After facing an unprecedented global pandemic, many people are more focused than ever on their health. We all know diet plays a key role in influencing our overall health and well-being, but the abundance of confusing misinformation about nutrition makes even the most well-intentioned person question what they should eat. How do you separate nutritional fact from fiction? It is easy to turn to fad diets as quick fixes, but are they doing more harm than good? Should you take a supplement? If so, which one? Should we all be gluten free? Keto? Paleo? When you finally make sense of the information out there, how do you personalize it to meet your unique health needs? If any of these questions resonate with you, it may be time to seek professional support. Here are four more good reasons to work with a clinical nutritionist:
You’ve been trying different fad diets for years
Let’s face it: fad diets may help you lose weight, but they have a lousy track record for helping you keep the weight off long term and doing so in a manner that is safe and sustainable. An expert nutritionist such as a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) or a Registered Dietician Nutritionist (RDN) can help you create a healthy meal plan that is meant to last. Advanced nutrition professionals are trained to help you identify harmful dietary patterns and behaviors, learn and keep healthy ones, and can personalize nutritional recommendations to meet your unique health needs all while honoring your dietary preferences as well as any cultural and religious needs around food.
You struggle with emotional eating
As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic and long before, food can be a source of comfort. In times of stress or other emotionally charged moments from sadness or anger to boredom or even moments of happiness, it is common to turn to food – usually highly processed foods with little nutritional value – to feed our emotions. Over time, this type of behavior can lead to weight gain, and the health issues that may accompany it like diabetes or heart disease. A nutritionist can help you nip this behavior in the bud, learn how to distinguish between above the neck and below the neck hunger, and get you on track with a healthy, satisfying, and sustainable manner of eating that can help you weather an emotional storm.
You’ve received a new medical diagnosis
If your lifestyle needs to change due to a recent diagnosis of diabetes, hypertension, depression, migraines, or other medical condition, now is the perfect time to meet up with a certified nutritionist to assess your body’s needs and ensure your diet is meeting them. It can be easy to become overwhelmed at the thought of changing your diet but taking charge of your health with the help of an evidence-based nutritionist will ensure that you’re making changes safely, without a sense of deprivation. Prefer to start with baby steps? An expert nutritionist can help you identify small dietary changes that can have a big impact on your overall health and well-being.
You want to live a healthier lifestyle
Perhaps you already eat fairly well, and your goal is to use food to boost immune health or to increase energy and vitality. Or maybe you want to become a vegetarian, but you’re not sure how to prepare plant-based foods that are high in protein and taste great. Consulting with a nutritionist helps you shift away from a one size fits all approach to nutrition. A nutritionist can personalize a plan for you that allows you dive deeper into what your body needs from addressing any nutritional imbalances to optimizing overall health and function. You may be surprised at how great the right types of food can make you feel!
In short, no matter how your life ebbs and flows, meeting with a clinical nutritionist is the perfect way to start feeling your very best. Be it the desire to live healthier, the lack of success with previous diets, being confronted with a new diagnosis, or frustrations tackling eating habits on your own, an advanced nutrition professional can help you take charge of your health without sacrificing the joy and pleasure of eating well.
Dr. Gena E. Kadar, DC, MS.MEdL, CNS, is the founding dean of Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences’ School of Nutrition. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Kadar has distinguished herself as a clinician, author, educator, and academic leader. She is the author of A Manner of Living and has been recognized with awards for her research, service, leadership, and teaching including a teaching award from the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at UC Irvine School of Medicine.