/ / A Week with Marci Anderson, Eating Disorders Expert

A Week with Marci Anderson, Eating Disorders Expert

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When I left you a week ago, I had just completed a dietetics internship rotation with the wonderful Maryann Meade and was looking forward to my next mini-internship with Marci Anderson, a registered dietitian specializing in nutrition therapy for eating disorders and who owns her own practice in Cambridge, MA. As dietetic students often are not exposed to eating disorder counseling, I was looking forward to this internship as a way for me to gain experience in both eating disorders and counseling.

So, how was it? Rather than keep you in suspense, I’ll just tell you now: I had a fantastic and rewarding experience with Marci! If you’ll come inside, I’ll tell you all about it:

Check out this chic and cozy sitting room:

Marci decorated the entire office herself. As a business owner, she takes on many jobs besides that of a nutrition therapist: she also needs to think about the appearance of her office, marketing of her services, budgetary issues, insurance (both her clients’ and her own), her tenants, even whether or not the plumbing is working correctly! I could go on and on. I’ll say it again, folks – owning your own business is NOT easy.

Upon my arrival, Marci was brimming with ideas for possible learning experiences. Over the course of a week, I worked on designing handouts (which I LOVE to do!), writing blog posts and tweets, contacting dietetic internship directors, and writing an article for a Massachusetts Dietetic Association publication.

My “office”:

Oh, no! I don’t have a picture of me working at my computer like I’ve had in every internship post thus far! Let’s see if we can fix that:

That’s better.

I was also able to sit in on many counseling sessions with Marci’s clients. Thanks to all of Marci’s clients who welcomed me into their sessions! Nutrition therapy for eating disorders often brings up painful and difficult conversations, and I know it must not have been easy having another person in the room. This internship was an incredible opportunity to see nutrition therapy for eating disorders firsthand.

In Marci‘s office:

Marci works hard to incorporate the most current and effective nutrition therapy techniques in her practice. I’ve learned a little about Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and motivational interviewing in class, but nothing beats seeing these counseling approaches in action.

Marci also devoted plenty of time to chit-chat sessions with me, sharing how she started and grew her practice, as well as answering any questions (of which I had many!). I feel as though I’ve learned so much about counseling and owning your own business over the past week. What a wide world out there for future dietitians!

I wanted to take a picture with Marci on my last day, but there wasn’t anyone around, so I propped my camera on a book and used the self-timer. I’m surprised the picture turned out so well!

Thanks for a great experience, Marci! 🙂

I also had a nice week with Peter’s brother, Dave, who kindly let me stay with him rather than commute four hours a day. Dave is quite the gourmand, especially where hot peppers are concerned. I would show you a picture of his dried chili collection, but I don’t think I’d be able to fit them all in a single camera frame. Only with Dave would you come home at the end of the day and hear him say, “Hey, Jessie, try this death sauce.” (I kid you not.)

You first, Dave.

So, how was it?

Yeah, I thought so.

My next dietetic internship rotation (and second to last rotation!) is in food service. I’ll keep you updated!

Q: Have you ever cooked with dried hot peppers? Have you ever accidentally stuck your finger in your eye after handling one? I have.

Lesson? Wear gloves!

PS: When I returned home late Friday evening, I found my desk had been transformed in my absence.

Do you think Peter is trying to tell me something?

Edited to add: I’ve had a few questions about whether or not Peter and his brother, Dave, are twins. The answer? Nope, they’re not – just brothers who look very similar. Although, each claims he is taller than the other (I stay out of that argument).

28 Comments

  1. Sounds like another great experience.

    I like spicy food a lot, but I have had my share of “disasters” involving hot peppers at home that I usually stay away from them…

  2. I love cooking with dried peppers, and I keep the pepper flakes in a glass and add them to my dishes with a spoon so I avoid any hand contact with them. A few times, I ended up with tearing eyes after touchning them accidentally with my peppered fingers. It’s crazy how the hotness stays on your fingertips for hours! 😯

    I was very intrigued by your internship experiences! As I’m recovering from an ED myself, I believe that education about nutrition is a crucial aspect in the therapy of eating disorders. It’s not only about establishing a healthy relationship with food again, but also about learning what works well for your body. For example, I’ve ended up as a carb addict (after about 10 years of very fad and very high sugar / low everything else eating), and I know that I’d never be able to recover if I hadn’t adjusted my diet and started to focus on sufficient protein and fat in my diet while watching my carb intake. If I eat bigger than tiniest amounts of sugar, or foods that combine both carbs and fat, I’ll relapse with a 99 % chance, and it takes days to get on track again. Other ED sufferers who never have done the heavy carb eating during their illness don’t have those problems with carb sensitivity, and for those it’s good to follow a “learn to eat everything again” approach, I believe, with which I’ve failed for years. Ah, need to write a post about this. 🙂

    Anyway, I love that you’ve done this internship! I’m sure that good education about nutrition is so important in ED treatment instead of just focusing on the psychological dimension. Body plays a major role in it, too!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Kath, and for sharing your experiences! Please do write a post if you would like and I would love to read it 🙂

      Take care and have a wonderful week!

  3. Sorry for the novel. 😉

    The 😯 above was supposed to be a smiley, something like this: :O (astonished) – Let’s see if this one works. 🙂

  4. Looks like you had a great experience with Marci! 🙂 I think eating disorder is catching lots of attention now , and you learned so much about it! Look forward to read your next adventure – food service!

