Seeing a Dietitian FAQs

Sometimes the thought of seeing a dietitian can be a bit overwhelming. Dietitians often have a reputation for being “the food police” or someone who will tell you what to eat and what not to eat. That is not the case here at Be Mindful Nutrition. Our dietitians are here to work WITH you in a client-centered way and support you to work towards a better relationship with food and your body.

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) that might help in deciding if seeing a dietitian for help with your relationship with food or your eating disorder is right for you:

How much does it cost to see a dietitian in Australia?

There is no set fee for seeing a dietitian and it can cost anywhere from $90-$200 to see one. The fees can depend on the number of years the dietitian has been practicing, any extra study they have undertaken to enable them to provide services to you, their areas of expertise, and also the length of the consults.
For example, we have more than 12 years of experience working as dietitians and have undergone extra training to specialise in a non-diet, trauma-informed, Health at Every Size (HAES®) approach and are Credentialled Eating Disorder Clinicians (CEDC), therefore the cost of our services reflect this extra training and expertise. 

Does Medicare cover the cost of seeing a dietitian?

If you are on a Medicare Care Plan through your GP, you may be eligible to access rebates to see a dietitian. There are two types of care plans that enable you to access the rebates for seeing a dietitian:
– Eating Disorder Care Plan (EDP)
– Chronic Disease Management Plan (CDPM) 

Medicare does not cover the full cost of the session. You will need to pay the full fee of the consult and then the Medicare rebate will be processed after your appointment and sent to your bank account. See our ‘Fees, Rebates and Cancellation Policy’ Page for more details.

Does my Private Health cover the cost of seeing a dietitian?

This depends on your provider and the level of cover that you have. Get in touch with your Private health provider and ask them if you are covered for Dietetics.
The item numbers for sessions are 500 (initial consult) and 600 (for review consults).
Note that you cannot claim private health rebates for a session that you receive a medicare rebate for.

Do you need a referral to see a dietitian in Australia?

No, you do not need a referral to see a dietitian. However, a lot of our clients do come to see us on recommendation from their GP, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Eating Disorder Recovery Coach, or another member of their care team. And as mentioned above, if you are on a care plan you will receive rebates from Medicare.
If you have an eating disorder, we will require that you have regular reviews with your GP, psychiatrist or pediatrician, due to the medical risks associated with these conditions. With your permission, we will liaise with your treatment team to ensure you receive optimal care.

What is the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian?

All dietitians are nutritionists (as they must complete an undergraduate degree in nutrition), but not all nutritionists are dietitians. There is extra study after completing a nutrition degree to become a dietitian. The Dietetic profession in Australia is regulated which means that we have to have graduated from an approved dietetics course as well as abide by the ‘code of conduct’

The term nutritionist is not a protected or regulated profession. Therefore anyone that has studied nutrition to some extent can call themselves a nutritionist.

Will a dietitian help me lose weight?

This question or the desire to lose weight is completely understandable in our diet and weight-focused world. 
As non-diet, Health at Every Size (HAES ®) aligned dietitians, we do not promote or encourage the pursuit of intentional weight loss. This is because our experience of working with clients and what the science supports is that most people who intentionally lose weight, regain the weight lost and usually end up heavier than they were before the intentional weight loss efforts. This can understandably lead to feelings of failure and shame. Usually, people blame themselves for having “failed” the diet or weight loss attempt. However, what the science supports is that our bodies will do what they can to remain within a weight range that is “safe” for our individual bodies. This is called ‘Set Point Theory’ – click here to read more. 

Of course, many of our clients are grappling with the desire to lose weight and we are able to hold space for that, while also supporting you to connect with your body and find ways of nourishing it in ways that support YOUR overall wellbeing.

Through this process, some people may end up losing weight, some people may stay the same weight and some people gain weight – this is usually because that is what your body needed to do to be at its healthiest – both physically and mentally. 

What can a dietitian help me with?

At Be Mindful Nutrition you can see a dietitian who really understands the struggles that people can have with their relationship with food, dieting, disordered eating, eating disorders, poor body image, and weight concerns.

As non-diet, trauma-informed dietitians, we take a compassionate, empathetic approach to understanding your unique concerns and goals. We then work alongside you to help you gain confidence in re-learning to connect to and nourish your body in a way that suits your unique set of circumstances.

We help you to sort out myths from facts when it comes to nutrition and most importantly, help you to figure out what works for your body, taking into account any health conditions that may be impacting your overall well-being. 

If you want to improve your relationship with food and your body – then contact us to learn more

Do dietitians help people with eating disorders?

As Credentialled Eating Disorder Clinicians, we have the appropriate knowledge, training and experience in supporting people struggling with an eating disorder. Dietitians who are trained in eating disorders can certainly help you or your loved one to recover from an eating disorder and make up an essential and valuable part of the treatment team.
Click here to read more about how we can help if you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder.

Can a dietitian diagnose an eating disorder?

As dietitians, we are not able to diagnose an eating disorder, but as Credentialled Eating Disorder Clinicians, we know what the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder are, and after conducting a thorough assessment, will discuss this with you and refer you back to your GP and/or psychologist for a diagnosis. 

What can I expect in the first consult?

At Be Mindful Nutrition we take a person-centered approach which means that in the first session, we really want to get to know you and your experience when it comes to food, body image, and weight concerns.
The first appointment is mostly a “getting to know you”, assessment session. Your dietitian will ask you about your:
-medical and any mental health history
-relevant medications
-social situation
-relationship with food and body from when you were a child, up until the present day
-any history of dieting, disordered eating, or eating disorder behaviours
-weight history (any significant changes over the years)
-your goals and what you are wanting to get out of our sessions together
eg – improving your relationship with food, reduced anxiety around eating, freedom to go about your day without worrying about food, stopping obsession over calories, etc) 

The first session is 50 minutes and after this time we will have a much better understanding of what is going to be helpful going forward. We will discuss a treatment plan and we will recommend the most appropriate frequency of sessions.

How often should I see a dietitian?

If you are struggling with your relationship with food, dieting, body image or have an eating disorder; it can usually be most helpful to schedule more frequent appointments initially. This is because changing any behaviour related to food and how we relate to it can often be very difficult. Increased consistency with appointments can help you get some momentum going with making changes to your eating pattern and ways of thinking about food. Therefore we might recommend more frequent (weekly/fortnightly) sessions to start with reassessing as you progress through treatment. If you have any concerns about the frequency of your appointments – please speak to your dietitian.