How to Get the Most Out of Your Visit With a Nutritionist Part 1: The Patient’s Part
I've seen two different nutritionists so I have some first-hand experience to draw from. Personally, I know that it's important that you find someone who understands you and your goals. I fired my first nutritionist because she didn’t believe in me and you can read more about why here.
Here’s what you need to know and do to have a productive visit.
1. Have goals. Why are going to see them? What do you want to accomplish? Are you trying to lose weight, lower and regulate blood sugars, or just want to learn better eating habits? It is important to know what your goals are so the nutritionist can put together a plan that meets your goals.
2. Bring a Food Journal. I track what I eat in MyFitnessPal. So I have a very detailed an accurate picture of what I am ingesting every day. What is great is that you can print out your diary entries. I printed out a month’s worth of entries and brought them to the appointment. This allows the nutritionist to see where I'm having difficulties or could be making better choices. It doesn’t matter how you track your food, as long as you are tracking it. The food journal really helps the nutritionist understand you and your preferences.
3. Know your numbers and medical history. It is important that the nutritionist understands what they are dealing with. You should know your blood sugar numbers and your cholesterol readings, and any other medical issues in your family history. This will guide the nutritionist and help them determine the amounts and frequency of certain types of food you are allowed to have and the proper timing of them based on your needs.
4. Bring a list of questions. If you have certain concerns or questions about products or different types of food, write it down. You want to make sure you get your questions answered. You don’t want to forget and be left in the dark about questionable choices.
5. Be open to new foods. If you are seeing a nutritionist, hopefully you know you need to make a change and are willing to embrace different foods. Be open to new foods and pairings. It's important to try new things and give them a chance. You might even like something that you used to snub your nose at. Your tastes change every 7 years, so, something you might have not liked could now be your new favorite. A lot of foods tasting good comes down to preparation. So experiment with different ways to eat those veggies!
6. Set up a follow-up appointment with them. Now that you have a plan, it is important to follow it. Try your best to follow it as written. However, make notes for yourself about your hunger levels and how you feel after eating certain foods. If questions arise, write them down. Once you have done this plan for a couple of weeks, you should be following-up with the nutritionist to see how everything is going. Now is your time to tell the truth about how you are feeling and what is or isn’t working for you. The nutritionist can then help you tweak your plan and give you suggestions to help you achieve success. Just remember to track it all and bring it with you to the next appointment.