treating ARFID takes time! Most of the clients we see are “long term” clients who we work with on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. It is difficult to set a time frame, but it’s not uncommon for clients to meet with us on a weekly basis for at least 6 months. If you feel like your healing journey is taking “too long,” just remember that recovery is not linear. It’s normal to have ups and downs.

Will I need to follow a meal plan?

That is up to you! While we can support you in creating a meal plan that meets your needs, we also recognize that meal plans aren’t helpful tools for everyone. We would never want you to feel like you are on a diet. Oftentimes, we work with our ARFID clients to establish a consistent eating plan based around their preferred foods – if that’s something they find helpful.

How can I help a loved one with ARFID?

Supporting a loved one with an eating disorder, including ARFID, can be so difficult. As loved ones, we often want to “fix it.” But, this process takes time and there’s not much we can do other than offering a listening ear and a non-judgemental space. Visit our resources page and sign up for our newsletter to get more tips on how to support your loved one.

How can I find support for ARFID?

Courage to Nourish is happy to help. Contact us for more information about working with us. We provide both virtual and in person services. If for some reason we are unable to support you, we would be glad to refer you to other resources. You can also read our blog and resources page for more ideas and support on eating disorder recovery.

Have more questions?

About Courage to Nourish

Courage to Nourish is a group of eating disorder specialized dietitians. We have in person locations in Alexandria, Virginia, Columbia, Maryland, and College Park, Maryland. We offer virtual services across the state of Maryland. Virginia, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. We offer individual nutrition therapy. As well as support groups. We would love to guide you in building a better relationship with food.

Courage to Nourish team

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