What Is Nutrition Counseling?
First and foremost, individuals must recognize nutrition counseling is not a one-time visit. Those who take part in this process meet regularly with a health professional to determine their unique dietary needs. The participant's current dietary intake is assessed, and areas where change is required are identified. However, the person's nutritional needs will change with time for a variety of reasons.
For example, a person diagnosed with a chronic medical condition needs to take into account how this will have an impact on his or her dietary intake and make changes to accommodate this. Furthermore, a person who visits a nutrition counselor to lose weight will find his or her nutritional needs change once the desired weight has been achieved.
The nutrition counselor works with each client to conduct this assessment and provide information on the right diet for the client's current situation. Also, he or she provides support and educational materials to help the client consume the appropriate foods. Follow-up visits will be needed to discuss any problems that have arisen, and regular assessments must be conducted to ensure the plan created by the nutrition counselor and client is working.
Why Nutrition Counseling is Necessary
Nutrition counseling is needed for several reasons. A person might find they need to overhaul their diet as it is harming their health or it may be they want to make better food choices.
Others do so on the advice of their primary care physician or medical team, as they believe counseling can be of help in managing a chronic condition like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Individuals should ask their medical team how nutritional counseling might be beneficial for them. In fact, many people visit their doctor before scheduling the initial counseling appointment to ensure the counselor has all of the information he or she needs to create a healthy diet for the individual.
Benefiting from Nutritional Counseling
A person may assume nutritional counseling is only of help to those who are overweight, but nothing is further from the truth. Numerous individuals find they benefit from taking part in this process. Following are only a few of the many ways this process can be of aid to a wide range of participants.
Weight management is one reason people turn to a nutrition counselor. They struggle with overeating and may need to determine what makes them turn to food when they are unhappy, upset, or bored. However, underweight individuals may also benefit from seeing a nutrition counselor to determine which foods they need to eat to gain weight and keep it on.
Every person diagnosed with cancer should speak to their medical team to determine if nutrition counseling would be of aid. The right foods can be of great help in managing the fatigue, nausea, and other side effects that often come with treatment. Furthermore, the taste of food frequently changes with treatment and the nutrition counselor can help the client manage this and still take in the needed calories.
People who have food allergies often consult with a nutrition counselor to determine what foods they can and cannot eat. For instance, a person who is allergic to dairy needs to make certain he or she is getting the nutrients obtained in dairy products another way. Other food allergies may also be addressed with the assistance of the counselor.
A person suffering from anxiety and depression might find nutrition counseling to be of benefit in managing their condition. The same is true of those struggling with substance abuse, as addicts often neglect food in favor of their substance of choice. They must learn to make healthy food choices during their recovery. Energy and well-being increase when the right foods are chosen, and counseling can be of aid in treating back and joint pain also.
For nutrition counseling to be considered a success, the client must be able to maintain the dietary changes over the long term. He or she will need to monitor the process and report back to the counselor what is working and what isn’t. Realistic expectations are required to ensure motivation on the part of the participant and the counselor must schedule regular follow-up visits to discuss ongoing issues.
Individuals need to recognize they will slip up from time to time. The goal is to acknowledge when this occurs and get back on track with the plan that has been created. The counselor can be of great help in determining what led to the slip and how to avoid similar situations in the future. The more a client knows about his or her nutritional needs and how to meet them, the easier the process becomes and success is within his or her grasp.