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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Could I please have some information on disorder eating and why I need to eat 5 times a day?

    How can I be treated for disorder eating I've been diagnosed with an eating disorder condition by a psychologist who wants to see me again after my initial assessment. She also suggested that I should eat 5 times a day but before i start wanted to discuss my case with a dietitian as I also have ulcerative colitis and diabetes this concerns me as I'm can sometimes not want to eat or overeat. Worried I'll put on more weight is this the best way to treat disorder eating
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    Nutrique Canberra is founded by Monique Cheang, an Accredited Practising Dietitian who is enthusiastic to share and deliver healthy eating to people from all walks … View Profile

    Hi there, I can see where you are coming from. Let me briefly explain the underlying principal in regards of your situation. Each of us have our own ‘energy budget’, which is the calories that we can spend on food used to sustain our health and wellbeings without contributing to any weight-gain or weight-loss. Our body does not care much about how we want to spend our energy budget which means you can spend it all over 2 large meals or spread across 5 smaller meals.

    Generally, a health practitioner would recommend ED patients to follow a diet that consists of small and frequent meals as it is easier for patients to tolerate smaller volume of food at any time. Going back to your question, a small and frequent meal diet would not make you gain weight as long as you work within your energy budget.

    In regards to your condition of Ulcerative Colitis(UC) and diabetes, we will put more of our focus on finding the right diet plan for you. For UC, we want to eliminate certain foods that may seem to aggravate your symptoms. Research has shown "a low-fibre diet" is especially helpful for people with UC.

    People with diabetes are also beneficial from a small and frequent meals diet as it's the volume of food and types of foods (low GI/high GI) that makes the fluctuations of your blood sugar level. Smaller volume of food gives your body ease to manage and bring down the sugar in blood at each time.

    It's best to consult a dietitian for support and develop your own personal meal plan. Since UC might put you at risk with lacking certain nutrients and mineral deficiency, your doctor or dietitian may want you to add a multivitamin or any other supplements in your diet, depending on your need.

    Hope this helps:)


  • 2


    Melissa Yip

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Experienced accredited practicing dietitian (APD) with more than 5 years of practice. Happy to help with nutrition issues and chronic disease management. Lover of delicious … View Profile


    It would be best to see a dietitian to discuss your situation as the "eat 5 times a day" advice really is too simple once you factor in the diabetes.

    I usually put my eating disorder clients (who are underweight) on a meal plan which involves eating 5-6 meals a day, as this is the quickest way to re-feed the brain and rehydrate the body (many clients feel a significant difference in their mood and energy levels once this happens!).

    However, in your situation I would probably look at what your management of diabetes involves (e.g. insulin, medications) and then tailor the plan to suit your management OR involve your GP to tweak the management to suit the meal plan. Probably worth discussing with your GP for a referral or seek a dietitian with exeperience in managing eating disorders.

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    thank you I saw a dietitician at the same clinic where I saw my physcoligist but was not really happy  saw her twice but didn't really like her advise on swapping bread with Sao biscuits which did not make sense to me.  we discussed what I ate but didn't thing the dieticiaion was helping someone that was overweight with type 2 diabetes eating disorder and Ulcerative colitis nor did I found the physcologist any help I wrote down what I ate and how I felt but that was it I never felt like I was getting advise on moving forward.  so don't really know how a dietitician or a physcologist really helps at all sorry I know you are a dietitician nutrionist and appreciate your reply.  and on top of this my last session with physcoligst I did tell her more than we have spoken about and when I went to rebook another session the Dieitician was booking the appointments and as couldn't make it at the time they suggested she said oh yes we should leave this appointment for someone more serious so that was when I thought nay forget it not going back.  

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