Over the past 18 years, I’ve worked with more nutritionists than I care to admit. The reasons for working with a nutritionist have ranged anywhere from losing pregnancy weight to lowering cholesterol levels, adhering to better eating habits, and looking and feeling my best.
I view working with a nutritionist as an educational experience. Over the years, I have taken away and incorporated many healthy and healthful tips into my diet. Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to find the right nutritionist that works well with you.
For those looking to work with a nutritionist, I’ve listed 5 tips for finding the right person that works for you and getting the most out of the experience.
Do Your Research
The first step in finding a nutritionist is to ask friends, colleagues – basically anyone that you know who has clearly made lifestyle changes that are positively visible to you.
There is no shame in inquiring and you’ll find that most people are willing to share.
I would get a list of about 3 nutritionists and consult with each to see whose personality and methodology best aligns with you.
Many (not all) require you to buy a package so its important to be confident with whomever you decide to work with before investing.
One more thing… know that a health coach is different than an RN and RDD. The more credentials they have, the better. If you have a specific underlying health issue, inquire to see if he/she has specific experience in that area.
Honesty Is The Best Policy
Be honest about your lifestyle. If your nutritionist tells you drinking alcohol or wine is not permitted but you like the occasional glass or 2 of wine, you need to make that clear. If they recommend that you work out 4 times per week but your schedule only allows for 2 times per week, again, you need to communicate that so they’re are able to help you with strategies that allow you to reach your goals in the most effective way possible.
The more information you share, the more you will gain or shall I say “lose”?
Many times I have visited with nutritionists and have been overwhelmed with all the nutritional/health information, some of which I didn’t completely understand. It’s ok to ask questions and ask them to reexplain. Also, if after you leave their office, you are still confused about your diet plan or want to know if you can swap something in your diet with something else, you should always email to clarify. I will typically write down a list of questions and then send 1 email so that I’m not bombarding them with multiple emails.
Another thing to note, if you don’t get a response, it’s ok to follow up via phone. Sometimes they’re overwhelmed and sometimes they can overlook your email and forget. Almost always, they’ll appreciate the follow-up.
I recently met with a nutritionist who told me that all diets work if you commit 100% and this could not be more true. If you want to see a change you have to be in it to win it! Easier said than done, so make sure you are willing to give it your all before you invest in working with a nutritionist.
Progress Not Perfection
Remember to be nice to yourself and cut yourself some slack – progress not perfection. Sometimes it’s a clear road ahead and sometimes its 2 steps forward and 1 step back. Just do your best and know that at the end of the day, the number on the scale does not define you. We all have our own personal goals and there is nothing wrong with that, but know there is more to life than your waist size. True happiness comes from self-acceptance and your willingness to love yourself as you are.