Trouble Losing Weight? Consider Using A Registered Dietitian

One thing I’ve learned over the course of writing health articles is that my articles pertaining to weight loss are by far the most liked and most commented on.

I suppose this shouldn’t surprise me given the burgeoning diet industry and the whopping $73 BILLION dollars Americans spend annually on weight loss.

What I have a hard time getting a handle on is why? Why do the majority of Americans have such a difficult time with their nutrition and weight?

Maybe it’s the overwhelming amount of processed foods available? Maybe it’s the increasingly sedentary lifestyle Americans lead? Maybe it’s a lack of understanding about nutrition? Or could it be the rush, rush work and home life many of us live?

The answer is probably a combination of all of these but eating healthy and staying active shouldn’t be insurmountable obstacles. Nutrition and exercise are learned behaviors that are super easy to integrate into your daily routine but it does take a conscious effort.

I know of very few people that turn to the expertise of dietitians or nutritionists for help. Rather we dump our money and time into following commercial diet plans, some of which are borderline ridiculous and unsustainable, to lose weight. Don’t get me wrong, some diet plans are science and nutrition based and will help you get and stay fit.

But most Americans would be far better served spending their money on the services of a Registered Dietitian who can assess their goals, create a recommended diet, and make educated, sustainable, life-changing recommendations that can be incorporated into your life for the long haul.


Dietitians and nutritionists typically do the following: Assess patients’ and clients’ nutritional and health needs. Counsel patients on nutrition issues and healthy eating habits. Develop meal and nutrition plans, taking both clients’ preferences and budgets into account.


One of the easiest places to find a Registered Dietitian is through your local hospital. You can also find an independently employed dietitian on the internet. A dietician typically charges by the hour (roughly $75-$90/hour) but once your plan is developed you should only need periodic check-ins to make sure you’re following the recommendations.


𝟭) 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗰𝗲𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗱𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲?

Registered dietitians and registered dietitian nutritionists are certified by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). They have a degree (about half of R.D.s and R.D.N.s have advanced degrees) in dietetics, a 1,000-hour internship, and a national board exam under their belts.

“Also, be wary of anyone who makes you purchase a specific item, especially when it comes to weight loss. Many ‘coaches’ are product promoters in disguise,” says St. Louis-based registered dietitian Alex Caspero, R.D. “I’ve had to ‘fix’ so many clients who worked with these scammers, I’ve lost count.”

𝟮) 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁’𝘀 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹𝘁𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗮𝗰𝗵?

Once you find an R.D. or R.D.N., you need to make sure that professional’s specialties and philosophy jive with yours. For instance, some have additional degrees and certifications in nutrition for diabetics (C.N.E.), health (M.P.H.) or are board-certified sports dietitians (C.S.S.D.) or personal trainers (C.P.T., C.S.C.S.). Some will write meal plans for you, while others focus on behavioral strategies rather than caloric and macronutrient counts, says D.C.-based registered dietitian Anne Mauney, M.P.H., R.D. Others have degrees or certifications in counseling, social work, or psychology (M.A., M.S., L.C.S.W., Ph.D.) that make them uniquely suited to address emotional eating and eating disorders.

𝟯) 𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝗺𝘂𝗰𝗵 𝗱𝗼 𝘀𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗰𝗼𝘀𝘁—𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗱𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘁𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲?

“Costs vary by location, experience, and specialty,” says Caspero. “However, expect to pay $150 to $225 or more for an initial appointment and $75 to $125 for follow-up visits.” (How often and long you work with your nutritionist is up to the two of you. Some people schedule only two or three appointments, while others work together for years, says Mauney.)

Another factor that can make a big difference in your bottom line is whether or not the nutritionist you are considering accepts insurance; many R.D.s and R.D.N.s do.

“We take patients for preventative care, so they typically don’t have to have a medical condition to work with us through insurance,” says Jim White, R.D., owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios in Virginia and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

𝟰) 𝗗𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗼𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗽 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗺𝘀?

Some professionals also offer both in-person sessions and online support groups, says registered dietitian Anne Mauney, M.P.H., R.D.. They can take the place of one-on-one sessions or act as a supplement to traditional sessions.

While they’re not right for everyone, these groups are especially helpful for people who are working to improve their relationship with food and find strength in numbers. “It can help to have support from people who get where you are coming,” she says.

𝗡𝗢𝗧𝗘: These options tend to be significantly less expensive than traditional one-on-one sessions with a nutritionist, making them an attractive option for people who are on a tight budget, she says.

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