My New Year’s Resolution—Is Now the Time to Build or Elevate My Practice with Nutrition? A Clinical Nutritionist’s Expectation
A majority of your patients committed themselves to a health related New Year’s Resolution on January 1st. Studies show they will implement a nutrition or exercise program in the next 3 months as a result of their desire to improve their health. Are you and your staff ready to grab a piece of this multi-billion dollar industry yet? Most likely, if you’re a chiropractor in America, you will eventually have to incorporate a multitude of services to leverage your practice, just to be able to survive. Due to insurance cutbacks, shrinking income, and a genuine desire to be a well-rounded holistic practitioner, chiropractors are aggressively searching for new clinical services and approaches to wellness to Incorporate into their practices. In the next decade, I predict that the chiropractic profession will continue to emerge as major providers for wellness and nutritional therapies. Recently, I see more chiropractors incorporating lifestyle counseling and long term (behavior modification) nutrition programs into their practices for their patients, in addition to providing nutritional supplements and detoxification therapies that many offer now.
I predict that the chiropractic profession will continue to emerge as major providers for wellness and nutritional therapies.
Having trained over 700 physician practices with Lifestyle counseling programs in the past 20 years, I have experienced many changes within the chiropractic profession. Chiropractors (and most medical professionals) are getting frustrated with insurance company cutbacks and are now aggressively diversifying their practices with nutrition. Nutritional supplement companies heavily market to chiropractors and, as a result, many are becoming vitamin dispensers. Network marketing companies jump at the chance to incorporate chiropractors as their distributors, since many see a high quantity of weekly patients and are looked at as "wellness" providers by their patients. Also, chiropractors, compared to most health practitioners, have a good business sense about them and often are natural "marketers". The challenge with any medical professional is to have a balance between your patients’ clinical needs and your practice’s business needs, with effective patient outcomes based on valid research.
Looking at the multitude of health practitioners in America, chiropractors have been well trained in musculoskeletal, and neurophysiology systems of the human body, which naturally provides a strong clinical foundation to be able to run with nutrition in your practice, if you desire to do so. With advanced nutritional training and certifications available, many chiropractors have obviously specialized in nutrition with their chiropractic practices to be able to have an edge on their competition.
Generally, practitioners have varied nutritional approaches to nutritional counseling, and many are continuously looking for the next "magic bullet", especially your patients! Traditional medical doctors predominantly use medications, appetite suppressants, B12 injections, meal replacements, and bypass surgeries to promote weight loss and disease management. Also, many MDs provide their patients with generic pharmaceutical diet sheets. DOs, like chiropractors, have traditionally been trained to incorporate physical medicine and obviously some holistic nutrition and conventional pharmaceutical approaches to weight loss and disease prevention. Acupuncturists and naturopaths specialize in homeopathy, herbal and energy medicine with some physical medicine and incorporating an Eastern Medicine philosophy. Lastly, personal trainers have incorporated nutrition counseling in their services, often focusing on supplements and a basic elementary "diet" with stringent food restrictions for fat reduction and weight loss, usually with little emphasis on disease prevention or management.
The 2011 Whole Food Approach to Holistic Nutrition Counseling Based on Evidence-based Research
Which health practitioner in the US now effectively specializes in Holistic nutrition counseling using real food as it pertains to disease prevention and weight loss with a program that addresses the relationship that individuals have with eating? Commercial weight loss companies have turned this into a multibillion dollar industry; the average cost to lose 20 lbs. is $1,000-$1,600 in America. Nutri-System, Jenny Craig and now many "medical" programs focus on delivering packaged foods to patients for weight loss that are filled with preservatives and additives that are contra indicated for wellness and disease prevention. Programs that just focus on point counting and food restrictions may create a psychological hardship which typically increases hunger and cravings and could lead to food dependency or even a food obsession over time. Dietitians, such as myself, are traditionally trained to focus nutrition counseling with food and teach patients how to scientifically and intuitively eat. The traditional dietetic training has a conventional approach rather than a homeopathic, complimentary approach to counseling and, in the past, did not incorporate many of the holistic philosophies that chiropractors often recommend for their patients. However, many dietitians, chiropractors, and physicians have advanced their training through certifications and courses to include homeopathic, nutraceutics, and detoxification and energy medicine, which I feel has its place with nutritional counseling for many patients in America and will have a positive effect on patient outcomes in practice income.
Our philosophy is as a result of private counseling with patients in our clinics, and consulting with doctors nationwide. We incorporate a proprietary metabolic analyzer and software that your assistant, CA or a "wellness coach" can customize a sliding scale nutrition and exercise program based on the patient’s metabolic rate, age, height, weight, lean mass and activity level for weight loss, gain or maintenance. Our focus is to manage patient blood sugar swings effectively, without having to count carb grams, food groups or calories or providing unnecessary food restrictions. Managing blood sugars effectively usually decreases hunger, cravings, or fatigue. Our program can accommodate most patient or physician philosophies, such as Atkins, Zone, Paleolithic, Fibromyalgia or even the HCG diet protocol.
We also provide clinical protocols for hyperlipidemias, pre-diabetes, metabolic syndrome, fatty liver disease, sports nutrition, pain management, chronic fatigue, migraines, etc., which incorporate conventional and alternative approaches, including specific nutritional supplements and quantities recommended to help manage medical or nutritional challenges naturally.
The key to motivating your patients to embrace changing their eating habits and adopting a new lifestyle is to provide 4-12 weekly nutritional sessions that spell out in detail what and why patients should eat at home, in restaurants, or while traveling or entertaining. For our patients, we provide specific weekly goals, shopping lists, simple recipes, menus and the specific name brand foods that we recommend for each and every patient based on their food preferences, lifestyle, medical/nutritional needs and budget.
Lifestyle counseling programs based on patients’ eating real food are significantly less expensive to the patient, more profitable for the doctor, and market very well in today’s economic climate. Many of the chiropractors that we have consulted feel that patients like to eat whole healthy natural food and appreciate not being obligated to purchase diet products. Also, they feel focusing on long term lifestyle changes is personally rewarding to the doctor and effectively builds loyal, happy, referring patients within their practices.
Christopher Fuzy, M.S., R.D., L.D., is the Founder of PhysicianWellnessProgram.com, has a Master’s Degree in Clinical & Sports Nutrition, and has offices in Ft. Lauderdale and Boca Raton, FL. Over the past 20 years, he has trained over 700 physicians nationwide in the implementation of his Lifestyle Nutrition Counseling Program®. For more information or to try your own nutritional program, visit www.PhysicianWellnessProgram.com or call 1-800-699-8106.