The Fitness Zone
By: Adrian Teitzel, NSW Australian Institute of Fitness, Lead Fitness Coach
Rant alert…… When I think back to all the diets I’ve seen throughout my career as a personal trainer it makes for a rather long and very interesting read: Atkins Diet, Pescetarian Diet, Dukan Diet, Vegan Diet, Paleo Diet, Detox Diet, Gluten Free Diet, Ketogenic Diet, Alkaline Diet, Grapefruit Diet, Intermittent Fasting Diet, High Protein Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, Body Type Diet, Juice Fasting Diet, Low FODMAP Diet, Potato Diet and even a Kangatarian Diet (had to look that one up; it’s a diet originating here in Australia that is vegetarian but includes kangaroo meat). Having worked in numerous gyms all over the world I’ve heard about them all! My favourite line, offering misguided advice, is “to just eat chicken, broccoli and brown rice and you’ll be sweet mate”.
The mind boggles as to how anyone can sift through it all to find an answer, let alone how a client in desperate need of help starts to find a foot hole of where to start before climbing that mountain that is their weight goal. It must seem impossible, so why try!!
When I glance at that long list I feel that all of these methods are doomed from the start due to the one common denominator…… the word DIET!!!
Why are we looking for a quick fix answer or a miracle style of eating that is short term? Surely the thing we should strive to find is the tool's to help our clients make lifelong change and manage the ups and downs of daily living when it comes to nutrition.
Rather then a ‘top 5 hot tips’ or a ‘best 10 diets’ list, I’ve chosen to write about the elephant in the room when it comes to sustainable long lasting change…………. Motivation.
To help us motivate our clients, firstly we must understand them and most importantly, the choices that they are making and why. The stages of behaviour change go hand in hand with how motivated someone is to change. Identifying these stages is crucial for us to know where, and more importantly, when to start, but most important is to educate your client so they have the safe guards put in place to keep them on track.
Empower your client with knowledge so they can embrace plateaus and overcome the frustration of setbacks by acknowledging its all part of behaviour change. Relapse is real and we should prepare to know what to look for; educate your clients on how to identify and overcome these real-life hurdles.
I’ll leave you with this, the old saying of if you give a man a fish he eats for a day but if you teach him how to fish he’ll eat for a lifetime. Education is the key and motivating your clients starts with trusting your client to make good and bad decisions. If a client can own that with a good choice they are choosing to feel all the things that come with a better version of themselves, they must also accept that with each bad choice they are choosing to feel a certain way and prolonging change. Teach your clients to ask this question and own their decision, it's not the weight you lose that matters, but the life you gain.