As the founder and CEO of 2x4, I regularly collaborate with nutritionists, and thus have the opportunity to meet and work with a variety of people from all walks of life. Through the years, I’ve found that one thing they all have in common is a desire to make positive changes in their health. Whether it's making lifestyle changes, or managing a chronic disease, all clients we have worked with at 2x4 have expressed the desire to be healthier.
Yet, when I ask them if they’ve ever considered meeting with a nutritionist or dietician in order to help them achieve their goals, the #1 response I always hear is “I just don’t have the time.”
But the reality is that we all have 24 hours in a day, and we have to make choices about what is priority, and what we want to accomplish. So when my clients tell me that they “don’t have time”, what they really mean is that they haven’t made it a priority right now. And that’s ok! But, if you truly want to achieve your health goals and just don’t know where to start, making time for a nutritionist SHOULD be a priority, even if it’s just at the very beginning of your journey. It can make a substantial difference in your health journey, and here’s why. Below I’ve broken down 10 reasons why you should meet with a nutritionist to help achieve your goals.
1. Find out what your ideal weight is:
Your weight can be attributed to a number of reasons, from overeating, improper nutrition, lack of exercise, or even hormonal levels and certain illnesses. Meeting with a dietitian can help you understand what your ideal weight should be depending on your age, gender, lifestyle, and overall health.
2. Understand why you’re overweight and how to fix it:
This was the number one reason why clients wanted to meet with me when I worked in private practice. They knew they needed to lose weight but had no idea how to address the lifestyle changes they knew needed to be made. A common misconception is that overweight people are overweight because they are gluttonous or they lack will power. In reality, overweight people are overweight strictly because of over-eating coupled with too little physical activity, which results in excess energy intake vs. energy output (calories in vs calories out). This imbalance of energy intake and output will cause weight gain regardless of dietary choices or food preferences. Chronic health conditions also play a role in weight management, which I will get into later in this article.
3. Make sure you're eating enough of the right foods:
If you want to maintain optimal nutrition throughout your life, then meet with a registered dietician who can help you set up an eating plan that fits your lifestyle, taste, and budget while giving you the nutrients your body needs to function at its best every day. If you’re trying to lose weight, then meeting with a registered dietician will help keep your eating plan on track. The same applies if you’re trying to gain weight! You’ll be more likely to reach your goal weight within a reasonable amount of time while preventing nutritional deficiencies or imbalances that can occur with restrictive dieting.
4. Help reach your specific fitness goals:
Do you have one of those friends on Facebook who just has to tout reaching their latest fitness goals in their new profile picture? Do you find yourself getting jealous when you see a friend dropping weight and meeting their health goals? Before you jump on board the latest fitness or diet trends, you need to ask yourself if this is what will keep you fit and healthy? That’s when meeting with a certified personal trainer or registered dietician can become very important! They can help design an exercise and nutritional program that keeps you fit without leaving you injured or feeling too drained or sore to do "real life" activities.
5. Get rid of chronic conditions:
Heart conditions, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, allergies, and sleep disturbances are just a few of the chronic conditions that can have a serious impact on your quality of life, nutrition, and overall health. In fact some of these conditions can contribute to difficult losing/gaining weight, bloating, and digestive issues. . A certified nutritionist or registered dietician can help you manage these conditions effectively through meal planning and suggesting changes in physical activity tailored specifically to your lifestyle and needs.
6. Maintain long-term adherence to healthy eating:
I've worked with several clients who have tried to lose weight on their own only to have gained that weight back, plus some. Yo-yo dieting is dangerous, and it can be detrimental to your long term health goals. The best way to maintain healthy eating is through support and regular follow-up visits with a dietician. This will not only keep you on track but will also allow you to learn new recipes and cooking skills for lifelong healthy eating.
7. Find out if you're getting enough nutrients:
What is the point of maintaining a healthy weight if you don't feel well? If you are not currently trying to lose weight, then find out if you are meeting your nutrient needs for optimal health. If you are trying to lose weight, then meeting with a registered dietician will help ensure that your diet is still meeting your nutritional needs while losing weight. I've worked with several clients who believed they were eating healthy but found out they were missing key nutrients due to food preferences or food availability. Remove those lingering questions entirely by periodically meeting with a dietician to evaluate your diet.
8. Get help managing medical conditions:
If you've been diagnosed with an illness, disease, congenital birth defect, or surgery, then meet with a registered dietician who can help you plan meals that will keep your body healing at its best while preventing complications. If you are not trying to lose weight, then meet with an RD/CDA who can teach you how to manage your medications with nutrition.
I know I'm getting repetitive here but it's worth repeating that if you currently have a chronic condition, then meeting with a registered dietician will help prevent nutritional deficiencies or imbalances that can occur with restrictive dieting. It's also important to note that many people believe all medication requires special dietary attention when in fact there is no need for any special diets for the vast majority of prescriptions. This includes birth control, antidepressants, statins, blood pressure medications, cholesterol medications, diabetes medications, thyroid medications, asthma medications, and many other commonly prescribed medications.
But if you are taking medications that aren’t as commonly prescribed, it’s worth your peace of mind to meet with an RD/CDA to make sure your diet isn’t interacting with your medications in a way that worsen your condition!
9. Eat better while eating out:
Experts estimate that the average American eats out 5 to 7 times per week. Eating out is a great way to save time, but it's also an easy way to consume unhealthy calories and extra fat. Now you may be thinking, “well I eat out because I just don’t have time,” and that’s fair enough. If you’re finding it difficult to meal prep and plan ahead, then meeting with an RD/CDA can help you identify healthier food options at the restaurants that you and your family frequent. Swap that greasy burger for a nutritious taco bowl loaded with veggies instead!
10. Reduce your risk of chronic disease:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than 35 percent of adults in this country have at least one chronic disease. This makes it even more important for people of all ages to meet with a registered dietician who can help them make positive changes in their eating habits and physical activity.
11. Get personalized support:
Typically, we’re all busy and constantly on-the-go, and this makes it difficult for us to commit to lifestyle and nutritional changes. That’s why it helps to have a support system; support from an expert can help you define what changes you can ACTUALLY actively make and prioritize within your current day-to-day.
I think back on when I was trying to strengthen my body after having my daughter and how wonderful it would have been if I had someone helping me each step of the way. One on one support from a qualified nutrition professional can make reaching your health and wellness goals easier and more enjoyable. Who wouldn’t want that!?
So consider the above points, and think about whether starting off your wellness journey is right for you. And if you have any questions, or experiences you would like to share, make sure to comment below!
If you have issues with weight gain, chronic illness, or you’re just concerned you aren’t getting enough adequate nutrition in your diet, then meet with a registered dietician or functional nutritionist. They can give you customized advice based on your unique needs and concerns. You have nothing to lose (except excess weight!), so what are you waiting for?