I suggest that you make small suggestions each session. But in a friendly way non-judgmental manner. For example have you tried the whole grain pasta it taste just like the white pasta except your body burns it faster. Also having them keep a log for a week of their eating habits is a eye opener for them. As opposed to you lecturing them they can see for themselves how their diet is undermining their progress.
1. Encourage awareness through writing/journaling intake. Tools that self monitor (pedometers, HR monitors, etc) give stronger feedback than words.
2. Increase hydration. Require a glass of water before and after each snack or meal.
3. Allow 10% discretionary calories for 90% good eating. This is 200 calories for a 2000 calories diet, lots of “fun” room! Encourage recipes such as those at ACE, http://www.acefitness.org/healthyrecipes/default.aspx that clients can enjoy and easily make themselves.
Great topic and previous feedback!
You’ve gotten some great responses. I also relate it to other areas of their lives. They work toward achieving a promotion, a degree, a certification, etc. Its a process. Small steps are taken for them to achieve their end result. The same goes with exercise and nutrition.
Small steps ensure that they have the foundation to progress to the next level. Small steps ensure lasting success (why do so many new year resolutions fall by the wayside come Valentine’s Day?).
They usually buy into this. It also makes it more managable for them. I also make sure that I celebrate their enthusiasm, but remind them that I want them to make lasting changes, not changes that they won’t be able to maintain for a lifetime. That means that we educate as well as demonstrate what and how they can change their lifestyle to meet their goals. And, as the others have stated, I try to lead them to making the decision as to what they’d like to focus on first. Then get them to come up with a SMART goal, which I write in my notes regarding the session, and then follow-up with them on at the next session.
I agree with what the others have said here. I would add that reminding my clients that we’re in this for the long-haul; here to make a lifelong, lifestyle change in their eating habits, and that this journey cannot be made, or at least sustained, by trying to make it in a drastic way. I remind them that if some of the ‘drastic diets’ that they may have heard or read about truly worked over the long haul, then the market place would not be inundated with literally hundreds of diets. I usually also ask them whether they think they could sustain ‘XYZ’ drastic diet for the remainder of their lives, and the honest answer that usually comes back is ‘no.’ Small, steady changes towards a healthy diet IS sustainable and doable, and their best way to success.