Today in Sean Lewis’ Healthy living blog, he advises all health coaches on the importance of giving back, providing added value and educating oneself on healthy food alternatives.
When we give advice to people on the importance of exercise and proper nutrition, as health coaches we need to be mindful that people are averse to loss. We can’t be in the business of taking away. Instead, why not think about what you can replace.
There are an abundance of studies that clearly demonstrate that people mourn loss more than they celebrate gain. A simple example of this would be, imagine that you break your favorite coffee mug and someone buys you the exact same one as a replacement. You still somehow feel at a loss despite the fact that the cup you just received is new. We attach emotional connections to our choices and habits and due to that attachment we have a very hard time letting go of the things we enjoy. Trying to break someone’s routine equally touches on their eversions to loss.
Our job as fit coaches is to demonstrate that our proposed changes are not about giving up the things you like but exchanging them for compelling alternatives. The only way to know what would be compelling is to get to know your client and understand their likes and dislikes. Not everyone is the same and even though you may think your suggestions are interesting, they may not be ideal for that individual. Plain and simple, coaching is about identifying the needs of your client and through exploration, finding the way forward that best suits them and keeps them adhered to a sustainable plan.
Ask people if they have ever had a past positive experience with physical activity. They may not show it now, but perhaps in the past they had a favorite activity. Bringing back something they enjoyed in the past is a great way to peek their interest to start back to it. Don’t forget that humans are social and by inviting them to a group exercise class with other people will bring an element of fun to the activity which only adds to the experience.
When you try to guide people toward better food choices for their customized nutrition plan, the more you know about healthy eating the more suggestions you can make. Familiarize yourself with low carbohydrate recipes as you’ll be able to make far more recommendations and not just suggest people eat salad all day! People are very surprised to hear that their choices of fats in their diet are far more plenty than they thought. A nice hearty Caesar salad with Parmesan cheese and chicken doesn’t sound like a major loss when you remove the pasta from the daily diet.
At the end of the day, we can be of far more help to people once we understand that their reluctance to begin a new healthy active lifestyle may only be that they are afraid of all the things you’ll tell them they have to lose. Healthy living begins with your coach!