Nesreen Khouraki is passionate about working with eating disorder clients and helping them find their authentic selves so they can navigate daily life without the toxicity of an eating disorder. This includes optimizing the relationship both eating disorder and substance abuse disorder clients have with self-care, food, and body image.
Nesreen is excited to support clients to a life focused on physical and emotional nourishment, self-care and acceptance, and freedom from eating disorders and dieting. She also sees private practice clients focusing on eating disorders, intuitive eating, and body acceptance.
What was your path to becoming a dietitian? What inspired you to choose this profession?
I originally wanted to be a chef. I loved sharing the connection and pleasure over food but ultimately the lifestyle wasn’t what I wanted. So, I decided to learn more about the biology and chemistry behind food and cooking.
Through that, I found my way to becoming a professional dietitian, which led me to learn about eating disorders and mental health.
I since learned the value in exploring recovering from eating distorters, body image, self-care, self-value, taking up space, and how important those all are.
We live in a society that has so many rules around what we’re supposed to look like, eat, and do. Which is stifling for who we’re meant to be.
If you could pick one or two books that influenced your approach to nutrition therapy what would they be and why?
What would your clients and colleagues say is your dietician superpower?
I look at eating disorders holistically instead of just looking at a meal plan or behaviors.
While it’s important to look at meal plans and behaviors, the eating disorder is tied to so many different layers of oneself and one’s life that focusing on just one or two aspects doesn’t really serve to look at the entire impact it has on one’s life. I like to expand my practice into self-care.
I believe that food and nutrition is an act of self-love and self-care and when that relationship is disconnected, often it means there are disconnections in other aspects of self-care. Therefore, I like to look at how someone cares for themself on a holistic level, how do they feel physically, and what is their body trying to tell them.
An eating disorder is a disease of disconnection—whether that’s from yourself or from others. As such, it can be difficult to hear what your body is trying to tell you, on a physical and emotional level, and learning to really sync into communication with your body.
How do you approach the stigma surrounding mental health and therapy?
Eating disorders have a stigma that it’s something someone does to themself. But that’s not accurate. Just like any disease, eating dorsers often develop from various factors, both internal and external.
This is why it’s important to educate and neutralize ideas around the types of disease easting dorsers are. They’re not self-imposed but are a true disease that requires treatment, therapy, medication, and often a combination of factors in order to heal.
Nesreen earned her Master’s degree in Nutritional Science from the California State University, Long Beach, where she also lectured as an instructor. She has worked with eating disorder clients at every level of care, from inpatient to outpatient and everything in between.
Short Term (Solution-focused, etc.)
Ideal for those who are coming in with a specific problem they’d like to address and gain clarity on. Typically, short term therapies are present focused and do not dive deep into your past.
Structured therapies are goal and progress oriented. Therapists may incorporate psychoeducation and a specific “curriculum.” In order to stay on track, therapists may provide worksheets and homework.
Insight-oriented (Psychodynamic, Existential, etc.)
Exploring the past and making connections to present issues can help clients gain insight. Getting to the root of the issue and finding deeper self-awareness can help with long-term change.
Non-directive (Humanistic, Person-centered, etc.)
Going with the flow and seeing where it leads.
Behavioral (CBT, DBT, etc.)
Focuses on changing potentially unhealthy or self-destructive behaviors by addressing problematic thought patterns and specific providing coping skills.
Trauma Focused (EMDR, TF-CBT, etc.)
Recognizing the connection between trauma experiences and your emotional and behavioral responses, trauma focused therapy seeks to help you heal from traumas.