Let’s talk about making progress toward your nutrition, health, and wellness goals.
We all start somewhere.
You may be in the beginning stages of goal setting. You know you have a few goals, but you aren’t sure how to achieve them and haven’t started to make progress just yet.
You may be making progress, but stalling, and need a little bit of support.
You may be just around the corner from reaching them, and considering what to do when that happens.
You may even have achieved your goals, and be in the maintenance phase at this point.
Regardless, this one thing is true.
Having the support of a dietitian or a nutritionist to help you achieve your goals is one of the best ways to ensure success and shorten the timeline to reaching your goals.
But you may be wondering how long you’ll need to work with a nutrition coach to find success. How will you know you’re ready to take a step back and take more control?
As a registered dietitian, I have helped many clients through the process of setting, achieving, and maintaining their goals. I have also guided them through the transition from a high level of support, to less frequent progress checks.
I know not everyone wants to see their nutritionist every week for the rest of forever, and I’m here to help you decide when is the right time for you to start seeing your coach less often.
In this article, I’ll break down four signs to look for to know it’s time to see your dietitian or nutritionist less frequently, including your:
- Progress toward your goals
- Habits and behaviors
- Plans to navigate challenges
- Confidence in yourself
4 Signs It’s Time To See Your Dietitian or Nutritionist Less Frequently
1. Your Progress Toward Your Goals
The most significant factor in deciding to step back and see your nutrition coach less frequently is evaluating your progress toward your goals.
Let’s do a little self-reflection here…
- Have you achieved the initial goals you set for yourself?
- If not, how close have you come to achieving these goals?
- Have you achieved any additional goals during your time with your coach?
- If not, how close have you come to achieving these goals?
If you answered, “no, you haven’t achieved all of your goals.” It’s a good idea to keep working with your dietitian or nutritionist.
Depending on your progress and your current meeting frequency, it may be an excellent time to go from seeing each other multiple times to just once each week. However, regularly meeting is crucial to continued success if you are still actively working toward your goal(s).
If you answered, “yes, you have achieved all of your initial and additional goals,” you might think the immediate answer is to decrease meeting frequency. While this is an excellent time to reevaluate your meeting frequency--it may not be time just yet.
Two other important questions to ask yourself…
- How long ago did you achieve your goals?
- How long have you maintained the results you desired?
If you hit your target yesterday and haven’t strategized how to maintain it, it’s probably not time to scale back just yet.
I’ve heard people say, “losing weight is easy, gaining weight is easy, maintenance is hard.” While this isn’t everyone’s experience, it illustrates a critical point.
Maintaining your goals takes work, too.
If you have achieved your goals and are confidently maintaining the place you aimed to be, it’s likely time to take back a little bit of control, see your dietitian less often, and see how things go.
2. Your Habits and Behaviors
So much of nutrition, health, and wellness success is habit-based. Yes, we rely on motivation, both internal and external, from time to time, but motivation is fleeting.
Building solid habits and consistent behaviors are your key to long-term success.
It’s time for a little more self-reflection…
- What habits and behaviors have helped you achieve your goals?
- Do you feel confident in maintaining these habits without external support?
- How do you plan to ensure you maintain these habits regularly?
First and foremost, knowing what habits and behaviors have led to short-term success will set you up for long-term success. For example, you may know that eating breakfast daily, walking for 30 minutes on your lunch break, and including one serving of vegetables at dinner are all things you need to keep going to stay successful.
Write these down and check in with them regularly.
If you feel confident in your plan to maintain these habits day in and day out without your coach’s help, it may be time to meet less frequently.
However, if you do not feel that these habits are solid and you are afraid they may crumble without regularly scheduled check-ins, it’s wise to continue meeting while you build your confidence.
Remember, solid habits equal long-term success.
3. Your Plans to Navigate Challenges
Challenges are inevitable. They often come from holidays, vacations, and stressful situations.
Think back to previous challenges…
- How have you handled challenges in the past?
- Have these challenges knocked you off course? Or were you able to continue progressing?
Now, think forward to potential future challenges…
- Do you feel confident in navigating these situations?
- How do you plan to do so without your coach’s direct support?
Suppose you’ve successfully navigated multiple challenges in the past and feel confident in continuing to do so in the future. In that case, you may be ready to test yourself with less support from your nutrition coach.
However, if the holidays don’t go as planned, vacations throw you off for days or weeks, and stress is enough to send you over the edge, regular support from your coach is likely still necessary.
You may be somewhere in the middle. You may be successful during “normal life” and struggle a bit during these abnormal situations.
If this is the case and these circumstances are holding you back, working specifically on this with your nutritionist will set you up for long-term success and the ability to scale back your sessions when you’re a little more confident.
4. Your Confidence in Yourself
Last but truly not least is your confidence in yourself.
Again, one last set of questions to reflect on…
- How confident do you feel in holding yourself accountable to your goals?
- What areas do you feel least confident in?
- What do you still need from your coach to help you stay on track?
Feeling confident in your next step is crucial.
If you are convinced you can continue on the right path and stay the course without frequent support, you are ready to try it out.
If you are doubting yourself and afraid you’ll quickly fall off track without meeting your dietitian regularly, it may be a good idea to keep your regular meetings going a little longer.
Trust your gut; if you’re unsure, there’s likely an underlying reason.
Knowing what areas you feel least confident in is also helpful; you can troubleshoot these ideas alone and with your nutritionist during your less frequent sessions to continue building your skills and confidence.
Finally, we’re just talking about taking a step back here, not saying goodbye to your coach forever. Knowing what you still need and being prepared to talk through these needs in sessions will allow you to make the most of your time together, whatever frequency you decide on together.
What Comes Next?
Now it’s time to decide.
At this point, I suggest you start with some self-reflection on the progress you’ve made, habits and behaviors you’ve developed, plans to navigate future challenges, and your confidence in yourself.
Once you’ve taken an inventory of where you currently stand, have a conversation with your nutrition coach to hear their point of view as well.
Just as you worked together to achieve your goals, it’s important to work together to establish a long-term plan.
If you’re currently working with an OnPoint Nutrition dietitian or nutritionist, this is a perfect time to ask about the stabilization survey in the OnPoint Nutrition app. This gives you the ability to reflect on some of the questions listed above and more and review your answers together in a structured way.
If you’re not currently working with an OnPoint Nutrition coach but you’re looking for support in the next phase of your journey, our team is here for you. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more about our programs and your potential path forward.
Liz has been reading nutrition labels since she learned how to read. Growing up with severe peanut and tree nut allergies she learned that it’s important to know what you are putting into your body. She made her first big lifestyle change as a freshman in high school, when she decided to become a vegetarian. However, it wasn’t until she took a food class in Italy as part of a study abroad program in college that it clicked in her mind that she wanted to make food and nutrition her career. Liz graduated from Penn State University in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition, as well as a bachelor's degree in Marketing. She completed her dietetic internship with Aramark in Philadelphia, and her master's degree at Northeastern University shortly after.