Knowing when you should hire a registered dietitian is critical to achieving your goals or overcoming any unique challenges you may encounter on your nourishing journey.
Whether you have a specific health goal, medical condition, or are just embarking on a new phase in your life, a registered dietitian can give you the knowledge, guidance and peace of mind you need to act on it. .
But how do you know when it's really needed? Here I will explain 6 situations in which you should hire a dietitian.
6 situations when you should hire a dietitian
A dietitian will be able to review your current lifestyle, goals, and dietary intake to create a comprehensive plan that works for you and your needs.
If you find yourself in any of the following situations, contacting a dietitian would be a great next step for you!
You have a health problem
A health problem can be any number of things. From an autoimmune disease like Crohn's disease or arthritis to type II diabetes or high cholesterol, a dietitian can help you with all of them.
Often times, you are simply given a few handouts that constitute diet and lifestyle recommendations after you are diagnosed. A continuous diet and lifestyle are rarely provided. While these general recommendations can give you a starting point, they will often leave you confused and frustrated about the next steps.
Proper diet and lifestyle can significantly improve most health problems. The handouts won't be able to give you step-by-step lifestyle and eating guidelines specifically tailored to your needs, but a dietitian will.
You have a specific weight goal
If you have a specific weight goal that you are striving to achieve, you should hire a dietitian.
Whether you are looking to gain weight, maintain weight or lose weight, there is quite a bit of conflicting information about what to do and how to do it. When you try to navigate these health goals on your own, it is easy to unique size plan that is simply not right for you.
These plans and recommendations can give you false information and lead you down a road that can be very difficult to reverse. Whether it's a restrictive fad diet, inadequate nutritional recommendations, or just misinformation, it's all there.
Work with a dietitian up front to make sure the recommendations you receive are both evidence-based and scientific.
You have disorderly eating behaviors or an unhealthy relationship with food
If you find that you have a negative relationship with food, even though you think it is mild, you should hire a dietitian.
A negative relationship with food can have different layers of severity, but some signs include guilt after eating, believing that there are “good” and “bad” foods, labeling certain foods as “ prohibited ”and being stressed about food or what to eat.
On a more severe level, a negative relationship with food can also lead to messy eating habits.
Here are some clues that you might be having disorderly eating behaviors:
- Yo-yo diet
- Anxiety associated with skipping meals or certain foods
- Constant weight fluctuations
- Rigid nutrition or fitness routines and rituals
- Extreme feelings of guilt and shame associated with eating
- Obsession with food with regard to weight and body image which has a negative impact on daily life
- Lack of control over good compulsive eating habits
- Exercise, dietary restriction, purging or fasting to "make up for bad foods eaten" (2)
When left untreated, these habits can snowball and take on a greater presence in your life over time. Working with a dietitian who is familiar with messy eating habits will allow you to tackle the problem and improve your relationship with food in a healthy way.
You have digestive complications
Complications of digestion can be tricky. There is almost always a little involved. From underlying disease states to food sensitivities and intolerances, the gut microbiome as well as just taking old food - they can all play a part here.
If you have perpetual digestive problems that you can't seem to master, you should consider working with a dietitian. They will be able to get an overview and give recommendations tailored to your individual needs.
Many plans and recommendations will only solve one piece of the puzzle which is digestion. This often leaves you with relief for a short period of time, but you soon fall back into your usual symptoms.
You have food intolerances or allergies
Speaking of food allergies and intolerances, hiring a dietitian can make all the difference here. If you find that certain foods bother you, or if you experience symptoms but aren't sure which foods are specifically to blame, contact a dietitian.
If you have any food allergies or intolerances, an experienced dietitian can guide you through an organized, easy-to-follow elimination diet. You will finally leave with certainty, relief and answers.
There is so much inaccurate information about food allergies, intolerances, and elimination diets. I can't tell you how many times I have worked with clients after trying to solve this problem on their own! They come to me feeling overwhelmed, stressed and discouraged.
However, after working with me, they have answers and know exactly what their next steps should be.
You are in a new period of life
Let's say you have mastered all nutrition. You know what to eat and how to eat to maintain a healthy relationship with food while reaching or maintaining your health goals. It's awesome!
But let's say something important in your life is changing; you are pregnant, or you are moving and no longer have access to the same resources as you had before. Maybe you're past menopause or finding a new job and struggling to maintain your previously well-balanced lifestyle. These are all perfect situations to hire a dietitian.
A dietitian will start by reviewing what you were doing before. They will then understand why it worked and give you the recommendations and advice you need. You will be able to move forward in this new period of life with confidence and support.
Pregnancy is a particularly important phase for this. Making sure you and your baby get the right nutrients and care is essential for a healthy pregnancy. Having a dietitian on your team will help you achieve this!
5 questions to ask yourself to see if you should hire a dietitian
Still on the fence? Ask yourself the following 5 questions to determine if hiring a dietitian is a good idea for you.
- Have you ever tried it on your own without success?
- Are you facing "information overload"?
- Do you find food and nutrition to be a stressful and determining factor in your life?
- Not sure if you are doing the “right” thing or not?
- Have you worked with someone other than a dietitian and seen results, but felt that the habits implemented were not realistic to maintain?
If you answered yes to any of the questions listed above, you should hire a dietitian.
How to choose a dietitian that's right for you
Now that you know you need to hire a registered dietitian, how do you know which dietitian is right for you?
Just like doctors, physiotherapists and nurses, dietitians also have specialties. While some have experience with multiple specialties, others focus heavily on one or two areas of nutrition.
The best way to determine whether or not a dietitian is right for you is to hold an introductory call or meeting. Get to know his personality, understand his methods, and make sure he is a trusted person for your care.
