I am not proud to admit this, but recently, I had a very unsatisfied customer. From the time she walked in from the time she left, I could tell she was going to be difficult.
Maybe she’d had an off day and was taking it out on me, or maybe she expected me to just give her some printed handouts of what to eat and what not to, but it made me think- what do my clients expect of me?
For starters, she showed up early and I hadn’t arrived yet. Normally, I am there before my clients, but traffic was heavy and she arrived 10 minutes before me. Was I late? Nope. But she sure made me feel like I was. Note to self- arrive earlier than early.
I asked a lot of questions (a lot). I send a long, detailed client profile form that clients fill out before meeting me. This includes medical history (if applicable), eating style, supplement use, shopping habits, reactions to stress and a 3-day diet history. In her case, the diet history was left off, so I asked a lot about eating habits and food preferences. I do this to find out where you may need help with your diet. It’s a 2-way street. I ask questions, and I expect answers in return (detailed if possible)!
I provide articles and handouts based on your interests and health goals. Sometimes I obtain this information before we meet, but many times, our hour together is where I glean the most information. It’s helpful to tell me why you’re there and what I can help most with (shopping, recipes, meal planning or information). I may also give you coupons if I have them to try new foods.
After the visit, I put together diet materials suited to your situation or health goals. If weight loss is desired, I’ll give you a 1-day sample blue print of serving sizes and foods to eat, based on what you normally like to eat. It would be foolish for me to give you exact foods to eat on certain days as I know most people don’t eat this way and circumstances change from day to day. Ideally, dietitians want to give you the tools to make your own food choices and provide meal and snack ideas instead of planning your whole meal schedule. I also provide recipes and tip sheets to help with ideas.
Finally, after your visit, I write a progress note for your doctor or other care provider to let them know about what we covered. Visits are often due to physician referral, so I keep them posted of your health goals and progress. This also gives me an opportunity to market for more referrals.