The beginning of a new year inspires us to set goals and make changes in our life. One poll shows that 33% of Americans resolved to improve their diet and 37% resolved to lose weight in the year of 2023. Unfortunately, for many people the initial rush of energy and excitement wears off and their resolutions get lost in the reality of everyday life. There’s a reason why the second Friday of January is called “Quitter’s Day” to commemorate the majority of resolutions getting left behind.
If you find yourself setting lofty health and weight loss goals each year only to fall off the wagon within a few weeks, you are not alone. Too many people have this misconception that losing weight is simply a matter of practicing willpower and self-discipline. Words like “eat less”, “portion control”, “detox”, and “eliminate” are used over and over again. People trapped in the never-ending dieting cycle try again and again to “cut out” certain foods, but it never lasts.
Turns out, you don’t need strength to adopt healthier eating habits and get rid of excess weight once and for all – you simply need to change how you think about food. That’s where medical nutrition therapy can help.
Using Nutrition Counseling for Weight Management
A certified nutrition counselor uses a combination of counseling skills and nutrition expertise to help you make lifestyle changes and maintain a healthy weight. Nutrition counseling can help you eat a healthy diet that maximizes your physical vitality, mental focus, and mood. It can support you in controlling your cravings, boosting energy levels, and even managing chronic conditions like asthma, heart disease, or diabetes.
In simplest terms, nutrition counseling means creating personalized plans to address any imbalances in diet and using supplements to treat psychological issues (such as binge eating or emotional eating). At Atlanta Medical Institute, our nutritional counseling services include an assessment of nutrition history and meal planning (a tailored grocery list).
You will learn what food to avoid and what foods to consume to gain optimal health and well-being. Your nutrition counselor will discuss your food habits and current lifestyle to evaluate which vitamins and minerals you need to increase to reach your goals. Taking a hands-on approach to your diet, our nutritionists take special care to treat mood imbalances and conditions such as anxiety and depression.
How Does Nutrition Counseling Work?
Sometimes called dietary counseling, nutrition counseling is a form of therapy at its core. Its purpose is to help an individual develop healthy eating habits and maintain them for a long period of time (if not forever). The best method to achieve this change in behavior depends on the individual’s goals. Generally speaking, a person goes to a nutrition counselor to improve their health and well-being, which often means making adjustments to their diet.
For example, you might consider nutrition counseling if you want to manage your diabetes or lose weight. A dietitian will work with you to create a meal plan that not only improves your health, but is also easy to implement. If you have intense sugar cravings, for instance, your dietitian won’t just ask you to “stop buying sugary treats”. They will first determine why you crave sugar so much, and then use psychology and supplements to combat those cravings.
A medical nutrition counselor will work with you to develop strong self-regulating behaviors and a healthier relationship with food. Here’s what you can expect from your sessions:
- Keeping track of everything you eat (this may include the types of foods and beverages, their calories, time of day, etc.).
- Confronting your food choices and changing eating behaviors.
- Identifying triggers that make you binge or fall back into unhealthy eating patterns.
- Understanding how your food intake affects your health.
- Building healthy eating habits.
Do I Need Nutrition Counseling?
There are several reasons people seek nutritional therapy. At Atlanta Medical Institute in Georgia, we see many patients from all walks of life, and no two cases are ever the same. That said, one thing remains the same: they are all facing physical or mental roadblocks to healthy eating. People who have been diagnosed with certain chronic illnesses may also find themselves struggling to maintain their desired body weight. Some conditions that commonly impact nutrition and diet include:
- Eating disorder (binge eating, bulimia, anorexia, avoidant restrictive food intake disorder, etc.)
- Digestive disorder (such as irritable bowel syndrome)
- Cardiovascular disease
- Food allergies or intolerance
- Poor nutrition and eating patterns
- Heart diseases
If you’re suffering from any medical condition that complicates or limits your diet in some way, you can benefit from nutrition counseling. We highly recommend reaching out to our multidisciplinary nutrition coaching team to figure out how you can safely lose weight or manage your symptoms. You don’t have to do this on your own.
Lifestyle and Nutrition Counseling at Atlanta Medical Institute
Working with a nutrition counselor at Atlanta Medical Institute is a great starting point if you want to create an actionable self-care plan. In addition to offering nutritional advice and guidance, we help our patients identify and overcome psychological barriers that prevent them from following a diet plan effectively. Our nutrition care process involves the following steps:
Step 1: Nutrition Assessment
The first step is to interview you to determine your eating habits, and then use this data to come up with a nutritional diagnosis. This is a highly detailed evaluation of your body’s nutritional state to figure out if there’s any malnutrition in terms of vitamins, minerals, and micro-nutrients.
During this initial consultation, we measure your height, body weight, muscle mass, waist circumference, bone density, heart rate, blood pressure and other factors that may dictate how much food you need to consume. The goal is to determine if your current diet is meeting your nutrient requirements, which are based on your age, physical activity level, gender, medications and current medical conditions, and lifestyle choices. Based on all this data, we make an informed decision on what you need to eat to maximize your health.
Step 2: Nutrition Diagnosis
After the assessment is complete, your nutrition counselor will make a diagnosis. This diagnosis identifies and describes a problem with your nutrition, and outlines how it should be treated. For example, if you have diabetes, the diagnosis will focus on your carbohydrate intake to help you manage the condition.
