To a certain extent, acquiring the skills necessary to counsel dieters can only be learned by doing. The experience and baggage that each dieter brings to the process make each client unique. Simply handing out a meal plan, choosing supplements, and loading the client with brochures will ultimately lead to failure. To ensure that the client gets off to a good start, the coach must verify that the client completely understands the program and must reinforce this each time they meet.
The basis of any client’s success in a weight loss program will be the effective introduction of a new client to the meal plan provided by the coach as well as the client’s understanding of their adherence to the plan and their commitment to modifying their behavior. The components of the meal plan should be discussed with the client upfront. This includes the function of the protein products, the importance of water, and the need for vitamins and minerals which are vital to the maintenance of health during weight loss. The client should have a clear understanding of the program and meal plan and this should be reinforced at each visit.
Key components of a successful meal plan include:
- Daily meal schedule. The client should eat their meals at the same time each day.
- Client should consume fiber each day – at least 5g of dietary fiber intake for successful weight loss.
- Client should drink water each day (8 glasses/8 oz). Lack of water can lead to overeating and dehydration.
- Client should take vitamins and essential fatty acids each day.
- Client should partake in approved protein supplements to keep hunger at bay.
- Client should maintain a Food & exercise journal.
A food journal or diary is required on each visit and should be completed each time food is consumed. Food journals keep clients on track and point out problem areas and emotional triggers that need to be addressed quickly.
Why should you have a meal plan in your program?
- Meal plans work because they structure the diet by providing specific instructions to the client.
- Meal plans are based on years of scientific research.
- Meal plans are structured to provide a diet that not only allows for significant weight loss but provides a complete nutritional mix of protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
- Meal plans relieve the stress most people associate with dieting and provide a sense of accomplishment for the client.
Meal plans allow the client to take control and alter their eating patterns. By successfully following a meal plan to the T, a client will very likely lose their excess weight and live a happier, healthier lifestyle.
Diet & Exercise journals are not just a support tool, they’re so much more. Journals keep us honest and accountable for what we eat and how much daily exercise we get. Studies have been done that show how much more successful a client can be in losing weight when they use one daily.
Daily Diet and Exercise Journals:
- Keeps clients honest about their eating habits.
- Helps clients identify problem areas and emotional triggers.
- Provides a snapshot of a client’s progress toward their weight loss goal.
- Helps you to better navigate discussions with your weight loss clients and points out areas where improvement is needed.
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Sources: HealthWise Clinical Operations Manual 07182012, HealthWise LCD Protocol, Program Guide., custommealplanner.com, Nutrition 411http://www.consultant360.com/n411/categories/meal-plans/page/1/0, http://www.consultant360.com/n411/content/sample-meal-plan-and-carbohydrate-counting-0 http://www.consultant360.com/n411/content/menu-planning-nutritional-adequacy-0