Honestly, most people have no idea what to expect the first time they meet with a nutritionist.
I’ve found that most clients are as nervous meeting with a nutritionist as they are with any healthcare provider. They think they may be judged, or may not have their needs met.
Nutritionists, by trade, are incredibly understanding, knowledgeable, helpful and resourceful individuals.
You work hard to earn your money, so if you find your nutritionists is a total B, get your money back and find someone better.
No matter what you plan to discuss during your appointments, there are five things that will inevitably come up, and some of them may surprise you.
1. Your Sleep
No one tells nutrition students in college that a great deal of their time and efforts will surround discussing sleep with clients. So, this even caught your nutritionist off guard at some point.
Sleep is important, obviously, but it doesn’t always spring to mind when you’re thinking about nutrition.
After much experience, one of the first things I now ask clients is “how’s your sleep?” Discussing sleep sheds light on which nutrition imbalances may be happening, as well as which lifestyle factors may affect dietary decisions and weight.
Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep might indicate a deficiency in vitamin D, copper and/or magnesium. It could also indicate stress issues that need to be addressed by other healthcare professionals.
If you are sleep deprived, it affects the decisions you make in dietary choices, your health and inevitably, your waistline. Sleep deprivation causes hormonal imbalances.
The hormone that increases appetite, which tells a person to eat, eat and eat some more, will increase in production; at the same time, the hormone that tells a person he or she is full will decrease in production.
As if this hormonal flip-flop wasn’t enough to cause a person to gain weight, there is also an increase in cortisol, the ringleader of all stress hormones.
With an increase in cortisol, hormone regulation in the body goes berserk, several health problems arise and will set off a cascade of issues.
By addressing sleep issues, you can begin to address your nutrient needs and your waistline.
2. Your Energy
If you chronically wake up to an alarm feeling sluggish and unrested, your nutritionist needs to know.
Iif you have great bounds of energy first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon, but no other time of day, again, your nutritionist needs to know.
Tied in with sleep, this will give your nutritionist insight into how your caloric needs and intake stack up against your day.
Additionally, discussing your energy levels – how they are throughout the day and how they are situationally — will allow your nutritionist to recommend other healthcare professionals who may be needed to help you on your path to overall wellness.
Interestingly enough, discussing your energy levels with your nutritionist may help pinpoint food sensitivities, as one of the major signs of food intolerance is feeling sluggish after consumption.
While discussing energy levels with a nutritionist may not be expected, it will definitely help you to assess life differently.
3. Your Schedule
Before getting down and dirty with food, your nutritionist will need to know the general gist of your daily activities.
The reason behind this is that your nutritionist will need to help you fit a healthy diet into the demands of your existing schedule and lifestyle.
A quality nutrition plan should be realistic, affordable and feasible. Knowing your work schedule and your other activities will allow your nutritionist to pick foods and meals that meet your needs both nutritionally and time wise.
Make sure to take your planner with you to your appointment; however, keep in mind that you’ve hired a nutritionist to help you adopt a healthy lifestyle.
This means your nutritionist may not only make changes to your existing diet, but also suggest changes in your schedule to help you be more successful in improving your overall wellbeing.
4. Your Finances
Facts are facts. When adopting a new lifestyle, your budget has to be taken into account. Knowing the basics of your financials will allow your nutritionist to help you find affordable, feasible nutrition solutions that work.
Knowing your health needs and goals, your schedule and your finances will help your nutritionist create a prioritized plan that truly works for you.
Prioritizing means figuring out what needs and goals should be met first, which can be met over the next few months and which can be set aside for later.
Overall, knowing your bottom line will help get your bottom in line. By giving your nutritionist the 411 on your financial stats, you will create a plan that is geared toward success and isn’t just an additional burden in your life.
5. Your Poop
If you work in healthcare, you know that poop happens. If you’re human, you know that poop happens. Healthcare professionals discuss poop more frequently than 5-year-old boys, and not always with more class and maturity.
Your poop says a lot about your health and your overall life. A person’s overall health is directly linked to the health of his or her colon and its goings-on.
Chronic diarrhea and constipation need to be addressed, as both can have detrimental effects on your body and both speak volumes about your overall health.
If you’re constantly having loose, watery stools, you are losing electrolytes and other nutrients at furious rates. It could indicate an infection, food sensitivity or a host of other underlying conditions.
Chronic constipation is nothing to glance over, either. This is awful for the health of your intestinal tract, your overall health and even your mood.
Toxins meant to be pulled out through your feces are now kicking it for extra hours and even days in your body. This gives them a chance to reenter your bloodstream and make you sick.
Additionally, impaired digestion affects your mental wellbeing.
It’s incredibly difficult to be Happy Hank when your rear is exploding, you’re holding in gas or are suffering the pains of slow-roasting stool. If you’re not feeling well, it’s nearly impossible to be in a good mood. There is a reason for this.
Serotonin is the neurotransmitter (compounds our nerves use to control our bodies) that creates happiness. When food sits around in the gut, it negatively affects your serotonin production. All that is fancy speak for when you feel sick to your stomach, you are in a crappy mood.
Long-term impaired digestions can lead to depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. You may be surprised to hear that impaired digestion is one of the primary reasons people seek out nutritionists. Needless to say, poop is important.
As with all things in the life, the hardest part is showing up. Don’t let that stop you from making the appointment, though.
Show up ready to have an honest discussion about your overall health and wellbeing, and know that it’s better to give your nutritionist too much information rather than not enough.