What Is Nutritional Counseling?

Nutritional counselors, also known as dietitians, help patients identify and manage food and nutrition-related concerns through short- and long-term treatment strategies. Nutritional counseling is commonly applied to patients experiencing neuromuscular or musculoskeletal disorders, digestive ailments, obesity, diabetes, menopause, pregnancy, allergies, among other conditions.By analyzing and assessing diet and exercise habits, nutrition is seen as a key factor in establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Without adequate nutrition, a large number of diseases can ensue in part due to the vulnerability placed on the body. Nutritional counselors aim to find integrated ways to set goals and help patients achieve them. When nutritional counselors assess patients, individual profiles are analyzed. The information the patient receives from the counselor is contingent on their lifestyle (vegetarianism, for instance), age, life stage (menopause, pregnancy), and medical history.Nutritional Counseling incorporates weight monitoring and education about weight, food records, self-control strategies, meal planning, and problem-solving skills. Instruction of food planning and self monitoring is seen as instrumental in getting patients to follow a specified program.The Work of Dietitians
Dietitians and nutritionists plan nutrition programs, helping to prevent and treat illnesses by promoting healthy eating habits while addressing dietary imbalances. They also recommend specific dietary changes to fit a person’s temporary condition. (Recommending extra folate for pregnant women, for instance.) Dietitians often work in hospitals and schools, applying their services through education and research. Clinical dietitians provide nutritional services to patients in institutions by assessing patients’ nutritional needs, developing and recommending nutrition programs, and evaluating the results with other professionals to coordinate medical and nutritional needs. Community dietitians counsel individuals and groups on nutritional practices aimed to prevent disease and promote health. They work as independent contractors with healthcare facilities or engage in their own private practice, screening clients’ nutritional needs and offering regulated approaches meeting them.Eating Disorders
The American Dietetic Association (ADA) sets guidelines and protocols for the practice of nutritional counseling. In 1996, it defined guidelines for medical nutrition therapy for many medical conditions related to nutrition, which included eating disorders.The American Psychiatric Association (APA) considers nutritional counseling as one of the most important treatment elements for people with eating disorders. Nutritional counseling is viewed for its role in motivating patients to agree to reestablishing healthy eating habits. In this context, nutritional counseling is seen holistically, in terms of how it fits into ongoing support to patients and their families.Nutritional counseling in this context attempts to correct irregular eating habits, replacing it with a balanced approach to food and weight control. It provides a synthesis of information and practices, drawing from many fields including cognitive-behavioral, relational, and educational techniques. It is considered a part of overall treatment, not as a single-source approach. As such, it employs the support of other treatment methods, which can include psychotropic medications and psychological counseling.Collaborative rapport between patient and counselor is considered essential for treatment success. The counselor addressed entrenched food beliefs, behaviors and attitudes revolving around food, how, when, and how much to eat it – amounting to a complex equation. Counseling environments must be secure, safe, and supportive, where the patient receives helpful information from the counselor in a direct but non-intrusive manner.How Nutritional Counseling Can Help Overall Health: Counseling can clarify questions related to nutrients, calories, and special food needs, showing what to look for when reading food labels. They can help sort through healthy cooking alternatives in real-life contexts while teaching strategies of self-control. (One may learn how to better select items from a restaurant menu, for example.)Digestive Problems – Dietitians or Nutritionists jointly work with physicians to establish dietary plans that are in keeping with a patient’s condition. They may recommend the removal of fried foods, spices or carbonation, while recommending other alternatives.Diabetes – Counseling can provide healthy food alternatives without sacrificing taste.Pregnancy – It can help ensure a pregnant woman is getting all the nutrients she needs, especially during the first three months of pregnancy, the crucial period that may affect a newborn’s risk for developing neural tube or spinal cord defects.Conditions that May Benefit from Nutritional Counseling HIV, Cancer, Hypertension, Organ Dysfunctions, Hypoglycemia, and Heart Disease.Most eating disorder centers and residential programs offer nutritional counseling. The benefits of receiving nutritional counseling includes improved ability to concentrate, a boosted immune system, stabilized moods, more energy, aid in recovery of eating disorders, and increase in overall health.

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Increase Fat Loss by Nutritional Journaling

