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What My Patients Fear Will Happen During a Nutrition Appointment Vs What Actually Happens

As I get towards the end of an appointment with a new patient, something I often hear is, "I was worried that you..., but you didn't!" If there are any expectations I am pleased to not meet, it is these expectations. Here are some things that patients fear will happen during their nutrition appointment and what actually happens.

lady who looks worried

Your Fears vs What Actually Happens During a Nutrition Appointment

  • "I was worried you would give me a list of foods I can't eat." Luckily, I can't think of any reason why someone would ever need an entire list of foods they can't eat. If there are particular foods that are unsafe for a patient, like foods they are allergic to, or gluten-containing foods in patients with celiac disease, or foods that are more likely to lead to foodborne infection in immunocompromised people, these will all be explained. In general, patients will learn why certain types of foods are beneficial for them, and why other foods might not be health-promoting. My patients are able to learn the "why" of foods, and they are empowered to decide what types of foods they would like to eat or avoid. This nutrition appointment fear can be laid to rest!

  • "I was worried you would yell at me about what I eat." You will be glad to know that most of the yelling I do happens when I excitedly exclaim about your awesome health promoting changes. If there are foods you eat that you would prefer not to be eating, you definitely don't need me to yell at you about it. We might discuss why you eat those foods, ways to adjust your environment to make a different choice easier, and a helpful cognitive approach to when you do something you'd prefer not to be doing. The fear of being yelled out during a nutrition appointment won't play out when you see me.

  • "I was worried you would tell me to eat foods I don't like." I always say that you don't get extra credit from the nutrition gods for eating food you don't like. If your diet is very limited, we might decide to do the work to widen the array of food you accept. If you already do eat a wide variety of foods, chances are we can find foods you already like that fit into the categories of foods you want to increase. We also will talk about food preparation methods that impact how food tastes, and I might even suggest some recipes or cooking techniques. You don't need to fear that I'll make you eat food you don't like when we have our nutrition appointments.

Approaching Your Nutrition Appointment

If you have a nutrition appointment with me coming up, come in with an open mind, and share your fears and concerns in the beginning. One of my own goals is that patients leave their nutrition appointments feeling better about the situation than when they came into the appointment. My approach is compassionate and collaborative. There will be no forbidding, yelling, or forcing at all.

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