A few days ago I had a client start up who is looking to boost his energy levels, drop some excess weight and generally feel better within himself.
When asked about his current nutrition habits, he said he ate pretty well, and like everyone else, enjoyed a few treats during the week, but nothing major.
To give us a clear picture of where he was at, we asked him to fill out his food diary and this is what we got back. We have full permission from the client to use it here.
As you can see, there’s a few less than stellar choices in there, but nothing that we haven’t seen before.
With the right approach and a commitment from the client to implement the agreed on tasks, massively improving on this really is very manageable.
- The client honestly thought they were eating pretty good until they wrote it down and could see it. This is super common. We tend to exaggerate the good stuff and under-estimate the bad.
The first thing they said when we met again (I had reviewed their diary by this stage) was ‘I think I lied a little about my food.’
They didn’t lie, they were just unaware of how they were truly eating until they saw it written down.
2. They said they were really embarrassed to write down what they were eating once they saw it on paper.
Never be embarrassed for where you are. I used to drink 12 cans of coke and Lucozade EVERY SINGLE DAY so there’s no need to be embarrassed in front of me!!
Commitment to change is what you need to focus on, not dwelling on the past and being embarrassed- good coaches always meet you where you are currently at.
3. Writing down your food will show you exactly where you are without being biased. It’s one of the best wake-up calls you’ll ever get if you are in denial.
Seeing it in black and white creates awareness and you can’t change your behaviour if you are not aware of it in the first place.
4. This client DOES NOT NEED A NUTRITON TEMPLATE that tells him exactly what to do each day.
What he needs is to focus on 1 habit at a time so that it becomes 2nd nature to him. Then he needs to work on the next habit and build it up.
Always being told what to do never works longterm. Learning and understanding what to do for yourself is how you become empowered to make healthier decisions for yourself, and not always have to rely on being told what to do by others.
5. Accepting their situation is key for success. They are where they are and there is no point in wishing otherwise, or rushing into making 20 changes at once.
Accept it, get a bit of momentum and start moving forward.
6. 2 gym sessiosn a week, drink 2 litres of water and ‘generally make a few healthier decisions’ is the plan for the next 2 weeks. This is pretty manageable and will avoid the client getting overwhelmed from ‘too much too soon’.
After 2 weeks, we’ll reassess things, and start working on our next habit such as eating veggies, adding in some fruit, etc. Small improvements added in bit by bit is the key to longterm change for this client.
7. Avoiding getting too pumped and excited is something I always aim for with clients. We have a tendency to get caught up in the initial novelty and excitement of starting in the gym and changing our eating habits.
Many people get so wound up with the thoughts in their mind of the perfect plan, how great it’s going to be, the new vision we have of ourselves in a few short weeks, etc.
But as with everything, that initial level novelty and excitement doesn’t last forever. So if you’ve gotten sucked in by it, the fall can be too challenging for many people to handle.
“I had a picture in my head of this perfect plan, and this unexpected challenge wasn’t part of it- what’s the point in continuing!!”
Just like any area of your life, if you’re in a challenging nutrition rut, you must accept that it’s going to take time to change and that you must commit to it for the longterm.
Diving in head first and making 50 changes on day 1 rarely works, and this can be hard to accept for many people. Aim for gradual improvements over a realistic timeframe and you’ll look back in a few months and won’t believe the difference in you.
Just a few thoughts- I hope you find them useful.