I'm not going to lie, putting your hand up for help with your food and body image concerns can be scary. It can be even more intimidating if you've never seen a non-diet dietitian before and have no idea what to expect.
So for today's post, I thought I'd take the time to give you a bit more of an idea of how we might work together in healing your relationship with food and your body, by going through some of the values I hold on to during our sessions.
Often when I see someone for their first appointment, they might be reluctant to tell me what they eat because they worry I will judge them. I listen to people talk about what they eat every day, and I can promise you that there will be no judgement here. I’m generally a lot more interested in how you feel about your eating than the actual foods themselves, so feel free to share as much as you are comfortable with.
I’m also aware that I might be the first person you’ve ever spoken to about your concerns around food and your body. It’s my hope that you feel supported enough to share what you feel is relevant to our work together. Hearing your story is a privilege that I certainly don’t take lightly.
It’s also quite likely when we first start working together (and often for a long time after), that you have the desire to lose weight. Although this is something that we won’t be actively working towards in our sessions together, I don’t judge you for having that desire. We’re bombarded with the weight loss message from every angle, so it’s probably going to hang around for a while. If you feel like you are ready to, I’ll ask you to put that desire to the side so that we can work on improving your health and wellbeing in the body you have now. The weight loss desire can come along for the ride as long as it needs to, but it’s not something we’ll be actively engaging in. If you feel like you’re not quite ready for that yet, that’s ok! Just remember that I’ll be here when you are.
Rather than me handing you a big list of ‘no-no’s’ and sending you on your way, we’ll team up to work through what’s most concerning you about your health and nutrition. We’ll discuss your relationship with food and your body, as well as any concerns around managing nutrition-related conditions (e.g. diabetes, high cholesterol, PCOS). We won’t just looking at the ‘what’ of your eating patterns - we’ll also be looking at the ‘how’ and the ‘why’. I’ll ask you lots of questions about your experiences and gently prompt you to reflect on them, because your insight is just as valuable as any advice I could offer you.
Once we’ve got a really good understanding of the ins and outs of what’s most concerning about your health and nutrition, I’ll gently guide you through strategies to help you along. We’re all individual people with a range of experiences, so it certainly won’t be a one size fits all approach. If you have concerns around your relationship with food and body, it’s likely that during our time working together we’ll cover topics such as hunger and fullness awareness, mindful eating, emotional eating, body acceptance and (if required) gentle nutrition. If you have a nutrition-related health condition (e.g. diabetes, high cholesterol), I’ll also provide you with individualised support to help with this.
You can be rest assured that I won’t be in a lab coat with my super serious face on, a clipboard in one hand and an apple in the other (thanks for the massive misrepresentation Google Images!). If something is funny, we’ll laugh about it. If something makes you angry, chances are I’ll get my ranty pants on too. Working through food and body concerns can be quite the rollercoaster, and we’re in this together.
I hope this post provides some more insight into what working together might look like. If you have any more questions I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to get in touch here.