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Article by Sylvie Martin

Can consulting a dietician help me lose weight?

Updated on 20 February 2024.

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Consulting a dieticianConsulting a dietician is sometimes the ultimate solution to the vicious circle of excess weight and adopt a more balanced lifestyle.

In recent years, this profession has been booming, attracting more and more practitioners and customers.

In its annual report for 2013, the DREES (Direction de Recherche, des études, de l’évaluation et des statistiques) estimated the number of dieticians practicing in France at 8525, an increase of around 8% on the previous year. This same rate of growth has been maintained year on year since 2010, reflecting the growing interest in dietary issues.

What is a dietician? What is their field of expertise? What qualifications and training do they have? Why is consulting a dietician vital to maintaining good health? And how can he (or she) help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight?

We’re going to take a look at all these questions and try to provide some clear answers.

Consult a dietician or a nutritionist?

First and foremost, you need to know the difference between a medical nutritionist and a dietician. The difference is more than just a play on words.

What is a medical nutritionist?

medical nutritionistFirst, let’s correct a common mistake. We say a nutritionist doctor, not a nutritionist.

A nutritionist is a doctor who has undergone basic medical training, i.e. holds a baccalaureate + 8 years of higher education. He or she then opts for additional training in nutrition. This additional qualification is certified by a university diploma (DU), a diploma of complementary specialized studies (DESC) or an inter-university diploma (DIU).

A nutritionist, like any other doctor, examines, diagnose and attempts to treat nutrition-related disorders, such as obesity and eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, hyperphagia, diabetes, food allergies, etc.). They can prescribe treatments. He or she may work in a private practice or in a hospital.

Recourse to a nutritionist is generally prompted by a problem of overweight associated with a pathology or illness.
A consultation with a nutritionist costs between €20 and €90, depending on the region. This charge is partially reimbursed by social security.

What is a dietician?

A dietician is a healthcare professional with the status of nutrition technician.

With a 2-year higher education diploma (bac + 2), their basic training after the baccalauréat corresponds to a brevet de technicien supérieur (BTS) or a diplôme universitaire de technologie (DIT) in biological engineering/dietetics.

Generally speaking, a dietician acts as an experienced supervisor and experienced accompanist in a weight-loss program. Their role is to develop personalized nutrition programs tailored to each patient. His aim is to restore nutritional balance by eliminating existing dietary imbalances and enabling the patient to adopt a healthy, balanced diet.

A nutritionist can refer patients to a dietician for a diet tailored to their needs and situation.

Consulting a dietician will cost you between €25 and €60. Social security does not cover the cost of consulting a dietician. The cost of consulting a dietician is therefore not reimbursed.

When should you consult a dietician?

when to consult a dieticianWith the two definitions above, it’s clear that consulting a dietician or a medical nutritionist is for completely different reasons.

You should consult a medical nutritionist if you are suffering from overweight accompanied by an illness such as a cardiovascular complication, diabetes, an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia, etc.), a food allergy, gout, cholesterol, thyroid dysfunction…

You should consult a dietician if you need nutritional support.. You can also consult a dietician for a personalized diet specially designed for you.

A dietician is a kind of dietary “re-educator”. He or she monitors your diet and lifestyle, and all the factors associated with fluctuations in body weight.

Here are 10 of the most common reasons why you should consult a dietician:

– You have diabetes, …

… cardiovascular problems or high blood pressure.

Getting help from a dietician, in conjunction with your doctor, should be one of your top priorities.

This nutrition specialist will help you to improve and change your diet safely and without compromising your health or nutrition.

– You are going to have – or have already had – bariatric surgery

Since your stomach can now only handle small portions, getting the right amount of nutrients needed for your body to function properly is now a tough task.

A dietician will work with your doctor to develop a diet plan to meet your new dietary needs.

– You have digestive problems

Consulting a registered dietician will help you benefit from a healthy diet and avoid foods that can worsen your condition.

– You’re pregnant or trying to have a baby

A dietician will help you establish a personalized diet that contains the nutrients you need for your condition.

This type of diet helps reduce the risk of deficiencies in newborns, especially during the first three months of pregnancy.

