When most people think of losing weight, the first things that come to mind are endless cardio sessions. If they were more informed, they might even think of doing resistance training to build some muscle. After all, muscle does burn more calories than fat right?
Basically, most people immediately think of doing MORE exercise or becoming MORE active to help burn off those calories. The truth is, this is the wrong approach to take. We’ve already talked extensively here about why you should focus on your nutrition if you are looking to shed off the excess weight, so do give the article read for more context if you have not already done so.
While most people understand physical coaching and doing personal training sessions, most people get confused when it comes to nutrition coaching. In the same way people get coached through exercise, nutrition coaching is all about helping people make real, lasting and positive health changes to their diet and lifestyle.
Why you need a Nutrition Coach
Tell me if this sounds familiar:
‘You look in the mirror and think for the umpteenth time, “Man, I need to do something with my diet if I want to lose this fat.”
You open your internet browser and type “Best diet for losing weight”. Next thing you know, you’re bombarded by all sorts of information about calories in and out, the keto diet, paleo diet, detox pills, why you need to start eating “these 6 belly-fat burning superfoods”, amongst a whole plethora of information.
You pick one diet that kind of appeals to you and decide to give it a shot. It tells you to dramatically restrict one particular macronutrient, or even whole food groups (the sugar in fruit is bad!!!), or limit your solid food intake. You figure, “I’ll try it out for a bit and see if I get any results.”
Next thing you know, you lose a little weight, and feel great for a bit. You’re motivated, you push decide to push forward with this diet even though you don’t quite understand why its dropping your weight.
A week later, you feel restricted and miserable. Your friends make remarks on your new style of eating and pass off discouraging comments. You muster all the will power you can to stay strict to your plan, and by the time you get home for the day, you’re exhausted.
By Friday night, you turn down an invite to go out and feel miserable because you’re scared of not knowing what to eat when you go out. You stay in and have a weak moment, crumbling under the self-imposed pressure and binge on your favourite snacks and ‘forbidden’ foods, completely going off your diet plan.
You feel such a sense of satisfaction at first, having all these snacks that were previously off-limits. You start to feel guilty, but before it can fully set in, you’ve fallen into a sleep inducing food coma. The next morning when you step on the scale, you’ve gained back almost all the weight you previously lost and you’re back to square one.
You get frustrated, decide this isn’t for you and revert back to your old habits, resigning yourself to the idea that you’ll never be able to lose weight and keep it off.’
The sad part is, the above depiction is a very real description of what our clients, and many others went through before they decided to seek professional help with their nutrition.
Change is Hard
The truth is that for many people, making changes to eating habits and food choices are actually MUCH more difficult than simply going to the gym or adding in a bit more activity. Whereas you can apportion an hour a day to dedicate and focus on your exercise, nutrition is pretty much a 24/7 thing. We covered will power a little bit in last week’s article, and we know that it is a finite resource that needs to be managed well. Figuring out where the compromise between your current lifestyle and your desired fitness goal is where nutrition coaching comes in.
With the aid of a dedicated coach, you now have an experienced and knowledgeable partner to help you figure out what the best nutrition plan is for you. Good nutrition coaching will empower you with the skills and knowledge to never fear eating out and going off plan. You’ll be able to understand better why you have cravings, and how eating well can do wonders for your energy levels and overall quality of life.
How does Nutrition Coaching work?
For nutrition coaching, there are generally 3 levels that we work on with clients.
Level 1 – Building the Nutritional Foundation
In level one, the client is starting from the nutrition fundamentals. They will learn about the importance of food quality and what a balanced diet actually is. A majority of the work is helping them through the struggles with consistency and staying on track with the healthy habits.
The large focus will be on making good food choices and developing proper eating habits as part of a lifestyle approach. The other component will be the life skills aspect, where clients learn how to do simple meal preparation and develop their own routine and system of conducting their nutritional protocols.
Most clients will start here, especially if they have no prior exercise nor activity background, and the general goal is to first become healthier. In fact, it is common for clients to see positive weight and energy changes in their body from this phase alone.
Level 2 – Specific Targets
In level two of nutrition coaching, the clients have already developed a strong base from level one. Level two expands upon the base of level one and here we start to address the performance and appearance goals. For example, these specific targets can be achieving a certain weight (through fat loss or muscle gain) or achieving a certain timing or performance level in their favourite sport.
With level two, the focus becomes more specific to the pre-set goal of the client. As a result, a lot of level two nutrition coaching tasks are short-term, designed to meet specific goals like these. Most of our recreational clients usually stop at level two.
Level 3 – Athletic Performance
Similar to level two, level three clients are interested in improving performance, appearance or both. The main difference is the degree to which they have set their goals. Clients that fall in this category have the basics down well; they pretty much eat like an athlete and require the minor tweaking of a professional nutrition coach to help them optimise the plan for their goals.
Level three clients often have to down regulate their level of intensity from time to time, as being at level three is often not sustainable for the long term. These clients are a very small minority and this level is thus not very applicable for most people reading this article.
How do you start?
Chances are, if you are reading this article, you are likely brand new to starting your health and fitness journey. Even if you have a deep knowledge base and prior experience with diets, reinforcing the fundamentals is a great way to start.
As with a large majority of our clients, this means that working on the foundation of your nutrition plan is what will be the top most priority. Does this mean you need to work with a nutrition coach right away? Not necessarily.
The first step to fixing up your nutrition approach is to understand where exactly your starting point is. At Elevate 360 Nutrition, we help clients with this through a principle termed ‘conscious eating’. Check out this article where we give you the first steps to getting started. Once you are aware of your own eating habits, you can then start making changes.
While not absolutely essential, nutrition coaching is a valuable tool for the modern day professional. With a nutrition coach by your side, you can take out the guesswork from your own plan and speed up your journey to a healthier and fitter you!
If you have any questions on Nutrition Coaching and are looking for help to start your weight loss journey, contact us here.
If you are looking for some help starting off on the right foot with your fitness, click here to check out our friends over at Elevate 360 Fitness, and book in your consultation!