What I offer as a nutritionist, your questions answered by Phoebe Wharton
As a nutritionist I’m always asked questions about what I actually do, and if it’s any different to the weekly weight loss support groups (not naming any in particular). So, I thought I’d write it down for you and provide a good comparison. Every time I explain my role, people’s reaction is always the same, “wow I had no idea it was that involved” OR “I didn’t realise that’s the approach you take”
So, here’s some common questions with my answer to each one.
What’s the main difference between what you do and what weight loss support groups offer?
I offer personalised nutritional advice meaning all the advice is tailored to the individual, not “A one size fits all” approach. The majority of advice offered by weekly weight loss groups is general everyday advice which may or may not work for every individual. Especially if you have a specific condition such as an Overactive Thyroid, the advice isn’t tailored to you and can often make symptoms worse.
Do you calorie count?
No – I don’t agree with calorie counting. There’s too much evidence out there to suggest calorie counting can be detrimental to your mind set, we don’t actually absorb all the calories we consume and as we continually burn calories, for me the amount of calories a client consumes doesn’t tell me much about their general health, for example I could have 2 male clients both 32 years old who have an average daily calorie intake of 2500kcal. However, one could get their calories from eating healthy proteins, wholegrains, fruit and veg while the other could come from a heavy consumption of pastries, red meat, biscuits and chocolate. Weight loss groups may not state that they count calories, but the majority of the programs are based around the general idea, put it this way the words calorie counting is sugar coated.
Can you explain more about analysing food diaries?
Of course – Once I have received your completed food diary (Either before or after your initial consultation) I will analyse the diary and provide a report of all the nutrients you are currently getting from your diet. From this we can see if you’re deficient in any vitamins or minerals or in turn receiving too much of a certain vitamin or mineral. For example, too much vitamin “A” especially, in pregnancy can become toxic. If you would like a personalised meal plan, I will also analyse this so you can see the comparison. I have some clients who don’t want a meal plan as they don’t have a particular goal in mind they just want to know if what they’re currently consuming is hitting all the right marks nutrient wise. In these cases, I will provide improvements to their current diet so they can make to adjustments to their lifestyle straight away.
How do your services work? Do clients pay for the hour and then that’s it?
I never want clients to think they pay for an hour session then sent on their way!
If you see anything in the media or hear from friends or family that “eating one piece of bacon a week will increase your risk of cancer by 60%” I want to know about it so I can clarify the claim with evidence-based advice.
Even if clients are having a bad day and feel they’re “falling of the bandwagon” I like to know so I can give them emotional support as well.
How do you feel about restricting foods such as chocolate and pizza?
I never restrict food unless I have too, such as a client having an allergy or intolerance. I also don’t believe in a guilty pleasure; food should be enjoyed daily and what’s the fun in restricting food we enjoy. I’m the first to grab a slice of cake, the difference is I don’t have it every day, I keep it as a treat and not as part of my daily life. The majority of weight loss support groups may not state that they restrict food, but they make you feel guilty about eating them by using words such as “sins”.
Do you advise supplements?
No, not as a matter of course – only if I have to, meaning if we have explored all other options and my client simply can’t get a nutrient from their diet then I would supplement. This is common with B12 and Veganism. B12 mainly comes from animal-based products therefore I would advise a supplement.
What I offer
If you would like to book an appointment with Phoebe please call reception on 0118 9762253 or book online at