– You’re breast-feeding …

… and you need advice to make sure your baby doesn’t lack any of the elements essential to his or her growth.
A dietician can help you obtain a personalized diet rich enough in iron, vitamin D, fluoride and B vitamins to cover your needs and those of your child.

– Your teenager has problems with food…

… and not eating healthily.

Consulting a dietician is necessary to resolve eating disorders such as anorexia, anorexia or bulimia.

– Looking after an elderly person

A dietician can help you avoid possible interactions between food and medication.

He or she can help you maintain adequate hydration. He or she can also draw up a special diet that takes into account the health condition of the person in question.

– You want to start eating intelligently

A dietician will help you avoid misinformation.

He or she will teach you how to read food labels to discover how to cook healthily and inexpensively, and learn how to dine out without ruining your diet.

Above all, it will teach you how to resist temptation in the workplace.

– You’re an athlete …

… and you want to improve your physical performance.

Your energy requirements are higher than those of normal people, and consulting a dietician will enable you to set targets and achieve the results you want in terms of sporting performance, without risking deficiencies or putting your body at risk.

– And finally, you can consult a dietician if …

… you want to gain or lose weight.

A dietician can suggest additional calorie sources for healthy weight gain, or a low-calorie diet to help you reduce your weight.

He or she will support you in your efforts to lose or gain weight, while allowing you to eat all your favorite foods.

This non-exhaustive list provides some examples of when and why you should consult a dietitian.

Who can consult a dietitian?

Anyone can consult a dietician, whether they’re a child, teenager or adult. Body weight problems affect all categories of society, without exception, and all age groups.

It’s always worth remembering that over the last few decades, the phenomenon of overweight has become a worldwide problem, largely due to modern eating habits (processed foods, fast food, products rich in fast sugars, sedentary lifestyles…) and a lack of physical activity, lack of physical activity,…).

The phenomenon becomes even more worrying when we learn that children are increasingly affected by this health problem!

The causes: eating fast, eating a lot, snacking, not eating vegetables and fruit, consuming sodas and sugary drinks, etc. The INPES (Institut National de Prévention et d’Éducation pour la Santé – National Institute for Prevention and Health Education) has drawn up a document for health professionals to help them identify the problem of overweight children and detect it early.

Consult a dietician to lose weight

consult-a-dietitian-to-lose-weightAs mentioned above, consulting a dietician will enable you toestablish a healthy, balanced diet specific to your case.

In other words, he or she will help you prepare recipes at home, and guarantee regular follow-up to assess your progress.

A dietician will act on your eating habitsA dietician will discuss your eating habits and lifestyle with you, and listen to what you have to say. He or she will then help you to achieve the goals you have set together, based on your state of health, your weight and your lifestyle. Initially, he’ll help you accept your body, and then help you put together your own diet.

Thanks to his practical advice, you’ll be able to get out of the craving trap, avoid anarchic food and toxic ingredients and additives, and set a healthy weight-loss pace that’s safe for your health.

It will also help you maintain the pleasure of eating and stay healthy at the same time.

Finally, it will guarantee you psychological support. This is of vital importance in any weight-loss program.

Here, in a nutshell, is how consulting a dietician will benefit you.

The dietitian’s areas of intervention

In reality, a dietician intervenes in the most sensitive sphere of the overall weight loss process, namely diet. Hence the importance of his role!

You can find hundreds of menus and recipes here and there, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll work for you.

The great thing about consulting a dietician is that he or she treats each case as a personalized. There’s no magic formula that works for everyone, but a solution specific to each case.

This is easier to understand if you know that every human body reacts in a different way, and that metabolism is very different from one human to another, if not totally different.

This truth can easily be verified by observing how bodies react to the intake of slimming drugs and dietary supplements, or others, within the same family.

In short, consulting a dietician is the best way to ensure that you eat a healthy, balanced diet to your liking, while maintaining a healthy weight.

Where can I consult a dietician?

With the growth of dietetics in recent years, it’s become easy to find a dietitian in your area. A simple search on the web will turn up an impressive number of practitioners.

Of course, there are disparities between regions in terms of the number of dieticians available. The number of dieticians in London is not the same as that in the Overseas Departments and Territories, for example. Rates are also different.

What budget can I expect?

To be honest, there is no known standard rate. Each dietician applies his or her own rates.

In general, you can consult a dietician from 25 à 60€ depending on the region.

Follow-up consultations are less expensive, costing around €20 to €40. The duration of these latter consultations is generally short, lasting between 15 and 30 minutes, and in rare cases up to 1 hour.

These prices are estimates based on the most common price range in France. They are given as an indication only.

Frequency of consultations

The first consultation is the longest, lasting up to an hour or even an hour and a half, depending on the patient’s condition.

This is followed by several short consultations (15 to 30 minutes) that can be spread over a period ranging from 3 months to a year. This period is determined according to the patient’s case and the desired objectives, but also according to any unforeseen circumstances that may arise during this period of support.

We generally allow one to two weeks between the first consultation and the second. For the others that follow, there is no specific scale. The frequency will vary from one person to another. It will be determined according to the patient’s objectives and current state of health.

As a general rule, if results are good, these consultations will be spaced out over time. Otherwise, they will be more frequent, especially in difficult situations.

How does a session work?

Consulting a dietician is a two-stage process, leading to two different assessments.

– Nutritional and behavioral assessment

First, the dietician establishes your nutritional and behavioral profile.

The aim is to determine your eating habits and constraints. Your future diet will be based on these two factors. The aim of this stage is to stimulate your motivation by offering you foods that suit your tastes, while respecting your limits and daily constraints.

This is an essential step, because it enables us to detect the causes of your overweight problem. It also enables the dietician to define your culinary profile.

– Body assessment

Secondly, the health professional will attempt toanalyze your weight.

On this basis, he or she will determine your energy requirements, and therefore your food needs. Your dietician will use a professional tool called impedancemetry. This device is used to precisely determine your muscle mass, fat mass, BMI (body mass index), water mass and visceral fat.

The results obtained will be analyzed, taking into account other factors such as your age and gender. These measurements will then be used to determine what changes need to be made.

At the end of this stage, the dietician will draw up a dietary diagnosis. This diagnosis will enable him/her to pinpoint any dietary disorders or imbalances you may be suffering from. He will then be able to tell you what changes to make.

Prior knowledge of your tastes and constraints will be taken into account to establish a personalized dietary program that will meet your expectations and needs.

One final point: it’s advisable to take a few precautions before using impedancemetry. It is advisable torefrain from eating for at least 3 hours before weighing. Pregnant women and people wearing heart pacemakers or similar devices are not allowed to use this device.

How to prepare for your first appointment

Before consulting a dietician, it’s important to know that any information about your diet, your eating habits, your sporting activity and your lifestyle in general is very valuable data to share with him/her.

The more information you provide, the more effective your program will be. You can, for example, draw up a daily menu detailing what you’ve eaten over the previous week before going to see your dietician.

Your dietician may also need your biological analyses. Remember to take them with you.

What you need to share with your dietitian

Your dietitian will need you to be sincerewith yourself first, and with him or her second. Dare to tell the truth about your eating habits and your guilty pleasures. Dare to speak openly and without restraint.

If you can’t, there’s no need to consult a dietician. Remember, this professional is bound by professional secrecy.

Once you’ve made contact and defined your personalized diet program, he or she will expect you to do your utmost to honor your commitment. So do your best to achieve your goals.

Your dietician is your trusted ally in getting rid of those extra pounds that are bothering you. You need to trust him or her and, above all, you need to trust yourself.

Final tips before consulting a dietitian

Before consulting a dietician, it’s important to choose one carefully.

First of all, you can start by doing some research on the net, reading blogs, consulting testimonials and comments from Internet users, and looking for online publications about the dietitian. The most important thing is to try and find the answer to the following question: how many people has this professional failed to been able to help?

On the other hand, some dieticians may promote or even sell certain food supplements or products. This is not a bad thing in itself. Sometimes, the dietician has contributed to the design of the product, or is simply convinced by its effect. Trusted professionals will make it clear that they receive remuneration for this service, and even if you’re not interested in their product, they’ll continue to treat your case. If they don’t, you’ll simply have to look elsewhere.

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