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Understand The Benefits of Working With a Weight Loss Nutritionist

There are many benefits of working with a weight loss nutritionist. Learn how a weight loss nutritionist or dietitian can help you achieve your goals.

Losing weight and trying to keep it off is a battle for everyone on a weight-loss journey. Nearly two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and about half of the country has tried to lose weight at least once during the previous year. Unfortunately, about 80% of people who successfully shed pounds regain at least some weight they lost within a year.

One of the reasons so many people struggle to achieve and maintain a healthy weight is the amount of conflicting information about what they should eat. If you struggle to lose weight and keep it off, there are many benefits to working with a weight loss dietitian or nutritionist.

At a Glance

  • What is a weight loss dietitian or nutritionist? A weight-loss dietitian or nutritionist is a specialist who can help you customize a nutritional plan for your health and weight-loss needs.
  • What are the benefits of working with a weight loss dietitian nutritionist? Weight loss dietitians or nutritionists can help you create a tailored plan to lose weight in a safe and healthy way.
  • What To Ask During Your First Free Consultation With One of Our Weight Loss Dietitians/Nutritionists. We’ve compiled a list of questions to consider while you assess your options during your free two-week trial. 
  • How to get started with a weight loss dietitian or nutritionist? You can take our matching quiz to find the perfect nutritionist or dietitian for your needs.

What Is A Weight Loss Dietitian or Nutritionist

As a health professional a weight loss dietitian/nutritionist makes safe and sustainable recommendations for people who are looking to lose weight and keep it off. Many people can get so caught up in the urgency of their desire to lose weight fast that they often go about it in dangerous ways, adopting quick schemes and fads that may take the pounds off, but won’t be able to maintain their success long-term. A good weight loss dietitian/nutritionist will consider a person’s medical history, past struggles, and long-term goals before they make actionable recommendations.

The Top 8 Benefits of Working With an Online Weight Loss Dietitian/Nutritionist Vs. Going At It Alone

There are many books and online programs you can use to attempt to lose weight on your own. However, working with a dietitian or nutritionist near me has advantages.

1. Self-Help Solutions Are One-Size-Fits-All

Because the weight loss industry often structures self-help solutions for vast groups of people, a one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss is often the result. Studies have found that people who work with a registered dietitian lose more weight than those who do not.

One of the reasons for this is that a dietitian can create a personalized program for each client instead of taking a cookie-cutter approach. Dietitians take into account your environment, routine, preferences, medical history and goals. Dietitians help clients set goals and create a plan to achieve them. They also keep track of clients' progress and provide them with feedback that can help them make adjustments to make their programs more effective.

2. Ineffective Self-Help Programs Have Hidden Costs

A session with a dietitian may cost between $50 and $200 for the initial consultation and $50 to $150 for follow-up visits. Some insurance programs may cover the cost, particularly for patients with weight-related conditions. Patients with insurance typically pay $10 to $40 per session for copays.

By contrast, self-help programs may cost just a few dollars per week or may even be free. However, when people don't succeed with these programs, they may lose thousands of dollars to the hidden costs of being overweight, such as lost productivity and increased medical costs.

3. Self-Help Programs Often Rely on Fad Diets

Because the people making money off self-guided programs need to attract new customers, they often rely on whatever the current diet trend is. Medical nutrition therapy helps clients select an evidence-based eating plan that works with their health, weight-loss goals, preferences, and nutritional needs.

4. Get a Nutrition Plan Tailored to Your Needs

If you have been dieting, you have probably tried a diet that a friend, co-worker, or family member swears worked for them, but that didn't work for you. Working with a weight loss dietitian provides you with a customized eating plan for your food preferences, lifestyle, budget, cooking ability, and nutritional needs. It also provides you with a partner to help keep you accountable and provide support along the way as you navigate integrating this plan into your life.

Your dietitian can consider any dietary restrictions you have, such as gluten intolerance, religious guidelines, allergies, and vegetarian or vegan requirements. Unlike some commercial diet plans, if you can barely boil water, your dietitian/nutritionist won't expect you to cook recipes with 15 specialty ingredients that you can't find or afford. Your dietitian will design a plan that works for you.

5. Manage Your Chronic Conditions

Medical nutrition therapy is an integral part of treating or preventing many chronic health conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Patients with diabetes need to control their blood sugar, maintain a healthy weight, and reduce heart disease risk factors. Your dietitian can help you select healthy foods and teach you to track your eating habits so that your blood glucose levels remain in a safe range.

