Once you have established with a client that they are looking for some assistance with their nutrition, you’ll want to get a couple of days worth of their current eating habits. From here, you can start advising them to implement small changes in their patterns that will add up to large wins over time, but also make them feel like they can stick to your advice as it isn’t too overwhelming or life-altering out of the gate.
Using their provided current eating patterns-you can see where they have holes in their current eating behavior that can be improved. You’ve got to look for small wins they can implement quickly that don’t turn their world upside down initially.
Let’s see how we could make a minimal impact on their routine, by making small easy swaps.
Examine their regular food choices and focus on 1 swap a week: Let’s say you see they eat potato chips with their sandwich every day. Can they eat an apple or maybe a small bag of popcorn instead of the chips? We’re replacing the current habit with something that is a better choice.
Look for their eating frequency: Suppose the client normally only eats breakfast, then goes all day without eating again and has a HUGE dinner. Suggest they eat a tiny snack about 3 hours before dinner. This is where you can show them how small and convenient a snack would be and how that can help spread the calories out throughout the day rather than wolfing down everything in sight at dinner.
Are they drinking their calories? If your client constantly consumes juices, energy drinks, soda, or sports drinks, they are simply drining sugar bombs. The best advice would be dump those out and only drink water-which unfortunately for most people would be unrealistic. A few options instead would be to replace just one of those drinks per day with water, dilute the drinks with water, this way they still get the flavor without as many calories. Also, encourage them to explore different brands that have less sugar.
As they work on this small swaps-make sure they are being praised and they are recognized if they’re feeling different physically and emotionally. A good indicator of change, in the beginning, is a change in mood or energy level because of cleaner eating…even in small amounts.