8 Things Nutritionists Want You To Know About Weight Loss But Would Never Say To Your Face

Here is what your nutritionist's poker face is probably trying to tell you about your weight-loss habits.

By Krissy Brady , Prevention

Even though we're familiar with what it takes to lose weight—noshing on nutritious eats, breaking up with junk food, heading to the gym—making it happen is a totally different story. That's why hitting up a nutritionist for guidance is a great way to start.

[post_ads]But let's be honest: Confessing to the (many) lifestyle factors that have brought you to this point can be downright daunting. That's why we turned to a few trusty dietitians to do some confessing of their own—namely, what's really on their mind during your consult.

Here is what your nutritionist's poker face is probably trying to tell you:

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When you come in for an initial consult and cite that you "didn't have time" or "didn't get around" to filling out the mandatory pre-session paperwork—which typically includes a three-day diet record and diet frequency questionnaire—it can set the tone for how the rest of your weight-loss journey will go. "If you can't make the time to reflect on your current eating practices by filling out the required paperwork, you likely won't have the time to follow a customized healthy-eating nutrition plan," says Charlene Pors, a registered dietitian based in British Columbia, Canada. Straight-up: If you don't make healthy eating a priority, you won't lose any weight.


"I can tell when someone is meeting with me because someone told them to, such as a doctor or spouse, and their motivation to make behavior changes isn't strong," says New Jersey-based registered dietitian Alyssa Cohen. Your nutritionist will happily make recommendations to modify behavior and provide recipe and snack ideas, but none of these pointers will be useful to someone who's simply not ready to make changes. "Those that are intrinsically motivated are more likely to be successful when it comes to behavior modification," she says.

"I had a client once tell me for months that she was eating a salad for lunch and dinner daily, but not losing weight," says California-based registered dietitian Ana Reisdorf. "Finally, I decided to ask her what was on her salad, and she said it was the quesadilla explosion salad from Chili's. That is not a salad." If you aren't seeing results, 'fess up to the habits that are really holding you back.

It's important to know the difference between body composition (where your fat is) and weight. "Many people are a healthy weight, but are unhappy with, say, their stomach or thighs," says Reisdorf. She says those people don't need to focus on losing weight, instead they need to hone in on adjusting their body fat percentage or body composition through muscle-building exercise (like lifting weights). If you want the scale to move, you've got to change your diet.


If you hand your nutritionist a food journal depicting well-timed meals, accurate portions, and plenty of fruits and veggies across the board, their spidey senses kick in immediately. "When I see a client for weight loss who presents me with a food journal that's almost too perfect, but isn't reporting any weight loss, increased energy, or other non-scale victories, a red flag goes up," says Micah Grobman, a registered dietitian based in Toronto, Canada. "Whether they ate this way because they knew we had an appointment and wanted to impress me, or they didn't eat this way at all but wanted it to come across that way, I suspect they're not being honest." 

When it comes to getting the nutrients you need to fuel your weight loss, popping a probiotic, a vitamin C supplement, and drinking some fiber powder won't really help you reach your goals, says Cohen. 

[post_ads]In order to lose weight, you've got to eat the foods that naturally contain those nutrients. "Adding protein powder to your smoothie doesn't make up for other poor food choices," says Cohen. "I'd rather someone get protein from food sources and supplement, rather than relying on a supplement to fulfill their nutrient needs."

What matters more is establishing a healthy lifestyle—consuming more whole foods, moving more frequently, and improving how you feel. "Some people actually gain weight when incorporating exercise and increased physical activity into their routine due to changes in body composition (gaining muscle)," says Cohen. Because of this, stressing over the number on the scale can be counterproductive—meanwhile, it's only a small piece of a much bigger picture.

Most people aren't aware of what it really takes to succeed in losing weight. "Before starting a weight-loss program, people really need to consider if their current life circumstances support the dedication they need," says Reisdorf. "Sometimes emotional and psychological barriers should be addressed first." To lose weight and keep it off, changing what makes you unhappy is just as important as changing what you eat.

Read More Prevention 


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Health Magazine: 8 Things Nutritionists Want You To Know About Weight Loss But Would Never Say To Your Face
8 Things Nutritionists Want You To Know About Weight Loss But Would Never Say To Your Face
Here is what your nutritionist's poker face is probably trying to tell you about your weight-loss habits.
Health Magazine
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