I’ve been harping on about how treatment for eating disorders is inadequate and/or misguided for years now. I’m happy to say that, thanks to the help of Becky Freestone, we’re about to really do something about that.
It’s not like I’ve been doing nothing, I’ve yelled about it. I’ve blogged/YouTubed/podcasted about it. I’ve joined all the eating disorder professional bodies. I’ve gone to and presented at conferences. I’ve networked. I’ve been polite and tried to influence change from the inside. I played the game. Didn’t take me too long to get bored and frustrated with that.
First off, in order to get a conference proposal accepted I’d have to team up with someone with a doctorate. Because, you know, what the fuck do I know? Obviously I need someone who has been to school to learn about what someone else wrote about eating disorders sitting next to me in order for me to be able to speak about my own experience having had, and recovered fully from, an eating disorder.
Second, I’d need to submit a conference proposal that wasn’t too radical and didn’t say things like “this whole system is fucked,” or even, the polite version: “could we consider that nutritional rehabilitation be more effective than talk therapy for many?”
Third, should I get a conference proposal accepted, everyone in the room would be people whom already agreed with what I was saying. That’s the nature of conferences. People attend presentations that they want to listen to. It’s the echo-chamber effect. That means you come out feeling all warm and fuzzy but then realize that you didn’t have the opportunity to change anyone’s mind. So then that warm and fuzzy wears off and I’m left wondering why I took 3 days off work and spent a load of money on travel when I could probably have been of more help to people with eating disorders sitting at home writing blogs.
I could go on about eating disorder conferences but rather than whinge about things I can’t change I’ll tell you about things I can. Or, I should say, we. We can. Because due to already having a FT job I can’t set up and run a recovery center, but Becky can. So that’s the deal here. I’m providing content, guidelines, intellectual property, and guidance, and Becky is doing the bricks and mortar work.
Becky is recovered from an eating disorder. She’s an ex-client of mine. She spent a long time in traditional treatment, years and years and years of an eating disorder. Becky is a great example of someone who couldn’t recover in the traditional treatment system, but excelled in recovery outside of it — with some guidance. But mostly she just needed to be told it was okay to eat, a lot. Becky and I have worked together to design something new and rather different. I wouldn’t trust just anyone with this sort of thing, but I trust Becky, and I hope you will support her as much as you have supported me in trying to make change.
Triple R: What’s it about?
- Full recovery: we believe that full recovery is possible for every person with a restrictive eating disorder.
- Adults only; a space for people who want to recover but need to be in an environment that supports unrestricted eating and rest.
- Nutritional Rehabilitation: We support people in overcoming fear of their unsuppressed bodyweight and reaching full nutritional rehabilitation in a non-judgmental environment.
- Neural Rewiring: We educate and support people in understanding and re-training learned neural pathways and belief systems.
- Size Diversity: We celebrate all shapes and sizes, and recognise that eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes as well.
- Unrestricted Eating: We support and encourage unconditional, unrestricted eating, for life.
- State over weight: We define an eating disorder, and define recovery status, by mental state, not weight.
What it will look like:
We will run a Monday-Friday Day Program in 8-week blocks. Each 8 weeks contains daily educational content that will help participants understand nutritional rehabilitation and neural rewiring as well as set them up for re-entry (trigger proofing) into the world.
Unrestricted eating will be encouraged throughout, and food will be always readily available. Meals out will be organised with the group, as well as family-style meals in the house.
This is not a prison. We will not be making choices for you, rather, we will be helping you make the right choices for your recovery. The ability to make decisions and consistently make the right, non-disordered, choices is a critical part of a sustainable recovery. The brain learns in the process of making decisions, and this is an important aspect of how we work — we will support and encourage you to do the right thing, but ultimately you are accountable for and responsible for your own actions.
You will need to be medically stable and cleared by a MD in order to attend. We cannot provide medical treatment and therefore we cannot take people who are not medically stable. There will not be therapists or dietitians on staff — if you want to see a therapist or a dietician while you are here we can work around that, but that’s up to you. You’re a grown up, and we respect your ability to make choices around what works for you and what doesn’t. We’re not going to “make” you do anything, in fact. If all you want to do is stare at the wall and eat biscuits for 8 weeks you are very welcome to come here and do that. Because this is about what you need, and when you are in recovery from an eating disorder, often “unproductive” time is the most productive thing you can do.
Cost. That’s the big question, isn’t it? In a world where money grows on trees we could offer this for free. It’s not going to be free. We have location costs, insurance costs, utilities costs, legal costs, staffing costs, and food costs — there will be a lot of food! So with all that in mind, don’t be mad at us that we can’t offer this for free. We will be trying to make it as affordable as possible.
Ultimately we want to disrupt the model. We want to provide a place for adults who want to get better and want to re-learn how to trust and not be at war with their bodies. We want to create a space that doesn’t devalue your experience just because you might not look like the stereotypical perception of what a person with an eating disorder looks like. We want to empower you to know that you can do this, you can make the correct decisions for your recovery, you can fully recover, and it can be sustainable.
To learn more, email Becky at firstname.lastname@example.org