Heart disease and stroke risk is higher for people with high blood pressure. One of the leading causes of high blood pressure is consuming too much sodium. If your blood pressure is high, your nutritionist can design a menu that follows the guideline to consume 2,300 mg or less of sodium per day.

Vegetables and fruits contain vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Research has found that replacing high-calorie foods, such as cheese, meat, and fried foods, which contain few nutritionally beneficial compounds, with fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Your dietitian can help you improve your heart health by designing a plan that suits your needs and accounts for your preferences.

6. Save Money

Preparing your meals yourself can be almost five times less expensive than ordering from a restaurant and three times less costly than using a meal-kit service. Additionally, meal planning can save you money on your grocery bill. That being said, meal planning does not have to be so complicated. When you plan your meals, you can better utilize pantry staples and ingredients that you already have in your refrigerator or freezer, which cuts down on food waste. Your dietitian can help you learn how to meal-plan in a simple way to achieve your health and financial goals.

7. Stay Motivated

Changing the way you eat is difficult because of the constant eating signals in the environment. Almost everyone encounters triggers such as driving past fast-food restaurants, seeing advertisements for food on television, walking past the candy bowl at work, or sharing meals with friends and family who eat unhealthy foods. Researchers have found that one of the benefits of working with a weight loss dietitian or nutritionist is a boost in the motivation required to resist the constant temptations that work against weight loss efforts.

8. Increase Your Energy and Feel Better

All foods provide you with energy in the form of calories. However, different types of foods affect your energy levels differently. Simple carbs, such as white bread, fruit juice, and breakfast cereal, are easily digestible and boost your body quickly. However, because your body uses them up quickly, your energy levels may rapidly drop, which can cause you to feel sluggish. Complex carbs, such as whole grains, legumes, and oats, take longer to digest, providing a slower increase in energy that your body can draw on throughout the day.

What you eat can also affect your mood. According to research, the best meal to eat to improve your mood is lean protein combined with complex carbohydrates and colorful produce. By contrast, foods that do not contain much nutritional value, such as processed snacks and sweets, can worsen your mood. Medical nutrition therapy can help you make dietary choices that improve your physical and emotional well-being.

How a Weight Loss Nutritionist or Dietitian Can Help You Create Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Working with a dietitian or nutritionist as part of your healthcare team can help you improve many aspects of your lifestyle that impact weight loss.

Stress and Sleep

Cortisol, a hormone your body releases in response to chronic stress, can increase abdominal fat. Finding ways to cope with chronic stress or anxiety may help you maintain a healthy weight.

Lack of sleep may also affect hormones that can negatively impact your weight. Leptin and ghrelin are responsible for regulating how hungry you feel. Researchers have found that people tend to feel hungrier when they don't get enough sleep. Making sure you get enough sleep may keep your appetite in check, making it easier to lose weight.

Metabolic Health

Doctors measure your metabolic health by checking cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, waist circumference, and blood pressure. According to research, only one in eight adults in the United States is metabolically healthy. Poor metabolic health can indicate an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Some of the benefits of working with a weight loss dietitian include diet and lifestyle changes that improve metabolic health.

Behavioral Psychology

Losing weight is partly about changing behavior. Studies have found that weight loss programs that include behavioral change result in more weight loss when compared to the control group and do not have the side effects that other interventions, such as weight loss surgeries or drugs, may have. However, intensive behavioral change programs can be challenging to find. You can replicate the success of these programs by working with your healthcare team to design a behavioral change program.

Hormonal Imbalances

The endocrine glands in your body produce hormones that perform essential functions, such as controlling reproduction and metabolism. If you have too much or not enough of certain hormones, this imbalance can cause you to gain weight or have difficulty losing weight.

Medications, tumors, cancer treatments, pituitary issues, eating disorders, stress, injuries, and trauma can cause hormonal imbalances. Additionally, hormonal imbalances can cause or worsen medical conditions such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and Cushing syndrome. Losing weight and eating a balanced diet may ease the symptoms of some hormonal imbalances.

Long-Term Support

Long-term maintenance of weight loss has a high rate of failure. Research on people who have successfully maintained a significant weight loss for a year or more suggests that one of the benefits of working with a weight loss dietitian is that long-term support helps people maintain their weight loss.