For example, at Nutrition Stripped, we offer free discovery calls for anyone interested in our Well-being coaching. We'll get to know each other before we start to determine if we're the right fit for you.
It’s easy to get confused when it comes to health and nutrition. Even qualified experts often seem to hold opposing opinions. Yet, despite all the disagreements, a number of wellness tips are well supported by research. Here are 27 health and alimentation tips that are actually based on good technique.
These 8 practical tips cover the basics of saine eating and can help you make healthier choices.
The key to a healthy diet is to eat the right amount of kcal for how active you are so you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use.
If you eat or drink more than your body needs, you’ll put on weight because the energy you do not use is stored as fat. If you eat and drink too little, you’ll lose weight.
You should also eat a wide range of foods to make sure you’re getting a balanced diet and your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.
It’s recommended that men have around 2, 500 calories a day ( 10, 500 kilojoules ). Women should have around 2, 000 kcal a day ( 8, 400 kilojoules ). Most adults in the UK are eating more kcal than they need and should eat fewer kcal.
Starchy carbohydrates should make up just over a third of the food you eat. They include potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals. Choose higher fibre or wholegrain varieties, such as wholewheat pasta, brown rice or potatoes with their skins on.
They contain more fibre than white or refined starchy carbohydrates and can help you feel full for longer. Try to include at least 1 starchy food with each main meal. Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram the carbohydrate they contain provides fewer than half the calories of fat.
Keep an eye on the fats you add when you’re cooking or serving these types of foods because that’s what increases the calorie content – for example, oil on chips, butter on bread and creamy condiments on pasta.
It’s recommended that you eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and veg every day. They can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced. Getting your 5 A Day is easier than it sounds. Why not chop a banana over your breakfast cereal, or swap your usual mid-morning snack for a piece of fresh fruit ?
A portion of fresh, canned or frozen fruit and vegetables is 80g. A portion of dried fruit ( which should be kept to mealtimes ) is 30g. A 150ml glass of fruit juice, vegetable juice or smoothie also counts as 1 portion, but limit the amount you have to no more than 1 glass a day as these drinks are sugary and can damage your teeth.
You can choose from fresh, frozen and canned, but remember that canned and smoked fish can be high in salt. Most people should be eating more fish, but there are recommended limits for some genres of fish.
You need some fat in your diet, but it’s important to pay attention to the amount and type of fat you’re eating. There are 2 main types of fat : saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease.
On average, men should have no more than 30g of saturated fat a day. On average, women should have no more than 20g of saturated fat a day. Children under the age of 11 should have less saturated fat than adults, but a low-fat diet is not suitable for children under 5.
Try to cut down on your saturated fat intake and choose foods that contain unsaturated fats instead, such as vegetable oils and spreads, oily fish and avocados. For a healthier choice, use a small amount of vegetable or olive oil, or reduced-fat spread instead of butter, lard or ghee.
When you’re having meat, choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat. All types of fat are high in energy, so they should only be eaten in small amounts.
Regularly consuming foods and drinks high in sugar increases your risk of obesity and tooth decay. Sugary foods and drinks are often high in energy ( measured in kilojoules or kcal ), and if consumed too often can contribute to weight gain. They can also cause tooth decay, especially if eaten between meals.
Free sugars are any sugars added to foods or drinks, or found naturally in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices and smoothies. This is the type of sugar you should be cutting down on, rather than the sugar found in fruit and milk.
Many packaged foods and drinks contain surprisingly high amounts of free sugars.
More than 22. 5g of total sugars per 100g means the food is high in sugar, while 5g of total sugars or less per 100g means the food is low in sugar.
Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. Even if you do not add salt to your food, you may still be eating too much.
About three-quarters of the salt you eat is already in the food when you buy it, such as breakfast cereals, soups, breads and condiments. Use food labels to help you cut down. More than 1. 5g of salt per 100g means the food is high in salt.
Adults and children aged 11 and over should eat no more than 6g of salt ( about a teaspoonful ) a day. Younger children should have even less.
As well as eating healthily, regular exercise may help reduce your risk of getting serious health conditions. It’s also important for your overall health and wellbeing.
Read more about the benefits of exercise and physical activity guidelines for adults. Being overweight or obese can lead to health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke. Being underweight could also affect your health.
Most adults need to lose weight by eating fewer kcal. If you’re trying to lose weight, aim to eat less and be more réactive. Eating a saine, balanced diet can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Check whether you’re a saine weight by using the BMI healthy weight calculator. Start the NHS weight loss plan, a 12-week weight loss guide that combines advice on healthier eating and physical activity. If you’re underweight, see underweight adults. If you’re worried about your weight, ask your GP or a dietitian for advice.
You need to drink plenty of fluids to stop you getting dehydrated. The government recommends drinking 6 to 8 glasses every day. This is in addition to the fluid you get from the food you eat. All non-alcoholic drinks count, but water, lower fat milk and lower sugar drinks, including tea and coffee, are healthier choices. Try to avoid sugary soft and fizzy drinks, as they’re high in kcal. They’re also bad for your teeth.
Even unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies are high in free sugar. Your combined total of drinks from fruit juice, vegetable juice and smoothies should not be more than 150ml a day, which is a small glass. Remember to drink more fluids during hot weather or while exercising.
Some people skip breakfast because they think it’ll help them lose weight. But a saine breakfast high in fibre and low in fat, sugar and salt can form part of a balanced diet, and can help you get the nutrients you need for good health.
A wholegrain lower sugar cereal with semi-skimmed milk and fruit sliced over the top is a tasty and healthier breakfast. Further informationThe Eatwell Guide can help you get the right balance of the 5 main food groups. The guide shows you how much of what you eat should come from each food group. Read more about eating a balanced diet and understanding kcal.