I love you India but… your nutritionists suck!

I tried to make this a funny post. I really tried. But I couldn’t. Because this pisses me off. Really and truly pisses me off.

The Issue:

A person goes to the gym and pays for machine rental membership and then signs up to work with a nutritionist and/or personal trainer with dreams of losing fat, gaining muscle, controlling diabetes or whatever his/her goals may be.

As a trainer/nutritionist/dietitian your job is to…

  • ensure the client reaches his/her goals (provided he/she follows your directions)
  • be brutally honest about what kind of results he/she can expect to obtain within the given time frame.
  • promise results ONLY if you have the knowledge and required expertise to provide them!

It is downright blasphemous if you…

  • promise something before the client signs up with you and then not deliver.
  • blame the client for not putting in enough effort.

Let me put it this way – if a client fails to achieve his/her goals, more often than not, it is your fault. You…

  • did not give the client a workout plan that fits their current level of fitness or
  • did not provide the client with a diet that is sustainable for his/her lifestyle or
  • did not motivate the client enough to stick to your workouts or your diet or
  • did not explain the health benefits of your diet (if there was any) well enough for them to understand. (Sorry, ‘Eat vegetables’ isn’t good enough!) or
  • were too boring or your workout/diet was too boring for the client to consider sticking to it.

The Proof:

Now I know some of you folks will think that I’m just saying this and I have no proof. So here you go…

Below is a diet plan (quoted verbatim after fixing some spelling mistakes) provided by a registered dietitian (RD) from a reputable gym in Chennai, India to a female client who was interested in fat loss. The client was in the age 25-30 age range and was a good 20 lbs overweight when she sought the help of an RD at the gym.

Morning:

Green Tea

Breakfast:

½ bowl fruit salad + 1 bowl cornflakes (include Almond and walnut 3-5 nos) (or)

Brown Bread Sandwich – 4 nos + Fruits (or)

Toast – 4 nos with Vegetables + Fruits

Mid- morning:

Tender Coconut water

Lunch:

1 ½ cups Vegetable salad + Roti – 2 nos + Channa / Paneer gravy / Mushroom gravy / Palak Paneer / Green leafy gravy + 1 glass Buttermilk

Evening :

Fruit / Sundal / Poha / Veg Salad / Sprouts Salad

Dinner:

Clear Soup – 1bowl/Roti – 2 nos/Sandwich with vegetables – 4 nos (with lots of vegetables ) + Fruit

Note: When ever you feel hungry have  one fruit.

I was in disbelief when I saw this! Any and all my clients will tell you that my diet plans are elaborate (anywhere from 10 to 20 pages long depending on the client) and contain a wealth of information. And this half a page of random nonsense is called a “diet plan”?? I mean come on!

Note: Links to food items on the diet plan added my me.

The Analysis:

Sure any idiot will say this so called diet plan is BS, but for the benefit of the numerous others who have been provided with very similar diets as a way to reach the dream bodies, let’s analyze it.

What’s right about this diet? No much really!

  • A good bit of vegetables and fruits are recommended.
  • No junk is recommended (yep… slim pickings!)

What’s wrong with this diet? Are you ready for this? Here we go…

  • Absence of protein! How will the trainee ever recover? How will the trainee save muscle mass?
  • Nature of workout not taken into account. Same diet for heavy deadlifting and 30 mins on the elliptical?
  • Quantities not mentioned. 1 bowl corn flakes? How big is the bowl?
  • Too vague. “Brown Bread Sandwich – 4 nos + Fruits” – How about 4 solid sandwiches with 3 slices of cheese and 2 tbls mayonnaise in each followed by 6 bananas for “Fruits”??
  • Super duper high in carbs. Fruit, corn flakes, roti, sundal (beans), roti and more fruit if the client is ever hungry? Seriously?
  • No good fats recommended. Ever heard of fat soluble vitamins? Care about those?
  • Pre-Workout nutrition not taken into account.
  • Post-Workout nutrition not taken into account.
  • Too many fruits. Too little vegetables. Vegetables have way more nutrition than fruits and grains and someone on a fat loss diet needs to get as much vegetables as possible in order to ensure micro-nutrient availability.
  • Too many grains! I discussed this here.
  • “Green leafy gravy”… ummmmm… say what?

The (Lack Of) Result:

Now I don’t know how many calories the client ate. But since the diet plan doesn’t mention quantities and is high in carbs the nutritionist is to be blamed and not the client. That said, having followed this diet for 2+ months these were her results.

  • Though she clubbed this with distance running, she did not lose any weight.
  • So she started running more. No difference.
  • So she started eating less. No difference.
  • She was trapped at her plateaued weight for 2+ months all the whole following “the diet” and running as hard as possible.

The (Real) Result:

The question arises in all our minds – What if the client was not committed enough? What if it was her fault?

Well, she is now my client and this is what I have to say about her…

  • She is extremely dedicated and committed towards reaching her fat loss goals.
  • She follows my diet to the letter.
  • She hasn’t missed a single workout till date.
  • She asks as many questions as she can think of to ensure she is doing it right.
  • She finds ways to make the diet work for her irrespective of the numerous social gatherings she needs to be a part off.
  • She hasn’t whined or complained about the diet or soreness even once.
  • She weighs and measures herself diligently every week to ensure no muscle is lost.
  • She emails her training log and food log for my review without fail.

