• Janelle Healy

Psst….I’m seeing a dietitian.

I love this infographic and it pops up on many of my social media feeds. Why would you see a dietitian? You know how to eat? We may talk to our friends about the physio’ that we’ve seen for our tight glute, or the dentist that filled your mouth with instruments before asking you questions.

Ever had a conversation about food with someone who has seen a dietitian? Not many have. It is more likely that you have discussed food facts from books, magazines, instagram, podcasts or spoken to a gym trainer, neighbour or even a vet.

A dietitian is the last stop in seeking food advice often after many frustrating attempts to achieve your health goal. Wouldn’t you want to start with asking the right person? Seeing a dietitian is so much more than weight loss as I explained in our blog Ive lost 100 kilos . We apply the science of human nutrition with the art of individual advice.

We study for 4-5 years. Dietitian students learn chemistry with the pharmacy students, leading into biochemistry and food chemistry to understand food and how your body uses it; human biology with the nurses so that we can apply the chemistry knowledge to the human processes of digestion, absorption, metabolism and excretion. There are specialist courses including physiology which is the biochemistry of the body processes in the changing environment of your body; pathophysiology to understand the changes diseases make on your biochemistry so we can prescribe nutrition therapy to support better health; population food and health surveillance (epidemiology) for prevention of changes to your health at a population level; and behaviour change counselling for an individual as food habits are so much more than what is on your fork.

Habit change is gradual, requiring time and effort so you may not have an immediate improvement unlike the immediate pain relief from a visit to the physio. If you only eat 3 times a day, that is 21 food decision in a week. Twenty one times you consider all the types of food available, your taste and texture preferences, foods that are culturally appropriate as well as how you can prepare the food to eat or how long it will take. You also decide where you are going to eat- in your car , restaurant or at home; in-front of the TV or at the table, if you have one. So much more than energy in and energy out and it is why a prescriptive meal plan is not always best.

The science of human nutrition and food evolves as new research is published. New information may challenge the current understanding and practices. This may explain why some people find nutrition messages confusing as they seem to be changing all the time. Keeping up with the current research is a good reason to check in with a dietitian annually, like you might do with a dental check.

The main focus of Nutrition IQ to help individuals achieve their long term diet and nutrition goals. What is most important about your initial consultation is taking time to talk about your individual health and food choices, understanding your preferences, building on the nutrition knowledge that you already have and working with you to establish the best eating pattern for you. The British Dietitian Association infographic shows some of the possible factors a dietitian considers in a consultation with you.

At Nutrition IQ you have access to the latest research technologies in addition to current best dietetic practise to help you gain better nutrition for your best health. Using a scientific approach and having exclusive access to gold standard testing methods, you get individually tailored advice to suit your needs.

You can measure your individual resting metabolic rate and energy efficiency rather than use an estimate from a formula. Metabolism refers to all the body processes that work to create energy from the food we eat. There are many factors that can influence your metabolism including age, sex, hormones, medications, physical activity levels and diet. Consequently every individuals metabolism is quite unique and responds to food changes in different ways. That is why we measure your metabolism at each session to monitor the effect of the changes you are making.

Your body composition may change even if your weight remains the same. If this is a goal for you, measuring your body composition ensures changes are improving your health. Ideally you would like to see fat loss and muscle gain with nutrition and physical activity changes. Scales do not differentiate between these body tissues. The hand held Biody COACH body composition analysis is very quick and non invasive.

With both the metabolic testing and body composition analysis, your results are comparable between sessions with the correct 12 hour preparation. You need to be rested, fasted, hydrated and no caffeine, alcohol or nicotine. You will get the instructions when you book in for your consultation.

Habits change when you know you are going to be asked about them. Some people prepare for a visit to the dentist with cleaning their teeth 3 times a day the week before. Making food changes before your visit is no different and you are going to get the most out of your visit if you reflect a little on your habits, why you choose the foods you do. You may even want to take photos to bring along rather that writing everything you eat in a book or creating a weighed food diary in an app. Photos are really helpful and just so easy for you.

We understand that it can be daunting to explain your normal eating patterns with a stranger. That is why we approach all our visitors in a non judgemental way- everyone is welcome and respected. Regardless of body shape or size, when you come through our doors you are seeking the right professional for nutrition advice.

Give us a call or send an email if you would like to talk about what you might get out of a Nutrition IQ visit. We have a group introduction session on Saturday August 10 at noon, which you can book into from the booking button above, on our website.

You’ve made it to the end of our latest blog. As a bonus- you get our best 3 Tips for Getting Started to better food choices.

Three things to get you started

Feel hungry-

Get back in tune with what it feels like to eat when you are hungry, enjoy your meal slowly and stop when you feel satisfied. It’s OK to leave food on your plate. The key is to really tune in to your hunger and fullness signals and understand when your body is telling you it needs food. This takes time however building awareness around the reasons why you choose to eat.

It might help you to start journalling when you eat without feeling hungry.

Learn about carbohydrates

These are the starches and sugars that can be digested into glucose and absorbed for energy OR fibre that can be fermented by good bacteria in our large intestine. Reducing your intake of highly processed high carbohydrate foods such as bread, pasta, sweets, chocolate cakes, biscuits and sugary sauces will decrease your bodies reliance on glucose for fuel and will help you to start to burn fat (from both food you eat and from stored body fat).

Measuring your metabolism can let you know how much carbohydrate your body can use.

Add one more veggie each day

This little trick may not be rocket science but it adds variety to your meals. Planning to serve half your meal as veggies at least twice a day may mean you are enjoying a lighter meal overall, getting many of the plant nutrients we know about such as vitamins, minerals and fibre as well as those which we are yet to discover.

Eating plenty of plants is associated with all recommended food patterns.

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