Can an Eating Disorder Service also offer Obesity Treatment

Yes, if the service is specified as two -sided and clear about the distinction between eating disorder treatment and weight loss coaching.

At the National Centre for Eating Disorders we do a holistic assessment of a person to ensure that no significant eating disorder is present; if it is present we make it clear that there are to be no weight loss attempts during treatment for the eating disorder and such a person might not in the future be suitable for intentional weight loss.

It is incorrect to assume that all people wanting weight change have an eating disorder.

If we agree after assessment to support a client in their weight change intentions, we will engage in a manner consistent with good practice and we have transformed many lives. Some of our clients have had a history of binge eating / bulimic disorders and have gained weight throughout the years because they have not had timely treatment for their eating disorder. We empathise with their desire to change weight if the time is right.

In such a case we would not do anything that would reactivate their eating disorder.

Weight loss “guidance / therapy”, does not imply dieting or food rules or boot-camping nor does it have goal weights. Nor does it require endless searching into childhood adversity. Nor is it HAES although they have some but not all, very good points.  The service includes bariatric counselling. Some people, with our help, decide that they are happy as they are. The ultimate outcome is flourishing.

We market obesity treatment because of the numbers of desperate people INCLUDING therapists who seek our help. It must mean something that over the course of 40 years no one entering our service has complained about stigma.  No therapist training with us over the same period has raised a complaint about anti-fat bias.

Activists who have not done our training are pitching against us with total ignorance about what we do. It interests us that while they are intolerant of the word “obesity” they bandy the term “fat” as if it means something different. Really?

What worries us at NCFED is the number of activists who actively try to deny people from having access to good weight change help; who wish to prevent therapists from learning about strategies that might work, and who wish to withhold from the public factual information about some health risks of living in a larger body. On top of this, no activist is able to come up with a single client or psychotherapist trained by NCFED who has been “traumatised” by weight stigma.

The NCFED has no need to make a big deal about inclusivity. We have therapists of all genders, races, religions, tribes and colours. We treat people without needing labels. Inclusivity is woven into our trainings and the first thing we do is delve into the history, generational issues, declared identity and value systems, of each individual in a place of complete acceptance.

I will not give the litmus of attention to angry people. Certainly, it is right to question the old “sacred cows” and reflect on their meaning and purpose. Having reflected, we feel good about what we do and we will not kowtow to aggression. People in the community who do not have a clinically significant eating disorder, who desire intentional weight change, deserve far better help than the traditional diet and lifestyle methods that do not work. They can come to us for that help, given by people we trust.

Meanwhile, Our amazing course, Essential Obesity: Psychological Interventions, next date June 2022