A RAVES approach to healthy eating

By Deborah Etienne-Ward

Adapted from original article by Eating Disorders Association. See video by Shane Jeffery for more information about RAVES.
RAVES is an acronym which provides a step-by-step process to help with developing a healthy relationship with food. RAVES stands for Regularity, Adequacy, Variety, Eating Socially, Spontaneity. It is important to remember that RAVES is a process and does take time. It involves starting with regularity and working through RAVES sequentially through to spontaneity until food can be eaten in a natural way.
Regularity: This is the first step in RAVES and is the foundation of healthy eating. Regular eating consists of three main meals and two to three snacks (Breakfast, Morning Tea, Lunch, Afternoon Tea, Dinner, Supper). Regular eating helps to minimize grazing, prevent binge eating, improve your metabolism, strengthen digestive muscles, improve bowl regularity, maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day and evening, develop regular hunger and satiety signals that coincide with meal/snack times; and provide an opportunity to spread nutrition throughout the day so that you are able to meet nutritional requirements.

Adequacy: Achieving nutritional adequacy involves eating all food groups in a way that will provide you with the nutrition that your body needs. This helps to achieve medical stabilisation, nutritional rehabilitation, and an appropriate goal weight range.

Variety: This step involves developing a positive relationship with food and lays the foundation for more social eating, ultimately allowing you to improve your quality of life. Variety involves moving beyond safe foods or the notion of ‘good and bad’ foods. It allows food to become more interesting and enjoyable.

Eating Socially: Eating socially is about being able to go to a café with friends, or going to a family member’s house for lunch. This can be challenging as it involves other people preparing and serving food, however, it is an important step towards gaining and maintaining a healthy relationship with food. It also helps to strengthen social connectedness. This is important because social networks can help to distract from eating disordered thoughts.eating

Spontaneity: This last step is about having a more natural relationship with food. At its core, spontaneity isabout being flexible with food and eating. For example, you may have had plans to make a certain meal for dinner and you get invited to dinner with a friend last minute. Spontaneity allows you to be able to accept the invite, even though it is not what was originally planned. Spontaneity helps to manage unpredictable situations and further facilitate social connectedness. In this way, spontaneity is advantageous for sustaining recovery in the long term.

Therapists at Body Matters provide fully customised treatment for body image and eating issues. In many instances we follow this framework as a foundation for restoring our clients’ relationship with food. Contact us to find out more

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