Should I see a Registered Dietitian?

should I see an RD

Are you pregnant, looking to become pregnant, or postpartum? Need to maintain health in your older years? Are you an athlete looking to increase performance? Do you want help managing your weight? 

When it really boils down to it, eating right can be a real challenge. From the messages we see on TV, read in magazines, and hear from peers, it sometimes feels like our food choices become more limited one day to the next. Many people become overwhelmed when they begin to overhaul their eating plan. 

It doesn’t have to be that way! Registered Dietitians are also known as Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD/RDN) are the food experts. 

Not only that, they have the knowledge to motivate and safely guide you to eat mindfully.

It’s the work schedule, accessibility, budget, tolerances, and so much more.

Registered Dietitians are credentialed providers who have completed education and training established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. All RDs or RDNs must:

  • Have at least a four-year degree which includes a specially designed, accredited nutrition curriculum.
  • Complete at least 1200 hours of supervised practice at a healthcare facility, foodservice organization and/or community agency.
  • Pass a board exam.

Many RDs and RDNs hold graduate degrees and many have certifications in specialized fields, such as eating disorders, sports, pediatric, renal, oncology or gerontological nutrition.

BNs Dietitians can help you discover strategies to make positive behavior change. Need to find a Registered Dietitian near you? Check out the link:


Emotional Hunger vs Physical Hunger

Most adults have had experiences with emotional eating.

While no single definition exists for emotional eating it can be explained as eating in response to feelings (emotional hunger) rather than the physical need to eat and nourish the body (physical hunger). Emotional eating is often linked to various triggers such as stress, fear, anxiety, tension, boredom, fatigue anger, and loneliness. Although people can say they also eat in response to positive feelings and events, this is generally not categorized as emotional eating.

The concern with eating in response to emotions is that people tend to overeat, consume too many calories and often choose foods that are nutrient-poor. A belief is that some foods may have addictive qualities and cause a release of hormones that promote a feeling of wellbeing and satisfaction. The pleasure of eating replaces some negative feelings so if there is a relationship with food(s) that bring pleasure, they will seek out these foods in an emotional moment. This relationship becomes a habit and the cycle can be challenging to break.

Another thought is that food can be a distraction from negative feelings and emotions. While consuming food that brings satisfaction it’s easier not to think of the triggers that cause them to overeat. The concern with this is that the distraction is short-lived, and people end up in a similar state that brought them to use food to cope. It’s not uncommon for additional negative emotions such as guilt and concerns about health and weight management.

If you struggle with identifying whether your hunger is physical or due to emotional response review the chart below and healthy coping mechanisms when you’re in an emotional moment.

There are many other ways to cope or respond in an emotional moment. Identifying eating emotional triggers is important in identifying why and how extra calories are consumed. Once identified, the next step is to come up with a plan of action to break the cycle and adopt new coping mechanisms.  Some suggestions include:

  • Go on a walk
  • Talk with a friend
  • Write down your feeling or start journaling
  • Play a game
  • Listen to music
  • Workout
  • Allow yourself to have some “me” time and do whatever you choose that doesn’t involve food
  • Read a good book or watch a good uplifting movie
  • Practice meditation or yoga
  • Take some deep breaths. 4×4 breathing deep inhales followed by deep exhales. This shuts off that sympathetic nervous system response (fight or flight) and turns on the parasympathetic response (rest and digest)


Should I track my food intake?

There is much to be learned about your relationship with food when you track or monitor your food intake. Monitoring your food intake can be beneficial for everyone, but especially if you have diabetes, weight concerns, an eating disorder, disordered eating, or GI issues.

Monitoring food can answer the following questions:

  1. What do I eat?
  2. Do I restrict particular foods?
  3. Is there a pattern to my eating? ie. Do I eat a certain way during the week vs weekend, or when I’m alone vs with company?
  4. Are there any “triggers” for my eating? ie. Am I eating late when I’m tired?
  5. What are my emotional triggers? ie. depression, loneliness, boredom, anxiety, or anger.
  6. Does my eating provide emotional benefits—is it calming, entertainment, an escape, or relief?

Just as a choir cannot improve their harmony if they don’t recognize the current dissonance, it is impossible to change anything if you are not aware of your current situation.

It is important to monitor your intake to help you recognize your behaviors, emotions, feelings, and exercise habits. Being honest with yourself is the only way to make progress.

Track your food intake as soon as possible after consuming. This will help you become more aware of your behaviors, emotions, feelings in real-time then you can start exploring further into your intake.

We encourage our patients to use a food intake record and not electronic devices. Electronic devices often lack the ability to make notes of the very important aspects of your food intake, such as family circumstances, emotions, and feelings. A food record can include time, place, with whom and degree of hunger during intake.

The dietitians at BN will support your monitoring efforts. Together, you will brainstorm various pathways to changing your thinking, behaviors and reaching your health goals. It’s a rewarding journey to realize you can make changes you never thought possible. Your trek to a healthy, peaceful relationship with food is far more than “eat this not that.”


Eating Disorders: Basic Facts and Possible Causes

Eating disorders have been around for centuries. They continue to be extremely baffling, mind boggling and outlandish for the individual struggling with the disorder and certainly for those who love this struggling individual.  Eating disorders appear to be an exact example of Romans 7:15- “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate is what I do.” Eating disorders present as issues with food, but in actuality they are serious emotional, physical and psychological problems. Any or all of these problems can have life threatening consequences for women and men!

