Hiring a nutrition coach is a big step if you’re serious about making a healthy change in your life. They can help you write a diet plan, plan meals, grocery shop and completely overhaul how you look at food. Picking the right nutrition coach is very important—anyone can make themselves look good on paper, but you need to get a nutrition coach that will get results. Here are four important questions to ask before choosing a nutrition coach.
1. What Training Do You Have?
Calling yourself a nutrition coach doesn’t hold any water in and of itself; in fact, most nutrition coaches are personal trainers, nutritionists, nurses or other people who work in the health field. Find out what education they have as well as how much applicable experience they have in their field—for instance, a nurse that’s written diet plans for hundreds of patients over the past five years may be a better choice than a personal trainer that plans workouts but no meals.
2. Do You Have Any Special Nutrition Certification?
Some schools offer certification courses for those who are interested in becoming a nutrition coach. If you’re really concerned about getting the most for your money, you may only want to work with someone who has that certification. If they do have applicable nutrition certification, ask about the coursework and experience that was involved. Some places that offer certificates focus more on getting money from students than on educating them, and a degree from one of those schools doesn’t mean much in terms of education.
3. What Results Have Other Clients Seen?
Being a nutrition coach means helping clients change their diets in order to change their lives. Ask if they have any references available; getting information straight from previous clients will be the easiest way to evaluate the coach. However, they may not always have references available—be sure to ask how their coaching has helped people in the past, whether it is because of weight lost, health problems alleviated or other benefits. Ask them how they think that those results will help them help you get results.
4. Have You Worked with Clients Similar to Me?
Everyone has different nutritional needs, due to allergies, metabolic makeup, body type and other restrictions. This question is particularly important if you have a disease that limits what you can eat or how your body processes food. If the coach hasn’t worked with someone in your position, their advice could be completely irrelevant for you. Worse, it could actually harm you. If you do have special dietary needs, you may want to look for nutrition coach recommendations from your doctor or from a support group for your situation.
Picking the right nutrition coach is important, and there’s a lot to take into account. By asking these four questions, you can narrow down the choices to those who will really help you reach your nutrition goals.