So you finally made an appointment with a nutritionist. After complaining to your regular physician (and your friends and family) for years about your digestive discomfort, your weight fluctuation, and your terrifying times in the bathroom, you realized that perhaps it was time to speak to someone who is specifically educated in diet and nutrition. Your blood work and x-rays from your regular doctor’s office keep coming back regular, but nothing about your tummy feels regular, so you know that’s not right. The truth is that, while some doctors have some training in diet and nutrition, that only makes up a very small portion of their medical training. That’s a real shame since, often, food is at the root of health issues that we just throw expensive medication and procedures at. So it’s definitely worth it to consult a nutritionist, as well as your regular doctor. Here are questions to ask your nutritionist.
How much should I weigh?
The difference between how much you’d like to weigh how much you should actually weigh may surprise you. You might find that you’re aiming too low, and pursuing a dangerously small number that will affect your health. You may also find that (oops) the number you’re going for still puts you in the overweight range.
How quickly should I lose weight?
Don’t just try to lose as much weight as quickly as possible—this is dangerous. Talk to your doctor about a safe pace at which you can and should lose weight. Typically, most nutritionists will say around one to two pounds a week.
I love this bad food; what can I have instead?
You know what your problem area is. You’re sitting in front of an expert, so you may as well confess. If you love this or that bad food, ask her what you can replace it with, to still get your fix, but not cause health issues.
Can we talk about serving sizes?
So many people are way off when it comes to serving sizes. Don’t forget that things like your gender, age, and activity level affect how much you should have of common foods like meat and carbohydrates.
Can you make me a shopping list?
Your nutritionist will probably be glad to make you a shopping list. Once she knows what your goals are, in what ways you’d like to feel better, and what you like to eat, she can make you a list that’s easy for you to buy and satisfies your taste buds.
Why do I experience this weird symptom?
You should absolutely tell your nutritionist everything you know! Tell her how often you go to the bathroom, what your stool looks and smells like, if and when you bloat, if and when you feel cramps. She may be able to point to a simple dietary change that would help.
These are my conditions; what should I eat?
You should also notify your nutritionist of any health conditions you have such as cardiovascular disease, psoriasis, arthritis and so on. She can tailor your diet to your issues.
Which vitamins should I make sure to get?
There are some vitamins and minerals that most humans are deficient in. Talk to your doctor about your current diet, and she can identify which vitamins and minerals you may be lacking in.
Where do I get those?
Your nutritionist can also tell you in which foods you can find rich sources of those vitamins and minerals. She may also be able to recommend supplements she knows and trusts.
Are my genetics important here?
Probably! So tell your nutritionist all you know about your family’s health, and ask how that might affect what you should be eating, or how it could be influencing your symptoms.
How should I eat for my mental and emotional health?
You can really put your diet to work when it comes to mental and emotional health, but so few people do. If you struggle with depression or mood swings, ask your nutritionist which foods you should avoid, and which ones you should seek out.
How should I eat to be regular?
Talk to your nutritionist about your bowel movements, and ask her what you can eat to regulate them. Look: everybody wants more comfortable poops. Don’t pretend you don’t. A nutritionist can help with that.
Do I have any allergies or sensitivities?
If you haven’t already had an allergy test done, now is the time. While you may have tried eliminating commonly known irritants like gluten and dairy, it’s possible that you have a more specific allergy wreaking havoc on your body.
Can food help fight pain?
Food can absolutely fight things like pain and inflammation. It can also make those things worse. If you struggle with chronic pain, ask your nutritionist how you can alter your diet to fight that.
How can I boost my immune system through diet?
Your diet is your first defense when it comes to fighting off illness. Ask your nutritionist for an immunity-boosting diet for cold and flu season (and for every time of the year, really).