Seven Ways to Help a Client Boost Adherence
By: Val Kirk; Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor
The following are 7 techniques a client can use to support a nutritional change or to help develop an action plan for that change.
- Keep a Food Journal: Keep track of diet for 3 days, including 2 typical weekdays and 1 weekend day prior to starting. This will help the client identify exactly what their eating habits are. Make sure to measure portions and read nutrition label. If they are unsure, educate them. Help find an app or a food tracker (a good quality, free one is www.supertracker.usda.gov) input the recorded information for a summary of calories, carbohydrates, protein and fat. Then once the client is on their way, the client can check in and compare current eating habits with the new recommended lifestyle changes to diet.
- Be Realistic: Eating habits just don’t change overnight. Discuss with the client what would or might work for them and give them guidance as to what might work or not. It is best to change one thing at a time. This way adherence can be achieved.
- Assess the home Environment: In order for a client to change eating habits the home environment must support the plan itself. Give guidance on what they need to load up on (nutrient-dense options), etc.. However, there may be foods that that individual still likes; then give guidance on portion control whereby, using smaller plates and utensils.
- Incorporate a Physical Activity Program: This must be doable for that individual, a doable program is likely not only to provide results but also to be something the client actually enjoys and finds relatively easy to incorporate into their daily routine. It is recommended for that individual to obtain at least 150 – 250 minutes of activity per week at a moderate-intensity for improved health and to prevent weight gain. This would be equal to about three 10 minute activity bouts per day.
- Social Support: The social support is considered and recognized as a very important part for weight loss success. Social circles also predict health behaviours. Clients strengthen relationships with people who are like-minded and are practicing healthy behaviours. If that client doesn’t have the kind of support direct that individuals to where they need to be. Encourage family involvement to the highest extent possible.
- Self-Monitor Weight: By keeping track of the client’s weight, the client can see when regain begins and make the necessary adjustments to stop. In fact, studies suggest this is a key behaviour of people who lose weight and keep it off (Coughlin et al.2013).
- Check in with a Weight Loss Coach Monthly: Studies concluded that if the client checked in once a month with a Personal Counselor incorporating nutrition and physical activity for at least 2 years they maintained their weight. The sessions were brief and took place by phone (Svetky et al. 2008).