Keeping Members Engaged in Nutrition Programs
It’s no secret that keeping members engaged in nutrition programs is hard — it’s often more difficult than keeping them motivated in exercise classes. Countless consumers give up on nutrition programs too soon due to a perceived lack of progress, so it’s imperative for health clubs to give members the right motivation.
This motivation can be accomplished through engaging nutrition programs with sustainable solutions and measurable, attainable goals along the way.
Below, Chuck Bent, a health educator in the HMR Healthy Solutions weight-management program at Baptist Health/Milestone Wellness Center, shares his experiences keeping members motivated in nutrition programs by empowering them and making them feel successful.
CS: What are some best practices for keeping members engaged in nutrition programs?
CB: Fast weight loss is very motivating, and that’s the best way to go. With slow weight loss, members tend to not be very strict. Someone who decides to lose weight slowly can be good for a couple weeks, but slip back into old habits and tend to take a lot of breaks from dieting.
Also, teach members how to properly fill their plates, as well as where the hidden calories are. People go to the salad bar, but they pile on 500 calories of condiments and another 1,000 calories of ranch dressing on top of it. People just don’t realize where the calories are and what they’re doing to themselves. I’ve seen people who have lost the same 12 pounds over and over again.
CS: What role does exercise play in these programs?
CB: Teach members how to move. While they’re going through this process of changing the way they eat and think about food, you should also get them moving. Try offering short-term memberships, so they can join for a couple of weeks at a time for a good price. Members get to learn how to workout in the gym, and you might find a lot of your graduates like working out so much, they end up joining your gym.
CS: How can clubs best ensure nutrition programs instill good, long-term habits in members?
CB: Put your emphasis on eating fruits and vegetables for long-term health and weight management. What members are told is healthy by the media is actually high in calories — there’s so much misinformation out there. Cut through all that in your classes and teach members how to fill their plates with low-calorie foods that will fill them up.