Let’s be honest… there are a lot of nutrition consultants, nutritionists, nutrition coaches and people that just offer you unsolicited nutrition advice. Not to mention loads of conflicting nutrition information to be found on the internet. Google the word “diet” and you’ll find everything from paleo, keto, vegan, carnivore to fruitarian. But if you’re looking for personalized nutrition support that actually works for your specific body and lifestyle, its best to consult with a professional. And just like diets, not all nutrition consultants are for everyone. Each and every one of us has our unique philosophies, coaching styles, and personalities.
I think before you hire any nutrition professional, you should ask them a few questions to determine if they are a good fit for you. Because in most cases you will be working closely with them for several months. You’re going to want to make sure you like them and value their advice!
7 Must-ask Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Nutrition Professional
1. Why did you choose nutrition as a career?
I think “WHY” a key question is. When you can learn someone’s motivation behind their career it gives you great insight into who they are and how they will show up for you. If they have an emotional connection to their chosen field of work, they’re going to do their very best to help you succeed.
At Simply Nurtured, my nutrition career began long before I enrolled in nutrition school. I hold nutrition very close to my heart because it literally changed my life. My passion for nutrition stems from my own 130-pound weight loss. While exercise played a key role in my journey, it was the dietary changes that I made that had a lasting effect on my health. The realization that so many of my "symptoms" (that I just thought were normal) could be improved with a few simple dietary changes, was the beginning of my career. I am passionate about not only helping other people change their lives with food but changing how they view food.
2. What are your background and training?
Not all nutrition professionals have the same training. Find out where they studied and how in-depth their program was. What did they do prior to studying nutrition? Have they taken any additional training or certification? Are they continually staying up-to-date on the latest nutrition info?
At Simply Nurtured, I am a Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant and hold a Diploma in Natural Nutrition from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Prior to becoming a nutrition consultant, I studied at the University of Saskatchewan where I earned a Bachelor of Science. The majority of my programs are based around actual scientific literature. I also hold a certificate from Precision Nutrition as a Precision Nutrition Level One Coach.
3. What is your nutrition philosophy? Or… How do you eat?
Every single nutritional professional has their own philosophy when it comes to food. It’s influenced by their education, their background, their lifestyle and personal experience. We are all unique snowflakes...
The key point here is – do they prescribe to a specific dogma. And is that aligned with your beliefs? Or are they open to finding a plan that suits each client’s specific needs? Do they work with all diets?
Asking your nutrition consultant how they eat, is a lens into how they approach nutrition.
At Simply Nurtured, I follow a whole foods approach. That means, removing the refined and processed foods that are creating inflammation in the body. And focusing on foods that your body was designed to consume i.e. fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds. The simple ingredients. That being said - I have worked with a variety of nutritional therapy diets depending on the client. And even though I don't personally subscribe to a vegetarian or vegan diet. I can still help a client learn how to balance such a diet effectively to reach their goals. I also personally love an 80-20 approach. Because as a recovering perfectionist, it takes the pressure off to be perfect and eliminates food guilt. To know that if I do my best 80% of the time, I'm still making progress towards my goals.
4. Where do you get your nutrition information?
Unfortunately, not everything you read on the internet is true… I know. Mind-blowing. But I think its important to know where your nutrition consultant pulls info from. Is it from a blog by someone who has no credentials in nutrition or an outdated textbook? Or are they keeping up-to-date on current scientific literature? When they quote info as fact, can they back up that info?
At Simply Nurtured, I spend half of my time researching... it's the scientist in me. Providing my clients with the most up-to-date information I can from credible sources, is very important to me. I pull a lot of my info from the actual scientific literature. I always say "show me the facts."
5. How do you keep people accountable?
If your main goal for hiring a nutrition consultant is to have some accountability and support. It’s really good to know how they plan to keep you accountable and does their method work for you? If it doesn’t – do you know what would? And can you ask them for that support?
At Simply Nurtured, I do email check-ins each week, along with the follow-up sessions built into coaching programs. I have found the weekly check-ins really helps clients stay focused and if there is an issue, I've opened the door for them to talk about it.
6. What tools or resources do you provide in your programs?
Know what exactly you’re paying for. Do they have a clear outline of the program? Is it an individual or a group? What’s all included?
At Simply Nurtured, I clearly outline what specifics are included in my programs here. Aside from that, I provide additional resources or tools based on your consultation - that may be books, articles, stress-management tools, referrals, journaling prompts or establishing a bedtime routine. Each one of my clients also gets my personal cell number. Because I am available for their support throughout the duration of their program.
7. Can you personalize my plan for my specific goals, tastes, and lifestyle?
Do they follow a one-size-fits-all approach? OR Do they recognize that we are all bio-individually unique and have different nutritional requirements? What works for one will not work for all. Which really goes back to our genetic code. If they can create a program that includes foods that you will actually eat and suits your busy lifestyle, then it’s a program you will follow. Because there is no point in hiring a nutrition professional if it’s not realistic for your lifestyle or your goals.
At Simply Nurtured, each one of my coaching programs includes an hour initial consultation, which allows me to create a program that works best for you to reach your goals and one that is realistic for your lifestyle. So maybe that's a meal prep program for singles or a program that includes family-friendly meals so you're not making 2 meals each night. If you don't cook, my programs can be as simple as possible to ensure you're still getting the nutrients you need without overwhelming you in the kitchen. Or maybe you dine out a lot - a restaurant menu guide can be the key to your success! Every program is as different as each individual I work with.
What to do next...
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