As a certified nutritionist, I have a very unique approach to my client’s overall diet and nutrition plan. First off, I don’t use the word ‘diet’ around my clients; it’s a dangerous label that many are afraid of. My definition of diet is simply a deficit in calories, nothing more. I like to refer to it as your ‘nutrition plan.’ While some of the foods you eat aren’t always nutritious, we can just avoid the ‘diet label’ altogether. Typically when a person goes on a ‘traditional diet’ to lose weight, it’s a drastic change. My theory is a ‘drastic change = drastic failure'(with few exceptions).
I don’t propose nor recommend certain meal plans, as I’m not a dietician, yet I work with my clients existing meal plan and together we ‘tweak’ or cut back on the calories so that they will eventually see a difference in their weight. I am only able to do this if the client understands the process and is dedicated and disciplined enough to follow the program.
Now, by working with my clients ‘existing meal plan’ and, yes, I did say their existing meal plan (even if that means fast food and pizza), my clients will have a thorough understanding of weight management. How can one lose weight eating fast food? Glad you brought that up – I never thought you’d ask. It’s simple really; you either eat less of what you’re currently eating, or you select different items on the menu. I spend more time telling my clients what they can do versus what they can’t do; we get along so much better this way. I don’t tell them what they can’t eat, I tell them what they can. Speaking of what they can’t eat – what can’t they eat? My clients still want to eat their cake, ice cream, pie, frozen margaritas, pizza and fried food and they can; however, they will understand the definition of moderation.
By me telling a client that they can’t eat their favorite food(s) is like me telling a bodybuilder they can’t work out; how do you think that’s going to go over? Someone’s getting a black eye.
I’ve spoken to numerous clients in the past about diet and exercise and I can tell immediately that they are or aren’t absorbing what I am saying OR they don’t find it appealing therefore they won’t adopt my principles into their life style. I can be one of ‘those nutritionist’ that says, ‘well I did my job – they just didn’t do theirs,’ but in the end, my client will suffer and so will my reputation.
I don’t ask my client how much they weigh nor do I get the measuring tape out and start jotting down all of their personal stats; they can do this on their own. I don’t tell my clients they need to eat baked fish or chicken with asparagus sticks on the side (no butter), to lose weight, why? It’s not practical for their lifestyle as it’s a drastic change, like I pointed out earlier. Will this diet help them lose weight – of course it will, permitting they eat it as a meal and don’t stack it with calorie dense drinks (soda, milk, beer, shakes, etc.), or other foods. Overall, it’s not practical for most of my clients unless they are really dedicated (i.e. bodybuilders and fitness models), so we need to find a working solution.
In short, I familiarize my clients with the fundamentals of nutrition and we start by looking at the nutrition label. Yes, that little graphy thing on the back of most foods you get at the store, that informs consumers where the source of the calories come from, carbs vs. fat vs. protein, the foods ingredients, and other things. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t know the basics and when you do, it makes you that much more effective at well, practically anything.