What is an RD or an RDN?
Recently the term nutritionist was added to the RD credential. The credentials RD and RDN are interchangeable. A registered dietitian or a registered dietitian nutritionist is a food and nutrition expert who has met academic and professional requirements including:
- Earned a bachelor’s degree with course work approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Coursework typically includes food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, business, economics, computer science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry.
- Completed an accredited, supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency or foodservice corporation
- Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration
- Completes continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration
Approximately 50 percent of RDs hold advanced degrees. Some RDs also hold additional certifications in specialized areas of practice, such as pediatric or renal nutrition, nutrition support and diabetes education. Registered dietitians who are members of the Academy are not only food and nutrition experts-they are leaders in the field of dietetics. Every one of the Academy’s wide array of member benefits is designed to advance their knowledge and skills and enhance their networking opportunities.
How is an RD or RDN different from a nutritionist?
The “RD or RDN” credential is a legally protected title that can only be used by practitioners who are authorized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Some RDs or RDN’s may call themselves “nutritionists,” but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. The definition and requirements for the term “nutritionist” vary. Some states have licensure laws that define the range of practice for someone using the designation “nutritionist,” but in other states, virtually anyone can call him- or herself a “nutritionist” regardless of education or training. Individuals with the RD or RDN credential have fulfilled specific requirements, including having earned at least a bachelor’s degree (many hold advanced degrees), completed a supervised practice program and passed a registration examination – in addition to maintaining continuing education requirements for recertification.
Do you recommend any particular diet?
It is very challenging to make sense of the confusing diets and nutrition information available today. The best way is to keep nutrition counseling evidence based, simple and sustainable. My nutrition counseling is not based on a diet. The education and skills that I share are for a lifetime. A diet is usually not sustainable. My counseling is designed around evidence-based weight management techniques and individualized support to help clients achieve their personal weight, health and performance goals. It is geared towards teaching individuals how to make meal and exercise plans work on a consistent, sustainable basis. I do not prescribe a particular way of eating. I teach people the basics of healthy eating and help them understand how eating healthier will support long-term health and weight management goals. Ultimately, food and exercise choices are up to the individual. I am available to help facilitate a process that is sensible, sustainable and individualized. It is a process based on these principles:
- Calories burned must exceed calories consumed
- Success is contingent upon journaling, behavior modification and goal setting
- Moderate exercise is encouraged.
What should I expect during my initial nutrition counseling visit?
Your initial visit is a chance for us to get to know each other. In order to build a nutrition plan to meet your needs, information about your health history, food likes and dislikes, previous diets and outcomes, and your eating and exercise habits must be obtained. In addition:
- A resting energy metabolic test will be conducted to determine a calorie range from which a meal plan will be developed
- Instructions will be given about the on-line food and exercise journaling process
- Long and short-range goals will be established that are sensible, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely
- If desired, a weight will be taken
What about follow-up visits?
At your first follow up visit you will receive a notebook that will become a rich source of nutrition information. At each follow up visit:
- Analysis reports based on your food and exercise journals will be provided
- Nutrient excesses and deficiencies will be explained
- Recommendations for changes to your food and exercise choices will be suggested
- If desired, a weight will be taken
- Goals will be monitored and reevaluated if necessary
- Successes and challenges are discussed
Why do I have to journal?
Research shows that self-monitoring is one of the best predictors of successful weight loss. The more detail included, the more you learn about what influences your food choices, how that affects your weight loss progress, and how you can make changes that will help you meet your health and weight goals.
How often are appointments scheduled?
This depends on your needs. In the beginning, weekly visits are recommended. Weekly visits provide a sense of accountability and support. However, once confidence and knowledge with the system develops bi-monthly or monthly visits are common.
What type of support can I expect in between visits?
Individual support and guidance is always available via email to offer additional support as needed.
Do I have to exercise?
Exercise is an important component of any program designed to meet health and weight goals. Establishing a regular exercise routine can provide many benefits. Exercise:
- Controls weight
- Combats many health conditions and diseases
- Improves mood
- Boosts energy
- Promotes better sleep
- Provides an enjoyable activity
Moderate exercise is strongly recommended.