Knowing when to hire a nutritionist is critical to achieving your goals or to mastering the unique challenges you may encounter in your journey as you feed yourself.
Whether you have a health goal, a specific illness, or just starting a new phase in your life, a nutritionist can give you the knowledge, guidance, and confidence you need to act accordingly.
But how do you know when it’s really necessary? Here, I’m going to walk you through 6 situations when you should hire a nutritionist.
6 situations you should consider hiring a nutritionist
A nutritionist can take a look at your current lifestyle, goals, and food intake to create a comprehensive plan that works for you and your needs.
If you find yourself in any of the following situations, a good next step for you is to consult a nutritionist!
You have a state of health
A state of health can be any number of things. From an autoimmune disease like Crohn’s disease or arthritis to type II diabetes or high cholesterol, a nutritionist can help you with everything.
Often times after a diagnosis is made, you will simply be given a few diet and lifestyle recommendations. Continuous diet and lifestyle support is rarely offered. While these general recommendations can give you a starting point, many times you will feel confused and frustrated about what to do next.
Adequate diet and lifestyle can significantly improve most health conditions. Handouts can’t give you step-by-step lifestyle and diet guidelines that are specifically tailored to your needs, but a nutritionist will.
You have a specific weight goal
If you have a specific weight goal that you want to achieve, consider getting a nutritionist.
Whether your aim is to gain weight, maintain weight, or lose weight, there is a lot of conflicting information out there about what to do and how to do it. When trying to manage these health goals on your own, it’s easy to follow a consistent plan that just isn’t for you.
These plans and recommendations can give you wrong information and lead you down a path that can be very difficult to get back from. Whether it’s a restrictive fashion diet, inadequate nutritional recommendations, or simply incorrect information, it’s all out there.
Work with a nutritionist right from the start to make sure the recommendations you receive are both evidence-based and science-based.
You have disrupted eating disorders or an unhealthy relationship with food
If you find that you have a negative relationship with food, even if you feel it is minor, you should consult a nutritionist.
A negative relationship with food can have different degrees of severity. However, some signs include feeling guilty after eating, assuming that there are “good” and “bad” foods, marking certain foods as “prohibited”, and stress about foods or what to eat.
On a stricter level, a negative relationship with food can also lead to disrupted eating habits.
Here are some indications that you may have eating disorders:
- Yo-yo diet
- Fear of skipping meals or certain foods
- Constant weight fluctuations
- Rigid diet or fitness routines and rituals
- Extreme feelings of guilt and shame while eating
- Obsession with foods related to weight and body image that negatively impact daily life
- Lack of control over good, compulsive eating habits
- The use of exercise, food restriction, rinsing, or fasting to “make up for poorly consumed foods” (2)
If left untreated, these habits can snow and take on a greater presence in your life over time. Working with a nutritionist who is knowledgeable about disrupted eating habits can address the problem and improve your relationship with food in healthy ways.
You have digestive complications
Digestive complications can be difficult. There is almost always something involved. From underlying disease states to food sensitivities and intolerances to the gut microbiome and simple old food intake – all of them can play a role here.
If you are constantly experiencing digestive problems that you don’t seem to be in control of, consider working with a nutritionist. You can take a look at the bigger picture and make recommendations tailored to your individual needs.
Many of the plans and recommendations out there will only fix part of the puzzle, which is digestion. This often makes you feel relieved for a short time, but soon falls back into your usual symptoms.
You have food intolerances or allergies
When talking about food allergies and intolerances, the hiring of a nutritionist can make a huge difference here. If you discover that certain foods are bothering you or that you are experiencing symptoms, but you are unsure which foods are specifically to blame, contact a nutritionist.
If you have any food allergies or intolerances, a skilled nutritionist can guide you through an organized, easy-to-follow elimination diet. You will finally walk away with certainty, relief, and answers.
There is so much inaccurate information about food allergies, intolerances and elimination diets. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with clients after they tried to tackle this on their own! You come to me feeling overwhelmed, stressed and discouraged.
In contrast, after working with me, they have answers and know exactly what their next steps should be.
You are in a new phase of life
Let’s say you’ve done the whole diet thing. They know what to eat and how to eat in order to maintain a healthy relationship with food while meeting or maintaining your health goals. This is fantastic!
But let’s say something significant is shifting in your life. You’re pregnant or moving and no longer have access to the same resources as you used to. Maybe you are going through menopause, or you are getting a new job and having trouble maintaining your previously balanced lifestyle. These are all perfect situations to hire a nutritionist.
A nutritionist will first check what you’ve done before. They will then understand why it worked and give you the recommendations and guidance you need. You will be able to move forward with confidence and support in this new phase of life.
A particularly important phase is pregnancy. Getting the right nutrients and care for you and the baby is important to a healthy pregnancy. Having a nutritionist on your team can ensure this!
5 Questions To Ask Yourself To See If You Should Hire A Nutritionist
Still on the fence? Ask yourself the following 5 questions to help determine if hiring a nutritionist is a good idea for you.
- Have you tried it alone and been unsuccessful?
- Do you have an “information overload”?
- Does food and nutrition feel like a stressful, controlling factor in your life?
- Not sure if you are doing the “right” thing or not?
- Have you worked with someone other than a nutritionist and seen results, but felt that the habits that were implemented were unrealistic?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you should consider using a nutritionist.
How to choose a nutritionist that suits you
Now that you know you need to hire a nutritionist, how do you know which nutritionist is right for you?
Just like doctors, physical therapists, and nurses, nutritionists have specialties. While some have experience with multiple specialties, others focus heavily on just one or two areas of the diet.
The best way to determine whether or not a nutritionist is right for you is to have an introductory interview or meeting. Get to know their personalities, understand their methods, and make sure they are someone you trust for your care.
For example, at Nutrition Stripped we offer free discovery calls to anyone interested in our wellness coaching. We’ll get to know each other before we determine whether we’re a good fit or not.