Meal Coaching by Videoconference: an innovative solution eating disorder clients who need extra support around eating.
Refer A Client
- What is my3square?
- Who is behind my3square?
- What is the criteria for my3square participation?
- What are the guidelines and nutrition goals for the meal?
- How many meal do clients sign on for each week? And how long do people continue with my3square meals?
- Does my3square collaborate with the outpatient team?
- What is the objective of supported meals?
- Tracking Outcomes
What is my3square?
My3square is a telehealth platform that supplements eating disorder treatment by providing one-on-one or group meal coaching over video. My3square is accessible, affordable and available nationally for any adult, recovery-oriented outpatient with a smartphone or internet connection. Our coaches are licensed social workers, mental health counselors and dieticians with specialized training in eating disorders. To join my3square, clients must be established in outpatient treatment or stepping down from a program or residential setting back to outpatient.
My3square is not a primary treatment for eating disorders; rather, we are a support service and supplement to individual therapy. We require that our members are engaged in individual therapy and medically stable, under the supervision of a medical doctor.
Who is behind my3square?
My3square virtual meal support was developed by the clinical team of Columbus Park outpatient eating disorder treatment center in NYC. For over a decade, Columbus Park has been offering outpatient supported meals to patients with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, and avoidant restrictive food intake disorder. From literally thousands of supported meals offered over these years, we see how effective they are as a tool to encourage balanced, flexible, normalized eating. With my3square, our expert meal services is available to those who cannot travel to our offices in NYC. To read more about Columbus Park.
What is the criteria for my3square participation?
Participants must be:
- 18 or over, medically stable and currently engaged in outpatient therapy (with any licensed therapist or counselor)
- Motivated towards recovery (although some ambivalence is expected)
- Willing to work towards assembling and completing balanced meals with us (guidelines below). We can shape clients up to the group guidelines over the course of a few weeks.
- Able to engage appropriately in a group setting. This means that the client can tolerate being with others and engage in balanced exchange of listening and sharing.
What are the guidelines and nutrition goals for the meal?
Before clients begin my3square meals, they are given guidelines for creating a balanced meal that they will complete with the coach and/or other group members. Our guidelines are not highly specific. We aks that client’s prepare a meal with the following components present: carbohydrate, protein, fat and fruit or vegetable. A great example of a balanced meal would be a hearty sandwich of turkey, avocado, tomato on bread with pesto dressing and a side of carrots and hummus. We don’t expect clients to meet the guidelines at the very start. We will provide feedback, guidance and encouragement to help them improve their meals over time.
How many meal do clients sign on for each week? And how long do people continue with my3square meals?
We offer 3 square meals per day up to seven days per week. Clients can sign on for as few as one weekly meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) up to 21 meals per week over 7 days. The frequency is set by the client’s outpatient team. We expect to see measurable improvement along several dimensions over time: normalized pacing, decrease in pre and post meal expressed anxiety, increase in compliance with meal guidelines, increased flexibility and variety with food choices. Our hope and expectation is that clients will benefit from the intervention with steady progress over time and decrease frequency over time.
Does my3square collaborate with the outpatient team?
We encourage outreach from providers so that we can hear from you directly about how we can best support your client and meet their needs. Please feel free to call us at 844-596-4490 or complete a contact form here.
Refer A Client
When clients sign on for my3square, they are asked to complete a release so we may communicate as needed with their providers. This means that we can accept your feedback regarding the clients goals for my3square meals and that we can notify you should we have concerns about your clients participation. In rare cases, we may find that a client is not benefitting or contributing to the meal support experience and therefore, may need to terminate the client from the service. In that case, we will notify you so that you can understand the rationale for termination and have necessary information to be able to process the termination with your client.
What is the objective of supported meals?
My3square is a tool for providers (mental health providers, dieticians etc). We are a highly specialized supplement to treatment to help clients in their efforts to overcome their difficulties with eating. Our intervention provides:
Based on what we know about CBT exposure therapy and efficacy in helping people break through severe fear and resistance to particular foods
We work from an intuitive model, helping our clients better “eye-ball” balanced meals and encourage them beyond measuring and counting to assemble a well-rounded plate. By no means are we creating any sort of caloric prescription or formal meal plan; rather we are helping clients increase flexibility and confidence in putting together reasonable, adequate, varied meals.
Strategies for coping with the emotions that come up around eating
Our coaches are equipped with a deep repertory of skills and eating strategies (grounded in DBT-ED) that they will teach and reinforce with clients in vivo.The goal is not to open up too much processing of emotion post-meal; instead our objective is to help the clients eat and move on effectively.
By their very nature, our scheduled meals create a structure for eating along with accountability to the coach, peers and ultimately, to the provider who will receive updates regarding the client’s completion and progress in the group meals.
Community and General Support
Your client gains an extended team of coaches and peers to encourage ongoing work towards recovery. Our community members make deep connections grounded in a mutual interest in recovery.
My3square will be implementing simple tools that will enable us to track how our clients are responding to meal support, so we can be sure that they are benefitting and using the service to move forward. This will be helpful information also for our clients’ providers, so you and your client can get consistent feedback that will in part, shape the broader treatment objectives. In the coming months, we will have a client portal that is accessible by both the client and the outside providers. You’ll be able to get consistent feedback on your client’s attendance, eating pace, completion rates, adequacy of meals (as measured by components present), client report of distress both before and after each meal, and overall global distress over time while using the tool (measured by a weekly short validated outcome tool).