What Does A Nutrition And Lifestyle Coach Do Exactly?
“Nina, what do you do?”. “I am a nutrition and lifestyle coach”. “Ah, right. (Nods slowly. Pauses.) Soooo… what do you do EXACTLY?” “Well, allow me to clarify…
You probably know that it’s a good idea to try and eat well, to move regularly and to make a habit of taking ‘me time’ to live a long and happy life. So far so easy.
But. ‘Life’ tends to get in the way, right? You are juggling your career and the complexities of modern relationships, leaving little time or headspace to actively work on your health. And all the time you are not eating or moving or living as well as you know to do, your body is getting a little bit less healthy. It may try and communicate that to you through health niggles that bother you but that you have learned to cope with: fatigue, lack of focus, tummy troubles, PMS, stress or anxiety or haywire hormones, that make you act in a way that you don’t recognise yourself.
There is one thing I know in my heart to be true: the food you eat matters more than you can possibly imagine. In many cases, simply by making changes to your diet, those symptoms above can be improved so markedly that there is a really profound shift in how you experience life. Just take a minute to really consider which areas of your life are affected if your body and mind aren’t functioning “properly”. Your performance at work? The way you handle your private relationships? Your ability to fall and stay asleep? Your confidence levels?
The Power Of Nutrition And Lifestyle Medicine
It’s a very recent thing that the sciences of nutrition and lifestyle medicine are getting the recognition they deserve and are being actively promoted by medical doctors, like Dr Michael Mosely and, my personal hero, Dr Rangan Chatterjee.
As a nutrition and lifestyle coach I apply the latest hypotheses and research in nutrition and health sciences to you and your symptoms to come up with a diet and lifestyle and (sometimes) supplement plan to support those needs. And, crucially, I use coaching techniques to help you put the ideas into practice in a meaningful way or break through whatever barriers have held you back in the past.
Do Take It Personal Please
Yes, nutrition and lifestyle coaching a very personal approach. I sometimes talk about people being ‘biochemically unique’. That means that there isn’t a single way of eating that is right for everyone. (Contrary to what the diet industry is trying to tell you).
Your bestie Sarah might have PMS while you want to feel more focused, for example. Sarah might have a history of antibiotic use, while you had your appendix out when you were 14. Sarah might have an intolerance to dairy, while you hate mushrooms. You can imagine the thousands of little variations here. Your DNA, previous medical history, and any current symptoms as well as what you like and don’t like, not to mention your personal circumstances are all important when I creates a nutrition and lifestyle plan for you.
It is personalised just for you. That takes both time and skill - which is what I trained three years for. You could download something from the internet – if you knew what you were looking for – but that won’t give you answers to your individual challenges. We may also work with supplements targeted to a specific condition or health goal you have. This can be a minefield – potentially dangerous and inevitably costly – if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Why Doesn’t Everyone Work With A Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach If The Results Are So Good?
It all starts with awareness. It’s honestly breaking my heart that so many people are not aware of the huge effect a personalised food and lifestyle programme can have on their symptoms and quality of life.
The media (including socials) don’t help. They’re full of soundbites about the latest superfoods and diet hacks endorsed by untrained influencers. This can make it difficult to know who to trust or how to join the dots to see what might be possible for you. And even more sadly, the vast majority of doctors have not been trained in what their patients should be eating or how they might build up healthy habits as a preventative measure. Most often the solution presented during your 10-minute session lies in a prescription.
As a nutrition & lifestyle coach, on the other hand, I work within the framework of Functional Medicine. It is based in the concept of considering that your symptoms are a result of imbalances in your body and, rather than treat the specific symptoms themselves, I try to understand the root cause of the problem and base your programme around that. If you think about it: nearly all medications merely suppress symptoms. They lower blood glucose, cholesterol or pain – but WHY where they high in the first place? WHY are you in pain? These “why” questions help me uncover and address the root cause.
What Does A Consultation With A Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach Look Like?
Our first consultation will last up to 90 minutes. I will have asked you to complete and send back a nutritional therapy questionnaire before we speak. During the session, we’ll go into your medical history, your health goals and any other challenges you’re facing, what you generally eat, what you like and don’t like and what your daily routine looks like, including exercise, sleep, rest & relaxation and social relationships. There’s no judgement and anything you share with me is kept in confidence.
Nutrition & lifestyle coaching sessions are usually sold in programmes that run over 12 weeks. If you leave with the knowledge that you have at least six sessions in place to help you implement the programme, make changes at a pace that suits you, and to deal with any challenges or questions that come up along the way you will feel both supported and committed.
What If I Already Know What To Do?
Knowing what you should be doing is only part of the problem if you are unhappy with an aspect of your health. Staying motivated and committed is the hardest part of any plan. The single best way to stay in the zone is to have an accountability partner or coach who can give you a nudge or call you out if you start to go off piste. I know from my clients’ experiences that this is the single biggest thing that makes the difference between reaching your goal and actually staying there. That’s where the coaching aspect comes in. It keeps you accountable and will ensure all that good work doesn’t go to waste.
If you’re curious to test nutrition and lifestyle coaching without committing to a 12-week programme straight away, I’ve got you covered. Book your complimentary health & energy review now where we’ll discuss your symptoms and goals and you will receive at least one personalised recommendation from me that you can implement straight away.