Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) Dietitians and Nutritionists
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
FAQs About ARFID
How do I know if I have ARFID?
How long does it take to treat ARFID?
Will I need to follow a meal plan?
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.
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