When you’re serious about losing weight and keeping it off, hiring a nutritionist is probably one of the best moves you can make. The right expert can help you identify your specific needs, establish healthy eating habits, and keep you on track. On the other hand, working with the wrong nutritionist can be a waste of money and hamper your health and weight loss efforts.
To find the best fit for you—and avoid any red flags—just ask questions like these:
1. What qualifications do you have?
When you hear the word ‘nutritionist,’ you assume that person is qualified to give solid, healthy eating advice. But that’s not always so, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist or nutrition coach. You can get some certifications in a matter of hours or even minutes online. Make sure any nutritionist you consider working with is an RD or RDN (the two credentials mean the same thing).
2. What’s your specialty and approach?
Once you find an RD or RDN, you need to make sure that professional’s specialties and philosophy jibe with yours. For instance, some have additional degrees and certifications in nutrition for diabetics (CNE) or health (MPH) or are board-certified sports dietitians (CSSD) or personal trainers (CPT, CSCS). Some will write meal plans for you, while others focus on behavioral strategies rather than caloric and macronutrient counts,
While the main point of these questions is to make sure that the nutritionist meets your personal needs, it also gives you a chance to identify a potential mis-match.
3. How much do sessions cost—and do you take insurance?
Fees will vary by location, experience, and specialty. It’s reasonable to expect to pay $150 to $225 or more for an initial appointment and $75 to $125 for follow-up visits. (How often and long you work with your nutritionist is up to the two of you.) Some schedule only two or three appointments, while others work together for years. Another factor that can make a big difference in your bottom line is whether the nutritionist you are considering accepts insurance; many RDs and RDNs do.
4. What is your nutrition philosophy?
Every single nutritional professional has their own philosophy when it comes to food. It’s influenced by their education, their background, their lifestyle and personal experience. We are all unique. The main point here is – do they prescribe to a specific dogma. And is that aligned with your beliefs? Or are they open to finding a plan that suits each client’s specific needs? Do they work with all diets? You can ask your nutrition expert how they eat, which can give you insight into how they approach nutrition.