2 Simple Ways You Can Help Your Clients Eat More Mindfully

2 simple strategies for managing weight and eating better

Posted Jun 26, 2014

Do you have clients/patients who come to you for help losing/managing weight and eating healthier? If so, you know this is not an easy task.  Often clients struggle with a few roadblocks that make it challenging such as self-sabotage, old dieting rules and a negative inner self-critic that says, “I can’t do it,” “why try,” or “it’s hopeless” etc.

The lesson I’ve learned is that the words you use matter in helping clients move forward. The good news is that the interventions can be very easy and don’t take a lot of time.  This is important.  In health care, we want to provide high quality care in the time we have allotted—whether that is 10 minutes or an hour. 

Here are two examples of very small, easy shift you can make when working with clients.

1) Sometimes it's important to focus on what your client can START doing instead of STOP doing.  Research indicates it takes 66 days to build a new habit and can take 2 years (or more!) to stop doing an ingrained habit.  New habits crowd out the old with much less effort.  Instead of saying, “Stop eating so much sugar” focus on “Start eating fruits that that help satisfy your sweet tooth like strawberries or blueberries.  

2) Find the REAL motivation.  Many people come in saying, “I want to lose weight.”  But, research indicates that focusing too much on weight and numbers can lead to frustration and sometimes even trigger disordered eating.  Find out your client's underlying motivation to help them reframe their goals.  Have your client finish this question.  “I want to lose weight so that I can….” You client will reveal what they really want.  This information can help you motivate your client for the long term and steer them away from obsessing/focusing on the scale as the only indicator of success.  For example, they may say, “So I can fit into my bathing suit and go swimming with my kids” or “So I won’t have to take medication etc.” 

If you would like to know 9 other things you can do to help your client be more successful, tune into this free webinar hosted by Dr. Susan Albers for dietitians, counselors, psychologists, yoga teachers, physicians, trainers, nurses.  June 30th, 7 PM. Even if you can't attend, sign up to get more information. http://webinarjam.net/webinar/go/2646/5c698d677b

Dr. Susan Albers is a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic and author of EatQ, 50 Ways to Soothe Yourslef Without Food and Eating Mindfully. She has been featured on Dr. Oz, in Prevention, Cooking Light, Self, Fitness magazine.