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Top Misconceptions about Dietitians and Nutrition Counselling

Author: Renu Puri

Date: 02-03-2023

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From misconceptions like ‘Dietitians are only beneficial if you want to lose weight’ to ‘dietitians judge you for your past dietary choices’, dietitians and nutrition counseling have been under the radar for almost a decade now. Some people are intimidated by the thought of consulting a dietitian while others think they don’t need nutritionists because they know everything about nutrition.


Regardless of it all, Dietitians have helped transform the health and nutrition space in unthinkable ways with the help of nutrition counselling. That is why today our dietitians at niwi.ai have collaborated to present you with a blog that debunks myths and misconceptions pertaining to dietitians and nutrition counselling. 


Introduction



Nutrition counselling is a hot-button topic that is a simple concept but is highly misunderstood by people. “Dietitians” are often viewed as hard taskmasters who are supposed to be intimidating and strict with no empathy for people who love food. We have had clients tell us how they had these misconceptions before they associated themselves with us and honestly, these kinds of myths and misconceptions often lead to conflicting views on the word ‘dieting’ making people shy away from seeking help.


Trust us when we say this – Not all dietitians want you to eat broccoli and kale for all 3 meals every day! Some of us genuinely want to help you be the best version of yourself and make you aware of what good nutrition entails to help you lead a healthy life. A lot of our readers send us emails about stories of past experiences with dietitians that were … eh… not so pleasant! Just like all humans are different, so are all dietitians. To categorise all as mean and selfish due to a handful of bad experiences would not be fair to others who work hard to bring about a positive change in the world. 


Not just dietitians, nutrition counselling is equally crucified in today’s world by people who claim to know everything. Some people sing praises of the Keto diet while others encourage counting calories to achieve fitness goals. With so many diet options available to us, which one should we really consider choosing?


Well, you see ‘diet’ is not a one size fits all approach. Every diet should run parallel to your fitness goals. Prescribing a weight loss diet to someone wanting to gain muscle would have completely adverse effects. We believe a thorough evaluation of your body type, genetic makeup, fitness goals, daily schedules, etc. is required to prescribe any kind of diet so it is personalised to your goals and you can achieve your goals in the right amount of time. 


With multiple diets emerging as we speak, it is difficult to know which one would be the ideal one for you. Experts have also stated their safety concerns, especially with diets that claim to “Make you lose 5 kilos in a day”. These diets include harmful chemicals like laxatives and fat-burning pills and people who are not acquainted with the medical terminology of certain substances often fall prey to these diets and bear the brunt later on. These illegitimate diets have taken the lives of many adults with big aspirations.


Beth Shipsey, a 21-year-old woman from Worcestershire passed away after taking illegal diet pills as a part of a new “trendy” diet. Eloise Parry, Chris Mapletoft, and many others succumbed to these “magic weight loss” pills prescribed to them in an illegitimate diet that they found on the internet. 


We always encourage our clients to seek professional help and not to shy away from exploring dietitians and nutrition counselling. Go online and read reviews, or a much better approach would be to call the dietitian and speak to him/her about all your concerns before finalising on which one you should pick. It is a dietitian’s job to educate you on what approach would work best for you and prescribe a diet that is compliant with your taste buds and fitness goals. 


Awareness, discipline and education are the three most important pillars to lead a healthy life. You can consult 100 of the best dietitians in the world but if you don’t know and understand the significance of what you are putting in your body, it would be of no use. That is why, all of the registered dietitians at niwi.ai make it a priority to make you aware of what diet you’re getting, how it would benefit you, and the effects of all the foods you are being prescribed. This way, our clients feel assured that they’re in the right hands and are being given the absolute best treatment. 


Being certified nutritionists in the health and nutrition space for decades now, we wanted to take the matter into our own hands and set the record straight! Without further ado, let’s dive into the most common misconceptions about dietitians and nutrition counselling. 


1) The nutritionist will take control of your life


A lot of people, including myself, want to have full control over our lives. Some people shy away from nutrition counselling because they feel like they may lose that ‘control’ factor and have to be dependent on a third person for guidance. It is not true at all!


A good dietitian would never want you to be dependent on them, they would rather take out additional time to educate you on what you are having, include your preferences in diet plans, and motivate you to keep going! Nutritional counselling is not a one-way approach, it is a customised team-based approach where you and your diet coach can work together to inculcate healthy eating habits into your routine so you can be your healthiest without compromising on the taste factor, which is the major concern when one goes on a diet.


Many nutritionists go the extra mile and provide their clients with mouthwatering recipes, meal ideas, and alternatives for when they feel like they don’t want to eat the same boring thing. So, if you feel like your nutritionist is trying to impose certain things on you and trying to take control of your life, then you need to expand your search and look for a good nutritionist who can help you the ‘right’ way.


2) They would make you count calories


False, false, false!


Dietitians go above and beyond to get their certifications and to be honest, the completion of their certifications and degrees is just the starting point of their learning. It is a lifelong journey and experience that comes from helping different types of clients reach their goals. I am not trying to ridicule the whole concept of calorie counting, but let’s be real – it is not sustainable. In this day and age where people do not have time for eating meals on time, calorie counting can feel like a cumbersome task. 


At niwi.ai, we never encourage our clients to count calories, unless it’s their personal choice. Instead, we work on achieving a healthy balance of various food groups to certify that you are fueling up your body at the right times and getting all the goodness of nutrition.


People can find success in their journey using different methods, so if you are not into calorie counting, make sure to convey it to your dietitian before making the final payment.


