Nutritious, low carb, high protein, good fat breakfast. (Photo: Linda Arrandt)
It doesn’t have to be a new year to make a commitment to better health. You can press the reset button on your health habits at any time. However, staying committed can be a challenge, and that’s where an
Integrative Nutrition Coach can help. A nutritional coach will help you make the right lifestyle and food choices for you, help you be accountable throughout the whole process, cheer you on, and steer you on the course to better health. However, with so many health professionals nowadays, it may be difficult to choose which one is the best fit for you. You also need to look at the time and financial commitment too.
By making a long-term commitment to a program, you will be committing to a healthier future. Our current medical model in the Unites States is one of sick care and not well care. When you hire an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach you are provided with a new perspective regarding health so you can enjoy a better lifestyle now and in your future. You will also be saving on future medical costs as you will be getting and staying healthier for the best, long term quality of life. Here’s what you should look for to find the perfect match and set you on the road to success.
Determine your goals: This is the main factor that you and your coach need to look at to begin the process. Is weight loss your primary goal? Are you dealing with underlying health issues or an illness? Do you want more energy? Whatever your reason for getting healthy, it should be what motivates and guides your path. Over time, your goals will change throughout the coaching process. You may think you sign up for one thing, but realize that it is more multi-dimentional than you thought. You want to lose weight while others want to gain muscle, reduce cholesterol, manage diabetes, improve performance, and many more. By determining your beginning goals, it will be much simpler for you to seek a nutritional coach that is a good fit for you.
Look at what worked—and what didn’t in the past. Looking back to examine the underlying reasons why you are having trouble losing weight is important. Are physical or emotional reasons a factor? It’s important to be comfortable discussing those issues with your coach. Interviewing and feeling comfortable and confident that your chosen coach is the right one is very important to your process.
Be prepared to invest some time into the process: Many health coaches offer 3 or 6-month programs, although this may seem like a long amount of time, think about committing to long term health. It takes at least three months, if not longer, to make long lasting habit changes permanent.
Interview more than one coach. Many coaches work by phone, Face Time or Skype and work with busy mothers and professionals. Working with a coach in this way, frees you from a long commute, time away from your office or family and you can get coached while still in your PJ’s or even on a long walk. You can also find a coach who does group programs where the costs involved are more affordable. The advantage of this form of commitment is that you will have a built in support of a like-minded community who may have similar goals. Many people do a combination of both individual and group coaching. You decide what fits best for you and your finances.
See if you connect with the coach’s vibe and approach. Nutrition coaches use various coaching approaches and styles. These styles might include the use of a food diary, teaching about different dietary theories, reading food labels, looking at the emotional aspect of eating, proper portion sizes and caloric needs. Your coach may take you on a grocery store tour and come to your home for a kitchen make over. Not all clients need the same things, so make sure your chosen coach is well rounded and offers adjunct services along with one to one coaching.
It is not expensive to eat healthy. This array of food cost only $46. You “CAN” eat healthy on a budget! (Photo: Linda Arrandt)
Check credentials: Food is a complicated subject that is very personal. Food may be connected to some problems including self-image, depression, addiction, and eating disorders. Food is also cultural and brings connection and memories for people. It is beneficial to look for a nutritional coach with skills in this field as well as having their own personal story of healing. It may be challenging to assess the quality of the experience and education of the coach, especially since anyone who wants to practice can be called a nutrition coach or nutritionist. The title is not controlled through law or regulation. Having a license to practice isn’t actually needed. There are current talks of licensing in this field as well as it becoming regulated, but it is not quite there yet. Health professionals with varying experience and license are providing nutrition services. Credentialing doesn’t necessarily make the coach, but at least make sure that they graduated from a reputable institution. Three excellent programs that I know of are The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, The Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, and The Psychology of Eating.
Make sure you are ready to do the work: Bear in mind though, that if you are not at a real readiness stage to finally change, that no coach can do it for you. There will be no one to be accountable to accept yourself if you don’t take the action steps and parent yourself to make the changes that will get you to your personal goals. You have to do the work to reach small incremental goals. Over time, they will add up big. If you hear all of the recommendations and do nothing to change, then all the money and coaching hours will be for nothing.
Understanding cost: The cost of hiring a Health Coach can vary depending on the professional. You can expect to pay $125-$150 per session for private sessions or a package discount. For a 3-6 month program, the Health Coach usually meets clients every other week. This allows clients to take time to implement the changes discussed in the previous session. Clients can expect to pay $250-$500 a month, with discounts for programs being paid in full. Make sure you find out what is included in the package when you sign up.
Understanding Integrative Nutrition: The premise of integrative nutrition is that foods aren’t just about physical nutrition, but there is also a mental, emotional, and even spiritual component to health and wellness. This is the concept of primary and secondary foods. Health coaches look at exercise, eating, wellness, and food not just as calories and weight loss, but also on emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual terms. An integrative nutrition health coach who’s providing services in this area knows about various aspects of his or her client’s lives like state of mind, health history background, as well as sleep patterns. A Health Coach that graduated from IIN will explain the concept of Bio-individuality. The right diet for me may not be the right diet for you. Your coach may help you get rid of extra pounds and give you a diet to try like an anti-inflammatory diet. IIN coaches learn over 100 different dietary theories, so clients may try a few different plans before finding the right one.