Dietitian Tools: Why You Should be Addressing these NON-Nutrition Related Factors With Your Clients

As registered dietitian nutrition coaches we are ALL about the nutrition side of things. Our clients might want to achieve weight loss, weight gain, muscle building, endurance goals, etc., and we know exactly what to do nutritionally to get them to where they want to go. However, as a coach, there is so much more to look into other than a person’s diet when you first begin coaching someone. Sleep, stress, and mindset are the three big factors I will be discussing in this blog. If these three factors are not aligned, it is very unlikely that your client is going to achieve their goals, they are that important! Keep reading to find out why these factors should be seen as essential in EVERY nutrition coaching program.

Sleep

Sleep is absolutely vital for everyone. Not just your clients, but you too! A good night’s sleep, at least 7 hours, will help with decision making, proper digestion, and performance in the gym and everyday life tasks.

Imagine for a second that you have a client named Kathy who wants to lose some weight. Kathy works at an office and she needs to wake up at 5:30 am every morning during the week, but unfortunately, her sleep is not the best and she averages about 5 hours each night. Kathy wakes up exhausted and frustrated most days and the last thing on her mind is making herself a balanced breakfast, so she normally just grabs a coffee and heads out the door to work.

In this situation, immediately focusing on nutrition is not the best thing to do. As mentioned above, sleep is vital and it truly affects every aspect of your life, especially how you think and feel.

Back to the example, being the awesome nutrition coach you are, you help set up a sleep schedule for Kathy and give her some ideas on how to have a better night’s sleep. She begins waking up more energized, so she starts making a nice breakfast for herself before work and even prepping a balanced lunch too! She no longer has to rely on multiple cups of coffee every day to keep herself awake!

Are you making sure that your client’s sleep is in line? If not, you need to start addressing this super important topic that can be hindering your clients’ goals!

Stress

It’s no surprise that stress can make achieving health and fitness goals feel impossible. 

I’m sure we’ve all had clients who are stressed from a job, stressed from kids, stressed from a busy schedule, and probably even stressed with nutrition too! Like sleep, without first managing stress, nutrition and fitness goals are unlikely to be met, which is why it is our duty as registered dietitian nutrition coaches to help our clients find ways to handle their stress so they are able to see the results they want.

A few tips that may help individuals with stress are:

  • Setting SMART goals and staying organized
  • Tracking their progress
  • Practicing meditation or other breathing techniques daily 
  • Getting outside and getting off their screens (phone, laptop, TV)
  • Exercise 
  • Have them turn to YOU if they feel stuck

Mindset

Ah yes, mindset. We all know how important mindset is when it comes to, well, just about everything. Many individuals who have struggled with yo-yo dieting have one thing in common, they do not have a strong mindset. Some of these individuals go into a diet absolutely dreading it from the start while others may go into a diet motivated and ready to try something new, but once they start they realize how hard it is. Their mindset quickly becomes negative and they revert back to their normal eating pattern.

There is one thing for certain, if you do not have a positive mindset, achieving goals is going to be very difficult, and this is why we need to ensure our clients have a strong mindset BEFORE adding in nutritional goals. Without that strong mindset in place, clients will simply not work on the goals that we come up with them or it will be an extremely difficult journey toward progress.

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