It happens every year. January rolls around and everyone wants to lose a few pounds, work on feeling healthier, and attempt to be more energized in their day-to-day lives.
Whatever your client’s specific health goals are, you need to find a way to keep them motivated if you want to help them achieve those goals.
Not sure which approach to take when it comes to getting your clients excited about improving their health? Listed below are tips from seven prominent nutritionists and dietitians that you can try using when the new year arrives:
1. Start with “Why”
Often, when someone comes to a nutritionist or health coach with a specific goal, they aren’t very clear about why they want to accomplish that goal. As a nutritionist, you’ll have a much easier time keeping your client on board with long-term healthy changes if you can help them figure out why they want to make those changes.
Holistic nutritionist Alison Marras recommends that those who read her blog, as well as those whom she coaches one on one, take time to figure out why they want to make changes to their lifestyle. She encourages them to “dig deep” and think about what living a healthy lifestyle will do for them in all aspects of their life. She then recommends writing that “why” down and displaying it in prominent locations throughout the house.
Having your clients practice this strategy will help them get clear on why they’re doing what they’re doing. It will also help them stay motivated when challenges arise.
2. Set Small, Simple Goals
Your clients need to know that their goals don’t have to be massive. In fact, they’re more likely to see long-term success if they keep their goals small, simple, and attainable.
According to registered dietitian Keri Glassman, setting small goals with clients can go a long way toward keeping them motivated.
When you work with your clients to set small goals, they can accomplish them sooner. This, in turn, makes it easier for them to measure progress and see that they’re making improvements in their lives. As a result, they’ll be more likely to stay motivated and stay on track so they can accomplish other, larger goals.
3. Hold Them Accountable
Accountability can go a long way when it comes to keeping clients motivated. For many clients, it’s much easier for them to stick to their goals and lifestyle changes if they know that they have to report back to someone — namely you, their nutritionist.
Fitness and nutrition expert Michelle Roots emphasizes the importance of accountability when it comes to helping people stay on track with their food intake.
By encouraging clients to use an app to track their food, you can monitor what they’re eating and help them see for themselves how certain foods can add up over time. This also helps them identify patterns and relationships between how they eat and how they feel.
4. Encourage Mindfulness
Mindfulness plays a key role in helping people stay focused on their health and fitness goals. If your clients can be more mindful in the way they eat, exercise, and live their lives, they’ll be able to resist temptation, be happier, and be more present on a daily basis.
According to registered dietitian Alexandra Caspero, encouraging mindfulness can also help clients to identify whether or not they’re actually hungry. This, in turn, can prevent overeating and encourage clients to make informed choices about what they’re putting in their bodies.
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5. Plan for Potential Obstacles
Lindsey Goetschius, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, tells her clients to identify potential obstacles that could hold them back from accomplishing their goals.
By identifying these obstacles earlier, before they’ve presented themselves, it’s easier for her clients to make adjustments and create a plan of action so they can stay on track with their healthy lifestyle changes. For example, if clients have days when they don’t feel like cooking, she recommends they have healthy meals in the freezer ready to go.
You can encourage your clients to take steps like this and anticipate potential challenges so they can feel empowered to circumvent them and stay focused.
6. Focus On Adding Instead of Subtracting
It’s easy to get caught up in the trap of talking to clients about what foods they should avoid for weight loss and better health.
Remember to talk to them about what they can eat as well, though. By focusing on adding in healthy foods instead of taking lots of things away, you’re setting your clients up for long-term success.
As registered dietitian Kath Younger, who runs the blog Kath Eats Real Food, points out, it’s easier to add things in than it is to take them away, and adding instead of subtracting can lead to long-term habit change instead of clients feeling deprived.
7. Make it Fun
Brittany Poulson, a registered dietitian and founder of Your Choice Nutrition, also encourages those who are looking to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle to make it fun.
She points out that it’s much easier to stay motivated if you enjoy what you’re doing. For example, listening to fun music while cooking with the family is much more enjoyable than cooking in silence by yourself.
If you encourage your clients to have fun along the way and get creative, they’ll be much more inclined to stick to their healthy lifestyle changes and see long-lasting progress.
Try These Strategies Today
When it comes to helping your clients get motivated to establish and maintain healthy habits, there’s definitely not one approach that works well for everyone. That’s why we’ve collected so many different strategies for different nutritionists.