Eating should be an enjoyable experience and provide opportunity to connect with family, friend’s and loved ones, but with constant bombardment from numerous sources telling you about the latest and greatest diet or superfood or how you should eat this is easier said than done. And with the wealth of information available at the click of a button you may even find yourself wondering why working with a dietitian is beneficial for you?
The simple answer is that qualified dietitian's, known in Australia as Accredited Practising Dietitians, have undergone four years of training, to understand the human body, food, the interactions between the two and how various health conditions can impact on our nutrition needs and vice versa.
As a dietitian my overall goal when working with people is guide them through the process of developing the knowledge and skills to make choices that fit within their life and make them feel good. These skills can’t be visualised through a pretty meal plan, but they will put you in the drivers seat.
So lets look at the specifics:
Dietitians can help you to develop a better understanding of what healthy eating does and does not entail. Armed with this information you can be flexible in your approach to food and eating, making choices that fit in with your lifestyle and goals. Instead of trying to follow a rigid meal plan that will ultimately let you down.
With the skills to analyse and interpret scientific studies, dietitian’s can help you sort food fact from fiction. What’s more they can teach you how to critically analyse everyday sources of nutrition information so that you know which ones to take head of and which ones to throw out with the trash.
Unlike professionals such as personal trainers and nutritionists, dietitian's are qualified to make specific recommendations which take into consideration your gender, life stage and health. For example, as we age, the ability of our muscles to utilise protein changes. This can lead to preventable age related muscle wasting. Adjusting protein intake across the day is one way we can help to prevent this muscle wasting.
Dietitians can also help you develop skills in meal planning, cooking and shopping, or help you explore other options such as meal delivery services. This in turn will mean that you’ll have an arsenal of meal and snack ideas that are as easy or complicated as you like and that actually taste good!
Dietitians can help you to develop a better relationship with food and your body. We live in a culture that teaches us to distrust and disconnect from our bodies. We are led to believe that we cannot trust our own hunger and fullness signals and must instead rely upon external food rules. A dietitian who uses a non-diet or intuitive eating approach can help you to unlearn the rules and once again trust your body. so The end goal of course, is to free you from worrying about food and your body, so that you and spend more time doing the things you are truly passionate about.
For athletes working with a Sports Dietitian can help you to gain the competitive edge by implement nutrition strategies to help fuel your training, assist with recovery and optimise your performance.
If you are in Australia, make sure you look for the APD (Accredited Practising Dietitian) logo. The title APD is a protected one, this means that you can be sure that a practitioner who holds this title has met strict requirements in terms of their education and ongoing development as a professional.