3) Dietitians are only beneficial if you want to lose weight


Surprisingly, this notion is very prevalent in India and other Asian countries. First-world countries have always embraced nutrition counselling and the importance of dietitians for the betterment of health. No, dietitians are not only beneficial if you want to lose weight, they can help you achieve all your fitness and health goals – muscle gain, body toning, PCOS reversal, type-2 diabetes reversal, Kidney and Liver issues etc. 


Many people want to transition into veganism or follow a particular diet like Paleo, Keto, or Gluten-free that would be difficult to navigate alone. Dietitians can also inculcate a habit of intuitive eating which can really be advantageous in the long run.


Nutritional counselling is highly personalised. Whatever your problem areas and pain points are, a dietitian can create a health program that would be exclusive to your body and goals.


4) Diet plans given by dietitians are highly specialised and time-consuming 


This is also a misconception that has been floating around for ages now. I have also heard this along with another one that says healthy eating is only for the elites and rich people. As ridiculous as it sounds, people actually do think this way! However, it is far from the truth, at least for niwi.ai


Our approach to diet is very different from others. We create highly flexible diet plans that would work with your schedule. Eating outside is not sustainable, no matter how hard you work and how busy your schedule is. To follow a healthy diet, you have to start cooking. If you have the resources to hire a cook, then that would work too. Fresh food, healthy ingredients, and a great mindset is the recipe for good health. 


However, if you still think you can’t find the time to cook or afford a chef, you can start meal planning. It is an efficient way to ensure that you don’t lose track of your fitness journey. Many of your favourite celebrities and fitness influencers encourage and follow meal planning. For those who don’t know, Meal Planning is the action of deciding meals in advance using your schedule, preferences, foods on hand, seasonal produce, sale items, etc. It usually leads to grocery shopping once a week for the items needed and preparing the menu for some set days in advance to save time. 


5) Nutritionists may judge you and your past dietary choices


A professional nutritionist should NEVER, I repeat never, judge you for anything. Dietitians are also human and as much as we would love to think otherwise, we do have our cheat days where we relish calorie-heavy foods. I will tell you here and now, if you bring a plate of piping hot chole bhature near me, I am sure to feel the temptation as well. On movie nights, if my family is having pizza and they offer me a slice, I don’t say no. Then how do I stay fit and healthy? The answer is balance. 


Food is fuel for your body and to perceive it as your enemy is not the right approach. Instead, you should understand what foods carry the most nutritive values and try to consume those. Yes, you can also sneak in a doughnut or a red velvet pastry once in a while but incorporating those into your daily diet can be harmful to you. 


Nutritionists understand that with the variety of foods available in the market, one may sway towards making unhealthy choices. It is their duty to guide you towards the right eating choices. So don’t worry – Dietitians also enjoy their comfort foods and do not judge you for eating perfectly. To be honest with you, they might judge you if you tell them that your diet is spot on and you have never been swayed by temptation. ;)


If this is an assumption that is holding you back from consulting a dietitian, please be assured and reach out without any second doubts.


6) Nutritionists can’t help someone whose job requires them to travel often


Healthy eating is not something that is successful only with people who work 9-5, work from home or don’t work at all. While we do agree that cooking at home gives you an advantage of controlling what goes into the food, it is also not fair to leave out the ones who are always on the go from eating healthy.


Everyone has a different schedule; some have it by choice and others just have to do it to make ends meet and nutritionists totally understand that. If you are honest about your travel schedule, we can create diet plans that accommodate your eating choices on the road, in hotels, and everywhere in between so you can travel confidently. 


In fact, we had a very famous travel blogger couple (name undisclosed for obvious reasons) come to us last year because they felt that travelling was taking a toll on their health, skin and weight. The wife had gained 10 kilos in 1 year and the husband was not able to maintain a good physique due to all the travelling and hotel food. We had worked closely with them over a period of 1 year and the couple has successfully achieved their weight goals despite being on different continents throughout their association with us. 


We believe everything is possible, but with the right guidance and a strong mindset. If you feel like you can do it, no one can make you feel otherwise. 


7) A dietitian would not understand my mental state and eating disorders


Nutritionists understand the gravity of mental health and eating disorders. Shying away from admitting that you have an eating disorder will only push you farther away from your goal. 


At niwi.ai, we have always reinforced the idea of putting your mental health on the same pedestal as your physical health. If you have an eating disorder or are suffering from any mental health conditions, we make sure to go the extra mile to ensure that your recovery is our top priority. We are not regular nutritionists, once we enrol a client, they become a part of our family. 


If you have an eating disorder, be it bulimia, anorexia, binge eating, etc, please know that you are not alone. This assumption should be eliminated from the root as a nutritionist is the best person to guide someone who has a mental health condition, especially one like an eating disorder. 


Nutritionists are your friends, not foes… 



Nothing makes us happier than seeing our clients live their best life. We can proudly say that after decades of experience in the health and nutrition space, we have helped thousands of clients achieve their fitness goals - be it weight loss, muscle gain, reversing PCOS, or other health issues like diabetes, etc. Sometimes, no matter how dedicated you are in your fitness journey, you would need an accountability partner to guide you towards the best way to reach your goal while ensuring utmost safety. 


Our registered dietitians educate you on nutrition at every step and curate plans that include food options that can provide you with the maximum nutritional value. These diet plans are created considering your body type, genetics, activity levels, busy schedules, and even your tastebuds! Yes, you heard it right. We believe that a diet should never feel like a compromise, but rather a lifestyle that you can sustain, and that is why we recommend mouth-watering recipes that will take care of any cravings and make you feel like you never left junk food.


Ready for a health revolution? Join us on our mission to transform the nutrition landscape!


At niwi.ai, we have helped thousands of clients transform their lives and feel stronger, more energetic, and definitely more confident in how they look and feel, by improving their relationship with food!

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