Working with a Nutritionist


Around a month ago, I began working with a nutritionist- Claire Hargreaves at Nutrikind Nutrition. It was something I had been considering for some time, as I felt I needed a little guidance and advice with my diet.

My main aims of working with a nutritionist were:

  • Weight loss– I’ve recently gained back almost half of the 6 stone (80lbs) I lost and the scales just seem to keep going up and up.
  • Gut health– I suffer from IBS symptoms particularly bloating and have struggled to pinpoint what is causing this.
  • Hormonal balance– I’m coming off my long-term contraceptive Depo Provera and know that it will take a while for my hormones to settle down, I wanted to support my body with the best nutrition while I’m going through this transition.
  • Optimum nutrition– After getting my stress fracture diagnosis, I wanted to ensure I’m getting all the nutrients my body needs to heal and repair.
  • Sports nutrition– I wanted advice on fuelling up for training and racing without gaining weight.
Claire assessed a food diary I’d kept for three days and gave advice and suggestions based on my goals. Generally, she felt my nutrition was quite good and I only needed to make a few tweaks. 
 
The changes I’ve made are:
  • Switched to gluten-free oats and bread to try and find out if gluten is the cause of my bloating.
  • Switched from sugar-free squash to lime/lemon squeezed into water.
  • Moved around the timings of my meals and snacks so that I am eating around 1-2 hours before exercise. I must admit I still struggle to eat before 7am swimming!
  • Cut down on high-GI foods. As much as I love my Nakd Bars, the dried fruit can cause blood sugar levels to spike.
  • Introduced a range of supplements to support digestion and absorption of nutrients, as well as vitamins/minerals for overall health.
  • Stopped having grains with my evening meal, I now just have protein and vegetables.
  • Started having nut butter with my breakfast to ensure I have protein with every meal and snack. 
  • Increased the amount I’m eating, as my calories were slightly low for the amount of activity I do. 
Otherwise, I haven’t made too many changes. I already drink around 2-3 litres of water per day. I only have sugar or alcohol occasionally and I eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. I already have healthy fats in my diet- avocado, oily fish and coconut oil almost daily. Dairy milk leaves a rank taste in my mouth, so I prefer to use almond, coconut or oat milk. I seem to be able to tolerate Greek Yoghurt, so I still have this fairly regularly.
 
I eat every 3-4 hours to keep blood sugar levels stable. I’ve also introduced Pink Himalayan Salt for it’s mineral content, which I’m quite enjoying especially on avocado! Claire also recommended a vegan protein powder, as I’m not keen on all the additives in whey protein. I must admit the vegan version is an acquired taste, I don’t particularly enjoy it unless it is blended with fruit and nut butter.
 
It might seem a difficult time of year to start a new nutrition plan, but I’m not one to wait until January for New Year’s resolutions. I wanted to finish 2015 in great health. I’ve stuck closely to the guidelines for the past month, apart from a few drinks and snacks at a Christmas party. 
 
I had my follow-up appointment with Claire this weekend. Already I can say that my IBS symptoms have improved. I have had a few days when I’ve been bloated, but they are fewer than before I made these dietary changes. Unfortunately, my weight is continuing to go up, I’ve gained another 5lbs this month. I’m trying to be patient and let my body heal without rushing the weight loss, but it is frustrating! 

Claire has asked me to cut out grains and dairy completely for the next phase of my nutrition plan, so I will be substituting my breakfast porridge for eggs or a protein shake. I guess the way I am eating is similar to the paleo diet. I’ve never really been one to jump on the bandwagon of diets which involve cutting out certain food types, but with the guidance of a nutritionist I’m willing to try it. I’m desperate to sort out my health problems and right now this seems like the only option.

I’ll relax my eating plan on Christmas Day and Boxing Day as it will be too difficult to stay within the guidelines when I’m eating with family. Plus I want to enjoy a few festive treats! After this I will endeavor to stick my nutrition plan. 

I’m looking for inspiration for dairy-free, grain-free, gluten-free, sugar-free recipes, so if you have any books or websites please leave me a comment. 
 
Have you ever worked with a nutritionist? Do you have any recipes for me?
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