Posted on: Monday, June 10th, 2019
Have you ever received diet advice you knew was sort of…off? Or perhaps got wrangled into trying an only-air-and-bacon summer body meal plan with promises of big change with only a few weeks buy-in? Watch out, there are all kinds of extreme eating plans and celery juice gurus who will sell you a way-too-shiny promise for a small (but usually expensive) commitment on your part.
If you are looking for some guidance around food, do yourself a favour and look beyond six-week transformations and the ‘ripped abs in 10 days’ crap. That, my friends, is not good nutrition coaching. It’s diet culture bullshit.
So if my air and bacon diet is bad nutrition coaching, what is good nutrition coaching?
First and foremost, avoid fad diets and templated eating plans. Good nutrition coaching is both research-driven and entirely personalized. A good nutrition coach will help you find your unique path to your goal.
By going beyond quick ‘fixes’, your nutrition coach will be able to help you eat better without dieting or feeling deprived, ditch food rules, wade through all of the conflicting ‘advice’ out there and support you to achieve and maintain your goals without much trouble over the long-term.
A good nutrition coach will know (and remind you, when the diet culture creeps in) that yo-yo dieting will not only not get you to your goals, it can actually take you further away from them by wreaking havoc on your hormones and metabolism.
If it is not a diet, shouldn’t I be able to do that on my own?
In theory, yes. You were born knowing what your body needs and you are the best authority on it. That said, a lot of stuff can come up, internally and externally, that makes us lose sight of our internal compass.
Messages of inadequacy are everywhere because they are a tool to sell you all sorts of shit that drives a wedge between what your body needs and what you think it needs. Mixed with purposely confusing food myths and recycled diet schemes, they can take their toll on your ability to listen to your body. For most folks, there’s a lot to unlearn—essentially, all of the diet messaging you’ve ever heard—before you can trust your own instincts. Let’s face it; if left to your own devices, you probably wouldn’t have tried that three-day juice cleanse in the first place. It doesn’t feel good.
As you can see, ‘intuitive’ is not as simple as it should be. But getting back to it is possible, and a nutrition coach can help. A coach is someone on your team who will be a sounding board as you wade through your relationship with food. They’ll provide accountability when life gets hard and busy. They are someone to brainstorm solutions and best-way-forwards with, and a voice to cut through the diet culture bullshit with actual science when necessary. Your coach will be your guide back to what feels good, and works, for you. You might be surprised to find that that is the missing link between you and your goals.
What to look for in a coach?
Choosing a nutrition coach is a highly personal choice; they are someone you’ll work intimately with over some time, after all. That said, though, I’d like to think that there are a couple of foundational guidelines no matter what kind of coaching style works for you.
1. Look for someone who will work with you as a team; your perspective and intuition is critical to the process. Sure, your coach will probably know more about the science, but they need to trust you as the authority on your body and consider the science in the context of your reality and goals. If you find someone who talks to you like they know more about you than you do, that is a red flag.
2. Choose someone offering more than just a 6 or 8-week plan. Short term commitment won’t lead to long term results; someone who has your best interests at heart will be dedicated to building something strong from the ground up so that results will last.
3. If you are facing any particular challenges related to diet culture, have faced stigma related to food and your body, or have a history of disordered eating patterns, make sure your coach has some background or experience themselves (hi, yes, hello!).
If a nutrition coach sounds like something you could benefit from, reach out and let’s talk about how we can build a personal nutrition plan that helps you feel stronger, live better, and reach your goals while you do it!