Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19

LAST UPDATED ON 03/15/2021

As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at McCallum Place Eating Disorder Center to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, there are certain restrictions in place regarding on-site visitation at McCallum Place Eating Disorder Center.

  • These restrictions have been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • Options for telehealth visitation are continuously evaluated so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff receives ongoing infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance is provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit


Fear Foods

Tara DeWitt MS, RDN, LD


If you eat fat, you will become fat. If you eat fried food, you will not only become fat, but will also develop acne. If you eat red meat or eggs, you will develop high cholesterol and die from a heart attack. Although these statements sound unreasonable to most, they are one of the biggest barriers patients with eating disorders must confront on their road to recovery. Food beliefs eliminate foods from the diet of a person suffering from an eating disorder. As a dietitian working with patients with eating disorders, I strive to challenge these messages so they can trust, and eventually, enjoy food again.

Fear foods mean exactly what they sound like, foods that one finds fearful. The specific foods that are feared are very case-dependent; perhaps it was a food associated with trauma, a food that wasn’t “allowed” at home, or was historically a binge food, making it impossible to eat again. An analogy I use when trying to educate a patient’s loved ones about fear foods, is to think of the one thing you are extremely afraid of, and imagine facing the fear 3-6 times each and every day. For example, I am terrified of spiders. If there is a spider in a room I have to enter, someone (NOT me) would have to a) kill the spider, b) remove the spider from said room, or c) demolish the building. Imagine how difficult it would be for me to enter the room, facing the tiny arachnid that has held me back from entering various rooms. Now imagine how difficult it is for a patient to face the thing that held them back from their lives. The supported meals and snacks at McCallum Place is the perfect environment to assist patients with challenging their fear foods, and the post-meal discussion helps them to process their challenges with their peers and meal therapists.

As dietitians, we often assign our patients the “Fear Foods Worksheet” that involves a patient writing out their fear foods on a scale from “safe” to “untouchable.” The meals and snacks provided at McCallum Place often include these fearful foods, and planning out these challenges with a patient can be the first step to confronting their fears. As time goes on and the exposures continue, the fear food slowly loses it’s power over a patient and can be eaten with far less anxiety and fear than it did before.

Another example on how we assist patients in challenging their fear foods is to write down the food, followed by the outcome they anticipate happening if it is consumed, regardless of how irrational it sounds. Let’s refer to my phobia of spiders for an example. My fear statement is: “I am afraid of spiders, if I go into a room with spiders, I will die.” A way for me to challenge my irrational thought would to be to have repetitive exposures that include spending time in a room with a spider, and slowly increase the duration of time spent in that room until I no longer hold the same fear about that specific spider. I quickly realize that I do not die if I walk into a room with a spider, although my anxiety levels may suggest otherwise, I would see that my irrational thoughts were holding me back. In eating disorders, when the fearful outcome of the food does not actually happen, it slowly becomes less scary. A person may be fearful of cookies, but know that they truly enjoy eating cookies. A fear statement could be, “I am afraid of cookies, I will gain 20 pounds if I eat cookies.” A way to challenge the irrational thought would be to include a cookie in that patients meal plan, and have them recognize that one cookie does not cause a 20 pound weight gain, and that it would be physically impossible to actually gain 20 pounds in one day (unless you developed another limb overnight…but I have yet to see that).

Challenging fear foods can be a terrifying process, and one that gets harder before it gets easier. Each patient is unique, which is why the individual treatment we provide at McCallum Place is the perfect environment to confront the fear foods. The sooner this occurs, the sooner food can be enjoyed once again.