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What Does a Nutritionist Really Do, and Do I Need One?

Look for the Letters

There is no certification required to call yourself a nutritionist.

  • A registered dietician requires a bachelor's degree at an accredited university. A licensed dietitian will have RD, RDN, LD, LDN, or CDN after their name, depending on the state they live in.
  • Holistic nutritionists do a six-month training course.
  • Functional-nutrition practitioners do and 80-hour training course.
  • Intuitive health coaches do a 200-hour training course
  • Some well-educated experts have not followed the typical career pathway.

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Intuitive eating

This is not a diet. Intuitive eating is an approach to health and food that emphasizes learning to give your body what it needs.

It doesn't involve rules related to how or w...

Quiet your inner food police

Recognize and silence your inner critic.

An example of your inner food police: if you're scanning a restaurant menu and you catch yourself saying "That’s not healthy. That’s too many servings. That’s too high fat, " that voice is not yours, although it feels like it. It's only fueled by external messaging.

Stop moralizing

Food isn’t good or bad. Don't fall for this 'black or white' way of thinking.

Health and nutrition exist on a gradient. Keeping your health in mind when making food choices is totally in line with intuitive eating, but being rigid about healthy eating isn’t.

Intuitive eating
Intuitive eating

Rejects the diet mentality, promotes giving yourself permission to eat without labeling some foods "good” and others “bad,” acknowledging when you’re eating your feelings and accepting the body you...

Making peace with food

It doesn’t mean giving in to every craving; it means getting rid of the idea of “giving in” to “bad foods” altogether. Eat that Oreo when you want it, without any negative emotion attached, and you won’t feel like you need to eat the whole bag.

Respect your fullness

Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Intuitive eating is about understanding what foods your body feels best eating, and how to make your own food choices based on your own hunger and fullness

Intuitive eating

Intuitive eating involves coming to peace with your body’s needs, letting go of the guilt associated with eating and ending the struggle of rules.

Intuitive eating and mindful eating

With mindful eating, there is no explicit rejection of dieting. 

Intuitive eating rejects the diet mentality altogether—that’s the biggest difference.

Principles of intuitive eating
  • Honor your hunger. Reject the diet mentality, make peace with food and challenge the food police.
  • The act of eating. Respect your fullness, and discover the food delight factor.
  • The emotion of eating. Honor your feelings without using food, and respect your body.
  • Exercise—feel the difference.
  • Honor your health.