    Dried pepper ?! oh yes, a traditional ingredient for Chinese cooking, it gives a kick to the dish, you definitely should have it in your kitchen, Jessie!

    1. Oh, we DO have dried pepper in our kitchen, Tou Tou! At least five different kinds – Peter used them more than I do. I’m a wimp when it comes to spice 😉

  5. Wait….are Dave and Peter TWINS?!?! Goodness!! They look the same! Are you sure that’s not really your hubby up there? I think it is.

    Nick and I were watching a show on the Food Network the other day about how they make Red Hot (our FAVORITE hot sauce) and the guy in the interview actually DRANK it form the bottle. ewwww. We won’t ever forget that.

    Ok, so back to the eating disorder rotation. I seriously wish I could have followed a private practice RD who dealt with eating disorders. It really is a passion of mine. I find that many of my patients/clients have had an ED at one time in their life, whether it was anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating. Having had anorexia myself, I feel that I can related and empathize pretty well. Thanks for sharing this wonderful experience with us.

    1. Haha, no, that’s really Peter’s brother. You’re not the only one who’s asked, though 😛

      I agree – having skills in understanding ED is so important now. Dietitians sure need to be well-versed in everything, don’t they? 😉

  6. Just found your website and feel as if I am in school again. These rotations are so valuable. I wish I got to do something like that (one week exposure) in med/phd school. I think being in your 20s and trying to figure out how to apply your knowledge practically is SO hard! I LIKED EVERYTHING! The hardest part, sometimes, is choosing ONE area to specialize in.

    Why not specialize in eating peppers?

  7. I’m happy that you had such a wonderful experience during your week with Marci! I can imagine how sitting in on client’s sessions is really helpful and I’m glad you had the opportunity to do so. Can’t wait to hear about your next rotation, Jessie!

  8. It sounds like working with patients with disordered eating would be very rewarding. If I were a dietitian I would probably want to be involved in consulting with patients.
    Where do you plan on working when you graduate?

    Also, are Peter and Dave twins? They look so much alike.

    1. Next year, I’m going to be working toward a Master’s degree in the nutrition field. Guess it puts off job searching for another year 😉

      And no, Peter and Dave aren’t twins, just brothers 🙂

  9. That’s a face of bliss, Jessie. I’m sure that’s what you meant to suggest.

    1. If by “bliss”, you mean “excruciating pain” … then, yes.

  10. Too cute with the picture of you “sitting at your desk working”. That made me laugh out loud. Yes, the type where K turns to me and asks “what’s so funny Mommy?” and then I have to stop for 5 minutes just to explain the whole thing to her…sigh. I’ll bet the eating disorder internship was really interesting huh? That’s a really touchy subject so when I read blogs that talk about it, I usually don’t comment because I’m afraid to offend anyone. It’s really interesting to read and l learn about that though. Kudos to all of Marci’s clangs who were willing to let you sit in on their sessions and talk openly about it.

    Yes, Dave and Peter really do look like twins! Haha, very smart to stay out of the “who’s taller” argument. Lol. When it comes to siblings, it’s always safe to stay out of it ;-). I have tried dried peppers before. My parents use it in their cooking sometimes. My Dad always makes his old joke of how he better wash his hands before going to the washroom. Har har. By the way, I think it’s time you claim back your desk before your whe house becomes a jungle. Oh, and do you know what those pink flowers are called? I saw a few of those trees in Vancouver and thought they were so beautiful, but it was always on a drive by so never had a chance to take pictures. They are gorgeous, aren’t they? I wished I had one of those trees in my front lawn. Good luck with your final internship wiener. Have lots of fun and make the most of it! Have a great week, sweet girl!

  11. That sounds like an AMAZING experience! If the subject weren’t a little too close to me, I would love to go into treating patients with eating disorders but as it is, I don’t think it would be good either for me or for my patients.

    It really is uncanny how alike Peter and his brother look!

  12. Marci sounds like an amazing person and you sound like you fit right in! I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to help others with eating disorders so both of you have my admiration for doing so!

    I can barely cook. You’d better believe that no peppers of any kind make their way into my kitchen!!

  13. Sounds like another great rotation. I am so glad you are getting to have all of these experiences.

    Yes, I have touched the darn pepper and then my eye. In my defense, I was like 10 years old. But I did learn my lesson early on.

  14. That sounds like a dream job and a dream rotation, Jessie! That waiting room…gorgeous 🙂

  15. Wow. What a coincidence…I just had a horrible experience a few minutes ago. I sprinkled dried red pepper flakes and then rubbed my eye….stupid!!! Hurt like crazy!

    I’m so happy for you, Jessie! Sounds like you’re at a great exciting place….nothing is boring! 😀

  16. That’s the Jessie I’ve missed – sense of humor and super cute! I like reading you post! Yeah, owning a business is not easy and I’ve postponed mine until I’m confident. Your laptop wasn’t plugged in, dear. The battery is gonna die soon 😀 Looking forward to reading your internship at foodservice! It’s one of the industries I’m interested.

  17. Sounds like you had a great experience with this rotation…love the photo of you working at your desk, lol
    Yes I do cook with dried hot peppers, in fact I dry several varieties from my garden…and yes I wear gloves 🙂

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