5 Things to Know About Working with a Dietitian
Updated: Apr 12, 2021
If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re feeling ready to make some changes. As dietitians, we see it as our job to not just educate people and communities about the power of food, but to help clients feel empowered to make good decisions for their health and wellness. Whether your goal is to lower your blood pressure, manage your weight or identify a food intolerance, a dietitian can help! Check out these 5 things you should know when working with a dietitian.
1. Check for Credentials: Dietitian or Nutritionist?
Dietitians can go by both names! However, the title “Nutritionist” is not protected by law for Dietitians in all provinces. This means, that people with different types and levels of education can call themselves a “Nutritionist”. It’s important to note that dietitians go through extensive schooling to achieve our degrees (a minimum of 5 years) and licensing as professionals. This means we have years of post-secondary and practical learning contributing to our knowledge base and approach.
The titles “Registered Dietitian”, “Professional Dietitian” and “Dietitian” are protected by law for people who meet the educational qualifications. If you’re speaking to someone who goes by “Nutritionist” and want to ensure they’re highly qualified, look for the credentials RD for Registered Dietitian or PDt (DtP in French) for Professional Dietitian.
2. Be Honest
The more truthful you are in your session with the RD, the better your results and more practical your goals will be. Dietitians are human too! We know that life can get busy and your nutrition can take a back seat amidst the chaos. I know that at some point in your life you’ve had a day where you ate your body weight in cookies or that you ate just fries for dinner. Err, maybe that’s just me? The point being, I’ve been there too and that’s okay! It’s my job to help you set realistic goals so you can really be successful.
3. It’s About Collaboration
Working with an RD means working as a team. I don’t tell my clients what to do, we set goals together. It’s my role to educate and guide you with practical advice that fits into your lifestyle. Want to improve your heart health but hate eating fish? No problem! We can work around that. Each session is designed to build your skills, not keep you dependent on my knowledge base. As a business model, this is terrible. But as an educator, I’m proud of my clients.
4. Insurance Coverage is Sometimes Available
Dietitian services are often covered by employee health benefits. Check your benefits to see if you are covered for any amount. If not, keep in mind that investing in yourself is a worthwhile commitment. In the same way that you pay for hair cuts, personal training and mindfulness apps, addressing your nutrition and lifestyle to improve your health is a worthy endeavour. Dietitian services are also tax-exempt and deductible.
5. It’s Not a Quick Fix
Unlike the plethora of diets and instagram nutrition trends out there, our work focuses on sustainable change. This means there will be no promises to “burn belly fat quick!” or “lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks!”. We will never endorse one type of food as a cure or ask clients to entirely cut out a main food group or macronutrient like grains and carbs. It’s not our goal for you to feel deprived, rather to modify your intake to strike the right balance to meet your personal or therapeutic needs.
If you’re ready to improve your health and wellness, contact us, we love to help!