13 things you didn’t know a dietitian can help you with

Did you start the new year resolving to make healthier food choices? If you’re like many other people, life has gotten in the way. Working from home, not working from home? Online school or back to school? These days, there can be plenty of bumps on the road.

First things first: give yourself a break.

But if your intentions keep getting thrown by the wayside, why not consult an expert? Seeking out the services of a registered dietitian could help you turn your intentions into reality.

As a dietitian, I try to help my clients bridge the gap between what they think they should do and what they actually do. These sessions are not about providing strict rules about healthy eating but instead are about the client – their food preferences, cultural background and traditions, lifestyle including cooking skills, time management, fitness routines and more.

That’s why it’s individualized.

Dietitians are not the police. Think of us as coaches who provide both the scientific facts and the tools of how to change.

We expect challenges. That’s what we do. When I’m seeing a client for the first time, I usually ask them to keep food records for a number of days. At the outset, I let them know that I want to see what they really eat. If their food intake was perfect, then why would they be coming to see me?

Sometimes people are embarrassed to let me see what they really do but I point out that it’s not like a school assignment and there are no marks for healthier choices. I want to critique what they’re eating according to their goals but there is no place for judgment there.

For example, if a client tells me that they have a late afternoon slump, almost on a daily basis, I want to see what’s happening earlier in the day so that I can make suggestions to avoid that slump. Maybe they’re skipping meals or going too long without eating or having meals without a sustaining balance. But once I make those suggestions, if the person has difficulty implementing them, that’s where I also come in. So we need to see why meals are being skipped or why there are long gaps between fuelling up and then it’s key for us to find the solutions that work. And if the first one doesn’t work, we need to look at other options.

I’ve been counselling and working one-on-one for many years. Simply put, I’m not the boss. Again, I’m a coach.

I remember in one instance, I was working with a woman who had a lot of difficulties in making the changes she wanted. So we worked together and over time, she was moving towards eating healthier and enjoying her food. But her mother, who was seeing a well-known self-styled nutritionist with dogmatic ideas, complained to the nutritionist about her daughter. The nutritionist answer was that “Rosie Schwartz is too nice.”

The daughter and I both laughed when she told me about the conversation.

As I said, we are not the police.

If you’re like most people, you think of seeing a dietitian for weight loss. Yes, we can help with plans and strategies for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight but that’s just a small part of what we might do.

It’s not all about weight. Far from it.

Here are some areas where our expertise can make a difference.

A new medical diagnosis

• Preventative strategies for various issues such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension

• Food allergies

• Going vegetarian, or meatless or vegan or just trying to increase your plant-based eating

• Pregnancy

• Low energy

• Wanting or needing to gain weight

• Eating disorders and disordered eating

• Picky eaters or food aversions

• Fitness and food

• Crazy busy – no time to either cook, shop or eat or all three

• Starting a new routine whether you’re starting a different schedule with work, starting a new job or stopping work

• Eating out and social eating (especially after the past two years of likely eating mainly at home)

These days, because of Covid, most nutrition counselling sessions are done virtually. But as I’ve stated before, it’s buyer beware. Nutrition consultants, nutritionists, nutrition experts, personal trainers and life coaches – sometimes with registered appearing before the title – are all providing information for a hungry public.

Look for a registered dietitian to get science-based advice. To find a dietitian in your area if you’re in Canada, go to the Dietitians of Canada website.


Tags: ,

Categories: Your Questions Answered

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

Get Enlightened Eater in your inbox

Subscribe to get the latest nutrition news, fresh recipes and more!

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: