Nutritionists. A word that many people do not want to hear; a specialty that most people think they understand all about.
Personally, I have worked with at least four different specialized NJ nutritionists, who all have very different approaches. Each and every single nutritionist had a very focused plan and specific directions that sometimes would contradict one another.
As an adult, I had to revamp that direction to include foods and meal plans that worked for a renal healthy diet because my kidneys failed. Renal nutritionists focus on what is called CKD (chronic kidney disease). Balancing intake of calories, protein, carbohydrates, fat, sodium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins, and minerals became our focus.
Complications from dialysis led me to my next specialized nutritionist. She helped me identify all foods and drinks that I enjoyed that contained too much
- phosphorus (bad for CKD patients)
- protein (another conflict with past nutritional plans)
The final nutritionist I met with was for another specific reason. Due to my CKD, I would need to lose a significant amount of weight to qualify for a kidney donation. After two years of trying all types of meal plans, workouts, a bit of beginner yoga and meditation I was stuck at the same weight. My metabolism had stalled. I needed a gastric bypass. My bariatric nutritionist helped me plan a successful pre and post-way of living. Some requirements after surgery contradicted my renal ones. So what did I do?
I picked the parts from both that worked for my personal needs:
- Eating structured meals throughout the day
- Getting enough protein for gastric needs while not too much to damage my kidneys ~Being sure to hydrate but not go over my limit for my kidneys
- Avoiding all grazing or “filler foods” due to limited space in my new stomach
With all the different specialized nutritionists available a mix of what actually works for you coupled with what has the most positive effects on your body’s success seems to be a great way to design a way of life that you can continue on and not drop out of like so many fad diet crazes.
So, how does one start the process of finding the right nutritionist, one that will simplify the integral world of nutrition?
First: Focus on the most emergent issue you are facing as discussed with your doctor.
Finding a nutritionist that understands your concerns will not only provide appropriate guidance, but they can help you ultimately meet your goals. Working closely with someone who focuses on your food health can be a daunting task and a scary step for one to take. In order to start the search of finding a nutritionist, you have a few options:
- Contact your insurance
- Reach out to your Primary Care Physician
- Talk to your support system, friends, families, neighbors, or anyone else you feel comfortable with.
You can even become more creative by reaching out to the nutrition department at the local college or the nutritionist at your local grocery store.
healthprofs.com is a good source for a list of local New Jersey nutritionists and dieticians who can help with your personal goals.
Second: Do your research!
Researching nutritionists is very important. Once you have a few names, look them up. Make Google your friend and use it to your advantage. While there can be a lot of helpful information, it is important to remember that some of what you find may not be accurate. With that said, it will help provide a good basis to eliminate some from your original list.
Consider the following things when doing your research.
- Reviews from previous clients.
- Information about the wait time.
- What their background consists of.
- What their website looks like. Does it motivate you in any way?
- Do they work as part of a team?
Third: Set up a meeting with the nutritionist.
Once you’ve talked to your support system and done your research, the only thing left would be to set up an appointment. Remember, first impressions are a big deal. While you are turning to a nutritionist for help, they must also create a comfortable environment for you. Give it a chance as relationships take time to build.
Fourth: Follow their advice.
A good nutritionist will take their knowledge and help create a personalized plan that will work for you. While it may not be ideal, it is important to remember that things take time. Going to a nutritionist may not be anyone’s first thought about how to handle food, but they can ultimately be a lifesaver. Nutritionists become more important when you have to work with more than one form of diet. They can help create a long-term game plan that will lead to success.
So the right nutritionist for you in New Jersey may be a few different ones, but they should be ones who are committed to your success and who take an active role in helping you with your nutritional needs along with your lifestyle. They should be open to communicating with your other specialists to ensure they all guide you on the right path FOR YOU.