If you’re looking to lose weight, you might have considered making an appointment with your local dietitian. You’re not alone. Weight loss is one of the main reasons people see dietitians. However, with the recent explosion of “fad” diets and one-size-fits-all weight loss schemes, you can be left confused about the role of a dietitian in a weight loss journey. “Do they just tell me what to eat?” or “Are they just the food police?” are some of the more common questions; let’s dive in to it!
What is a dietitian, really?
A dietitian (or Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD)) is a health professional who has a degree in Dietetics from an Australian university (minimum 4 years study) and is accredited by the Dietitians Association of Australia. They have a thorough understanding of the human body and have studied, been assessed and undertaken many hours of supervised professional practice. In terms of diet, you won’t find a more knowledgeable person. Furthermore, a dietitian must undertake ongoing training to ensure they have the most recent and credible nutrition information in order to keep their APD credentials.
What we know about weight loss
Weight loss is challenging and there is no one size fits all approach. Often people are looking for a quick fix through what has come to be known as ‘fad diets’ – a diet that isn’t based on hard evidence. You, or someone you know, may have tried one. Unfortunately, these diets are often restrictive, unsafe and cannot be maintained for long periods of time. Many people even experience more weight gain after cessation of the diet.
Dietitians and weight loss
A dietitian brings their in-depth knowledge about the physiology of the body together with the latest evidence, to help you achieve your weight loss goals. There are numerous ways a dietitian can assist you, and a lot of it depends on the key problem areas you and your dietitian identify that are holding you back. Think about it: from person to person, there are so many different factors at play, from lifestyle, to tastebuds, genetics and how a body reacts to certain foods. Why would one diet or one meal plan work for all of us? Crazy talk! Here are just a few ways of how a dietitian can assist with weight loss.
Dietitians create a tailored nutrition plan to meet your individual needs and reach your goals. To do this, your dietitian will ask you a range of questions, such as what food you eat, when and where you eat, your dietary preferences, exercise and other things that may influence your food choices (work or medical conditions). With all of this information, they can estimate your nutritional requirements and identify food and activity habits that may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Then finally, in collaboration with you, a personalised nutrition plan is created. No generic meal plan here!
Each dietitian has been trained to critique the latest research so that they can provide you with up-to-date advice regarding weight loss and evidence-based weight loss strategies. So, you know the strategies and tips they give you have been trialled on many others before you and have been demonstrated to be effective!
Many people have unrealistic goals when it comes to weight loss, which often results in disappointment and frustration when goals are not reached. Here is where a dietitian comes in. They work with you to make achievable and realistic goals. Goals, which are actually possible to achieve! To do this, they refer to credible scientific evidence to provide you with an estimation of how long it will take to lose that extra weight in a safe, maintainable manner. They won’t be giving you false hopes of losing 10kg in 1 week!
Keeping you accountable
Just like a personal trainer may make you more likely to turn up to the gym, regular sessions with your dietitian can keep you motivated and on track.
Help remove weight loss barriers
You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t have something making your weight loss efforts difficult. Whether this be being time poor, sharing food with family members, or a medical condition, a dietitian can work with you to overcome these barriers. Furthermore, they can assist you in developing coping strategies for these barriers.
So, there you have it, a couple of ways that a dietitian can help with weight loss. If you are struggling to lose weight or have tried many diets in the past but struggle to stay on track seeing a dietitian is a great place to start!
Click here to find a Sunshine Coast Dietetics location closest to you.