Have you ever noticed the cover of a health magazine as you were checking out at the grocery store? You’d see big bold words, listed like trending hashtags on Twitter… Paleo, Keto, Whole30, 5:2! Which Diet Really Works? The thing about diets is they all work (for someone), and they all fail (for pretty much everyone). Someone out there has lost weight on pretty much any diet you can think of, and the smart ones know how to market, brand and sell their solution. Combine that with what feels like constantly changing information (wait… coconut oil is bad now?), trendy buzzwords (‘locally sourced’ sounds really good), and crazy marketing efforts by food companies (since when do bananas need a “gluten-free” label). Things can get real confusing, real fast.
Enter the nutrition coach. Nutrition coaches are unique from registered dietitians because because of their specialized coaching background. That means they not only have general knowledge in the field of nutrition, but also possess key coaching skills, like motivational techniques, accountability and progress monitoring, SMART goal setting and probing questioning, and active listening skills. Their primarily goal is to help you live your healthiest, happiest life by uncovering factors and connections across areas of your life that may be affecting how you eat, helping you build sustainable habits that will support a healthy lifestyle, and giving your advice, recommendations and knowledge along the way.
Trying to achieve a health goal– whether it’s losing 10 pounds, eating more vegetables, not drinking diet soda, exercising 5 times a week, etc.– is really hard to do based on sheer will-power alone. John Foreyt, Ph.D., a weight-control expert at Baylor College of Medicine, says “the worst thing you can do is depend on willpower for more than a day. In the short run, it can put you in a high motivational state to deprive yourself in a diet or to start exercising or to quit smoking. But in the long run, you need to design a program that will change your life in small ways you can live with.” (Shape, “Why Willpower Doesn’t Work”). Seeking out a nutrition coach is a way to move beyond punishing yourself with a cycle of diets or ups-and-downs in your eating habits. Your nutrition coach becomes a partner in your health journey, and is not going to ask you to simply muscle your way to your goal with sheer will-power. They will give you the tools and support to realistically achieve your goals, while also helping you discover some “a-ha!” moments along the way– things you may never have realized about yourself until you actually talk it out with someone who knows how to ask the right questions and push you just enough out of your comfort zone.
Many people seek out a personal trainer to focus on personalized goals and have a tailored workout program. A nutrition coach can deliver this same type of individualized support and programming, with a focus on food and other lifestyle areas, such as sleep hygiene or stress management. It can be even be an excellent complement to your personal training or exercise routine, since nutrition and physical fitness go hand-in-hand when thinking about your optimal state of health.
Are you wondering if nutrition coaching may be right for you? Check out these statements below:
- I am looking to get back on track, particularly after a major life event or time away from a solid healthy routine.
- I wish I knew how to cook a bigger variety of healthy meals. I’m getting tired of baked chicken, rice and broccoli.
- I have meal prep envy… do people really spend their entire Sundays elbow deep in tupperware?
- I just can’t seem to lose these final few pounds.
- I really need more energy; why do I feel this tired all the time?
- Let’s be honest, I know what I should be doing, but I don’t do it.
- I wish my whole family to be living a healthier lifestyle (and my kids to eat their veggies!)
- I have got to kick this coffee/sugar/diet soda/french fry habit!
- I get to week 2 of my diet and just can’t commit. How are you supposed to stick with a diet when there’s happy hours and brunches all the time?
If any of these statements resonate with you, you may want to seek out a nutrition coach. And when looking for a nutrition coach, make sure they have a degree or certification in a nutrition or health-coaching field, and that they are not just trying to sell you on one specific diet, extreme detoxes, or line of products. Your health goals should be their number one priority!
If you want to learn more or set-up an appointment with a nutrition coach, reach out to to [email protected]
Note: If you have a specific or serious medical issue or concern, it is best to work with a trained medical professional such as a Registered Dietitian. Always consult with your doctor before trying any new dietary or fitness regimen.
-Emily, Integrative Nutrition Coach at LulaFit