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Are you on a mission to find a Disordered Eating Dietitian who can assist you with healing your relationship with food? Taking this step is a huge leap toward a healthier, happier you! Let’s dive into the process of finding the right nutrition professional for your unique needs (and yes, I’ll explain the difference between an RD and a nutritionist!).
Before you start your search, it’s crucial to pinpoint your specific needs, goals, and values. There are ALL types of nutrition pros out there – from weight-loss, detox diet girlies to Health at Every Size-aligned, trauma-informed licensed nutritionists and registered dietitians. Are you dealing with an eating disorder like anorexia or binge eating? Do you have anxiety, depression, OCD, ADHD, etc? You’re going to want to find a practitioner who is well-versed in what you are working with. Do you have a chronic illness? An autoimmune disease? Any dietary preferences or restrictions, such as being vegan or gluten-free? Knowing what you’re looking to address will help you find the right expert.
Start by searching for nutritionists or dietitians in your area online. Be sure to read reviews, check their qualifications, and see if they specialize in the needs and values you identified above. Sites like Health Profs or Zocdoc are great resources for finding Nutritionists/Dietitians!
This is a crucial step. Look for professionals who are either registered dietitians (RD) or certified nutrition specialists (CNS). There are many people who claim to be “nutritionists,” but do not have any accreditation (this is because “nutritionist” is not a regulated term — that is why you MUST be sure to look for proper credentials!). While both RDs and CNSs are qualified to provide nutrition guidance and neither are better than the other, there are some differences between the two:
The primary distinction between the two is the educational pathway, with RDs following a more standardized route, while CNSs often have advanced degrees and a deeper focus on clinical nutrition. Many CNSs are also very familiar with Functional Medicine. As a CNS, I was able to apply for licensure as a Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist in multiple states (that’s what the LDN letters after my name stand for).
Think of this as a friendly chat – because that’s essentially what it is! Reach out to a few “candidates” and ask for an initial consultation or phone call – this is very common (for example, I offer free Discovery Calls). Use this opportunity to discuss your needs, ask about their approach to treatment, if they’re familiar with what you’re struggling with, and see if your personalities and values align (#Vibecheck!!). Feeling comfortable and heard is incredibly important in this partnership as we will work through some emotional and personal topics together!
Some Dieitians and Nutritionists accept insurance and others do not – you will be able to see this on sites like HealthProfs and Zocdoc. I, for example, am able to give Superbills to clients that they can submit for reimbursement from their insurance. You can ask your insurance company if they would reimburse by asking them, “does my plan cover out of network nutrition services?”. You will also want to discuss the cost of sessions upfront at the Discovery Call. Some nutritionists or dietitians may offer package deals (this is what I do – with payment plans), while others charge per session.
Above all, trust your gut feeling. If you feel comfortable with a nutritionist or dietitian and believe they genuinely understand your concerns, you’re on the right track.
Seeking help for disordered eating patterns is a brave and huge step toward a more balanced, healthier, and (MUCH) happier life. When it comes to the difference between an RD and a CNS, remember that both can provide valuable guidance. Choose the professional who best aligns with your needs and preferences. Trust yourself, trust the process, and know that a vibrant future is waiting for you! 🌈✨