Dear Doctor,
Are you interested in helping your patients eat better with a food coaching program in your medical centre?

Dietflex is different to standard ‘one-size-fits-all’ low carb or ketogenic programs. It is based upon some guiding philosophies and concepts:

One diet does not suit every body

Just as each person varies in their body’s sun tolerance, each person varies in their body’s carbohydrate tolerance – per day and per meal. The dietflex coaching program is a step-by-step system to help each person discover their body’s individual carbohydrate tolerance, and what that represents in real foods that the person and their family enjoy. For some people, the right low carb food plan will deliver 130 g of carbohydrate per day. Some won’t be able to tolerate any more than 50 g a day. Everybody is different. The goal is to maximise nutrient density with healthy food choices, whilst staying under their body’s carbohydrate tolerance in order to achieve healthy results.

Food coaching needs an expert system, not an expert

Excellent results can be achieved for patients when they are coached through the program by a dietflex-trained coach. With weekly booked sessions, dietflex has a very high frequency of accountability and support. Nurse Practitioners and Registered Fitness Leaders can learn to become dietflex coaches, and deliver dietflex in the medical centre on a clinic basis. Most patients enrol for at least 12 weeks of coaching and see their dietflex coach for pre-scheduled 15 minute weekly appointments. In some areas there are trained dietflex coaches who are willing to coach in medical centres, either paying rent or on a negotiated fee sharing basis.

Proper coaching is too time-consuming for doctors

Effective and lasting behavioural change requires both quality of contact and frequency. With dietflex the initial teaching session is 60 minutes followed by weekly 15 minute support sessions. Not many doctors have this amount of time and it would be too costly for most patients.

Professionally organised systems, stationery and patient education materials

From the outset, coaching clients receive high quality resources and carefully-timed support materials (shopping lists, menu planners, easy tested recipes, pocket planners etc.) There is also an email-delivered education program to reinforce the lessons from the coach.

Optimal compliance and results

We know that the change process can be difficult and yet getting early results helps clients stay on track. Dietflex uses a number of strategies to help clients get early results with minimal side effects while avoiding hunger. Hunger is the enemy of weight loss!

Is a dietitian required?

Once the doctor is familiar with the dietflex program, they can make the determination about which patients can be adequately served by the dietflex program and which should be referred to an Accredited Practicing Dietitian. Either way, the doctor can oversee their own patient. In addition, the dietflex screening process identifies those patients whom the doctor should consider for referral to an APD.

As the practice becomes known for success in weight management and managing weight-affected diseases, this leads to a greater volume of patients seeking solutions, and ironically a greater number of referrals to APDs. Indeed some APDs use the dietflex program materials and online program to assist with client education.

What does the patient pay and can they claim for it?

Every medical centre will have their own preferred internal business plan. Some will want the practice to be the provider of the program, delivered by an employee who does the dietflex coach training. In this case the client pays the centre. Alternatively, some centres will want the coach to be the provider of the program, where the client pays the coach and there is a rental or fee-sharing arrangement between the coach and the practice.

Whether the doctor’s patient can claim for the sessions, depends whether the coach is an approved provider (eg APD). In this case fees per session would be higher (say $155 initial and $90 for 30 minute follow ups). Under a Medicare Care Plan the patient would get $52.95 back but sessions may be limited to 5. Under private cover the patient may have an annual limit.

If a medical centre has the goal to keep fees low to make it affordable and accessible for most patients, they can consider using non-graduate coaches (full time, casual, contract or fee-sharing). The medical centre sets the fees for the dietflex coaching program. Typically it is around $100 to $150 for the initial 60 minute screening and education session. The weekly sessions are typically 15 minutes and billed at $30 to $35 (either by direct debit or pre-payment). For many patients this is very affordable.

To be claimable, it must be delivered by a Medicare Registered Provider whose fees may be considerably higher and so the net cost to the patient may well be the same. Also, claimable visits are limited in number for many health services; some very-overweight dietflex clients request ongoing weekly sessions for 40 weeks or more. Both options can work.

Are blood tests required for the dietflex program?

No. However the doctor may choose to monitor a patient’s blood profile (including fasting BS and insulin) prior to starting, during and after. It’s common to see blood profile and other health measures improve.

Are supplements required for the dietflex program?

No. The dietflex program is food-based and so there are no supplements and vitamins involved. (The doctor may prescribe supplements.) There are optional between-meal protein snacks offered to clients. Our experience is that small regular servings of protein can assist in behaviour change, compliance and the prevention of hunger. As clients adapt to the new way of eating, many are very comfortable not having snacks at all.

Solve the confusion!

Today, people who want to reduce their weight and/or improve their health are confused. Should they follow: ketogenic diet, low carb diet, intermittent fasting (eg 5:2 diet), fasting, Paleo, low GI, gluten free, vegetarian, low fat or Mediterranean diet. The dietflex step-by-step coaching system helps them learn the eating plan that works for their body.

How are dietflex coaches trained?

This is a two-step process. They enrol in the dietflex e-learning program with self-paced tuition, and they go on the program themselves. In addition there’s phone and email support for any technical, admin or community marketing issues. High-level technical support is also provided by the dietflex consulting dietitian, though of course, at any stage the doctor can elect to refer their patient to an APD.

How to find out more

Contact: Robyn Jordan or Jamie Hayes on (07) 3177 0842