Fat loss continues to be one of the most popular topics in health and fitness and people are always looking for new ways to lose weight and improve the way they look. Companies are always promoting new and often untested products such as pills, powders, creams, exercise equipment, and diets to promote fat loss, but the vast majority of these things are marketing gimmicks that are rarely as effective as previously established methods for losing fat. One such proven method for increasing fat loss that often goes overlooked is nutritional journaling.If you are unfamiliar with the concept of nutritional journaling, it is basically just writing down what you eat and drink throughout the day, although there are many different ways to go about keeping a nutrition journal. A journal can be very thorough or much more simplistic, but keeping virtually any type of nutrition journal should increase the amount of fat you lose.It may not seem as though keeping track of what you eat and drink would significantly affect fat loss, but you can see how powerful nutritional journals are by taking a closer look at the most popular and enduring weight loss businesses. Most popular programs do not necessarily use a journal, but they generally use something to help you keep track of what you eat. This typically involves things like following a point system or eating pre-made meals that have specific calorie contents.Regardless of what system is used, the real benefits come from making you keep track of what you eat and drink and not from some special characteristic of one particular system. Some people will certainly prefer one system over another, but the specific system is not really all that important. By tracking your eating and drinking habits, you become more aware of everything that you put into your body. As a result, your unconscious eating habits start becoming more conscious eating choices.In other words, by keeping track of foods, calories, points, etc., you are actually increasing your awareness about how and what you eat. Many people have poor eating habits and they often don’t realize how much or how frequently they eat. By following this type of system, you can stop being a slave to poor eating habits and start making more conscious decisions about what you put into your body.Fortunately, you don’t have to sign up for one of those programs, because you can get almost all the same benefits from keeping a nutritional journal on your own. A personal nutrition journal doesn’t have to contain every little detail about what you eat and drink, although a journal with more useful information generally results in greater fat loss over time. However, even a simple journal with very basic information may significantly improve your fat loss.Just the act of writing down the items you eat and drink, along with the time you had them, will make you think more seriously about your nutritional choices. For instance, if you are supposed to be eating healthy and you find yourself writing down a lot of junk food or other empty calories, you will see how much you are straying from the way you are supposed to eat. Then the next time you start to have chips or cookies, you will probably think about having to write it down, which by itself may make you stop and choose something healthier or have a smaller portion instead.Keeping this type of basic journal is very quick and easy and you do not need any special equipment. You can use a pen and paper, computer, iPhone, or whatever else works for you. The only thing is that you should write down what you eat/drink fairly soon afterwards, because if you wait too long, you may forget some things or the information will otherwise not be as accurate. The more accurate your information, the more it will help you.If you are willing to put forth a little more effort with your nutritional journal, you can also use it to fine tune your nutrition program and further improve your overall health and fat loss over time. To get more out of your nutritional journal, I still recommend keeping track of what and when you eat and drink, but you will also have to look at more specific components of your food. At the minimum, you should keep track of total calories, calories from fat, calories from protein, calories from carbohydrates, and grams of fiber.You can go further and break things down even more to include variables such as calories from sugar, calories from trans-fats, calories from saturated fat, etc. In these cases, the important thing is to have the information be in numerical form and have almost every category use the same type of measurement. For example, in the above categories, everything is broken down into number of calories per item/ingredient. You don’t have to use calories, but it is probably the easiest.The issue is that much of this information will not originally be listed in terms of calories, but rather grams. The problem with grams is that all grams are not equal in terms of calories. For instance, one gram of carbohydrate or protein is about 4 calories, alcohol is 7 calories, and fat is 9 calories, so simply writing down everything in terms of grams does not really provide a clear picture of your overall nutritional intake. By converting everything into calories, you can easily compare your intake of each type of ingredient to find out what you need to add or what you should consume less.On the other hand, fiber does not have any calories, so you should still record it in grams, because you want to eat at least 25 grams per day. Your fiber should ideally come from both soluble and insoluble sources, but most of it will probably be insoluble. In any case, if you see that you are not getting close to the minimum 25 grams of fiber, you should make it a priority to eat more foods that are high in fiber. However, without keeping track of your fiber intake, you may not even realize that you need more fiber. These types of changes are important, because improving fiber intake can cause significant your long-term health and fat loss.Some people choose to track their nutrition in even greater detail and additionally record their intake of vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients. However, I would not recommend nutritional journaling for anything this involved as it would take way too much time and effort. If you want stats on everything, there are numerous computer programs available to help you keep track of all this information. For most people, a more basic nutritional journal will work just as well.If you have never tried keeping a nutritional journal, it may sound like more effort than it is worth, but this is certainly not the case. The most basic journals are easy to keep and take very little time and keeping a nutritional journal really does increase your awareness and makes you more accountable for your eating habits. This can be very empowering, but it also makes you take responsibility for how and what you eat, which is probably one of the big reasons why many people are unwilling to try nutritional journaling.It is certainly easier to follow your regular eating habits without giving them much thought and if you have good nutritional habits, this approach may be fine. Unfortunately, many people do not have the best eating habits and this is problematic, because so much of long-term health and fat loss success is dependent developing good habits. Keeping a nutritional journal will let you identify the problems in your current eating program and help motivate you to replace bad eating habits with good ones over time.There really are many different ways that keeping a nutritional journal can help improve your nutritional habits and ultimately your fat loss, so I hope you at least give a simple journal a try. Keeping a nutrition journal often results in more significant improvement than people first expect, but it works best when you are honest, accurate, and consistent with your journal. In any case, a nutritional journal will certainly give you better results than the next new miracle pill or similarly gimmicky health and fitness product that promises great results with minimal effort.