Picture this: you have a new client and you want to get them started on the best track possible. You understand that nutrition is the key to your client earning the results they are seeking, but your client has very little knowledge about what constitutes a Healthy eating regimen. There's a plethora of potential options to start your client with, but which is best? The beginning assignments you hand over to your client are crucial to developing a solid relationship with them over time. You don’t want to overwhelm them and risk depleting their motivation. At the beginning of a healthy eating regimen, the fundamentals are essential. Just as you can’t build a house without a foundation, you can’t build your client’s nutritional database without a focus on the fundamentals. When you’re beginning with a new client, implement these four tips to get them started on the right track toward a healthier and happier version of themselves.
1. Don’t Use Specific Types of DietsAs fitness professionals, we understand that nearly every type of diet will work --it’s just a matter of what gels within each client's specific lifestyle. Should you tell your client to start intermittent fasting, carb backloading, Paleo, or any other one of the millions of diets in existence? No. At the beginning, trying to instill any particular type of diet is only adding unnecessary complexity to the situation. Teaching your clients healthy eating habits needs to be kept as simple as possible. Avoid using a specific type of diet and allow your client to focus on just eating healthy foods and making good food choices.
2. Emphasize Food Choices Over Calorie CountingOne of the best ways to ensure that your client reaches their fat loss goals is to have them count their calories and macronutrients. However, giving out specific caloric goals to someone brand new to nutritious eating is a disaster waiting to happen. Think about this: how can you count calories and reach your macronutrient goals if you don’t even know what encompasses each of those categories? You can’t. Before calorie counting, healthy eating starts with emphasizing food choices and getting your client to make better decisions. An easy way to start the educational process for your clients is to hand them a pdf that covers foods from each of the major macronutrients. This allows them to start identifying the foods that support their goals and gives them a valuable resource to take to the grocery store.
3. Have Clients Use a Food Journal or Take Photos of Their FoodYou may know exactly what your client should be eating, but there’s a disconnect between you and your client at the beginning of your relationship. What’s preventing your client from understanding what you already know about food choices? Awareness. Awareness is vital to developing your client’s healthy habits for the long haul. One of the most effective ways to help your client build awareness is to have them document their food selections early on in the process. Whether it’s writing their food selections in a journal or taking a picture of their meals, this process further develops the education process. Most importantly, having your client implement these actions makes them stay present and accountable for their daily decisions. Far too often many people eat just to eat or are eating while doing something else. This distraction keeps them from focusing on what they’re feeding into their body. Requiring them to document their food keeps them from going through the motions and falling into the trap of mindlessly eating.
4. Have Clients Focus on Changing One Meal at a TimeSome clients will be full of ambition and initial determination to get started on the right path toward their healthy regimen. However, going cold turkey and making an overnight overhaul with their diet isn’t as likely to stick. Sure, it could work for a few weeks, but as soon as life throws them something unexpected, their healthy regimen takes a backseat. On the contrary, getting your client to implement one change at a time and improving 1% each day is easier. Change is likely to stick when it’s done in a slow, controlled, and precise manner. You want your client to feel in control and that their life doesn’t need dramatic overhaul in order to make fitness work. To get your client started on the correct trajectory of implementing healthy habits, have them focus on one meal at a time. Start with them mastering their breakfast and then build from there. Once they have proven to master their breakfast, then have them move on to mastering their next meal and so forth. Change is tough and learning new habits can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to feel impossible.
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