“How can you help me?”
I get asked that a LOT from potential nutrition clients and referrals for my group private practice.
The easy answer is, “I support clients in intuitive eating and help them develop a healthy relationship with food.”
But that statement is often easier said than done. The real work with clients is in that messy middle zone to get them a healthy relationship with food. And it’s even harder to explain this to clients and to teach them the value of working with a dietitian.
How do we as dietitians explain to clients the benefits of nutrition counseling?
What DO we do for our clients?
Knowing the answers to these questions can be critical in helping a potential client understand exactly what a dietitian can do for them. I am truly honored to be a part of my clients’ lives. I cannot imagine doing anything else for my career (but this doesn’t even feel like “work!”) But that will never cut it as a reason why someone should work with you.
You need to be prepared to answer that pivotal question whenever you’re asked: “How can you help me?”
Here are 5 things to say to a client when they ask you this question (and they will!)
1. You have a trusted confidant and expert guiding you on your path to a healthy relationship with food. Dietitians play the detective while assessing a client’s eating history, their family’s relationship to food and body, and their current relationship with food and body. Dietitians take a client’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors into consideration when analyzing what a client needs in terms of medical nutrition therapy recommendations, as well as an appropriate level of care (especially if a client has an eating disorder.) At the same time, we work to build rapport and earn a client’s trust so they feel comfortable working with us!
2. You will create a personalized meal plan (or way of eating) made to work specifically just for you. A dietitian will create a meal plan to ensure adequacy for fuel, variety, food preferences, all while considering a client’s individual needs.
3. Learn all the ins and outs and truths about food and nutrition from a specialist. We educate our clients on all topics related to nutrition in a way they understand! So many clients have many nutrition myths they believe to be true, especially in disordered eating. We discuss the principles of intuitive eating, eating disorder recovery, and help improve body image.
4.You will have an advocate for you when working with your health care team. We are team players, collaborating with a client’s therapist, medical doctor and psychiatrist. AND we understand our scope of practice which includes speaking to food and body image issues and promoting self-care and self-compassion. We also communicate appropriately with our client’s family and support system to ensure our client’s needs are being met.
5. You will learn to develop an action plan for yourself. We work with clients on coping skills and effective ways to manage whatever nutrition issue is going on.
These are just a few of the benefits clients get and the value we dietitians offer our clients. When you’re struggling to answer that question, “How can you help me?” from your clients, you can use some of these as reasons why clients should see you!
Answer with confidence when asked this question and you’ll find yourself bringing on more clients. When they understand the value and benefits you offer them, they will understand why they need to work with you