Making an appointment with a Registered Dietitian is not usually the first step that you make when you decide that you want to lose weight or you want to improve your health, but it is a step in the right direction. As you can imagine, by the time I see a client, they have already tried many “diets” or read many books on different approaches to weight loss. And since they have signed on as a client, their previous attempts were not successful, at least for the long-term.
The Initial Consult
The initial consult is the best way for me to learn as much as I can about my client. After reviewing medical histories, lab results, height and weight, and some questions about daily habits, we move on to the typical day. Beginning with finding out how much sleep you get, what time you wake up, and what time do you first eat? Do you eat breakfast at home, in the car, or at the cafeteria at work? Do you work shifts? Is your breakfast something that you prepared at home, or is it a convenience food? How many meals do you eat away from home? Are weekends any different? Who shops for the food and who prepares the food?
After I have a good understanding of your typical day, we move onto food triggers and emotional eating. Do you eat when you are hungry or when you are sad, mad, tired, etc.? Are you eating and drinking more than you would like to when you are in social situations? Do you notice if you eat very fast? This is just a small sample of the type of questions that are posed during the typical day segment of the consult, and after I have a good idea about your intake, we move on to “output” or how active you are.
Unless the client is very active and can provide detailed information about their activity or acknowledges that they are sedentary, assessing activity level is often difficult. I have many clients that routinely go to the gym four times per week, but have a job that requires them to sit in a cubicle all day and are entirely sedentary for nine hours; this can really sabotage your metabolism. So again, by taking a close look at your typical activity during a given day, do you work from home? How long is your commute? Do you walk to use public transportation? How far is the bus stop from your office? How often and what type of exercise do you do? Do you make an effort to get your steps in by taking the stairs or parking your car farther away in the parking lot? Do you have limitations that render you unable to be active? Obtaining your intake and activity along with laboratory values and past medical history equips me to make a nutrition assessment and, from there, provide you with a plan to Get on the Path to Wellness!