“So You Make Meal Plans for People?” If I had a dime for every time I heard this response when I tell people I’m a certified nutrition coach, I could retire. Typically when people hear the words dietitian, nutritionist, and nutrition coach, they assume that involves making a lot of meal plans – lots and lots of meal plans. If only it were that easy....
Sure I’ve made meal SUGGESTIONS for plenty of friends and clients who’ve asked, but unfortunately meal plans don’t really work. Think about it – do you want to be told what to eat at every meal, every day, for the rest of your life? I don’t, and although there might be a handful of people in the entire world who would go along with it, I can imagine most people don’t want their meals and snacks to be dictated by someone else.
As a certified nutrition coach, it is my job to help people tap into their relationship with food and to figure out how to make that relationship a healthy one. Helping someone make a lifestyle change – losing weight, being more physically active, eating better, learning to cook – involves a lot of time and trust and is very deep and personal. The relationship we have with food is very psychological and deep seeded in us, and this means it is incredibly difficult to make changes to our thoughts and feelings about food as well as our eating habits. I also have to be aware that sometimes there are underlying factors affecting a person’s relationship with food that are out of my scope of practice and that I will need to refer them out to someone with a psychological background.
In addition to working with clients on building a healthy relationship with food, I work with them to develop skill sets for planning meals, shopping, meal prep, and cooking. With the help of ProCoach, the online software I use, clients also receive daily lessons where they learn about eating slowly, eating whole foods, why it’s important to include protein at every meal, how to choose “smart” carbohydrate sources, and so much more.
While it is impossible to list every aspect of nutrition coaching, I believe this blog provides a basic, general description of how I help clients to achieve their goals of living a healthier life – whatever that may mean to them – and as you can see, it is so much more than “making meal plans for people.” For more information on what I do and how it’s different from other “weight loss programs,” check out my blog from January 1 of this year – “What I do versus what the Other Guys Do.”
Think positive, stay active, and smile. -A