Today, over 78 million American adults are obese. This epidemic exists for two reasons: poor nutrition and lack of exercise.
If you want to learn how to eat a balanced diet, you might have considered meeting with a nutritionist.
Want to learn how to find a nutritionist that helps you reach your goals and helps create the right meal plan for you? Keep reading.
Learn the Credentials
If you want to find a nutritionist, you want to make sure that you find someone who is competent and trained in the field.
The study of nutrition exists in many practices and forms. Professionals can hold different licenses and certifications to practice.
Some things to note:
Physician: (Doctor, Naturopath, Osteopath) Physicians typically have just basic training in nutrition. With that said, the obesity epidemic has encouraged more and more physicians to learn about this field.
Some physicians can help patients with meal planning and advice about proper foods to eat/avoid.
Registered Dietitian (RD): The registered dietitian completes a minimum of four years of college. He/she completes a rigorous internship and must also pass licensing exams.
Registered Dietitians receive training in medical nutrition therapy. They can work in a variety of settings including outpatient, inpatient, and private practice settings. Additionally, they may specialize in certain populations, like diabetics or athletes.
Miscellaneous Nutritionists: These nutritionists often receive independent certifications and may have educational backgrounds in nutrition.
Today, many people call themselves “nutritionists” without formal training. It is in your best interest to research their background education.
Identify Your Goals
People work with nutritionists for various reasons.
Some want to learn better eating habits. Others want to learn how to manage specific ailments or medical conditions like diabetes or eating disorders.
Do you want to lose weight? Gain muscle? Follow a new meal plan?
Are you interested in a vegetarian lifestyle? Looking to cut carbs (click for More!)? Or, are you trying to improve your athletic endurance?
Before meeting with a nutritionist, it’s best to identify your goals. After all, this relationship is meant for you. Figure out what you want.
Ask for Recommendations
Are any of your friends or family members meeting with a nutritionist? What about your coworker or daughter’s friend’s mother?
Ask around. Word-of-mouth recommendations can make the search process much easier for you.
A few questions to ask:
- Why would you recommend him/her?
- What was the coaching style like?
- How was your communication in between sessions?
- What helped the most?
- How did you collaborate if there was a disagreement?
- Did you meet your original goals? Why/why not?
Listen to themes and trends in your family or friends’ answers. Many positive answers should give you a green light to call for a consultation.
Don’t know anyone meeting with a nutritionist? Get online and use a reputable directory to begin your local search.
After narrowing down your options, you can check reviews. Consider using popular websites like HealthGrades or Yelp to see what others are saying.
Check with Your Insurance Plan
Ready to find a nutritionist? Did you know that some insurance plans cover nutrition counseling?
All policies vary from state to state, but it’s always a good idea to ask your carrier. You may have a reduced co-pay for your appointments.
If your insurance does cover nutrition counseling, be sure to discuss in-network providers to help save money.
Prepare for Your First Appointment
While all nutritionists have different styles and approaches, the first appointment typically consists of some kind of “getting to know you” format.
This may be a written or oral intake, but it’s best to mentally prepare yourself for answering lots of questions about your medical history and eating habits.
You might want to prepare yourself by having the following on hand:
- Recent lab work results
- Recent food diary or journal (written or in an app is fine)
- List of current medications and supplements
- Medical history records (as applicable)
Remembering these things can be difficult to do on the top of your head. Save time by having them ready for your first appointment.
And, go in with an open mind! Even if you feel anxious, it’s smart to practice having a positive attitude.
Remember, this person is here to help you achieve your goals. It’s his or her job to be non-judgmental and compassionate to you- no matter what!
Focus on the Relationship
When you meet with a potential nutritionist for the first time, it’s normal to feel a bit anxious. After all, your relationship with food can be a personal one.
With that said, you should feel comfortable with the professional across from you. You should feel like he or she has your best interests at heart. You should also feel like it’s okay to be honest and vulnerable.
If you don’t feel these things (or you feel shamed or judged), it might be a sign to keep shopping.
The journey to find a nutritionist is similar to the journey to find a good partner. Even if someone looks great on paper, that doesn’t mean he or she will be great for you.
Listen to your gut. If you feel excited about working with the person, it’s a good sign. Anything else? It might be a red flag.
Find A Nutritionist For You- Final Thoughts
Meeting with a professional is a great way to develop healthy goals for yourself. It’s also a great way to keep your weight in check.
Following a rounded diet is incredibly important for both your physical and mental well-being. Nutritionists can help everyone, from athletes looking to improve their performance to senior citizens looking to boost their health.
Interested in learning more about cutting-edge trends in health and fitness? Check out our blog today!