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What Happens When You Meet With a Dietitian?

Fitday Editor

Let me share what typically happens when a new client walks into our first meeting. He or she says some version of the following: "I know I will never be able to eat what I like once I start, so for the last couple of nights, I gorged on all the pasta, bread and sugar I could eat."

People associate "diets" with deprivation, hunger and misery--but actually the truth is quite the opposite. When I start a program with a new client, I explain they do not have to feel hungry. Actually they will feel content, satisfied, have more energy, start feeling leaner and less thickness in the belly area.

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A good, healthy program has 3 well-balanced meals and 3 snacks. If that is not enough (which is rare), I recommend a person have low fat protein available, vegetables, and natural whole almonds. The most important factor for a new client is to be educated that they will not be hungry. I ask my client to eat until comfortable and then stop, but usually the client does not understand what that means. People tend to eat continually and many eat empty calories, such a pre-packaged junk foods. These empty calories make them crave more unhealthy food without ever making them feel full and satisfied. Once my client starts eating healthy meals with healthy snacks, he or she gets a great sense of well-being and always reports back feeling comfortable and satisfied. After a few weeks, the client is never hungry, has tremendous energy, sleeps better, thinks better and has less aches and pains. Of course there will be times that they may have a craving. My advice is to take a small serving and get that craving out of their system. It will not mean they are off the new system of eating; it will be just part of the journey to their healthy well-being.

"I used to weigh X and now I weigh Y. Help!"

I realize that when some of my clients come into my office, they are obsessed with the number on the scale. To some, whatever that number reads, it reflects who they are. Some of them weigh themselves two to three times a day, which generally makes them scale prisoners. They don't understand that the scale, while it does give us a general idea of our weight, in fact, does not take into account for muscles mass, water retention or where women might be in their menstrual cycle.

So many of my clients will come into my office and expect a huge weight loss, but regretfully have not loss any weight at all. They feel they stayed within a certain calorie program. However when I go through their daily calories, I find that the calories are empty calories, starchy, sugary calories that have no nutrients or fiber. All calories are not created equal. Our bodies need nutritional value in food, fiber for digestion and to stabilize blood sugar. If a person eats 1,000 calories of sugar starch and fats, their metabolism is not working effectively, in order to have proper weight loss all factors of nutrients and fiber need to be required.

"Nuts and fruits are my snacks, why am I not losing weight?"

Nutrition for good health is not necessarily compatible with weight loss. For example, almonds are a wonderful source of healthy fats and essential vitamins; however, eating handfuls at a time will pack on pounds, 1 cup of almonds is 546 calories. Of course fruits are a wonderful source of fiber and vitamins, which are important to good health. At the same time, fruits are made up of simple sugars, so for many of us overweight Americans, fruits need to be consumed in small quantities to maximize metabolism. Three servings of fruit can amount to 100-200 calories.

I often suggest 1 cup of fresh pineapple to snack on between meals. Most clients are convinced it's a bad fruit because it has too much sugar. Fresh pineapple contains 131% of the daily value of vitamin C, which helps protect the body against viruses and builds strong defenses against infections. Also, it has generous amounts of vitamin B6, thiamin, copper, magnesium and dietary fiber. Pineapple has an important enzyme called bromelain, which has been linked with compounds that reduce inflammation and a certain degree of swelling and helps to digest high protein foods. Pineapple also contributes to fast recovery from surgical procedures and wounds. So, my clients who are convinced pineapple is a bad fruit, when educated and taught about moderation, pineapple helps remove the stigma of dieting because it helps to manage food cravings by delivering a natural sugar fiber punch, instead of reaching for a candy bar or ice cream .

"Ack! I went off the program for a few days!"

"Just part of the journey," I say. Get right back on track and don't look back and do not judge yourself, everyone has times when it is a challenge. I tell my clients, "Life is a challenge, weight control is an education and a journey. Make a complete life change, for a LONGER, THINNER, HEALTHIER LIFE."

Barbara Crosby is a nationally known Nutritionist and Behavior Therapist specializing in weight loss and eating disorders. She wrote this article with help from her daughter, weight loss counselor and fitness trainer, Keri Crosy Godfrey. Barbara is president and founder of The Motivational Center with offices in Valley Stream, NY and Manhattan. She earned an MS degree in Science and Nutrition at Adelphi University. She was a founder of the national Diet Center chain. Her clients include celebrities, media executives as well as fitness and medical professionals. For more than a decade she created and supervised the Diet and Nutrition departments at Equinox fitness clubs in New York City. Barbara has been interviewed and featured in national publications including Fitness, Bazaar Allure, GQ and Family Circle and has appeared on the Maury Povich Show, 60 Minutes and PBS specials. She is an executive member of the American Red Cross, working on developing nutrition programs for the school systems. She has been working with Mindy Gorman, diet coach and founder of the Live Love and Laugh Skin Cancer Foundation, for 10 years. Barbara can be reached via email at

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