Part Two: Feeding Our Warrior Daughters

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Clementine adolescent treatment programs Director of Nutrition Services Amanda Mellowspring, MS, RD/N, CEDRD-S is a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian with over a decade of experience in program development and clinical application working with eating disorders at various levels of care. In part two of her series, Amanda dives into just how Clementine supports adolescents to be empowered in their eating disorder recovery. 

Check out Part One of Amanda’s series HERE.

There is often a lot of discussion related to feeding, meal planning, weight goals, etc, so in this discussion, let’s focus instead on how to plant those strong roots (ie. how to empower an adolescent in recovery while also providing structure and guidance). In working with adolescents, it is not uncommon that our girls are still trying foods for the first time EVER! This rarely has to do with the eating disorder, yet can have everything to do with being an adolescent. Supporting girls in trying new foods or combinations of foods with structure and expectation that their warrior hearts can manage it, allows for an empowering experience of increasing food variety, enjoying new flavors, and even learning that they enjoy different cuisines. This can also be an individuating experience for some girls. A common example of this includes supporting our girls in trying new fruits or veggies for the first time; perhaps even meals prepared differently than how mom or dad does at home. This may include new seasonings or spices, sauces, and even preparation methods – a great Indian chicken tikka masala dish may be a new love for someone in treatment, while another girl may develop a new love of grilling outdoors with our chef. Oftentimes, these new experiences for our daughters also may challenge mom and dad to explore new foods and our cooking experiences at home also. Healing involves the whole family and creativity can be a big part of the process.

Another important example of planting these roots involves tolerating dislike – yes, exactly, asking and expecting that a warrior heart can manage to do things that she doesn’t absolutely LOVE! I know – tough adolescent stuff! Our world is busy and it is often easier (and less frustrating) to just pick up or serve whatever we know everyone will eat, so that we can all try to get a bit of relaxation in before another busy day. Allow us to support both your daughter and your family in shifting this. In our work, we devote the time to tolerating the experience of pushing through the dislike and acknowledging that doing so actually translates into an important lifeskill – how many times do we all as adults have to do things we don’t LOVE?…often! Being able to tolerate these experiences and move through them without getting stuck in them, or demanding ONLY our preferences from the world, strengthens those roots. I still remember bursting in the door from high school, frantic to know what was for dinner, only to hear something I didn’t want to hear…say meatloaf. I also remember that I would wash up, sit down and eat the meal, chat with my family, focus on the time together, and then move on with my evening. Meatloaf nights were an important part of creating strong roots to tolerate that life is often different than what we would prefer, but the value in that holds great opportunity for us. A strong theme in our work with adolescent girls is acknowledging their warrior strength, rather than backing down to the eating disorder or fearing that their young years somehow limit their ability to challenge themselves. Treating our adolescent girls as the warriors of recovery that they truly are, allows for growth, change, empowerment, and wisdom. These are aspects of healing that are vital to true, longterm recovery.

The balance of accountability and expectation with compassion for the sometimes confusing experiences of adolescence holds endless opportunities for supporting recovery and normalized adjustment into adulthood. Avoiding the fear, the challenges, and the fight serves no one in recovery. After all, warriors grow from the fight!

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Part One: Feeding Our Warrior Daughters

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Clementine adolescent treatment programs Director of Nutrition Services Amanda Mellowspring, MS, RD/N, CEDRD-S is a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian with over a decade of experience in program development and clinical application working with eating disorders at various levels of care. In this week’s blog post, Amanda shares the importance of empowering adolescents in eating disorder recovery process, and just how Clementine supports adolescents to do so. 

In the treatment of adult women, we often hold discussion on these powerful women being “warriors” in recovery, having overcome the trials of an eating disorder and likely other hardships.

In my work with adolescent girls, I often hear others comment on how “sweet” the work of our younger girls must be by comparison, or sometimes even how “sad” it must be to see our younger girls’ struggle. In response, I must say that these girls are the truest warriors – a path less refined by age but sometimes with just as many battle marks.

So, how do we empower our adolescent girls to be warriors in their recovery while also holding space for them to stay at a developmentally-appropriate place in their life and recovery work? One of the ways that we manage this at Clementine Programs is to strike a fine balance in our work with food. Feeding our warrior daughters is a mighty task!

In order to achieve this balance, we support our girls in feeding themselves with foods they enjoy, nourishing themselves with a variety of foods, and support them in re-engaging with internal awareness of hunger, fullness, and satiety. The combination of these empowering messages of personal safety with food and body trust, alongside the structure of guidance around quantity, food flexibility, and normalized developmental experiences of food exposure and trials allow for a firmly rooted warrior of recovery.

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Article Spotlight

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Join us in reading inspirational and informative articles we have cultivated from across the web. If you have found an article you feel is inspirational, explores current research, or is a knowledgeable piece of literature and would like to share with us please send an e-mail here.

 

10 Things People With Anxiety Need to Do Every Day Psych Central

How I’m Living My Best Life with Mental Illness This Year The Mighty

What to do When Your Child is at College and Tells you They Have an Eating Disorder More Love

MythBusters: The Binge Eating Disorder Edition Proud2BeMe

6 Turning Points That Were Essential To My Recovery Recovery Warriors 

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Part Two: An Inside Look Into Treatment at Clementine

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Dr. Lauren Ozbolt, MD, CEDS, FAPA is a board certified Adult, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist who specializes in the evidence-based treatment of mood, anxiety and eating disorders. She currently serves as the Medical Director for Monte Nido & Affiliates. In part two of her series, Dr. Ozbolt continues to share an inside look into a day in treatment at Clementine adolescent treatment programs.

While our adolescents are quite busy in programming throughout the day, we also recognize the need and benefit of appropriately scheduled breaks and downtime. Downtime is often difficult for our adolescents in that unstructured time allows the eating disorder thoughts more freedom. At Clementine, downtime is interspersed with opportunities for relationship building, recreational time and fun. Our recovery coaches are no strangers to fun and it is not unusual to see them engaged with the girls in an intense game of banana-grams or an elaborate art project.

 One aspect unique to Clementine is our use of a multi-dimensional Level System. Upon admission, adolescents are assigned to Level I, which corresponds with certain goals, assignments, challenges and privileges. When these goals and challenges are met (determined by the treatment team and milieu), then the adolescent advances to the next level of challenges and privileges. By using this system, the adolescent, parents and treatment team are all clear about the client’s progression in treatment. This eliminates uncertainty on the part of the adolescent, fosters mastery and facilitates trust.

After a full day of clinical programing, meal support and countless opportunities to practice recovery-oriented choices, adolescents are ready for bed. Recovery coaches are present to support bedtime routines and prepare for lights out. Recognizing that separation from parents and loved ones can be difficult for adolescents, Clementine staff are there to comfort and encourage. It is only at night, when your daughter feels safe, supported and loved that our job for the day is complete. It is perhaps in these quiet moments, that the beauty of the Clementine program is most visible.

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.