4 Common Barriers And How To Help Your Nutrition Coaching Clients Overcome Them

by | Aug 6, 2021

People face some of the same challenges when it comes to their health, fitness, and nutrition. Some of the most common barriers include not knowing what to eat, not having enough time, stress eating, and dealing with cravings. They’ve likely been on so many different diets but always find themselves “failing”. It’s important to provide them with the support, knowledge, and tools necessary to succeed over the long-term! Before we dive any deeper, allow me to introduce myself for those of you who are new around here!

My name is Tony Stephan, and I’m a dietitian business coach. I help RDs make more IMPACT and more INCOME through nutrition coaching. Before becoming a dietitian business coach, I was a dietitian nutrition coach. I served thousands of nutrition coaching clients over a time span of 12 years. My successful nutrition coaching business is what led me to where I am today. Now, let’s talk about how to help YOUR clients overcome these 5 common barriers! 

4 Common Barriers

Not Knowing What To Eat

A lot of people know that eating an apple is considered healthier than eating ice cream. But not everyone can decipher different food choices at the grocery store, know where to look for certain foods, know how to cook them, etc. Start with simple changes! If you’re client gets fast food often, consider having them plan to cook just 2-3 meals per week. Help them make a grocery list and get them to think ahead. Read through this list together, make adjustments, give additional tips, and go from there! 

Not Having Enough Time

Most adults work 40+ hours a week while having friends/family and other responsibilities to take care of. People often say “I don’t have enough time”, and their health simply takes a back seat! But this isn’t really true. We all have the same amount of time in a day. We’re just not prioritizing appropriately! This is usually what gets people searching for outside help–this is why they have found YOU, a nutrition coach. Teaching them how to effectively and efficiently use the time they have is key. Helping clients prioritize their tasks with the time they have will allow them to feel successful!

Help them set small specific goals each week, and be sure to hold them accountable. In the beginning, you might have to give them a schedule of when to do certain things. As you continue to work with them, they will eventually need your support and accountability less and less!

Stress Eating

This is a very common struggle, and everyone does it to some extent. But eating to cope with emotions is not a healthy habit to keep. Helping bring awareness to it is key, so you might have clients record their eating habits and feelings over the week.

They need to understand when they are doing it, take a second to think about what made them feel stressed or triggered, validate that feeling, and allow it to pass. It can be extremely useful to find another activity, even if it’s taking a walk or talking with a friend. Some issues, such as depression and eating disorders, should be handled by a qualified professional. It is totally okay for you, as their nutrition coach, to recommend that they see a doctor or other professional who specializes in those areas. 


Overcoming cravings can be a really difficult. Oftentimes, when people have cravings it is for one of two reasons. Either their meals and snacks are not balanced well throughout the day (sporadic timing, poorly planned, etc.), or they restrict certain foods they consider to be “bad” to a point where they crave them all the time. It’s important to help clients understand it’s okay to have cravings! However, they don’t have to cut those foods out completely. Instead, they can learn how to practice mindfulness with their newly adopted flexible eating habits.

The Takeaway When Addressing Common Barriers

Your job as their RD nutrition coach is to help them become the hero in their own journey! Listen intently and provide support. Don’t be afraid to share your own experiences either. Help them understand how you previously struggled, yet still found success. Barriers can be broken down and worked through, after all!

After reading through this post, send me an email at tony@tonystephandietitian.com. Seriously — I WANT to hear from you!

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  • What follow up questions do you have about overcoming client barriers? My team and I would love to help.

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