How Working With a Virtual Dietitian Can Be Good For Your Health!

The days of “dieting” are over. We know that about 95% of people who follow diet plans fail and regain their weight. The key to success for weight loss or improved health is to learn how to create lifestyle changes that you can live with. It is all about learning to shift from doing the same old things that don’t work, to adopting new ways that get your lifestyle and eating habits back in balance.

We live in a time where many tasks in our every day life can be done virtually. Being able to work virtually with a Registered Dietitian (RD) who has expertise in nutrition and wellness coaching is no exception. This article will help explain how a virtual nutrition and wellness coaching program works and what benefits you can expect to achieve by working with a nutrition professional.

Working face to face with an RD is a great option, but many people do not have a qualified professional in their area to work with. Others simply lack the time for routine office visits because of their busy schedule. This is exactly where working with a virtual dietitian comes in.

The benefits of working with your virtual dietitian are:

  • You can have a program tailored especially for you.
  • Your sessions are private and confidential.
  • You get regular feedback and encouragement to keep you “accountable”.
  • Your program is flexible and portable, allowing you to work at your own pace.
  • You can have ongoing support for as long as you like or need.

Here are two ways to easily access the services of a virtual dietitian no matter where you are located.

1. Use an online service where you can access regular coaching and guidance from an RD weekly:

In this format, you provide your dietitian with basic information about your current lifestyle and eating habits. This helps both you and the dietitian identify what your needs are, as well as what you would like to achieve as a result of using the service. Once individual needs are evaluated, the dietitian works with you weekly through a secure email system to help set up you’re eating and/or lifestyle plan. Weekly emails are designed to teach you skills that promote weight loss and improve lifestyle. Learning specific behavior modification strategies can help you overcome obstacles that have gotten in the way of your success in the past. When you receive weekly professional coaching via email, you learn how to move ahead, instead of being stuck with your old behavior. The weekly email contact helps you stay on track and keeps you accountable for your plan.

2. Get your nutrition and wellness coaching from the RD routinely with telephone contact:

Telephone coaching is another powerful way to maintain contact with your nutrition professional. Telephone coaching can be done after completing an online program or as a standalone way to maintain contact. Like email coaching, your initial discussions with the RD revolve around your specific needs and goals for lifestyle change and weight loss. Then at prearranged times, you speak over the phone to plan, discuss, revise or add to the program you are working on. It’s an easy way for you to discuss what is working for you and what needs to change. The coaching model empowers you to discover ways to keep motivated and may help you achieve a major breakthrough that assures your continued progress. Individual or group telephone coaching sessions are options that may feel more “personalized” because you are actually talking to the person you are working with.

It’s important to remember that online or telephone coaching is not an appropriate venue for dealing with specific medical issues that fall under the category of Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT). A Registered Dietitian is the right person to provide MNT, however, this type of work requires coordination with your physician and meetings with the RD are done face to face.

Whatever your preference, using online or telephone options to work with an RD can go a long way toward helping you with lifestyle changes or weight loss. If you have a strong desire to make positive changes in these areas, consider using these venues to access a nutrition expert. It may be just the thing fits well into your busy schedule, and, it’s a program that works!

©2010 Gretchen Scalpi. All rights reserved. You are free to reprint/republish this article as long as the article and byline are kept intact and all links are made live.

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, author and Certified Wellcoach®. Gretchen has worked with hundreds of clients in her own private practice since 2002, providing nutrition and wellness coaching in the areas of diabetes, weight management, food sensitivities, and general wellness. She is the author of the “Pre-Diabetes: Your Second Chance at Health” and “The Everything Guide to Managing and Reversing Prediabetes”. If you would like to learn more about Gretchen, or read her newsletter visit

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