Tips From Eating Disorder Dietitian Sumner Brooks
Learn how dietitian and founder of EDRDpro Sumner Brooks works with her clients. Find tips for how to become an eating disorder dietitian.
We love sharing the stories of the providers who use Healthie to help their businesses grow. Healthie is excited to partner with Sumner Brooks, MPH, RDN, LD, the founder of Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian Pro (EDRDpro). It’s a global community of dietitians and students with interests in eating disorders and a non-diet counseling approach.
EDRDpro trains dietetics professionals on evidence-based Health at Every Size research and emerging science to elevate each clinician’s skills in identifying, treating, and preventing disordered eating and eating disorders. They partner with experts from around the world to provide access to training and tools that can be watched from the comfort of the office, classroom, or home. Dietitians can earn continuing education (CE) credits, through both a membership and an annual online conference called the EDRDpro Symposium.
Healthie was lucky enough to talk with Sumner about her experience as a nutrition entrepreneur and her advice for fellow dietitians:
Tell us about your journey to becoming a dietitian and forming your EDRD community.
Sumner: My journey to become a Health at Every Size-informed eating disorder dietitian has been an incredibly empowering part of my career. As someone who struggled with an eating disorder throughout my years in college and my dietetic internship, I have the utmost compassion and wholehearted interest in helping prevent dietitians from entering the field of nutrition counseling without having unpacked their own food and body issues.
I am a sensitive, empathetic, and determined entrepreneur who, at my core, knows that the more we teach dietitians about screening, preventing, and treating eating disorders, the better public health outcomes we will have in our society in the big picture.
My journey included some amazing experiences, from a very positive and supportive experience at San Diego State earning my bachelors, to completing the dual MPH and Dietetic Internship track at UCLA and the VA in Los Angeles.
I had formative career experiences, all in outpatient counseling settings. They ranged from Cedars Sinai Medical Center and corporate wellness at numerous Fortune 500 companies to running my own private practice focused on intuitive eating and eating disorder treatment for many years.
EDRDpro formed when I realized that I wanted to attend each and every eating disorder conference available, but knew that wasn’t feasible – with the travel, expense, and time involved. I wanted to create a way to use technology to help train and teach professionals, and learn from the very best. That’s what we offer at EDRDpro.
What led you to specialize in eating disorders?
Sumner: Surprisingly, it was not my own recovery process that led me to want to pursue this specialty as a provider. It was my clients. I witnessed such a significant portion of clients coming to me for help with weight and eating concerns who actually presented disordered eating, that I knew it was a population in need. It’s also the population that I enjoy working with the most, especially having the honor of being a part of someone’s transformation to freedom from diets and disordered eating.
How do you think technology is changing the landscape of dietetics?
Sumner: It absolutely blows my mind how quickly things change based on technology these days. I’m seeing online communities evolve, which are so cool and powerful! I also think it’s incredible how we can impact thousands of individuals daily via our own professional social media channels.
With the benefits of technology also come the downsides, of course. As dietetics professionals, we need to be careful that our messaging of what’s healthy isn’t being interpreted in a harmful way (i.e. leading people down orthorexic pathways).
On an individual client level, I truly appreciate and try to make the most out of working with clients virtually, which is why I get so much out of Healthie’s telehealth platform.
The possibilities of working with clients, running online groups, and what we do with EDRDpro are endless! That’s because technology allows us to bring people together in ways we never imagined 10 years ago.
What do you wish you knew as a dietetic intern?
Sumner: Wow, that’s a big question! As a student, I wish I knew more about the psychology of eating. I wish I would have known that eating and health is about so much more than numbers and macronutrients.
Becoming a certified Intuitive Eating counselor and immersing myself in HAES® has taught me so much about people, about greater wellbeing, and about compassion and empathy – all things that are necessary to really help people with their eating and their relationship to food.
Anyone interested should check us out at eattolivehappy.com. We are all about collaborating, growing, and spreading the messages of prevention and proper treatment approaches for our clients.
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