What to expect from a dietitian

Are you wanting advice on your diet? Want answers to all those food and nutrition questions and myth floating around the internet? Or have been referred to see a dietitian by your doctor? You may be left wondering what exactly a dietitian does.

It’s important to understand that a dietitian is there to help you, not to judge you or try to suck the joy out of your life by making you stick to a strict and punishing diet. We want you to be able to enjoy the food you love while still working towards your nutrition goals – this is our ultimate purpose. For this reason, we base our recommendations on your own likes and dislikes, and your individual lifestyle so that we can be sure that our advice will work for you and can be maintained for life.

Here is what is generally covered in a session:

Reason for visit: Your current nutrition issues and goals are discussed in detail so that the dietitian knows exactly why you have come and what you want out of your sessions.

Medical History: A full medical history is taken, including any past illnesses, chronic diseases, allergies and intolerances and any medications/ supplements you take.

Lifestyle: Detailed information is taken about your lifestyle so that advice can be tailored to you specifically. This will include a discussion of a broad range of topics like work, sleep, stress, shopping and cooking habits, living situation, exercise habits, and social influences.

Diet: In order to get a thorough understanding of what and how you eat, your dietitian will take a ‘diet recall’ in which they will ask you a lot of questions about your daily eating habits. This typically includes the foods you choose, the portion sizes and the timing you eat. Other topics of your diet are hydration, caffeine intake and alcohol consumption.
Education: Your dietitian will work with you to identify which areas of nutrition you would most benefit from learning about and will then take you through this education using clear and simple explanations. Any questions or concerns you have lingering around are addressed as well.

Plan: At the end of the session, you & your dietitian will collaboratively create a personalised plan which will allow you to work towards your nutrition goals. Your dietitian may also give you written material to support your nutrition plan and will provide contact details so that you can get in touch if you have any questions.

Follow up: Dietitians are careful not to overwhelm their clients with too much information or too many changes in one go to ensure success. In most cases, you will need to have several review appointments so that we can monitor your progress, provide further education and help you progress.

Posted in Alysha Coughler, Dietitian, Main Blog

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