What Is A Dietitian?
In this day of modern technology everyone is a “nutrition expert”. So I wanted to clarify what exactly a dietitian is!
Registered Dietitians (or an RD) has 4 years minimum of undergraduate education, over 1,500 hours of supervised practice (aka real in person hands-on experience), a provincial board exam, and a requirement for continuing education to maintain our RD credential. We go through very similar undergraduate training as doctors and then on top of that are required to take many nutrition classes as well foundational science like biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, anatomy and so much more.
Anyone with an online course in nutrition can call themselves a ‘Nutritionist’ but a Registered Dietitian is the most trusted source of reliable, life-changing advice that takes into account your medical conditions, social factors, dietary and lifestyle factors and your personal goals.
What Does A Dietitian Do?
This has long been a confusing point. It seems that many people believe dietitians are the food police, we put people on strict diet (no more chocolate!), or we order special diets for hospital patients.
While some dietitians may do these things we are so much more than that!
Dietitians are meant to help translate the science of nutrition into tangible (and tasty) meals that satisfy your body and soul. We are trained to get to the root of the problem, spot areas of success or deficiencies, help you feel your best, and become healthier whether there is a disease involved or not. We are also counsellors and specialize in behavior change and use an unbiased client-centric approach.
A lot of people feel like they have to wait for everything to be terrible to see a dietitian or wait for ``the perfect time as they think everything in their diet will change 180 degrees and that’s not at ALL the case.
14 Reasons To See A Dietitian
While you certainly can (and should) see a dietitian when you are diagnosed with a medical condition or have symptoms that are affecting your health, know that you can see a dietitian even if you just are curious about trying a new diet or have questions about what it is you are eating.
Here are my top reasons to see a dietitian:
1. You’re healthy & curious.
If you want to know if what you’re eating is right for your health and goals it could be helpful to discuss with a dietitian. Or if you want to make a change to a different style of eating such as vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free etc. it's a great idea to make sure you`re fueling your body with what it needs.
2. Your relationship with food needs help.
If you are tired of yo-you diets and are looking for help building (or rebuilding) a healthy relationship with food, navigating this crazy world of endless nutrition information it`s time to see a dietitian. Or if you have an eating disorder, a disordered relationship with food or would like to work on repairing your relationship with your body it`s time to see a dietitian.
3. You have digestive issues.
Digestive complaints can range from gas, bloating, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, stomachaches, and everything in between. Meeting with a dietitian can help guide you on diet or lifestyle changes that could help. Don’t just guess or go off google, ask a professional.
4. Abnormal bloodwork.
If you have abnormal blood work (whether self-tested or through a doctor) or if you have been told by your doctor you need to change your diet. This could include elevated cholesterol or blood sugars, low iron, kidney dysfunction, liver issues, the works.
5. You have diagnosed or suspected food allergies, intolerances or sensitivities.
Before cutting anything and everything from your diet it’s important to work with someone who can guide you through the process.
6. You have been diagnosed with a chronic disease.
This can include diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol issues, cancer, autoimmune disorders, IBD, IBS, high blood pressure, metabolic concerns, chronic kidney disease, liver problems, and everything in between. However, if you have a family history of any chronic disease, it would be a good idea to see a dietitian before you are diagnosed with such a disease.
7. You are either always hungry or never hungry.
Hunger is a very important indicator to help guide your health. You may wake up in the middle of the night hungry or maybe you don’t even know what hunger is supposed to feel like. Hunger should be normal and recognizable and easily fixed with food. If you are hungry all the time (or never hungry) let's figure this out together.
8. You are experiencing fatigue even when sleeping well.
Being tired when you go to bed is normal. Being tired around the clock and not being able to function or feel like you are going to fall asleep is not normal and should be investigated further.
9. You are concerned that one of your kids isn't getting what they need.
Is your little person a picky eater. Or have they decided to become a vegan. Or are your worried they aren't eating enough or eating too much. Meet with me for a family session and we can come up with a plan to help make sure everyone is meeting their needs to grow and thrive.
10. You are experiencing hormonal issues such as thyroid concerns, infertility issues, PCOS etc.
This can look different to different people but if you are feeling like your hormones could be off, it’s time to talk to someone and get back on track.
11. You are pregnant, thinking about becoming pregnant, or post partum.
See a dietitian to make sure you are nourishing your body and your baby with everything you need. Postpartum recovery is also super important for your health and wellness whether or not you are breastfeeding.
12. You want help with meal planning.
You need to jump start your daily eating with a plan. I offer customized meal plans that are tailored to you and are fully online and interactable to give you menus, recipes, grocery lists, and swaps. No more cooking multiple meals either, all family members are considered!
13. You want to improve athletic performance.
You want to gain insight into how to fuel your sports or activities and gain endurance and some competitive advantage through diet/lifestyle.
14. You want to manage your weight.
I almost didn’t but this one on here, hence why it’s last, but think it’s worth noting. Weight is not a marker of health, but it can be important to work with a professional if you think you need to or need help to gain, lose, or maintain your weight
How Much Do Dietitian Services Cost?
Registered Dietitian services are often covered under extended health insurance plans and dietitians can now direct bill to insurance companies. This means less out of pocket expenses and more time focusing on what is important to you.
Initial Assessments are 60 minutes in length and include a detailed summary of your nutrition plan and unlimited email support for 3 weeks following the session. This is $140!
Depending on your needs follow up sessions are 45-60 minutes and are generally recommended 2-3 weeks after the initial session for long term lifestyle change. These range from $125-$140.