There are many flavors of eating disorders including:

  •  anorexia-severe restriction of energy intake
  •  bulimia-recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by vomiting
  •  binge eating disorder-recurrent episodes of binge eating
  •  diabulemia- diabetic persons who withhold insulin to purge calories
  •  night eating syndrome- recurrent episodes of eating during the night
  •  orthorexia- an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy food
  •  anorexia athletica -excessive obsessive exercise

In the world of eating disorders, food and the control of food is an attempt to manage feelings and emotions that seem overwhelming. Restricting, binging, purging, or excessive exercise may begin as a way to cope with painful emotions and feelings. Eventually the eating disorder behaviors become extremely obsessive/ compulsive and grow into a monster of their own, destroying the person’s emotional and physical health, self esteem, sense of significance and control.

Physiological factors that can contribute to eating disorders:

  • low esteem
  • feelings of insignificance and lack of control in life
  • depression, anxiety, anger or loneliness

Interpersonal factors that can contribute to eating disorders:

  • troubled families and personal relationships
  • difficulty expressing emotions and feelings
  • history of being teased or ridiculed on size or weight – particularly from either parent
  • history of physical or sexual abuse

Society offers many influences which can contribute to eating disorders and body image issues. Cultural norms which equate thinness and beauty promote efforts to achieve the “perfect body.” Constant comments about hips, thighs, stomach, dieting, calories, fats in food and on the body, or ‘carbohydrates are bad’ all promote the obsession to constantly evaluate your food and your body to determine if you are “OK”!

Really, is this what you want on your epitaph???
“Didn’t contribute much to society, but a perfect dieter and a perfect body.”


“I Just Want to Eat Normally”

I want to quit worrying about what I eat. I want to quit worrying about my weight. I want to quit worrying about what my stomach looks like. I want to quit worrying about what I look like. I want to quit staying home because I know I don’t look good in my clothes. I want to quit feeling guilty about what I do eat. I want to quit feeling guilty about what I don’t eat. I really just want to quit feeling, especially about my food and my body. I want to start living …… living FREE of all of this food and body stuff!

OK …..We Get You!
The dietitians at Banister and Associates LLC are focused on setting you FREE!
Does the preceding paragraph describe those of you dealing with a restrictive eating disorder such as anorexia, binge eating disorder (BED), bulimia or the usual overweight struggles that can’t seem to be resolved? The answer is “all of the preceding.”

In my 32 years of counseling, the agonizing struggles and pain of underweight/overweight, under eating/overeating all have the same, dismal melody. I have frequently been asked ‘how do you help someone who is 20% overweight (obese) followed by someone who is 20% underweight (anorexic)?’ It’s actually easy — quite often there are very similar, underlying emotional issues which affect food and activity choices resulting in different physical appearances. An additional major common denominator is that everyone has the same goal in mind…. peace with food and self. FREEDOM from the constant mental anguish which steals your time, produces great disharmony in your life and disguises your body as something it is not!

A place of relaxed eating is a place of serenity. Relaxed eating is the ability to be at ease with the social, emotional and physical components of food and eating. It is being able to recognize gut hunger and respond appropriately by providing yourself with nourishment, until you reach a feeling of satiety(appropriate fullness). Relaxed eating encourages pleasurable, whimsical eating with flexibility and freedom from guilt or remorse. It is loving who you are and eating what you love. It is enjoying the fresh baked bread or cookies right as they come out of the oven, even when you are not hungry because we all know that is when it tastes the best! It allows you to eat based on your intuitive hunger in the moment, which can be more or less depending on the instance. Relaxed eating IS NOT following a meal plan or diet rules . It is trusting your mind and your body through self-care and self-love. Relaxed eating stems from a strong connection between mind, body and self-awareness.
How many years or decades have you been unhappy, stressed, frustrated, depressed about your relationship with food and your body? Consider a different approach rather than another diet plan, diet pill, or diet gimmick.

Consider ‘Rules and Rigidity generally = Rebellion, not Relaxation!’ cb

Insight into One Patient’s Journey with an Eating Disorder


Struggling with an eating disorder looks like an issue with food. In actuality, eating disorders are emotional and physical problems, frequently control issues, that manifest as ‘food control’. Every new patient who walks through the doors at Banister and Associates has a unique story and foundation for the roots of their disorder. Regardless of the reason, eating disorders are serious illnesses across all ages, genders and races that must be treated diligently.
Some patients may struggle for only a short period of time (6-12 mo), if there is early recognition of the disordered eating and counseling started immediately. For others the road to recovery can take years. A patient of Carol’s for several years, Stacee Goetzinger, recently made a very courageous decision to share her eating disorder story. Stacee was approached to create a video that captures valuable segments of her story in a very dramatic way. The video is being used as a promotional piece for The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Women’s Ministry Spring Conference. Stacee’s video can be seen here:
We applaud her bravery and strength in sharing glimpses into her life with ED  (eating disorder). Stacee’s deep commitment to the extensive and exhaustive work of recovery is uniquely displayed in this video of a beautiful woman and a beautiful vase.