An Effective Step-Wise Nutrition Plan to Achieve Your Goals
A Nutrition Coach is a professional who serves simultaneously as a nutritionist, guide, mentor, and motivator for their clients. Rather than handing you a diet plan and saying “have at it”, a Nutrition Coach will work with you to create and implement a step-wise plan into your life; They will stick with you even after you achieve success to help make sure its permanent. What constitutes an effective step-wise plan? There may not be a precise answer to this because in a one on one coaching scenario, each plan is individualized. Nonetheless, I will describe some of the common “traits” any effective step-wise plan should have.
The first is the determination of success. What is the true destination point for the individual? Is it to lose 20 lbs of body weight? To finish a road race? These are likely the initial “stabs” at answering the destination question but there is likely more to the story. To help reveal this a Coach will ask some tough open-ended questions, such as, why is it important to finish that race? Why 20 lbs? Where does that come from? Be prepared for these questions, they are necessary to determine the true destination point, or what I like to call, the wellness vision. Here’s another question: What sort of things do you see your self doing when you are living your healthiest life? This step can take some effort but is a necessary part of creating and implementing the plan.
How to measure progress is an important trait. Your Coach will likely have a system for collecting measurable data, that which is objective, or assessed with an unbiased standard, such as body weight (scales don’ t lie), girth measurements, race times, exercise bouts, etc), and that which is subjective, which are data specific to the individual such as gauging energy levels or vitality, mood, hunger and satiety. These are important because there needs to be a way to determine what methods, ideas, and/or steps are actually working, and which aren’t. As a Nutrition Coach, I aim to have you doing more of what is working and less of (or none if possible) what isn’t working. Your Coach will help you determine the most appropriate combination of measurements to track progress. A side benefit of tracking such data is that it also helps hold you accountable.
Another important part of the plan, is the step-wise piece. The idea is to take small, achievable steps (or goals) that progress sequentially, in a logical manner towards the destination point. These smaller steps must also be “strategic” in that they are assessed objectively and subjectively as previously discussed and make sense given the overall vision. These steps also should provide a tiny bit of a challenge and require some support, for without these, there cannot be any real progress. I like to use this ladder as a model for putting the overall plan together:
So for example, the overall vision may have the client eating regular healthy meals, feeling satisfied, without worries about blood pressure or body weight. Additionally, the client sees them self exercising regularly outdoors with family, taking active vacations, and setting a healthy example for their kids. With that in mind, here are some possible goals:
- Get body mass index back down to 24
- Reduce or eliminate blood pressure medications
- Develop an enjoyment for fruits and vegetables
Note how the goals make sense when looking back from the vision. There are many paths to achieving goals such as those above. What skills does the individual need to accomplish those? What would you start with? If you are unsure, your Coach should be able to provide some options. Many Coaches operate with “client-centered” methodology, in that the client makes the ultimate choice as to the direction. As a Nutrition Coach, this is particularly important, as a client who is contributing to their success has a sense of ownership, satisfaction when they achieve these smaller steps, as well as a sense of being heard and understood, each of these go a long way in helping them stay vested in the process (and stay on track to the destination!) To assist the client in this step, here is a segment of a “bubble sheet” I would present, concurrently asking which of these skills do you think is the most important to address right now?
Note how each option makes “sense” given the goals and vision. Suppose the client then chooses the skill “improve physical activity”. The discussion at that point will hone in on what types of physical activity the client is most amenable to, and when, how and where it will occur. Together we whittle it down to a regular action that the individual will perform regularly over a one to two week period (before the next coaching session). That action may be then solidified as:
“I will take a twenty-minute walk around the neighborhood after dinner at least three times over the next week. I will share this idea with my spouse and children (maybe they’ll come) and check it off on our kitchen dry erase board (which also serves as a reminder) each time I do it.”
So, there it is, see how each step ties into the next. Right now the individual is starting small but the action they are taking makes logical sense when considering their overall vision, as well as each goal on the lower rungs of the ladder.
There are more “traits” to share, these are perhaps the most important to include. To summarize, an effective step-wise plan is necessary to achieving long term goals. Effective plans share certain “traits”, some of them are:
- They are customized to the client
- Each piece of the plan relates back to the client’s vision of success
- It contains clear methods of tracking progress
- It is client-centered
- It progresses the client gradually, logically, and realistically in a step-wise manner
Meeting consistently with a Nutrition Coach can help you:
Make that first step— You know you want to make a change but many times its that initial step that is the hardest. A Nutrition Coach will provide you with that concrete, defined first step, which is defining the destination point. From there, using various methods, that individual, realistic plan, can come together.
Be accountable— Many of us “fall off” once the going gets tough. Your Nutrition Coach will be there holding you accountable and giving you the support to help you succeed.
Be strategic— A Nutrition Coach will work with you to define the specific, measurable, achievable, and relevant steps you need to make to achieve your long term nutrition and health related goals.
Receive continuous support— Changing eating habits, achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight do not happen quickly. Your Nutrition Coach, often acting as a guide, mentor, and motivator, will provide support, encouragement, and reassurance throughout the journey, as well as after to help you maintain what you have worked so hard to achieve.
Ready to make a change in your diet/eating habits? Better yet, ready to improve your life? Check out my remote, holistic, Nutrition Coaching program!
Published by mattktraining
I am currently the Owner of my soloprenuerial company Matt K Training. Through my fitness and nutrition programs I help adults develop skills and practices that help them eat, move, and recover well. Over the past 20 years, in various roles such as a Personal trainer, Exercise Physiologist, Clinical Researcher, and Health Coach I have helped hundreds of adults reach their health and physical performance goals. When not working, I enjoy active pursuits such as playing right field for the Charlton Giants (in a 38+ competitive baseball league), playing tennis, hiking, backpacking, and rock climbing. I also enjoy indoor activities such as playing strategy board games, reading and discussing science fiction literature, dabbling with my guitar, finding creative ways to eat oatmeal, and being a good dad.