Nutritionist or Diet App- Which is Better?
Today I am talking about hiring a nutritionist for weight loss (something that I did before I had kids) versus using a smart phone app to lose weight. Thank you to Noom for partnering with me this week to share tips like this one for leading a healthy lifestyle. My affiliate links are used in this post as well.
These days it's hard to make it through my day without running into someone in my life who is trying to lose weight.
My best friend and my husband have both done the keto diet plan in the past, with complete opposite results.
I have a long time friend who is a WW Lifer, having found her perfect match with their meetings and points system.
And I happen to fortunate enough to have met with a nutritionist year ago when I was getting down to a healthy weight before my pregnancy.
Registered Dietician VS Nutritionist?
When I signed up to work with my nutritionist, I started by researching nutritionists near me and comparing their credentials- honestly it is pretty confusing and I was unsure of what title I really wanted to look for. Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist- I know they both work in promoting health but which is best?
Here is a quick break down comparing the various terms in the United States:
- A Nutritionist is a more general term, and they are not required to be registered, or have practical or clinical hours, unless their school required it. They likely have a degree in nutrition but it may or may not be an advanced degree. It could be in sports nutrition o
- Registered Dietitians must have a specific bachelor's degree, they must complete a clinical program, pass a huge exam and maintain their accreditation with continuing education all via the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Certified nutrition specialist (CNS) must have a specific master's degree, they must complete 1,000 hours of supervised practical experience, pass a huge exam and maintain their accreditation with continuing education via The Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists.
For me, I went looking online and located a Registered Dietician near my office. There are many Dietitians who work in healthcare facilities but I chose one with her own practice and her own office.
For some reason, even knowing the titles, I still referred to her as my nutritionist.
What It's Like To Meet With a Nutritionist
On our first visit she took my health history and we talk about my current eating and my goals.
Next she had me create an account on SparkPeople which is a calorie counter app, and I would log my food there, and she was able to logon and see my progress.
At our first meeting she also gave me a goal for my protein, carbs and fat. We discovered that I ate very little protein at the time and that was going to be a challenge for me. She did give me ideas to boost it in a healthy way.
In fact I found it hard to keep up with the goals she was giving me but not in the way I expected. I thought I'd be hungry, I thought I'd have cravings. But when I focused on hitting the goals she gave me I had to really work to get all the protein my body needed.
I met with her a few more times but we mostly checked in by email from time to time.
Once I was on track it seemed like we really didn't check in that much.
While I was under her supervision I ended up coming up with a few go-to breakfast ideas and pretty much ate the same lunch at the office every day. (We had a fridge, so I would buy a big pack of frozen mixed veggies, and on Sundays I'd make chicken breasts that I could reheat in the microwave at work.) Dinners and weekends were a big struggle once I got my office food set.
I know I lost weight working with the Dietitian but I don't recall any specific lessons on how to eat better in the evening or on weekends. She was a nutrition expert for sure though, so I am sure we covered it.
In the end I got to my goal weight with her, just in time to start planning my family.
Stay At Home Mom Syndrome
Okay so after all that hard work with the nutritionist and hitting my goal weight, my life pretty much changed completely.
All of a sudden I was pregnant! I stuck to my healthy eating pretty easily since I was still working at the office during my pregnancy. I felt pretty healthy and on track for pregnancy weight.
Then after I had my daughter we decided to try to make it work for me to stay home with my daughter.
That was something I never expected to do, never thought about doing, never thought it would ever be an option. And it was great- I was shocked to learn I was actually a baby person! Who knew?!
However transitioning from the routine of office life to that of a stay at home mom threw me for quite a loop.
Nursing a baby allows you to eat more than normal because you need to make up for the calories the baby is consuming.
I thought I'd just keep eating the same office meals that had helped me succeed but the flexibility of being at home plus the need to keep up with my new calorie level led to me redeveloping old habits.
As soon as I was done nursing I started gaining weight. I didn't even realize it first. But it sure happened quickly, and it didn't help to get pregnant with baby number two.
The years flew by and the weight crept back on. With my kids now starting school, finding myself one pound away from the heaviest I've ever been, I was ready to make a change.
I thought about all the options out there, Keto, WW, even hiring a nutritionist again.
But it was not what I needed. Keto had never worked for me (However- if it works for you that is AWESOME!) and even with the kids in school I just didn't have time for the meetings involved in WW or a nutritionist.
Can you relate?! Life just seems so BUSY…how can we squeeze in any more appointments?
I needed something different, I needed something that was going to get me long term change and I NEEDED IT NOW.
I could not handle gaining that one more pound.
Using a Weight Loss App Instead of a Nutritionist
I found this new weight loss app called Noom. I had seen ads for it on Facebook and wasn't sure if it was any different from the things I'd tried in the past.
But I liked what I reading about it- habit change, behavior modification, a red-yellow-green food logging system. No meetings but you still have access to a nutrition expert and a support group.
That was what sold me, I loved that you got a coach- many of whom ARE nutritionists and registered dietitians- and it's right there in the app.
I decided to sign up for the Noom trial but I knew I had to do the paid version. I could not afford to start this with any doubt. I could not give myself an easy out.
I committed to it from day one and I am here to tell you over a year and a half later that I never did see that ONE MORE POUND.
In fact, I started Noom in September and not only did I lose weight but I kept on losing weight all the way through the holidays. I'm even modeling good eating habits for my kids, which is incredibly important to me.
The part that was really different to me was the habit changing course. I know people might read the word “course” and think it's too much time to do all that, but really it was just short snippets each day, like reading a facebook or instagram post.
Each week it tackled one of my major bad habits: Stress eating, social eating, mindless eating, unsupportive people in your life.
First you read about it, then you think about it in your own life, then you actually make a plan to stop that habit before it starts.
I have to say that I really enjoyed the one on one connection back when I hired the Registered Dietician, and I got to have a real connection with the one-on-one coach in the Noom app too, so I am glad I gave it a try.
In the end I think Registered Dietitians are worth their weight in gold and I would not trade my experience back when I had more time.
But as a busy mom just trying to keep it all together, I don't know what I would have done without Noom. It was all the good parts of meeting with a nutritionist, right there on my phone.
Are you ready to commit to yourself? You deserve a program that helps you develop good habits for life!