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A Conversation with Sarah Patten Wilder of Inner Peace Nutrition Counseling


It's with great pleasure to introduce the Windhorse Counseling community to Sarah Patten Wilder of Inner Peace Nutrition Counseling! Sarah is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian, working exclusively with clients struggling with eating disorders, disordered eating, disconnection from their body’s wants and needs, and body image distress.


Sarah's passion, expertise, and empathy-driven approach to nutrition inspire us at Windhorse - and we consider ourselves lucky to collaborate with her! Alannah recently connected with Sarah to discuss her counseling philosophy, how her services complement her clients' work with a therapist, and more. Take a look below!

 

Alannah: Can you describe your modality/specialization? Sarah: I am a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist/Nutrition therapist specializing in the treatment of eating disorders, disordered eating, body image struggles, and Intuitive Eating. I also have training in Internal Family Systems therapy and am trained as a yoga teacher which both serve to complement my work as a dietitian and add depth to how I am able to work with my clients.

Alannah: Can you describe your practice and the types of clients that seek your services?

Sarah: My practice offers clients an opportunity to work with a dietitian/nutritionist from a non-diet, Health at Every Size (HAES) perspective where they can expect a collaborative, non-judgmental approach to examining and working on their relationship to food, movement, and body. What this means is that we don't focus on weight as being a marker of health or well-being, but instead work with our clients as whole people who want to enjoy a relationship with food that doesn't involve guilt, worry, or constant stress. We don't offer prescriptive plans or diets, but instead help each individual we work with reconnect to their innate wisdom around how to care for their body and to rebuild (or build for the first time) trust in their body and the cues that it sends around food, movement, self-care, etc. We also specialize in the treatment of Eating Disorders of all types and see clients of any age, gender, race, body size, sexual orientation, etc. While we hope to help each of our clients move towards feeding themselves intuitively, we are able to meet each client where they are at in their process and help support them along the way towards recovery. I've found that oftentimes dietitians have the reputation of being the "Food Police" and folks are often fearful of working with a nutrition counselor for fear of being judged or being told what they can/can't eat. This could not be further from the truth when it comes to my practice's approach, and I have found that those who take the brave first step of starting work with a dietitian are relieved after our first meeting and excited to reclaim their time, headspace, and energy around food. We often underestimate how much stress, self beat up, and guilt can impact both our mental and physical health, and by fostering an improved relationship with food and body, we can really see improvements in health on the whole. Alannah: What services do you offer clients?

Sarah: Nutrition counseling, body image work, intuitive eating work, eating disorders recovery work, food exposure work, gentle movement work/compulsive exercise work, IFS, gently re-engaging with the body/body's cues. Alannah: How do your services complement the work clients are doing within therapy? Why is it important for your clients to have a team of collaborative professionals?

Sarah: There is so much that goes on 'beneath the surface' in how we relate to food and to our bodies. By digging into this work with a nutrition therapist, it is inevitable that we will uncover thoughts, beliefs, and overall themes that are so helpful to bring back to one's therapist (and/or psychiatrist or PCP) so that a client may continue to uncover and understand the deeper roots of what might be playing out for them in the food realm. Likewise, there are often themes or patterns that emerge in therapy that are so helpful for a dietitian to know about so that we might be able to help the client reflect on the impact in their food/body world. With good collaboration among team members, we are also able to better hold and support someone through their eating disorder recovery process. As eating disorders and intuitive eating dietitians, we also often establish long-term relationships with the clients that we work with. Just like one may have challenges come up in their relationships in life or with their therapist over time, these challenges can arise with a nutrition therapist as well and it is so vital to be able to communicate with the rest of the team.

Alannah: Do you see a benefit to your clients being in therapy alongside their dietetic work?

Sarah: Without a doubt. In fact, it is rare that I see a client who is not also engaged in work with a therapist.

Alannah: How is your service essential to a client’s treatment/healing journey? Are there any unexpected examples of this?

Sarah: I often talk with my clients about how food and their relationship to it can be like a microcosm for other things going on in their life. When someone is able to dig into their work around food with a dietitian, we get to practice some of the things that they may be working on in other areas of their life in the concrete realm of food. From there, we often see the ripple effects of change showing up in other areas of life (honoring needs, setting boundaries, taking time for oneself, permission for rest or pleasure, etc.). It's part of why I love the work I do so much - I'm able to bear witness to the huge shifts and changes that can start to happen in someone's life by starting with how they care for themselves and talk to themselves around food and body image.

 

Thank you, Sarah, for sharing your wisdom with us! To learn more about Sarah and her practice, visit www.innerpeacenutrition.com.

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