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AITC provides important nutrition advice to families

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Nikki Hunt lives in Brighton and is three years into recovery from an eating disorder. Having suffered from anxiety, depression and low confidence levels she was referred to Albion in the Community to get support to help her manage her eating disorder.

The charity’s health team provide specialist help for people struggling with the time or motivation to improve their health. Participants can choose up to eight free sessions covering topics such as getting more active, nutrition, managing your weight, help to stop smoking and general wellbeing.

Having tried different therapies, Nikki was keen to get support from the charity’s nutritionist to help her better manage her eating.  She said: “I thought I would try to tackle the eating disorder with a different tactic, tackle it with knowledge and scientific evidence on why food is good for your body and how it can help you with so many aspects of your life.”

Before getting involved with Albion in the Community, Nikki was afraid of food and quite often the mere thought of having to think about it would make her anxious and she would look for ways to avoid eating.

Nikki explained: “I was petrified to explore food, didn’t really know what to do with it. Food is a difficult aspect, even to look at, everything is scary. It was very draining.”

The health team was able to provide Nikki with support in menu planning and shopping list writing to alleviate some of the stress she felt around food which has allowed her confidence to grow around food.

Despite being hard work, Nikki says that she has really enjoyed the sessions: “It’s exciting that I might be able to cook a meal for friends and be confident enough to do it, whereas before I don’t think I would have been.”

There have also been some unexpected outcomes from the support provided. Nikki explains: “It’s brought me closer to my daughter, because it means I can teach her, and she can teach me, and we can actually learn what food we like and what we don’t like. I can also bring some healthy foods and good foods into my son’s diet.”

Mari Clark, the registered nutritionist for Albion in the Community has been supporting Nikki during her involvement with the health team. She said: “I have really enjoyed working with Nikki. She is very determined to make a positive change when it comes to food. It’s great to see the nutrition information I have provided is helping and has removed some of her anxieties around the practicalities of food, cooking and shopping to get her and the family more excited and bonding over food.”

We cannot help people with an eating disorder when they are in crisis but when they have recovered, it can really help them understand the science and how they can make that work for them.

Albion in the Community can support anyone who needs information or advice on nutrition including personalised food planning, destressing the weekly shop, ideas to gain or lose weight and ways to make the most of your meals.

To find out more or to request support please email: neighbourhoodhealth@albioninthecommunity.org.uk.

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