What Sort Of Hurdles Will Your Holistic Nutritionist Clients Face?
More and more people are realizing the impact of the foods they choose to eat.
As someone who is considering training to be a registered holistic nutritionist you’ll have to be especially aware of the impact a healthy diet can have on your clients’ lives.
However, you’ll also have to be aware of the barriers they might face when attempting to eat better and maintain an overall healthier lifestyle.
After all, “junk food” – fast food, processed foods, and sugary sweets – are so cheap and readily available to us these days it can make falling into bad diet habits easy, even when you have the best intentions.
Holistic Nutrition Beyond The Numbers
As a registered holistic nutritionist, you want the best for your clients.
You’ll spend a lot of time creating an amazing diet and lifestyle plan for them.
You’ll be teaching them about watching their numbers –how many grams of sugar, fats, and proteins they’re getting and the ranges they need to stay in to meet their health goals.
But the best laid plans mean nothing if they’re not put into practice.
Keep reading to see some of the common barriers to following a healthy eating plan, and steps which can be taken to help overcome them.
1. Peer Pressure
The best intentions to get on track with healthy eating, limiting alcohol consumption and generally being healthier overall can be derailed with a text message from your bestie, inviting you out for drinks and appetizers.
Whether it’s pressure from your family to have pizza (yet again), or friends wanting to get drinks, it can be easy to be swayed by others to stray from healthy eating.
Birthday parties are a particularly stressful one – after all, if you don’t eat a slice of birthday cake, it’s bad luck.
How To Overcome It
The best way to overcome peer pressure when it comes to food and drinks is to have a plan and stick to it.
If you’re joining friends for an after work drink, choosing healthier options such as water and a salad can help you stay on track.
Meal planning for your family is also important – this makes it easier to stick to healthy and nutritious meals, without sacrificing taste and flavour.
More important, though, is learning to say no to people, politely but firmly.
Someone offering a slice of cake isn’t trying to sabotage your health goals, they’re just trying to get you in on the fun of celebrating a birthday party.
Jonathan Alpert, psychotherapist and author, wrote an article in Inc on how to say no – read it, and other articles like it, to understand why your clients say yes to peer pressure even when they don’t want to.
2. The Addictive Nature Of Junk Food
Anything addictive will be difficult to give up, and sugar is no different.
A 2017 study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found evidence that sugar addiction affects the brain in a manner similar to that of drug addiction.
How To Overcome It
Recreational drugs are controlled substances.
If you’re struggling with a drug addiction, you can at least be assured you won’t run into an advertisement for it every single time you look at your phone, computer, or TV, or leave your house.
So how can you help your clients work around this, knowing it’s everywhere?
Paying attention to food labels, and attempting to eliminate as many “added sugars” from your diet is one key way to overcome this.
This is especially important with foods which you would not think contain excess sugar.
Most of us know to check the sugar content on desserts and sweets such as cookies and ice cream, but sugar is hiding in many other foods.
A few foods which often contain added sugar that we don’t think about include:
- BBQ sauce
- Spaghetti sauce
- Protein bars
- Canned soup
Making a habit of checking food labels on everything we are considering bringing into our homes can go a long way to avoiding excess sugar and perhaps help us to reach for healthier options.
3. Stress & Emotional Eating
“Stress eating” or “emotional eating” is something we’ve all heard of.
Many people reach for food as a pacifier when things aren’t going well, or have certain comfort foods which remind them of a parent or grandparent’s home cooking when things seem stressful.
Additionally, being under stress may fuel our desire to eat when we aren’t actually hungry, as noted in a 2014 study in Minerva Endocrinologica.
Finally, when we are tired it’s easier to make poor food choices than when we’re well rested.
How To Overcome It
Developing healthy habits such as getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness (for instance, yoga), and getting regular exercise can help control the levels of stress you’re experiencing.
By controlling your stress, you can help your body resist cravings for unhealthy foods, and stick to healthier eating habits.
Planning and prepping your meals ahead can make a big difference too.
After all, when you’re tired, you just want something quick – and if you have healthy, nutritious food nearby, you’ll grab that instead of junk food.
4. Time & The Convenience of Junk Food
You’ve had a long day at work, and now you need to get home, put dinner on the table and make sure the kids get their homework done and make it to their extracurricular activities on time.
You realize you need to run to the store to get ingredients for the meal you’d planned out, but the parking lot at the grocery store is full.
It’s so easy to just decide to pick up fast food, and while this may be forgivable once in a while as a treat, getting into the habit of doing this regularly can quickly derail your best efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle for you and your family.
How To Overcome It
The best way to stop yourself from succumbing to the lure of fast-food is to plan ahead.
Take some time on weekends to plan healthy meals, shop for the week, and do some prep work so you have snacks such as washed and cut veggies easily at-hand.
Knowing you are going home to have everything you need to make a healthy meal already waiting for you can go a long way to help you overcome the temptation to stop for that hamburger.
There is a common belief that eating healthy is expensive.
Images showing a fast food burger priced at two dollars versus a salad for five are often shown as “proof” of this, and sure – sometimes picking up the cheaper option on the go can be tempting, especially if you’re trying to save money and pay off debt.
Additionally, it’s not uncommon for people living in poorer neighbourhoods to not have as easy access to fully stocked supermarkets with high quality, nutritionally dense foods.
How To Overcome It
Healthy eating doesn’t need to break the bank.
While the fast food salad may cost more than the burger, buying fresh healthy ingredients and preparing your own meals in advance is often much less expensive than either option.
In addition, there are the long-term costs to consider – a poor diet can result in health conditions such as obesity and diabetes, which can shorten your life and end up costing more in terms of health care costs down the road.
Seeing a registered holistic nutritionist is a luxury in many ways, but providing affordable options for your clients will help them make sustainable healthy choices.
Contact The Edison Institute Of Nutrition
The barriers to healthy eating listed above are some of the most common ones you will experience in your career as a holistic nutritionist – and likely ones you’ve encountered yourself at some point in your life.
At Edison, we know that in addition to teaching you how to help your clients meet their individual health needs, it’s important to help you recognize which barriers to following a plan your clients will be most likely to encounter, and how to move past them.
If you’re ready to start training towards a fulfilling new career in holistic nutrition today, contact us at the Edison Institute of Nutrition today to speak with our faculty and learn more about what we have to offer.