What is a dietitian?
Have you worked with a Registered Dietitian (RD) before? RD’s are health professionals that are licensed to provide Medical Nutrition Therapy to clients, or diet recommendations specific to medical concerns or diseases such as heart disease, allergies, gastrointestinal issues, and more. In short, RD’s translate the science of nutrition and physiology into specific advice tailored to individuals’ needs.
Dietitians must obtain a Bachelor’s degree with courses in subjects like organic chemistry, nutritional physiology, counseling, and food science. They must also take part in a year of supervised clinical practice with rotations in settings such as hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, schools, and private practices. Finally, before becoming a certified RD, these professionals must pass a national board examination, keep up with continuing education, follow a code of ethics, and stay up to date on the latest research to provide evidence-based, science-backed recommendations.
Why is it important to have a dietitian?
Because weight loss is not a simple task and there is no one-size-fits-all diet plan, dietitians are a vital asset for someone trying to lose weight. There are thousands of diet programs out there, but if a strategy isn’t right for your body, your needs, and your medical background, you won’t see results.
When you have a plan that is customized to fit you and your lifestyle, your chances for success automatically increase. That’s why we have dietitians on staff here at Form, so you and your personal dietitian can look at your diet history, relationship with food, and eating habits before coming up with a realistic and sustainable plan to ensure you accomplish what you set out to do.
“A dietitian gives you the ongoing support, accountability and encouragement throughout a journey filled with lots of ups and downs. Together you work through challenges when they arise and continue to fine tune your plan to ultimately reach your weight loss goals,” Form’s Lead Dietitian, Julia Axelbaum explained.
What can a Form patient expect from their dietitian?
“What makes Form RDs unique is that we don’t just give people meal plans, instead we dig deep into the nitty gritty, getting right down to the core, to fully understand a person’s background, blockers, and needs, and create a specific action plan unique to them,” Axelbaum said.
You’ll be asked specific questions about your sleep, issues you’ve had in the past when working toward success, what your stress level is like, and more in order to evaluate your situation based on individual circumstances. Then, you’ll be given the tools to combat cravings and emotional eating as well as strategies to deal with negative thoughts that may be sabotaging your efforts.
Working with a dietitian means getting help to build the confidence you need to lose weight and keep it off, and maintain those changes for the rest of your life.
“It’s not just a diet or a superficial change, we take a whole person approach to health and wellness in a way that no one else does,” said Axelbaum.
Axelbaum shared some stories from her past in order to inspire those looking to lose weight, who may have not taken the first step yet.
When Axelbaum first started working with Donna, she learned that her patient was not able to use the stairs and would avoid going out in public because she was so embarrassed. Donna stayed at home and avoided contact with others, including her family and friends. She even had a new grandson that she wasn’t able to spend time with.
Donna worked with Axelbaum for about 2 years, creating one small goal at a time, and building confidence along the way.
“One of the very first goals we set was for her to step outside every morning to pick up the newspaper from her front lawn. To some this may seem small, but to Donna this was a very big deal! Instead of relying on willpower, we also created an environment that would help her be her best self,” Axelbaum explained. “We gave her fridge and cupboards a makeover, and filled her surroundings with foods she felt good about eating. After a lot of hard work and commitment Donna reached her goal weight and told me she now feels like a whole new person.”
Now, one of Donna’s favorite activities is going to the movie theatre, where she can feel comfortable walking up the stairs to her seat and not have to worry about fitting in it.
Another patient Axelbaum worked with said he needed to be told exactly what to eat every day in order to be successful. She agreed to give him a food plan, as long as he was open to the idea of the pair continuing to talk and work together, to dig deeper into where his weight loss struggles were coming from. He agreed, and over the next few months, one of the key barriers Axelbaum identified was Kevin’s struggle with emotional eating.
Kevin did great following the diet plan during the day, but at night, he would come home late from work, sit down to watch television, and snack mindlessly on high-calorie foods to de-stress. Together, Axelbaum and Kevin came up with alternative behaviors he could use to relax, which would feel rewarding for him but also not sabotage his weight loss efforts. Kevin started taking walks in the evening, meditating and even saw a therapist to work on his stress levels. Over time, Kevin’s new activities became second nature to him, and soon the weight started coming off.
“He told me that up until working with an RD he always thought he just needed a better diet plan to follow. It wasn’t until we identified what was really getting in the way, and really dug deep into it, that he was able to lose the weight and keep it off for good,” Axelbaum explained.