Frequently Asked Questions

Diet coaching is one-on-one support and guidance to help you meet your health and weight goals. A coach can help you with:

1.) Devising ways of shopping, meal planning, and choice-making that suit your lifestyle, tastes, and needs—that you can live with.

2.) Learning to think in ways that lead to good choices, and to stick with this until the new thoughts become automatic.

3.) Learning how to deal effectively with the self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors that are very common during the change process.

4.) Developing a range of new ways to deal with stress, emotions, and other triggers that have led to overeating in the past.

What Kind of Diet Will I follow?

A coach does not necessarily prescribe a diet for you. You can be coached to succeed with any healthy plan. If you do not have a diet or food plan that you know works for you, then your coach will help you identify or create one. Sometimes a nutrition consultation will be needed.

How Much Weight Will I Lose?

This depends on many factors: your size to start with, your individual lifestyle, weight history, metabolism, and how ready you are to make changes. For many people, though, slow weight loss works best—in terms of your being able to maintain changes for the long run. Realistic goal setting, given you and your history, is also important to your success.

What About Exercise?

Exercise is always a part of a healthy weight loss and maintenance. You and your coach will devise ways of working some form of exercise into your change plan if you are not already a regular exerciser.

How Often Do We Speak?

Usually clients talk weekly with their coaches, though short phone or email check-ins may occur during the week, and longer consultations will occur less often as changes start to hold up on their own. An initial assessment can be up to an hour long. Follow-ups are usually a half-hour, though shorter perhaps as time goes on. Clients are almost always given tools to work with in between sessions—logs, written exercises, and other means of identifying and changing thinking and behavior habits.

What If I Have an Eating Disorder?

Coaching is generally not an adequate treatment for an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. It may be a helpful and appropriate means of maintaining positive changes after psychotherapeutic and medical treatments have occurred.

What Is a Diet Coach’s Training?

Diet coaches can be psychologists or other mental health professionals who have training in cognitive-behavioral therapy. They may also have training in eating disorder treatment, relapse prevention, exercise physiology, stress management or nutrition.

Why can’t I coach myself?” people often ask. Especially when it comes to food and diet, shame over past failure casts its shadow here. “I know what to do, why can’t I just do it?” is then the refrain we torment ourselves with, over and over.

In truth, you sometimes can , and indeed may have, successfully coached yourself in the past. Any time you follow a behavior plan—whether you design it yourself, follow a self-help workbook or on-line course—you are self-coaching. If you’ve chosen a reasonable path of action, and stay on it, you’ll probably succeed. Maybe you’ve done so in the past, quitting smoking or changing some other unwanted behavior.

So self-coaching may indeed work for you with eating habits as well. However, if you’ve dieted repeatedly in the past, you most likely will need help to make those changes stick, once and for all. People often find changing their eating much harder than other habits. So if you consider yourself a capable person and feel bad that you’ve struggled so much with your diet, you are not alone. Eating is a complicated biological, social, and psychological activity. Making permanent changes on one’s own is almost always hard, and sometimes not possible.

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Eat Sanely toward a peaceful relationship with food and a healthy-enough weight

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Most of us agree we’d like to eat sanely. But what exactly is that? At we use the definition that Dr. Terese Weinstein Katz has been using in her work with dieters, overeaters, and people with eating disorders: that is, eating in a way that maintains a healthy-enough weight, for good, without constant worry or guilt.