I'm listening when you speak to me, I swear. My mind is working overtime, but sometimes I do wish that I could just come right out and say some things. Here's what I'm thinking, and how it can benefit you:
You're Telling Me That Your Diet Is Bad While You're Giving Me a Recall
I usually get my clients to give me a recall of a typical day of eating, and sometimes the guilt is palpable as they recite their food intake. "I have butter on my toast, I know it's bad..." or "I drink two coffees a day" while shooting me a guilty look as if I'm going to jump up and accuse them of inflicting some major form of abuse on their body.
You may have a horrible diet, but let me be the judge of that, okay? Give me the information I'm asking for, don't lie (more on that in a bit), and hold the running commentary about your food. It holds us up and it doesn't change how I feel about your choices.
Let's work together to tweak what needs to be tweaked, and stop listening to the internet, your friends, and whoever else is telling you not to eat what you're eating. They're just making you feel guilty, and they're giving you bad information that's actually working against you.
You and I are working together for a reason, and that's to sort out what you're eating, and how and why you're eating it. Your diet is probably not all that bad, anyways.
When you criticize yourself, I'm thinking that you need to give me a chance to help you and tell you what you're doing right.
You're Making Everything Really Complicated
Nutrition is actually really simple, but people tend to get all confused by all the opinions from "experts" out there, be they celebrities, TV doctors, or the media. When you run through all the diets you've been on, and how confused you are about what you should and should not be eating, I'm silently cursing all the crappy information sources out there. It really isn't supposed to be this hard to make good food decisions. I'm going to make it really easy for you to eat healthy, especially when I hear about all the time you've wasted on crappy diets and poor information.
Been There, done That
Self-disclosure is a valuable thing, but as a professional, it's important not to take it too far. Just know that even dietitians have their food struggles too. Because I have a degree in nutrition and am licensed to advise you about eating doesn't mean that I have never been where you are with my eating. I'm still in the role of a professional, but look at me as a fallible person, too. Just because I'm not telling you my life story doesn't mean I don't know where you're coming from. I've probably been there, done that.
You're Not Telling Me Everything
Seriously, if you come to my office and lie to me about what you eat, I am going to know. I've been doing this long enough to know when someone is telling me only what they think I want to hear, or omitting things they ate because they think I'm going to be mad at them for making poor choices.
I'm not going to be mad at you, let's get that straight. And furthermore, you know you're only lying to yourself when you lie to me.
Repeat after me: I've heard it all. In 15 years, I have heard some really crazy stuff so trust me: your diet is probably not the worst I've ever seen. Please don't be embarrassed -- everybody eats weird things. And if you have a relevant medical history -- like an eating disorder, please let me know before the very end of the session. Stuff like that matters for my plan and recommendations, not to mention how I go about our session.
When you're talking about your diet with me, there's so much going on in my head at once, I'm just trying to figure it all out. No judgement is happening, I promise. I'm here to help. And in case you forget, it's all confidential.
If You're Not Ready, You're Not Ready
Sometimes I get clients who come back to me multiple times, and never progress. They find a lot of excuses as to why they're not achieving their goals, but what I'm thinking in my head is, 'you're just not ready'.
It's totally fine to not be ready to change your eating habits! Change is hard, especially when you've been eating the same way for many years. There are plenty of reasons why someone may not be ready to work with me. Some people have more pressing issues in their lives that need attention, some people are coming to see me only because they've been pressured by their doctor or family members, and some people don't realize that working with a dietitian is actually quite a bit of effort and they're just not up for it at that time.
Whatever it is, I will let you off the hook by telling you to come back when you're ready. I'm always here, and the door is always open.
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