At a time of year when motivation is fueled by New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, clients are undoubtedly looking for that magical formula to help get them back on track after all the holiday parties and get-togethers. Encouraging words can help with temporary motivation, but clients may need more to keep them motivated to reach their goals.
As fitness professionals, we’re all too familiar with the patterns of motivation—people get fired up with healthier habits and then, as priorities shift, those newfound behaviors end up falling by the wayside. Having a discussion about shifting priorities before they occur can be a great way to begin strategizing for those motivational draughts when clients often lose interest and drop out altogether.
While communication and open discussion are simple strategies, keeping your clients motivated to reach their weight-loss goals is actually a complex process that must continue to evolve—much like a good workout routine. The feedback and tools you provide along the way can be instrumental in making your clients partners in the process rather than passive participants.
The Right Tools
Fitness professionals do much more than simply provide a workout schedule. We empower our clients to take control of their lives. A great tool we can offer is a food journal, which helps highlight the importance of dietary choices in reaching one’s goals. A food journal provides an easy way to record what, when and how much you eat throughout the day. It’s a simple concept that has been proven to be one of the most effective tools for making dietary changes. It increases intake awareness and provides a platform for accountability.
Another critical tool for any successful weight-loss program is scientifically sound nutrition planning. Evolution Nutrition, for example, provides a user-friendly platform that empowers you with dietitian-developed meal plans tailored to meet your client’s specific needs. It also allows you and your clients to monitor progress along the way. With easy-to-use tracking, analysis and reporting tools, you can help your clients see exactly how eating impacts their weight management goals. This is something a simple online dietary tracking app just can’t provide. Not only can this type of tool help keep your client engaged, it can enable you to grow your business by offering a more robust program backed by the expertise of nutrition professionals.
The Right Time
Lack of willpower is not the reason people often fail to reach their weight goals; rather, it’s because they may be unable to learn and recognize the steps necessary to reach their destination. It’s important to take the time to help our clients set realistic goals based on the lifestyle principles of making smaller incremental changes that lead to reaching larger milestones.
Baby Steps – Developing new habits takes time. By changing the behaviors in a slow but incremental fashion, our clients can experience a sense of accomplishment with each successive step. Ultimately, they will be happier and better prepared for the challenges of weight management over time.
Laying The Groundwork for Gradual Change – Setting realistic expectations around weight loss is a basic concept that tends to get overshadowed by a host of fad diets and seemingly contradictory nutritional advice in the media. We know that a healthy rate of weight loss is about 1 to 2 pounds per week. Losing more than that usually means the individual is dropping more than just fat and most likely losing precious muscle as well.
Assessing The Social Climate – As social animals, we are subject to the influences of those around us. By examining the individuals closest to your client, we may be able to identify hidden sources of support as well as potential barriers to helping them stay on track.
Helping your clients maintain their motivation can be challenging. Although there are many complex factors that drive human behavior beyond your circle of influence, we can help our clients reach their goals by offering the best tools coupled with a few of the basic scientifically studied behavioral concepts to bring meaningful change to last a lifetime.
About the author:
Gina M. Crome, M.S., M.P.H., R.D., is a Registered Dietitian and ACE Certified Personal Trainer based in Southern California. She is the owner of Lifestyle Management Solutions, a company that provides customized nutrition and fitness programs designed to fit an individual’s lifestyle. Become a fan of Gina on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and visit her website Lifestyle Management Solutions.