Anna Oliver, BSc, BPhEd, PGDipDiet, RD
The role of a dietitian within the context of a treatment team is to bridge the divide between the physiological needs we have in fueling our bodies, with the psychological beliefs and attitudes we have toward food, eating, exercise and our body. In today’s modern world, our food concerns/obsessions can be overwhelming.
Anna is passionate about helping people to cultivate an awareness of their relationship with food and body, and reconnect to their own body’s intuition around food and nourishment. We are all born with this ability but our life experiences and the media, which is flooded with conflicting advice, can mean we lose touch with this.
“You don’t need to see the whole staircase, just take the next step.” – Martin Luther King Jr
Anna is a kind, caring and very knowledgeable specialist dietician who, as a family, we can’t thank enough. In the depths of an eating disorder, life is very hard and lonely but Anna supported our daughter and us throughout.
Anna is a registered dietitian, accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council, the gold standard for nutrition and clinical nutritional advice. Anna is also a professional member of the British Dietetics Association (BDA), Academy of Eating Disorders (AED), and the London Eating Disorders Dietitian’s Group.
With more than 10 years’ clinical nutrition experience in the NHS and private sector (including both inpatient and outpatient treatment), Anna has become an expert in the field of eating disorders.
Anna specialises in Eating Disorders, Disordered Eating, ‘Extreme’ picky eating, Behaviour Change, Food Allergies and Intolerances, IBS management and Sports Nutrition; working with individuals across the lifespan (children, adolescents and adults).
Anna follows the code of practice as set out by the Health and Care Professions Council and has both nutrition and therapeutic supervision (systemic and psychotherapy). Anna is available for clinical supervision for dietitians new to practice.
Anna studied at the University of Otago in New Zealand and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Dietetics with merit, Bachelor of Science majoring in Human Nutrition, and a Bachelor of Physical Education majoring in Exercise Prescription and Management. She has also completed the Practioners course on Eating Disorders in Children and Adolescence through Great Ormond Street Hospital (London).
In addition to her private practice, Anna is a professional speaker and and has presented workshops at The International Conference of Eating Disorders; she is taking a lead role within a working group which is establishing a Family Based Treatment Dietetic manual to support the UK’s National Eating Disorder Team Training; and is a doctoral student in Systemic Therapy.
One important thing to consider in recovery from an eating disorder recovery is that this illness is not just about food or simply learning to “fix” food habits that are abnormal. Neither is it about being a certain weight. There are many factors that are connected to and underlying an eating disorder, and Anna works with individuals, their treatment team and family and / or support network to help ensure that the many layers of this mental illness are properly addressed.
Anna will support you on your journey to recovery by gently but carefully guiding you onto the path that leads to sustainable changes. Anna provides compassionate, individualised, holistic and evidenced based treatment.
Anna appreciates how difficult it can be to gain weight or change eating patterns; and how worrying it can be for parents or partners to support someone who is struggling with an eating disorder. Anna tailors the treatment accordingly and integrates psychological techniques and tools derived from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness-based Interventions, Systemic Therapy, Family Based Treatment, and Interpersonal Psychotherapy.
Selective Eating Disorder, commonly known as Avoidant-Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), is an eating disorder characterised by the persistent refusal to eat specific foods or refusal to eat any type of food due to a negative response from certain food colors, textures or smells. Additionally, individuals may refuse to eat due to fear of becoming sick or choking on food. This disorder is not characterised by an obsession with body shape or weight but rather is simply due to the disinterest and avoidance of foods.
Anna will support you and / or your child with:
- Age appropriate eating guidance
- Real strategies for enacting positive change in eating / food behaviours.
- Advice on supplemental nutrition if necessary as you or your child continues to work through underlying food anxieties. This will allow normal growth to be maintained without the daily battles and fights.
- Education on what you or your child’s body needs and how food works in the body.
Anna can help you and / or your child by:
- Identifying possible food intolerances and advising you on which groups of foods to remove and how to identify the individual foods and amounts that you or your child can tolerate.
- Providing practical tips and strategies for managing elimination diets, to make the diet easier to follow and so your symptoms fully resolve.
Anna uses the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) elimination diet and challenge protocol. It is not advisable to attempt this diet without dietetic supervision due to the complexity of the diet and challenge process. Anna will help you work out which is the best version of the diet for you, which challenges need to be done, and will ensure there are no nutrient deficiencies during the period of food restriction.
Please note –
The first step is to rule out any food allergies with a trip to an immunologist for testing before embarking on an elimination diet to test for food intolerances.
Contrary to information on many websites, there are no scientifically reliable tests for diagnosing food intolerance. Read this document from the British Dietetic Association which looks at the various allergy tests available and discusses the scientific evidence behind them.
Studies have proved that FODMAPs could trigger symptoms of IBS, and in turn, limiting dietary FODMAPs is an effective treatment for people with symptoms of IBS in susceptible people. FODMAPs are found in the foods we eat. FODMAPs is an acronym (abbreviation) referring to Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols.
It is strongly recommended to see a dietitian to follow the low FODMAP diet as it is a complex and restrictive diet and should be individualised to take into consideration your usual dietary intake and symptom profile. Anna uses the Kings College London’s resources to guide you through the process of undergoing the low FODMAP trial, followed by food challenges, to determine which FODMAPS are the trigger for your symptoms.
For more information the Kings College London’s website gives quite detailed answers to common questions – https://www.kcl.ac.uk/lsm/Schools/life-course-sciences/departments/nutritional-sciences/projects/fodmaps/faq.aspx
If you have received a positive fructose malabsorption breath test, it is important to understand that this is not a diagnosis. Anna will guide you through the process of undergoing the low FODMAP trial, as symptoms are not usually caused by fructose malabsorption alone – other FODMAPs often contribute to symptoms.
Anna started her career as a contractor for the New Zealand Army and has a special interest in working with athletes to enhance their physical and emotional health, leading to optimal performance.
Often, the desire to excel can drive us toward extremes and throw us off balance. By cultivating an awareness of one’s relationship with food and body, and developing an understanding and knowledge of one’s unique nutritional needs – there is a comfortable middle ground between these extremes. Prioritise this form of wellness and you unlock a potential without bounds – your best self.