I saw a nutritionist twice when I was overweight and even though she asked me to, I never went back because I didn’t like her analyzing my diet and finding it lacking. I missed an opportunity to take advantage of her skill and expertise and later regretted my decision to skip my next appointments. If you are thinking about using a nutritionist to help you, here are some upsides and downsides.
Individualized Attention A nutritionist looks just at you and no one else for the hour you spend with her. And for me, that made me uncomfortable and left me feeling guilty because I wasn’t doing what she recommended. In spite of that potentially uncomfortable feeling, it is definitely an upside to have someone who is interested in your health and your nutritional status and who is invested in your weight loss. Analyzes Your Health A nutritionist is qualified to look at your overall health and not just focus on your weight. She will plan your diet based on your medications, whether you suffer from a chronic illness such as diabetes, and take into account how both these affect your weight. Sometimes Covered by Insurance Some insurance policies cover visits to a nutritionist. If yours does, take advantage of it and make an appointment. Even if your insurance only covers a small number of visits, the things you learn about food and nutrition can help you long after your appointments are over. I’m a testament to that. Even though I only visited the nutritionist twice, when I was finally ready to lose weight, I remembered her advice to forget fad diets and focus on eating real foods. Coordination with Your Primary Care Physician Your primary care physician and your nutritionist can work hand in hand to give you the best possible chance to lose weight. Not only will they share information but they will also be able to assess whether something either of them is doing is working against your weight loss. For example, if one of your medications causes weight gain, your nutritionist can consult with your doctor about a medication change.
Follows Strictly Prescribed Nutritional Guidelines If you are heading to a nutritionist in hopes of getting the green light on using HCG injections, ignoring whole food groups, or following a fad diet, you will be disappointed. Nutritionists as a whole follow established nutritional guidelines. While there are some exceptions, meeting with a nutritionist usually means you will be using a medically approved diet. Not that that’s bad or anything–to the contrary. But if you want to lose weight using another method, a nutritionist may not be for you. Can Be Expensive Nutritionists are not cheap. Even if covered by your insurance, you may be required to pay a copayment or have her fee go toward your deductible. Check with your insurance before committing to a visit. May Not Understand the Overweight Life I personally had a problem meeting with a nutritionist who had never been overweight, and I’m not alone. A number of people I’ve talked with find it hard to believe that someone who has never been overweight truly understands the struggles overweight people have with food. If this describes how you feel, your best option is to be totally upfront with your nutritionist. She may be able to reassure you or even refer you to someone else. In any case, give the meetings a chance before throwing in the towel. Requires Regular Meetings While some people may just have a single meeting with a nutritionist, you will likely meet with her several times. I was scheduled to meet once a week to be weighed and discuss my food diary. Regular meetings can be difficult if your schedule is unpredictable or the cost of the meetings becomes prohibitive.