Assess your client through the information gathering phase. From this stage you will understand the client’s health concerns and goals, current diet, where they are in their health journey, environment, stressors, willingness and type of changes that will be achievable, limiting factors and timescales.
Throughout this information gathering stage, you will also be coaching as you talk to the client. Remember this is a two-way conversation – it is a discussion to determine the best path of action that will bring your clients results.
Coach your client by sharing a plan that matches their goals, personal situation, willingness to change, circumstances, is achievable and from which they will see results. You want them to succeed.
Keep things simple, if it is overcomplicated it just won’t get done. Take into consideration all the points from the assessment phase to ensure it is at a level appropriate to the individual client.
Divide things into steps to make it more manageable. For example; someone that skips breakfast you might initially ask them to add breakfast as a meal, once they have achieved this they could move onto making sure vegetables are included. Take one step at a time.
Keep it achievable. There is no point including things the client just won’t do. Look for alternatives.
Give enough support through providing meal plans, recipes, shopping lists, kitchen clear-outs/set up ideas, food swaps… the list is limitless and must be specific to your client.
Don’t give them everything that is relevant to them at this moment in time. Do not overwhelm but support.
Communicate the plan. Ensure they understand the plan, how it relates to their health goals and that they are taking responsibility for it! Ensure for each step they know what they need to do and how, why and when they are going to do it.
Obtain feedback on the client’s progress and adapt the plan to ensure ongoing compliance and enthusiasm throughout the health journey. Ask for feedback on measurable items, behaviour change and feelings including what is and what is not working. Agree with the client the exact method of feedback and include in the initial plan. Ensure that any revised plan is driven by the client’s responses and agreed with them.
Continue to educate and support by providing clients with a knowledge base for additional learning, skill development (i.e. cooking skills) and support.