In case you haven’t figured it out yet, making healthy food choices is absolutely one of the best ways to improve your overall health. The food we eat impacts everything from the microbes in our gut to how much inflammation we have in our body to what disease we may be living with down the road. However, as anyone who has ever tried to change their eating habits knows, behavior change is the toughest nut to crack. Luckily, certified health and nutrition coaches devoted to helping people make healthy changes are becoming the new normal in the worlds of healthcare and wellness.
Nutrition and wellness coaches have been dubbed “the missing link” in a healthcare industry that spends $8.3 trillion a year globally on healthcare, and $4.4 trillion on wellness, but can’t stem the tide of chronic illness, according to the 2022 Global Wellness Trends Report.
Today’s certified nutrition coaches receive rigorous training to offer a more personalized, nuanced approach to getting you healthy in mind, body and spirit.
This National Nutrition Month, we share 10 reasons why you should consider working with (or becoming!!) a certified nutrition coach.
10 Reasons to Work with a Nutrition Coach
Time is everything
Working with a certified nutrition coach offers an entirely new and unique approach to healthcare and wellness. Certified nutrition coaches are wellness professionals who are trained in evidence-based practices that can help motivate people and give them the assistance they need to hit realistic well-being goals.
This model is very different from the 15-minute doctor’s appointment where you’re typically given a prescription or a referral to another physician at the end. Nutrition coaches, in contrast, spend time with you (typically an hour a week for at least 3 months) to see real change begin to happen. This is because real behavioral change takes time and commitment on the part of the client and the coach.
Goodbye wellness resort, hello nutrition coach
Previously, when someone got serious about making radical lifestyle changes, they often opted for a weeklong (or longer) visit to a health spa or resort. This approach was reserved for those who could afford it (both financially and time-wise). With a nutrition coach, you no longer have to travel to a pricey—and often remote—resort. Your weekly wellness appointment can take place in person at home or in an office, or as a telehealth visit via an app.
The human touch
Speaking of technology, one of the biggest perks of a nutrition coach is that they’re an actual human being who can empathize with your plight and feel your pain—and joy—while on your wellness journey.
An “avalanche of digital health companies (are) promising to revolutionize everything from chronic disease management to weight loss by automating personalized health coaching,” according to the 2022 Global Wellness Report.
The problem with this is that all the coach-bots are taking the human out of the equation. There is absolutely a place for a Peloton instructor shouting at you from a screen, but when it comes to making real lifestyle changes, nothing compares to a sustained, human-to-human interaction—like that with a certified health and wellness coach.
Learn how to navigate diet trends and information
There is so much information out there about how to eat right that separating fact from fiction and healthy from unhealthy can be really tough. A nutrition coach can help you cut through misinformation and learn how to navigate diet trends, nutrition labels and media coverage in a way that best serves your unique needs.
Have food intolerances? A nutrition coach can walk you through an elimination diet to figure out exactly what’s troubling you. Want to increase energy or lose weight? They’ll work through food choices and personalized programs so that you don’t feel deprived and are better equipped to stick with your commitment toward better health. Even if you’re just curious about trying a popular eating regimen, a trained nutrition coach can help you determine if it’s right for you and how it can best nourish and support your body.
Share healthy food choices with your family
Many people who are interested in nutrition are in charge of making health decisions for their whole family. If this sounds like you, working with a nutrition coach can help you review your own food habits and identify healthy tips that you can take home to your whole family. Weaving wellness into the fabric of your home life can help set your family up for lifelong health, happiness and independence.
Create healthful food habits
One of the best reasons to work with a nutrition coach is to receive guidance in developing healthful eating habits and creating a loving mindset around food. Even if you know what you need to do to feel better, the accountability and support offered by a coach can make a world of difference to help you turn a behavior into a healthy long-term habit.
Accountability is a powerful tool for motivation. One study by the Association for Talent Development found that workers tasked with completing a goal had a 95% likelihood of completing it if they had a specific accountability appointment. In contrast, they had a 25% likelihood of completing it when they consciously decided to do it.
Working with a nutrition coach can keep you accountable and set you up for success in achieving your food goals and creating sustainable lifestyle change.
Overcome emotional eating
If you struggle with emotional eating or disordered eating, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Emotional eating is one of the most common challenges people experience while addressing their eating habits. Of course, anything that stirs powerful emotions can be difficult to work through on your own. This is where a trained professional can help you understand your unique triggers and resolutions.
A trained and certified nutrition coach has the tools to identify emotional eating or disordered eating, even when you might not be aware of its impact on your life. They can help you recognize your emotional ties to food (we all have them!) and provide you with tools and resources that can empower you to nourish your body in the way it needs. (For people who struggle with a disease that needs a medical nutrition intervention, it’s worth distinguishing that only a registered dietitian–not a certified nutrition coach–has the unique ability to provide medical nutrition therapy.)
Amp up the benefits of your fitness routine
You don’t have to be an MD to know that exercise alone will not help you achieve optimal health. How—and what—you eat is an important component to your workout program, no matter your fitness goals. Whether your objective is to become stronger, lose weight or build endurance, fueling your body properly is essential. Working with a nutrition coach alongside your fitness coach can help you become healthier overall.
Heal your gut
The bacteria, viruses and fungi in the gut (collectively known as microbes) affect everything from weight management to cognitive functioning and immunity to digestion. Your gut is host to trillions of these microbes, which are essential to your immune system, heart, lungs, skin—and even your blood sugar.
The foods you eat help to alter the microbes in your GI tract where striking the right balance is important to keeping you healthy and in fine tune. A nutrition coach will work with you to determine the makeup of microbes in your gut and come up with a plan to help diversify your microbiota, if needed, and ultimately elevate your overall wellness.
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Identify nutrition as one piece of your health puzzle
Nutritious Life Studio founder Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN is known for her whole person approach to wellness. While nutrition is an important component of well-being, it does not exist within a vacuum. Factors such as sleep, stress, and exercise affect how well you digest and absorb food as well as your overall health and wellness.
“Since the very beginning of my career, I’ve known that healthy living is about much more than the food you eat,” says Keri. “I’ve always incorporated components such as sleep and stress management into my clients’ meal plans because nutrition is just one piece of a much bigger healthy lifestyle pie, and my approach has always involved eight important pillars.”
A nutrition coach can help you figure out how incorporating healthy foods fits into your wellness puzzle.
Your personal wellness helps you not only feel your best, but also improves your relationships, helps you to be more productive and gives you more energy for your family and friends.
Just like with any sport, hiring a coach for your nutrition and wellness needs can help you get to the finish line with more ease and confidence and set you up for lifelong well-being. Receiving support might be the key to helping you overcome nutrition challenges and living your most nutritious life.
Editor’s Note: Writer Jacqui Somen contributed to this post.
Want to learn more about how to become a certified nutrition coach? Fill out the form below for free access to Nutritious Life’s Become a Nutrition Coach course and get started making a difference in people’s health and wellness.