“I have never seen a dietitian before. I’m nervous! What can I expect at my first visit?”
While most of us have been seeing doctors and dentists our entire lives, seeing a dietitian is often a new experience for our patients. Understandably, people are sometimes anxious as they head into their initial session. They might even be embarrassed that they are seeing a dietitian, but let us tell you that many more people in our society seek the help of dietitians than you might realize. That includes the two of us who were each the patients of other dietitians at different times in our lives.
People are often afraid they will be judged or made to feel stupid, but in truth that is not our style at all. Our interest is in helping you, not passing judgment. The more open-minded and accepting we are, the more open and honest you are. The more forthcoming you are, the better we can help you to achieve your goals.
If we can do anything else to make you more comfortable, please do not hesitate to let us know either when we meet or in advance of your appointment.
Your first session is typically a getting-to-know-you appointment. You can expect that we will ask you what brings you to see us, which will probably include talking about your medical history and any current conditions/symptoms you are having. Since relationships with food are about more than just nutrients, we will survey some of the social, cultural, financial, and emotional issues that may be impacting your eating. Time rarely allows for discussion of action steps at an initial appointment, but in subsequent sessions we will help you to identify changes you may want to consider making that will get you on a path to your goals.
“Will you help me lose weight?”
A desire to lose weight is one of the most common drivers that brings people to our practice. Oftentimes, these folks have tried numerous approaches already and are sick of seeing their weight temporarily drop only to inevitably rebound. Fed up with failing diets and being at war with food and their bodies, they come to Soolman Nutrition and Wellness LLC because we offer the antithesis. By taking the focus off of weight and rules, we can form a new and more peaceful relationship with food based on satisfaction, flexibility, and health.
Research shows that while numerous approaches can create short-term weight loss, nobody knows how to produce long-term weight loss for more than a tiny fraction of the people who attempt to achieve it. Approximately 95% of people who attempt to lose weight will regain it one to five years down the road, and roughly 60% of these individuals will end up heavier than they were at baseline. Weight regain is common even if someone maintains the behaviors that promoted the weight loss in the first place.
Contrary to popular myth, our weight is largely out of our hands. The calories-in-versus-calories-out paradigm is a gross oversimplification of the complexities affecting weight regulation. While we might be able to manipulate our body size through behavior changes for a short while, biological mechanisms promoting weight regain almost always win out in the end.
The good news is that weight and health are not nearly as synonymous as we have been led to believe. Studies have shown that weight loss does not automatically lead to better health, and other research that controlled for behaviors found that health risks between groups of people of different body weights were nearly identical when engaging in similar behaviors.
For all of these reasons, while we empathize with a desire to lose weight, we put weight on the back burner and focus instead on behaviors and health. As a result of behavior changes, weight loss may occur, but then again it might not. Therefore, part of establishing a healthy lifestyle means learning to sever any link you may have between weight and self-worth and to love and accept yourself the way you are right now, not X pounds from now.
“But won’t you just tell me what to eat?”
If only nutrition were so simple! Rather than simply telling you what to eat, we have found that a much more effective approach is to work with you to explore possible strategies so you can decide which changes you wish to implement and when. In other words, you can expect a partnership and collaboration, not a lecture nor orders.
“What are your actual patients saying about you?”
Some of our patients and colleagues have been generous enough to write about their experiences working with us. Check out what people are saying about Jonah and Joanne. All of these testimonials are from real patients and colleagues, and they have only been edited for grammar and length, not content.
“What products do you sell?”
None. We do not sell supplements, food, or products of any kind.
“Do I really have to complete those forms and return them before my first appointment?”
We appreciate the time that it takes for our new patients to complete and return the forms to us. While it might look like a lot of paperwork, these forms are nearly identical to those that you complete for most other practitioners in their waiting rooms the first time you see them. By completing and returning the forms in advance of your appointment, you enable us to better prepare to help you, thereby leading to higher quality care.
“I am going to cancel my follow-up appointment, as I have not accomplished the goals that I set at my last session.”
If you are not progressing as you had hoped or planned, all the more reason to return and get support. Thomas Edison, one of the most famous and prolific inventors in American history, once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Along those same lines, taking a look at why you did not accomplish what you set for yourself is an incredibly valuable experience. Whatever challenge hindered you is likely to present itself again, so we want to learn from the past in order to better strategize for the future.
“I have a nutrition-related health concern that I do not see listed on your Services page. Can I still see you?”
We see people with a wide variety of conditions, many of which are not listed on the Services page. If you are wondering whether we can help you with your particular condition, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If for some reason we feel you would be better helped by another dietitian elsewhere, we will be honest and give you the name of another practitioner to contact.
“Are the sessions covered by insurance?”
Soolman Nutrition and Wellness LLC accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Tufts Health Plan, Cigna, Aetna, United, and Medicare.
Patients with insurance plans that either your provider does not accept or that lack nutrition coverage are still welcome at Soolman Nutrition and Wellness LLC. In this case, sessions must be paid for by check, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express.
“What is Health at Every Size® (HAES®) and what is your connection to it?”
The Health at Every Size® (HAES®) approach is a health-centered, rather than a weight-centered, model of care based on the research-supported notion that behaviors are better indicators of health than is weight. In the context of our fat-phobic and weight-obsessed society, this sounds like a radical idea, but remember that people once insisted the world was flat even as scientific evidence indicated it was actually round.
The Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) named the approach, and therefore they own its trademark, which is why we must include the ® whenever we mention it. In fact, we are also obligated to tell you, “Health at Every Size and HAES are registered trademarks of the Association for Size Diversity and Health and used with permission.”
We are proud members of ASDAH and to be using the HAES® approach in our counseling. Make no mistake though, ASDAH and Soolman Nutrition and Wellness LLC are entirely separate entities. We receive no compensation for using the HAES® approach or discussing it on our website. We do not speak for ASDAH, nor does ASDAH speak for us. We are independent thinkers whose unique paths of research and clinical experiences happened to lead to the same conclusion.
“Does Jonah offer personal training?”
While Jonah maintains his credentials as a Certified Exercise Physiologist with the American College of Sports Medicine and a Certified Personal Trainer with the National Strength and Conditioning Association, he no longer offers personal training. However, we know many great trainers in the area, including some who can work with you in your own home. If you are looking to work with a trainer, we will be happy to refer you to someone who seems like a good match for your goals and needs.
“Do you practice alternative/integrative/holistic nutrition?”
We fully support an individual’s freedom to pursue the path of care that feels right for him or her. Health care practitioners, similarly, can choose the standard of care they are comfortable offering. Although Jonah does have extensive experience working in the field of alternative/integrative/holistic nutrition, he no longer practices it. If you are interested in this approach, please let us know and we will do our best to refer you elsewhere.
“I have a question that is not addressed here. What should I do?”
We are happy to answer your questions. Please send your question to email@example.com.