Folks are often scared of Registered Dietitians. They think we’re always looking at their plates of food, analyzing every food morsel they consume or choose from a restaurant, or that we’re one of “those” dietitians who subsists off of celery sticks while shunning any food that isn’t picked from the earth. None of that is me, mind you, but I understand that there are many types of Dietitians out there (just like we have different styles and values of lawyers, doctors, cops, accountants, coaches, and so on).
Anyway, one thing I’ve noticed over the years is that often times, some folks wait until it’s too late to seek the guidance of a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Sport Dietitian (Sport RD). I think this is partly due to the misconceptions and lack of understanding of what dietitians actually do in professional practice and partly due to the evolving roles of dietitians in recent years. We no longer stand over you with a white lab coat and loudly scream “DON’T EAT THAT!” and then punish you with 2 days of celery-stick eating. Okay, I never did that, I promise.
But seriously, I wanted to share a brief checklist of questions here to ask yourself:
- Do you experience energy lulls during your day to where you need a sugary or caffeine boost to get through?
- Have you experienced midsection (abdominal) weight gain over the past 1-2 years?
- Have you DNF’d a race due to hydration and/or nutrition issues (such as gastrointestinal distress)?
- Have you experienced one or more stress fractures in the past 1-2 years or do you have a history of chronic stress fractures?
- During runs or other types of exercise, do you have difficulty maintaining a steady level of energy throughout? In other words, you have to fuel with simple sugars frequently, otherwise you fade fast?
- Do you have frequent constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, or other GI issues during your everyday living?
- Do you have trouble waking up in the morning or are you super grouchy if you do not eat soon after waking up?
- Are you a competitive athlete following a restrictive diet? Or vegan?
- Do you get sick often?
- Ladies, are you experiencing amenorrhea or having infrequent periods?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then I strongly encourage you to seek support and guidance from a RD or Sport RD. It is quite likely that there is some fine-tuning needed of your dietary patterns. This doesn’t mean you need to give up favorite foods, or be put on a whacky diet, or spend boatloads of money on pills, powders, and potions. It merely means that the assessment and professional guidance of an experienced RD can take you (and your health and athletic abilities) to a new (and amazingly awesome) level.
Give me a shout if you have questions or want to know more.
-Dina Griffin, MS, RDN, CSSD, CISSN
Board Certified Sports Dietitian / Registered Dietitian