Nutrition Counseling

Nutrition counseling is an ongoing process in which a healthcare professional, usually a registered dietitian, works with an individual to assess his or her usual current health and dietary intake and identify areas where change is needed to achieve better overall health. The nutrition counselor provides information, instruction, support, and follow-up advice to help the individual make and maintain the needed lifestyle changes.

Nutrition counseling works best when the counselor and individual work together to determine proper goals and identify lifestyle changes that are necessary to meet those goals. Registered dietitians have met certain education and experience standards and are well qualified to provide nutrition counseling; however nurses, physicians, and health educators can also provide nutrition counseling.

Dr. Charles A. Middelhof is a trained family physician with disciplines in bariatric medicine and clinical psychology. He is the creator of the MPowered Physician Guided Medical Weight Loss Maintenance Program and is qualified to help patients achieve permanent weight loss by changing their eating habits and thoughts about food and exercise.

Nutrition counseling begins with an initial assessment and interview providing the basis for identifying behaviors that need to be changed. Sometimes a person already has a good idea of what changes in diet and exercise are needed but may require help making the changes. Other times, nutrition counseling can help identify misconceptions or faulty logic regarding food and health. A counselor can educate the patient on the health effects of nutritional choices they make. The nutrition counselor and patient work together to Identify areas where change is needed, to prioritize those changes and to initiate problem-solving strategies to make those changes.

In making changes to one’s eating habits (choice of foods, portion size, time of each meal), each individual's situation and background must be carefully considered. Factors that affect food decisions include an individual's ethnic background, religion, social and family obligations, work schedule, and world view. Most nutrition counseling will provide structure for eating smaller meals spaced more frequently throughout the day to allow the body to maintain an energy level for more effective metabolism of food. For a person who works an evening shift, this schedule will need to be adjusted accordingly. Likewise, the patient with a large family will need food choices that take into account the eating habits of the other family members so as to accommodate family meal time and other activities.

The challenge for patients receiving nutrition counseling lies not in making the initial changes but in maintaining them over the long term. Realistic expectations and goals, self-monitoring, and continued follow-ups can help a person maintain dietary changes. Dr. Middelhof and his team work with the patient to set those goals and schedule regular follow up visits to keep the patient motivated on their journey toward improved health. His nutrition counseling is a proven, effective program with 95% success rate.

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