Lose Some Weight
5 People Who Shouldn't Be Your Weight Loss Coach
If they're "board certified" by a board you've never heard of, "certified" by the companies they work for, or literally have no credentials at all, there's a good chance they aren't worth your time.
If you want someone to help you lose weight and advise you on what to eat, you need a registered dietitian or a registered dietitian nutritionist (RD or RDN, respectively). These nutrition experts have earned a bachelor's degree (at minimum), completed a 12-month supervised practice program, passed a national exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, and continue fulfilling professional educational requirements.
Seems easy enough, but what about all those other seemingly legit credentials, like holistic nutrition expert, certified nutritionist, or nutrition and wellness coach?
Unlike becoming a registered dietitian, these programs might involve only a few years of undergraduate training or maybe just a few weeks of online coursework. The problem is that it's hard to know for sure how much training your coach underwent and what he or she learned. If your coach isn't a registered dietitian, he or she shouldn't serve as anything more than a supplement to the plan you and a registered dietitian have created, says Jaime Mass, RD.
If you have a medical condition, you're pregnant, or youneedsolid nutrition or weight loss advice, you need to consult a doctor or RD.
"Many people who are overweight may have an underlying condition, like diabetes, that a dietitian would be uniquely qualified to manage," says , RD. In that case, you need an RD with a specialty in diabetes to help teach you to space out your carb intake throughout the day and keep your glucose levels stable, says dietitian Keri Gans, RD, author ofThe Small Change Diet.
A registered dietician can also help you get the tests you need to determine your dietary needs. If you have high cholesterol and a health coach suggests you try the high-fat Paleo diet, for example, it could be very damaging, says Gans.
If you're seeing a personal trainer on the regular, it's tempting to make them your one-stop shop for all things weight loss, but unless this person is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) and an RD, they probably don't know enough about nutrition to be your main source of guidance.
MORE:Should Your Personal Trainer Put You On A Diet?
Obviously, your trainer might know a thing or two about nutrition, so there's nothing wrong with them suggesting you eat more vegetables and less junk food, the same way your RD suggests you exercise a few times a week. But when they get too specific about your eating habits, know that they're taking things too far.
If you're already working with a weight loss coach who you love, that's not necessarily a bad thing. (Coaches are especially great for things like accountability, says Cassety.) But Gans recommends supplementing your coaching sessions with a few check-ins with an RD to see if your coach's advice is on the right track.
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