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  • Writer's pictureSusan Tucker

What happens in an appointment with a dietitian?

You've been thinking you could use some help about how to eat to prevent a blood sugar crash in the afternoon or how to feed your family healthily and quickly during the supper hour or how to best eat for your crohn's disease. Maybe you have set aside some money for health services or you checked your benefits and voila- you have some coverage for a registered dietitian or nutritionist! But what does seeing a dietitian entail? How could you prepare? And what should you expect?


Forms


You will need to complete forms regarding nutrition treatment- for example consent to services as well as forms that ask for information about you! The dietitian will use this information to prepare for your session by understanding your goals, medical history, medications and vitamins you take and how things like grocery shopping and meal preparation are dealt with in your house. Some dietitians prefer to explore these questions during the first session. At Together Nutrition, clients are asked to complete forms beforehand to make the most efficient use of session time.


Reflection on your goals


Having an idea of why you are seeking out nutrition services is excellent, and tailoring that goal to be as specific as possible will help you even more. For example saying "I want to eat better" is a well intentioned goal but lacks specificity. Reflecting on areas that could use the most help can make your goal more specific and tailored such as "I want to learn how to choose a lunch that keeps me full for longer and I'd like to talk about snack options that will fuel me through the afternoon."


Ensuring the dietitian is a good fit


Chatting with a nutritionist can entail talking about food intake, bathroom habits, social routines, mood and more. These can be sensitive topics and ensuring the dietitian is a good fit for you will help you get the most out of sessions. Choosing a dietitian who has experience in your area of concern, practices with a philosophy that aligns with your own, bills in a way that is convenient to you and is a good fit personality-wise will go a long way to helping you meet your goals.


Collaborative goal setting


In exploring what your typical food routine is, and what your nutrition goals are, you and the dietitian will collaborate to come up with strategies that could work to nudge or propel you forward towards your goal. For example, maybe you work a hectic job and often skip lunch but would like to fuel your body more consistently. Setting an alarm on your phone, putting in a calendar reminder or packing your lunch with something you look forward to are potential strategies that could help you eat more consistently. With a background and expertise on nutrition, the dietitian may suggest several strategies and you can decide which could align nicely in your life to help you reach your nutrition goals.


Implementing changes and follow up


Most clients will want to see the dietitian in follow up to review how changes are going, celebrate wins, strategize on how to get around roadblocks and to provide accountability and feedback. The timeline for follow-up can vary from client preference and how acutely changes are being made. Some clients prefer biweekly follow up and some monthly. Continued collaboration and goal setting can help you achieve your nutrition goals and carry forward these strategies through life.


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