I do, especially if their goal is weight loss. If I don’t hold them accountable, they make poor decisions and they have reported that to me.
I let them eat what they want within certain guidelines and once a week I give them feedback.
MyFitnessPal is a great app, especially if you show them how to share their food log with you. I also do photo journaling; they text me pictures of what they eat.
I have my clients keep a journal as well. It does hold them accountable for what they eat. I always have trouble eating bad stuff if I know I would have to write it down and then show my trainer. Also people usually under estimate how much they eat and a food journal opens their eyes to the real number of calories they are taking in.
There are a few free apps that are available that work really well. I use MyFitness Pal. Beats having to right everything down.
For clients whose goals include appropriate weight loss, or for those with eating disorders, I think a food journal is essential for both you and your client to clearly evaluate dietary habits.
Keep in mind that food journals don’t always accuately reflect true intake patterns. One important point is to recommend to your clients that they record intake, both food and fluids, immediately after ingestion. Don’t wait until the end of the day. We tend to forget, not necessarily intentionally, a cookie here or a soda there.
I do have them keep a food journal. The reason is two-fold. First, it helps keep them accountable for everything they eat and drink. Second, people tend to underestimate the amount of calories amount food and drink they consume, but overestimate how many calories they burn.
I don’t to know calories in the journal, I’m looking for quality of diet and patterns that may be keeping them from their goals. Often times, the clients don’t realize what they need to change in their diet and a fresh set of eyes can help them see that.
Hope that helps.