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Why You Should Stay Clear of Diets, But Not a Dietitian

By Grace Burton, MS, RD, LDN  

 

With endless amounts of health and nutrition-related claims and information all over the internet, how do you determine which advice is the best to follow? When people have medical questions, they typically ask their doctor for a dependable answer. For dental questions, people consult their dentist. So why not seek out a registered dietitian for expert nutrition advice instead of searching the internet or social media? Unfortunately, a good amount of the nutrition information you find on the internet isn’t coming from the professionals. It’s also full of quick fixes and fad diets that work temporarily but are difficult to keep up with and don’t promote long-term success. Going to see a dietitian can seem intimidating or scary, but here are several reasons to challenge the stereotype and help you see why you shouldn’t hesitate to go see a dietitian:

  • We are not the food police. We do not lecture you or make you feel guilty for eating (or not eating) certain foods. In fact, we do quite the opposite by encouraging you to get rid of food guilt. Fad diets lead people to believe that there are “good” and “bad” foods, but dietitians help you understand that these food labels should not exist and that all foods can be part of a healthy diet.
  • Again, we are not the food police. Specific diets tend to be very restrictive, but dietitians emphasize an inclusive, rather than exclusive, diet, which leads to more success in the long run. Don’t want to eliminate your favorite foods? No problem – neither do we! Instead of taking foods away from you or giving you a strict eating pattern or schedule, we teach you how to eat a balanced diet that also includes the foods you like to eat. We also don’t tell you to eat certain foods if you don’t like them. If you’re not a fan of cauliflower rice, quinoa, or avocados, don’t worry – we focus on the foods that you prefer.
  • Unlike the quick fixes, 30-day diets, or the expensive supplements, dietitians promote long-term, sustainable changes and we help you adopt behaviors that fit in to your individual lifestyle. We understand that everyone is different and that factors like your schedules, home environments, social lives, and financial situations vary and play a role in your food and lifestyle choices. We support you in the changes that are most important to you and we offer guidance on how to make those changes work with your lifestyle.
  • Dietitians make great accountability partners. We provide a supportive and open-minded environment that is free of judgment. Lacking in social support at home or with friends and coworkers can be a significant barrier to meeting your health goals. That’s where dietitians come in – we are here to be your cheerleaders and to provide the encouragement needed to keep you progressing towards your goals.
  • We focus on your overall health, rather than just weight loss. Many of the fad diets take a one-size-fits-all approach and even though they might assist with weight loss, they may not address other health concerns such as high cholesterol or diabetes. Therefore, those diets may not be appropriate, but a dietitian can help figure out an individualized plan to meet your health goals. While weight loss can have positive effects on things like blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes, there are other ways to measure and promote health. Sleep, physical activity, and stress management are all key components of health too and we take those into consideration when working with you. We help you to see that it’s not all about the number on the scale.

Going from diet to diet and having a history of repeatedly losing and then gaining weight can be incredibly frustrating and discouraging. It also promotes an unhealthy relationship with food because of the food restrictions typically seen with dieting. Are you exhausted with counting calories or carbohydrates or restricting certain food groups? Go see a dietitian – we can work together to come up with a more individualized and sustainable plan for you.

The bottom line is that dietitians don’t tell you what to do. We listen to your concerns and goals, we educate you on ways to meet your goals and how to make changes that work for your lifestyle, and we provide the necessary support along the way to help you achieve your goals. To get started on your non-diet approach to a healthy lifestyle, call to schedule an appointment with an Avance Care registered dietitian by calling (919) 237-1337, option 4.

Grace is a registered dietitian working at the Wake Forest and Northeast Raleigh locations. She enjoys running, and especially likes doing races in other cities because it gives her an excuse to visit new places. She also loves trying new restaurants, spending time with family and friends, and cheering on the NC State Wolfpack at football and basketball games.

Categories: Education,  Healthy Living,  Nutrition
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