When a new patient calls Rebecca Bitzer and Associates to set up an appointment with a Registered Dietitian, it is quite often that I am asked “How can a Dietitian help me?” or “What happens during that first appointment?” or “What does the Dietitian even do?”
An RD is a medical professional, whose expertise in food, nutrition, and the human body can help individuals with a variety of health issues, ranging from a more basic healthy eating plan to aid in weight loss to more complicated issues such as eating disorders and gastrointestinal malfunction.
Some of the most common diagnoses we encounter are:
In fact, most health disparities can benefit from one-on-one counseling from a Registered Dietitian. Understanding what, when, and how to eat allows many of our patients to alleviate symptoms, reduce medications, take control of their health, and achieve the results they’ve always desired.
So what exactly happens at that initial consultation?
Well, a lot of things really. Not every first appointment is exactly the same as each consultation is tailored to the individual’s needs, but there are a few things that you are bound to experience. The first thing the Dietitians usually do is ask the patient why he or she is here. This allows the RD to get a good sense of the patient’s wants, needs, and goals. Standard measurements, such as weight and height, are taken and BMI is often calculated. From there the RD will ask what the patient’s typical diet consists of, which allows them to pinpoint what changes can be made to reach the aforementioned goals. Then the Dietitian works with the patient to determine what types of foods should be eliminated or added to the diet and addresses any behavioral changes that may need to be worked on. Exercise regimens are also discussed at this point. Patients often receive educational handouts, which differ based on the diagnoses, to take home with them. They can take home meal ideas, recipes, and detailed menus as well. RDs may also utilize the latest technology to measure patients resting metabolic rate, body fat and lean mass percentages, micronutrient intake and more to better assess patients needs. They can incorporate your favorite websites, smart phone apps, and inspirational material into your plan as well. Each of these things is done so that you see results. The RDs at RBA help you improve your relationship with food to give you ownership of making healthy choices. While each person’s first experience with a Registered Dietitian is likely to be slightly different, and each patient’s appointment is very personalized, the first consultation is relatively standard and is a wonderful opportunity for the patient and RD to begin their work together toward a healthier lifestyle!
If you are interested in setting up an initial consultation with one of our Registered Dietitians please contact us at 301-474-2499.
Blog updated September 2015.