We all think about doing it. Some of us actually make it part of our professional life.
Food diaries. More specifically, your client’s food diaries.
Nutrition and scope of practice is, and will continue to be, a tricky area for ACE candidates and professionals. We’ve talked before about the limits of your certification with regards to nutrition (Talking Nutrition), but I wanted to specifically address food diaries in this post.
For those of you not familiar with food diaries, they are a written record of everything a client has eaten over a specific time period. A food diary can help a client keep track of what they are eating as well as how much they are eating. The time period covered in a food diary can range from one day to a daily record, depending on the client and their needs or goals.
Many personal trainers will have a client who is interested in weight loss keep a food diary for several days, then go through the record with the client to educate him/her on areas that he/she could be eating better,
If your client is keeping a food diary there are a couple of things you can help them with while still staying within your scope of practice. You can help your client to review the information in their diary as a means of finding patterns and problem areas. Sometimes clients are not aware how much or how frequently they are eating – this is particularly true with snacking. By reviewing their food diary you can help your client to figure out what nutritional areas need attention based on the client’s goals.
When working with a client and their food diary, you can also educate your client about healthier choices or options using information from the Dietary Guidelines etc. For example, if your client is trying to lose weight, you may point out that their food diary reveals a lot of cream based pasta sauces, which can be high in calories. You can then educate your client about healthier pasta topping options – marinara sauce, herbs etc. – that they could investigate.
However, remember that you cannot make dietary decision for your client. You can offer them options and choices, but you cannot tell a client ‘you need to use marinara sauce instead of cream sauces’. We need to provide our clients the tools and information necessary to make the decisions on their own…which also allows us to stay within our scope of practice.
Questions about where to find the latest dietary info? (Don’t forget there is a recent post about the Dietary 2010 Guidelines update!)Questions about scope of practice? Just contact one of our Education Consultants at 1-888-825-3636 x782