We hear all the time about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, staying fit and maintaining a healthy weight, but perhaps we are less aware of the benefits in many cases of seeing a dietician to help successfully achieve this, and help prevent or control many health problems.
A randomised controlled trial conducted in 2016 shows the significant relationship between routine health counseling with an experienced, registered dietician and improved health, through good nutrition and successful weight loss.
So, what can a dietician do for you? When should you consider seeing a dietician? And what should you expect? Well, here we will explain all of this and more to help you make informed choices about your health.
What Can a Dietician Do?
Well, there are many strategies and much advice out there on the most effective ways to lose weight, manage and prevent health conditions and stay healthy, but it’s all about finding the right strategy for you, that’s enjoyable and fits in with your lifestyle. This makes it more likely that you will stick to it!
A registered dietician is an allied health professional who will use their knowledge of human nutrition to provide you with evidence-based nutritional information and ongoing support to help you manage your health. You will be able to understand what is healthy for your body and what is proven to be successful for weight loss and maintenance of a healthy weight.
Why are dieticians important? Working closely with a registered dietician for some can be an important and necessary tool to develop a realistic, tailored nutritional plan, based on your lifestyle and exercise levels. A dietician will get to know your specific needs and work with you each step of the way to make weight loss achievable and maintainable while ensuring that you get the right nutrition.
How Can a Dietician Help You?
So, why should you see a dietician? There are many reasons why seeking advice from a dietician would be helpful.
You may be wishing to seek advice and support for successful weight loss and maintenance. A dietician can help you with this by providing advice, continued guidance and a realistic, dietary weight loss meal plan. But there are also many health conditions that can be treated and successfully managed with the help of a dietician through the provision of nutritional advice, on-going support, and implementation of the right diet for your health needs. These include:
- Heart Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Obesity and Diabetes
- Alzheimers Disease
- Allergies and intolerances
It is important to add that even if you do not have a pre-existing health condition, seeking advice and support from a dietary expert where you will follow a tailored nutritional plan, can not only help promote good health and fitness but it can also help in disease prevention.
Should I See a Dietitian to Lose Weight?
Well, this is completely your choice. You are the only one who knows whether seeing a dietician for weight loss would be beneficial to your situation. But as previously mentioned, seeking the advice from a dietician can not only be the difference between success and failure but it can also be incredibly important in the prevention of many health conditions linked to being overweight. These include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Certain Cancers
- Fatty liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Sleep apnea
- Pregnancy complications
Furthermore, if you are trying to get pregnant, being a healthy weight can play an important role in your ability to conceive.
You may have already tried different fad diets in an attempt to lose weight, which can work temporarily for some people but they are often too generalised to be successful for each person long-term. They can also be damaging to your health by recommending that you leave out important nutrients from your diet or implement too much of one macronutrient into your diet.
Seeing a dietician who will get to know your needs carefully and tailor a realistic, achievable weight loss meal plan specific to you and your lifestyle is the most sound and successful way of achieving weight loss and managing it for the long-term, with on-going counselling and support.
Your dietician will provide you with a wealth of evidence-based knowledge to help you understand what’s right for your body and to help identify any habits that may be impeding your ability to lose weight. It is about making small changes in lifestyle behaviours that can have a significant impact on your long-term weight control success.
What to Expect When Seeing a Dietitian
Firstly, it is important to note that there are no rules governing the use of the terms ‘dietician’ and ‘nutritionist’, so when you are looking for a dietician make sure they have an Accredited Practicing Dietician (APD) qualification, which is accredited by the Dieticians Association of Australia (DAA).
Your initial consultation with a registered dietician is where they will get to know you and your current lifestyle, diet and eating habits, activity habits and general health by asking detailed questions. This will allow the dietician to formulate a tailored nutritional plan consistent with your individual needs. You should expect the consultation to take around an hour.
You may have a pre-existing medical condition or have been referred to a dietician by your general practitioner, in which case the dietician will liaise with your doctor to comprise a suitable eating plan, consistent with the needs of your condition. This may involve undertaking certain tests or reviewing previous tests relating to your condition. You will be provided with all the information you need to take home and implement the discussed plans.
You will be regularly supported with follow-up appointments with your dietician to ensure that you are on the right track and to adjust your eating plan if necessary. Your dietician is there to give you dietetic advice, skills and support each step of the way so that you can make the right choices for optimum health.
So, if you think that you would benefit from seeking the advice and support of a dietician, it can only be a good thing. It will give you the understanding, skills, and know-how to change your life for the better.
Whether you have a pre-existing medical condition that you need help managing or wish to lose weight to help optimise your health, well-being and help prevent disease, seeking the help of a dietician could be the difference between success and failure. Please visit our Dietetics page for more information about how a dietician can help you.