Many people have asked me for the 'recipe' or secret method to my weight loss. I don't have one and don't know of any one method but what I do know is this. There is a reason why weight loss programs don't work the same for everyone. Successful weight loss programs often incorporate proper diet and exercise and more importantly guidance and accountability. I believe that a good dietitian is essential to successful weight loss. Not any dietitian; it has to be someone you like and get along with. If you do not like your dietitian you will resent the appointments and the weigh ins, and his/her advice will fall on deaf ears. I like my dietitian; I trust her advice and I appreciate her help very much. Open communication and a certain social chemistry is necessary to achieve your goal weight and more importantly, to feel healthy and happy. This week I was confronted with this reality. My dietitian was out sick with a cold, so to keep the schedule running smoothly, her office typically gets another dietitian to fill in while she's gone. This was the third time I saw someone other than her. The other times she was away, I saw a really nice lady who was equally professional. Unfortunately, this week, I saw a different person who was not too nice (which I think represents the majority of dietitians I've met during my never ending cycle of trying to lose weight). Where do I start?
The first thing I noticed and which caught me off guard was how rude she was. She cut me off mid sentence, several times. It seemed she was not interested in how I was really doing or what I had to say. She just wanted to hear herself speak.
She also provided unsolicited advice. She suggested (and I'm using this word liberally here) that I change some aspects of my diet because she does not think it will work. For example, she rhetorically asked "Can you eat some other fruit, because bananas have too much natural sugars in them and I typically don't recommend them to my patients any more than 3 times a week". She made two mistakes; a) she assumed I'm a typical patient which implied that she did not even look in my file to learn that in less than a year I have lost over 100 pounds, all the while eating bananas more than 3 times a week and b) she provided advice that indirectly undermined the expertise of my original dietitian; very unprofessional. She insisted she was right even though I mentioned that my dietitian never brought this up as it was never an issue and I have been losing weight steadily despite eating bananas more than 3 times a week sometimes.
I was offended by her condescending attitude. She complained about my meal plan and what she perceived as a lack of variety. Instead of asking me if I'm okay with the recipes or foods that I am eating, she arrogantly asked if I see myself following this meal plan for the rest of my life because she was concerned about the "lack of variety". When I confirmed yes, she insisted that "some people just do this until they lose weight and then they go back to eating unhealthy" implying that I'm going to be one of those people. I had to bite my tongue and politely explain to her that I do all my meals in advance and that as long as I like something, I don't have a problem eating it several times a week. I also explained that due to family history and other health issues, I am well aware of lifestyle changes and that I have no intention of going back to unhealthy habits. I did not think I had to explain myself to her and I felt like it was more of an interrogation as opposed to a discussion. I was offended.
She was unprofessional at best. She hadn't read my file and was not interested until I told her that I lost over 100 pounds. She was surprised and congratulated me but did not seem very genuine. This was confirmed later as I left the office. On my way out, I spoke to the receptionist. I advised her that my husband is interested in registering with my dietitian because he is impressed by how much weight I lost and he's looking to lose some too. I explained that he wants to see the same person I see. At that point, the dietitian interjected and stated with an exasperated tone that he can see her and that she's "had patients who lost over 100 pounds too". Clearly, she was interested in neither me nor my husband, but rather in her own image and how she appeared around the office. It was fairly obvious to me that she was resentful of my original dietitian. I don't really care about all that; it's office politics. However, it should not be apparent to the customer. It reflects badly on the entire organization.
In short, that dietitian had nothing good to say, complained about my eating habits and in general made a bad impression. I felt that she spoke down to me. I left the appointment feeling negative and completely unmotivated. If she was my dietitian I would not have lost all the weight I did. I shudder to think of how she makes others who have not had as much success as I've had feel. If I were part of upper management, I would make sure she goes nowhere near people. She is best served in a back office somewhere doing redundant paperwork. That's about all her brain can handle.
Though on the upside, it takes skill to be this ineffective at your job, and she's got it.