Step 3: Nutrition Intervention
The intervention involves providing you strategies to handle the problems, which could be excessive weight and/or chronic health issues. The goal of this step is to change your behavior around your diet and lifestyle to improve your health. This step revolves around setting goals, planning your diet and grocery lists, and coming up with tips and tricks to help you stay on track. To ensure nutrition counseling is successful for you, our experts will customize the intervention specifically to your needs and lifestyle.
Step 4: Nutrition Monitoring and Evaluation
This is an ongoing process to monitor whether the intervention strategies are working or need to be adjusted.
Benefits of Nutrition Counseling at Atlanta Medical Institute
Our board-certified physicians and registered dieticians firmly believe in the age-old belief that you are what you eat. As such, our dietary counseling services are about more than “dieting”. They are based on a holistic approach to help people develop healthy eating patterns that support:
- Weight loss and management
- Food allergy management
- Nutrition after illness or surgery
- Disease prevention
Whether you want to completely overhaul your diet or simply want to get some healthy, easy-to-cook recipes, our counselors can help. Here are some of the benefits you can enjoy from our customized weight loss program:
Create Healthy Habits That Last a Lifetime
Nutrition is the foundation of a wholesome lifestyle. If you don’t get the right nutrients, you will have a hard time having sufficient energy to make it through your day. It can also make you more vulnerable to certain diseases. Doctors attribute coronary diseases and many cancers to obesity and poor eating habits. Increased risk of chronic diseases has also been linked to poor nutrition.
With personalized diet plans, you can learn about how certain nutrients affect your body and what foods (and supplements) you should be eating to lower the risk of disease. Once you learn about proper nutrition and how to apply it to your day-to-day life, you’ll find it easier to make better choices. You will learn habits and coping skills to make these changes last for a lifetime.
Meet Your Fitness Goals
Some people get great results from interval training, while some benefit more from endurance training (such as cardio). Everyone’s body is different, so not all workouts suit all people. Our counselors can recommend fitness programs in combination with your dietary changes for maximum impact. These recommendations will help you save time since you won’t need to find the best fitness regimen through painstaking trial-and-error.
The exercise routine will be based on your specific health information (age, height, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and more), meaning you will meet your fitness goals much faster.
Heal the Root Cause of Your Symptoms
The fad diet culture and even some medical treatments only work on the surface. They try to tackle your symptoms without taking a close look at the underlying issue of your health problems. Nutrition counseling, however, goes beyond the symptoms. It looks at how your food choices and eating habits in general might be contributing to your well-being. Once you have this information, we can start working on what’s actually affecting your health. In addition to feeling and looking better, you might notice a drastic change in your energy, memory, and concentration.
Better Management of Chronic Conditions
A major benefit of a science-based diet plan is its ability to help you manage chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Boosting your immunity and losing weight significantly reduce your risk of developing such debilitating conditions.
If you’re currently suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, or you had a surgery to remove part of your intestine (like a colectomy), you face high risk of inflammation, poor nutrient absorption, and malnutrition. A nutrition counselor can create a dietary plan for your condition to minimize your symptoms and keep you healthy.
Additionally, conditions like plaque buildup, hypertension, and irregular heartbeat can lead to heart failure, aneurysms, stroke, and heart attack. A registered dietitian will address these issues and ensure that your diet includes nutrients to cut down triglycerides and high cholesterol in your body. Nutritional therapy can also help patients who’ve been through cancer and are experiencing the side-effects of cancer medications and chemotherapy. Cancer patients tend to be more susceptible to malnutrition, so a tailored diet is highly recommended.
Get Rid of the Extra Pounds Without Feeling Deprived
Many people who come to us for dietary counseling are worried they will have to completely give up eating their favorite foods. Of course, they are pleasantly surprised to find that is not the case. Nutrition therapy is essentially a partnership between you and your counselor. They will never just tell you to stop eating certain foods or give you a list of foods you should eat to lose weight.
Instead, it’s a collaborative process where the two of you will work together to set attainable goals and systematically achieve them. You will begin with the easiest changes that will have the biggest impact, and then create a flexible plan that makes the most sense to you.
Who said that eating nutritious meals means eating plain and boring foods? You will be given delicious, easy-to-cook recipes composed of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grain pasta, brown rice, salmon, chicken breasts, natural nut butters, dried fruits, and eggs. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, your weight loss or weight gain diet plan will be designed to reflect that. Whatever diet plan you’re given, it will be one that you’ll look forward to following!
Our Experienced Nutrition Counselors Can Help You Stick to Your Weight and Wellness Resolutions
Are you determined to keep those resolutions and want to find the “best nutrition counseling near me?” Then reach out to the nutrition counselors at Atlanta Medical Institute!
Whether you want to achieve your dream body goals this year or address a chronic illness, we are here to help. With our medical weight loss program strategies at Atlanta Medical Institute, you no longer have to struggle with your diet alone. The dedicated physicians and dietitians will use proven medical treatments in combination with behavior and lifestyle changes to help you reach your health goals.
To begin the journey to a healthier you, call us today at (404) 264-9553 or contact us online and schedule your appointment at our wellness center in Atlanta, GA.