Personalized Goals

Most experts agree that setting realistic goals is vital for weight loss. Unrealistic goals can cause dieters to lose motivation and return to old eating habits. Most programs recommend a guideline of one to two pounds of weight loss per week. However, some people may lose motivation if they don't see results. A weight loss dietitian can develop personalized goals that achieve a balance between maintaining motivation and safety.

Lifestyle Mapping

Reaching your weight loss goals isn't just about what you eat. Your registered dietitian will work with you to create a lifestyle map that includes an assessment of your diet, medical history, sleep, stress levels, and mindset.

What Are the Benefits of Working With an Online Weight Loss Nutritionist or Dietitian Versus Going At It Alone

There are many books and online programs you can use to attempt to lose weight on your own. However, working with a dietitian or nutritionist near me has advantages.

Self-Help Solutions Are One-Size-Fits-All

Because the weight loss industry often structures self-help solutions for vast groups of people, a one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss is often the result. Studies have found that people who work with a registered dietitian lose more weight than those who do not.

One of the reasons for this is that a dietitian can create a personalized program for each client instead of taking a cookie-cutter approach. Dietitians help clients set goals and create a plan to achieve them. They also keep track of clients' progress and provide them with feedback that can help them make adjustments to make their programs more effective.

Ineffective Self-Help Programs Have Hidden Costs

A session with a dietitian may cost between $50 and $200 for the initial consultation and $50 to $150 for follow-up visits. Some insurance programs may cover the cost, particularly for patients with weight-related conditions. Patients with insurance typically pay $10 to $40 per session for copays.

By contrast, self-help programs may cost just a few dollars per week or may even be free. However, when people don't succeed with these programs, they may lose thousands of dollars to the hidden costs of being overweight, such as lost productivity and increased medical costs.

Self-Help Programs Often Rely on Fad Diets

Because the people making money off self-guided programs need to attract new customers, they often rely on whatever the current diet trend is. Medical nutrition therapy helps clients select an evidence-based eating plan that works with their health, weight-loss goals, preferences, and nutritional needs.

What To Ask During Your First Free Consultation With One of Our Weight Loss Dietitian/Nutritionists

Your initial consultation should have you feeling good about all the benefits of working with a weight loss dietitian/nutritionist and should be confident in understanding what to look for in a weight loss expert. Asking these questions can help you take a deep dive into their expertise:

What Is a Healthy Weight Range for Me?

People often have unrealistic expectations about what they should weigh, based on what they weighed in high school or what celebrities look like on magazine covers or on television. A dietitian can provide you with a healthy range to aim for based on your age, height, body type, and any pre-existing conditions you have.

How Can I Make My Current Diet Healthier?

Many people eat a diet that is missing vitamins, minerals, and fiber and includes food that contains excessive amounts of sodium, saturated fat, and sugar. A dietitian can analyze your current diet to determine what changes you should make to improve your overall health and address any food-related conditions you have.

What Is the Most Important Change I Should Make?

Attempting to make too many lifestyle changes at once can set you up for failure. Prioritizing changes according to their impact on your overall health can help make the immense task of transforming your lifestyle easier to tackle. Ask your dietitian what the one thing you can do to make the most significant impact on your health is.

Can You Help Me With Meal Planning?

Some dietitians only provide general guidelines. However, some can help you create meal plans. Finding a dietitian who provides this service can help you get going by eliminating a time-consuming and sometimes confusing task.

What Role Does Genetics Play in My Weight?

The science behind how genetics affects weight is still developing. However, scientists know that some medical conditions can make it more difficult for people to lose weight. If you have one of these conditions, your dietitian/nutritionist can help you implement strategies to overcome your weight loss barriers.

Schedule a Consultation To Take Advantage of the Benefits of Working With a Weight Loss Dietitian

Ready to schedule that consultation? Please take the next step and take our matching quiz! We will use your answers to match you with the perfect registered dietitian nutritionist for your needs.

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About the author

Nicolette Star Maggiolo, RD, LDN
I'm a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist with education from Boston University and clinical training from both Brigham & Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. I specialize in helping the military and non-military individuals embrace nutrition as a partner in both their mental and physical health.

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The Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship is a recurring scholarship that’s open to all students of military families, both past and present. The next deadline to apply is April 1, and winners will be announced on April 30.
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