Confused about whether you should seek the help of a Health Coach or a Nutritionist?
Both help with diet, right? They sure do. However, their focus and approaches are completely different. Let’s take a look at a health coach vs nutritionist: what do they do, how do they work and what’s their main point of difference? Learn which of these modalities you should engage to help you achieve your wellness goals.
What does a Health Coach do? A health coach is a supportive mentor who helps their clients make healthy diet and lifestyle choices to improve their overall wellness. If you want to lose weight, get fit, or create a more balanced life, a health coach can help you achieve this.
Health coaches are trained in basic nutrition, exercise and fitness, well-being concepts & skills, dietary planning, stress management, and weight loss. They undertake specialized training to learn problem-solving, accountability, and motivational skills, so they can best support their clients.
You can work with a health coach one-to-one in person, online, or via a group coaching program. Health coaches address a wide range of lifestyle factors, mentoring people to choose the right diet and fitness regime to suit their needs.
What does a Nutritionist Do? A nutritionist is an expert in food, diet, and nutrition. They are trained to assess the health needs and dietary requirements of their clients, providing dietary advice, meal plans, and nutritional supplements where required. Nutritionists educate their clients to create healthy eating habits and make good food choices to prevent illness and achieve specific health-related goals. Nutritionists work in a variety of settings, including the food industry, private practice, as corporate nutrition consultants, in fitness facilities, and research organizations.
The difference between a health coach and nutritionist?
The main difference between a health coach and a nutritionist is their approach and area of specialty. Health coaches don’t just focus on diet and nutrition; they assess your well-being as a whole, also looking at lifestyle factors such as your sleep, relationships, stress levels, and exercise. It’s worth noting that health coaches are only trained in basic nutrition. So, if you have nutritional deficiencies, complex nutrition requirements, or need support with a specific health condition such as diabetes or food allergies, a nutritionist should be your first port of call.
Nutritionists have special nutrition training and are experts in all things related to diet, food, and nutritional requirements including nutrition through the life cycle (such as in pregnancy or children) and for specific ailments and conditions.
Another difference is the approach taken by each modality. Health coaches focus on goal-setting; they create strategies and accountability measures so that clients achieve their health objectives. Nutritionists, on the other hand, devise nutrition guidelines and plans from which the client has to work from. Nutritionists help their clients get to the root cause of their health issues by taking an in-depth medical case history and assessing blood tests if applicable.
Even though health coaches and nutritionists work in a similar capacity, their approach and area of focus differ. Health coaches tackle wellness as a whole, looking at lifestyle factors as well as diet. They set specific goals for their clients and mentor them to achieve these goals. Nutritionists have in-depth nutrition knowledge and are able to provide their clients with specialized dietary advice and meal plans. Whether you engage the services of a health coach or a nutritionist, you will be one step closer to achieving your wellness goals and becoming a healthier, happier you.
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Jennifer Castro is a Health Educator & Patient Advocate who specializes in Women's Health & Vestibular Disorders. Coach Jenny is working towards becoming Board Certified while working as an Instructional Team Member for the College of Health Solutions at ASU. She also works as an Insurance Broker providing insurance solutions for small business & office settings, employee benefits and workplace wellness options