Having worked in the Toronto eating disorders community for more than 20 years Connected Eating founder Susan Osher recognised the need for a new type of intervention incorporating multi-disciplinary counselling, group therapy, mindfulness, food exposure and cooking skills.
The OHIP-funded services available for eating disorders are hospital-based, offering a life-saving program for those in need of medical stabilisation or regulation of eating patterns. The services available in the community consist mainly of individual treatment from a range of expert practitioners providing therapy and skills. Unlike many other cities, Toronto has lacked a community-based program centered around group therapy and repeated eating opportunities in a safe, comfortable environment.
Connected Eating follows a unique approach, consistent with the latest research on eating disorders treatment indicating that effective intervention must include a focus on consistent meals and snacks planned, cooked and eaten in a therapeutic milieu.
In addition to learning how to nourish and nurture one’s body from a place of self-care, clients learn skills and techniques that enable them to function normally without using disordered eating as their maladaptive coping strategy. Groups are taught by hand-picked, compassionate staff with a broad range of eating disorders expertise.
At Connected Eating we understand the complex relationship many people have with food. In a weight-obsessed world it is increasingly difficult to trust our bodies and eat intuitively. Our philosophy is to guide clients to connect to their bodies and develop an internal sense of trust, nourishment and self-care.
Regardless of the motivation - poor body image, an eating disorder, general health concerns or adopting a healthier lifestyle - our goal is to help clients master their own eating by listening from within rather than following an external set of rules.
Although disordered eating is not only about food, it is essential to normalize eating before anything else can heal. Without a nourished brain and body, other therapy isn’t effective. Connected eating provides a safe, professional, warm environment where recovery can happen through consistent food exposure and positive eating experiences with guidance and support.
Our team of experts follows a holistic approach, treating the person rather than a disorder and creating a personalised plan for each client based on his or her readiness.
Eating disorder affects both physical and mental health. At Connected Eating, we address both by offering individual and group counselling as well as frequent food exposure and eating opportunities.
Clients are guided to identify their values and work towards them by gaining skills through therapeutic approaches including CBT, DBT and ACT.
Simultaneously, the eating disorders symptoms are addressed directly through meal planning, cooking and eating.
Connected Eating’s services range from individual counselling by therapists and registered dietitians to the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) providing a weekly schedule of counselling, group therapy, supervised meals, mindfulness and cooking skills. If clients already have a treatment team, weekly updates are shared to ensure continuity of care. Connected Eating also offers parts of treatment that are vital for full recovery: group cooking, grocery shopping, meal planning and in-house cooking lessons to ensure that clients are able to continue their recovery in their own homes.
For those who struggle to prepare nutritionally adequate meals of sufficient variety, Plan to Plate provides delicious meals prepared by dietitians in accordance with clients’ individualised meal plans.
Connected Eating provides the bridge from intensive eating disorders treatment in an inpatient setting to a healthy, functional life at home. Connected Eating is also the much-needed service offering help and support to clients recovering from an eating disorder in the community.
Connected Eating is the only program in Ontario that provides the essential component of eating as a core part of treatment.