Nutritional counseling is relatively new to the mental health field. As more research is done, it becomes clear that our brains are closely related to the health of the rest of our body. Mental health professionals have long known about the link between mental illnesses and physical issues. However, most people don’t realize that there is a very strong connection between brain function and nutrition.
What is nutrition counseling?
Nutritional counseling is a process where a health professional helps an individual find out what they should and shouldn’t be eating. Do you know how many calories your body needs? What about specific vitamins or minerals? How much protein, fat or carbohydrates? A nutritional counselor can help answer those questions and more. They may also provide suggestions for healthy alternatives to certain foods, depending on the person’s situation.
Why would I need a nutrition counseling session?
What is nutrition counseling like?
The Initial Consult
It starts with the initial consultation with a nutrition counselor. During this time your counselor will get to know you better through interviews and surveys to get an idea of your current lifestyle and diet habits and if any nutrition interventions are needed. They’ll also do a physical exam, examining your height and weight to determine if you’re in the normal range.
What happens next?
The next step is to go over a dietary plan that will be customized for the person’s needs. The plan may change if it’s not working to improve a person’s health or weight loss goals. Dieters then check in with their counselor at intervals throughout the nutrition care process to report their progress and talk about any roadblocks they’ve run into when trying to achieve better nutritional status. They can also provide information on whether their body measurements have changed since the last appointment!
How many sessions do I need?
The length of time someone needs counseling is completely dependent on their own situation and what kind of habits they’re looking to change. If it’s something pretty simple, like an improved diet or caffeine reduction or simply adjusting their usual dietary intake, people can usually make significant changes in as little as six weeks. However, if the person is really struggling with a more complicated situation, they may need to commit to coming in for upwards of three months. The best way to determine this is by talking to your counselor about it first.
What are the benefits of working with a nutrition counselor?
Nutritional counseling can aid you in ways that you may never have imagined! The benefits of working with a nutrition counselor are vast, including:
- improved health (reduction or elimination of symptoms),
- increased self-esteem,
- increased body awareness,
- weight management (whether it is weight gain or weight loss)
- forming a therapeutic diet that will best meet the client’s unique health needs,
- improved eating habits (or formation of positive, healthy new ones),
- increased likelihood of maintaining healthier lifestyle changes in the future and curbing unwanted eating behaviors,
- nutrition education – how you food fuels your lifestyle and affects other factors, such as medication,
- increased awareness of nutrient intake,
- and more!