What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
First I gather information. You are the only person who knows everything about you. I ask a lot of questions about medical history, weight history, and eating history. I want to know what has worked for you in the past and what has not. You will leave our first visit with a goal to work on, even if it's not a full blown meal plan. Most people have several visits to establish/evaluate goals and to review their food intake (either via a food journal or by doing a recall in the office).
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Nutrition and dietetics degree, Internship in a medical hospital, board certification, a requirement for continuing education credits to maintain my license. Overall insatiable curiosity about the mind, body, and health.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.
I accept Blue Cross Blue Shield, Harvard Pilgrim, Tufts, Neighborhood Health plans. Insurance usually requires a co-pay of $0-$40 per session. Many insurance plans have an out-of-network benefit as well that will cover services. Nearly all insurance plans have some coverage for visiting a registered dietitian for 3-6 visits - and many allow as many visits as needed to get you on the right track. I will collect insurance information ahead of time and check your benefit so you are not stuck with a bill you can't afford. Medicare and Network Health have some specific rules and I'm usually not covered through those plans. (You would probably need to seek nutrition services through a medical clinic.)
My full fee is 180$/hr which is consistent with other registered dietitian prices and insurance contract plans. A sliding scale is available.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I became a registered dietitian because I wanted to work with evidence-based nutrition recommendations. We are super-saturated with nutrition messages and I wondered, what do we really have to be worried about? I acknowledge that all good ideas started on the fringe, but part of individualizing recommendations is to know where someone has been before telling them where to go next. Look for horses before you start looking for zebras.
What types of customers have you worked with?
I work with people for weight management, diabetes, eating disorders, celiac disease, improved health and wellness, stomach or intestinal distress, sports/exercise nutrition. I work with kids, adolescents, and adults.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
A registered dietitian has has a lot of standardized training in nutrition and specific-diets intended to manage or treat specific conditions. Each is different in the level of functional medicine they practice and their levels of skill. A nutritionist is not trained the same way and can be helpful in overall health coaching or many cases of weight management. Dietitians are less likely to be practicing complementary and alternative medicines or using little tested theories as a first-line treatment.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Think about what you want from the experience. Where are your beliefs and biases? Dietitians and nutritionists are not quite the same thing but both have important things to offer. It's a matter of what you want from the experience. I tend to focus on food first, supplements second. But that's just one way to approach your nutrition intake.