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Ask the Nutritionist: Why Would Someone Go to a Nutritionist Instead of Just Getting a Diet Book from Barnes and Noble?

Congratulations to last week’s winner Pinny Horowitz. Submit a question and you can be next week’s winner of a free dinner for two at the Reserve Steakhouse ‘Heart Healthy’ menu ($120). To submit a question to be featured in the “Ask the Nutritionist” column, email Yossi at questions@yossimuller.com. Be sure to include your full name. If your question is published your name will be mentioned and you will be awarded a dinner for two from The Reserve Steakhouse’s ‘Heart Healthy’ menu. 

Question 

Why would someone go to a nutritionist instead of just getting a diet book from Barnes and Noble? 

Answer               

It’s true that a diet book can say how to eat healthier, just like a nutritionist can. In fact, diet books are better, because they are written by the world’s most brilliant and successful nutritionists!

So what is the advantage of seeing a nutritionist?

You probably think that the advantage is that a nutritionist will motivate you and hold you accountable on a week to week basis.

That is a big mistake. In fact, if the primary function of your nutritionist is to motivate you then you’re actually better off with a diet book! I know that this is a big shock to many of you, but you must accept and come to terms with this fact.

Ninety-five percent of the time a person goes on a diet, they gain back every single pound they lost and more. While a person is trying to maintain the weight they lost, they are faced with certain unique and difficult challenges that they never had to deal with up until that point. When that happens, they give up their diet and over time, go back to their old habits and gain their weight back.

People think that dieting is the hard part and maintenance is easy. That is false. Maintenance is much harder than dieting. So having someone motivating you during the diet is a recipe for disaster. When you have an external motivation during the diet, you get lulled into a false sense of security and convince yourself that the diet you are on is sustainable long term, when in reality it’s not. It just feels that way because someone is motivating you. Motivation, by itself, is detrimental to long term success, like any other “quick fix” diet.

So what is the advantage of a nutritionist over a diet book? So far we mentioned two disadvantages a nutritionist has. 1-Any nutritionist you’ll go to is presumably less intelligent than the ones who write diet books. 2- A nutritionist will motivate you temporarily, giving you the illusion that you’ll be able to stick to the diet long-term, thus preventing you from developing a diet that is sustainable.

The reason to go to a nutritionist is as follows.

Losing weight is not about being perfect all the time. It’s about being good some of the time and being bad some of the time. It’s about fighting some battles and realizing that some battles aren’t worth fighting. Being perfect all the time is not only unrealistic but also unnecessary. Which instances to be strict and which instances to be lenient is a highly personal matter and depends on a variety of factors that are uniquely yours.  A nutritionist’s job is to take into account your individual strengths and weaknesses and tell you which battles to fight and which battles not to fight. A diet book cannot do this.
So to sum up, a diet book can dictate how to lose weight just as well or even better than a nutritionist can. Also, the fact that a nutritionist will motivate you is not an advantage, but ultimately a disadvantage if that’s all the nutritionist has to offer. The primary advantage of a nutritionist is that they can tweak the diet according to your individual needs and thus create a diet with which you will be able to achieve long-term success.

We will discuss in future articles B’H the specific challenges a person faces while trying to maintain and sustain weight loss and how to overcome them. 

Yossi Muller, CNWC, is a nutritionist with a private practice in Lakewood and also gives a college course in Applied Nutrition. His unique approach to nutrition is reaching hundreds of men in local businesses, schools, and organizations. You can reach Yossi at 732-806-7373

 

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