If there’s one thing everyone learns from working in nutrition, it’s this: It’s not easy to get people to eat right. Demanding clients lose weight to improve health and handing out lists of what not to eat rarely produce any positive change. But a good nutrition coach can offer support, foster accountability and guide clients to their nutrition goals.
Here are some tips to help you coach your clients to success:
- Let your clients lead the way. Just because you’re a nutrition expert doesn’t mean you have all the answers. Instead of telling clients what you know, ask them what they want and need. When clients help design their own nutrition plans, they’re more likely to follow through and achieve their desired results. And you’re more likely to develop the perfect plan for them.
- Take it little by little. Try to change several bad eating habits at once and chances are, none of them will. Always have your clients focus on one habit at a time. They’ll likely turn a bad habit into a good one, and learn that a small change can make a big difference.
- Find out what motivates them. It’s not easy to change eating habits, and it’s very easy to go back to bad ones. So it’s important to keep your clients energized and inspired. The best way is to remind them what motivated them to take your program in the first place. When clients can visualize life with goals achieved, they’re more likely to achieve them.
- Make sense, not rules. Pronouncements such as “Never eat processed food” and “Always eat organic” sound great, but for most people, they’re unrealistic. Good nutrition coaches don’t push absolutes and strict guidelines. Good nutrition coaches preach moderation and sensible, customized diets.
- Get back to the basics. Instead of introducing clients to new nutrition techniques every session, have clients work on some of the oldies but goodies. For instance, tell clients to refocus on how full they feel at the end of meals. Or get clients to practice eating slowly again. Mastering basic techniques will help them maintain proper nutrition.
- Don’t be perfect. Be supportive. It’s important to have lofty nutrition standards. But it’s also important to understand that clients won’t always meet them. Changing eating habits is difficult. Everyone has setbacks. When your clients do, tell them about problems you’ve had on your own nutrition journey. Let them know that everyone falls down sometimes, and that won’t stop them from reaching their nutrition goals.
Over the past 25 years, Greg Dowd, president of the Epsilon Agency, has developed a unique blend of business, technology, analytics and marketing expertise along with his personal passion in fitness. His continued vision is to be the indispensable marketing partner for industry-leading fitness clients, while Dowd’s mission for his team is to harness the power of rich data, analytics, transformative ideas and omnichannel marketing solutions to create engaging consumer experiences that measurably build clients’ brand and business equity. He can be reached at 858.900.3600 or Greg.Dowd@epsilon.com.