Find Out Why A Dietitian’s Expertise Can Help You with More Than Losing Weight
It’s probably safe to say that, in this day and age, most of us are aware of the basics of nutrition and healthy eating. For the most part, we know what foods are “good” for us and which ones we should stick to eating in moderation – although, sometimes, bad eating habits can be hard to kick.
Let’s be real – it’s the 21st century, and at this point, most of us are no longer willing to simply act as passive observers when it comes to our healthcare. However, one huge downside of having a world of information at our fingertips 24/7 is the misinformation that tends to circulate online, especially when it comes to nutrition. This is why visiting a Registered Dietitian has become such a staple in many people’s healthcare regimens.
A dietitian is similar to a nutritionist, with one important difference: a dietitian is a trained and regulated healthcare professional who is qualified to assess, diagnose, and treat nutritional problems and nutrition-related medical conditions. In fact, at the undergraduate level, a dietitian’s training is quite similar to that of a doctor. So, when you book an appointment with your dietitian, you can feel confident that you’re in good hands.
But why visit a dietitian in the first place? Contrary to popular belief, a dietitian’s area of expertise includes, but also extends far beyond just weight loss. Reasons for scheduling an appointment with a dietitian vary and aren’t always obvious. In fact, dietitians are an excellent resource to help with a variety of specific concerns and improve overall health.
With that being said, let’s take a look at the different ways you can benefit from seeing a dietitian.
Weight management is one of the most popular reasons for visiting a dietitian. Fad diets are popular, but they rarely have a lasting impact. Whether you’re looking to gain or lose weight, a dietitian can help you do that in a healthy way without compromising the things you enjoy eating. They will identify healthy calorie sources and ensure your diet has everything you need to manage your weight. Your dietitian can even help you incorporate physical activity into your routine, alongside your new diet plan.
Food Allergy Or Intolerance
Eliminating something from your diet can be difficult, but when you’ve identified a food allergy or intolerance, sometimes there’s just no other way. Whether you suffer from allergies to common foods like nuts or shellfish or you’ve been diagnosed with an intolerance to something like lactose or gluten, a dietitian will make sure your nutrition plan is both safe and delicious, helping you find the best substitutes that will be almost as good as the real thing!
Digestive Issues Or Irregularities
Many people experience digestive issues on occasion, such as gas, bloating, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, stomach aches and acid reflux. However, if you’re experiencing these symptoms regularly, your body could be telling you that a change in diet is needed. A Registered Dietitian will dive deep into your medical and nutritional history in order to find out what’s causing your digestive issues, and help you kick them to the curb.
Dietitians can help with a number of chronic illnesses including GERD, Crohn’s Disease, IBS, ulcers, and many more. In many cases of chronic illness, the foods you eat can directly affect your treatment. No matter your condition, a dietitian can help you understand your illness and its relationship with food. They will help you build a nutrition plan that has the vitamins and nutrients you need to effectively manage your condition and explain how the foods you choose may affect your condition.
Abnormal Blood Tests (Cholesterol, etc.)
Many times, when a blood test identifies abnormal levels of things such as cholesterol or triglycerides, your physician will recommend a change in diet. For example, eggs, cheese, red meat, shellfish, and full-fat yogurt can all raise your cholesterol. The foods you should eat or cut out in order to mitigate these problems ultimately depend on your lifestyle. By getting to know you, your habits, and even your medical history, your dietitian will help you develop an individualized meal and exercise regimen to manage your blood levels and get you back on track.
Emerging research has shown that lifestyle-related factors such as diet and exercise can actually help treat common mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Certain foods, vitamins and minerals can stimulate the production of chemicals in your brain relating to mental health, such as serotonin. It’s important to remember that simply having a healthy diet and exercising regularly should never replace the treatment plan set for you by your physician, however, seeking advice from a dietitian can absolutely complement your medical treatment plan.
Pregnancy & Fertility
Many women benefit from scheduling regular visits with a dietitian, both during their pregnancy and during the planning stages. The rules surrounding what to eat and what not to eat can get complicated during this time, and portion control is essential to avoid gaining or losing too much weight, which can affect your fertility. A dietitian can help you develop smart meal plans that will be healthiest for mom and baby and give you the inside scoop on everything you should be eating in order to get the extra vitamins you’ll need to conceive, and during your pregnancy.
At the end of the day, a dietitian’s most important job is to help you rebuild and maintain a healthy relationship with food and diet. If you struggle with an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia, or even Body Dysmorphic Disorder – no matter what stage you’re at in your recovery – a dietitian can help guide you through the world of nutrition safely and comfortably.
If you’re consistently getting eight hours of sleep but still have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, it could be a sign of a nutrition-related issue. It could be anything from caffeine addiction (we all love a good cup of joe, but there is such thing as too much of a good thing) to a vitamin deficiency, such as iron. A dietitian will help you identify the root of the problem and set you up with a nutrition plan that will have you feeling more energized in no time.
Most professional (and even casual) athletes incorporate regular visits with their dietitian into their healthcare routines. For an athlete, meal timing and frequency is just as important as deciding what foods to eat. A dietitian can help you navigate the complex world of food and get the most out of your training.
Desire for Education, Meal Planning and To Improve Eating Habits
If none of the issues listed above speak to you, that in no way means you won’t benefit from visiting a Registered Dietitian. You could be healthy as a horse but still want to learn more about nutrition and make sure your eating habits are in top shape. Maybe you have questions about a hereditary health condition in your family that can be prevented with the right diet. Maybe you’ve been curious about becoming a vegan and don’t know where to start, or how to do it safely. Either way, meal planning is a dietitian’s specialty and they will work with you to help you achieve your nutrition goals, no matter what they are.
The best part of adding a dietitian to your healthcare team is that they will become your partner in nutrition, working together with you to develop a game plan that works best for your wants and needs. This is why it’s so important to develop a close relationship with your dietitian. During your consultation, be open and honest. Remember to communicate and ask lots of questions, so your dietitian can get to know you and your individual situation.
Book an appointment to speak with a Registered Dietitian today – with a little time and effort, you’ll find yourself looking and feeling better than ever!