This summer I ran into a client of mine who had lost over 50 pounds in our work together the previous year. She said, “I tell all my friends about you, but I don’t know what to call you. I say you’re like a nutritionist, but we stopped talking about food after our fourth session.”
Welcome to the evolving field of nutrition.
The number of nutrition experts has exploded because of the large, gaping hole the medical system and the weight loss industry has failed to fill. Licensure in nutrition is only somewhat regulated and yet those regulations are influenced by large food corporations. It’s no wonder you are confused!
This is one of two posts to help you better figure out who is the best fit for your needs. Hiring the right support matters. Every time you try something that doesn’t work, your fragile confidence around food shatters into tinier pieces that scar. Nine times out of ten, it’s not you, It’s the plan/program, or in some cases, what worked for you at one point is no longer effective. What feels like lack of willpower or motivation is usually a need for something new, not a weakness.
Better than evaluating each plan or practitioner title is to ask the right questions when deciding to embark on a nutrition odyssey. I use these questions myself when I decide how to further my education, respond to clients asking for a doctor or trainer referrals, and when choosing my own doctors and health practitioners.
First. Is this plan/program viewing food as medicine?
Food is not points. Food is not evil. Food cannot be reduced to good or bad.
Food is powerful medicine. For you to continue to put an effort into healthy living, you need short as well as long-term results that improve your day-to-day living.
Losing a pound or two a week does not change your life in any tangible way. And not losing weight usually translates into frustration and a f@#$ this mentality. You want a plan or practitioner who talks about healing your body. By learning to eat the foods that relieve anxiety or clear up your skin, prioritizing your health is much easier and more automatic because you immediately feel the difference. You win the inevitable game that humans seek pleasure and avoid pain. When food is medicine, your body works much more to your liking. You feel in control. If a plan doesn’t tie your results to a bigger health goal than just weight loss, it will be hard to go the distance for the type of results you crave.
Second. Does this program meet you where you are?
The stress of trying to go from 0 to 100 or follow a rigid plan will backfire once you aren’t under a watchful eye. This includes generic detoxes and cleanses. Unfortunately, many nutrition practitioners aren’t trained in how people change. The program doesn’t need a formal coach or teacher structuring the design, but the plan or practitioner needs to know how to provide intermediary steps to get you where you need to go.
For example, you learn you need to cut back on sugar (shocker!). Does the plan offer substitutes like coconut sugar or low-glycemic desserts to help you while your blood sugar heals and sugar cravings decrease? Or does it just go to an extreme from which you will eventually rebel?
To feel calm around cookies and have a “take it or leave it” attitude about the second glass of wine, you also have to learn that healthy eating isn’t hard or about deprivation. Success won’t occur if the process is difficult.
Chew on those for a bit and I’ll be back on Friday with three more questions to round out your evaluation process.
As for myself, I answered my client with what another client called me, “the Swiss army knife of wellness”; I use the tools of a nutritionist, psychologist and trainer. Each tool has a time and place to be used while all working together for a fruitful, nutritional adventure.
My Truce with Food program incorporates all these tools and powerfully answers all the questions above. If you are ready for a dieting cease-fire and a joyful change in living, let’s do this!