If you’re looking to make healthy lifestyle changes like eating better, getting into shape, or losing weight, well-intentioned friends may have made several suggestions like “Go see a personal trainer,” “Visit a nutritionist,” or “Talk to a dietitian.” But how do you know who is qualified and able to help with your specific health needs? There are several types of health and wellness professionals who may be able to help you meet your health goals. Learn more about what types of purposes they serve and making sure they have the appropriate qualifications.
Nutritionists and Registered Dieticians
“Nutritionist” and “Dietitian” may seem interchangeable. However, Registered Dietitians undergo extensive schooling, clinical training, and provide guidance for a healthy lifestyle focusing on diet changes. You would be most likely see a Registered Dietician if you needed to seek out a specific food plan or had a diet-related disease. Registered Dieticians’ registration and licensure requirements vary by state. You can search for local Registered Dieticians in your area and verify their credentials by clicking here.
Unlike Registered Dietitians, nutritionists do not have the same laws for practice as dietitians have and often have the opportunity to practice unrestricted. Nutritionists should have (and be able to verify) a Bachelor’s Degree or higher in nutrition or another health-related field. They should not be writing diet plans, but they can offer general nutrition advice.
A personal trainer can be a great asset to helping you meet your fitness goals. You might look into working with a personal trainer if you want to establish a proper exercise routine. But it is important to make sure that the personal trainer you choose is educated and trained to properly help you! The American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) is considered the gold standard for personal training certificates. Any personal trainer you use should either be ACSM-certified or have a degree in kinesiology or exercise science. You can find an ACSM-certified personal trainer by clicking here.
Last but not least, you would seek the advice of a Wellness Coach when you are ready to make behavior changes! A Wellness Coach may be certified through a university or the National Wellness Institute, and/or have a degree in psychology, nutrition, exercise science, etc. Often, it’s helpful to work with a Wellness Coach in conjunction with a personal trainer or nutritionist or Registered Dietician. Together, this team of professionals can help you with accountability and making healthy behavior changes to meet your health and wellness goals!
For Health Advocate Members
If you are a Health Advocate member with access to our Wellness Coaching program, call your coach for one-on-one help with eating better, losing weight, starting an exercise plan, quitting tobacco, reducing stress, and more!