By: Caroline Mackey, CNP, PTS
I often find myself having conversations about what it is that a nutritionist does, and how we can help. I became a nutritionist because of my own health challenges and struggles, and found that the one area that was really missing was having concrete, clear and individualized help about food and the best food choices to make. I’ve struggled with my weight since childhood, and a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease several years ago made my struggles much more challenging. At my highest weight I was morbidly obese, and my Crohn’s disease required serious medications.
I’ve now lost well over 100 pounds, and my Crohn’s is managed without medication and is symptom-free. Along the way I learned a lot about what works and does not work with nutrition, and now I want to help you better your health and feel better through food. Here are some of the main ways working with a nutritionist like me can help:
Making an individualized sustainable plan:
Every person is unique; you have personal likes, dislikes, and lifestyles. And whether you’re just trying to make healthier food choices, or you have food sensitivities or allergies that you are trying to manage, a food plan that’s tailored to YOU makes all the difference. Plans will guide you step by step, meal by meal, day by day. If you will like the foods and flavours, and the plan fits into your schedule, you are much more likely to stick with it long term.
…and helping you stick to it:
How often do you have every intention of making healthier choices, and after a few weeks, the plan derails. Most clients that work with a nutritionist check-in once a month. This ongoing accountability and support will allow you to stick to your plan. Modifications are made for anything that’s not working for you, as well as to continue to address and improve any symptoms or challenges you may be experiencing. And by having that check-in (easily also done by phone/skype) you are much more likely to be successful long-term.
A plan for the whole family:
If you live with other people, you know that getting everyone on a healthy eating plan can be incredibly challenging, especially with kids. When you work with a nutritionist, they can work with your whole family’s food needs/intolerances/allergies and provide guidance, meal plans and recipes that you can incorporate effectively.
A compliment to other practitioners:
making full use of your benefit plans: When you work with a practitioner such as a naturopath, there is only so much time and benefits coverage. Nutrition is often covered under a different part of benefit plans, and you can use time with a nutritionist to get into the details of food plans, recipes, portions, and all your other food guidance needs.
It will save you a lot of time and confusion:
General nutritional guidance such as gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo, etc. is only an overview. Going online, shopping in a health food store, or reading books to get all the information you need to build a plan and find recipes for yourself can be very overwhelming, confusing and time-consuming. Working with a nutritionist will ensure healthy sustainable food choices that are designed to work best for your individual needs, with a full complement of plans and recipes.
Help you save money:
A nutritionist will help you with how and what to shop for. We’ll work to optimize your pantry; provide recipes and plans tailored to eating for one, or eating for a family. Effective use of leftovers, shopping in season, and knowing where it’s good to spend and where you can save. A lot of us have money go down the drain as we are not food shopping effectively.
Make your workouts much more effective:
Did you know if you don’t properly fuel your body, your workouts will be less effective or even ineffective? Without the right nutrition, your muscles cannot develop, and fat will not be burned efficiently. Working with a nutritionist will give you a plan tailored to your specific workout regimen, to get the best out of every workout.
A step by step approach to sustainable weight loss:
Fad diets, intense fitness regimes, fasting… the list goes on. There’s so much (mis)information out there about how to lose weight but the key ingredient that’s missing is you. Sustainable, healthy weight loss needs to address your individual health makeup and challenges, and also work within your lifestyle needs. Ongoing accountability and support is key for keeping to a nutrition plan for weight loss. There will be bumps in the road, new challenges, and adjustments to be made as you go along. A nutritionist is your coach, there to ensure you meet your goals and keep weight off sustainably.
A holistic nutritionist looks at the entire person and evaluates symptoms to address root causes of health challenges. We work with you to address your food, lifestyle and environment, and make adjustments to help you have more energy, address blood sugar imbalances, improve quality of sleep, hormonal challenges and much more. Nutritionists understand the science behind how the foods you eat can either help or hinder the function of your mind and body.
To learn more about me and my approach, visit me here.
Caroline Mackey, CNP, PTS
Nutrition & Fitness Coach