NUTRITION COACH: Help With Healthy Habits

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People looking to lose weight and lead healthier lifestyles are finding it may take more than a gym membership. You've heard of people hiring personal trainers to get in shape. Now, people are looking for help from someone else to meet weight loss goals.

Shawnna Stiver knows all about losing weight. She says, "I had seen some success with weight loss in 2012." She dropped sixty pounds working with a personal trainer and tracking what she ate. But, the pounds started creeping back.

She says, "I sort of started falling back into old habits."

Now, she's a part of Live Healthy Iowa's Dream Team. Her goal is to make lifestyle changes with the help of Registered Dietitian Jennifer DeWall. She's the Dream Team's Nutritionist and helps patients through her private practice Nutrition in Motion. She says, “Working with a professional, if it's for accountability, if it's for hey, I have a food allergy, food intolerance, if it is I want to have a better time on my marathon."

Of course DeWall helps patients with what to eat. But, she also talks about when to eat and why. She says, "Making sure we're eating for biological reasons or hunger reasons versus emotion."

Improving your diet doesn't mean you can't have any fun when you eat, even if you have a sweet tooth. DeWall says, "Knowing that sometimes when you really want a piece of chocolate then that's what you need to have so that you don't eat a lot of other healthy things or eat a lot of semi healthy things and then eat the chocolate."

Stiver is finding that balance and making simple changes. She now eats several times throughout the day instead of three big meals. She plans her snacks and preps food on the weekend. And, she's made some smart swaps. She says, "I'm a big Greek yogurt person now. I put Greek yogurt in pancakes. I make Greek yogurt ranch."

Her goal now is to focus more on healthy habits than the number on the scale. She says, "I just want to get to that point where I know I have a healthy relationship with food. I'm not eating it for any other reason besides feeding my body."

DeWall says people looking for a nutrition counselor should ask if they're a Registered Dietitian. She says it can cost $100 to $200 for an initial assessment. And, you may be able to use flex spending or your health savings account to help pay for it.