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5 REASONS TO BE OPEN TO ONLINE COUNSELLING

Ever had the thought to start a healthy lifestyle and wanted to consult a nutritionist? Has the pandemic made you worried about your dietary habits? Cannot step out to meet your dietitian? Then you should consider online counselling!

Counselling, also called therapy is a process where a professional in the field talks to you about the difficulties you are facing be it with your diet, emotions, career, etc. Nutrition counselling is a process where the dietitian or nutritionist helps you follow a balanced diet and make sure you are getting all the nutrients required by your body in optimum quantity.

Since the pandemic, “Online counselling” or virtual counselling has gained momentum. Individuals are choosing to avoid going to clinics or hospitals to reduce the risk of infection and are signing up for online counselling sessions.

If you are skeptical about virtual counselling, here are 5 reasons why you should definitely give online counselling a try.

1.The comfort of your home

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The first advantage of online counselling is that you can get all the knowledge from the comfort of your couch. When you schedule an e session with your dietitian or nutritionist you can plan out your day and finish your chores at your convenience.

Research shows that people tend to interact better when they are comfortable. It is very important to let the dietitian or nutritionist know details of your lifestyle so that they can help you better.

2. You are less likely to miss appointments

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Once you have had the first session you will be having smaller follow up sessions. With online counselling, you are less likely to miss or avoid the sessions because you don’t have to get dressed, worry about getting there late, worry about the traffic or the weather. You just have to sit at home, on your couch or even your garden and finish your session.

3. Increased Privacy

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It is understandable if people feel embarrassed or stressed while talking about themselves and their problems be it related to food, exercise, emotions, etc. The advantage with virtual counselling is that you can be sure that no one is overlooking or hearing about your personal matter, and this makes people feel secure and they are more likely to follow all the steps and changes told to them by their dietitian or nutritionist. 

Some studies say people refrain from seeking help for weight loss because they fear they will be judged by people present in the surroundings. Online counselling can be a blessing for such people who want to take that step for themselves and become a healthier individual.

4. You put your health first

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Whether you want to consult a dietitian for weight loss or because you want to lead a healthy lifestyle, it does not matter. What matters is that you are thinking about yourself, your body and trying to understand and do what’s best for yourself. This one thought can make individuals more consistent in achieving their goals.

Counselling with a nutritionist can help you become fitter, healthier, and stronger. Consuming a balanced diet can eliminate the risk of heart diseases, metabolic disorders and improve your immunity.

5. You save a lot of time

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By choosing to consult online, you will obviously save time. Along with that you save the money spent on commuting. You can spend the saved time with your family, or by exercising or trying out new hobbies or get that extra hour of sleep.

What to expect in the first session –

Every individual is different, and everybody’s needs are different. In the first session the dietitian may ask you a little about your lifestyle, your daily habits, and your general feeling of wellness. He/she may ask you to give a 24-hour recall of the previous day’s meals and food consumed and your physical activity throughout the day.

Counsellors are trained to listen without any judgement and analyze an individual’s food intake based on nutrients. Answer or reply as truthfully as you can, as this will help them plan out and personalize the plan that is best for you.

They may then ask you what your goals are. Perhaps you want to cut down on your intake of processed foods, limit your sugar or salt intake or want to lose weight. According to your needs and your body’s requirements they will formulate a plan that best suits you and does not drastically differ from your roots (as opposed to the diets influenced by social media – keto or liquid diets).

Then according to the plan, you may have follow-up sessions lined up where you and your dietitian can work together in achieving the goals and getting the desired results. 

Online counselling may still seem or sound challenging, but you will never know until you try it. If you want your life to be on the right track, be sure to consult a professional like a dietitian or a nutritionist before going on diets of your own or diets that are influenced by social media. It is always advisable to take the help of experts who will assess your body’s needs and formulate plans according to that.

Registered dietitians and qualified nutritionists are trained specifically in nutrition counselling. It is their job to make the clients feel comfortable and help them achieve overall wellbeing. Just as they would advise you in a physical setting, they can do so over online counselling. 

So, the next time a thought comes to your head to visit a dietitian or a nutritionist, try online counselling. I’m sure it will be a new experience, but it will be worth it. Think about all the good reasons mentioned above and give it a shot before dissolving the whole idea altogether.

References –

  1. Bagshawe, A., & Taylor, A. (2003). Counselling. BMJ, 327(7422), 1038–1040. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7422.1038
  2. Kolasa, K. M., & Rickett, K. (2010). Barriers to Providing Nutrition Counseling Cited by Physicians. Nutrition in Clinical Practice, 25(5), 502–509. https://doi.org/10.1177/0884533610380057
  3. Lu, A. H., & Dollahite, J. (2010). Assessment of dietitians’ nutrition counselling self-efficacy and its positive relationship with reported skill usage. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 23(2), 144–153. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-277X.2009.01024.x
  4. Ramachandran, D., Kite, J., Vassallo, A. J., Chau, J. Y., Partridge, S., Freeman, B., & Gill, T. (2018). Food Trends and Popular Nutrition Advice Online – Implications for Public Health. Online Journal of Public Health Informatics, 10(2), e213. https://doi.org/10.5210/ojphi.v10i2.9306
  5. Franco, R. Z., Fallaize, R., Hwang, F., & Lovegrove, J. A. (2019). Strategies for online personalised nutrition advice employed in the development of the eNutri web app. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 78(3), 407–417. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0029665118002707

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