There is so much nutritional information out there to process and at times it just gets overwhelming. Since, March is National Nutrition month I thought I would go see a nutritionist to help me weed through all the information and get some personalized info too. Let me tell you it was a pretty cool experience.
I met with Rania Batayneh of Essential Nutrition For You, who is also a wellness coach. I have to say this combo makes a lot of sense since we want to eat well so we can live well. Rania holds a Masters in Public Health with a Nutrition focus, but you can also choose to meet with a Registered Dietitian. While many seek the advice of a professional when they are stalled dieting, there are other reasons to work with a nutritionist or dietitian - like to improve energy, to eat healthier, regain the feeling of your fitness level from yesteryear.
Here's highlights of what to expect:
- Initial Phone Interview: Assess and clarify your goals and discuss your basic health and eating history. This is an informational interview for you too, so use it to get a feel of the person and see if they are someone you want to work with.
- Food Journal: Track all that you eat for 5 days including a weekend (from experience Rania knows a lot of structure and good habits fly out the door on Saturday and Sunday). This is valuable information for the nutritionist to learn how and what you eat.
- Metabolic Rate: This measures how efficiently your body burns calories so you know how many calories you can consume to maintain your weight, or how many calories you can healthily cut if you are looking to lose weight. The test is done after a 12 hour fast.
There's more, so
The nutritionist will analyze all this information and figure out how to optimize your diet based on your goals. For instance if you suffer from an energy drop in the afternoon, you might be told to have a protein/carb snack and then learn foods that meet these requirements. You will hopefully learn that changing your diet doesn't mean suffering and eliminating an entire category of food. Rather than being told exactly what to eat, you leave with a bigger picture - what to eat and why, as well as eating, cooking and shopping strategies. Reminds me of the saying "If you give a man a fish he will eat for the day. Teach him how to fish, and he will eat forever."
All and all, I would say it was an informative experience. After an initial meeting, you can choose to meet weekly which is beneficial if you are working with a wellness coach. Or you can meet in person every three to four weeks, but chances are high you will keep in touch with your nutritionist via e-mail. Just e-mail your food journal, the nutritionist analyzes it and sends back food suggestions and new strategies if needed. Pretty cool and easy to fit into the busy life that likely got you off the healthy track in the first place.