It is very important for anyone interested in studying health and nutrition or seeking help from someone in that profession to understand the differences between Nutritionists and Health Coaches. I have provided information to clarify this matter, because I was also confused when I began my studies.
For those of you who don't know, the term "Nutritionist" is legally protected and you can face misdemeanor charges if you are caught calling yourself one without a license. As a certified Nutritionist, you are allowed to assess the dietary needs of others to help them reach their health goals. Though you can establish a service for nutrition counseling, you are barred from selling vitamins or marketing commercial supplements to the public. A Nutritionist certified by the American Dietetic Association (ADA) must also be trained in biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology and biochemistry to obtain at least a four year Bachelor's Degree in food, dietics and nutrition. Professionals with PHD's in nutrition are forbidden from calling themselves nutritionists without ADA approval as well - yikes!
Though it may sound like you'd gain more knowledge by being granted with an ADA certification in nutrition, think about how many lies we are fed everyday about "smarter" options from the establishments that have made our country so fat and unhealthy. Keep in mind that these establishments as well as the healthcare industry are making money off of encouraging us to avoid nutritious foods and fitness. Over the past few years, corporations that provide more healthy and organic foods have grown, so we can only hope that this will cure America's sickness someday!
I have nothing against Nutritionists, I'm just disappointed that they have to be involved with the downside of our food industry just to get certification. Most of our food products sold worldwide have caused other countries known for their good health to become obese and unhealthy, just like Americans. Look at fast-developing cities like Shanghai that are feeding China's craving for American products by opening fast food restaurants and selling our "diet products" everywhere, their people have already been affected!
As you know by reading this blog, I was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, and every time I've gone back to visit, I'm absolutely horrified by what the American food industry is doing to the beautiful Japanese people. Those who reside in major cities have developed more health problems such as high cholesterol, acne, excessive weight gain, etc. I find this to be very sad, because the Japanese who live far from the major cities are some of the longest-living human beings on the planet due to their organic and nutritious diets as well as staying stress-free without fatty foods.
Now I'll explain what it means to be a Health Coach:
Health Coaching combines an extensive education in health and nutrition as well as the promotion and instruction of health and fitness within a one-on-one environment. This enables the Health Coach to guide the individual through a personalized program to enhance their health and overall well-being with permanent results (if they stick with the program). With a coaching relationship, the client is able to receive a health and fitness evaluation and personal program based on their individual needs to achieve their lifestyle management, weight loss and physical activity goals. A coach cannot give professional medical device, but they use their expertise in a more holistic approach to provide the tools that will help the client in the best way possible.
Coaching sessions are done in person, by phone or online and continue throughout the time period that is necessary for the client to reach their goals for better health, weight management and an overall lifestyle improvement. In my studies in nutrition school, I'm learning over a hundred different diets as well as the scientific perspective on ways in which different foods affect us both physically and mentally. Food doesn't just satisfy your hunger or make you look better, there's so much more to it than that!
Amidst what all of the fad diet books say, there is no single diet that works for everyone besides what should be obvious to all of us: Organic and nutritious foods. Desire is one thing, but what's important is that we all have different needs that must be met by programs that work best for each of us. This is where a Health Coach is especially helpful, because they specialize in evaluating clients that range from children to the elderly, people with diseases, athletes, women who are expecting, new Moms, etc.
A customized program is created to ease the client into making changes one step at a time at a pace that works best for them rather than overloading them with too much information at once. We all want to look and feel better, but sometimes we need help getting there, and there's no reason to be embarrassed about that!
Let's change this!