Are you thinking about making an appointment to see a Registered Dietitian? Not sure what to expect? There are so many reasons to see a Registered Dietitian! From digestive troubles to diabetes maintenance to general healthy eating to abnormal bloodwork… the list goes on! An appointment with a Registered Dietitian can benefit most people with some concern they are having. If you decide to see a dietitian, you may be wondering what you can expect during your first nutrition appointment. What can you expect during your first nutrition appointment?
One question that I get in almost every conversation I have with a new client is “what will my first appointment be like?”
This is a great question, and one that has a different answer, depending on the nature of the visit. Many people see primary care physicians and are familiar with the process of seeing a specialist. But for a lot of our new clients, the experience with Rebecca Bitzer and Associates is the first experience they will have with a Registered Dietitian.
We want to make your encounters with our admin staff and Registered Dietitian as positive and successful as possible. So here are some things that you can expect from your first visit with your Registered Dietitian.
Prior to your appointment:
At Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, we have several dietitians with different specialties. When you make your initial appointment with our admin staff, they
will make sure to schedule you with a dietitian who specializes in your needs.
We have a dietitians who specialize in diabetes, digestive issues, food sensitivities, weight management, cholesterol, hypertension, PCOS, kidney disease, integrative nutrition, functional medicine, eating disorders, disordered eating and more. Being matched to the best dietitian to meet your needs is key. For instance, you would not go to a cardiologist for a broken leg or an oncologist for allergies. Just like medicine has become so specialized, so has the field of nutrition.
The benefit of working with our team is that you will be able to work with a dietitian who is often both personally and professionally passionate about improving your medical situation in a practical and realistic way.
What we need from you:
The information that you give us about the nature of your visit is given the dietitian, so they can over any lab results or growth charts that you have for us to make themselves familiar with your needs.
After speaking to our admin staff and making your appointment, information about the nature of your visit is passed onto the dietitian in which you have an appointment with. They will go over any lab results or growth charts that you have for us and make themselves familiar with your needs.
Then, they may choose to prepare some materials for you ahead of time and come up with some initial goals prior to your visit. It’s all about making sure that your visit goes smoothly and that you feel comfortable with your dietitian!
When you arrive at our Greenbelt, Maryland location, you will be greeted by our receptionist or one of our team members.
During your nutrition appointment:
The initial appointment, typically lasting about 45 minutes to an hour, is a time in which you and your dietitian will get to know each other and establish what you want to get out of your visits with them. Most of your time at the office will be spent talking with your dietitian because they want to get to know you as a person. This will help to make your plan of action fit you as an individual and work seamlessly into your life.
The goal is not to tell you that you can’t eat your favorite foods or that you must exercise in a specific way, but to work with you to make more manageable changes that help you. In addition, the dietitian will take this time to familiarize themselves with medical history or eating habits in order to build a successful nutrition plan and to make realistic goals.
Some questions you may hear could be:
- Have you seen a Registered Dietitian in the past?
- What is your job like?
- What are your hunger and fullness signals like?
- What does a “normal” day of eating look like to you?
- Do you ever experience emotional/stress eating?
- Are you ever faced with any GI distress?
- Do you like to cook?
- What are your stress and sleep habits like?
We are compassionate
It is important to remember that your dietitian is not there to pass judgement and they are only there to listen, assess the situation, and help you in the best way they can. Answer honestly so that you can get the most out of your session with the dietitian and feel free to ask some questions of your own.
The more that the dietitian knows about you and your life, the better they can help you. This is a time for you to build each others trust and remember that your dietitian is here to help you in the best way they can in order to get you feeling your best!
After you and your dietitian have developed a rapport, the nutrition education process can begin! This will vary widely depending on what you are interested in getting out of your appointment and what brought you into the office in the first place. Now is the time to ask questions that you may have, voice any concerns, and let the dietitian know what you may have in mind for future visits.
Once you have established some goals and focuses for the time until your next visit, your dietitian may have resources and other take homes for you to help you in the coming days, weeks, months, and even years!
After your dietitian appointment:
Your dietitian will be sure to schedule a follow-up in order to further discuss your progress and nutritional care. You may be asked to keep a food log or to follow-up over the phone or email if you are struggling. Remember: you can always reach out to your dietitian or our office staff if you need extra support in-between appointments. We truly want you to succeed!
Why see a private practice registered dietitian?
You can have as many appointments as you need, as often as you need.
Some people feel confident in managing their diet after a few consultations, others may want more appointments to discuss problems, ask questions and stay accountable for extended periods of time.
We are here to support you as much as you need. It is totally up to you.
We are here to help you along your journey to better health. You will be able to see the same Registered Dietitians for all of your appointments which fosters a longer term relationship and better success.
Longer appointment times means more time to listen, more time to care and therefore more individualized care for you and/or your family.You will receive individualized actionable items to help you progress along your health journey.
We are kind, compassionate and patient and will take your lead on how fast you want to take action.
Appointments can be arranged at a time to suit you, reducing the need to take time off work or arrange child care (evening and weekend appointments also available).
In addition to seeing you in person in one of our four locations in Maryland, we can also do telehealth appointments, taking the stress away from having to travel to see us in person.
Contributions for this updated blog made by Haley Kappey, nutrition intern, October 2019.
Interested in making your first appointment to see a Registered Dietitian? Click here or call us at 301-474-2499.
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Rebecca Bitzer loves to empower Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) and their clients. Co-author of Welcome to the Rebelution: Seven steps to the nutrition counseling practice of your dreams and Taste the Sweet Rebellion: Rebel against dieting.