Since nutrition professionals have different levels of experience, it’s hard to choose the right one for you. So here are some helpful tips.
Whether you’re seeking to improve your body image, increase strength, or lose weight, working out is only half the battle. You also need to pay attention to your health and what you’re putting into your body.
Sometimes it’s nice to get a little assistance to guide you through the process of eating healthy and maintaining a balanced, nutritious diet that serves your particular health needs.
But given so many professionals in the diet and nutrition field, to whom should you turn?
Types Of Nutrition Professionals
All health and nutrition professionals have a wealth of knowledge to impart. But they offer different levels of experience, skill sets, and schools of thought.
Knowing how to distinguish the differences between these various experts will enable you to make a more informed decision.
The broadest term in the industry, the title of nutritionist can be self-awarded. Anyone may label him- or herself a nutritionist without any formal training — though many have substantive experience.
Certified Clinical Nutritionists (CCNs), however, possess a professional degree in this field.
Registered dieticians (RDs) are required to go through a rigorous course of study to earn the title. The training includes a bachelor’s degree in a health-related field, 900 hours of supervised practice in an accredited internship program, and passage of the RD Exam.
In most cases, RDs pursue specialties in such areas as sports, diabetes, obesity, or eating disorders.
A growing number of doctors are pursuing specialty training in nutrition and using that to improve their treatment of patients.
A well-trained doctor can be a better caregiver than a nutritionist or dietician if he or she possesses the ability to view health issues from multiple angles and disciplines.
Your health is nothing to take lightly… and choosing a health professional isn’t necessarily enough. As the frequency of medical malpractice cases and lawsuits against health professionals suggests your decisions matter.
How To Choose The Right One
In order to maximize your opportunities — and offset the risk of receiving poor advice to manage your health and nutrition — it’s essential to select the right professional for your particular needs.
Here are some details to consider:
1. Area Of Expertise
Each person is unique… both genetically and in terms of specific health needs.
Although most nutrition professionals have a broad understanding of how the larger factors fit together, it can be smart to work with a caregiver who specializes in your specific area of concern.
If you do, you can rest assured that the person will provide you with the best possible advice and care.
2. Education And Credentials
As mentioned above, some nutritionists are self-proclaimed experts in their field. So you ought to be careful about which one you select to be your health professional.
Education and credentials ought to help you assess their relative levels of training and expertise, which likely indicate a fundamentally sound practice.
Make sure you agree with your dietician’s or nutritionist’s general health philosophy. You may find huge disagreements across the health and diet communities about what’s true, what works, and what isn’t and doesn’t.
The type of care and advice you receive will be heavily guided by the philosophy of your CCN, RD, or physician.
4. Coaching Style
A health professional’s coaching style is typically tied to the person’s philosophy. Some coaches furnish highly specific advice with clear-cut rules, while others issue looser suggestions that leave room for interpretation.
Everyone responds differently to various coaching styles. You should know yourself well enough to make the right choice of coach for your comfort and needs.
5. Counseling Skills
“The best nutrition coaches are also excellent counselors“, health coach Peter Curcio comments. “Food can be a tricky subject. It’s often very personal and can be connected to other issues such as self-image, depression, eating disorders, and addiction. Having a nutrition coach with skills in this area is immensely helpful.”
Don’t underestimate the importance of soft skills and rapport. You’re much more likely to follow through on the advice you’re given if your dietician or nutritionist also dispenses the kind of support that encourages you to thrive.
Get Your Health Back On Track
Whether you’re dealing with a specific health issue or you wish to be proactive about your general health, working with a nutrition professional to develop a purposeful strategy for your diet and nutrition is smart.
Take the time to research the nutrition professionals in your area and don’t settle for anything but the best.