21 March 2012

My visit to the Dietitian for the first time ever!

Today I visited an accredited dietitian for the first time in my life, as part of a complimentary dietary consultation I've received through the Dietitian Association of Australia (won as a prize in a competition organised by DAA a few months back).

The consultation went for about 40 minutes. As part of the consultation, I was provided with a comprehensive nutrition education kit which contain lots of information about pretty much every thing I talk about in my blog! :)



1. What did we discuss?
  • Assessment & motivation to change
  • Current diet
  • Glycemix Index
  • Snacking
  • Portion sizes

2. My assessment results
  • BMI is in the healthy range
  • Waist circumference is in the healthy range – she said you need to be under 80 cm 
  • Physical activity: currently I do 4 hours of Zumba class per week 
She suggested I should do some weights, while (deliberately) looking at my arms (I was wearing a sleeveless dress - thank you very much!)

3. Current diet 
Breakfast
The reason why I’m not losing any weight came up in the first question: “What do you usually have for breakfast?”….
  • 1 cup of low fat yogurt – good
  • ½ cup of muesli, granola type or honey roasted – very bad!

Lunch & dinner – she thought my diet was very good and balanced
I explained I like to finish my meals with something sweet, a dessert (ie: fruit, yogurt, a square of dark chocolate), she said that with my current diet, it’s absolutely fine.
I also explained I don’t enjoy eating meat that much. I eat some but I can easily survive without it! Currently I eat Chicken 1x or 2x a week (kind of force myself). Ham 2x week. Fish 2x a week. Eggs 1x a week. Lamb 2x a month. Beef (mince) 1x a month. Pork 1x a month or less.
I actually really like eggs but heard many bad things about them. She explained I can eat up to 6 eggs a week, unless I have cholesterol (I don’t). Good news!
She recommended I eat more beef – I almost never do.  
Finally, she reminded me that on the evening it is important to eat at least 3 hours before going to bed. Which I try to do now but didn't for many years.

Snacks - she was happy (a few raw almonds or a fruit)
She explained a snack, if any, should be less than 100 calories.

Her recommendations for me to lose weight
She really didn't have much to say about my diet and portion sizes - which I kind of knew.
So if my diet is good already and I already don't eat too much, then how can I lose weight (apart from starving myself)?  
  1. Change my breakfast cereals to a porridge type (yuk) or to plain/low GI muesli
  2. Suppress snacking (especially nuts)
  3. Increase exercise to be a minimum of 30 min a day (brisk walk or weight on non-Zumba days)
At the end of the consultation I asked a couple of additional questions, out of interest. Here is a summary of what I asked. 

4. Questions & Answers

Why measure waist circumference?
Measuring your waist circumference is a simple check to tell how much body fat you have and where it is placed around your body.  No matter what your height or build, an increased waistline is a sign that you could be at greater risk of developing serious ongoing health problems.  

Difference between a Dietician and a Nutritionist? 
The key difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist is that, in addition to or as part of their qualification in human nutrition, a dietitian has undertaken a course of study that included substantial theory and supervised and assessed professional practice in clinical nutrition, medical nutrition therapy and food service management.
Therefore, in Australia, all dietitians are considered to be nutritionists however, nutritionists without a dietetics qualification cannot take on the specialised role of a dietitian.

5. Conclusion
I need to exercise more if I want to lose these extra few kilos.
I felt like I didn't learn many things I didn't already know but that's because of my many years of research on the nutrition and weight management topics (and the whole reason this blog exists!).
It was still nice to get a professional opinion about the way I eat and the choices I make based on what I've learnt during my 23 years of growing up in France.
I though the dietitian herself was pretty good. She works in Sydney (in 3 different locations) contact me if you want her name.

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