The Development of an Eating Disorder Recovery Framework
Within her first years of working as a dietitian in the field of mental health and eating disorder recovery, Alida gained exposure to multiple different evidence-based treatment modalities including Family Based Treatment, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.
While working as part of a multidisciplinary team and pursuing continuing education and training in trauma-informed dietetic practice to advance her skills as a practitioner, she started to notice patterns in what was working, and what wasn’t, for her clients.
As Alida continued to gain experience and build therapeutic relationships with her clients, she saw that a hybrid approach proved most effective and allowed her clients to make steady progress towards recovery.
This hybrid approach combined aspects of multiple different treatment modalities and was customized to each client’s individual needs and unique history. Alida also saw a need for a step-by-step process for clients to follow that would help increase motivation and reduce uncertainty and fear along their recovery journey.
With her training and experience in the field, Alida developed The MORE Method – the framework that helps those with eating disorders learn to Feel Good About Food through Moderation, Optimization, Restoration and Elevation of their diet and mindset.
The MORE Method is a framework with 4 phases and is based on 4 guiding principles.
The 4 Phases of The MORE Method
Phase 1: Moderation
Moderate your diet to find a realistic and enjoyable way of eating. This phase is all about learning how to provide your body with enough nourishment to support your physical and mental health. You will work on unpacking your food rules and identifying your fear foods, and establish a pathway forward to begin re-introducing these foods with coping strategies in place.
Phase 2: Optimization
Optimize your mindset to find peace and contentment with food. During phase 2, you will work on eating for satisfaction and learning to identify and let go of extreme and unhelpful thinking patterns (cognitive distortions) around food. You’ll also work through the process of untangling true health from misleading diet culture claims, all while becoming more confident in your unique nutrition needs so you can get unstuck from food comparison traps.
Phase 3: Restoration
Restore connection with your body to optimize self-care. This phase focuses on quieting your inner critic so you can get reacquainted with your authentic self and live in alignment with your values. You will also learn to become attuned and respond to hunger and fullness cues so that you can eat more intuitively and trust your body to lead the way. Finally, you will repair your relationship with exercise and learn to feel the benefits of movement beyond burning calories.
Phase 4: Elevation
Elevate your self-confidence to appreciate your body. The final phase of The MORE Method is all about body image. Using a self-compassion focused approach, you’ll learn why acceptance of a diversity of body shapes and sizes is not only healthy, but the key to improved self-esteem, confidence, and sustainable change.
The 4 Guiding Principles of The MORE Method
Principle 1: Evidence-based
The MORE Method was developed with the three pillars of evidence-based care in mind:
- Lived experience (patient values and preferences)
- Clinical expertise
- Research evidence (1)
Woven into The MORE Method are several aspects of commonly used and well-researched treatment modalities for eating disorder recovery including Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Family Based Treatment.
You’ll learn about distress tolerance skills that will help you effectively navigate eating disorder triggers and urges, as well as develop an understanding about the relationship between your thoughts, feelings, and actions when it comes to food and nutrition.
For youth and adolescents living with caregivers, a collaborative approach involving supportive adults in the home is encouraged. This family based approach to recovery allows the young person and caregivers to team up together against the eating disorder and tire it out together.
Finally, The MORE Method centers you as an expert in your treatment through the use of motivational interviewing strategies that help you and your dietitian collaborate on a treatment plan that focuses on your values, preferences, and lived experience.
Principle 2: Trauma-informed
The MORE Method is a trauma-informed approach. This means that we acknowledge the unique and specific ways that trauma and chronic stress influence and impact the body, specifically the nervous system. This is important to nutrition-related work since the nervous system greatly impacts the processes of eating and digestion, as well as the experience of body image (2).
The approach was developed with an understanding that food choices and dietary habits may develop as a result of adverse life experiences (trauma) and not individual choices (3). Providing trauma-informed care means that we strive to provide a space where our clients can feel seen, heard, and understood by way of reducing threats and increasing safety (2).
Principle 3: Collaborative
The MORE Method is delivered by Registered Dietitians, with the main focus of the program being on food and nutrition rehabilitation. While addressing food and nutrition is an important part of eating disorder recovery, full recovery is not usually possible without also addressing the medical, emotional, and psychological components of the disorder.
Recovery takes a village, and The MORE Method works best when you are working alongside other important members of your eating disorder recovery team. This may include a family doctor, psychiatrist, social worker or psychologist, occupational therapist, and recovery coach.
We work with a wonderful team of eating disorder professionals across many different disciplines and are happy to make recommendations and referrals to help you find the right professionals to build your recovery team.
Principle 4: Accessible
The MORE Method is available virtually to clients residing anywhere in Ontario, Canada. Because we believe that quality care should be accessible to everyone, no matter financial status, we offer pro bono services through Recovery Care Collective.
The Foundation of The MORE Method: The Nutrition Priority Pyramid
The Nutrition Priority Pyramid outlines a pathway to making progress with nutrition and provides you with a clear starting point and series of next steps. The MORE Method guides you from the bottom of the pyramid upwards, as you learn how to properly nourish yourself, re-establish trust and connection with your body, and ultimately recover from your eating disorder.
The MORE Method: Measurable Progress
Eating disorder recovery is a process, and one that often takes a great deal of time. As with any long journey, it’s normal to lose focus and motivation at times, especially when it feels hard to see your progress.
This is why when you enroll in The MORE Method, you’ll be asked to complete a few questionnaires as part of the intake process. They will measure where you are starting when it comes to your mental-wellbeing, relationship with food, and body image so that when the going gets tough, you can repeat the questionnaires and see your progress in front of you.
Here’s a glimpse at what is possible with The MORE Method based on client data collected to date:
Book a complimentary call by phone or video chat to discover how The MORE Method can work for you.
- Peterson, Carol B et al. “The three-legged stool of evidence-based practice in eating disorder treatment: research, clinical, and patient perspectives.” BMC medicine vol. 14 69. 14 Apr. 2016, doi:10.1186/s12916-016-0615-5
- Foundations of Trauma-Informed Dietetic Care: Week 1 Workbook. Tracy Brown RD and Fiona Sutherland APD
- Trauma-Informed Nutrition: Recognizing the relationship between adversity, chronic disease, and nutritional health. CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH | CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES ESSENTIALS FOR CHILDHOOD INITIATIVE | JUNE 2020. https://keltyeatingdisorders.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Trauma-Informed-Nutrition.pdf