Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dietary Advice

My back pocket is virtually empty right now. Being a newbie in the world of health and wellness, I haven't yet developed an extensive network of professionals that I can turn to for advice. Or turn my clients to if they need help beyond what I am trained to offer. Specifically, medical or dietary advice. Especially dietary advice because we all know that a good diet goes hand-in-hand with a great fitness routine. And while I'm comfortable giving the occasional diet-related opinion, expert I am not. Which is why, when a fellow trainer spoke very highly of a woman at a local diet center, I decided to reach out.

Never have I ever met with a dietitian or nutritionist, so when the owner told me she'd walk me through a typical orientation, I was equal parts excited and nervous. I like my weight, but would she? And wait—I have to fast for four hours before our meeting?! Oh, man. I might not survive.

To my great surprise, the diet center did not disappoint. I arrived to a very welcoming environment and was promptly asked to fill out their standard paperwork. (No, I don't have heart issues. Yes, I sometimes drink alcohol. Etc.) I also had to write down what I ate on Monday. She put this information into a computer, after which she weighed me. Then she said, "now it's time for me to assess your body fat." But the look she gave me while saying just that made it sound more like "now it's time for me to asses your body fat even though I'm sure that terrifies you to no end and I apologize ahead of time if you don't like the results but that's why you're here so get over it." It was comforting, to say the least. Turns out, a healthy 18.8% of my body is fat. She also calculated my resting metabolic rate. Or, the calories I need to take in every day simply to exist—1,547. If I were a true client at the diet center with realistic weight loss goals, we would have taken our discussion a step further to get a new metabolic rate that supported my weight loss goals. (I should have made something up, darn it!)

When all is said and done, every client walks away from their orientation with a chart that outlines three periods of activity. Reduction, stabilization and maintenance. All of which I recognized from my studies. Lose the weight, learn how to keep it off and then keep it off for good. And that's why meeting with someone at a diet center is so beneficial. They can talk you through each step and offer corresponding advice about food, nutrition and exercise. Though when it comes to exercise, they're more concerned with frequency and duration. They leave the details to the personal trainers they network with.

If you're in my area and want specifics about the diet center I reached out to, I've got it all in my back pocket now. I would feel completely comfortable recommending this woman and her business to to any of you. And if you're not in my area, I imagine there'd be someone just like her in yours. It really is worth it to reach out to a dietitian or nutritionist if you're struggling. Begone with fad diets, super shakes and pre-made, chemical-filled meals. Learn how to eat correctly and you'll truly make breakthroughs.

And I'd like to know, dear readers, if any of you have ever met with a dietitian or nutritionist for help? I didn't get the full experience yesterday, and I would love to hear what it's like beyond the orientation.

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