Hi everyone! I’d like to introduce eating disorder dietitian Jaren Soloff, RD, who does amazing work both in North County San Diego in San Marcos, and also virtually over the phone or via videoconferencing. I’ve collaborated with her on a few cases, and I have really appreciated her vast knowledge about all types of eating disorders, as well as her passion in working with those with ALL body types. She definitely embraces the HAES™ approach. I also love love love that she comes from a feminist perspective as she strives to empower all people who are struggling with oppression from being told that you have to have a certain body type to be okay.
Why did you choose to become an eating disorder specialist in San Diego?
Eating Disorder work was really the only area of practice I set my eyes on when I began to study nutrition. Prior to heading into dietetics, my background was in feminist studies. Having this as the groundwork I really felt how important it was for me to advocate for weight neutral care practices in nutrition that supported individuals of all sizes and did not prescribe weight loss. Eating disorder work was the perfect fit for me to work alongside clients in fighting against stigma and empowering them to care for themselves.
What kind of treatment do you provide?
I provide nutrition therapy to those working towards eating disorder recovery, individuals struggling with disordered eating, and others who might just feel overwhelmed and consumed with food. In eating disorders work, I use the term “nutrition therapy” because it can be very similar to the work a client engages in therapy! I use the space in sessions to discuss individuals relationship with food growing up and how these associations serve bigger functions for them. We discuss the food, and we discuss so much more! We typically meet weekly during the initial course of treatment and then meetings are often tapered down over time as the individual moves along their recovery journey. I use different modalities in my work such as cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and narrative approaches to support clients in healing.
Do you only work with eating disorders?
Although I love the work I do with eating disorders, I also have a love for working with mothers and infants as a lactation consultant. I love the opportunity to provide support and encouragement for mothers who are just starting out nurturing their littles one, and I think supporting this work is very closely related to eating disorders in a variety of ways. If I can help empower mothers and help them create close bonds with their children and trust in their ability to feed themselves and their family, I’m working to create healthful relationships with food and body for the next generation. I feel working with mothers comes full circle.
How long have you been working with eating disorders overall, and how long have you been in San Diego?
I’ve been working in the field of eating disorders for almost five years! I started working at a residential treatment center in San Diego as a diet tech I undergrad to get some experience in the field and continuing to pursue eating disorder work as a specialty when I become a Registered Dietitian. I’m actually a San Diego native and grew up in North County and base my practice in San Marcos today. I just could never leave the ocean!
Who are your favorite types of clients to work with?
Oh this is tough, I really do appreciate each and every client for their unique strengths and journey that brings them into my office. I will say I do have a heart for working with those who struggle with bulimia and binge eating. I find that these clients struggle with so much shame, and I love to be a part of the healing process in helping them form a more compassionate relationship with themselves.
What happens during a first appointment with you?
Our first appointment is a time for us to get to know one another and to develop a relationship that feels safe and supportive for treatment. I ask questions that help me understand more about the individuals relationship with food currently, what experiences that individual has had and other lifestyle factors that influence nutritional status. I am less focused on providing education/recommendations; rather, I am more interested in understanding the client and their unique journey! Nutrition therapy is not just about the food but about so many other factors outside of this. This helps me really tailor my treatment plan and recommendations for the individual.
You have worked both in partial hospitalization/intensive outpatient programs (PHP/IOP) and in private practice. Would you explain the difference between your work as a dietitian in those programs versus your outpatient work in private practice?
Sure! The work is very similar in many ways, in that the way I conduct sessions is very similar at a PHP level as in private practice. When a client is in PHP, there is more structure and ability for me to monitor and observe the client and to be able to provide support and feedback based on my observations and interactions which is quite helpful to many clients. In a PHP program there is also the group dynamic which I find is extremely healing for the client to be able to have a space to know they are not alone and to get feedback from others on a similar journey. I don’t have this ability in private practice; however, I do love that I have more flexibility to do experiential practice such as meal outings, food exposures in session and grocery outings that my clients can implement into their daily lives!
What do you wish people knew about getting treatment for eating disorders?
There are a lot of things I wish people knew! The one thing that comes to mind that is paramount is that getting treatment requires feeling discomfort and uncertainty. This is normal and expected as part of the process and in fact, is usually the catalyst for change and recovery!
How can people learn more and contact you?
You can connect with me at my website here to learn more ahout my work and if we are good fit to work together and on social media @empoweredrd. My office is located in San Marcos in North County San Diego, and I offer virtual sessions as well.
Share one fun fact about you.
It’s the not the most “fun” however I like to share with clients my story of eye loss, I lost my left eye at the age six and have a glass eye now. I find bringing this into sessions I can share my human experience of navigating vulnerability, discomfort and the unknown that has come along with my experience of eye loss and self image. I don’t let my loss affect any goal or interest I have and I like to share that as a piece of empowerment for others navigating struggles as well!
Thanks so much for reading my blog! Have a wonderful day. :)
If you are struggling to find eating disorder treatment in San Diego give me a call for your free 15-minute phone consultation at (858) 699-3754, and I will help you get where you need to be!