What is a holistic nutritionist and why hire one? A holistic nutritionist advises clients on how to take care of their bodes, inside and out. From nutrient supplement, diet, and exercise, a holistic nutritionist looks at “whole” health, not just one concern or disease.
If you’re considering working in this field or hiring a trained professional to help you feel your best, we offer 11 reasons why it’s a good idea, all the way around.
#1: Proper nutrition is confusing, and the message is often muddled.
Doctors and diets tend to focus on one nutrient at a time; for example, Atkins and South Beach diets warn against carbohydrates, while your endocrinologist wants you to avoid sugar and refined starches, but your cardiologist advises you against excess saturated and trans fat. And last week your gastroenterologist pleaded with you to eat more fiber. Foods don’t come in one dimension: One dish may be heavy on healthy fiber but unhealthy fat, while another may be low in fat but loaded with sugar and salt. A holistic nutritionist’s job is to teach you how to consider nutrition holistically — that is, in the context of all the different interconnected parts of your body and health needs.
#2: Learn how the body uses food.
The holistic approach is about educating you to make better choices based on your knowledge of proper nutrition. A holistic nutritionist will not hand you an “approved foods” list and leave you to starve; in fact, they scoff at the rigid food pyramid. Instead, their goal is to instruct you on how the body uses food and how to balance your needs with your wants.
#3: Consider both the physical and the emotional aspects.
The body operates best when the physical and emotional spheres are in line and working together. Physical symptoms — low energy, weight gain, chronic disease — are the body’s away of telling you that balance must be restored. Emotional symptoms — fatigue, lethargy, apathy — are often a poor nutrition-created barrier to addressing the physical symptoms. A holistic nutritionist will consider both spheres when working with you to develop a lifestyle plan.
#4: Get an individual approach.
Hiring your own nutritionist comes with the clear benefit of a specialized program designed to fit your lifestyle, allergies, likes, and dislikes. Your nutritionist will adjust their recommendations based on your personal health history. And the relationship you develop with your nutritionist will deepen over time as you both learn to work with one another to achieve the goals you set.
#5: Holistic nutrition is a positive field.
Your personal trainer bellows at you until you complete your squats. Your boss breathes down your neck until the mid-quarter reports are finished. But holistic nutritionists want to teach you to appreciate and respect your body and yourself. Your nutrition meetings may become the calmest, most restorative part of your week — that is, until your improved nutrition improves all the other areas of your life.
#6: Improve all the other areas of your life.
Food is an integral part of our lives. As your relationship with food improves, you develop a connection between food and well-being. Up to 90% of our serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical, is produced in the digestive track (which is why emotional eating feels so good at first). A well-balanced diet improves your overall mood, and positive choices boost self-esteem and contentment. This has a positive effect on the other relationships in your life, from your loved ones to your hobbies to your workplace.
#7: A support system is key when making a lifestyle change.
If you’re serious about addressing proper nutrition and changing your diet for the better, having the proper support will increase your likelihood of success. A holistic nutritionist has their clients’ best interest in mind, and they will guide you through the educational aspects while providing motivation and emotional support as well.
#8: It’s a long-distance relationship that works, so you have options.
Unlike a personal trainer, who must be in the room to watch you do those dreaded squats, your holistic nutritionist can coach you from anywhere in the world. If you live in a rural, nutritionist-less area, or if your preferred nutritionist simply lives somewhere else, your program will not be affected. A free Skype account and your already-in-place addiction to email on your phone will keep you on track and in contact with your nutritionist.
#9: Lose weight the safe way.
Fad diets are hallmarked by rapid weight loss, a brief period of fitting into your high school jeans, and then a rapid weight gain that sends you back to the ice cream aisle for further self-destruction. By approaching your diet as a holistic process, you slow down enough to make real changes to your lifestyle. Weight loss becomes a mere side effect when compared to glowing skin, a higher sex drive, better sleep — the list goes on.
#10: Get recipes and meal plans.
A holistic nutritionist won’t just tell you to eat carrots; they’ll give you three carrot recipes.
#11: Support your body while sick.
A hand full of pills is not the best way to cure your illness. In addition to teaching you about good nutrition practices in general, a holistic nutritionist will emphasize a big-picture method of coping with illness by helping you identify the nutrients your body needs to heal itself. And the advice will be timely — simply ring him up when you feel yourself slipping under the weather, and begin fixing the problem immediately. Plus, a proper diet will help your medication work more effectively, so you can take a lower dose.