8 Reasons A Visit To A Dietitian May Be Valuable For You, According To HBF Dietitian Mary du Heaume

By Erin Curtain

Ever considered seeing a dietitian? As part of The Well, your go-to destination for all the inspiration you need to live the best version of yourself through evidence-based health tips from health professionals, we reached out to  HBF Health Coach and Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Mary du Heaume, to fill us in on exactly what a dietitian does, who they do it for, and how it might benefit you.

First things first, what actually is a dietitian? While eating a healthy diet may seem simple based on what the health girlies of TikTok preach, the foods that help us thrive will vary from person to person, depending on a wide range of factors. Dietitians are regulated health professionals who can crack that code and pair you with a nutritious, balanced diet that fits into your lifestyle and eating habits. Put simply, they are experts in all things food and nutrition, including how different foods work with different people. 

Don’t let the ‘diet’ part of ‘dietitian’ spook you—they do way more than simply hand you a meal plan. Alongside providing personalised advice (which can include healthy eating plans) a dietitian can increase your knowledge about the many contributing factors to your overall wellbeing. 

As du Heaume puts it, “Dietitians also help you to understand how your environment, food choices, habits, and lifestyle affects your health.” A dietitian can also “ provide the information and encouragement to enable you to develop your own sustainable healthy eating pattern”.

Now for the big question: could you benefit from seeing a dietitian? If you want to learn more about how your body absorbs and thrives off the right fuel, then it might be a great option for you. Read on for a few other reasons you might benefit from a dietitian’s expertise. 

You’re Adapting To A New Life Phase

Going through a physical change? Whether you’re planning or currently experiencing pregnancy, you’ve noticed a few changes in your body as you’ve aged, or your relationship to exercise has recently shifted, a dietitian can help you optimise your wellbeing throughout the many stages of life. 

The foods that will support your body and mind on an average day in your life could be completely different from the foods your body needs while you’re breastfeeding or even if you’re going through a stressful period at work. Having the right nutritional advice and support behind you can help you navigate big changes while feeling energised and keeping your immune system in good nick.

You’re Managing A Chronic Condition

Don’t get us wrong, we’re not suggesting that any diagnosis can be addressed through food alone, and following medical advice from your doctors is crucial. But there are ways in which some chronic health conditions can be supported with the right diet. 

Du Heaume notes that appropriate nutrition advice can often dramatically help manage the symptoms of diabetes, heart disease, and renal disease, as well as many other chronic diagnoses. Having access to a dietitian could help you reduce negative symptoms and enhance your quality of life in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling restricted or deprived of foods that nourish your soul as well as your body.

You’ve Noticed Significant Weight Changes

While a wide range of weights can be completely healthy depending on your body and genetics, significant weight fluctuation is something to be mindful of. Whether you have recently lost or gained a noticeable amount of weight without trying to do so, it could be a symptom of an underlying condition or reflect an unsustainable dietary pattern. Either way, it’s best to check in with your doctor who can connect you with a dietitian if need be.

Your Child Is A Picky Eater

Dietitians aren’t just pros when it comes to adult nutrition, they’re well-versed in mini digestive symptoms as well. If you have a little one who just won’t eat their peas and carrots, bringing in an expert might be beneficial. A qualified dietitian will be able to not only advise you on precisely what food groups growing kids need to thrive, but they might also have a few tricks up their sleeve to help incorporate a good variety of healthy foods into the diet of your picky eater.

You Have A Complicated Relationship With Food

Whether you’ve previously or are currently experiencing difficulties in your relationship with food, a dietitian may be able to help. Depending on your current relationship with food, visiting your doctor and working with them to seek specialised advice may be a great benefit to your overall wellbeing. A dietitian can help to demystify nutrition and provide techniques to rewire negative thought patterns around diet, helping you to get the essential nutrients your body needs.

You Have Food Allergies Or Digestive Issues

From gluten to dairy, many prevalent food sensitivities, intolerances, and allergies can knock an otherwise healthy diet out of balance. If you’re concerned a certain food in your diet may be causing issues for you, it’s worth checking in with your doctor for a diagnosis and who can connect you to a dietitian to ensure you still have access to all the essential nutrients you need. A dietitian can help you fill any apparent gaps in your diet with healthy substitutes and alternatives. 

You’re Recovering From Surgery Or Illness

The right diet after experiencing a medical procedure may help support the healing process and assist you on the road to recovery. From skin conditions to bacterial infections and serious health disorders, the right nutritional support may provide additional benefits to the healing process. A good dietitian can be there as part of the healthcare team to guide you through that journey.

You Don’t Feel Your Best

Another reason you might want to check in with a registered dietitian is if you feel off your game. That might look like feeling exhausted more often than usual, experiencing a higher frequency of headaches, pushing through increasingly regular brain fog, catching colds more often, or maybe simply feeling a bit ‘off’. 

Whatever is causing you concern, there’s a chance it might come down to your nutrition. Touching base with your doctor who can help you reach out to a dietitian, if appropriate, may help you identify and fill any deficiencies you have going on, ensure you’re well-fueled to face each day and shed light on any underlying conditions that might be messing with your system. Plus, it might give you valuable insight into how your digestive system works and the foods that help you thrive.

Ready to speak with an Accredited Practising Dietitian about your goals, lifestyle, and diet? HBF members could claim 100% back* on the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Premium Program. Including one-on-one personalised telehealth sessions with Accredited Practising Dieticians, 100s of easy and delicious recipes (that won't leave you hungry), plus powerful online habit-building tools. Explore the program here.

This article contains general information only and does not take into account the health, personal situation or needs of any person. In conjunction with your GP or treating health care professional, please consider whether the information is suitable for you and your personal circumstances.

*Across all HBF Extras products and services, benefits are payable up to applicable annual limits and sub-limits and only for services and programs approved by HBF and delivered by providers that are approved by HBF. Waiting periods may apply before benefits are payable. Other eligibility criteria may apply, contact HBF to check if you're eligible.

This article is sponsored by HBF and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.

Image credit: Urban List

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