Are you thinking about scheduling an appointment with a dietitian? Not sure what to expect? If you're nervous or anxious about seeing me or another dietitian, perhaps I can give you some information to ease your fears and make you more relaxed.
At the first appointment, a full assessment is done. I want to get to know you and your history; I can’t help you unless I know your story. I will ask you about your medications and supplements, medical history, physical activity, what you normally eat, and most importantly, what your goals are. Maybe your doctor referred you for diabetes management, but you’re more concerned about losing weight and recent gastrointestinal issues. These appointments are for YOU, so I want to make sure you get the most out of them.
Once I learn more about you, we can come up with a plan. We’ll talk about your diet, your physical activity, and then figure out what needs to be worked on. Again, WE will do this together. I will give you my expert opinion, but you may decide you want to try another approach. For example, I might say that you really need to cut down on your soda intake, but you might not be ready to do this just yet. Maybe you want to work on making healthier breakfasts instead. Usually, there’s not just one right answer. I often act as a sounding board for you to discuss your own ideas, or we can brainstorm solutions together.
If you have diabetes, there may be many others things we discuss during appointments as well. I can answer any general questions you have, discuss your diabetes medications, and go over your blood sugar readings. If you have an insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor, we will talk about those as well.
After we come up with some short-term goals for you to work on, it’s time for you to go home and execute the things we discussed. Scheduling follow up appointments are important to keep you accountable as well as to make sure you’re headed in the right direction. Some people want to follow up weekly in the beginning to stay on track, while others may only check in once every 2-3 months. How frequently we follow up is very individualized and may change as we continue to work together.
At follow up appointments, we’ll talk about the goals we previously set and if you were able to execute them or not. Then we’ll decide if we need to keep with the same plan, or what needs to be adjusted. Generally, I try not to set more than 3 goals at a time. If you try to fix everything at once, it's very difficult to be successful. I find that it’s easier to focus on a few sustainable behavior changes at a time and then move on to new ones. We’re looking for long term success here, not quick fixes.
In addition to nutrition information, I can fill in some of the gaps regarding your medical care. Appointments are generally scheduled for 30-60 minutes, so we have much more time to talk compared to when you meet with your physician. We can re-discuss your recent lab results, or you can ask any questions you may have forgot to ask your doctor. Are you wondering about a new diabetes medication you recently saw in a commercial? Struggling to pay for your groceries? Thinking about weight loss surgery? These are all things we can talk about.
Nutrition counseling is a process that involves self-reflection, building knowledge, and behavior change. It’s not always going to be easy, and sometimes you might revert back to old habits. Remember that the path to success is not a straight line; twists and turns are to be expected! I am here to provide guidance in support to help you become a healthier you.