What to Expect When Meeting Your Registered Dietitian
Author: Rhea Lewandoski R.D.
Meeting any new clinician for the first time can be worrisome. If you experience disordered eating, talking about your relationship with food is brave and challenging. Finding clinicians that are specialized in this area can ease some of that anxiety.
Why meet with a Registered Dietitian (RD) at Westwind?
RD’s are an important part of your treatment team. They are there to support you in building a foundation for nutrition that best suits your needs. RD’s can support you in challenging food rules, disordered eating behaviours, sorting through information and misinformation, having conversations with your supports, collaborating with your treatment team, and more. RD’s are not the food police and want to work with each individual to access their healthy self. At Westwind, your RDs are specialized in eating disorder treatment and can help you work towards recovery.
What happens in the first session?
Your first session with an RD tends to be about 1 hour long.
Your RD may ask you about:
Your health history
Your relationship with food
Your physical symptoms, including - gastrointestinal sensations, bowel habits etc.
What your current intake looks like
Your preferences with food
Your goals for recovery
Plans going forward to support recovery. This may look like a structured meal plan, intuitive sensation practices (hunger, fullness, preferences), challenging food rules, challenging fear foods, asking for support and more. Your plan should be individualized to you and what you need.
Sometimes we are so busy chatting and getting to know you, we may not get to all of this in the first session and that’s okay. Meeting with a RD consistently is important, and topics are discussed as necessary.
How often do I meet with my RD?
Residential programming: You will meet with your RD individually two times a week and in a group setting multiple times a week.
Online programming: You will meet with your RD once a week.
Outpatient programming: The number of sessions and how often you attend them is individualized.
What should I bring to my first appointment?
There is nothing that you need to bring to your first appointment. Some folks like to bring a pen and paper to take notes or write down thoughts during their experience. This is by no means necessary. If you like to journal or prep for your appointments the questions listed below can be used for reflection. You can choose to bring these with you to your first appointment if you want.
How would you describe your relationship with food?
What language/terms would you like to use when talking about food?
What language/terms would you like to use when talking about weight and size?
What do you think about the Health At Every Size approach?
How can your relationship with food be supported?
What topics are you hoping to discuss?
What are you hoping to achieve through your relationship with your dietitian?
What are your strengths that you bring to recovery?
Can I bring someone for support?
Yes, you can bring a support person to your appointment. They can support you in asking questions or in conversation. Your support person can also help you remember anything that was talked about and can take part in conversations of how best to support you in ED recovery. They do not have to be present for all the sessions and their attendance can be discussed amongst you and your treatment team.
The points above are meant to ease some worry before your first appointment with your RD. A reminder that dietitians are there to work with you to develop a relationship with food that is relaxed and provides you with nourishment, joy, connection, food freedom, and more.