An ac­count of weighty mat­ters

EAT­ING RIGHT Nu­tri­tion­ists keep an eye on your diet, en­sur­ing that you stay fit and ac­tive, keep life­style dis­eases at bay and fight stress and anx­i­ety eas­ily

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page - Rozelle Laha

A med­i­cal grad­u­ate from Ra­jiv Gandhi Univer­sity of Health Sciences, Dr Sim­ran Saini, a fit­ness-freak her­self, de­cided to launch a cru­sade against life­style dis­eases by ad­vis­ing peo­ple to eat right and stay healthy.

To im­prove her knowl­edge in the field, she en­rolled for a oneyear cor­re­spon­dence cer­tifi­cate course in nu­tri­tion di­etet­ics at a pri­vate in­sti­tute. Later, set­ting up a free­lance prac­tice at home, she achieved some spec­tac­u­lar re­sults wth two clients. After they fol­lowed her diet charts “those two peo­ple were able to lose weight, they were ec­static and re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated how I had worked with them. That was when I re­alised that it was not just about help­ing some­one lose weight. As a nu­tri­tion­ist, I can change the way they start look­ing at them­selves, the food and the nu­tri­tion they de­rive from it, to be happy and healthy,” says Saini.

This sense of sat­is­fac­tion of be­ing able to bring about a pos­i­tive change in the lives of peo­ple drove her to pur­sue her stud­ies in di­etary coun­selling from the In­sti­tute of Health Sciences, Ire­land.

With in­creas­ing aware­ness of the im­por­tance of good nu­tri­tion, more and morepeo­ple in In­dia are turn­ing to nu­tri­tion ex­perts for a healthy and dis­ease-free life. In re­cent times, es­pe­cially, young peo­ple are ex­tremely keen stay fit and look good. They are in­creas­ingly be­com­ing cau­tious about what they eat and how they look.

Nu­tri­tion­ists and diet coun­sel­lors guide peo­ple on what to eat, the calo­rie in­take and food combi- na­tions based on an in­di­vid­ual’s choice and body re­quire­ments.

Any­one can have ac­cess to a pro­fes­sional nu­tri­tion­ist to­day. “We ear­lier had high-end clients com­ing for con­sul­tancy. The sit­u­a­tion is to­tally dif­fer­ent now. With in­creas­ing aware­ness of main­tain­ing good health, low and mid­dle in­come peo­ple too have joined the race to stay fit. Peo­ple un­der­stand the im­por­tance of nu­tri­tion now and do not hes­i­tate to spend money,” says Saini, who has been prac­tis­ing since 2000.

So, what do nu­tri­tion­ists do? They first hold con­sul­ta­tions with clients and ed­u­cate them on the diet pro­gramme, ser­vices they would be pro­vided as part of the plan, the du­ra­tion and the num­ber of diet coun­selling ses­sions. Fol­low­ing this, they pre­pare weekly diet plans for the client and as­sess their progress and coun­sel them. Nu­tri­tion­ists take into ac­count the client’s present food habits, calo­rie in­take, phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity in gen­eral, food pref­er­ences and dis­likes, med­i­ca­tions they are tak­ing, and over­all life­style while pre­par­ing a diet chart.

“For obese peo­ple, we take ap­prox­i­mate tar­gets of three to four kilo weight loss ev­ery month and cus­tomise a plan ac­cord­ingly and guide them on how to fol­low the same,” says Saini.

Once the diet chart is pre­pared and the client is di­rected on how to fol­low the same, all that a nu­tri­tion­ist has to do is to check if the clients are fol­low­ing the diet or not and change the diet to mod­ify the calo­rie in­take from time to time. Physi­cians of­ten re­fer pa­tients to nu­tri­tion­ists to help cure them through ther­a­peu­tic diet plans.

“Align­ing one’s way of eat­ing to the life­style of the per­son is the big­gest chal­lenge. Good nu­tri­tion­ists need to com­bine food pref­er­ences of a client with the diet they rec­om­mend. The best way to deal with this is to un­der­stand the psy­che of the client, coun­sel them well and en­sure re­sults,” sug­gests Saini.

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