Dietitians and Nutritionists for the Jewish Community

Jewish Community
Jewish Community treatment for eating disorders

Although there is a lack of solid research on this topic, eating disorders are actually very common in the Jewish community.

When compared to those of other religious backgrounds, Jewish women are more likely to develop eating disorders. One study estimated Jewish women are 50% more likely to develop an eating disorder. The specific reason for this is unclear but there are a number of factors that may contribute.

Jewish culture promotes striving for professional success and intellectual pursuits, creating a high achieving mentality. There is also a significant amount of pressure to conform within Jewish communities. In addition, there are multiple holidays throughout the year that are celebrated with food as well as the weekly Sabbath. On the flip side, there are a similar number of fast days where food and drink are restricted.

Eating disorders are known to be underreported in the Jewish community due to a stigma around this disorder and other mental health disorders. This can make early intervention and finding the right care more challenging.

How Do We Help?

Courage to Nourish strives to provide a safe space for clients of all religions and cultures. We recognize that every individual expresses their faith, spirituality and dedication to their culture in different ways. The Jewish culture, like every culture, isn’t a monolith and we  make it a priority to practice in a culturally sensitive manner. We understand that for those in eating disorder recovery, the weekly Sabbath, holidays and fast days can be challenging (for those who observe). We have the knowledge, skills and awareness to help support our clients in all of these situations.

Whether you are worried about trying a food specific to the holiday, the change in meal timing or required amounts of food to be eaten (for example, matzah on Passover), we can work through that together. Our services can even include in person or virtual food exposures to help prepare for foods encountered on the holiday. We can help with creating a meal schedule/plan specific to your needs so you feel confident and ready to go into the next holiday. We can also support in challenging the food rules and beliefs that may come up during this time.

We can help support with fast days as well. If safe to fast, we can guide you in preparing for the fast and in how to refuel after. We can also support in talking to your rabbi if for some reason fasting is not the best thing for you at this time.

In addition, we understand the pressures that this population is under. We also understand that it can be challenging to find the care you need. Wherever you are on your food/recovery journey, we are here to help guide you and support you. We can help with referrals to other providers including therapists, psychiatrists, doctors, specialists etc. We can help you find a team that you trust and feel comfortable with.

Nutrition Services We Offer

one-on-one

One on One Nutrition Counseling Sessions

Consistent, specialized care is paramount when treating an eating disorder. Courage to Nourish provides individualized care specific to each person. We will explore your relationship with food, provide accurate, gentle nutrition education, evaluate growth charts as needed, and provide personalized meal planning guidance.

virtual support group

Virtual Support Group for the Jewish Community

Eating disorders can be lonely and isolating, leaving you oftentimes feeling misunderstood. We offer a free, weekly support group to provide a safe space to be around other recovery-focused individuals who are learning to prioritize recovery and find meaning outside of their eating disorder.

virtual support group for families

Virtual Support Group
for Family and Loved Ones

Supporting a loved one in their recovery can often leave you feeling exhausted and hopeless. We offer a monthly free support group to allow family and loved ones to discuss the ups and downs of being in a supportive, caregiving role, learning how to take care of yourself along the way, and find comfort that you are not alone.

FAQs About Our Services for the Jewish Community

How do I know if I need support?

Below are some signs that you may be struggling with an eating disorder and would benefit from nutrition counseling sessions:

  • Are you exhibiting rigidity in your routines, especially around food?
  • Have there been drastic changes in how you are eating, what and when you are willing to eat?
  • Do you feel your self-worth and self-esteem is dependent on your body size, eating/not eating certain foods, or how much physical activity you do in a day?
  • Are you finding yourself socially withdrawing from others, having a decreased interest in activities, feeling irritable or having mood swings out of the ordinary?
  • Are you feeling stressed before, during or after festive meals?
  • Are you avoiding social events and celebrations where you know food will be served?
  • If observing the Sabbath, do you have a hard time taking a break from exercise? Do you find yourself bothered or stressed when unable to be very productive?

How long will it take for me to recover from my eating disorder?

Treating an eating disorder takes a long time! Most likely, we will start off meeting with you weekly, at a minimum for 6 months. However, everyone’s journey is different. It is crucial you get help right away.. Keep in mind that recovery is not a linear process. There will be ups and downs along the way, which is why it is so important to have a specialized team supporting you.

What are typical individual sessions with the dietitian like?

Care at Courage to Nourish is very individualized, and therefore different for each client. However, our work together will include:

  • Eliminating shame and guilt surrounding eating
  • Spending less time thinking about food and body image
  • Managing nutrition concerns through a weight-inclusive approach
  • Re-learning intuitive eating
  • Discovering a more body positive body image through body trust and appreciation

We Offer In-Person and Online Services
for the Jewish Community at These Locations

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

Interested in finding out more?

Tell us more about how we can help you.

Let us know if you prefer to be seen at one of our locations or virtually!

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