For those who are struggling and are ready to stop dieting, reaching out for professional help is the first step. Here’s what to expect when you do.
It takes a lot of courage to reach out to work with nutrition professionals who are often depicted as the food police. Some of the typical questions that go through one’s mind include:
Will I be shamed for what I’ve been eating? Will all my favorite foods be taken away? Will they make assumptions about my health based on my size?
Fortunately, this is the opposite of what you would experience if you reach out to work with a dietitian or other qualified health professional who focuses on intuitive eating and a non-diet approach.
By the time someone reaches out for help, they are tired of struggling with food and their body.
They have been subjected to the fear-mongering media and don’t know what’s the truth anymore, and often carry a tremendous amount of guilt or shame. Understanding this allows a non-diet professional listen and empathize with you. Let’s address some of these common concerns that may keep potential clients from reaching out for help.
1. Don’t expect lectures.
Lecturing or trying to transform people into something they’re not doesn’t work…ever. Most “diet programs” don’t have your body’s best interest in mind, and are too busy planning and teaching instead of listening to what your body needs. Besides, no one is superior to you. Everyone, including health professionals, are just humans trying to figure out life too and want to journey alongside you. Therefore, sessions with a non-diet professional often resemble good conversation around a coffee table.
2. They understand you are terrified.
We all know what it feels like to be judged. But consider the fact that you may actually be going in with preconceived judgments instead. For instance, it’s easy to presume that a dietitian eats kale salads all day and spends hours at the gym. In reality, they probably enjoy pizza as much as salad and get enjoyable movement in my day when I can. No one expects you to eat perfectly, and a non-diet professional understands that judgement and shame have never helped anyone grow.
3. You won’t disappoint anyone.
Even if you talk about the same thing for 5 sessions in a row, you come to sessions with nothing new to share, or just can’t eat a single vegetable that week, you are not a disappointment. You aren’t on this journey to impress anyone else other than yourself. The fact that you have the desire for a healthier relationship with food and your body is enough.
4. Your story matters.
The point of working with a professional is to work together to develop a plan that can best help you. To do so, it all starts with your unique story, and having transparent conversations is key. A non-diet professional can help provide a space that feels safe so you can trust them with your health.
5. You will be empowered.
There is no need to apologize for for your past or continue negative self-talk. A big part of the healing process is work through and soften the constant shaming and bullying so you can make forward progress. Apologizing continues to cloud how you perceive your worthiness, and no one wants to take care of a body they hate. When you are able to treat yourself kinder, you will feel empowered and confident to make healthful choices.
No one else will know exactly what it’s like to be in your body, but educating a professional who can help you understand you and the intentions behind your actions can help you find clarity. They won’t promise a quick fix, but prepare you for a journey. They will ask questions on areas in your life that seemingly have nothing to do with food to better understand your health as a whole. You won’t be weighed and viewed as a number, because scales are an inaccurate measurement of health.
Most importantly, you will discover a whole new definition of health so you can live your most happy, fulfilling life.
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: RUTHSON ZIMMERMAN
Haley Goodrich, RD, LDN is a private practice Registered Dietitian based in Pittsburgh, PA inspiring others to have a healthy relationship with food. Specializing in disordered eating, intuitive eating, and digestive health, Haley’s mission is to show that healthy doesn’t have to be restrictive or defined by how you compare to others. To stay inspired to be your healthiest you, visit Haley at INSPIRD Nutrition.