Coaching is defined in the dictionary as “a form of development in which an experienced person, called a coach, supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance.”
People often ask me what a Nutrition Coach actually is, and the honest answer is that it’s different for every client I see! What I can say is that my job as a coach is to guide my clients towards their goals (whatever they are), rather than set out a pre-designed diet plan, or impose strict rules about what they can and can’t eat.
Every person is an individual with a unique relationship with – and history with – food. The food we eat, crave, enjoy, hate, tolerate and fuel with is different for everyone. Our habits around eating – comfort eating; secret eating; restrictive eating; binge eating; forgetting to eat; obsessing about eating; feeling afraid of eating or eating as a reward are highly personal and often formed very early in life. The way we define ourselves through our diet is also unique – the foods we use to celebrate religious festivals, or the diet we choose for ethical reasons, or to sustain a particular sport, can represent who we are and the life we choose to live.
Medications, life stages and hormones, illnesses, genetics and activity levels can affect what we can and can’t, should or shouldn’t eat and also how the body processes the foods we do eat. And to add further complexity to our relationship with food, we – never more than now – have to negotiate our way through a wealth of misinformation and pseudoscience surrounding nutrition, diets, what is a “good diet” and what is “bad food” which leaves us confused and sets us up to fail when it comes to making informed choices about what we eat.
My role as a nutrition coach is to start with your goal – be it fuelling for a sport, weight loss, controlling impulsive eating, curbing sugar cravings, changing your eating habits, finding the right diet for your stage in life, medical diagnosis or genetics – or simply just feeling better. Starting with your diet as it is today, I work with you to change it through habit-based stages. These can include anything from making small changes to what you eat and drink to helping with meal planning and timing, going to your supermarket to research foods, coming up with recipes, helping you learn about the psychology of why you eat the way you do, coaching in changing deeply ingrained habits or disordered eating patterns, educating about what a “good” diet actually looks like, advising on what foods would help with medical issues or life stages, the optimal foods and meal timing to fuel for sport and exercise, helping you gain an understanding of metabolism and calories and energy balance in the body… I could go on all day but you get the picture!
The huge advantage of working this way rather than telling you how to eat or what diet plan to follow, is that the end result is a diet that is sustainable, realistic and manageable, and more importantly, a diet that you understand and feel in control of. My ultimate goal is to be by your side teaching, coaching and advising until you are happy and in control and have all the tools you need in your nutritional toolkit, so that you never need to come back to me (or go on a crazy diet) again!
If you think nutrition coaching might be something you would benefit from, give me a call or send me an email. Pop in and have an informal chat and we can go from there!