She did an online consultation with me (which means I’m not even physically there with her to tell her right and wrong) and these were her results in just 5 weeks

  • She lost 14 lbs.
  • She lost 5 inches from her waist.
  • She lost 4.5 inches from her butt.
  • She lost 4.5 inches from her chest/back.
  • She lost 1 inch per thigh
  • She lost 0.5 inches per arm
  • Her endurance improved (Her 10k time is down 5 mins)
  • Her strength has obviously increased and she is starting to see muscle definition.

Her program lasts for a total of 12 weeks. I will be sure to blog in detail about her results and put up her before and after photos if she has no issues with that.

Note: Though I am super proud of my client, this is in no way meant to be an advertisement for my consulting services. I am completely booked with online consultations for at least another 3 weeks and any further requests will be placed in queue.

Moral of the story:

I’m sure you work plenty hard and make a lot of sacrifices to earn your money. Use it wisely. Work with a trainer/nutritionist who knows his/her stuff and respects the fact that you bust your chops year long to make that money.

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25 responses to “I love you India but… your nutritionists suck!

  1. George January 17, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    WOW!!! unbelieveable Raj, India will be a huge mkt for guys like you.. v v rare species here!

  2. Sukanya January 17, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    RG – You are doing online consultation as well?? What is the deal??

  3. bee January 17, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    here’s the standard medical “advice” given to diabetics in India:

    “at night, don’t eat rice. eat rotis.”

    another one:
    “when your numbers improve, you can resume your normal diet.”

    and people wonder why they’re still fat and sick.

    • RG January 17, 2011 at 10:30 pm

      thank you much for bringing this up… I am in the process of writing a post about diabetes and how one of my clients beat it. Expect that very soon!

  4. Arvind Ashok January 17, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Super post. And didn’t you mention that trainers at her gym are now asking her what her diet and workout routine is? I have undergone a very similar experience to your client – 1 year of slogging at the gym and eating a ‘diet’ like this one. And similar results – absolutely nothing.
    Ignorance is not an excuse for a registered dietician. It can be for a client (for a little while).

  5. Aathira January 19, 2011 at 2:20 am

    Awesome post.

    I have gone to a few gyms and seen that there is really no worth in any of the diet matters, these so called dietitians of theirs say. I did what they said for a month and realized, I need to do it my way, if I need to get anywhere with my fitness plan.

  6. Lavanya January 19, 2011 at 2:45 am

    BTW, this is what one of my friends said upon reading this post –
    “omg this is what I keep repeating to everyone all the time the gyms here have a standard diet that they write and give it to everyone… in addition to what he has written the nutritionists here never ever seem to account the health problems that the person might have.”

  7. masood January 19, 2011 at 3:15 am

    OMG!!! I got the same diet plan from a dietitian in Bangalore 4 years back. Can’t recall the name of that gym now but it was in Jayanagar 4th block. Fitness something. Close to where I stayed. They charged a bomb (like 4k/month or something).

    But the diet plan is word-to-word same!!! Can’t believe it paid for this shit.

    • RG January 19, 2011 at 8:31 am

      Rip off isn’t it? and I haven’t spoken about the cookie cutter workout programs yet.

      Things should change. Things will change.

  8. Soundarya January 20, 2011 at 4:23 am

    Its nice to read so many many people have been ripped off with the above diet:) its like they dont bother wat ur fitness goals are or what ur aiming at or what ur age/body type is. its lk one diet fits all!!!! At least now thanks to Raj and his blogs we have more clarity and understanding.:) thank You Raj:)

    • RG January 20, 2011 at 8:26 am

      Thank you Soundarya.

      Tell you what… it will always be one-size-fits all. If these folks find out what works (low carb for example), they’ll use that as a template for everyone.

  9. the mad momma January 23, 2011 at 10:46 am

    LOL! I got the same diet plan from my dietician after I had a bab. Needless to say I lost no weight on it. And she didn’t take into account any of my health problems. I gave up

  10. the mad momma January 23, 2011 at 10:46 am

    LOL! I got the same diet plan from my dietician after I had a baby. Needless to say I lost no weight on it. And she didn’t take into account any of my health problems. I gave up

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  12. Shubha March 14, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Wow awesome post and so so informative….

    I cant agree with diet plans given in gym and at the end they kinda make u feel guilty for not losing the weight. hmmmm…

    Btw How did u make that lady loose so much… I need tips and a plan too… Can u help me?

  13. Navya June 12, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    lol… this is the diet plan that i received in 3 different gyms in bangalore 😉 whoever gave you that sample diet plan is bang on target as to what we receive in the gym these days!

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  15. Anjum Shaikh December 14, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Ha ha!! same old story that i come across Raj! anywhere in India whether Chennai or Mumbai!
    I see more and more sports nutritionist having more knowlegde than an RD who has just hospital experience… thats y a nutritionist shouldnt just have the knowledge about medical problems but also worksout schedule!!
    hardly any nutritionist in India even excercises!!!!
    check out my blog Raj, its to all those people above who have suffered from such amateur dieticians … How to Select your Nutritionist… a good article to read…
    http://weightlossmantra.blogspot.com/2011/06/beware-of-fake-nutritionist.html

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