If you’re like most people, you probably think of nutritionists as experts in the field of weight loss. And while it’s true that many nutritionists do specialize in helping people lose weight, there are a lot of other things that they can help you with as well.
A good nutritionist can assist you in several important ways to improve your well-being and overall health. In this article, I will discuss how can a nutritionist help you reach your fitness goals. Among other things, I will cover why you would need a nutritionist, the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian, and how they can help you understand portion sizes, food labels, food restrictions, and set realistic goals.
Why Would You Need a Nutritionist?
If you’re trying to improve your diet and nutrition on your own, it can be difficult to know where to start. There is a lot of overwhelming and conflicting information out there about what is “healthy” and what isn’t, and it can be tough to sort through all of it. A nutritionist is an expert who can give you tailored advice that is specific to your situation and your goals. Typically they have completed some sort of education or certification program. One of the best on the market is delivered by Precision Nutrition, which I completed. You can read my article about the recap of my precision nutrition certification program.
They can also help you to create a plan that is realistic and achievable. Too often, people set unrealistic goals for themselves (like losing a huge amount of weight in one month) and then get discouraged when they don’t meet them. If you’re trying to lose weight, a nutritionist can help you to create a plan that will work for you. They can take into account your current weight, your body type, and your lifestyle when creating a plan that is tailored just for you, which is exactly what I do in my Build Bullet-Proof Health program.
They can also help you to troubleshoot when things aren’t going according to plan. If you hit a plateau or start to gain back the weight you lost, a nutritionist can help you figure out what is causing the problem and coach you to a solution.
The Difference Between a Nutritionist And a Dietitian
Sometimes the terms “nutritionist” and “dietitian” are used interchangeably, but they are two different things. Dietitians are required to have a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, as well as complete a supervised internship. They must also pass a national exam. Nutritionists do not have to meet these same requirements, although many do have a degree in nutrition or a related field.
On the other hand, nutrition coach is a title that anyone can use, regardless of their education or experience. if you’re looking for someone to help you with your diet and nutrition, any of these "fitnessmentors" can help you to set achievable goals that will help you make lasting changes to your diet. And, they can motivate and support you throughout the process.
Of course, depending on your situation (whether you need nutritional advice or to make lifestyle changes), be sure to ask if they are a registered dietitian or a certified nutritionist. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, but you want to be sure that you’re getting the right type of help for your needs.
Help You to Understand the Basics of Nutrition
If you’re not sure how many calories you should be eating, how many calories certain foods have, or what all of those different nutrients do, a nutritionist can help. They can explain the basics of nutrition in a way that is easy to understand. They can also dispel any myths -- and there are plenty -- that you may have heard about diet and nutrition.
For instance, you may have been told that you need to eat a lot of protein if you want to build muscle. But, if you’re eating too much protein, it can be stored as fat. A nutritionist can help you to understand how much protein you need (based on your weight, activity level, and muscle mass) and good sources where to get it from.
Additionally, they can help you to understand the difference between “good” and “bad” fats, as well as how many carbs you should be eating when and for what purpose. With so much conflicting information out there, it’s no wonder that people are confused about what they should and shouldn’t be eating. A nutritionist can help to clear up any confusion and give you the facts.
Teach You About Portion Sizes
One of the biggest problems with dieting is that people often underestimate how much they’re eating. They may think they’re eating a healthy salad, but if it’s loaded down with toppings, the calories can add up quickly. A nutritionist can help you to understand what a proper portion size looks like. Also funny enough many people do not count drinks like soft drinks (loaded with sugar) or alcohol to their calorie balance because “it’s only liquid”.
They can also teach you about the difference between “serving sizes” and “portion sizes”. For instance, the serving size of ice cream is often much smaller than the portion size that people eat. A nutritionist can help you to understand how much you should be eating and how to control your portions.
One thing I learned during my certification program which I consider extremely useful, effective and easy for my clients and me is Precision Nutrition’s hand portion sizing:
Teach You How to Understand Food Labels
Have you ever looked at a food label and been completely confused by it? If so, you’re not alone. Food labels can be confusing, but a nutritionist can help you to understand them. They can teach you what to look for on a food label and most importantly how to interpret the information.
For instance, you may see that a food contains “trans fats”. Trans fats are considered to be bad for your health and should be avoided. However, if food only contains a small number of trans fats (less than 0.5 grams per serving), it’s not necessary to avoid it completely. A nutritionist can help you to understand what the food label is telling you and whether or not a food is healthy.
Sometimes, food labels can be misleading. For instance, a portion of food may be labeled as “low-fat” but contain a lot of sugar. A nutritionist can help you to spot these types of foods and make better choices. Maybe some shocking facts that you are not aware of -- but a nutritionist is -- ready-made frozen pizza or ketchup have a ton of sugar.
Help You to Develop Realistic Goals
When it comes to diet and nutrition, setting realistic goals is important. If your goals are too unrealistic, you’re likely to become frustrated and give up. A nutritionist can help you to develop and pursue realistic and achievable goals.
For instance, if you want to lose weight, a nutritionist can help you to set a realistic goal. They can also help you to break it down into manageable tasks and create a plan for reaching your goal. This may include making changes to your diet and exercise routine, but may also mean significant changes to your environment, social support system and your own values.
Nothing changes if you don’t change anything. In order to achieve exactly that for people, I got together with a group of coaches and nutritionist and together we co-created the Live better, not perfect (Livebnp) community. Our mission is to empower millions of people to consistently strive for optimal Well-Being. To support the community members in the best possible way we introduced a very holistic concept that includes nutrition but goes far beyond. We refer to this as the Livebnp Well-Being Triangle.
Take Food Restrictions Into Account
If you have food allergies or restrictions, it can be difficult to find healthy foods that you can eat. A nutritionist can help you to identify healthy foods and alternatives that are safe for you to eat. They can also help you to create a diet that meets your needs. If you’re allergic to dairy, a nutritionist can help you to find dairy-free foods that are still nutritious.
If you have a medical condition, such as diabetes, a nutritionist can also help you to find foods that will not worsen your condition. In this case, you’ll need to be careful about the types of carbs you eat. A nutritionist can help you to understand which carbs are safe for you to eat and which ones you should avoid. If you do have a medical condition, please do make sure to consult a specialist. Nothing here in this article is medical advise.
If you think that allergies don't play a big role in nutrition, you may want to think again. Many people have food allergies or sensitivities that they're not even aware of. A nutritionist can help you to identify these allergies and make sure you're not eating anything that will trigger a reaction.
In Conclusion: How Can A Nutritionist Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals
We are penetrated by mass media, social media and advertising. Healthy eating and healthy living is not straightforward. With so many instagram gurus out there it can be overwhelming. This is exactly where nutritionists can help and shed some light on. They are experts. They have the experience.
A nutritionist can help you to understand what a proper portion size looks like, how to read food labels, and develop realistic goals. They can also take your food restrictions into account when creating a diet for you. If you have any medical conditions, please consult with a doctor and a nutritionist can help you to find foods that will not worsen your condition. If you are serious about your journey to a healthier lifestyle and improved fitness, having a nutritionist on board is not optional.
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