Nehal Solaiman was in her third trimester of pregnancy and things did not go as planned.
As a clinical pharmacist, Solaiman didn’t need a doctor to tell her what she already knew: she was gaining weight too quickly.
Thank you Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, she thought.
As it turned out, however, her decreased thyroid function wasn’t the only problem. Solaiman also had gestational diabetes. Higher-than-normal blood sugar levels caused their baby to grow too fast and too big, increasing the risk of a variety of complications.
“I wanted to get healthier, but without dieting or withdrawal,” says Solaiman, PN1, who worked at a hospital in Alexandria, Egypt. “I’ve tried to learn all about nutrition so I can help myself.”
Your efforts have paid off. By the end of that third trimester, Solaiman no longer had gestational diabetes – and she gave birth to a healthy boy.
The experience inspired her to deserve one Nutritional certification from Precision Nutrition, then start a side business as a nutrition trainer.
What would make someone who already has a busy career start a part-time nutrition coaching business?
We asked ourselves that too. So we asked.
In this interview, Solaiman shares what she learned from a Precision Nutrition certification that changed everything for her. She also shares how she won 10 clients during a global pandemic and why she’s so happy as a nutritionist.
If you are thinking of getting a nutrition certification or starting a side job as a coach, you will find their answers enlightening.
Nehal Solaiman added a rewarding side business as a nutrition trainer to her busy clinical pharmacy career.
What Can Health Professionals Learn From Nutritional Certification?
After Solaiman’s use of diet to solve her gestational diabetes problems, Solaiman discovered a new mission: to help women with similar problems.
“I wanted to help them understand their bodies – and learn how to lose weight without withdrawal,” she says.
As part of her apprenticeship in pharmacy, Solaiman studied nutrition and biology. But she didn’t know how to help people change. It was one thing to tell someone that broccoli is good for them. It was another thing to inspire her to actually eat it.
“As a nutrition coach, I didn’t want to just give them a paper and send them home,” she says. “I wanted to help them change their behavior: sleep better, reduce stress, and overcome emotional eating and other obstacles.”
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Why is Precision Nutrition Certification a good fit for medical professionals?
Solaiman did not have to study the Krebs cycle, metabolic pathways, or the role of certain vitamins and minerals. She had that downstairs.
What she was missing: the art of coaching. How could she really help people change – especially given the many obstacles that stood in their way? “For me, PN filled a void,” says Solaiman. “Units 1 and 3 were all about coaching psychology – and I really liked that. It was all new to me. “
Precision Nutrition’s focus on in-depth health coaching that helps people be successful in every part of their lives sealed the deal.
What would make a busy pharmacist and mom start a sideline business?
At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, Solaiman was working in a hospital.
Her son Younis was only a year old – and she didn’t watch her catch the virus at work and then bring it home.
So she said goodbye.
She started an online coaching business, partly for an income, but it was about a lot more than money for her.
She saw this as a long-term career move – and a way to help people change their lives for the better.
How do you build a coaching business during a pandemic?
It all started organically when her sister-in-law learned that Solaiman was recently certified as a nutritionist.
“She was a nursing mother and she heard how I had changed my health during my pregnancy,” says Solaiman. “She wanted to lose weight – but not by following a strict ‘eat this, not this’ diet.”
Solaiman organized regular Zoom meetings as well as daily check-ins.
Within three months, her sister-in-law had lost more than expected: 14 kilograms. “She told me that she never felt disadvantaged,” says Solaiman. “This new way of eating had become her way of life.”
Soon her sister, three other in-laws, and friends asked Solaiman for help. It was around this time that Solaiman began Promote their coaching services on Instagram.
About six months after her first client landed, she had 10 regulars.
What is Solaiman’s recipe for success?
Due to COVID, 100 percent of Solaiman’s customer interactions are virtual. She plans two Zoom sessions per month with each customer and offers daily support with WhatsApp.
“WhatsApp lets them text me when they need help or have problems,” she says.
Her clients come to her in search of fat loss. To help them, Solaiman takes a holistic approach, addressing everything from sleep to stress to emotional eating.
“I try to get to know her full story: her lifestyle, her job, her family, stressors, sleeping habits, everything,” she says.
She creates personalized programs for each customer and uses the precision nutrition calculator to teach them how to divide food into the categories “eat more”, “eat something” and “eat less”. Customers use hand servings – an easy way to quickly estimate how much they need to eat – to make sure they are getting enough lean protein and vegetables.
“I also help them focus on making every meal a little better,” says Solaiman. “Instead of completely giving up the foods they love, they learn how to change the way they cook, their portion sizes, or the timing of certain foods.”
Will she return to the clinical pharmacy?
Yes, it will, she says.
But she will continue to train her diet on the side.
“After all, I hope that nutritional coaching is my main job and that clinical pharmacy becomes a side job,” she says. “I love helping people. Although I can do that as a pharmacist, as a nutrition trainer I can help even more people. “
Solaiman wants to work mainly with women.
“They often don’t know why they are so tired or why they are gaining weight,” she says. “I want you to understand that it’s more about your health than your shape. It is your blood sugar, insulin response, and hormonal balance that really affect how you feel. When someone puts these factors in a healthy range, they also tend to lose weight. But you don’t have to focus on the scale or the numbers to do this. “
If you are or want to be a trainer …
Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes – in ways that are tailored to their unique bodies, preferences, and circumstances – is both an art and a science.
If you want to learn more about both of them, consider these Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification. The next group will start shortly.