In case you have been wondering, “What can I expect at an appointment with a dietitian?”
You can go to ten different dietitians and have ten totally different experiences. Most likely we will all possess some similarities, such as stressing the importance of eating fruits and vegetables and suggesting to decrease sweets and limit fast foods. Many will recite what we’ve been taught in school and what the American Dietetic Association recommends, such as the food pyramid (which is now the Myplate). That’s about where the likenesses will end. Some dietitians focus on calorie counting for weight loss with no consideration as to where those calories are coming from. You may encounter a dietitian who advises against dairy products and another who promotes them for their high calcium content. The recommendations vary drastically: Eggs are good, eggs are bad. Once a week, once a day, never. Make half your grains whole. Make ALL your grains whole. Eat more fish. Eat less fish because they are full of mercury and other pollutants. Fruit is high in sugar so only eat small amounts. Fruit is full of fiber and cancer-fighting compounds so aim for three or four per day. Diet soda is unhealthy. Diet soda is perfectly fine and there has been no research to indicate otherwise. I could go on for pages.
Why is this? Well it may come to a surprise to many people, but nutrition is far from an exact science. While research has come a long way, it is still in its infancy. The science of nutrition is controversial; that’s one of the reasons why it is so interesting! You never stop learning and growing. We’ve all seen how the recommendations have changed over time and how for every study out there that points to one conclusion, there is another that demonstrates the opposite. Studies are often flawed. And you can’t blame the researchers because it’s not like you can give one hundred people a specific food for a year and see what happens. Nutrition is not that simple. There are obviously numerous variables involved with food and the human body. What I do in my counseling, is take what credible research we DO have and use that as my basis for educating people.
What I do and do not do:
- I will not hand you a generic diet plan. I will ask you to tell me what you currently eat and use that information to create a few small changes that coincide with your health goal.
- I will not ask you to eat foods that you do not like or do not want to eat. We will develop some dietary improvements together based on your personal preferences.
- I will not give your diet a complete overhaul on the first visit. My past experience shows that what works for the majority of people are small, gradual dietary changes. Major adjustments can be stressful and overwhelming. Be patient with yourself and allow new habits to develop.
- I will listen attentively and offer encouragement and advice in a non-judgemental way.
- At follow-up visits I will ask you to bring your food journal where you have recorded everything you eat. This provides a much more accurate picture of what you are eating rather than you trying to remember.
- I cannot change you. You have to truly want to improve your own life and your own health. I can provide the education, support and feedback that will help you along in your journey, however you must be ready to take responsibility for your own decisions about what you eat.
- If you need healthy meal ideas, snack ideas or recipes I have them!
My favorite nutrition quote sums up why I think the quality of food you eat is so extremely important and why nutrition should be a bigger focus in everyone’s busy lives. Really think about this quote for a minute.
( I wish I knew who to give credit to but I can’t find a definite answer)
“If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?”
Have a beautiful day!
And as always, feel free to contact me with any nutrition inquiries!