5 Things a Nutrition Coach Wants All Women to Know

As a nutrition coach, my job differs vastly from client to client.

But whether I’m helping my clients fuel up for or recover from incredible athletic feats, improve their health markers, lose weight, improve their relationship with food, or add muscle mass to their frame, it comes down to eating nutrient-dense foods and feeling more confident in their bodies.

While the internet can be a helpful resource in providing ways to reach those goals, nutritional advice loosely given on social media can be misleading and even harmful.

Nutrition can be confusing, emotional, and overwhelming, but you can improve your health, body composition, and relationship with food with the right information.

Seek the help of a health professional before making any major changes to your diet, and always approach nutrition from a place of self-love.

Read on for five common pieces of “advice” that I wish all women knew weren’t true.

Myth #1: Cutting calories improves body composition

While the goal is often to look better and feel more confident, eating less is usually not the way to go about it. Body composition changes are facilitated by muscle gain with simultaneous fat loss, not just fat loss alone. To gain muscle, we must feed the body to support its muscle growth.

To change body composition, think about what your current diet looks like and restructure it around more protein and less processed foods—not fewer calories.

For active people looking to improve body composition, a good rule of thumb for proper protein intake is one gram per pound of body weight, composed of lean protein sources like chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef, tofu, and seitan.

Opt for whole and unprocessed carbohydrates such as oats, sweet potatoes, rice, and whole-grain bread.

Also, load up on fats such as avocado, nuts and seeds, natural nut butter, and extra virgin olive oil. Achieving optimal health—including body composition changes—means improving what our calories are made of instead of reducing them.

Myth #2: Diets and workouts are one-size-fits-all

TikTok may be great for getting recipes and cleaning hacks, but just because an influencer is praising a certain diet or fitness routine, it does not mean it will work for you. We each have entirely different metabolic needs, lifestyles, and activity levels, so there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all way of eating or working out.

While some bodies respond well to high-fat diets such as keto, others report feeling sick from the same plan. Some people choose to meal prep and diligently track their macros, but that involves too much time and work for others.

Most endurance athletes need a high-carbohydrate diet to replenish their glycogen stores, while powerlifters require a higher protein diet for muscle repair.

Fueling your body most healthily and efficiently means having a personalized approach. Work with your doctor, nutritionist, or trainer to find the best fitness routine and nutrition for your body.

Myth #3: Changes in weight is not normal

Of course, drastic weight changes can be caused by more serious reasons (always share drastic changes in weight with your doctor!), fluctuating between 5-10 pounds throughout the month is not only normal but healthy, which is why I tell my clients to not get caught up on a number (and maybe stop weighing yourself!).

Because our bodies experience constant hormonal changes due to our cycles, the scale is always going to fluctuate. Between PMS-related water retention, bloating, and constipation, our bodies (and their weight) will forever be ebbing and flowing. Fluctuations in body weight are not a reflection of a change in your body composition.

Although it can be frustrating to feel like your body has changed, I always remind my clients that it’s temporary. Set aside clothes that make you feel your best during that time of the month (high-waisted leggings or flowy dresses over tight jeans, please), and skip activities that may make you feel bad about yourself, such as doom-scrolling and weighing yourself.

Myth #4: Constant snacking is a healthy habit

You should always listen to your body and eat when you’re hungry, but if you’re constantly reaching for snacks throughout the day, you’re likely not eating enough at mealtime.

Think of it this way: If you’re going on a road trip, the first thing you do before you hit the road is fill the gas tank so that you can drive for as long as possible without having to stop. When there’s only about a quarter of a tank left, it’s time to start thinking about filling up again.

The same is true with our meals: We want to fill up the tank (AKA fuel our bodies) so we can go approximately four to six hours (or until we’re hungry again, the timing of which can fluctuate based on activity levels, where we’re at in our menstrual cycle, or if we were in a caloric deficit the day before) without having to think about refuelling.

And once we start to feel low on energy, we should start thinking about our next meal. Also, hunger cues (rather than boredom or habit) indicate that it’s time to eat again.

Try eating larger, more satiating meals with higher protein content and notice where you’re snacking out of boredom or habit (i.e., snacking while watching TV at night or taking a break from work).

Myth #5: You eat enough protein

Rarely do I have a client who is consuming the appropriate amount of protein in their diet. And since protein is the building block of muscle and the biochemical catalyst for hormone production, it’s essential for our holistic health and wellness.

Signs you may not be eating enough protein include lack of satiety from meals, brittle hair and nails, frequent bouts of sickness due to a weakened immune system, muscle weakness, and stress fractures.

Getting protein from a combination of animal and plant-based sources is imperative for a strong body, but you don’t have to be a slave to the food scale to hit your protein goal each day.

Aim to get about four to six palm-sized servings of protein every day in lean meats like chicken or turkey, eggs, fish, tofu, seitan, beans, lentils, and other high-protein sources. Check out these high-protein breakfast recipes, tips to eat 120 grams of protein in a day, and how to get more protein without eating meat.

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